Each Tuesday, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated release he thinks we need to know about. This week it’s Blood Book Magazine's Integrity/Kids of Widney High 7-inch. Listen to a different, similarly sick Integrity song here and and read Schnipper’s thoughts after the jump.
Not to blow up spots, but this made me laugh: "Somehow, *everyone* at the bar in New York grew up listening to really, really fuckin cool hardcore 7-inches." The Kids of Widney High/Integrity split that came with Blood Book fanzine is the coolest 7-inch I was into in 8th grade. Lord knows where I got it. It’s kind of not really age appropriate. Show and tell time!
Integrity was a really scary hardcore band from Ohio and Blood Book was edited and mostly written by their singer, Dwid. He’d invented his own religion called the Church of Holy Terror. I believe it took all its tenets from other religions and tried to make a sweet religion from their best parts. Not a bad idea, but seems unrealistic. Integrity’s two songs on this record are sick. Calling your song “Jagged Visions ’96” automatically dates you. This record came out in 1997. I wrote about Integrity once here before when discussing Kehinde Wiley and California black metal (what the fuck, Schnipper?):
Integrity released an album with the song “Armenian Persecution,” where the singer Dwid heavy shrilled about his ancestors, Forced in the desert and into sandy graves/ Children were murdered while their mothers were raped/ Babies were thrown in the air and impaled on swords/ Nothing but death from the Turkish hordes, which was a hefty and complex history lesson for a young kid with Turkish heritage of his own. So, conversely, where is the heft—historic, personal or otherwise—in theatrical facepaint? From the shitty Northeast, free healthcare and hugely high standards of living in Scandinavia do not translate into a life of metallic injustice and the corresponding musical rants.
Lord knows how shit must have been in Ohio circa ’96 for dude to be looking up to Charles Manson. Note the review:
Dwid calls him “Uncle Charley,” “Chuck” and a “folk legend.” Where were my parents?? Probably leaving my alone. Thanks? Good thing I wasn’t that stupid.
At that point I had already heard Merzbow. The Wesleyan radio station broadcasted not too far down Route 9 from my house, so I would tape all the shows. I got a fancy cassette player that you could set to record in the middle of the night. Sometimes the blank tape beginning to spin would wake me up. Thursday night was the Rorschach Test. Every week they played Void’s “My Rules” and Karp’s “Bastard of Disguise.” Corny to say it changed my life? Okay, probably didn’t change my life. Still cool! I remember thinking one show had an extremely long passage of static, but then finding out it was Merzbow. In this interview I found out Masami Akita, Merzbow’s backbone was then 39 (which would make him now 55 years old. That’s a lot of white noise.) The photos of Japanese brutal noise legends at a Cleveland shooting range are priceless, but not as priceless as this completely random question and answer as though it was the most super obvious question ever:
Blood Book: What laws does Japan have towards pornography?
Masami Akita: We still have censorship law for genitals, but there are cheap underground videos with no censorship.
This is sandwiched between a question about an old friend and a recent tour. This did not make me seek out any Merzbow records. Still not sure how I feel about them. Note: looking up Merzbow on YouTube now brings up a video of a girl talking into her computer called “Merzbow Scares Me.” I’m not clicking that. But I am clicking this. JAM!
There is also an interview with Francis Bacon, which, if you think about it, is super fucking weird. Was he like, Dwid’s uncle or something? How did they get that interview? He’s really famous! When he begins to tell Dwid that he’s an optimist, this clearly bums him out. “How can you be optimistic about nothing, Francis?” First name basis! I think I may have even known dude was dead when this happened so I was confused until the tiny footnote that says “Unfortunately Francis passed away while in Spain (probably there on a gambling binge) in early 1992. So, uh, when did this interview happen? Is it made up? Who knows! Come to think of it, a fake interview is kind of awesome. But you gotta hope a quote like “I remember looking at a dog shit on the pavement, and suddenly realized, ‘There it is, this is what life is like.'" is real. By the way, they published that with the period in the grammatically incorrect place. (I corrected it for you.)
“ATF Assault” and “Jagged Visions ’96” are not the best Integrity songs, so I wouldn’t recommend starting here. Unless somehow you are reading this and you are in middle school, in which case please leave a comment and I will send you tons of awesome hardcore records. I can understand not being into tons of rad hardcore records when you were in middle school. But for me, it’s pretty much impossible to imagine any sort of productive adolescence without it. I was a loser nerd who had friends but whose friends were off doing mescaline, which is kinda weird for eighth graders if you think about it now. I didn’t have any older siblings to teach me about cutting class or how I probably should not have stupid long curly hair (though savoring that shit before it started to go away was probably not a bad idea). So I had dumb hardcore records. I liked Wu-Tang but Spazz was what made me watch crazy kung-fu movies (one day would still like to see Master of the Flying Guillotine) and Capitalist Casualties made me talk about anarcho-socialism with my mom when she drove me to school. I read about that in a zine. Dude, you’re in over your head. I think I thought girls would think I was smart? Wow, that did not work. Maybe the key disadvantage of growing up into cool 7-inches.