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“Suicide Black Snake” Review

blacksnakeIntegrity is pure legend. Veiled in obscurity by sole remaining founder, Dwid Hellion, Integrity has consistently churned out release after release of intense, apocalyptic hardcore. Genre classics as “Those Who Fear Tomorrow” and “Humanity is the Devil” are staples of 90s’ hardcores. In the time since, Dwid has pushed the boundaries the band was known for into darker territories. 2003’s “To Die For” was reminiscent of the latter releases and 2010’s “The Blackest Curse” saw Integrity tread uncharted depths.

The most recent material has been a five-year collaboration with Robert Orr, whose involvement has elevated Integrity to a bluesy, thashier state. This is Integrity’s most interesting work by far, maintaining familiarity with the band’s quarter century’s worth of material while marrying it with radical ideas. Here we have “Suicide Black Snake,” the current culmination of Orr-era Integrity. Contained within are the variable gems that have defined Integrity of recent.

Those familiar with these works know what “Suicide Black Snake” has in store for them. For those who do not, allow some enlightenment to be shed on the subject. Several songs on this record, namely “Orrchida” and “Beasts As Gods,” were featured on “Detonate Worlds Plague,” while tracks like “I Know Where Everyone Lives” appeared on Integrity’s split with Gehenna. On “Suicide Black Snake” we find these songs rerecorded, ready to be arranged good and proper into one of Integrity’s most ambitious releases.

integrityDespite all that is experimental about “Suicide Black Snake,” the album remains, at its core, a hardcore record, replete with the oblique darkness that is Integrity. The title track slithers on signature Holy Terror scales before lunging full force, skewering your mind with potent venom. A monumental piece, this shadowed grandiosity merely hints at what horrors are to come. A portion of the coarseness of their sound has been flayed away, with a reserved sense of melody grafted in its place. This is most evident “+Orrchida” with its acrobatic solos that compliment the mosh-friendly edge.

“There Ain’t No Living in Life” is one of Integrity’s truly different tracks. Mood made weapon, the song moves at an unobtrusive pace, taking care to linger on misanthropic whispers. A lonesome harmonica weaves itself between screaming guitars and melancholic passages. The listen becomes so engaging one cannot help but feel the slightest exhaustion once “There Ain’t No Living in Life” is done.

“Into the Night,” the album’s penultimate track, is one of Integrity’s best songs. Ever. Period. A fusion of the liquid-like movements found on “I Know Where Everyone Lives” and “+Orrchida,” “Into the Night” grooves its way into melodic territory, easily becoming one of “Suicide Black Snake’s” strongest points.

“Suicide Black Snake” is one of the most refreshing hardcore releases of recent memory, superior to all those that strive to imitate. Integrity is a band that rarely disappoints, doling out their strongest material since their inception. “Suicide Black Snake” exceeds “The Blackest Curse,” equalizing itself with what this writer considers Integrity’s better “comeback,” “To Die For.” Like the latter, this album can be foreseen as a classic in its own right in the decades to come.

“Suicide Black Snake” can be streamed in full here. With a street date of June 11, the record can be ordered from Magic Bullet Records and A389 Recordings.

INTEGADMATCatch Integrity on their international summer tour, dates below:

05/24: Montreal, QC @ Foufounes (A389 Canadian Invasion)
05/25: Toronto, ON @ Wrongbar (A389 Canadian Invasion)
05/26: Maryland Death Fest
05/27: Richmond, VA @ Kingdom w/ Gehenna, Full Of Hell
05/28: Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall w/ Gehenna, Full Of Hell
05/29: Nashville, TN @ The End w/ Gehenna, Full Of Hell
05/30: New Orleans, LA @ Siberia w/ Gehenna, Full Of Hell
06/01: Austin, TX @ Chaos In Tejas
07/26: Oberhausen, Germany @ Druckluft
07/27: AS, Belgium @ Vlamrock Festival
07/28: Port, UK – Le Pub
07/29: Leeds, UK @ Wharf Chambers
07/30: Dublin, Ireland @ Fiber
07/31: Newcastle, UK @ Trillians
08/01: London, UK @ Underworld
08/02: Viveiro, Spain @ Resurrection Festival
08/03: Karlsruhe, Germany @ New Noise
08/04: Paris, France @ Péniche Alternat
08/05: Toulouse, France @ Les Combustibles
08/06: Bordeaux, France @ TBA
08/07: Luynes/Aix en Provence, France @ Le Korigan
08/08: Milano, Italy @ Magnolia Club
08/09: Bologna, Italy @ Freakout Club
08/10: Nova Goricia, Slovenia @ Mostovna
08/16: Hohenstein, Germany @ Voice Of Art Festival
08/17: Fredericia, Denmark @ Days Of Fury Fest
08/18: Hengelo, Netherlands @ Innocent
08/19: Hannover, Germany @ Bei Chez Heinz
08/20: Berlin, Germany @ Cassiopeia
08/21: Hamburg, Germany @ Headcrash
08/22: Oslo, Norway @ Bunker Festival
08/23: Linkoping, Sweden @ L’ Orient

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Robert Wojcik

    June 9, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Super impressive. The newest and most exciting novel in the INTEGRITY saga.

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