Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume

Consistency is the Devil
dB rating: 8/10

Release Date: July 14, 2017
Label: Relapse

Integrity is weird. After ruling the ’90s with apocalyptic hardcore, the three-chambered heart of the band—frontman Dwid Hellion and the Melnick brothers—parted ways, leaving Hellion to try and create a new band that could return to former glories ever since. While far from perfect, Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume is the closest he’s gotten in 20 years. The only caveat is that this is not what the old-school fan is going to want to hear.

Since 2010 the band has gotten increasingly odd, moving into whatever random corners Hellion seems to find interesting. This is their most radically different record, and the main reason it’s successful is because of new guitarist Domenic Romeo. Romeo’s own experiments in former band Pulling Teeth have been magnified and given a Dwid-ian twist. While there are still traditional hardcore songs, they’re overwhelmed by, for example, the three middle tracks comprising over 21 fascinating minutes of doom, classic rock, melancholy solos, thrash, dusty Americana and haunted ’50s pop.

Now, these attempts don’t always succeed. “Die With Your Boots On” is a flimsy heavy metal number that requires a singer with far more range than Hellion. And while track “String Up My Teeth,” with its gospel singer accompaniment, will likely be framed by defenders as deliberately provocative, it is fucking unlistenable.

But these are really just growing pains. Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume marks a new, exciting Integrity. If you want the old shit, buy the old albums.

— Shane Mehling

This review taken from the September 2017 issue. Howling, for the Nightmare Shall Consume is available on vinyl from Relapse.

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