Internal Bleeding: Chris Pervelis
13/01/12 || lou.imm0rtal
Here’s an interview with Chris Pervelis, the founder of Internal Bleeding. A short biography in his own words:
The idea for Internal Bleeding was in my head in around 1990, but it wasn’t until 1991 that I thought I had the ability to play well enough to put a band together. By mid-1991, we were up and rolling and our first release came out right at the end of 1991. It was a crappy demo, but it was a start. After that things really started to move. We had lineup changes and put out two more highly successful demos (Invocation of Evil and Perpetual Degradation) that really, I think, solidified our reputation and sound. Not long after the release of Perpetual Degradation we were signed by Pavement Music and put out a string of albums with them (Voracious Contempt, The Extinction of Benevolence and Driven to Conquer). After Pavement fell apart we signed with Olympic/Century Media and put out a compilation CD and another album entitled Onward to Mecca. Not long after that, the band was dropped and fell into a state of dormancy. I resurrected the band last April and here we are—playing shows, writing new material and feeling really energized! If you want to read a more detailed biography, visit our website at Internal Bleeding
Global Domination: Yo Chris, it is real exciting to see the New York Death Metal community on the uprise again. Feels like we were experiencing a phase of idleness and rumors with very little productivity for some time but things seem to have fired up as of late and the return of Internal Bleeding has created much attention for New York once again. Dehumanized has recently reunited as well and are working on a new record. So, we can only hope for a new wave of New York death metal to propagate. How are you feeling about the music these days compared to the past and do you think that New York still has the same passion to offer the world some of that fine east-coast style death metal that has been hated and loved by so many since the beginning?
Chris Pervelis: it’s all about passion for the music. There’s no money in death metal, so it must be passion that is driving this resurgence, right? I know for me personally, I missed Internal Bleeding so much and was only biding my time until I got it back together. I spoke to George Torres from Dehumanized when we played together in Texas a few weeks ago and he pretty much felt the same way. When this music is in your blood, it’s hard to get out. It’s akin to cancer—It just keeps metastasizing no matter how hard you try and eliminate it from your life. I am really excited that a lot of bands are back together. Not just us and Dehumanized, but Pyrexia is returning as well. Very exciting stuff.
We have grown so much as musicians since our last release that it’s only natural that our musical palettes have expanded and now we incorporate a lot of new stuff into our music, while still maintaining the Total Fucking Slam core we are known for. So I would say our passion has increased greatly because we have so many more tools—musically speaking—to work with.
The scene itself as far as show attendance certainly isn’t what it was in the 1990s, but I hope that kind of rabid support will return. If not, there are plenty of other places outside of NY who crave East Coast Brutality.
Back in 2002-2003, Suffocation had made its mighty come back and are still slaying it in the world. They recently signed to Nuclear Blast Records and their career is at their highest peak to date. What do you think about that? Why is it that it has taken a band like Suffocation so long to receive the recognition that they have now? How do you wage Suffocation in the community of NYDM since the early days and now? There has been other major icons of NYDM such as Pyrexia. I believe that Guy Marchais was developing the early beginnings of the NYDM sound back in the “Liturgy of Impurity” demo and the monster “Sermon of Mockery.” He was also responsible for one of the very first Suffocation songs. “Catatonia,” and to this day it is one of Suffocation’s greatest hits. Would you consider Internal Bleeding as important as the work that these guys were doing? Do you have any other honorable entities that you can talk about?
I couldn’t even begin to answer as to why it took so long for Suffocation to get the respect they most definitely deserve. I guess the world just had to catch up to them in order for them to be truly appreciated. They are probably the most influential band out of New York; having influenced most NYDM bands.
Is Internal Bleeding as important as Suffocation? In short, no, because Suffocation is genuinely an innovator. I like to think we crystallized the groove and slam aspect of death metal. It existed before in some of Suffocation’s songs, Baphomet’s tunes and some of Pyrexia’s as well but I think we were the first to totally focus on pure slam all the time and promote our music as that. I know that’s up for debate because I constantly read about this topic on blogs, zines, etc. Some agree with my thoughts while others just think we are a Suffocation clone. Either way, we love what we do and at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. Personally, I think all NYDM bands offer something unique about them if people would just open their ears and really listen to what’s going on.
The death metal sound of the northeastern region of the the USA has a got a specific sound that has been acquired by many around the world and added as an element into their own expression of the music. How would you describe the NY school of death metal? Where did it come from? What are the feelings involved? What was the inspiration behind it and why is it so effective in the music? Also, this sound has receive not just great praise but an equal amount of negative criticism. Can you speak for both ends of the spectrum?
I would describe the NY school of deathmetal as very cold and hateful. I think it’s a representation of life in NY. We live in an area that moves at breakneck speed, is completely unforgiving and very volatile at times. It also comes with a tad of a non-traditional attitude dress-wise. There is a distinct lack of long hair and leather jackets in a large segment of the band and fan base. It’s truly music that grew up in the streets and is a fine representation of frustration and anger. I think that is the key to its effectiveness. You cannot write NYDM if your living a sleepy comfortable life.
I can understand the praise part easily. Hell, I love NYDM! The criticism? I think that depends on your musical point of view. For example, if you like a lot of melody you’re going to hate it or if you don’t like brutal, guttural vocals, you’ll hate it. Hey, If everyone loved it life would be boring don’t you think? Some critics certainly go overboard in their criticism and commentary, but that’s ok. This is deathmetal after all, there should be a dose of tension and strife in our scene.
Lets talk about Internal Bleeding. How has it been to reunite with the IB veterans? You guys recently played at the final MOUNTAINS OF DEATH festival in Switzerland so that can only mean that the international audience has shown quite a reception to your return. Tell us about the planning involved before you guys decided to reunite and what was discuss among the members. What is the agenda of the band as of now and how do you forecast the future of the band? What was it like to be in Europe for the first and what are the future plans for the band as far as Europe is concern?
There really wasn’t much planning involved. Bill Tolley and I had always kept in contact and always knew this would happen. Same goes for Brian Hobbie. Everything literally fell right into place. Honestly it was amazing. The band was up an running with all the pieces in place within a matter of two months from when I contacted Bill Tolley and Brian Hobbie and said “It’s time!” The minute we started jamming again, everything started coming back so fast that it was hard to keep up.
As far as the agenda is concerned, it’s like this:
-Play shows when and where we can providing it doesn’t destroy our careers and home lives.
-Write lots of new material
-Record an album with excellent production
-Repeat as necessary
Going to Europe was long overdue. We should have been there in the 1990s. I cannot express to you how happy we are that we finally did it. The crowd at Mountains of Death went nuts, we sold an incredible amount of merchandise, and most of all we got to catch up with bands and friends we only spoke to in letters or emails. It was a fantastic experience. We are planning on going for a little tour in Europe this winter if all works out.
Finally, we’re going to do this for as long as we can, as long as we’re into it! Once the hear to do it is gone, we will pack it up and end things on a high note instead of how things sort of fell apart earlier in the band’s history.
You guys have already completed a brand new song which can be previewed from a recently uploaded rehearsal video on the Internal Bleeding YouTube channel. I remember you mentioning that you have tons of pure old skool Internal Bleeding riffs laying around waiting to be sculpted into new songs. Can we expect a new full length record and what is the progress so far of the new developments?
Well, most certainly there will be a new record. It’s going to take a while because we are really pushing ourselves with these new songs. We want to make sure they are perfectly crafted and tight before we record anything. I would say in about a year’s time we’ll be ready to record. We are tossing around ideas about doing a live CD with one or two new songs on it, but we’re not sure if we are going to follow through on that thought. It’s still up in the air and the process will take a bit of time. Trying to balance our home/work lives with band life is a lot harder when you have a career and kids! This next release will be special though, I can promise you that, and as well as Keith DeVito singing, Frank Rini will be on some songs too.
The current line up consists of three original Internal Bleeding bands from the early days and two new ones. Keith DeVito, known for his vocal performances in the late 90’s Pyrexia records and a new guy, Jason Liff, as your bassist. Can you tell us how it all came about and how many people were auditioned before the full line-up came to be? What are the energies among the new line up?
Well after Frank Rini said he couldn’t commit to the band full time because of the distance involved, Brian Hobbie had suggested we get in touch with Keith DeVito. I never thought of doing that, but it was a brilliant suggestion by Brian Hobbie. I am a huge fan of Keith DeVito’s work with Pyrexia, Suffocation and Witchborn. His lyrics and his vocal delivery are just right on. Anyway, long story short, I called him and he said “hell yeah bro”. That was it. Brian Hobbie also suggested Jay Liff. Jay was a big IB fan back in the day and is a pretty great guitarist in his own right and he said he would love to give the bass a shot. We decided to give him a tryout and he nailed everything perfectly and fit right in. We tried a couple of other bass players but they didn’t work out either musically or in temperament. We had so many people who wanted to do vocals I lost track of all the people who contacted us, but we really stopped perusing a vocalist when Keith DeVito said yes.
Internal Bleeding is a band that grew with time, and like nature, it is bound to take new directions, for that is the natural order of things. As the band progressed, so did the musical direction and the members involved. In your own words, could you give us a depiction of the band’s birth and its process of growing, the turns it took, the recordings, and the members involved? Ultimately, what is you opinion of the “post-Pervelis” material (if I may call it that)?
Well when we first started, I had two songs written, “Genocide” and “Invocation of Evil”; they were simplistic, primitive and not crafted too well (that’s why they only appear on the one dollar demo). It took the addition of Anthony Miola and Bill Tolley to really get things rolling. Both he and Bill Tolley had a really clear musical vision and it didn’t take me terribly long to pickup on this vision and run with it. Once Brian Hobbie came on board, things really began to solidify musically. The first song all three of us put together was “Epoch of Barbarity.” I think that is the song where you can see us crossing over from primitive to more focused and polished. From there we just kept growing as musicians and arrangers and our music kept getting more refined as time went by. Needless to say, removing Wallace Milton and replacing him with Frank Rini was the coup of all coups!
Even though the production sucks on both albums, I think Voracious Contempt and The Extinction of Benevolence show great leaps in our music. Voracious is perfect representation of IB in 1995. Total groove, all slam all the time and brutal vocals to boot. Extinction really stepped it up with the addition of a little bit of hardcore and an incredibly large dose of slow, heavy parts. Frank’s vocals on that album are ungodly. They range from ultra-low to angry and clear. In my opinion, it’s a shame that Extinction never got the attention Voracious did. I think it’s a far better album.
Anthony Miola eventually stopped progressing musically and his playing was becoming inconsistent so we had to remove him from the band, which was heartbreaking for us. He’d been there from the beginning.
When Guy Marchais stepped into Anthony Miola’s place, it was like a breath of fresh air. He had a lot of great ideas to add to the mix and we all really developed a great bond musically. The product of that was Driven to Conquer, which I think is one of the strongest IB releases there are. Frank Rini had been sadly gone by then, but he was replaced by Ray LeBron (originall from Immortal Suffering), who really added a different dimension to the band and helped take us to a strong place musically.
I call what happened after that “the wilderness years.” The band put out a killer album with Onward to Mecca. A lot of people panned it because it was too NYHC sounding and more deathcore than deathmetal. I can see their point, but they should really give the album another chance. It’s not old school IB, but its a good slab of heaviness and should be respected as that.
So here we are in 2011 and it’s back to the core of what made Internal Bleeding what it was. A total focus on heaviness and slam. I guess you can say we’ve come full-circle, but this time we’re even better than we were.
Which records do you currently blast on your down-time? Tell us about your most cherished death metal records aswell as any other music that may have had a direct influence on the ascension into metal and the music that you have been responsible for.
Been grooving on a lot of classic metal stuff lately, don’t know why. Heavy doses of Rainbow, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and the like seem to be the bands I am going for when I go to the gym. Also listening to heavy doses of Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Big Bill Broonzy. Those old bluesmen have some amazing riffs in their songs and they can write some very dark stuff. I try to emulate their feel in some of the riffs I am writing because they can be just so damn mean if twisted the right way.
Funny, a lot of my most cherished death metal records are actually demo tapes and demo cds. Scattered Remnants, Mortal Decay, Damonacy, Necrosis, Viral Load and a boatload of others hold a great deal of meaning for me. Of course there are the classics too: Left Hand Path, Effigy of the Forgotten, Sermon of Mockery, Altars of Madness, Necrotism-Descanting the Insalubrious, etc.
I believe that the world was of death metal was crushed by the debut release “Voracious Contempt” and at the same time many felt that the music was deeply wounded by its production. Speak for the record and what you remember most about it. Also, many fans have thrown in the idea that the original line up should re-record the entire album to give it its true glory. Would you ever consider doing this?
We were so damn excited to record that album. We thought we had a incredible material and we couldn’t wait to share it with everyone. The recording was pressure filled, but we got through it ok. I wish we would have had a producer with us, because he would have known things were going down hill production wise during the recording. We were so focused on getting our instrumentation right that we left the sound of everything to the engineer. Needless to say, he didn’t do a good job. By the time we were into the mixing process, our ears were completely shot and we couldn’t tell what was good and what was bad.
Pavement hated it and shipped it off to Scott Burns, who really helped turn things around. Still, the production was terrible and the whole middle of “Epoch of Barbarity” is completely screwed up and wrong! We wanted one of us to go to Florida for the remix but none of us could afford it. It was truly depressing. In the end, I am still proud of the release, because the music is damn good and in a live situation it fully comes to life.
We did re-record “Inhuman Suffering” on Driven to Conquer and we plan on re-recording some older tunes hopefully down the road. As far as re-doing the whole album, I don’t know if that will ever happen, but you never know! I am sure that there would be copyright issues involved with that.
Lastly, what do you have to say to the fans worldwide and what is your current standing with world of death metal? Have you heard the modern trends that are exploding everywhere? Are you aware of what new forms have taken shape? Also, have you any idea why there are bands like “design the skyline” in existence? where the fuck did that even come from? who the fuck is responsible for such atrocity? FUCK! oh yeah, be sure to pitch in any information on where people that read this can directly get in contact with the band and perhaps purchase merchandise. Thank you Chris!
Our fans are simply the best. They’ve stayed with us through thick and thin and we cannot express how much that’s appreciated. As far as the new trends are concerned, this is what inevitable and what happens when music grows up and labels as well as bands figure out how to make it more commercially accessible. One trend I don’t like is the lack of focus on sitting down and really writing riffs. There are a lot of bands—especially the more commercially accessible ones—who write chunky riffs on a 7 string guitar with absolutely no thought involved. There’s little in the way of cohesiveness or creativity and a complete lack of hooks as well. I mean compare the devastating breakdown in “Rejoice in Moribund” (Mortal Decay) for example— written almost 20 years ago—to any riff these more popular band’s riffs. There’s just no comparison. That riff sucks you in and just kills you. I still listen to it constantly.
Once again, thanks so much for all the support! We really appreciate it and we look forward to killing you out on the road.