No Peace/War is a very interesting tribute to Japanese hardcore featuring some of the biggest names in metallic hardcore. The idea for this release first appeared back in the mid-90s but due to various obstacles nothing was finalized until now.
Originally an RSD (Record Store Day) exclusive, No Peace/War was only available in the US via Reckless Records whilst Internationally the record could be found through multiple distros. The US variant had a black and blue obi-strip and blue vinyl; the International had a black and yellow strip and yellow vinyl. Band copies appeared on nice blood-red vinyl. After a month or so, Organized Crime put up another pair of variants, who were much easier to obtain. The first was on green vinyl; the second was a grab-bag, meaning the vinyl color was picked at random (The black and white obi-strip was on every copy).
Integrity starts things off with a very spot on cover of Zouo's "No Power." Just like I said in the Thee DestroyOrr review, this keeps the original feel while injecting that distinctive Integrity feel. I love the minute long build up - it's like the calm before the storm. As soon as that build-up finishes you're thrown into a relentless metal-punk assault.
Gehenna keeps the ball rolling. Their contribution, G.I.S.M.'s "Shoot To Kill", was first recorded years ago. It appeared to be lost but miraculously the recording was found and touched up. Covering such a distinctive band like G.I.S.M. is always hit and miss but Gehenna does a damn good job. The sound is dark and murky and the vocals are very intense - as the song moves along the vocals seem to get more and more layered. All of this combined with that driving guitar that makes Gehenna a personal favorite creates a very well done cover.
The track that really surprised me was VVegas' "Death Agonies And Screams" for a couple reasons. First and foremost is the simple fact that it's another successful G.I.S.M. cover. The second is how aggressive and savage VVegas sound. T sounds absolutely primal, spitting spite and malice. And then the guitar takes over. The solo is my favorite on No Peace/War. As a fan of VVegas, I'd be interested in hearing more tracks with SKV-esque vocals.
Cape Ov Bats' "When Can't Sleep" immediately grabs the listener's attention and keeps it for the full two-minutes. Admittedly my knowledge of Cape Ov Bats is quite limited but this definitely has intrigued me. Hopefully they have some new material soon.
The final track belongs to Rot In Hell. A while back the band posted a couple of unreleased tracks and this SOB cover was one of them. This sounds like an original RIH track - crushing, urgent, and aggressive. Campbell of Mob Rules provides guest vocals and they fit very well. "Over The Line" is one of my favorite tracks and as much as I love the original, this cover is almost better.
Organized Crime still has copies of the green vinyl variant and grab-bag but these won't be in stock much longer. While you're there, check out some of the new shirts from Dark Empire, Gehenna, Pulling Teeth, and many many more. [Organized Crime]
Friday, May 27, 2011
(Originally on Halifax Collect)
If you take the raw - primal - aggression of Systems Overload, the experimental sounds of Seasons In The Size Of Days, add in a healthy dose of Japanese metal-punk you might scratch the surface of the newest Integrity disc. Gathering together six new tracks and nine recent numbers (not including the thirty plus minute interview), Thee DestroyOrr is a discography of the Orr era.
The album kicks off with “Detonate Worlds Plague”, a scorching song just under two minutes. This is the perfect introduction to the very prevalent Japanese influence. There is an undeniable savageness to the sound. The production is clear and well done yet retains a raw, almost demo sound that really suits the music well. “Beasts As Gods” continues down this path. As soon as the guitar work takes over, things are taken to another level. The shorter track lengths remind me of Systems Overload, where there was a great balance of solos and hardcore.
“Sermon Thirteen” is an interesting number since it's a spoken word piece accompanied by Orr riffs. Its layered just so that the instruments don't drown out the words yet the words don't take away from the instruments (if that makes sense). The next track is an absolute stand-out. “Orrchida” first appeared on the sold out 7.17 record and no matter how many times I hear it the magic is indescribable. Paying homage to the late Randy Uchida, Orr lays down some of the gnarliest work since the days of G.I.S.M. and R.U.G.. The last solo will give you goose-bumps. And seeing it played live was mind-blowing.
“We Have Helped Others Escape” takes that strange feel of “Sermon Thirteen” and amplifies it. Air raid sirens dominate the piece along with muted, distorted vocals. The noise and overall sound certainly shows the influence of Boyd Rice. It's repetitious but keeps the listener's attention for the full three and half minutes. At first the track really didn't click, but after a few listens (using a better sound system) I really enjoyed it and can certainly say it's one of my favorite Integrity songs, no matter the era.
The album goes back in the direction of the earlier tracks with “All Is None.” The track really hits a good stride and has a good pace leading to Dwid shouting “All Is None” over and over again. “Lucifer Before The Day Doth Go” brings back memories of hearing “Millennial Reign” for the first time. Moments are old-school Integrity, but beneath the surface a much more ominous beast lurks. Again, the raw production leads to a great tone.
The next two tracks appeared on a split with Japan's Creepout. Up until a few months ago, these were only available on a limited pressed 7” (digitally speaking, the tracks have been available to download on the Holy Terror site alongside many other Integrity releases) but A389 Recordings did a re-release. In any case, “Love Is The Only Weapon” and “Let The Night Roar” are another two scorching tracks. Just like the previous two tracks, “We Are The End” and “Beneath Black Flames We Ride” were featured on a previous release. Magic Bullet put out a killer one-sided 7”. This was my first exposure to the Orr era and I have to say some of my favorites. They sound immense as if the music just cuts into you like a blade.
“Waiting For The Sun (To Burn Out My Eyes)” appears twice on the album, the first being an acoustic rendition. Hardcore and metal has always been my bread and butter but I've always had a soft-spot for a well done acoustic number. If anything it provides an interesting contrast with the other version and makes me interested in hearing other Integrity numbers stripped down. The second version brings the tone back to the usual metal-punk we all know and love. Originally on the split with Rot In Hell (which is still in the works as of May 2011), this – and the following track – are perhaps the best Integrity material post Systems. That isn't hyperbole. This shows the band as a brutal juggernaut, fearlessly breaking down genres and stereotypes. “Black Heksen Rise” is the crown jewel of Thee DestroyOrr. Without a doubt this is the embodiment of what people label Holy Terror. It's aggressive, unforgiving, and has some of the best guitar riffs in the last ten years. The infamous Rot In Hell split will see the light of day and hearing this track on vinyl will be worth the wait (Not to mention RIH's contribution “Erebus” isn't too shabby either).
Thee DestroyOrr closes with a very well done Zouo cover. I often bypass covers for a number reasons but “No Power” is a damn close recreation while keeping that distinct Integrity sound. This appeared on the No Peace/War 7”, a tribute to Japanese legends by groups such as the aforementioned Rot In Hell and the infamous Gehenna, VVegas, and Cape Ov Bats. Any fan, whether they be a causal listener or a hardcore freak such as myself will enjoy the track – and the 7” for that matter.
While it's not music, the interview at the very end, was very enlightening. I won't spoil it – too much – but everything from Humanity Is The Devil's connection with the armed forces to how the new Integrity songs are created is discussed. Check it out.
Thee DestroyOrr showcases why Integrity is one of the most important and creative bands. They take hardcore, metal, punk, noise, and weave together a very cohesive discography that will please even the most jaded listener. Even with this release being less than a month old, I still crave more Orr/Dwid collaborations.
If you couldn't tell, I highly recommend picking up this CD. You can purchase this from Holy Terror. If you enjoy vinyl rather the CD format, Holy Terror has you covered. The 12” Detonate Worlds Plague features all the new tracks and “Orrchida.” There are multiple variants to please or perhaps torment collectors but don't sleep on this. I have a strong feeling these won't be sitting around for too long. [Holy Terror]