Review Summary: Grindcore super group improves with their second album after a switch in vocalists.
Lockup: a death metal drumming technique in which the arms are stiffened or “locked up” to produce lightning-fast blast beats; and drum god Nick Barker does plenty of that on Lock Up’s second album. A grindcore super group originally containing Napalm Death’s Shane Embury and Jesse Pintado, Hypocrisy’s Peter Tägtgren and the aforementioned Nick Barker of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir fame on the debut “Pleasures Pave Sewers.” For their sophmore effort, Peter Tägtgren is replaced by vocalist Tomas Lindberg formerly of At the Gates. Although the switch in vocalists might seem odd, Lindberg fits in beautifully. Whether or not he’s a better vocalist than Tägtgren is a different conversation but it’s hard to argue that Lindberg is a better fit for this band with his unique, punkish screams and it also brings a different dynamic to a genre that is mostly dominated by low, guttural growls.
The album is what you would expect from a band that was started by members of Napalm Death, old school grind. Pintado’s riffing is excellent and surprisingly catchy at times like on the opening track “Feeding on the Opiate,” backed by the superb rhythm section this is an outstanding track that sets a high standard which sadly the rest of the album fails to match. Nick Barker provides his blindingly fast footwork and blast beats at a breakneck pace but not a whole lot more, just a few fills here and there mostly speed for the sake of speed. Not one song reaches the three minute mark, sixteen tracks in less than thirty minutes; pretty typical length for a grind album.
After the opening “Feeding on the Opiate,” the rest of the album seems to blend together without any particular track standing out from the crowd, “Detestation” starts off a bit slow then Lindberg jumps in with a wild scream followed by (yet another) blast beat. “Slaughterous Ways” also has some great moments where Shane Embury’s bass is given a little more room as well as having a blazing drum break. Although he is a great drummer, Nick Barker has to stay within the strict confines of the genre and the only aspect of his abilities you can appreciate is his speed, someone who hasn’t heard his work elsewhere will not realize how talented and creative he really is behind the kit. The shortest track on “Hate Breeds Suffering” is “Broken World” clocking in at a mere 47 seconds and it is followed by “Horns of Venus” which seems to end at around the same mark before Lock Up gets all experimental on us and decides to extend it for another minute, how generous of them!.
Even though there is not much variety here, a lot of credit must be given to the late Jesse Pintado because it’s his great guitar work that keeps things interesting and saves the album for being completely monotonous, even though it’s tough to tell when a track ends and another begins(also because of their brevity) there is enough change in the riffing to keep the listener engaged. The production is pretty solid in an retro sort of way, everything can be heard adequately enough but it retains a rather dirty type of quality that reminds you that this is old school grind but done by a group of very talented musicians, half of which were members of Napalm Death, to which you can attribute the similarities between both bands. Then again, sounding like the best and most important band in the genre can’t be a bad thing.
Feeding on the Opiate