Integrity

Integrity

Closure

Victory

In the usually monochromatic and homogeneous sound world of Victory Records, Integrity’s Closure must have seemed like a modern Tower of Babel, upsetting realities, distorting perceptions, and plunging believers into confusion and terror. Or maybe like a sky blackened by a plague of locusts. Closure is seriously the one, man, I don’t think the Integrity aesthetic can get any more dense and refined than this. Ambitious and varied, it reminds me at various times of Master Of Puppets, In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up, November Coming Fire, Goat, In the Flat Field, and even some of Skinny Puppy’s experimental abandon here and there.

Opener “Trial Of Adonis” reminds me of those old Samhain intro numbers, very dark and grey, peppered with female screams and distorted mechanical grunts. “Bloodlust” almost seems like it’s gonna collapse under the weight of the ominous rumbling bass, and Dwid’s vocals are in fine glass-eating form. Lemmy on sandpaper and steroids? “No Time For Sudden Glances” is similarly harrowing, along with lots of John Christ/Zakk Wylde guitar flourishes and rousing sea-shanty Misfits-esque backing vocals on the chorus. “Empty Shell” serves as a very lush and welcome idyll from constantly having to swallow nails. Things pick right back up again with “Angela Delamorte,” a harsh statement of intent, a dynamic feedback maelstrom like Ministry’s “So What” condensed down to three minutes. Next up is a propulsive, godly cover of the Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments.” I’m starting to sense a nice trend here, and I hadn’t even thought of the bastardized Danzig cover art until just now. “Mine” follows so perfectly, the running order of this album is quite deliberate. It’s sooooo a total fuzzed-out sinister Danzig/Samhain/Misfits collage, down to the evil Elvis vocals, and it’s catchy as hell. High point of the record, I listened to it 14 times in a row. “The Martyr Within” has a calming acoustic feel, spacey sound effects, and Dwid just barely whispering inner prayers and lyrics about the perversion of religious devotion and sainthood; it’s a stunning musical departure, kinda like Death Angel’s “A Room With a View.” “Troublesome Dilemma of Fornication” is a fascinating anti-sex rant, with a big Melvins sludge influence and Dwid talking, screaming, ranting, moaning all at the same time; hey, such matters predispose one towards schizophrenia. “Sessions You’ll Never See” is just musical bile, climaxing with Dwid either screaming “come on” or “god” as the guitars build and build, before he spits his own lungs out. “Le Mmurb” ends things much the same way that they began. Conceptual tightness rules.

Oh by the way, it’s the last Integrity record ever (?). Finally, a band that has the guts and vision to pack it all in at the height of their creative powers. Ta then, Integrity. Hello, Angela Delamorte.

Victory Records, PO Box 166546, Chicago, IL 60414; http://www.victoryrecords.com, http://www.delamorte.com/

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