It only took three songs and an instrumental intro to turn me into a fan of Kingsport, Tennessee based Death Metal newcomers PURULENCY. Their material reeks of late ’80s / early ’90s Death Metal and especially recalls the good old Finnish scene from the heydays of that period (ABHORRENCE, FUNEBRE, early AMORPHIS, DEMIGOD, CONVULSE). No surprise that the somgs were quickly released as the band’s “Transcendent Unveiling Of Dimensions” demo on cassette tape and vinyl LP / CD via Caligari Records and Pulverised Records respectively. To find out a bit more about these hopefuls we contacted the band’s founding member, guitarist Neal Williams, for the following interview…

Greetings Neal and welcome to Voices From The Darkside… Hope everything’s okay and you’re in a good mood to answer some questions about PURULENCY. If my information is correct, the band is around since late 2018 already, so was PURULENCY just a side-project of yourself and drummer Alex Depew in the beginning? I mean, it seems that the other members didn’t join the band until 2022…
“I had the idea, and some song ideas / riffs, for PURULENCY prior to Alex becoming involved, but that was when things really began to take shape. It was a side-project, and would take a backseat to other projects of ours at times. We kept coming back to it, and I would write and further refine the material as we went.”

Did you write the songs more or less completely on your own in the beginning and then presented them to Alex or did you both already create them together right from start? Were they completely finished when Carter (Vickers – bass), Garrett (Morelock – guitars) and Harrison (Hunt – vocals) finally completed the line-up? By the way, how did you hook up with those guys? Did you all know each other previously already?
“I had two basic songs that I showed to Alex in the beginning. These went through many changes to make them better and generally fit what I envisioned. ‘Xenolith Of Ruination’ was the one song that didn’t have any elements of material I wrote before Alex joining. Aside from minor adjustments I made after they joined, the songs were done musically before the live line-up came together. Lyrics were written by myself and Garrett some time afterward. I was in another band with Garrett before PURULENCY, and I had known Harrison for several years having jammed with him a few times. Carter was brought in through Garrett.”

At first, the four songs from your demo “Transcendent Unveiling Of Dimensions” were released digitally in late January 2024, but in early February Caligari Records already released a cassette tape version of it. How did you get together with them so quickly? Or did they maybe hear the material a lot earlier already?
“We had all the physical releases arranged a bit before the digital release. The digital release was actually worked out with Caligari to line up closely with the tape release, as we originally planned to release in early January before getting the label responses.”

Two months later there’s already a vinyl and CD edition out via Pulverised Records now… Did you expect such a great response when you uploaded the songs to your Bandcamp site? How was the response on the material in general, not just from labels?
“I alluded to it in the previous answer, but the arrangement with Pulverised was secured basically at the same time as Caligari, a while before the digital release. We were pretty surprised with the response from the labels we submitted to, as all but one responded wanting to work with us. It was at that point we thought we might have a better reaction than anticipated. That turned out to be the case when the demo was released. The reaction has been great so far.”

Since I’m not in a band myself, I was always wondering how things work with Bandcamp… Do labels contact you because they check out your music or do you introduce yourself to labels via email with a link to your Bandcamp site?
“We contacted the labels through email submissions before our Bandcamp was up. I know that both scenarios you mentioned happen, and previous bands of mine would submit to labels with our Bandcamp link. It didn’t get to that point for PURULENCY.”

Were those the only four songs you had finished at that point or is there already more PURULENCY material, which you just haven’t recorded yet?
“Those were the only four songs. We did record a cover during the demo sessions, though. Perhaps the right opportunity to release that will come about soon.”

Which cover song did you record?
“We covered ‘Pilgrimage From Darkness’ by AMORPHIS, the original version from “Privilege Of Evil”. It’s not been mixed / mastered, yet. We’re still trying to find something to use it for.”

It’s pretty obvious that your musical influences are rooted in the late ’80s / early ’90s Death Metal underground, so which bands impressed you the most from that period? I suppose Finland’s ABHORRENCE, early AMORPHIS, DEMIGOD, DEMILICH, Sweden’s CREMATORY and GRAVE, maybe even old CARCASS and old INCANTATION are among them, aren’t they?
“You pretty much got it. Largely Finnish and Swedish-influenced, for sure. CONVULSE and FUNEBRE are a couple you didn’t mention that were pretty influential for me in the writing process, too.”

Your band logo, the cover artwork and also the band name perfectly capture that particular Death Metal period, so was it difficult to find people who understood what you really had in mind for the visual side of the band? How did you get good old Luxi Lahtinen on board for the artwork?
“I contacted Luxi in 2019. Originally, I asked him to do a new original piece, which he did. He said it was his first piece of art in 25+ years. He did another not long afterward, as well. Both were great, but I asked about a more detailed full piece, and he sent over an old shirt design he did for the band CARTILAGE. We thought it fit the vision and went with it. I don’t think it could have worked out much better.”

Was the band name influenced by anything in particular or did you just choose it because it perfectly fits the music?
“I came across it while searching for band names in early 2017, and knew I wanted to use it. It was being used for another project of mine, but I switched it to this band as it felt more appropriate. It wasn’t really influenced by anything – just fit the music.”

Ethan Camp, who mixed your recordings, also contributed some keyboards to the recordings… You hardly recognize that, so was that planned right from the start or did the idea come up during the recording session?
“I had wanted keyboards in the material since early on. Discovering AMORPHIS’ “Privilege Of Evil” EP cemented that approach in my mind. We recorded keyboards while recording guitars and drums, but those were scrapped when working with Ethan.”

There’s tons of Death Metal bands out there nowadays that claim to play “old school Death Metal”, but to me the majority of them somehow lack that particular original feeling that you guys and also Denmark’s UNDERGANG perfectly deliver… What’s your personal opinion on this? What do most of these bands lack in and what did you do differently to achieve that particular feeling? Is it a more dominating bass, the tuning of the guitars, the cavernous atmosphere… I just don’t get it.
“More than anything, I think it’s a true knowledge of the music. That includes primarily the writing, but also the production of the recording. It’s really the small details that come together to give that feeling you mentioned. Those details are often missed by bands that just try to emulate Death Metal without really learning what made the classic bands so special.”

Many Death Metal bands these days also started to incorporate Black Metal elements into their songwriting in order to sound darker. Do you like this mix of styles or do you prefer bands that play pure Death and Black Metal?
“Overall, I prefer a pure approach for both, though there are exceptions. It’s a trickier thing to nail tastefully, but it can be done. Going back to the answer to the last question, I believe those that have a real appreciation for both genres have a better chance to accomplish this.”

PURULENCY is from Tennessee, an area in the south of the US which is probably better known for Country music… Do you also have a healthy underground Metal scene there, with many bands and clubs of this kind? Are there any PURULENCY live shows planned already?
“The scene where we’re based, in the northeast corner, is pretty active currently. It’s a mix of Death Metal, Hardcore, Punk, Noise, Doom and some Black Metal. I’d say there are more Hardcore, Punk and Noise acts than the rest, but things are much better than just a few years ago from what I’m seeing. We’re currently working on getting back to playing live, but no shows are planned at this moment.”

When I was preparing this interview I noticed that you guys only seem to have a Bandcamp and an Instagram site… Aren’t you into promoting the band through all possible channels that are available out there these days?
“It just depends on the platform. I don’t use many social media sites, but I could see us utilizing more than Instagram and Bandcamp soon.”

What can we expect next from PURULENCY? Are you already working on new material or even an album?
“We’re very early on in the writing process for new material, which will be for an album. In the more immediate future, the plan is to return to playing shows.”

Ok Neal, that’s about it. Thanks for the interview. If you have any merchandise for sale or if we should have missed out anything else that might be important, you’re welcome to mention that now. Take care and all the best.
“Thanks for the interview, Frank. A very limited run of 45 European cassettes was just released through Morbid Cellar Records out of Finland. Also, we’ll have a new run of limited shirts, as well as copies of the vinyl, in stock on our Bandcamp very soon – maybe even now depending on when this interview is published. European customers will be able to order the shirts, vinyl and CDs through Cudgel Metal Mail Order for more affordable shipping rates. Those that are interested in keeping up to date on all PURULENCY news can find us on Instagram.”,

Frank Stöver

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