Integrity at Birthdays, London - live review

Subterrenea live

Crowd shot
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

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Tonight, two of modern metalcore’s big hitters, Bury Tomorrow and While She Sleeps, are playing London to far larger crowds than the modest one here tonight. Arguably though, were it not for INTEGRITY, the music they make may not even exist. However, just being hugely revered, massively influential and only a year shy of your 30th birthday as a band isn’t enough to cut it when you’re faced with a couple of hundred diehard fans. And although their riffs are still heavier than concrete drowning in quicksand and frontman Dwid Hellion is as gruff as he’s ever been, the years have slowed Integrity slightly. As pace and energy are such key components of hardcore, this does blunt the band’s attack from time to time. Another key to great blackened hardcore is heart, and the passion with which they deliver both classics like System Overload and new tracks from their forthcoming album, Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume, shows why they’ve maintained such longevity. The current crop of bands could do a lot worse than continuing to follow the path that Integrity resolutely tread.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.