Integrity have been surrounded by myth, controversy, and legend for much of their almost 20 year existence. Along with fellow Cleveland monsters Ringworm, they are responsible for laying the foundation for metallic hardcore as we know it. Not only dictating, but literally defining the wave of musical darkness that continuously influences those at the forefront of the aggressive music scene. You can hear their direct influence in bands like Rot In Hell, Rise And Fall, Converge, Hatebreed, and more.
After releasing classic albums on other labels, Integrity triumphantly returned to the spotlight in 2003 with their "To Die For" CD on Deathwish. "To Die For" recording was a true reclamation of the throne for the band. Produced and engineered by Ben Schigel (Ringworm, Mushroomhead), the collection of eight blood boiling songs served as a musical progression, all the while embracing the approach of their influential past.
After the release of "To Die For", Integrity toured Europe and the United States, eventually falling into a sort of restless hibernation. From that point on they only surfaced for the occasional festival or "one-off" show appearance. All of that changed two years later when Dwid Hellion assembled his new incarnation of the band featuring both Jochum brothers (Mike now being joined by Nate on drums), as well as "To Die For" era bassist Steve Rochourst (Ringworm, etc.). Soon Integrity began crafting ideas for what was to become "The Blackest Curse". The process was methodical and slow going, with members being divided between two continents. However after years on end of refining the material, the fiends convened in Belgium and began laying down tracks for the album. Though these initial sessions were a creative success for Integrity, due to time limitations they were left incomplete, forcing the material to lay dormant.
Fast forward to 2008; Integrity once again woke from their slumber, this time to tour Europe alongside longtime friends Converge, and Coliseum. This tour introduced the band to a whole new generation of aggressive music listeners. Following this momentum, the band then released their "Walpurgisnacht" 7"EP on A389/Magic Bullet Records. As importantly, this stirring also rekindled the fire under "The Blackest Curse" project, with vocalist Dwid Hellion recording the final vocals for the album in his home studio.
And now almost five years later, the curse has finally been cast..."The Blackest Curse" is the new album from legends, Integrity.
A ten headed beast of an album, "The Blackest Curse" is arguably the most cohesive Integrity release of the last fifteen years. With the first crushing chords of "Process of Illumination" it's apparent that Integrity are back in true form, following the metal/hardcore hybrid blueprint they forged themselves over two decades ago. The blitzkrieg bombardment of songs like "Learn To Love The Lie" and "Through The Shadows of Forever" is unrelenting, while speed demons like "Simulacra" and "Spiderwoven" are as uniquely frenzied as a metallic hardcore can get. It's not all aural brutality though, as "The Blackest Curse" proves that the root of their evil can morph into all shapes and sizes. Songs like "Before The World Was Young" and "Take Hold of Forever" showcase Integrity's trademark melodious moments as well as their dark experimental tendencies.
With "The Blackest Curse" Integrity never stray from their chosen artistic path. And like the few other legacy bands in existence (Motorhead, etc.), they don't ever need to. Their formulaic cohesive vision is why "The Blackest Curse" is truly another brilliant album, adding to their intriguing and bizarre legacy. A reign that still, after over twenty years, continues to demand a cult like devotion that is "Holy Terror" to the very core. [Deathwish Inc.]
Dwid Hellion, Rob Orr, Ben Smartnick, Alex Henderson, Andrew Ransom
Holy Terror/Deathwish Inc