INTEGRITY: The Blackest Curse: CD

Jul 06, 2010

It’s been some time that I’ve been waiting for this album. What I consider the last proper Integrity album, the absolute masterpiece Seasons in the Size of Days, was released in 1997, and while Integrity 2000, To Die For, various 7”s and reissues (and scores of lesser bands paying homage) did well enough to partially fill the void left in their recurring absence, not until now have we been graced with a fully realized Integrity release. At this point, it’s far too early to determine where The Blackest Curse stands among Integrity’s previous LPs, but it’s very safe to say that I am far from disappointed. There is a particular vibe that culminated with Seasons that I felt was lacking in each release between it and this new one. A bleakness and desperation that was absolutely oozing from Seasons, Tomorrow, and Humanity (and to a somewhat lesser extent Systems), but brothers and sisters… that darkness is back. There is a completeness to The Blackest Curse, a continuation and a realization of a dark, twisted vision and heavy, evil sound that Dwid and company essentially brought to the genre with that first LP some twenty-two years ago. Whether a starting point for new listeners or, like myself, an indescribably welcome return to form, The Blackest Curse is on par with Integrity’s finest hours and has quite possibly set the bar unreachably high for “hardcore record of the year”… or decade… or millennium. Fucking incredible.

 –Dave William (Deathwish)