Review Summary: What is gained with one hand, we lose with the other.
As times changed so did Integrity. Their revolving cast of musicians prevented any consistency throughout the nineties. Those Who Fear Tomorrow
presented a dark, titanic unearthing of humanity’s deepest demons but as the group evolved, the sound was stripped back and experimented on until, by the time of Seasons In The Size of Days
, the entire sound had been streamlined to a fine point. The majority of the songs upon this short LP are thrash-influenced bouts of hardcore fury. Dwid’s voice has also been toned back; no longer sounding like a psychotic Lemmy, his vocals sound more in tune with one of the howling souls of the damned that he rants about. In a way this toning back of all the elements of a band’s sound signals a form of maturity and indeed that is partially the case here.
There is absolutely no filler on this record. Not one of the songs rely on the chugging riffs anymore. The soloing has been cut back too, in exchange for low-end, thrash metal riffs that add more variety and aggression than many of Integrity’s previous attempts at the short song. Combined with rather basic if energetic drumwork, the album charges through nine of the eleven songs with all the subtlety of an iron bull. Great but this aggression also feels disconnected from the whole premise of the album. The idea of mankind’s last days on Earth doesn’t just bring the idea of brother turning on brother in recriminatory violence or of Mel Gibson rolling into town in his Falcon but also the desperation and sadness that comes with the downfall. This was an intrinsic part of Integrity’s earlier works and it gave the music emotional dynamism. On this album, though, it is mostly stripped back and overridden by sheer rage. There are some moments where the diversity is displayed; the tempo and tonal shifts of “Orbital Teleplastic Emanation” produce a concentrated explosion of futility and anger; the sludge-metal ballad “Millenial Reign”, which starts off well but ends up feeling strained and repetitive; and the crowning jewel of the album “Heaven Inside Your Hell,” a minimalistic, piano-driven piece that conveys the darkness and despair of the album better than any other song. These moments are too few and too inconsistent in execution though. This record is ingenious at one moment yet disjointed at the next. It’s fully an Integrity album but for that very reason, it’s its own worst enemy.