Integrity, the Cleveland, OH maniacal band who has been no stranger to controversy in the past, and who have always been at the forefront of the metalcore movement, are back with their 12th full length album “Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume”.
Just released on Relapse Records, Integrity once again deliver the goods with a blistering album that spans the genres of not only hardcore and metal, but even touch upon a black metal sound at times on this record. It’s been 30 years since the band first put out their “Off The Bat” demo which introduced the world to a new kind of hardcore, one which infused the energy and social political topics of punk with the heaviness and ferocity of heavy metal.
Dwid Hellion again remains at the helm on vocals. Dwid is the only remaining original member of the band and his attack on the mic is as terrifying as ever. Tales of the apocalypse and dreams long dead are again the primary lyrical topics here.
Dwid is getting close to 50 years of age, but his aggression and enthusiasm has never been more on point. A conceptual foretelling of the final days of Armageddon, Howling… is a manifestation of pentecostal nightmares and religious depravities, wrought with fire and brimstone sermons and occult prophecies bathed in waves of destruction.
Then there’s the rhythm section which engulfs you at breakneck speed while still retaining a semblance of harmony & structure that are an Integrity staple. Tony Hare, the new guitarist does a remarkable job, tactically going between a soft touch and a ludicrous pace while throwing in very technical solos when necessary.
11 tracks in all make up the album and the opener “Fallen To Destroy” clocking in at 1:21 lets you know right away what you are in for. “Serpent of the Crossroads” is one of my favorites and begins with a soft guitar intro similar to the Metallica hit “Nothing Else Matters”. This formula is repeated a few other times on Howling, giving the listener a nice thought provoking break from the chaos.
But speed & ferocity is what makes this record go – and go it truly does. Never do you feel like your getting bored or want to skip around to find another song. The final song is the title track, “Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume”, a 6 minute and 45 second epic that perfectly wraps up the album and truly leaves you wanting more.
In these new and stagnant times in the music industry, it’s refreshing to know you can listen to a new album from an old school band and feel rejuvenated. You no longer have to say “this is ok, but they’re older stuff is better”. I put this up with any of the classic Integrity releases, maybe even in the top 3, that’s how much I love this album. A definitive statement that this band is here to stay and isn’t going anywhere.