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Integrity - Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume

Crack Pie   (1898 reviews)

Posted: 06/12/2017 | Comments: 5 | Rate:

Formed in 1988, Integrity has unapologetically existed, persisted and thrived in the underground metal and hardcore community. Detractors will point to inconsistent and revolving door line-ups to try to discredit the band, but in my opinion, as long as Dwid Hellion is at the helm, than Integrity remains a formidable, if unpredictable force.

This time around Dwid has recruited longtime co-conspirator Domenic Romeo (Pulling Teeth, A389 Records) to curate a new band and batch of songs that make up Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume.

I'm not sure what drugs you have to take for that album title to make sense, but the songs contained within it are easily the best since 1997's Seasons in the Size Of Days. The ominous opening of "Fallen To Destroy" will make your hair stand on ends. From there the album starts with a full on blast of something between GISM, Slayer and Pulling Teeth as they rip through "Blood Sermon" and "Hymn For The Children of the Black Flame." It's hardcore, it's punk, it's metal, it's whatever stupid fucking label you want to put on it. It's the fastest portion of the record and it's probably what you expected when you heard Romeo was writing the music. Divebombs, leads, Dwid's gnarly snarl, and there is probably bass too.

"I Am The Spell" was the first single for this record and rightfully so. It's dynamic, it's heavy and exactly what I think most Integrity fans want to hear. It might be the highlight of the album if you're a boring ass nerd, and that's fine, but there is so much more here to appreciate. There's the Motorhead worship on "Die With Your Boots On" and "Burning Beneath The Devil's Cross" that'll have your foot stomping that old familiar hole in the floor. There's the middle of the record featuring three songs that all come in around the seven minute mark and slow down the pace considerably. Especially on the epic "7 Reece Mews." Where the inclusion of a lap steel guitar and gristled "singing" from Dwid emits a charisma similar to the narrative of Pulling Teeth's "Funerary."

Having said all that, my favorite song of the record is definitely "String Up My Teeth." It's something you've never heard from Integrity before. It's fun. It's Motley Crue, it's Randy Rhoads, it's a tambourine and gospel singers, but somehow it's still Integrity. Is it the best song on the record? No, probably not, but it effectively adds a new level to the Integrity arsenal.

That is kind of the whole charm about this album. No two songs sound the same, yet every song sounds like Integrity. Romeo and Joshy Bretell (who I absolutely should have mentioned by now), found a way to write new songs for an old band. They could have stuck to the blueprint of Integrity's past, wrote a good record, and that would have been fine. Instead they presented Dwid with an album that not only compliments the legacy of Integrity, but expands on it.

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