Hail the almighty Integrity and their decision to remix and re-master their classic hardcore album Systems Overlord after teasing us with rumors (when do rumors not swirl around this outfit really) for what feels like decades of an “original mix” of the album that was not what Victory Records used for their ultimate release of the record; the only way to make a classic album better is by making it sound even more vital and in this case pissed off than it ever had previously, which is exactly what Integrity has done with this new version of Systems Overload.
Being an admittedly hopeless fiend that joneses for just about anything that Integrity releases might make you doubt my opinions or musings on anything from the band, but in the case of Systems Overload, such doubts are completely unwarranted as it is a clear cut part of the undisputed unholy triumvirate of Integrity records; and I must say that I have worn out two copies of this album (one on CD and one on LP) from obsessive listening over the years (when it first came out, I exclusively listened to the album for four months), but none of that prepared me for the sonic facelift that previous and current members of the band have imparted to this awesome record that somehow makes Systems Overload even better.
This new version of Systems Overload is recognizably different from the very first sounds that come out of the speakers as “Incarnate 365” demonstrates how the music is no longer bogged down by a muddy mix and is now bright and distinct and deliciously noisy (listen to the beginning of “Armenian Persecution” for a good example of how the new version is noisier) as well as just an overall more powerful sound (those of you that are used to the regular mix might also recognize new samples that were previously nowhere to be heard). Some of my favorite ever Integrity songs are given new life (the title track, “Armenian Persecution”, “Incarnate 365”, “Grace Of The Unholy”, and “Jimson Isolation” all sound so awesome in the new mix) while the new mix makes songs like “Salvations Malevolence” (though I do miss the echo on the screamed “Salvation” before the breaks, which might the biggest part of the original mix that I miss), “Mediator”, “The Screams”, and “Search For Divinity” really pop in ways that the regular mix failed to do.
Possibly the most impressive aspect of this remix and re-master is that it takes so very little away from the power of what made the original version of Systems Overload and adds so much in the way of viciousness and really just makes this Integrity album even better than it was; so Integrity have inconceivably done what virtually no one else has in making a classic album sound even more angry and powerful and just damn well better, and if you do not grab this, you are missing out on one of the darkest, angriest hardcore albums ever.
Take this raging slab of an album and play it on your stereo at loud volumes until your fragile eardrums explode causing you to bleed out of your ear canals ...
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Magic Bullet Records is offering a downloadable label sampler with new songs from Sweet Cobra, Meatwound, Harmonic Cross, and Bleach Everything. The sampler is available for download here.
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