Sunday, 17 September 2017

Integrity - Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume


Tracklist:

1. Fallen To Destroy
2. Blood Sermon
3. Hymn For The Children Of The Black Flame
4. I Am The Spell
5. Die With Your Boots On
6. Serpent Of The Crossroads
7. Unholy Salvation Of Sabbatai Zevi
8. 7 Reece Mews
9. Burning Beneath The Devils Cross
10. String Up My Teeth
11. Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume
12. Viselle De Drac (Bonus Track)
13. Entartete Kunst (Bonus Track)

14. Deathly Fighter (Bonus Track)

It's fair to say that Integrity is one band that has always remained a bit of an enigma, at least to me anyway. From their earlier hardcore/metalcore days through to the band's more recent experimental efforts and various line-ups, Integrity has constantly refreshed and reshaped their blueprint. With the release of their ninth full-length via Relapse and renewed line-up, the band seems more approachable (in terms of fan interaction) than ever before. Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume was released on tape, cd and vinyl in July (the latter two formats including three bonus tracks). In December Integrity will be headlining CTW Fest VIII: Judgement Day alongside 108 and a whole host of others, in recognition of UK hardcore label Carry The Weight Records as it is put to rest. Both the poster and the full review are below...


After spending a lot of time listening to previous record “Suicide Black Snake”, it was unclear what any follow-up album was going to be like but Howling… bursts into life with opener Fallen To Destroy and it’s mix of screaming guitar and Dwid’s deep roars. It acts as a precursor to Blood Sermon, which has just a small hint of blackness to it! I’m careful at this point not to pigeonhole it, though there’s plenty of rock ’n roll sensibilities beyond the extremities. There’s definitely no time for hanging about as Hymn For The Children Of The Black Flame brims with thrash and blasts. 

The thicker riffs of I Am The Spell reveal why it was chosen as one of the lead-out songs prior to the album’s release. It’s urgency and power is clear for all to witness. The traditional heavy metal influence rears it’s head again on Die With Your Boots On, twin harmonies and all. The first five tracks are all high-energy numbers, so when Serpent Of The Crossroads begins with a pensive and brooding intro, the direction of travel isn’t clear. What you get is a slow-burning classic with a menacing Southern-drawl and a hardcore backbone. That doesn’t even come close to aptly describing it either! 

The organ that opens Unholy Salvation Of Sabbatai Zevi is perfectly placed as it sends shivers down your spine. This marks the nearing of the mid-point in the record (if you include the bonus tracks) and if you’re fully invested in it then it also marks the point at which your psyche becomes twisted and torn. It’s a crawling piece that conjures up images of demons and the undead, depending on your mindset. 7 Reece Mews is gentler with whispered verses and more stripped back instrumentation, though it does build in volume before the choruses so as not to allow you to drift off at all, which you shouldn’t be doing anyway. The melody from the guitar is starkly beautiful too during the mid-section. 

The bouncing punk rhythms that kick off Burning Beneath The Devils Cross are a shock to the senses, but soon get the blood pumping as Integrity hit their stride. The wall of noise is as exhilarating as it is serious. The momentum from the previous song carries on into String Up My Teeth, with the clean vocals of Monique Harcum and Deacon Douglas Williams ringing out. The title-track brings the mood back down and actually retains a lot of what made “Suicide Black Snake” so unnerving. 

The trio of bonus tracks begin with the acoustic Viselle De Drac, with it’s folk instrumentation and softly spoken lyrics. It’s followed by the quick-fire penultimate track Entartete Kunst, which is sixty seconds of intense feedback-ridden noise. The addition of “Decibel Flexi” track Deathly Fighter at the end is a nice touch and the cover shows off their heavy metal hooks once more. For a band with the history of Integrity, to still be putting out albums of this quality is to be admired and should act as an example of “how to do it” for those less established or just starting out. A furious ride with plenty of variation and excellent song-writing. 

You can stream, download and purchase the remaining vinyl copies/merch below:-



Integrity - https://www.facebook.com/INTEGRITY.HT/
Relapse Records - https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/

The event page for CTW Fest VIII: Judgement Day - https://www.facebook.com/events

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