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Pure Hell: Noise Addiction

Unearthed gem from the early days of US punk.

The first (and, really, one of maybe three or four ever in history) all-black punk band, Pure Hell formed in Philadelphia in the mid-70s, cited The Stooges and MC5 as inspirations way before it was cool, looked awesome in their punk ‘do’s and leather jackets, and sounded like the Dead Boys.

So why haven’t we heard of them? For one thing, they only ever released one single during their initial run, and it was a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. They were also ‘managed’ by Curtis Knight, the same sad-sack opportunist who bungled having Jimi Hendrix in his band a decade before.

So it’s not surprising Pure Hell never got the attention they deserved. This eye-popping and ear-battering collection of unreleased studio sessions from the late 70s lets us in on what we missed, and it’s a full-on belter, full of snotty street-rockers flecked with wall-melting acid-rock guitars.

Came from the sky like a 747. Classic Rock’s least-reputable byline-grabber since 2003. Several decades deep into the music industry. Got fired from an early incarnation of Anal C**t after one show. 30 years later, got fired from the New York Times after one week. Likes rock and hates everything else. Still believes in Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, against all better judgment.