The extreme metal community suffered a great loss on April 20, 2017 when Internal Bleeding drummer Bill Tolley died tragically and unexpectedly on the job as a New York City firefighter. Though Internal Bleeding soldiers on, sole remaining founding member, guitarist Chris Pervelis, says the loss is still felt in a big way.
“His presence was always big, and his absence has affected us in such an emotional way, that the writing process has changed forever” Pervelis tells Decibel. “But it’s not necessarily the physical process that has changed; it’s the emotional part of writing that has really been altered.”
Anger, sadness and frustration are feelings that members of Internal Bleeding have become familiar with since Tolley’s death. Pervelis says those emotions are prevalent in the music the quintet are writing for Corrupting Influence, their sixth album, which is slated for an October release on Unique Leader. The album will even include a song, titled “The Supreme Sacrifice,” that specifically honors Tolley and his memory.
Internal Bleeding, who issued their first demo in 1991, are recognized as one of the progenitors of the slam style of death metal. Pervelis acknowledges that there is a degree of pressure for the band to deliver their trademark sound.
“There’s a lot of competition now as opposed to 1992, so the pressure to make sure those riffs are razor sharp, powerful, heavy and memorable is definitely felt in some way,” he says.
“That being said, since we helped write the rules back in the early 90’s, it’s very liberating, because we’re completely unafraid to try new things, incorporate new sounds and expand the ‘slam’ palate beyond where people think it should be,” the guitarist adds.
Opportunities to expand their slam palate abound on Corrupting Influence, if Internal Bleeding’s new lineup is any indicator. Pervelis is joined by guitarist Chris McCarthy, bassist Shaun Kennedy (Pyrexia, Revenance), vocalist Joe Marchese (Mother Brain, Revenance) and drummer Kyle Eddy (Foaming at the Mouth).
Though the lineup (with the exception of Eddy) played on Tolley’s last recording, the single “Final Justice,” Corrupting Influence will be the first time the band has a chance to flex their collective muscles on a full-length album.
“Chris McCarthy on guitar has added a different take to the core Internal Bleeding sound, which meshes wonderfully with my writing style,” Pervelis explains. “Joe Marchese’s vocal range has expanded our sonic possibilities. Shaun Kennedy’s bass playing has made it easier for us to write riffs with some breathing room, because he can add a lot of interesting color to that open space, and Kyle Eddy, who has to constantly wrestle with staying true [to] Billy’s legacy, still manages to bring a fresh perspective to the drumming.”
Internal Bleeding are presently recording with Joe Cincotta at Full Force Studios (Suffocation, Cognitive, Waking the Cadaver). More information on Corrupting Influence is forthcoming.