PURE HELL: Noise Addiction: LP

For those that are unaware, Pure Hell were a Philadelphia band that dropped a serious slab of wax in 1978 called No Rules before relocating to New York and recording a full length later the same year that was shelved. The story isn’t quite clear, but afterwards they just drifted off into obscurity save for the clammy-handed crowd digging through record bins for obscure punk scorchers of the golden era. The shelved album surfaced for the first time in 2006 on a CD and very limited vinyl pressing on Welfare Records, a label with a touch-and-go catalog that doesn’t really market their releases. It went out of print and the band was once again forced back into the collector’s circuit. This Spanish pressing of the album got a great mastering job and features better art than the 2006 pressing. Musically, it’s not quite as unhinged as the No Rules single but it’s still energetic and fresh. The main surprise here is the heavy use of lead guitar and lots of effects. The guitars weren’t typical of punk at the time, but you can tell they were looking heavily towards Ron Asheton (and supposedly Jimi Hendrix) for inspiration, and it works. The songs are all unique and they are almost all really great songs (there is one dud, thrown at the end of Side A) that would please any fan of the New York Dolls, Stooges, or the Voidoids. It’s disheartening to hear this in 2017 and realize if this had gotten a proper release in 1978 this band would have been referenced in every VH1 special and Sony Pictures documentary about the history of punk and they would have all been living happily off their royalty checks instead of being relegated to boutique pressings of their record. –Ian Wise (Beat Generation, munster-records.com)