Integrity/Krieg – “Split” EP (Relapse Records)
Oh boy, not one but two horrors in this nasty, gruesome noise package…..thank god it’s only an EP! Still, with 4 tracks (2 new, 2 covers) from Cleveland’s dark legends Integrity and 3 (1 new, 1 reworked and 1 live) from New Jersey black metallers Krieg, it’s enough of a challenge to not go mental. Opening with ‘Scorched Earth’ and Dwid’s hoarse roar leads the chopping mayhem although it’s not without style thanks to Dom Romeo’s wailing punk rock guitar which certainly injects the manic aggression but equally some rock n roll style in there too. On ‘Flames Of The Immortal’ its pretty much a continuation, although a roaring chorus amid raging guitars is what makes the difference here, well contrasted by Romeo’s slower, bluesier solo (albeit brief) before screaming off to the fiery pits of hell itself. Taking ‘Sons Of Satan’ from Vermapyre (a solo project of Dwid) with its massively catchy singalong chorus, Romeo again shows his prowess with a fine blend of classical and metal fused soloing making this a short, if highly memorable tune. Closing Integrity’s half is an excellent cover of GISM’s ‘Document One’, with Dwid in full bark blast mode and his rawness matched by the shredding guitars occasionally dabbling devilishly in melodic heavy metal soloing ha ha – yeah! Next up is Krieg bringing in their black metal darkness on ‘Circle Of Guilt’, highly reminiscent of earliest Bathory or primordial black metal bands like Beherit and Dark Throne, but equally having a cool dark punk rock n roll element along the lines of Danzig. With vocalist Neill Jameson employing a raw, haunting scream, the dirty, fused guitars match although there’s enough of the punk vibe to keep the momentum going on this new track. ‘This Time I’ll Leave You to Drown’ is more in the style of depressive black metal thanks to the hugely melancholic guitars made even more morose thanks to a shoegaze element – definitely not one to listen to if you’re on a downer heh heh. They close off with a live track ‘The Sick Winds Stir The Cold Dawn’ which is actually their best song, clearly proving what an intense live experience Krieg are with an awesome vocal performance from Jameson through his sickly drawls to power screams and demented wails, definitely proving they are ones to catch live (even at risk to one’s sanity!). Another Relapse moment in sheer terror.