I had been looking forward to writing about Internal Bleeding’s new single “Final Justice,” but given recent events, I now find myself doing so with a heavy heart. On April 20, 2017, IB’s drummer and founding member William Tolley died while serving his community, battling a two alarm blaze as a fourteen year veteran of the Fire Department of New York, who had previously assisted with the September 11, 2001 rescue efforts as a volunteer fire fighter. “Final Justice” is to my knowledge his last recorded work with the band.
It’s a fitting tribute to Tolley then that “Final Justice” absolutely fucking rules. It is the groovy, ultra-slamming sound of classic Internal Bleeding and it sees the band firing on all cylinders and then some. Although their recorded output has been sporadic in the last decade, it is evident within the first five seconds of “Final Justice” that the band has lost none of their penchant for crafting hardcore-infused, crushingly brutal death metal. Indeed, IB sound as vicious and hungry as they did back in when the likes of Voracious Contempt and The Extinction of Benevolence were putting them on the map as one of the godfathers of the slam subgenre.
Although I didn’t know Tolley personally, I consider myself a long-time Internal Bleeding fan and was lucky enough to have seen them twice back when they were touring behind the underrated Onward to Mecca album. Listening to “Final Justice” brings back fond memories of getting my ass handed to me in the pit at Hairy Mary’s in Des Moines, IA (one of the last times I ever moshed was at one of those IB gigs) and the sheer joy that comes from reveling in the pure power of extreme music. It’s an exhilaratingly heavy song that I’d already consider to be among Internal Bleeding’s most memorable works, as well as a wonderful testament to a fallen hero.