Review Summary: A grindcore supergroup that doesn't live up to the hype.
Side projects are usually something that are fun to listen to. It's always cool to see your favorite band members from different groups form a new band and create new songs. I am a personal huge fan of drummer Nicholas Barker (also seen in bands like Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, and Old Man's Child) and I wanted to hear just about every band the man had played drums for. It was at this time that I came upon this band, Lock Up
. Unlike Barker's other bands, these guys are not symphonic pseudo-black metal. Lock Up is actually a grindcore/death metal band that creates nothing more than incredibly fast and brutal pieces of music. Now that you've gotten a little bit of background, we shall enter...
Lock Up's Pleasures Pave Sewers
Lock Up consists of:
Shane Embury (of Napalm Death) - Bass
Peter T�gtgren (of Hypocrisy) - Vocals
Jesse Pintado (of Napalm Death) - Guitars
Nicholas Barker (of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir) - Drums
Grindcore isn't a genre that gets a ton of play, and most people probably don't know a thing about it. Don't worry, I'll fill you in. Grindcore (or simply "Grind") is a genre that is built primarily on speed. Almost every song is played at incredible speeds and the drums are usually loaded with blast beats and double bass patterns. The genre combines elements of hardcore punk, death metal, thrash, and crust punk. Some other key bands in the genre include: Napalm Death, Carcass and Pig Destroyer. Well, shall we finally get to the album?
This album spans over thirteen tracks, but only lasts for just over twenty-nine minutes. This is pretty typical of a grindcore band, as most songs are between one and two minutes in length. The fans of hardcore punk will probably like this alot, but I bet that some metal fans would probably like for the songs to be a bit longer. This is what shows the hardcore influences in the band, and it's not really that big of a problem. Out of all the things that you could listen to on this album, the thing that I find the most enjoyable would be the guitar riffs. Jesse Pintado does a fantastic job and delivers some very fast and tasteful metal riffs. You won't find any guitar solos here, but the riffs are usually fairly technical to keep the metal fans interested and wanting to hear more. His work on such tracks as "Tragic Faith", "Submission" and "After Life in Purgatory" are some of his best.
I have never listened to vocalist Peter T�gtgren's other band, Hypocrisy, but after hearing this I'm not really sure if I want to. HIs voice never really sticks out to me besides a mediocre grind/death scream. His vocal styles are also not as versatile as I would have liked; he usually only screams in one range...and when he does let out a high pitched shriek it usually doesn't turn out as well as he probably would have planned. He makes up for his lack of vocal brilliance by writing some pretty good lyrics. Sure, they're impossible to understand, but if you read them by themselves they're fairly intelligent and well fitting for the band. As a whole I would say that Peter T�gtgren drags the band down and they'd probably be better off with a different vocalist.
Shame Embury's bass tone is very similar to that of a chainsaw; it will cut through you in one simple stroke. It's mixed further back than I would have liked, but when you can hear it it's quite enjoyable. Always playing with a constant overdrive pedal on, Shane's bass easily fits in with the rest of the group. He also does a fine job accompanying the guitar parts and makes them sound that much more crushing, heavy, and evil. It was never in the interest of grindcore for the bass to be the prominent instrument, but it still bothers me that it's pretty hard to hear in most of the songs.
Like I said at the beginning of the review, I basically worship the ground that Nicholas Barker walks on. I really enjoy his work with his other bands because he matched his blistering speed with his vast creativity. I truly think that he is the best drummer in the extreme metal world. But you wouldn't really get that impression by hearing this band. Barker is really overshadowed by the vocals and the guitars, and he only lays down simple blast beats and average double bass patterns. Sure, it's true to the grindcore sound, but by doing this it doesn't make the band anything new or special to the genre. I was really bummed out by this because I know that Barker is capable of so much more, but he just chose not to do anything to impress me. If you want to hear some of his better work I would suggest that you listen to his work with Dimmu Borgir's two most modern albums, but certainly not this. It's great for hearing incredibly fast blast beats, but after a while it just gets dull. I can't really say that he has any highlights on the album, as every track essentially sounds the same on drums.
After Life in Purgatory
Slow Bleed Gorgon/ Pleasure Pave Sewers
-- The guitar riffs are heavy, technical, and cool.
-- Shane's bass tone is really awesome
-- Remains true to the grindcore sound
-- The lyrics are good
-- Nick Barker's drums are really average when compared to his other work
-- Vocals are below average
-- Vocals are impossible to understand
Final Rating: 2.5/5 - I would only get this if you're a big grindcore fan. Otherwise, I'd suggest that you look for something else.