Review: “Lawless To Grave” by Purgatory

Formed in the cold and desolate Midwest in 2011, Purgatory have spent the past decade creating unflinching Metallic Hardcore sound that takes influence from both the Hardcore of  Biohazard and Meruder as well as the Metal of Dying Fetus and Deicide to forge something dubbed as “Midwest Street Metal“. Recorded in only four days at Landmine Studios with Len Carmichael, Matt Anderson (vocals), Josh Mata (guitar), Brian Pilla (guitar), Tito Richmond (bass) and Collin St. Mary (drums), have offered an unfiltered look through bloodshot eyes into the darkness and futility of life in middle-American to follow their debut album “Cold Side of Reality”, something which opened the doors for them to share stages with the likes of Power Trip, Harm’s Way and Terror.

An ode to street violence, “Stack ’em Up” spin kicks things into reality with the kind of arty intro that Biohazard used on “Punishment” before going full throttle with heavy hitting punches of classic Metallic Hardcore while Anderson stacking up the bodies of the scumbags with a relentless throaty bark. An injection of Hardcore Punk reminiscent of Sick Of It All, and loaded with gang chants “Grave of Sorrow” piles in with breakdowns galore before its final flourish of Downtempo groove that is a real head turner and a refreshing change of pace without losing any of that jagged edge. The surprise lead part of “JCA” is a tension loaded one as the cathartic roar “I know there is no tomorrow so I hold on to yesterday” ricochets around your skull like a bullet looking for an exit strategy. The influence of Biohazard is worn on the sleeve of “No One Gets Out Alive“, a savage little ditty about betryal and violence that will be a chant-a-long from the mosh pit classic at live shows while “Chains of Wicked Men” could well serve as a live introduction instrumental as imprints the thought of a prisoner being lead to the electric chair, wrapped in chains and dressed in prison overalls.

Arguably the most hard hitting cut is “Disease” which has a brutal stuccato riff that delivers like piling breakdown after breakdown on top of each other before breaking out for a venomous rant of pure hatered that is matched perfectly by “Clarity” and get in your face like a predator. The eerie intro riff into a Power Trip esq whammy bar drop that brings in “Loyalty Denied” is a change up that might make you think you’ve been switched into listening to something else, especially as Collin St. Mary brings the percussive batter that borders on the tribal before the band switch back into their usual jagged edged groove in thunderous style. “Thorn of Life” may have a similar riff style to “Disease” but it has the second atmospheric eerie solo of the record as it entices hammers to be thrown before the title track finishes things of in style. “Lawless To Grave” is one that announces personal rules to follow in the during the constant warfare of modern life on the street. A potent blunt force trauma of an album that delivers like a wrecking ball, the gritty integrity of the lyrics is a painful reminder of what life is really like on the streets [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Stack ’em Up
  2. Grave of Sorrow
  3. JCA
  4. Can’t Stop Our Reign
  5. No One Gets Out Alive
  6. Chains of Wicked Men
  7. Disease
  8. Clarity
  9. Loyalty Denied
  10. Thorn of Life
  11. Lawless To Grave

Lawless To Grave” by Purgatory is out 9th April via Unbeaten Records

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