Review Summary: 'The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist.'
If anyone has ever seen the ending of the Blair Witch Project as Heather is attacked by persons unknown, the most terrifying aspect of that scene many would attribute to the implications of Heather's terrified screaming. On the contrary though, what perhaps makes this scene more terrifying is the sheer emptiness of it; the monochromatic colour of the shots, the basement setting, even the fact that neither the audience or Mike see what happens to Heather as she screams out to a world of forced apathy. It's a very paradoxical yet very fitting ending to a film that is all about a candid descent into Hell. We don't get the payoff because in the end we are too scared to look at our own monstrous scars. We aren't the ones who descended into Hell, they did and they're paying the price, not us. In a sense that's the barrier between audience and product that Integrity destroyed on their debut.
Born from a mix of botched Puritanism, Charles Manson and misanthropy, Those Who Fear Tomorrow
was (and still is) the game changer. Just as Varg did for black metal, this album redifined what was considered dark within the hardcore genre. Integrity took the the template of NY hardcore, pushed out the tired old lyrical themes and guitar tones before replacing them with the occult, murder and a dirty, distorted guitar tone reminiscent of GISM on steroids. The result? Utter madness, a brutal fist fight, the Jonestown Massacre and a hallucinogenic nightmare of Biblical proportions all rolled into one. It's complete chaos yet on here all of these elements work together better than any of their influences could dream of. Riff flows into riff with an unearing ease and catchiness that belies the darkness of the album while Iommi-esque leads fly off at exactly the right spots; the bass shines at the right intervals and anchors everything together like a steel tree; the drumming is forceful and concise; and Dwid's vocal performance is perhaps one of the most powerful in all of metal, his demonic barking and shrieking resonating every word with a rage that feels both frightening but believable.
One criticism that could be levelled against this album is that perhaps borrows too heavily from it's influences, that it's perhaps just Bringin' It Down
with a little bit more distortion added on. While there's no denying that some riffs do feel as if they've been copied (see 'Diehard' and 'In Contrast of Sin') the band's sense of melody and that extra layer of distortion pushes these riffs into infinitely more pleasing forms. Add to that a huge sounding, nuts and bolts production and what's created is a macabre scrapbook that pulses with a raw, unfettered anti-life. This is vintage Integrity, free of pretensions that would haunt later albums and screaming to nothing and no one. It's the sound of a band caught in their own muddled Hell in the basement of a rotting house but this time there is no turning away. This is their truth, their darkness and they are completely unapologetic about it. That is what makes this album a bona fide classic.