For many weeks, today was the date set for Unique Leader’s release of a new single and an accompanying video by the long-running and tremendously influential New York death metal band Internal Bleeding. The name of the single, which is a preview of the band’s new album Corrupting Influence, is “Final Justice“. And then, on the eve of this release, a tragedy happened.
Even long-time fans of Internal Bleeding may not have known that their drummer over the band’s entire decades-long existence, Bill Tolley, was a 14-year veteran of the New York Fire Department. Yesterday, April 20th, Bill Tolley lost his life after falling five stories from a rooftop while battling a two-alarm apartment fire in Queens, New York. He leaves behind his wife Marie and an 8-year-old daughter, Isabella.
Bill Tolley’s Internal Bleeding bandmates issued this statement yesterday soon after learning of their friend’s death:
“Our drummer, the heartbeat of the band, William Tolley, died today. There are zero words to describe the loss. He was a good, decent, and honorable man who loved his friends, his family, and the people he served. There will never be another like him. There are no words to describe the utter sadness and despair we feel right now. Bill was our rock, our heart, and supplier of insane laughter. The music world lost a very influential drummer, and the world lost a friend, a father, and a damn good man. We love you Bill.”
There was no question in the Internal Bleeding camp about whether to go forward with the release of the video and single that we’re now premiering — but now they do it in honor of Bill Tolley’s memory. When asked about their wishes yesterday, the band said, “Bill would want that more than anything. It will mean so much.” Earlier today, they posted this further statement on Facebook:
“Bill was proud of the video and the song and was really looking forward to today; he was excited to share it with all of you. He loved every IB fan. He used to always say ‘we have the best fucking fans,’ and he meant it.
So, if we post it, watch the vid and watch the man with all the groovy beats in action, sitting where he loved to sit. Behind the kit, facing the crowd and having his band mates’ back.
“Keep the tributes pouring in. Let him feel it!”
Many tributes are being posted on the band’s Facebook page, including a statement of condolences from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and a CBS News video that includes a heartbreaking interview with Internal Bleeding founding guitarist Chris Pervelis.
Obviously, it’s now impossible to listen to the song and watch the video without thinking about yesterday’s tragedy (and the original video has been modified since yesterday to include a remembrance and a dedication). Yet it’s also a fitting tribute to Bill Tolley and his important role in creating the legacy of this band that obviously meant so much to him for so many years.
There’s a lot of visceral power in “Final Justice“, and it captures the kind of immediacy, energy, and head-wrecking punch that you feel in a live performance. And while Internal Bleeding are widely credited as one of the originators of slam, there’s a lot more to the song than brute-force bludgeoning. The heavyweight grooves are compulsive, there’s flash and grim melody in the guitar work as well as a savage cutting edge, the vocals are ravenously bestial — and the song is damned addictive, too. And you can feel Bill Tolley’s snare hits right inside your head….
The video shows you some new faces since the band’s last album, with vocalist Joe Marchese, bassist Shaun Kennedy, and guitarist/vocalist Chris McCarthy joining founders Tolley and Pervelis. They’ve stepped into those roles in ways that remain true to the band’s spirit — and all five of these dudes kick out a hell of a hammering ride on “Final Justice“.
And so we present this video in memory of Bill Tolley, with this dedication by the band:
“Rest in Peace Our Brother William ‘Bill’ Tolley.
Drummer. Brother. Firefighter. Hero, Friend.
Life will never be the same without him.
We love you, Bill.
“Final Justice” is available now through Unique Leader, at these locations: