Interview: Members of Purgatory on the Dark Experiences That Influenced Upcoming Record "Lawless to Grave"

(Photo credit: Brittany Anderson)

Once again, nearly three years later, Northwest Indiana’s Purgatory are coming at you with a raw, heavy, in-your-face metallic hardcore record. The band will be dropping their sophomore album, Lawless to Grave, on Friday, April 9th.

In the meantime, check out this interview to hear what vocalist Matt and guitarists Brian and Josh had to say about creating the record, the things that were on their mind while writing, their hardcore essentials, and more!

AA: Introduce yourself with your name and what you do in Purgatory.

MA: Matt, vocalist.

BP: I’m Brian and I play guitar.

JM: Josh, guitar.

AA: What does the album title, Lawless to Grave, mean to you?

MA: It means we live by our own code and do what the fuck we want. I have always and will always live by that, those who have something to say about it, well, that’s your fuckin’ problem. You can think for yourself and live your own way, or you can blindly follow or let others influence your every move. A mirror image of someone or something else? No thanks.


BP: To me, Lawless to Grave is a take-no-shit, do-what-we-want attitude that portrays who we are as people. We aren’t ones who like to follow trends or do anything because it’s cool, and we don’t let others or anything in this life control us or determine who we become.


JM: To me, this is basically us saying, “Fuck you, we make the rules,” to the world. Living by our own code and not giving in to everyday bullshit.

AA: What kind of things inspired you musically while writing for Lawless to Grave?

MA: There was so much chaos happening in the world, our friend group, and our personal lives. It wasn’t something new, it was just amplified during the duration of writing, and hasn’t necessarily gone away. Trying to take those feelings and turn them into music was the goal. Musically, we have had a heavy Troy Core influence for a long time -  so Dying Breed, Stigmata, War-Time Manner, and then classics like Cold As Life, Merauder, Biohazard were all in heavy rotation, always. Built Upon Frustration, Irate, Dying Fetus et cetera. It’s always a whirlwind of the hard shit in our camp. Using those elements and our own sound created a pretty fucking aggressive record. 


JM: Yo, so much. Aside from all the bands we love like Cold as Life, Irate, and Merauder… Our influence came from all the crazy shit going on the past few years. We’ve all been through some shit, and that shit transpired in the sound of this record. Using that, and a little guidance from the bands who influence us, we wrote a crazy ass record. 


BP: The last few years for us and the people close to us have been a whirlwind of some pretty fucked up and disheartening experiences, which has brought a lot of anger and emotion into play when it came down to writing for Lawless. We as a band share a love for a variety of different bands that we draw influence from, like Cold as Life, All Out War, 100 Demons and Stigmata, to bands like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, and Dying Fetus.  When we all come together to write, everything just falls into place, and everyone is on the same page, because we work well together. The music you hear is a mix of all of that, it’s like a product of our environment. 


Album art for Lawless to Grave


AA: On a related note - where did you draw inspiration from lyrically this time around?

MA: Lyrics on this record touch base with government, judicial, and law enforcement corruption, racism, greed, child prostitution, and the disgusting things running within the powers that be. Suicide and the feeling of hopelessness and misery. There’s a very personal song about a family member committing suicide stemming from child molestation. There’s stuff about religion, and the promise of a better life if you can shut off everything that’s real and live in that world of lies and hypocrisy. Songs of everyday struggle, but overcoming that, even in the darkest and worst of days. There’s shit about professional victims who’s only thing they offer in life is trying to ruin someone else because they’re clearly insecure with themselves and the kids who play along cause they wanna fit in. There’s a couple songs about former friends and people who got caught and think shit isn’t gonna catch up to ‘em. Think as you wish, but everyone gets theirs. There’s a song about people you think are looking out for you but are using your faults and weaknesses to their advantage, giving with a hand and taking with the other. It’s just a classic tale of karma. A lot of the aforementioned falls in line with doing shit our way and dealing with shit our way, always.

AA: Was there anything you wanted to do differently with this record, as opposed to past releases?

MA: One major thing we did different was that we took our time writing and working these songs to how we wanted. We rushed our last full length, and looking back now, we can find so many things we wish we had differently. That’ll happen regardless, but we just didn’t have the time or give ourselves the time to make sure we were putting out something that was 200% what we wanted. We’re just glad anyone takes a second out of their day to check out anything we do. 


JM: The writing process… The writing process this time was so much different than last time. We wrote all of Cold Side of Reality in a bedroom in Nashville, where our drummer at the time lived. We spent a little over a year writing, perfecting, and molding these songs into what they are. That was a whole other world. Getting to capitalize on what we were feeling, and time to write what we want and sit on it, was a whole different experience this time.


AA: How was working with Len Carmichael at Landmine Studios? Also - how did it feel to record the album in 4 days?

MA: Working with Len was awesome. He didn’t allow anything sloppy or subpar to be recorded, and also gave his input on if something sounded a little off or not totally cohesive. He took what we did and made it into a fucking monster. It’s just an assault weapon of a record, it sounds hard and heavy as hell, while still maintaining a raw element. It’s mean, and every single little part of the music and delivery is constantly in your face. He just made it sound how a record called Lawless To Grave should sound. 


Doing it in 4 days, while stressful, isn’t new for us. We came prepared and did the work, and having Len be able to be there every step of the way keeping things smooth was such a blessing too. It seriously sounds phenomenal, if you ain’t listened to the 2 singles out, well, stop fucking off and go see for yourself! 


BP: With only having 4 days to record, and trying to make it sound exactly how we hoped, you assume it would have been a long and stressful weekend, but it wasn’t at all. Len made this  as smooth as could be, he didn’t waste any time and kept the entire project and us along with it on track the whole time. He helped create exactly what we wanted, He’s a master of his craft, and I couldn’t be more happy with the way Lawless turned out.


JM: Len was incredible. Super intelligent and knowledgeable engineer, and honestly easy to work with. I recommend anyone in music to record with him. It may seem like a rush only doing 4 days, but we went there to work, not have a party, and we got shit done. [laughs]

AA: If you could recommend 5 important albums to a newer hardcore kid to check out, what would they be?


-Merauder - Master Killer

-Cold As Life - Born To Land Hard

-Hatebreed - Satisfaction is the Death of Desire

-Stigmata - Hymns For An Unknown God

-Agnostic Front - Victim In Pain



-Merauder - Master Killer

-Cold As Life - Born to Land Hard 

-100 Demons - In the Eyes of the Lord

-Stout - Sleep Bitch

-Alpha & Omega - Life Swallower



-Terror - One With The Underdogs

-All Out War - For Those Who Were Crucified 

-Stigmata - Hymns For An Unknown God

-Biohazard- Urban Discipline

-Merauder - Master Killer  


Tito (bass):

-Circle Jerks - Wild in the Streets

-The Exploited - Beat the Bastards

-King Nine - Scared to Death

-Irate - 1134

-Soul Search - Bury the Blame

AA: Let’s say you can book a show to play as your first show back post-quarantine with absolutely anyone - what are 4-5 other bands you’d put on the bill, and where would it be? 

MA: I’d put on Queensway, God’s Hate, Pain Of Truth, Terror and Section H8, and either at the D [in Gary, IN], or Drunken Unicorn in ATL. 


JM: Year Of The Knife, Never Ending Game, Whispers, and King Nine at The D.


BP: 100 Demons, Terror, King Nine and Bitter Thoughts as an all killer, no filler, badass hardcore show. Would be insane to see this at the D Theater in Gary.



AA: Any future plans you’d like to discuss?

MA: Hard to say right now. [We] would love to play TIHC, and maybe FYA or something, if it were possible. Europe [is] definitely gonna happen. 

AA: Any last words?

MA: Yeah - hardcore is a beautiful thing, and is an outlet for many of us to deal with our everyday frustrations and mental olympics. If your only reason for being here is to try and mold this subculture and those involved into YOUR fantasy, then give it the fuck up and find a new hobby. Support your local scene as hard as you do others. Keep the faith. 


JM: If you think this record sucks, you suck. 



Thank you to Purgatory for doing this interview with me! If you’d like to see some more in-depth explanations on the band’s history and purpose, you can check out our one-on-one interview from a year ago by clicking here.


You can keep up with the band’s future endeavors via their social media links.


Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


Lawless to Grave releases next month on April 9th, but for now, you can preorder the record via this link. Check out the singles “No One Gets Out Alive,” “Stack ‘Em up”and “Loyalty Denied” on all music streaming platforms.





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