Epoch of Brutality

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Internal Bleeding-so where do I go with this intro…Well the band has been around for over 20 years, in various formats with various members.  I bought their ’92 demo, Invocation of Evil, from guitarist Chris Pervelis, at a show back then.  I was already friends with drummer Bill Tolley and saw IB countess times in NY opening up for a lot of bands.  Chris was the epitome of the DIY mentality and his passion for the scene and IB was and still is undeniable.  This was one of my favorite demos, when I packed my gear and left for college and cranked this sucker all the time.  Imagine that graduating in ’94 with a Bachelor’s Degree and than seeing local record store, Slipped Disc promoting an IB flyer about them seeking a new singer.  They put me through hell in the practice sessions, just wanting me to get better but also seeing if I was the right fit and it turned out I was.  I was in IB from ’94-’97, played countless shows and toured with Immolation and Six Feet Under throughout the U.S. and Canada. I was on the first 2 IB albums, Voracious Contempt and The Extinction of Benevolence.  We saw a lot of stuff together, including a wrongful multi million dollar civil lawsuit that was eventually thrown out but took a huge toll on us.  The period I was with IB was some of the greatest moments of my life, meeting fans, being best friends with my fellow band mates and conquering cities and having a blast with the bands.  Little did we know all these years later how IB would influence a generation of bands.  IB put their stamp on what is now called slam death metal. 

Even if you dislike the genre you cannot deny the fact that IB helped create this enormously heavy genre and if it was not for purveyors, like Internal Bleeding, who really knows what this particular genre would sound like today.  When you hear major bands like; Slipknot, Skeletonwitch, All Shall Perish go on about how Infernal Bleeding influenced them, well hey, the respect is better late than never and just shows how far and wide this band has impacted heavy music. 

Chris Pervelis, also a graphic designer by trade, has an abundance of energy that he puts into IB, put also into his business as well as still continuing to design and layout metal bands’ CDs still to this day.  He loves IB, he loves the fans and he loves the scene. Whether he is smoking a 10 foot stogie or drinking a nice bourbon he always has the time to dedicate to you.  This is what also makes IB special. Always finding the time for the fans and for other bands and having a sense of humility in the process. While there are slam bands all over the globe now, go back in time a bit and check out songs like “Anointed In Servitude”, “Languish in Despair”, “Ocular Introspection”, “Genetic Messiah”, “Driven to Conquer” or “Bleed By Example” and you will find slams and riffs that will never, ever be duplicated.

Am I a little biased, since I was in the band and still promote the band?

Well. Maybe. But I also have a ridiculous amount of music in my collection to compare to as well.  So pick up a CD, a shirt or go to a show to lend your support to one of the hardest working bands still in the underground today. If you go to a show, say ‘hi’ to the fellas; they are all down to earth and willing to hang. Read on for one of the best interviews I have seen from guitarist, Chris Pervelis. You want in-depth? Here it is! 

With the new album Imperium set to be released in Fall of 2014 on Unique Leader Records the band are ready to destroy all who oppose them. I do guest vocals on two songs and Frank Mullen, from Suffocation, also appears on the new album as well as some other surprises.  The band also has a huge U.S. tour to coincide with the new album in the fall, aptly titled The Carnival of Death, with Suffocation, Kataklysm, Jungle Rot and Pyrexia. I can assure you Internal Bleeding are here to show everyone what Total Fucking Slam truly means!


Ok, Chris, so what’s new on the label front, recording the new album and what can the fans expect from this new brutal offering?  What does 2014 have in store?

As I write the answers to this interview, we have currently 9 labels (editos note- the band has since announced they have singed with Unique Leader) that have given us solid offers for a contract. Some of them are rather large labels that don’t necessarily do death metal, and some of them are from smaller, more independent minded labels. There are pluses and minuses to both types of labels and deciding where to go has been difficult. We have been going back and forth with a bunch of them, trying to get exactly what we want and all signs have been positive. On Feb 22 or so we will make our decision with our manager.

Our album, Imperium will be out sometime in 2014 and our plan is to get right into the studio after signing and get to work. All the songs are done and now it’s just a matter of recording them. Here are the titles of the songs (not in track order).

  • Placate the Ancients
  • The Visitant
  • The Pageantry of Savagery
  • (In the) Absence of Soul
  • Fabricating Bliss
  • Castigo Corpus Meum
  • Genocide (a reworking of a song we did in 1991 and never put out on an album)
  • Patterns of Force Trilogy:.   The Discovery,   Plague Agendao,   Aftermath

We’re going to go to Joe Cincotta at Full-Force to get it done and hopefully we’ll have enough money to have Matt Kourie produce it. We’re going to try really hard to get a less compressed, more natural sound to the recording. We got close with the recording of “Castigo Corpus Meum”, which we released via video, but we want more of a late 90s sound, where the guitars really envelop you and it’s not so overly compressed where everything is upfront, loud, thin and lacks dynamics and depth. I know that’s hard to do today with all the pressure on producers to make every CD as “hot” as possible, but we’ll sacrifice a little of that loudness for depth of guitar and drums. Hopefully it will work.

Since there are so many bands out there how are you able to keep the slams fresh and original and is it difficult to still be able to do this?

It’s definitely a challenge. You know, we could go the easy route and dance in the footsteps of the past, but we’re really trying to push the whole ‘slam’ genre into newer dimensions and broaden its horizons by adding some new twists and turns (such as clean parts and solos) and by approaching the writing of our slams in a bit of a different way.

And while we do keep many old-school IB type slams in our songs, we’ve opened ourselves up to a lot of different rhythms and textures that I think fit perfectly within the slam format. A lot of time has been spent exploring different musical genres to find unique ways of approaching the heart of a good slam – groove.

We’ve also been working hard to add more of an ominous tone to our music so not only does it just slam, but really sets a dark mood as well.

Personally, I am getting a lot of inspiration from Delta Bluesmen and Jazz from the 1950s, such as Dave Brubeck—he had a great sense of groove that was always a little bit different, but still made your body want to move.

In the end, we as a band have to find the right blend of old-school IB and a new way of thinking about slam to keep it fresh.

I think we’re succeeding. I am very proud of this new material.

With so many bands out there, now finally giving IB credit for helping to create this style of music that is considered ‘slam’, what are some of the pitfalls you see younger bands falling into and what are some things bands need to remember when starting out?

I think the biggest pitfall younger bands fall into is what I call writing in the “template” format. They find what has worked successfully for other bands and basically just copy the template of that success and write in the same exact way with some negligible differences. Everyone is guilty of it to some point (including us), but in the slam genre it can pretty pronounced and obvious.

Charlie Errigo, one of my buddies from the band The Merciless Concept and me discuss this a lot when we hang out. His band is young, and I think he is driving it in an amazing direction by forcing his guitar playing out of his comfort zone and opening himself up to new possibilities in slam. When they first started, they were definitely a “template” band. However, their new material is fresh, exciting and really impressive.

As for bands just starting out, here is a list of things I think new bands should keep in mind.

  • Make sure your heart is into it. You are going to have a lot of ups and downs, a lot of struggles and a lot of heartache. If you don’t like the music and are not ready for the all the bullshit that comes with getting a band up and running, quit now.
  • Love your band and your band mates. There is nothing wrong with being in love with the music you write and thinking you’re the best band in the world. Just don’t act like a dick about it. You need to be excited about what you write. You need to be both an artist in the band and a fan of the band.

Loving your band mates is also necessary. You have to care about each other on both a personal and musical level. You have to watch each other’s backs, be concerned about their lives and families and offer your unconditional support. It makes you a tighter and more cohesive unit that can stand up to a lot of the bullshit. This however has a downside, because when you have to remove someone, or someone decides to leave, it can be very painful. It was painful as hell to see you leave Frank, but I was (and still am) proud of you for moving on and following your heart. And I was equally heartbroken when I had to remove Anthony from the band, as he was my first true writing partner in music.

  • Your fans are everything. Treat them with the respect that they deserve. Even if two people show up to your show, you give them 100% because they paid money to see you. In the end, you’re an entertainer, so get out there and entertain them. Spend time with them, talk to them, and get to know them. Try and remember the names of the guys and girls who come to shows religiously. It is an amazing thing when you step back, think and understand that you are creating something that people attach themselves to emotionally. It’s very powerful—and humbling as well.
  • Enjoy the ride dammit! You are only young once and you need to savor every moment of your youth. As your life changes and priorities change, it becomes more and more difficult to keep a band up and running. Every day is a serious struggle for us, trying to arrange practices, shows, touring, etc. When we were young, it was so easy to just drop everything and go. When you get older, it’s harder to do that and there are moments when you say to yourself “I wish I was 10 years younger, etc.”. Hell, I wish I was 20 years younger, but I am happy and proud that we’ve gotten this far in such a small period of time since we got up and running again.
When I was in the band we never had the opportunity to tour Europe, but now you have seen IB being able to perform at overseas festivals and touring.  What are the main differences between the U.S. and European scenes/fans?

I think it’s kind of unfair for me to make a comparison because really, it was our first time there, so there was a great deal of hype and excitement that I am sure skewed things in an overly-positive direction. With that said, here are my impressions:

It seems to me that the Europeans are more passionate about American bands than Americans are passionate about their own country’s bands.

You can feel a real love and excitement in the air when you play a show in Europe. It’s not necessarily like that in the US. I also find that the fans of the bands are more loyal and extremely knowledgeable. I met so many people who knew so much about our history and our past it was truly amazing.

Turnouts are much better. We didn’t have one bad show and it was basically an underground tour with no major headliners and the turnouts were great. I have gone to so many small underground tour shows here in the US and the turnouts are really weak.

I’m not trying to knock the US scene, because the US scene has a lot of positives that the European scene doesn’t. I think fans in the US are a lot less stand-offish, and willing to approach musicians and engage in conversation much quicker than Europeans. But, like I said, in America, people have seen IB numerous times, so it’s old hat and that definitely makes a difference in excitement and behavior.

How was you recent tour in Europe with Beheaded, Disgorge and -all kick ass bands, how was the tour set up and organized and how does it feel to see these younger fans at shows, that you’re old enough to be their father? (The Tour package was Disgorge, IB and Beheaded. Then we had Psychobolia and Morthem join us for select dates.)

To say it was awesome is a complete understatement. I don’t even know where to start. Getting to hang out with all my friends who I have been writing and emailing to for years was definitely a huge thrill for me. Seeing the crowds, most of who knew all our material, singing along and raging with us was beyond words. And our bus mates in Beheaded were the most amazing group of guys. We laughed so much that I think all of us split a gut! Whether it was abusing our poor driver for his Polish accent and heritage, or listening from Dave from Beheaded doing incredible movie impersonations, or listening to Frank from Beheaded speak in his “epic” voice or just teaching everyone to speak New Yorkese, we had such a blast and made bonds that just cannot be broken.

Ed and all the boys in Disgorge also provided a lot of laughs. Especially Diego, who Jay decided was running for president and we had a shitload of laughs with that.

We played with a lot of other bands too and had a great time with them. The guys (and girl) in Psychobolia we’re awesome as hell and the dudes on Morthem brought it too – not only musically, but whiskey wise!

Our European booking agent, Flaming Arts, in conjunction with our management worked out all the details for the tour and for the most part, everything went really smooth. We had some bumps and pitfalls, but really they were minor.

You know, I never really gave any thought to the younger fans and their age compared to mine. I was too busy soaking it all in and having a blast. Now that you remind me of it, it definitely feels a little weird, but I pay it no mind. We did have some “dads” who were our fans who brought their kids to shows and their kids were fans as well. That was pretty cool.

In a few words sum up each IB full length album, Voracious Contempt, The Extinction of Benevolence, Driven to Conquer and Onward to Mecca.

Voracious Contempt: A genre-defining album that when it was released never got the credit–or respect–I think it deserved. There is so much groove and swing on that album that at the time no death metal band was doing. It drove me up the fucking wall that a lot of reviewers said it sounded like Suffocation. It’s just blatantly obvious that they didn’t listen to the album. I definitely prefer the original mix of the album (I think Bill still has a copy. I still do too, Chris-Frank) as opposed to the Scott Burns redo. I wish the production was better, but we were young and didn’t know better.

Extinction of Benevolence: This is still my favorite Internal Bleeding album. I think some of the songs on this album are just off the charts heavy and chock full of groove. I think this is the album that also defined you (Frank) as a venerable vocalist with an incredible range. I hate the production. When you listen to it on a high end stereo it sounds unreal, but on stereos that cannot handle all the bass that is being pushed out, it sounds thin, tinny and shitty.

Driven to Conquer: Guy Marchais (now in Suffocation) and Ireally gelled together as a songwriting team on this one and I think it shows. It’s the most dynamic, technically challenging album we ever wrote. Bill’s drumming is just ridiculous and Ray’s vocals were a big change from yours. This was the first album where we really tried to push out in different directions and I think we succeeded.

Onward to Mecca: I think this is an underappreciated album. I think the music is off the hook and really powerful. I think fans need to give it another chance. Even though Guy and I are not on the album, a lot of our music is, and Frank Buffolino’s contributions to the songwriting are immense as well. Finally, I know some people knock Jerry’s vocals, but I think he put in a solid performance.

All of these albums have been cause for a lot of arguments amongst fans of the band. Some prefer the pre-Driven to Conquer period, and some prefer the post. I think that’s healthy. It shows we’ve grown over the years and haven’t been afraid to experiment.

The band is gelling now and seems to be getting many compliments on the newer material. I for one loved singing back with you guys August 2012, doing Languish in Despair, but also felt the new material, while incredible still sounded like IB and even original. So what are your thoughts?

Well, thanks for that. We have been getting a great deal of positive response to our new material and we’re really happy with it. We definitely have a good dynamic going and songwriting has become so much more of a collaborative effort now. Everyone is writing. Bill writes riffs by humming things into an iPhone, then sending to me to translate into guitar. Jay is bringing some really odd things into the songwriting process. Brian is pitching in more than ever and has written some epic riffs and Keith has been helping craft parts that highlight his incredible vocal abilities. I cannot wait to get into the studio and record all of this great stuff. It will be the culmination of a lot of hard work, struggle and dedication. I think we have a really powerful – and meaningful – album on tap for 2014. And I think it will definitely stand out.

What equipment do you use, still using Ampeg heads and how has the technology, throughout the years, helped advance the instruments, as well as recording? How have you advanced as a musician/song writer over the years?

Yes, we are still using the same Ampeg Heads we used in the 1990s. It’s part of our sound and we’ll keep using them as long as we can. Ampegs just have a crushing wall of bass that no other amp can match. The only drawback is that they are very difficult to record with. I’ve tried so many different heads, but nothing gives you that thump of an Ampeg.

Technology has helped in so many ways I could write a book about it. The biggest advance for me has been home recording. I can demo out a song in a relatively short period of time, email it to everyone, get their thoughts and ideas, go back and re-record, etc. and have a product that we can use as a blueprint for a song.  It makes the songwriting process go so much faster. The iPhone has helped too, because we constantly use the voice memo feature to share ideas and riffs.

In the studio, technology is both a plus and a minus. Sometimes I think there is too much technology involved and it kills the live vibe of the band. But on the other hand, it makes recording, editing and punching in so much easier than it was in the pre-digital age. I prefer having today’s technology in the studio, especially since I get real nervous when recording and have to re-do stuff, but sometimes I wonder to myself if it’s really a curse.

I’ve grown as both a songwriter and guitar player so much over the years. I am still not where I want to be, but I keep discovering new ways to approach things and I think that has helped me advance. Recording at home has made me much more precise and accurate in what I do, and my technique has increased greatly because of it. I’m close to achieving another milestone in my playing abilities and I look forward to the day I hit that level. I’m almost there.

On the songwriting front, I am working really hard at create space in my riffs for the interplay of bass, guitar and drums. You’ll hear a lot of these ideas on the new album, where two guitars are doing different things while the bass and drums are holding the rhythm section together and playing something different. Orchestration is becoming a big thing with me. And while I’ll never lose the slam riffs, I want to expand upon my ability to orchestrate all the instruments and create wider sonic landscape.

When listening to death metal, and for crissakes, we both know how many bands keep popping up, what do you look for when listening to these bands, do you find yourself hyper critical of today’s music scene and name 5 new bands that you feel the world needs to know more about?

ANSWER: I look for songs that are put together well and have a good sense of continuity and flow. I try not to be hypercritical of anything I listen to. I generally listen to a CD or an MP3 emotionally as opposed to critically. If the music hits my sweet spot, I love it. If it doesn’t I let it pass without much judgment. Usually, when I really like a band, then I really listen close to every little thing and really dissect it, which usually increases my love for the songs and the band. As for 5 bands that I think everyone needs to discover or listen to:

  • The Merciless Concept. They are just one hell of a powerhouse band that keeps getting better and better with each song they write. Not only do they rule, but they are great guys.
  • Cognitive. Technicality, groove, precision and so much more. “In the Form of a Drone” is just such a killer tune.
  • Severed Savior: I normally don’t get into crazy, technical lunacy, but these guys do it so fucking well and combine it with some really heavy riffs to spice things up. An amazing live band too.
  • Mortal Decay: I know they are an early 90s band, but they are my favorite fucking band, so I will promote them whenever I can. They have an amazing back catalogue – if someone would just take the time to discover it.
Playing some of these shows and touring, being away from family, I know you have a supportive wife, but does it take a toll on you not seeing her and the kids?  It’s one thing to get a text from the wife, while you’re away, showing that ‘little joey’ picked his nose for the first time, it’s another thing to be there in person and see it with your own eyes (of course as long as he didn’t wipe it on you).

Yes, it does take its toll on me emotionally. My wife is my rock, my guiding light and my best friend and not having her around is painful. Most of the time when, I go to sleep while on the road, that’s what I think of. Just hanging out with her, playing Mortal Kombat with the kids and generally trying to realize how lucky I am.

My wife—thank god—understands that I have a need to travel, to wander and to discover the world. I have had this passion for travel all of my life and she indulges me because she knows that it’s something I need to do to keep me fulfilled and happy.

I traveled with my parents a lot as a kid and they are wanderers as well. I guess I caught the bug from them. I always thought immersing yourself in new cultures is a great experience for both the mind and the soul. Not to sound to hippy-ish, but we really are connected as a species and it’s great to make those personal, cultural connections with people thousands of miles away from home. It grounds you and really makes you think about the incredible variety as well as similarities that we all have as humans.

I am also fortunate that I can run my own business pretty well from the road, so I can usually manage my business affairs while I am away, as long as I have my laptop and a wireless connection.

What else in the music scene do you think there is left for you to accomplish and how long do you feel you can continue to keep this up for?  Did it take longer, after the tour, for your body to recover since you’re not a spring chicken anymore and how do you stay in shape?

Well, I don’t know if I am looking to accomplish anything other than put out Internal Bleeding’s music and tour as much as I can for as long as I can. I would like to try my hand at writing for an online zine, mainly doing interviews or articles (so if anyone wants an interviewer or article writer, contact me!). Every since I was a little kid I wanted to play in a heavy band and as long as I can find the musicians and have the support from my family, I’ll keep chugging along because it is what I truly love.

Believe it or not, I am in better shape now than I was when I was in my 20s, so the recovery time directly after a show is far better than it was—I am not winded or tired at all. However, the lack of sleep as I get older is harder to recover from—not impossible, but definitely a bit harder.

Where I feel my age most is in things like my wrist, where I am plagued with persistent tendonitis that can sometimes make playing difficult, tinnitus in the right ear, which can be incredibly annoying and very depressing (I usually can’t stay inside at shows for long periods of time anymore L), and my knees, which tend to ache after a show because I am always using them to crouch down. I may be old and have some problems, but I don’t let them stop me from moving forward.

I keep myself in pretty good shape so I manage pretty well so I can still be a maniac on stage. I go to the gym 4-5 times a week to do cardio and lift weights. I spend a lot of time stretching in the morning to keep things loose and I try to eat right.

Most importantly, I smoke cigars and drink bourbon to de-stress and relax. It’s quite helpful in dealing with the fact that I want to be 25, but I am stuck at 45.

I want you to list why you feel death metal is the best music to play and have you ever thought about branching out and playing a different style, maybe as a side project?
  • I love all things heavy. Every since I was a kid I wanted to be in Black Sabbath. Playing death metal is the closest thing I’ll ever get to it. It allows me to take my Sabbath worship to new levels and gives me the freedom to write heavy shit all the time. What more could I ask for?
  • Stress reduction: There’s no better way to reduce stress than to play death metal in a live situation. Once that guitar is plugged in and the whole band is going, I am on a whole different level of consciousness. Hell, I don’t even think I am on the planet anymore.
  • Camaraderie: There is no better group of guys and girls to hang out with than death metal freaks. They are generally non-judgmental, very passionate and very knowledgeable. Beside, we all have the ‘us against them’ mentality, because no respectable mainstream type people respect death metal, so it makes us all part of a very exclusive and special club.
  • Opportunity: This music has opened so many doors for me to travel, meet new people and see new places. For that, I am eternally thankful.

I never really considered doing a side project. All my musical desires are put into what I write, so there is no need for me to do anything else. Beside that, my wife would just kill me.

Going through the entire IB history your top 5 moments regarding being part of IB?

Top 5 moments? That’s a tough one. Let me see. My dates may be off, but that’s the Alzheimer’s kicking in.

  1. Milwaukee Metal Fest, July 1994 (5?): This was the show where I finally realized we had created something truly different in the death metal world and that people were truly responding to it. This show is what really codified who we were and what we were out to do.
  2. Six Feet Under/Immolation Tour, Jan/Feb 1996: Our first proper tour. It was such a great time. The blanket parties, the kidnapping of our roadie, the threats from club owners trying to extort merchandise money from us, the Al Rosa Villa show and getting to tour with some really great bands.
  3. Every Roxy Show (1993-1997): Just something magical about all those shows. The energy, the people, and bands—everything was just right. So many great shows with both local greats and national acts. Complete devastation. If you were there. You know what I am talking about.
  4. Mountains of Death, August 2011: Our first European show. The crowd went mad, we went mad and just has a memorable time playing smack dab in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
  5. Tyrannizing Europe Tour, November 2013: See question 5.
Any final thoughts/comments for our readers out there?

Thanks ya fucking pig for this interview. I’m so proud that we’ve not only shared stages together, but we’ve kept our friendship alive. Thanks to all our fans, young and old, who have stuck with us throughout all these years, or who have recently discovered us. Your support is what gets me up in the morning! Please take some time to visit us on our website, or facebook, etc. The links are below:

Website: http://www.internal-bleeding.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/internalbleeding

Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/internalbleeding

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/internalbldng

Email: internalblding@gmail.com



  1. Commented by: AR

    This was a great read. Chris seems like a super chill, intelligent guy and a devoted fan of Metal as much as a musician. I’ve always kind of held IB at arms length, don’t know why, but that ends NOW. I’m gonna turn Voracious Contempt wide open tonight! Horns up Internal Bleeding (you too, Frank)!

  2. Commented by: AR

    Holy shit, I just realized Voracious Contempt turns 20 next year, wow. Damn, I’m getting old. You guys should go out next year and play that shit from beginning to end!

  3. Commented by: F.RINI

    Hey, AR-thanks for all your support. Thanks for reading and posting about the article too. Yep break at V.C. and crank it up, and The extinction of benevolence and the rest of the catalog as well! The new album, Imperium, is unreal. \m/

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