Pure Heel, Freedom from You (Irish Voodoo Records, 2023)

Since their first demo in 2016, Pure Heel had a sound that while without a doubt was hardcore set them apart from other bands in the Buffalo scene.

Their debut full length, Freedom From You, on Irish Voodoo Records continues to challenge expectations of what a band like this should sound like. 

At first listen I was a bit taken aback by the cleaner recording, but by the time I got to the end it all made sense. When I asked Jay Galvin (guitar) about it he said, “We wanted this album to sound like a proper punk rock record. We wanted to hear a crispness to the guitars that left plenty of space to hear the bass.”

Pure Heel used albums like Never Mind the Bollocks, Back on the Map, and ...And Out Come the Wolves as guidelines to the sound. I must say this approach works because they have a very sonically impressive album. That combined with songwriting which is more interesting than your standard fast hardcore/punk band we have one outstanding album. 

They continue to impress with lyrical content that ranges from covering the state of America, police violence, the struggles of addiction and depression, and of course, wrestling. 

Lastly, it would be difficult to ignore the cover art. Pure Heel enlisted Winston Smith for this task. If you don’t recognize the name you probably recognize the style as he's been behind album art for everyone from Dead Kennedys to George Carlin to Green Day to Nomeansno.

Photo: MArk X Miller

As much as I have always enjoyed Pure Heel, they have really outdone themselves with this release. Easily a contender for best hardcore record of 2023.

Freedom from You is available now on all streaming sites. You can also get it in on CD or cassette from Irish Voodoo Records. Expect vinyl preorders to go up soon. 

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