Band: Integrity & Krieg
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Hardcore/Black Metal
Country: United States Of America
Release Date: 3 August, 2018
I’m just going to come right out and say it: Integrity are the best band in hardcore. Even after 20+ years of existence they have not slowed down at all and show no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Following up 2017’s epic full-length Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume, Integrity return with a split LP with USBM horde Krieg. Integrity grace us with 3 new songs along with a cover song and Krieg hold their own with 2 studio tracks and 1 live track.
From the first seconds of Integrity’s “Scorched Earth” you are reminded as to why they are the best at what they do. Simplistic but sonically crushing riffs are mixed with bombastic guitar solos all fronted by Dwid’s maniacal screaming. At less than 2 minutes, this opening outburst sets the framework for the rest of the ass-kicking you are going to receive.
After the initial assault of “Scorched Earth” the 2nd track “Flames Of The Immortal” starts up and the beatdown continues. Again, while the songs are short and simplistic, they are still going for the throat and leaving no survivors in their wake.
“Sons of Satan” begins with what is probably the catchiest chorus of any Integrity song I’ve ever heard. Don’t be surprised that you’ll be chanting the lyrics: “We are the sons of satan, slaves of the earth, we are the sons of satan, born to destroy” after the first time you hear this. Maybe you can sing this in the shower and the water will turn to blood?
Rounding out the Integrity side of this split is their cover of “Document One” by infamous Japanese band GISM. As much as Integrity’s overall aesthetic is influenced by Pushead/Septic Death their complete reverence for extreme Japanese music cannot be discounted and their cover of this classic song proves that Integrity can take their influences and make it into a style all their own (hopefully without being stabbed by GISM’s singer, Sakevi)
While many can argue that Integrity are a one-trick pony I subscribe to the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. Many bands can, and do, put forth the same intensity and vitriol that Integrity conjures but fall very short in comparison to what Dwid & company have done and continue to do with their unique occult vision. Heavy music should always be evolving and Integrity will always be leading the march to receive the Black Flame.
On the flipside we find Krieg, a stalwart of the U.S. black metal scene since the mid-90’s, it’s creator Neill Jameson, has been an active supporter of the underground through his many activities such as running a label/distro. To be perfectly honest, I never paid much attention to Krieg. I was familiar with the name and of Neill’s involvement with black metal “super group” Twilight but never sat down and really listened to his music. I also remember a brief uproar over Krieg’s split with Satanic Warmaster but that was many moons ago (and nobody cares about NSBM anymore right??)
I’m glad I’m able to rectify this situation by diving into his side of this split. I was surprised upon initial listen that all the songs are in the mid-tempo range and not some crazy blast-beat wall of noise. The songs are simple and to the point. My initial thoughts are that the monotony of the riffs would be a deterrent but the more you listen the more you enter into a trance and the more aware you are of the atmosphere Krieg is able to develop.
All 3 songs exhibit a morose, melancholy vibe through the buzz-saw riffing and my favorite would be the last track, “The Sick Winds Stir The Cold Dawn”, a live cut where Krieg’s sound is just as punishing when played in public as opposed to some grim basement in New Jersey.
Overall, both bands on this split do the job that they’re meant to do; create hellish soundscapes for you to disappear to until it’s time to face the ugly realities of the world.
1. Integrity – Scorched Earth
2. Integrity – Flames Of The Immortal
3. Integrity – Sons Of Satan
4. Integrity – Document One
5. Krieg – Circle Of Guilt
6. Krieg – This time I’ll Leave You To Drown
7. Krieg – the Sick Winds Stir The Cold Dawn (Live)
Total Playing Time: 23:10