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Integrity: Howling, For the Nightmare Shall Consume

Because of the word "howling" in the title, I briefly wondered if this album was going with a werewolf theme. I should have known better. Integrity, one of the most influential crossover metal and hardcore bands would never focus on one monster. This is the band that gave us Humanity is the Devil. If Integrity is going to evoke horror on this release—and they do—they're going to go back to the worst of human behavior. And this album does that in spades. A musical foretelling of Armageddon, this album weaves together religious fanaticism, occult prophecies, and bleak nightmares to tell a tale of destruction and chaos. The only howling happening here is the sound of human suffering.

The cover art, created by vocalist Dwid Hellion, evokes Gustave Doré's own artistic renderings of nightmares and destruction. It's not a happy cover, but the image of a demon surveying the destruction suits the music perfectly. Most of the tracks stick to the band's signature blend of metal and hardcore and if this album were just those tracks, this would be another solid Integrity album. There are times, however, when things take a somewhat surprising turn, when things are even more melancholy or reflective. I'm thinking mostly of "7 Reece Mews" and "Unholy Salvation of Sabbatai Zevi," but there are other moments when the music pauses a little to survey the world in its destroyed state. Some of Integrity's fans will find these moments too long or too distracting but they are essential to the album's overall mood. Hellion has been exploring human darkness for decades and this album needs to take stock of what it all means. Answers don't come easy, of course, but Hellion and company certainly know how to provoke good questions.

Is it any good? Yes, but give it a couple of spins before making a final judgment. Some will think this is one of Integrity's best releases; others will think it wavers a little too much. I liked it, but I also needed to chew on it a bit. By the way, "Die With Your Boots On" isn't an Iron Maiden cover but it is one of the album's highlights. If you like that track, check out "Serpent of the Crossroads" and "I Am the Spell." I also liked "7 Reece Mews" and "Unholy Salvation of Sabbatai Zevi."

Track Listing:
1. Fallen To Destroy / Blood Sermon
2. Hymn for the Children of the Black Flame
3. I Am the Spell
4. Die With Your Boots On
5. Serpent of the Crossroads
6. Unholy Salvation of Sabbatai Zevi
7. 7 Reece Mews
8. Burning Beneath the Devil's Cross
9. String Up My Teeth
10. Howling, For the Nightmare Shall Come

Added: July 14th 2017
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1626
Language: english

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