Morrow: Our pick this week is already pretty old, but it’s so packed with hellacious riffs, thunderous beats, and browbeating screams that it warranted revisiting. I’m speaking, naturally, of The Blackest Curse by Integrity, one of the year’s most wailing and harrowing metal-core albums.
The Blackest Curse was released back in June, and it’s the band’s first full album since 2003. As usual, vocalist Dwid Hellion is his full-throated single-note self, but the music’s quality and intensity are at their peak here, with dive-bombing guitar squeals over blazing speed riffs and chugging breakdowns.
Hajduch: When this promo showed up, I didn’t think that I could possibly care less. I care about maybe three hardcore bands, and metal-core is a cesspool. However, I remembered that their 1996 Victory release, Humanity is the Devil, was pretty much the only thing Victory released when I was in high school that was actually truly menacing (instead of a bunch of asinine bandanna posturing), so I was willing to give it a try.
And I’m glad that I did, because this record smokes. It’s thrash-y and fast and has breakdown moments and blackened moments, but it doesn’t really pledge allegiance to anything specific, just a general notion of heaviness. This is a really fucking good album. If you like metal (especially if you like Slayer), you will like this album. It’s pretty much that simple.
The vocals never change; they don’t even go up or down in the mix, really. It is one note, endlessly: you being yelled at by a drill sergeant in hell. This could be seen as a drawback, but it seems fitting.
Morrow: I would add that the drill sergeant seems to have had a pretty bad day, perhaps burning his tongue on his decaf mocha while getting one of those camera-activated red-light tickets.
In seriousness, though, it had been a long time since I’d heard Integrity as well, and I was taken back by just how much The Blackest Curse is a relentless riff assault. Even the few sullen moments — acoustic-guitar melodies with a few lone cello notes — are surprisingly effective. I have a feeling that you might see this on ALARM’s year-end list.