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Integrity

To Die For (Deathwish)

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Now 15 years down the road, metalcore pioneers Integrity still kick plenty of arse. But something ugly and destructive lurks on To Die For. Following two ill-conceived, electronica-damaged releases, frontman Dwid's on-again, off-again vehicle has returned to form just in time to join the trend it helped spark. They're still ahead of the curve, but the movement is heading backward.

In the mid-'80s, metal-hardcore crossover emerged as an efficient alternative to heavy-metal hyperbole, with punk minimalism replacing shredding guitar solos, ambient guitar intros, and six-minute songs. But now the filler is making its way back in. To Die For opens with bone-crunching bounce on "Taste My Sin," which is interrupted in short order by an Eddie Van Halen fretboard spazz-out. Two of the eight remaining tracks are guitar instrumentals. They're mercifully short, but they're bound to inspire some unsuspecting youngster to top them. Dwid has been around long enough to know better. In the album-closing title cut, he reminisces about the scene in '88. But he's apparently forgotten that music like this is what killed that golden age.

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