Full of Hell, the debut full length release from Providence, Rhode Island post- doom metal band Howl, crushes mere mortals into dust right out of the Hellish gates from behind which it came. This is merciless music for the man with the battle axe collection in his basement. This is dark deliverance in the form of a soundtrack for a tour through the hottest spots in Hades.
The album purges into battle with the opening track "Horns of Steel," which is seasoned with a brutal beating of guitars sounding like a raging demon horde on black horseback that then charges ahead with a focus on pure annihilation. Guitarist and lead growler Vincent Hausman preaches lyrics in burning breaths that could melt muscle from bone in tracks like "Gods in Broken Men" and "Jezebel." His voice burrows into the marrow, and never lets up in its gritty fierceness.
The highlights include "The Scorpion’s Last Sting," a mid-tempo sludgy stomp and the epic track "Heavenless," which after a surprising ethereal start , rumbles hard into an early Melvins meets dark prog rock piece of metal muscle. The sound is a perfect backdrop for a misguided angel who is fighting his way out of a burning abyss.The odds are not in his favor. Drum production throughout the nine songs is meaty and relentless, echoing cell doors closing or rusty blades clanging in stormy combat.
At times the guitar mix seems distant, but always ends up thunderous and hypnotic in its pummeling purpose. This gives the impression that the songs are always forging ahead, to some front line scorched by hellfire.
The lack of noodling metal solos only strengthen the massive wall of riffs and rhythm, which will echo in your ears in the form of the darker side of temporary tinnitus for days. The songs mostly hover around keys in the darkest register, which gives it more of a feel than a theme. This is a relentless record, and an impressive debut from the Providence foursome.