For Fans Of
Over 20 years have passed since the release of secretive hardcore/metal outfit Integrity‘s debut studio album, 1991’s ‘Those Who Fear Tomorrow‘. Led by the dark and historically misanthropic Dwid Hellion – the band’s sole consistent member since their inception – Integrity have, for over two decades, been crafting innovative metalcore that explores a spectrum of other styles to develop the “holy terror” framework that has influenced countless contemporary acts. On latest LP ‘Suicide Black Snake‘, Hellion along with collaborator Rob Orr deliver one of the most sonically diverse albums under the Integrity banner in recent memory, serving up a healthy mixture of tracks rich equally in their ferocity and experimentalism.
A minute into opening title track ‘Suicide Black Snake‘ we’re grabbed firmly by the throat as an assault of pounding drums and furious, incendiary hardcore riffwork becomes a background for Hellion‘s caustic, throaty snarl – old Dwid‘s a mite harsher in his tone than on the band’s last outing, 2010’s ‘The Blackest Curse‘. Before we know it, however, the mood descends into one much less aggressive and far more sinister. The track closes with a clean, desolate and almost atmospheric guitar line that repeats as Hellion chants the album’s namesake – “Suicide black snake”.
This kind of back-and-forth between what appears to be sheer, uninhibited savagery and intricate, meticulously arranged musicianship is something of a double-edged sword – largely responsible for making the album as compelling a listen as it is while simultaneously turning ‘Suicide Black Snake‘ less into a coherent experience and more into a collection of songs that fit together somewhat disjointed when placed side by side.
That said, when it works, it’s pretty powerful and thoroughly engaging. Multi-instrumentalist Orr makes some of the most interesting guitar work in heavy music at the moment. Crushingly heavy, pit-ready riffs are complemented by slick, bluesy solos in ‘Beasts as Gods‘ and ‘ Orrchidia‘, while the post-metal stylings of ‘There Ain’t No Living in Life‘ and ‘Lucifer Before The Day Doth Go‘ stir up visions of deserted, freezing and inhospitable landscapes. Dwid sounds as acidic as ever, while also being fairly diverse with his vocal delivery at times – the urgent desperation heard on ‘Into the Light‘ continuing to paint the band’s frontman as a profoundly complex, multi-layered individual.
With ‘Suicide Black Snake’, Integrity continue to carve out an expansive and varied catalogue, proudly holding on to the elements they’re renowned for, while refusing to play it safe. It’s easy to understand how Integrity have managed to stay both influential and relevant, and this confirms the band’s place as by far one of the most interesting metalcore acts in existence.
1. Suicide Black Snake
2. I Know Where Everyone Lives
3. Beasts As Gods
4. There Is A Sign
6. All Is None
7. There Ain’t No Living In Life
8. Detonate World’s Plague
9. Into The Night
10. Lucifer Before The Day Doth Go