Integrity – Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume
Released: July 14th 2017
Dwid Hellion // Vocals
Domenic Romeo // Guitar
The hardcore pioneers Integrity continue the descent into apocalyptic darkness with their 12th studio album Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume. Anyone who has followed the band’s nearly 30-year long career will know what they stand for; torment, torture and unholy malevolence. The album is steeped in religious allusions and, intentional or not, acts as a premonitory social commentary, pointing towards a plausible and not too distant future.
The droning introduction of opening track ‘Fallen To Destroy/ Blood Sermon’ very quickly establishes the trademark Integrity guitar tone, and Dwid Hellion’s raspy whispering continues to build the ominous atmosphere. One of the most attractive attributes of this iconic band is their ability to seamlessly blend different heavy genres to create their own rather explicit Integrity sound. I have always found it hard to pigeonhole the band and this opener is a prime example as the hardcore and black metal melange drives Hellion’s angst and fury with intent and purpose. ‘Die With Your Boots On’, on the other hand, courts heavy rock, whereas ‘Burning Beneath the Devils Cross‘ collides with d-beat.
Although this album contains a few great songs, it feels somewhat haphazardly constructed and this mixture of genres has worked against them this time. The sound is there, but the album as a whole lacks cohesion and consists of random tracks thrown together. The one thing that unites the songs and ties this album together is, as always, Dwid’s intense vocals. This man is a machine and his voice is more of a weapon rather than an instrument. The closing title track, ‘Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume’, showcases not only Hellion’s vocal prowess, but also the relentless and uncompromising Integrity we have all come to expect and respect. The anger and pending doom is most definitely present in this latest release from a band that has pushed the boundaries of heavy music for three decades.
On a lighter note, I asked a friend who quotes ABBA as their favourite artist to give me their thoughts on one of the songs off this album. They lasted halfway through ‘Hymn For The Children of the Black Flame‘ and had the following to say: “This has got some speed. I like the drumming. The drummer is really good, and everyone else is just trying to keep up. Guttural voice, but I don’t know about the lyrics…”
Integrity – Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume tracklisting
1. Fallen To Destroy
2. Blood Sermon
3. Hymn For The Children of the Black Flame
4. I Am The Spell
5. Die With Your Boots On
6. Serpent of the Crossroads
7. Unholy Salvation of Sabbatai Zevi
8. 7 Reece Mews
9. Burning Beneath the Devils Cross
10. String Up My Teeth
11. Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume
12. Viselle De Drac (Digital / Deluxe Vinyl Bonus Track)
13. Entartete Kunst (Digital / Deluxe Vinyl Bonus Track)
14. Deathly Fighter (Digital / Deluxe Vinyl Bonus Track)
15. The Perfect Silence (Digital Bonus Track)