Release Details

LABEL Listenable
RELEASED ON 3/10/2017
GENRES Death,Grindcore
  • It’s a Lock Up album.

Lock Up


posted on 5/2017   By: Andrew Edmunds

On paper, Lock Up looks like a killer band. And it should be, in whichever of its four incarnations (so far) that you choose. It should add up to a sum greater than its parts, some grindcore Voltron. But in practice, its mathematics are less the sum of its parts than sort of the mean of them…

Formed in 1998 as a side project of Napalm Death’s Shane Embury and then-Napalm guitarist Jesse Pintado, with journeyman drummer Nick Barker and Hypocrisy mainstay Peter Tägtgren, the first version of Lock Up spit forth the pleasurable enough Pleasures Pave Sewers. That one set the tone for all that’s come after: modern Napalm-ish death / grind, but lacking the passion and the personality. A switch to At The Gates / Disfear frontman Tomas Lindberg for 2002’s Hate Breeds Suffering fared only a little better – that album remains Lock Up’s best, and it’s still nothing overly amazing. A few years thereafter, Pintado tragically passed away, and Lock Up laid dormant until 2011’s Necropolis Transparent, which featured new guitarist Anton Reisenegger (of Chile’s oft-underrated Pentagram). Necropolis was another solid slice of death / grind, and again, nothing particularly distinctive.

So here’s the fourth Lock Up album, and guess what? It’s a Lock Up album. And now with yet another new vocalist, in former Brutal Truth-er Kevin Sharp...

Like the three before it, it’s a fun and ultimately disposable death / grind record, with a couple of standout tracks and a whole lot of blasting and carving riffs that feed the hunger in the moment, and yet never achieve the greatness of any of the primary bands of anyone involved. Still, there’s plenty enough merit in “Demons Raging,” with its tight riffing and some hardcore grooves, and in the almost blackened dissonant bits of “The Plague That Stalks The Darkness” (and that one adds another pit-stoking breakdown), or in the relentless pace of “Mind Fight.” Demonization’s finest moment comes in its least ordinary – perhaps echoing the industrialized experimental aspect of the titular song on Napalm Death’s Apex Predator, “Demonization” fades in with echoed drums, guitar feedback, and a feel completely different than the remainder of the album. It’s the only moment on Demonization that breaks from the expected, and it’s also (or perhaps, consequently) the most interesting track on hand.

Of course, given the pedigrees of everyone involved, and the three Lock Up albums prior, it should be little surprise that Demonization is produced and performed very capably. Barker makes blasting sound easy, his high tom rolls perforating the beat with the occasional break in the maelstrom; Reisenegger’s guitar is sharp, and of course, Embury’s bass is gnarled, distorted, and biting. Sharp spits and screams here in the same manner as elsewhere – Primate, Venomous Concept, whichever other project… It’s not that Lock Up isn’t a collection of great musicians – it’s more that it feels very much like the side project it is. It’s fun, but it’s no one’s favorite band, on either end of the creator-listener divide.

So all that to say this: It’s Lock Up; it’s here for a good time; and if you liked any of the first three, here’s another variation on that theme. If you’re into the whole death / grind mash-up, if sharp riffing and blast beats are your thing, and you’re not super-picky about the whole of it being anything more than a B-grade version of at least a few of the members’ better-known outlets, then Demonization is absolutely an entertaining way to spend forty-one minutes of your day.

Way better than a sharp stick in the eye…