INTEGRITY – Metallic Hardcore Legends Reach Deep Into Soul For Relapse Debut
July 17, 2017, 6 months ago
Emailing with Dwid Hellion, vocalist of long-running metallic-hardcore legends Integrity, is a thought-provoking experience. Which is nice: more heavy lifting in extreme metal's central thought-processing units is always welcome, and when we corner Dwid to type back some answers to our questions about Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume (more on that interesting name later), his musings are brief but pull no punches.
“Making music has allowed me an outlet for my overflowing passions and obsessions,” begins Hellion. “It also affords me the ability to exorcise my demons. Demons that would otherwise get the best of me.”
Hellion says that he's “absolutely satisfied” with the new album, and adds that it's the result of a lot of hard work from himself and, particularly, guitarist Domenic Romeo (Integrity's lineup is, to say the least, ever-changing).
“Domenic and I worked long and hard on this album and we were able to get very close to our initial aspirations for this album's outcome,” he says. “We had to plunge deep into our souls in order to reveal the darkness that plagues us.”
I mention to Hellion that there are some very metal moments on the album. This is not unique for an Integrity album, but there are a few melodic metal parts this time around that are bolder than ever.
“I have always been a fan of metal and its ferocity and purity,” he says. “I hope that this album embraces some of that sentiment while at the same time allowing the listener an opportunity to experience myriad musical styles. Confining Integrity to one genre holds no interest to me.”
Lyrics are always an important part of the Integrity experience; Hellion says “there is nothing cut and dry about this album” and that includes what he's singing about.
“There are several levels of dialogue spidered throughout,” he says. “An abstract depiction of so many lost biblical scriptures. Visions of nightmare that will never relent. Withered promises of where we were once headed, yet now lay lost at the crossroads. This fire that consumes my soul while barely allowing me the dignity to conceal my true self from those around me. I am cursed within this flesh prison. A waking regret that melts its silted words into my lecherous mouth. We hear no more the sound of salvation, only the trumpets of Revelations.”
Indeed, Hellion and Integrity aren't just singing about the meaning of hardcore on this album, the band's very metallic hardcore acting as the soundtrack to Hellion's musings on Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume. And, right, that album title: it's intense, poetic, one of the best album titles this scribe's heard in a long time.
“The title is a way of describing a highly spiritual, religious means of testifying as in a musical speaking-in-tongues,” says Hellion. “Howling to escape the flesh prisons that confine our souls to this earthly Hell.”
The album is the band's first for Relapse (“I cannot give enough praise to them for their faith in us,” says Hellion), and they gave it their all. To Hellion and Integrity, the music is about so much more than just a killer, bruising experience (don't worry, though: it still kills and bruises).
“Dom and I invested a brutal sincerity into this album,” says Hellion. “It has been a very spiritual experience for me.”
(Photo - Jimmy Hubbard)