Talkin ‘Bout Flex: Integrity

Since Issue #75, Decibel has brought you left-of-center b-sides, rarities, live recordings and new songs from top-tier metal bands via the outstanding Flexi Series.  Want to hear the stories behind these recordings?  Read on.

In this month’s machete-adorned issue (thanks Brujeria!), Integrity dig back into the exquisitely obscure by bringing out a righteously energetic cover of “Deathly Fighter” by Japanese (mostly) solo effort, the Randy Uchida Group.  We asked vocalist/mainstay Dwid Hellion about the process of choosing and recording the song (though we neglected to ask him what he thought of being on Flexi #69).  Here’s what he had to say.

When were you approached to contribute to the Flexi Series?

Directly after we signed with Relapse Records, Albert from Decibel contacted us asking if Integrity would like to be part of their Flexi Series.

How did you choose “Deathly Fighter”?

“Deathly Fighter” was a song from the solo band of the legendary Japanese guitarist, Randy Uchida.  This solo band was known as R.U.G., an acronym for Randy Uchida Group.  Randy was best known as the guitarist for GISM.  Unfortunately Randy died of cancer in 2001, so covering this lesser known song from his catalog was our way of honoring his legacy.

When and where did you record the song?

I recorded vocals at my home studio in Belgium, and Dom [Romeo] and Joshy [Brettell of Ilsa] recorded the music in Baltimore at Developing Nations recording studio with Kevin Bernsten.  Recording vocals was tricky, because I sang in Japanese, and on the original version, the vocals were performed in the classic ’80s heavy-metal falsetto style.  So I had to learn the Japanese lyrics and then rework the vocals into my howlin’ style.  Musically, Integrity has always been heavily influenced by Randy’s guitar playing and solos, so that was an easy transition for the band.  Domenic did an excellent job recreating Randy’s solos.

Your Flexi is white with black text.  What do you think about the color choice?

It was designed to match Randy Uchida’s guitar color: a white Gibson flying-V with black detail!

What is your favorite Decibel Flexi so far?

Tough decision.  I would say the Leviathan Flexi where Wrest covers Black Flag is probably my favorite.

Check out all the Decibel Flexis here.