Blessed Black Interview

Autumn: the perfect season for some DOOM. The guys in Blessed Black know this well, because they have recently released their EP Season: Vol.1. With a sound as thick as tar and crunchy riffs, they hit all the right spots in just 15 minutes. I had a chat with their frontman, Joshua Murphy.

Hi, this is Rick! How’s it going? Who am I talking to?

Yo Rick! This is Joshua Murphy. Vocals/guitars in Blessed Black. Things are great! Hope you’re doing well.

Seasons: Vol.1 has a heavy rock, doom-y sound, the crossroad between Candlemass and Black Sabbath. Who were your main inspirations while writing? What are the secrets behind your unbelievably rich sound?

Thank you so much for the kind words and comparisons. We draw a lot of inspiration from bands like Danzig, Graveyard, Soundgarden, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Alice In Chains, and of course the mighty Black Sabbath.

As for the secrets to our sound. A lot of is just the classic formula of a humbucker-equipped guitar into a ripping Marshall head. We also are proudly a part of the Emperor Cabinets guild of artists, and I can’t say enough about how great their cabs sound.

The real secret ingredient is our good friend/producer/engineer Neil Tuuri at Amish Electric Chair studios. He always helps us to get our best performances in the tracking room, and he always nails the mix and master. We are lucky to have found him.

I read that Hellbender was based on your father battling cancer. Can you expand on that? Why was this topic chosen? Was it hard to write such a song? Was your dad involved in the song himself?

Hellbender was indeed based on a conversation I had with my father that turned out to be one of the last long conversations we were able to have before he lost his battle with lung cancer. The conversation was my father reminding me about how fleeting and temporary life can be, and to remember that is a good step towards making sure that you’re living the way that you want to live and working to be the person that you want to be.

Writing the song was difficult at times, but also extremely cathartic for me, as it helped me to process some of the grief I have felt since losing my father.

I also read that Unable is about addiction. Was there a personal story behind this song too? It is a crucial topic nowadays.

Unable was written in response to seeing so many friends and loved ones who lost their own loved ones to addictions and mental health struggles over the years. Alcoholism in particular, but also many other forms of addiction and afflictions that come between us and our closest loved ones.

While there was not one particular instance that the song centers on, there are many that played a part in it coming about.

Seasons: Vol.1 is short and compact; do you think your next step will be a full LP, or are you planning Vol.2?

Tracking for Vol. 2 is actually finished, and it is being mixed and mastered as I’m writing this. We have plans for volumes 3 and 4 by end of summer 2024, with the eventual goal of all 4 volumes being combined into one 12 song physical release in late 2024.

Obsidian was featured on Weedian’s Trip To Ohio compilation. What do you think is the role of compilations nowadays, compared to streaming services and their algorithms?

We were honored to be included in that compilation with so many great bands. I think that compilations definitely serve to help get you in front of listeners who you may not have access to otherwise. I’m fully supportive of compilations and hope we can find our way onto more of them in the future.

You’ve been playing some shows, how were they? Lately people have been talking about merch cuts from venues, and how they affect musicians. What are your thoughts on this? Have you been asked for merch cuts?

We have been fortunate to play some incredible shows with some absolutely amazing bands in the last year or two. And we have been fortunate when it comes to venues because no one has ever asked for a merch cut. We are very firmly on the side of the artist in that debate and believe that merch cuts are wrong, and no venue should be taking away from the artists that are playing their venue.

A huge thank you to Joshua and all the guys in Blessed Black! We will be eagerly waiting for volumes 2, 3 and 4. Seasons: Vol.1 was released on September 1st 2023 and I recommend it to every doom metal fan: you can listen to it on Bandcamp. Don’t forget to follow these guys on Facebook!