"[Integrity] shaped the world of heavy music with their music, lyrics, and philosophy," says Escapist Records owner Michael Phillips, a 26-year-old Cleveland native who grew up on the scene and has since moved to Pittsburgh. "Integrity is the definition of a band that was criminally underrated during their time. They weren't the only band mixing hardcore and metal, but they were the best at it."
Integrity formed in 1989 and has continued through several incarnations and sounds. Featuring the Melnick brothers Aaron and Lenny, the band's first four albums fused aggressive, mid-tempo hardcore with intricate heavy-metal guitar leads. Over time, frontman Dwid's controversial lyrics drifted from veganism to serial killers and apocalyptic religious visions.
Phillips started putting together the 21-track disc in 2005. The roster includes Japan's Creepout, the Netherlands' Incarnate, and Poland's Daymares. California's These Days honors the anthem "Micha: Those Who Fear Tomorrow." It's one of the cuts available at www.MySpace.com/escapistrecords.
"I hope the tribute does two things," says Phillips. "One, exposes some of the new-school hardcore kids to Integrity and other bands of their era, so they can see what hardcore should truly be. And two, exposes some of the old-school types that claim hardcore is dead to some of the new blood."
Dwid, now based in Belgium, approved the artwork and suggested some of the international bands. "I heard a couple of the tracks," says Dwid. "Pretty good interpretations."
· March 9 marks the 10th anniversary of Biggie Smalls' death. To commemorate, View Cleveland (618 Prospect Avenue) will host a tribute Thursday, March 8. DJ Jack Da Rippa will host. Rap group the Chop Shop Renegades will release a Biggie tribute mixtape that night. The mixtape will be available only at the party, but a sequel is being planned.
· Six Parts Seven have music in This American Life, a Public Radio International show nationally syndicated to over 500 stations. The mellow trumpet-driven track "Stolen Moments" made its debut in episode no. 325, "Houses of Ill Repute," which is available via www.ThisLife.org.
· BMZ will record a live album at the Winchester (12112 Madison Avenue) Saturday, March 10. The rock band has been described as "a mix between Kiss and Kiss without makeup."
· Former Clevelander Jerry Becker returns home as the guitarist-pianist of San Francisco's the Bittersweets Saturday, March 10 at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Avenue). The Americana-pop group features former Counting Crow drummer Steve Bowman. The show is also the CD release party for Michael Jantz, the former Cleveland alt-rock troubadour, who's since relocated to Washington, D.C.
· Saul Glennon frontman Jack Rugan will perform his first solo set in over 20 years Friday, March 9 at Lakewood's Local Girl Gallery (16106 Detroit Road). He'll play rock classics and acoustic and electric versions of his band's songs. The show benefits the Berea Animal Rescue.
· Visit Scene's C-Notes blog -- updated multiple times daily at www.CleveScene.com/blogs -- for breaking music news, early concert announcements, video of your favorite local bands, and updates on the new Nine Inch Nails DVD and LP.