Purple Mercy - Purple Mercy [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)

Purple Mercy

Purple Mercy [12-inch] (2009)

Twelve Gauge

Life Long Tragedy unequivocally peaked with their 2008 LP Runaways before unceremoniously breaking up after one final U.S. tour. That record was a painfully distressed exercise in raw and slow hardcore, like Modern Life Is War, but way more depressed. Everything from the lyrics to the guitar tone seethed with desperation and although it was a triumph in execution, it made for a depressing and exhausting listen.

Very quickly after LLT's demise, members were back with Purple Mercy and this debut 12". If Runaways was a dismal look into the abyss, then this record makes sense as the next step--albeit a reactionary one. Rather than revel in pain and confusion, Purple Mercy seems more interested in letting it all go and just expressing. The overall vibe is still pretty dark, but there is more stream-of-consciousness styled wandering in both the lyrics and the music. Adding a '70s stoner vibe and more abstraction in the lyrics, it seems as if Purple Mercy has taken some influence from their contemporaries and labelmates Sabertooth Zombie. Like that band, Purple Mercy seems focuses on just expressing it now and moving on without much editing.

The third track "Cashed Hit" could be a Runaways B-side if it didn't drag on as long as it does. Nearing eight minutes, this slow burn of a song ebbs and flows like the slower-paced tracks on Runaways, with similarly dark lyrics: "No one beside me, I'm walking in the rain / Dark clouds above my head, they recognize my face / There's never been a better time to sit down and quit / Absorb my indifference with another cashed hit." Drug references continue to abound, such as in the opener "1970's Acid Fuck Fest," which sounds exactly like it seems. From it: "Open your door and rail my soul, oh beautiful acid fuck friend, your legs are my wormhole, unusual next dimensions..."

On this record, the distortion level is high and the room where it exists is chokingly full of smoke. Like Runaways, the atmosphere of depression is more important than the compositions. The highlights happen when the band picks up the pace and lays out dirty pentatonic grooves underneath the vocalist's pained howl detailing a level of darkness I don't think I have ever experienced. If you like music depressing and dirty, it doesn't get much better than this.