Full of Hell are a band whose popularity contradicts the extremity of their sound. They describe their music as “Harsh Grinding Death,” which translates to an eardrum-melting cauldron of powerviolence, grindcore, industrial noise, and death metal. Despite this seemingly inaccessible concoction, they have managed to become one of the more popular bands in the underground metal scene today (to the extent that seeing a FoH t-shirt in the wild no longer prompts a “hey, nice tee!”).
The bands fourth studio album, Weeping Choir, is released today. After extensive time with the first single, “Burning Myrrh,” we’d venture that it could be their heaviest record yet. I got a chance to talk to Dylan Walker, the band’s vocalist, about FoH, the album, and life in general.
Now that Weeping Choir is wrapped up, how do you feel about it?
I think our overall outlook on the album is good. We took what we have learned from years of playing together and recording and used that experience to try and push ourselves to create something that accurately reflected who we are, at this moment in time.
Full of Hell have done collaborations with The Body and Merzbow in the past – do you feel any more attachment to a pure FOH release than a collaboration, or do all releases hold the same amount of significance for you?
All the releases are quite significant for me. I can’t say whether I value a stand alone FOH album more than a collab, but the solo album is certainly important to the band, because it’s 100% our DNA, we have complete control, so it feels like there is more at stake.
Are there any other bands/artists you would like to collaborate with in future?
Of course, and we intend to do more collaborative projects. We have a couple lined up for the future already, actually. Time will tell, but it will always be something we try and do.
Weeping Choir again pushes forward with the band’s theme of Sacrilege and Anti-religion. Where do you look to for inspiration for this? From reading some of your lyrics it seems that you have read more of the bible than most “religious” people- do you actively study religious materials for inspiration?
I think that faith based literature can be very striking and beautiful. The tone is something I’ve always been drawn to and it’s been quite inspiring to me over the years. We did not form this band to be sacrilegious, but we have gravitated towards it simply because of where we sit in the world. Seeking answers to old questions and antagonizing western idealisms will always hold an important place for us.
I saw that your grandmother was recently at one of your shows – are your family supportive of the band? – Any family members that you need to be more discrete with regarding artwork/lyrics etc?
Yes, I think we are all very fortunate to have supportive families, for the most part. I tend to be more discrete about my art around all of my family in general. I don’t hide it, but I don’t draw attention to it. I’m not interested in having a discussion about the direction of the band with anyone, especially people I care about. It is what it is and they must accept it and move forward.
Tell me about the Corgi – I’m a big fan.
Haha. I have two dogs, both Pembroke corgis. One we have raised from 6 weeks old and one that is an 8 year old rescue. They are very loud, very pushy and very chaotic.
The cover art for the new album bears a lot of similarities to that of Trumpeting Ecstasy – should it be considered as a follow-up album or part of a series?
I like to think of WC as the foil to Trumpeting Ecstasy. It was intended to have many small connections to the previous album and an overarching theme that connects the two. I do not think it will be carried beyond two albums, nor was it intended from the start. The connections are there to find, for anyone that cares to look for them.
You are definitely one of the best vocalists of any band in the “extreme” music scene – do you do any vocal coaching to avoid burning out while on tour? Also, how did you first get into doing vocals and discover your talents? – I can’t imagine you sing like that in the shower….
No, I’ve never had any kind of vocal training, so it’s taken me longer than most to learn how to avoid destroying my voice on tour and how to get a sound I’m happy with in the studio. I started to sing in bands when I was about 13 years old. Everyone else claimed their preferred position in the death metal band we had started and no-one wanted to sing. I wanted to play guitar, but I was pleased to discover that singing was way easier and didn’t require any equipment purchasing. I never looked back, haha.
Your next Berlin show is part of another tour with The Body – is this a sign that you are working on some new material together? – Can we expect to hear some tracks from your 2017 collaboration “Ascending a Mountain of Heavy Light” at the upcoming shows?
We are not working on any new collaborative material. We will be rehearsing together before the tour to learn songs from the second album and maybe a new cover, but beyond that I think this was a two album project.
Are there any cities in Europe (aside from Berlin) that you are particularly excited to get back to? How does an EU tour differ from the US?
When I try to describe European tours to my non-EU friends, I basically tell them that on a social level, it’s almost the same as a US tour, but it seems that everything is just a half note different, either sharp or flat depending on the situation. The differences are subtle but sometimes a subtle difference can feel all the more jarring, like a rock in your shoe or something. We all enjoy it quite a lot. I think we are generally most excited to visit Eastern European cities, the energy tends to be highest there. We also have always enjoyed visiting the UK, although I guess that will not count as EU anymore soon…
What bands/artists are you listening to at the moment? – What music do you put on to relax while on tour?
I’ve been in a huge phase with Westside Gunn, Conway the Machine and Benny the Butcher. They are rappers from Buffalo NY. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Richard Skelton, who’s work is described as a “posthumous collaboration with his wife”, who passed away. Not much metal, admittedly.
I have seen Spencer’s “Industrial Hazard” noise devices – do you or any other band members have other projects outside of FOH going on? (musical or otherwise)
Yes, Spencer has started making his own noise devices, finally! He’s doing very well with them and I actually really enjoy using them, so it’s easy to endorse. We all work on various things outside of the band. I have a band called RAMUH, which is a more traditional sounding grindcore band (à la discordance axis) with drummer Balazs Pandi and Mauro Cordoba of Maruta RIP. I also have a band with Lee from the body and Kristin AKA Lingua Ignota, that is coming into it’s final stages of recording. Beyond that, Spencer has a noise rock band called EYE FLYS and Dave and Sam have a death-grind band called JARHEAD FERTILIZER.
Anything else you want to say?
Start a band, go on tour, make records.