PURSON More than Sabbathian grooves.

PURSON IS NOT a metal band, and yet the London group's debut full-length, The Circle and the Blue Door, was wholly embraced by the metal world when it was released in 2013, topping end-of-year lists in such steely rags as Metal Hammer and Terrorizer. Rosalie Cunningham, the band's vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter, was initially perplexed by the welcome the London band received from the metal scene.

"It really, really surprised us how much we've been accepted. I would never consider us a metal band at all, and some of the bands we're billed with are really fucking heavy," says Cunningham. "I think it's because heavy-metal fans are really open minded. They're music fans, mainly. A lot of people who are into mainstream music, or indie rock, or anything like that are kind of into it because they wanna be cool, or because there's nothing else to be into. Metal fans are genuine music fans. They appreciate what we do."

What Purson does is produce some of the better vintage psychedelic hard rock that's currently out there in abundance. In a sea of bands that are going through '70s-rock record bins for inspiration and landing squarely on Black Sabbath alone, Purson digs deep for other forgotten vibes from the past. The Circle and the Blue Door's peaks and valleys go from Deep Purple, to Heart, to the Beatles, and back again. There are certainly some heavy Sabbathian grooves on the record, but there are also warm ballads, bouncy rhythms, and premium organ and acoustic guitar work. The result is a record that is best experienced as a whole—which, according to Cunningham, is exactly what they were looking for.

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"I know these days lots of people just pick one or two songs from an album. I like to sit down and listen to a whole album. That's how I like to enjoy albums, and that's what I aim to give other people," she says.

With a hotly anticipated sophomore release hitting the streets sometime early next year, Cunningham says fans can expect a whole new experience. "It's quite different, and really varied. I like to think it's like a heavy Sgt. Pepper's. Like a variety show with several different bands."

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