INTEGRAL RIGOR – Fallen/Brain Blind/Alast

INTEGRAL RIGOR – Fallen/Brain Blind/Alast

Awhile ago an Iranian musician named Masoud contacted us for a review of the Middle Eastern death metaller’s Integral Rigor’s single "Fallen". One thing led to another and I decided to review their previous album "Alast" as well as their most recent single "Brain Blind" in addition to "Fallen" as they have all more than sparked my interest in this Sari, Mazandaran, Iranian construct comprised, according to Encyclopedia Metallum’s picture, of 3 guys, 2 of whom are known as the aforementioned Masoud and Reza Rostamian (frontman, intruments, vocals), the identity of the third man unknown. This ambiguity should be clear to anyone with a passing familarity with Iranian political system: it is a theocracy where belonging to a metal band can be hazardous to your health and/or life.

This is why "Alast" (2018), which begins our review, is written in unintelligible Persian along with the title "Alast", while completely devoid of vocals, which, once you listen to the 8 track content, is quite significant as some of these songs just beg for vocals. Most of this "songy" material is heavily indebted to Nile and Behemoth and even Ulcerate (Rust) as well as to…Depeche Mode, evident from the interesting Sepultura-ish opener "From Dust To Human" but tracks like "Ashiran" recall Obscura or Decrepit Birth followed by clearly latter Death-ly "Devil Inside" where the progressive finish smacks of "Symbolic" or "The Sound Of Perseverance". Following a brief if slightly inferior "Zahir" the absolute beast of a track rolls in – a kind of Mithras-ic Pink Floyd-ian Darkest Hour where the guitars are so good this should be their SIGNATURE track wherever they go. The remaining two tracks are close to the first two – very good to good but the album does end on a great melodic note leaving me very impressed holding an easy 4.5/6 score in my hand.

"Fallen" is quite another story. Seemingly simpler, definitely heavier, more djenty and progressive, it is well balanced somewhere between Gojira’s "From Mars To Sirius" to Darkane’s "Layers Of Lies", especially in the way vocals combine both Joseph „Joe” Duplantier’s and Andreas Sydow’s stylings, respectively. The track is very catchy and gets better with every listening session, earning an easy 5/6.

Finally, "Brain Blind", the only track I only know from their bandcamp page (below the review), is a step below "Fallen" although in a similar vein with surprisingly Layne Thomas Staley-ish Alice In Chains-ian clean vocals to compliment the growls while, again, very Nile-ish and with fantastic musicianship for a 4.5/6 score.

Combining the score for "Alast", "Fallen" and "Brain Blind" we arrive at 4.5/6 which is the score above the review.

Integral Rigor is an act which should have gained the attention of proper media channels at least 2 years ago. These guys are fantastic musicians equal to Behemoth and Nile and even approaching Ulcerate at times. I brought you all I could so that you can make up your mind realizing that this Iranian diamond is still unpolished but it is up to YOU, be you Metal Blade, Nuclear Blast or Century Media, or, perhaps, Jon Asher, to polish it, should you choose to. As far as I’m concerned you will not regret your business decision.