Monday, 8 February 2010

Integrity Tests To Die For

You may or may not know that I released a couple of records 2-3 years ago. The first was a 7" by a pretty much unknown UK band that i decided to put out after a conversation with my good friend, who just happened to be the singer. After I put the 7" out, I then had to decide whether I was going to try to keep the label going, and if so, what I was going to release. Like a lot of things, I had no plan, but when I sat and thought about it, I decided that one thing I wanted to do was try to put on to vinyl some records that, for one reason or another, never came out on vinyl. I made a shortlist of 5 albums I wanted to own on vinyl that only existed on CD, and started contacting the bands. I contacted the Boston, MA band 27 about putting their latest album, 'Holding On For Brighter Days' out on vinyl. They were into the idea & let me do it. A few months later, I had 500 LPs in my flat. The band was happy & I was happy. It worked out well. One down, five to go...

Next up, I contacted Dwid and asked about doing the same thing for the 2003 Integrity album, 'To Die For'. I explained that I had been a fan of the band since '92 and just really wanted to own the album on vinyl because my Integrity collection felt incomplete without it... and if that meant that I had to spend a couple of thousand quid to get it made, then so be it. Fortunately, he was receptive to the idea, and said he would be into it so long as the guys at Deathwish were too. So I emailed Tre at Deathwish, and he was into the idea too. I had the green light. I was stoked. I then had a couple of chats with Dwid about it on aol instant messenger, which even went so far as to work out how many copies would be pressed, what colours would be made, and how many copies I would send him. It seemed easy & I was stoked.

However, not long after this it all went wrong for me. Dwid was insistent that the artwork be the same as the CD version, which meant that I needed Jake Bannon's help (or, at least, blessing). So I emailed him. Unfortunately though, I got no response. Not that I know the guy, but he obviously has a lot of stuff going on, so I could understand. And then, after this, time just kinda passed by. I had another couple of half-assed attempts to get things moving, but they went nowhere. It seemed that putting energy into releasing a 5 year old album was something that nobody other than me seemed too bothered about. So I just kinda forgot about it, with the hope that one day the project would still see the light of day.

Well, here we are in 2010, and 'To Die For' has finally been put to vinyl... except not by me. Instead, A389 Records stepped up to the plate and got put this thing out. And what a great job they have done...

This record is a 10" (which is the only flaw, in my opinion, since I seriously HATE 10" records. That said though, 'Humanity Is The Devil' was a 10", so this will sit nicely alongside that in my box) and features completely different artwork to the CD:

I was disappointed when I first heard that the artwork was going to be different to that of the CD, but purely for selfish reasons. After all, the reason I didn't get to release it was because the artwork had to be the same as the CD. But I have to concede that, no matter how disappointed I was initially when I heard about this, the end result looks fantastic. I really like how the whole thing has a shroud of mystery and intrigue over it. For starters, there is no text anywhere on the sleeve except for on the spine. And secondly, the way that the back of the sleeve is just a mirror image of the front:

Now, I have to hold my hand up and admit that I had no clue who the chick on the cover is, so I had to ask. My friend Doug, on the other hand, knew all about it (I won't repeat it here, but if you are remotely interested then you should read his blog on the same record HERE). As a next level of mystery, the only insert is a picture of the same chick showing off her blasters with her friend:

Good boobs. Shame about the hair though. She looks better with the hood on if you ask me.

Anyway, before this record even arrived, I had spotted a test press on ebay, sold by Dwid himself. Since I was initially going to release this, I figured that I deserved to have a test press of this one in my collection, so decided to bid higher than I normally would. Plus, I had just sold my old ipod, and had a decent amount of money in my paypal account, so it wasn't like I would notice the cash hit. So I placed a sneaky bid. Unfortunately though, I didn't win. Yet it seemed that fortune was smiling upon me that day, because I soon received a second chance offer, which I gladly took... even though it meant having to house yet another goddamn ten inch record! The test showed up the day after the A389 package. It features different (yet similar) artwork to the regular record, which no doubt Doug will recognise & be able to tell us all about ;o)

There are apparently only 5 of these things out there. I got the middle finger:

To make it even more interesting, I also asked Dwid to personalise the dust sleeve. This is what he came up with:

Nice huh?

So that's that. Another Integrity record gratefully received. So that's that. Except, not quite. I guess Integrity records are like buses. Nothing for ages then three come along at once. Or rather, four...

When the pre-orders went up for 'To Die For', A389 also announced a bonus 7" that would go to the first 250 pre-orders. The result is a 7" called 'Grace Of The Unholy', which features two songs ('Darkness' and 'March Of The Damned') from the first Integrity album, although these versions of the songs on here pre-date the first album, and were originally released as a cassette. Someone out there will know more than me on this. But since I don't have the cassette, this is a welcome addition to my collection... although I am ever so slightly disappointed by the packaging on this one. I don't know why exactly. It just feels like it could have been a little more aesthetically interesting than it is:

My package also contained something that most other people's didn't. A test press of the Walpurgisnacht 7" that I won from Dom on ebay a couple of months ago. I love the artwork on this one:

I also love the overall tits & ass theme that's coming out of today's post.

Finally, a record that isn't by Integrity, but by a newish band on A389 called Seraphim. This one comes on an orangey-salmon colour vinyl, which definitely is not grey marble:

I like the artwork on this thing. I'm also into the band. The bio describes this band as sounding like a mix of Mastodon, Neurosis & Baroness. I'm not going to disagree with that, but when I listen, it reminds me very much of another band... only, I can't figure out who. But if you like the aforementioned bands, you'll find something interesting here.

Finally... I just realised that you can download most of the Integrity back catalog for free on the band's myspace page:

Integrity downloads

There's pretty much everything you could need here, save for a couple of dodgier releases that they conveniently forgot about. So no 'Closure', although you can get The Kids Of Widney High songs from the split 7". I see pretty girls everywhere I go... at the park... in my school... on the cover of Integrity records. Gimme a yeah. Yeah!


Wade said...


jhulud said...

Marcus...not only do you post the best blog entries about your record collection and scores...but damn dude, you have got the best hookups. More power to ya my friend!

Mike said...

I'm not a big fan of Integrity, but I do like boobs. Nice score...great post.

marcus said...

Hey Juan - not sure I have hookups exactly. Rather, I have met a few people over the years to the point where they know my name. That's probably about as far as it goes. If I had hookups I'd be getting stuff for free rather than having to pay for it!

Mike - that's the best quote from you I have ever heard. "I do like boobs". Haha!

jhulud said...

I meant "hookups" more in the sense of connections and knowing people. Not necessarily getting free stuff as you're thinking. My bad. Bottom line, it's awesome that you got these...major scores!

Graham said...

That 7" test press sleeve art is by Florian Bertmer - I'd love to get more of his prints but they sell out too quick!

Anonymous said...

the picture on the march of the damned bonus 7" is taken from an old silent movie called golem:
great movie!
i really like your detailled integrity posts! thumbs up!
sidenote: i really like the closure!