2017's Howling, For the Nighmare Shall Consume was one of my albums of the year, so I was thrilled to find out that Integrity was following it up with a new release so soon after.
Featuring two new tracks and a pair of covers, Integrity's side of their forthcoming split with US black metallers Krieg finds the band going for a less nuanced approach than the Howling material, opting to ramp up the rawer side of their sonic palette.
If you were a fan of Dom Romeo's detonative lead guitar work on their last album, "Scorched Earth" will appeal, as the former Pulling Teeth axeman doesn't hold back on the opening track. It's been a treat to hear Dom's progression as a guitarist throughout the years. Can a solo shred album be far away?
"Flames of the Immortal" is another go-for-the-throat track in classic Integrity style, with a breakdown section that is to die for (pun intended). For the solo, Dom takes a slower, blues-based approach, but still throws in a speedier, Shrapnel Records-styled part in its final seconds.
Integrity's cover of GISM's "Document One" stays true to the original version's unbridled attack, which is really the only way one should play Sakevi and company. They end their side of the new split with a reimagined version of Vermapyre's (a solo project of Integrity's Dwid Hellion) "Sons of Satan."
"Circle of Guilt" launches Krieg's side of the EP, pushing forward with a monstrous stomp courtesy of a mid-paced arrangement. Krieg mastermind Neill Jameson's sickly vocals sit perfectly in the mix and cast a haunting ambiance to the proceedings.
"This Time I'll Leave You to Drown" moves with quicker momentum than its predecessor, but it's just as atmospheric. A live version of "The Sick Winds Stir the Cold Dawn" — a track from Krieg's 2006 Blue Miasma album — finishes out the split, and while it's not a bad recording, I would rather have heard a cover track from the black metal crew to keep it in the same spirit as Integrity's side.
Integrity/Krieg Split EP will be out on Aug. 30 via Relapse Records at the links below.
**Homepage photo of Integrity by Hannah Verbeuren