INTEGRITY – Systems Overload (Review)

My brother is a big INTEGRITY fan. They might be one of his favourite bands, but I haven’t heard a ton of their music. I do know what they sound like – fast (occasionally sludgy), noisy punk/hardcore. It’s definitely the kind of thing I’m into. These guys have been around since 1988, and they’ve seen a myriad of lineup changes since then. . Today, I’m checking out Systems Overload, their 1995 album that is being re-released this year.

Systems Overload is hardcore as fuck. From “Incarnate 365” to “Search for Divinity”, it is brutal, cacophonous, and incredibly pissed off. There are twelve songs in just under thirty minutes, so this entire album just flies by. “Salvations Malevolence” is my personal favourite – a five and one half minute track that features a slow section with some killer low vocals and an excellent solo. Speaking of excellent guitars, “The Screams” has some fantastic riffs, and the calm, clean intro to “Armenian Persecution” makes it another favourite of mine. I’m enjoying these guys a lot more than I thought I would.

D-beats, more d-beats, chunky guitars and bass, and shouted, angry vocals make Systems Overload. Generally, things move fast, but with songs like “Grace of the Unholy” and “Jimson Isolation”, we’re taken to more of a sludge realm. INTEGRITY transition between these fast and slow segments flawlessly. It’s no surprise that they were highly influential in both the hardcore and metal scenes, and had a big influence on the now monumentally atrocious metalcore genre (through no fault of theirs). Any current fans of INTEGRITY who are unfamiliar with their earlier work or anyone into killer hardcore should absolutely go pick this up. Highly recommended.

– Zac C. Dendinger

Score: 88%

Standout tracks: “Incarnate 365”, “Armenian Persecution”, “Grace of the Unholy”, “The Screams”

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