Integrity has reunited for a European tour and will soon release a new EP and album, which are the Cleveland band's first recordings since 2003. For the current trek, the iconic group is opening for Converge, one of hardcore's biggest groups.
"Integrity are one of the most interesting bands of the entire metallic hardcore genre," says Converge frontman Jacob Bannon. "Along with [fellow Clevelanders] Ringworm, Integrity paved the way for heavy music as we know it. Their turbulent history and mysterious existence has only added to their popularity. We are honored to be sharing a stage with them."
The tour — which runs through September — takes the group from the U.K. to Moscow. Frontman and lyricist Dwid will simultaneously work on an ambient-noise project called Irons, which features contributions from Bannon and visual artist Stephen Kasner. Bannon's Massachusetts-based indie label, Deathwish Inc., will release Integrity's The Blackest Curse CD in August.
Dwid, who now lives in the Netherlands, is the sole holdover from the classic '90s lineup. The band now features guitarist Matt Brewer (Dead Even, Ringworm) and bassist Steve Rauckhorst (Garmonbozia). Guitarist Michael Jochum and drummer Nate Jochum (American Werewolves, the Plan) have also joined since the group's last album.
Baltimore hardcore label A389 Recordings will release the upcoming Walpurgisnacht EP as a 7-inch record. It's also available as a free download with the purchase of an Integrity T-shirt at www.shopshogun.com. The two five-minute tracks sound much like 2003's To Die For: blasts of metallic guitar crunch, acoustic interludes, mechanically precise double-bass mosh beats, and Dwid's trademark blowtorch voice.
The Blackest Curse includes 10 tracks and clocks in around 45 minutes, culminating in a 10-minute epic that guitarist Michael Jochum describes as "Integrity meets Thin Lizzy — really catchy, kinda hook-oriented. [It's] probably the most aggressive Integrity album. We've probably been listening to too much Slayer and Deicide."
One thing missing from the old days is Integrity's infamous infighting. These days, the musicians regularly practice in Cleveland, and so far, none of the members has accused any other of attempted vehicular homicide or grand theft.
"We have really great guys in the band," says Dwid. "They have been going strong for a few years now. Our individual influences mist across the landscape of the new material while maintaining a vaguely familiar environment."
• Cleveland visual artist Derek Hess and politician Kent Smith will unveil their new book Please God Save Us at a release party and signing session on Friday, July 18, at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (1 Wade Oval Drive). The politically themed book — which resembles a graphic novel — features art by Hess and text by Smith. Hess has designed artwork for Pink Floyd and Pearl Jam, and sponsored the Strhess tour and festivals; Smith is a national Democratic Party organizer. The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Admission is free.
• Mirrors reunites for a show on Saturday, July 19, at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Road). Most of the ClePunk/no-wave band's 1970s quintet lineup will play. The show starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $8.
• Cleveland rockers Last Stone Cast have added more new tracks from their forthcoming CD, Life Construed, to www.myspace.com/laststonecastlsc. The band headlines this weekend's Rock the Docks fest in Lakemore, which features Nemesis 3 (acoustic and full-band sets), punks Ellen Degenerate, pop-rock princess Jackie, and others. Bands from the show will appear on a Rock the Docks compilation; all proceeds from the collection will benefit the family of Josh Miktarian, the Barium guitarist and Twinsburg police officer who was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, July 13.