Integrity – Suicide Black Snake (A389 Recordings)

Friday, 14th June 2013
Rating: 8/10

What hardcore should sound like if its constituents decided to grow up and get out of the tough-guy box, Suicide Black Snake is one rather obvious summation of Integrity’s recent sonic adventures. Main dude and resident cult personality Dwid Hellion has essentially turned the tables on the old sound they helped create, and in turn, sound more resolute and honest than any band that came up through the North American hardcore ranks. And there are A LOT of bands from said ranks.

Hellion’s rage-in-a-cage bark is still the main draw for Integrity, and even while trying to decipher the man is virtually impossible, the personality and draw is evident. He’s clearly in his comfort zone on the beastly “Beasts As Gods,” “There Is A Sign,” and “All is None,” yet it the withdrawn, cloaked-in-darkness versatility of the title track and album highlight “There Ain’t No Living in Life” that end up being the best cuts on Suicide Black Snake. Specifically “There Ain’t No Living in Life,” which thanks to an accompanying harmonica solo, is like a low-man’s hardcore tale.

For not only their longevity, but their ability to look beyond the totally-restrictive hardcore scene, Integrity should be lauded for Suicide Black Snake. Revelatory this is not, but when the deck is stacked so high in a particular scene and a band decides to break loose, go around, go over, etc., it’s cause for notice.

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