Lock Up – Demonization (Listenable)

Wednesday, 22nd February 2017
Rating: 8/10

You have to forgive the instant feeling of malaise that is associated with extreme metal supergroups. Only in rare cases are they of significance, like Bloodbath and the group in question, Lock Up. Created by Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury in the late ’90s, Lock Up benefits not only from Embury’s veteran mind and spirit, but also the pulverizing drums of Nick Barker (ex-Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir). The loss of long-time vocalist Tomas Lindberg to full-time At the Gates duty was a blow, but leave it up to another grind veteran, Kevin Sharp of Brutal Truth, to make Demonization a real masher.

Much in the same way Napalm Death is equipped with unrelenting, no-fussing-around cuts, Lock Up goes about their business the same way. The primary difference is the searing guitar work of Anton Reisenegger, who also holds down the fort in Spanish death grinders Brujeria. Reisenegger’s riff scope is wide and often of brutal mind, like on album highlight “The Decay within the Abyss,” a simply monstrous bit of extreme metal that matches the guitarist and Barker in a pure deathrace. Along for the ride is Sharp, whose caustic, punk-infiltrated grind bark is in lock-step on the hyper-thrash modes of “Desolation Architect” and utterly blazing “Mind Fight,” no doubt one of the year’s most over-the-top numbers. Inferior extreme metal bands: take cover.

Lock Up’s previous output has certainly lived up to its collective billing of men who have made a profound influence on underground metal. Demonization, though, feels just a shard nastier and mobile, the product of several men who could easily rest on their laurels. Not so. Lock Up is more twisted than before…which is saying a lot.

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