Apes Wake from the End of an Inter Arma Full of Hell at Foufounes Electriques

Grindcore/noise seers Full of Hell rolled through Montreal this past Wednesday. The Ocean City, Maryland/Central Pennsylvania act are currently supported on a North American tour by End, Inter Arma, and Wake.

The name of the game here is heavy. None of the bands on this bill (including extra support Apes out of Quebec City) make a habit of incorporating anything melodic in their music. This concert setup tends to either make or break acts when they hit the stage, leaving them to drown in the wall of sound or be cohesive enough to stand out above the rest.

Richmond, Virginia’s Inter Arma made a good job of rising out of the pack - frontman Mike Paparo prowling the stage with sure command. When he wasn't shaking his head maniacally side to side, Paparo would stand completely still, holding uncomfortable eye contact with specific audience members as the assembly behind him pushed out slow, sludgy riffs. And while the majority of their music leans heavy towards the trudging Primitive Man end of the spectrum, one particular moment of their set saw the band transition from a quiet, peaceful passage to a borderline classic rock jam reminiscent of the faster fun bits in Kansas’ “Carry On My Wayward Son” – as much of a jab that may sound like. Ironically, this was one of the highlights of the night, just because of how different this transition sounded from everything else.

And thus it was time for End (decidedly better than the end), a hardcore/metalcore supergroup made up of musicians from Counterparts, Fit For An Autopsy, The Acacia Strain, Shai Hulud, and Reign Supreme. The collective groups associated with this act immediately shone through in the powerhouse of sound emitting from the stage, with frontman Brendan Murphy doing well to rile up the crowd between songs. End’s blend of hardcore and metalcore was straightforward but executed well, which injected the crowd with an energy unmatched by everyone else on the bill, barring the headliner.

And that brings us to Full of Hell. The powerviolence/death metal/noise outfit have been kicking ass and taking names since their 2009 formation – their following growing to surprising numbers given how intense and grating their music can be at times. The world really is full of freaks.

In between minute-long sessions of breakdown riffs and blastbeats layered under singer Dylan Walker screaming his absolute head off, Walker manned a console on stage, fiddling with knobs that produced ear-bleeding screeches intense enough to sober up even the farthest gone. The frontman also brought out a black light-up flute thingy that looked like some kind of futuristic breathalyzer straight out of Blade Runner. The frontman blew into this instrument while manipulating the console below him, which made some kind of noise that otherwise wasn’t discernable from all the other noise. But if you can’t discern any of the noise, the noise act achieves its goal, doesn’t it? I think I got that one from Nietzche.

The concert was alright. With so many heavy acts, everything turns pretty muddy act after act. Full of Hell’s place atop the bill was reinforced in their performance however, as the extra layers of noise and quality of their (albeit short) songs synthesized in a way that other groups fail to replicate. The tour is worth catching if you’re into the specific niche most of these bands fall into.