Pure Hell-NOISE ADDICTION CD & DVD (Welfare)
OK, I'm gonna keep this short and sweet because really, either I can rave about this new package with a few quick and shallow words of praise, or I can blab on for hour upon hour on end about every little insignificant piece of trivia pertaining to me and my upbringing and my musical tastes whether or not they have anything to do with Pure Hell directly or not, and frankly I think I'd do you readers a disservice either way so lemme just give you a nice, detailed yet not too brainy (me, brainy?) dissertation as to why you should scarf this sucker up post haste before it's lost to all eternity and you're gonna hafta perform unnatural acts upon certain well-known rockscribe collectors (not counting ME) in order to procure a nth-rate burn that you'll all cherish nonetheless.
Anyway, for the uninitiated...Pure Hell were an all black punk rock & roll band from Philadelphia who formed in 1975 and almost immediately got a prestigeous Big Apple gig at Max's Kansas City that very same year, and until at least 1980 (last ref I can find of them via a gig listing at Max's very early in the year) they sorta made waves on the NYC scene and elsewhere getting some nice incidental press in the meanwhile. A single ("These Boots Were Made For Walking"/"No Rules") on the British Golden Sphinx label even earned them a short English tour in '78, and considering that they were also opening for Sid V's Max's gigs that very year you could say that these punks were at the height of their power if not popularity during that cream o' the punk crop time. However, after all of this hubbub Pure Hell decided they didn't wanna be known as punks anymore and started considering themselves a heavy metal outfit, but whichever way you wanna categorize the band they still come off as top high energy noisemakers who still sound up-to-date three-plus decades down the line which is more than I can say about some new aggros who sound stillborn upon launch. And face it bub, a lotta the all-black groups who made it superduper big in the nineties owe more than a pat on the back to Pure Hell, who I am told reformed (with a white bassist, so maybe they don't count anymore!) in the mid-nineties even getting some label attention from the folks at Mercury Records of all places!
So, you're probably wondering whether or not Pure Hell are punks or metal mongers, right? Well, like all of the great BLOG TO COMM faves I've rah-rah'd over they years all I gotta say is they sure straddle the boundaries in a way that seemed oh-so-normal in the early/mid-seventies when the folks at BACK DOOR MAN and DENIM DELINQUENT were more'n anxious to utter the names of such bands as Aerosmith, the Stooges, Blue Oyster Cult and the Dolls in the same breath although boundaries seemed to be more or less, er, defined as the decade wore on. Guitarist Preston Morris III (aka Chip Wreck) can thunder along with the heaviest of them all, but he's also a power-chord master par-excellence inna Tommy Ramone vein. Vocalist Kenny Gordon reminds me of a whole slew of black punkers from Hiawatha Bailey (Cult Heroes) on down with his cock-sure approach, 'n rhythm section Kerry Boles and Michael Sanders (nom-de-punkques being Lenny Still and Spider resp'v'ly) seem about as ham-fisted good enough for such an endeavor, Spider somehow recalling the likes of one Scott Asheton in the addled thud department. So really, the whole punk vs. metal question is superfluous, since like the best groups from both camps there are probably more similarities than differences and besides all I care about is what's GOOD (read: high energy and nerve-twisting) and what's ATROCIOUS (weak-kneed music especially when it's played by people who think they know enough for all of us!) and really, given all of the musical inbreeding that has gone on for ages are "labels" really that helpful anymore (other'n to give the prospective buyer a little leeway in knowing what he's gonna be in store for when he gets home, unwraps the shrink and submits himself to some of the worst prattle to pass as rock & roll extant???).
Naturally the single sides are here (their "Boots" almost as good as Destroy All Monsters if not on the same sainted plateau) as are a whole lotta other studio wonders which all have that hot late-seventies punk-a-rama thrill-chill to 'em that reminds me of the feeling I'd get (1978) picking up some hot Stiff-label cruncher before that company gnu-waved itself outta existence. Yeah, I'm sure there will be quite a few naysayers out there who think all the songs "sound alike" just like they did with ? and the Mysterians, but if they all sound good and sound alike, what's wrong with that. And besides they DON'T...I mean, just take the song "American" which starts off with this wild "LA Blues"-styled scrangacronka (well, could YOU think up a better word?) as Stinker recites his own Pledge kinda coming off like David Peel doing heavy metal! Believe you me, it's enthralling enough even if you've heard all the seventies punk reissues and rehashes that have been clogging up the Bomp! catalog ever since those sainted days of TRUE ROCK ORIGINALITY!!!
The DVD that's included's taken from some unknown-to-me gig (unless the credits are too small for mine eyes) and captures Pure Hell in a fine state of big-intensity punk bliss. And it's a professional two-camera job too unlike a lotta the hand-held videos being shot in clubs back then, and what's great about the whole schmeer is that when the picture starts getting all weirdo and distorted (otherwise this looks about as fresh as the day it was video'd), someone had the keen idea to use the chromakey effect to give the picture a weird psychedelic edge that come to think of it does fit in with the wild proceedings going on on camera. And in front of an appreciative (if polite) audience Pure Hell are totally frenetic with more'n a few references to various past masters black and white, and if anything can be said about Pure Hell it's that these guys sure knew how to WHIP UP A CROWD which is more'n I can say about a good portion of the so-called amerindie/alternative drek I've had the misfortune to see live back in the eighties when the independant music decay was only beginning...
Supposedly this NOISE ADDICTION set was released in a very limited edition (1000 only!) so before it dries up totally (and you have to resort to certain unspeakable crimes in order to latch onto your own copy) I'd click on the label link above and getcher credit card number handy while yer at it. Can't say that the reissue/exhumation scene has been that hot this year, but if this one is any indication...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Pure Hell-NOISE ADDICTION CD & DVD (Welfare)