Arriving home from holiday last weekend I was greeted with a stack of junk mail, bills and a small red ticket. It was one of those Royal Mail tickets which informs you that because your letterbox is too small to fit a 12" record mailer through you now gotta do some legwork.
A short journey and a flash of my I.D earned me the pleasure of being passed a parcel over the counter. As I was handed it, I spied the stamp in the corner.
This meant, along with a curious look from a cheery Royal Mail employee, that some Integrity records I'd ordered had arrived. I am of the opinion that Integrity are without a doubt one of the most important bands hardcore has. When they combined hardcore and metal all those years ago, they did so in such a brutally successful way that eventually inspired countless bands, total worship (Fucked Up's vocalist Damien has a side project - Millenial Reign - dedicated to sounding as much like Integrity as possible) and just as much hatred. Despite total line-up changes (with the exception of vocals) and intermittent releases of (in some opinion) varying quality over the years, vocalist Dwid Hellion remains a cult figure within heavy music and at the beating heart of the Holy Terror sound/sub-genre/cult/philosophy whatever you want to call it. Anyway, here endeth the lesson......
First up, their latest LP, Detonate Worlds Plague. This was released on Dwid's own label Holy Terror a few weeks ago. I picked it up from their webstore on red wax which is limited to 100. The colour is more of a red marble, with blue and white streaks in there.
The front cover picture (credited to Dwid) is of some sort of woodland scene, maybe that's a house through the trees? But tilt it towards the light, and say hello to the Integ skull logo.
Same with the back - the track listing is revealed in glossy print when in the light.
Strange that this record seems to have had such a low key release following their hugely well received 'come back' LP The Blackest Curse released last year. The only personnel listed on the album are Dwid and Rob Orr and it's got a much murkier production than The Blackest Curse. Which is no complaint. The songs are good and there's a decent mix of Integ's sounds spread across the running time. We get fast and nasty Integ, we get an apocalyptic noise track, we get an urgent instrumental with wailing lead guitar and spoken sermons in the background and we get sombre, drawn out, slower Integ. And Orr's riffs and solos are incredible. Seriously. They are jaw-dropping in places.
That turned into more of a biography & review than planned but nevermind.
While I was in the HT webstore waving my money around, I also got a copy of the aforementioned The Blackest Curse LP, something I've been neglecting to actually get on vinyl. As mentioned, this was Integ's first full length in a few years when it came out last year on Deathwish. It seemed to be reviewed extremely well and will tear you to shreds. It's a grim, dark album with plenty of manic, thrash influenced hardcore and dive bombing solos. I grabbed this on the first pressing on white, out of a run of 700. Process Cross in the centre. What else.
The cover art suits the title of the album, with The Blackest splooge at the bottom. It looks like some sort of procession of dudes wearing black cloaks.
Looks really cool though, works perfectly. And tilt it towards the light?
Yup. You can just about make out the Integ skull and some Hebrew writings. Might have to get Google Translate on that.
The back cover is once again hiding the track listing in glossy embossed print.
True to Deathwish form, it came with a download code for the album, and I will take the time to say here that it wouldn't hurt for all vinyl releases (especially new releases) to do the same. If I'm at home, I make the enjoyable effort of putting the record on. In my car, stuck in traffic on the M6, I can't do that.