While there are many bands from the yesteryears that can certainly be deemed influential in shaping the landscape of Punk, there are a few that hold as much weight, but not in terms of mainstream notoriety. On top of that, While the genre is predominantly white, there’s the exception of a few, namely Bad Brains and Death, that help people rethink the stereotype of what Punk is by being all black bands. Philadelphia’s Pure Hell is one such group that stands for both. The collective of four black Americans flew under the radar for most, yet those in the know will recognize the group’s seminal status as a hardcore punk band that should be regarded as an icon.
Their period was the ’70s, and their stage was mostly throughout the UK, despite coming from the US. Initially discovered by the legendary Curtis Knight–the fellow American musician known to run with Jimi Hendrix–who brought them out to the UK where they set up camp. It was there that the group found their fans and appreciation for the energy they brought. As Roktober Magazine put it, “Their recordings boast all the unaffected grime of the Dead Boys, the far-sighted musicality of the Voidoids, the metallic heft of the Stooges, excellent guitar playing, powerful vocals, a propulsive rhythm section.”
The band still plays to this day at select performances while offering continued support to their now-local Philly punk scene. Check them out through the documentary and live videos above, and listen to their Noise Addiction (2010) album below.