AlbumsNovember 29, 201115,410 views

Integrity The Blackest Curse


01. Process of Illumination 02. Through the Shadows of Forever 03. Simulacra 04. Learn To Love the Lie 05. Secret Schadenfreude 06. Before the World Was Young 07. Last Great Seance, The 08. Spiderwoven 09. Invocation of the Eternally Coiling Serpent 10. Take Hold of Forever
2010 Deathwish Inc.
Our score 7

7/22/2010

Many things can be said about Integrity: boring is not one of them. The Cleveland band aroused adoration and derision from the start. Along the way, the band experienced numerous controversies, countless defections and a deluge of releases. Integrity helped spawn thug and metalcore (Converge and Hatebreed owe no small debt). Founder Dwid Hellion refracted a malevolent vision through a prism of hardcore and metal that inspired as many as it repulsed. After nearly a decade of intermittent activity, Integrity return with The Blackest Curse. Does the world need a new Integrity record in 2010? Today's hardcore world vastly differs from that of 15 years ago. Then, Integrity stuck in the craw of the quasi-hippie collectivist/community minded scene. They played the villain and attracted a legion of followers who had no interest in straight edge brotherhood, vegan revolution or living in punk houses named after anarchist philosophers. Those Integrity fans formed bands that would reshape the hardcore landscape. Integrity fits in more so today; yet the band now competes against bands that built a scene around what they stole from Integrity. Can the old-heads keep up? It's hard not to pine for Systems Overload or Seasons in the Size of Days while listening to The Blackest Curse. Integrity (this version includes only Dwid from their earlier incarnations) strives to recreate the brutal beauty of those key 90s records. Yet much of the material is not as memorable. Dwid's presence (vocally, lyrically, spiritually) is as menacing as ever. Guitarists Robert Orr [we've been informed that Orr didn't actually play on the album. - editor] and Michael Mario Jochum deliver sharper performances than those found on previous records. Where the solos once spiraled without rhyme or reason, here they compliment the song. Still, the chemistry created between Dwid and erstwhile co-conspirator Aaron Melnick is missed. At various intervals, the band manages to hit the mark like a punch to the face. "Process of Illumination" and "Through the Shadows of Forever" satisfy the promise of hardcore muscle. Despite the cloudy production that thins the low end and muddies the guitars, these songs thrash and flail like a P90X workout. "Simulacra" attempts a Slayer-level of controlled chaos and succeeds. Had Dwid and associates focused on these attributes, The Blackest Curse could have bested the band's classic albums. Integrity deserves praise for straying from their norm. The eight-minute "Before the VVorld VVas Young" begins like Dwid's dark folk project Roses Never Fade. But the song ends sounding forced, like a pale approximation of Neurosis. Similarly, the noise attempt "Take Hold of Forever" is worthy in theory yet dubious in reality. We don't listen to Integrity for artistic calisthenics. We listen to Integrity to vicariously kick the shit out of whomever wronged us that day. It's admirable that Dwid works to expand his palette. But if Integrity 2010 seeks to push the hardcore envelope, they must devise stronger material. Dwid could have done more to make The Blackest Curse a much-needed schooling on how this brand of take-no-prisoners hardcore should be done. Yet his ability to create a hateful hybrid of punk, hardcore and metal remains intact. Despite its shortcomings, The Blackest Curse demonstrates that Integrity is more than just a nostalgic trip. Bottom Line: Dwid and company rage like it's 1995. Though not quite Systems Overload, The Blackest Curse delivers enough of a metallic roundhouse kick to compensate.

21 comments

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versailles_ 7/22/2010 9:40:25 AM

Should have got an 8.


anonymous 7/22/2010 10:52:22 AM

Well put, mate.


anonymous 7/22/2010 10:57:13 AM

"Then, Integrity stuck in the craw of the quasi-hippie collectivist/community minded scene.' oh man get a brain moran


bkr_ 7/22/2010 11:54:47 AM

*blank post*


thug and metalcore_ 7/22/2010 12:38:01 PM

thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug and metalcore thug a


Player_Hater_ 7/22/2010 1:49:24 PM

"They played the villain and attracted a legion of followers who had no interest in straight edge brotherhood" Have you ever listened to the song Bringing It Back by integrity? Haha.


xmusicislifex_ 7/22/2010 4:01:02 PM

the blackest curse? is this an Obama themed album?


pukeskywalker_ 7/22/2010 4:14:08 PM

exhibit A - Integrity "Clevland straight edge" t-shirt: http://www.aversionline.com/blahg/images/posts/integedge2.gif


arty_mcfarty_ 7/23/2010 8:24:44 AM

shit f*cking review....you finally review an album worth listening to and give it a garbage score like this?


arty_mcfarty_ 7/23/2010 8:26:26 AM

ps----godfather gimmick was moderately funny at first, now you have beaten it to death........please stop


thisaintsweettea_ 7/23/2010 10:37:35 PM

How did this get reviewed without any mention of their previous album, To Die For? This reads as though the reviewer doesn't actually know what is going on.


Tres_ 7/23/2010 10:50:44 PM

i actually like their new 7inch on magic bullet records a bit more than the blackest curse but i do think that the blackest curse is pretty great integrity never give you what you expect integrity dont give a f*ck


mikebythesun_ 7/26/2010 12:49:06 PM

Haven't heard this record yet but give Casey a break. He's been around a long time and knows his shit. Most of the review is about how the record falls short yet he gave it a 7. Looking fwd to hearing this, though I don't think anything will top Humanity.


HEY GUYS!!!_ 7/26/2010 4:08:20 PM

GUESS WHAT!?!?!? 7/10 ^______^


James_ 7/27/2010 11:29:45 AM

wow i love how this reviewer pretends like he knows who integrity are.


ShamWOW_ 7/28/2010 6:28:20 PM

Actually, this band is extremely boring.


mikebythesun_ 7/28/2010 7:16:39 PM

Got this record last night after reading this review and I'm digging it. Not my fav, but it definitely had some moments. I damn near blew out my car speakers cranking the shit out of a couple choice parts. Seasons and Humanity still own.


nigga_ 7/31/2010 10:24:27 PM

no mention of To Die For?! Kind of pissed.


staredownthesky_ 8/7/2010 11:44:20 AM

This reads like a f*cking Pitchfork review.


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