Integrity – The Blackest Curse
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Although they've been in their share of feuds and punch-ups, Integrity have always been different from other hardcore bands: too dark, too cerebral, and too goddamn heavy. Their sound is apocalyptic, their erratic output a beast that awakens once every few years to wreak havoc before lumbering back into the bowels of the Earth.
No matter how many years pass between albums, Integrity always sound like they never went anywhere. Such is the case on The Blackest Curse (Deathwish, Inc., 2010). Dwid Hellion still sounds like he's been spending his days smoking cigarettes in hell. Guitars are a swarm of rumbling punk rock filth laced with metallic barbs, occasionally grinding to a lurch while drums keep time with the doomsday clock. Samples and spoken word passages add depth and contrast to the reckless abandon.
Integrity's consistency could have to do with the infusion of new blood that usually comes with each resurrection. But more than likely it is the singularity of Hellion's vision that keeps Integrity sounding fresh. Hellion is part fiery-lunged frontman and part charismatic cult leader. His Manson/DeGrimston/LaVey-damaged worldview seeps out of every corner of the album. A guest vocal spot by Boyd Rice speaks to his obsession with all things misanthropic.
But for all its end time prophesying, The Blackest Curse still makes you want to kick motherfuckers in the teeth. It appeals to our most primal urges to burn down and break shit. It is hardcore taken to its illogical conclusion: a mental funeral for mankind that begins in the violence of the pit.