Ohio’s Blessed Black got their start back in the twilight of 2017 much like a lot of bands over the years: riffing on heavy metal and doom in local dives until they felt they had something strong enough they just couldn’t walk away from. Basically, the American Rock ‘n’ Roll dream since the beginning of the term. One year later they released a two track EP that had that trad-doom meets COC vibe and now have an upcoming full length, Beyond the Crimson Throne, that incorporates those two tracks but successfully builds on them in the shape of five more extremely strong, riff-heavy barnburners. Stoner doom, traditional heavy metal, driving rhythms, and epic vocals means that you’re about to have a new favorite band to be pulling for. Roughly a month ahead of the album’s release we had the chance to ask vocalist and lead guitarist Joshua Murphy (War Curse) our set of Profile questions to get a deep dive behind the curtains. Head inside to see how it went down and go show them some support, links are contained within.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
I first got into playing music when I was around 10 years old. My parents bought me a cheap stratocaster copy guitar for christmas after I spent the whole year begging them to get me one. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to release records and tour globally, and do a lot of things that I never imagined being able to do when I started my first band at 15 years old. I am hoping to be able to do quite a bit more of that moving forward with Blessed Black.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
Back in the early days of my old band’s touring, I would hound any band that I liked on Myspace trying to get them to set up tour dates and trade shows. I’m sure I drove some of them nuts, but it definitely worked out a decent amount too.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
The state of metal is in a weird place right now. You have bands putting out incredible music with insane production value and innovative songwriting, and you’re seeing more and more bands finding their way into people’s playlists, but on the bad side, these same bands are often the ones who can’t even break even on an average tour. You also have nostalgia acts who sound like an embarrassing parody of their former selves cleaning up and getting the hype train put behind them by the industry at the same time.
The unfortunate truth that I see is that the industry isn’t planning ahead and grooming a new pack of bands who can take over once the old guard hangs things up. Once bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden hang it up, you won’t have a heavy metal band with the ability to bring a high production show to an arena anymore. Its both a great, and sad time to be a part of the heavy metal scene.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
Honestly, we just want to write riffs, have fun, travel, and play our instruments. We don’t get too in depth beyond that.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
I guess I was around 7 or 8 when I really discovered metal. I have an older sister who was really into the glam metal scene, and also a lot of traditional metal. She turned me onto a lot of really cool stuff early on. My family has always been super open minded about most things. They may not have understood the appeal, but they never gave me any shit for what I liked.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Honestly, the biggest thing I would love to see from most music outlets is just better attention to detail, and less of a lazy approach. Be it making sure that you have the proper band logo files, the most current band photos, or checking out an album more than just one listen through before writing a review. I think that quality over quantity should be the goal, and more often than not, it’s the opposite.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
At this point, we just want to get our debut album out to the world in January, and spend 2020 playing and touring regionally as much as we are able, and finishing the 15 or so new song ideas we have already, so we can get to recording a follow-up.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
I personally have spent a ton of time this year listening to the newest Alice in Chains record. The new Baroness album is insanely good, and I spend a lot of time listening to stuff like Mastodon, Exhorder, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Billie Eilish, Danzig, Chelsea Wolfe, We Hunt Buffalo, and Type O Negative’s October Rust, which has been a staple for me in constant rotation for like two decades now.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
The goal in the next 12 months is really just to try to get our name in front of as many people as we can. We love this record, and we really want people to hear it, and hopefully enjoy it. The biggest event on the horizon is our album release, which will be January 17th available on all digital platforms, as well as in CD format. We will be playing an awesome home town CD release show on the following day January 18th at Urban Artifact in Cincinnati with our friends in the bands Gudger, and Casino Warrior.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the publication)
Many thanks to Joshua for his time!