Release Date: Jul 14, 2017
Record label: Relapse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Integrity leader Dwid Hellion has embraced the darkness for nearly 30 years now, but on no album from the Belgium-by-way-of-Cleveland metalcore act's catalogue has the earth seemed so scorched, the future so bleak, as on their latest apocalyptic opus, Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume. While a shrilly whispered, backwards-masked incantation on "Fallen to Destroy" is technically the first piece of foreboding lyricism the vocalist presents on this epic LP, the crux of the collection comes up quite quickly on the following "Blood Sermon," which comes fittingly backed by a round of ground-fissuring snare blasts: "The great reckoning is upon us. " The ever-morphing Integrity have switched line-ups yet again here -- their frontman the only constant since the late '80s -- but in new songwriting partner Dom Romeo (Pulling Teeth), Hellion's found the perfect foil to score his horror-infused prophesying.
A word of caution: Dwid Hellion, Integrity's vocalist and sole constant member, is not a man you want to fuck with. He's not one for chit-chat; lend him the floor in an interview and he will go full Aleister Crowley, framing his nearly thirty-year career as an ceaseless campaign to rub the world the wrong way. "I am that moment when you would give anything to have a second chance, when everything has fallen away, hope has been lost, nothing is left to lose and when you start auditioning religions just in the distant hope that someone, something hears your cry and turns back the hands on the clock," he proclaimed to the underground music blog Blow the Scene, in 2010.
ROCKS LIKE: All Pigs Must Die, Homewrecker, United Nations WHAT'S NEW: Dwid Hellion and his mysterious cabal of metal sharpen their teeth to refine their spectral hardcore style on their 12th full-length record, the first since 2013's Suicide Black Snake. Like something from a supplementary circle of Dante's Hell, guitarist Domenic Romeo and drummer Josh Brettell supply the thunder and lightning for Hellion's stormy tales of apocalyptic devilry. The fidelity is higher, the structures are tighter; it's Holy Terror for a new era.
One thing that has always separated Integrity from most of their contemporaries- in both the punk and metal circles- is their dedication to intelligence. Each release since their debut has found the band not so much shouting boldfaced proclamations, but asking questions that seemingly have no answer. This came to an initial crest with 1995's Humanity is the Devil wherein the band dug into what it is that makes mankind be the kind of animal he is- and make no mistake, at least from Integrity's perspective, an animal, and not some higher intelligent being, he is.