The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Minor Threat, and Bad Brains are just some of the early pioneers of punk rock that were able to masterfully change culture for years to come. While they are often considered the first to do punk, there was another band that stepped out from Philadelphia to cut through the cityscape in leather jackets and PF Flyers.
Pure Hell’s only studio record release, Noise Addiction is a hidden gem in the rough of the onset days where punk was really gaining traction. Originally recorded in 1978, the debut record would never achieve a mainstream stay on the charts, but goes down as a genre-bending debut that would not see the light of day until 2006. Released on Welfare Records, the wailing and utterly capturing performances on Noise Addiction is the perfect blend of garage rock and switchblade love over 15 tracks.
While only 38 minutes, each track pushes faster and faster through the rampaging bursts of energy like on the track “Hard Action.” Pretty much every second with Pure Hell is actually quite the opposite and an enjoyable rush that borders on clean playstyles but harsh, almost jagged singing that cuts through. The recording is fairly modern sounding and lacks most of that lo-fi grunge that many records at the time had, but this adds to the charm of Noise Addiction as it feels so far removed from the boundaries of the ’70s. It is a free-spirited and a mosh-inducing stage dive into the boards where the skill behind their playing is easily recognizable.
Often times, when looking back at older punk music especially, there is this youthful cry that carries over into the modern-day and here, the screams from Stinker as credited on the vinyl’s liner notes orchestrates raw power from the first seconds he is introduced. The bass that is played by Lenny Still, the percussion by Spider, and the guitar by Chip Wreck combine to form a quadraphonic blast where every corner is covered. Noise Addiction is a piece of history that borders on being early inspiration on some of the forefronts for punk sound before it really capitalized off and started to adapt to other backbones.
As time continues to march on, Pure Hell not only has an intense name that matches with their berserk fit choices and playstyle, but they are immensely engulfed in catchy and repeatable writing for both lyrics and instrumentation. While they never topped any charts or sold millions of records, they live on the underside of the punk rock underbelly somewhere in the golden stages of aggressive love.