Integrity: Silver In The Hands Of Time
Integrity - Silver In The Hands Of Time - [Dockyard1]


Integrity is as unknown a band as Pentagram, and though unrelated by style the two have one other thing in common; both are very influential bands, which are said to be a major influence in creating new styles metal back in the day. Pentagram contributed a lot to the creation of sludge and doom, while Integrity made their donation to the creation of metalcore.

This brainchild of Dwid Hellion (unlike his other one, the techno/hardcore project Psywarfare) was formed in 1988/1989 and infused hardcore and thrash in a way that was uncommon at the time. The mixture was raw, much like uncooked sheep's stomach filled with other internal organs (or in short – Haggis), and even got more bizarre when Hellion started to put in industrial/techno samples. The band's early years sound was not only Dwid's work but was also attuned by Lenny and Aaron Melnick (guitarist & bassist), who gave a thick-as-hell bass backbone and a traditional filthy & muffled hardcore guitar distortion wall. Integrity is indeed hard to define, and this 21-track collection of singles and rarities certainly doesn't help.
The best way to define what they do would be "Oldschool"; few are the ones who make such music these days, with actual amps and low-cost/ low-quality production, depending exclusively on the material to speak for itself. And boy, this material shouts, kicks and screams as if it were a three year old deliberately having a tantrum.
Dwid's throaty voice is as sharp and a surgeon's scalpel yet as disease infested as a dumpster in an abandoned slaughterhouse, right on the edge between hardcore shouts and thrash-like aggressive singing, and leads most of these short attacks some will refer to s songs throughout most of this release.

Opener "Live it down" sets the bass-laden tone for the next four songs, up until "Harder They Fall" and "March Of The Damned", slower tracks which mix Slayer and Motörhead in some murky and unexplained way, along with a very old Metallica-like solo in the latter, same features in "Jimson Isolation".
Other points of reference are the borderline hardcore-punk/ thrash number "Darkness" and punk/crust crust number "Kingdom Of Heaven", Dwid's tormented vocals on "Rebirth" (doubtingly though a megaphone) and "Eighteen", one of the odd-balls here, with a melodic (!) opening guitar part, clean vocals, actual soloing guitar, and overall low tempo; this track must be here for a reason (though it might be a cover), for the following tracks are an ear-burning decrease in sound quality.

From the demonic acts of "Sarin" through the guest appearance of Lemmy (from the aforementioned Motörhead, who are clearly a major influence) introducing himself and Integrity on "ATF Assault", and up until the second, odder, odd-ball "Silence Ever After" there's an even rawer version Integrity; "Silence Ever After", a long (9:29) pause from all the racketing in the form of an ambient, spacey (whispered voices, background guitar soloing & feedback, tribal drums, loops of keyboard) acid trip shows some of those electronic inputs Dwid is so fond of. But "Divinity In Exile" gets things back on track (though it still has some remains the electronic in the opening and closing seconds) and along with the messy "Change" has screams that could stand up to Slayer's Tom Araya, and the clutter continues in "Thaw".

The closing trio includes "Evacuate" which brings some of punk's smudginess, the strong & well-built "Jagged Divisions" (another highlight here) and the eerie noise of "Learn How To Die" as a suitable acid dripping finish.

Despite their noisy & raw mixture of different styles of metal, and low quality sound on this collection, Integrity undoubtingly have some historical value – and "Silver In The Hands Of Time" is a fine specimen of that, of their material and of Oldschool metal in general. Only question still standing is whether this release is worth a spin only for its historical value or as well as for the music Integrity make. Not an easy one (the album, not the answer).

Ofer Vayner

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