Pleasures Pave Sewers
Released: 1999, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Over the past couple of years, I have heard rumors about new side projects from various members of Napalm Death. Finally one of them has materialized: Lock Up. This death metal super-group features Jesse Pintado and Shane Embury of Napalm Death, ex-Cradle of Filth and current Dimmu Borgir drummer Nick Barker, and Hypocrisy vocalist Peter Tagtgren. I knew this would be death metal…fast death metal…blasting fast! And it is. But I had my hopes up for Terrorizer part two, which this album is not. So in a way this album is a bit disappointing. But in reality, Terrorizer's "World Downfall", released ten years ago, will never be topped…that is unless Vincent, Pete, Oscar, and Jesse get back together. Regardless, this album will crush you like a late afternoon Kansas tornado!
Lock Up wastes no time getting started, greeting the listener with an assault of blast beats, racing guitars, and a wicked death scream. Nick Barker is fast…really fast. He may not be as variable as other death metal drummers, but this guy has stamina! His blasts and tom rolls are extremely quick, giving Pete Sandoval a run for the money, especially on "Pretenders of the Throne". In general, fast beats comprise most of the album. Although once in a while the band slows down to a moshing pace, or in the intro of "Slow Bleed Gorgon/Pleasures Pave Sewers", a doomy, dirge-like state. In fact, this song is the longest on the album, clocking in at three-and-a-half minutes. Otherwise, all of the songs run under three minutes in length. Thirteen tracks in all equals 29 minutes! Jesse's guitar playing works hand-in-hand with Nick, as they match tempos throughout the album. Peter's vocals mix well with the furious music, and are a big highlight of the album. He does everything from low death grunts to high death screeches. This is the kind of variety I like to hear from a new death metal band! Andy Sneap produced the album, and it sounds superb! Drums sound natural, not sampled, which I consider a huge plus. It just shows how consistent Nick's playing is. And without even knowing, Napalm Death fans should be able to recognize Jesse's guitar sound.
Shane Embury has written most of the music on this album, which may explain why it does not sound like Terrorizer. I do wish that Jesse wrote more than just one track…his input on this album is seriously lacking. "Pleasures Pave Sewers" most closely resembles "Utopia Banished"-era Napalm Death. In fact, this material could have very easily been on the next Napalm Death record. But it is great to hear a couple different musicians team up with some Napalmers. And regardless of any disappointments, this album kicks major ass considering it was written and recorded in a very short period of time.