Released: 2017, Listenable Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
The fourth album from grind-metal supergroup Lock Up and first in six years, features a new singer in ex-Brutal Truth frontman Kevin Sharp and some of the meatiest, riffiest material the band have done – though with their renowned ferocity still very much intact.
Sharp takes over after two albums with At The Gates' Tomas Lindberg behind the mic and brings with him a more of full-frontal approach than is his usual modus operandi here. Given Brutal Truth's sometimes idiosyncratic grind/noise metal, Sharp's unhinged scream/shriek/bark/barf gyrations were a necessity. With Lock Up, however, it's more about acceleration, intensity and forward motion. And he is certainly up to the task with his forceful shout/growl and sometimes breathless machine gun delivery – though there is a momentarily screechy freak out in “Mind Fight.”
The band definitely don't take it easy on Sharp on his first go-round. Demonization is a blistering affair and them some, driven by Nicholas (ex-Cradle of Filth/Dimmu Borgir) Barker's piston-like drumming rife with blast-beats and spray-gun fills and Anton (Criminal) Reisenegger's sawing riffs. Aside from the crunching drone of the title track, Demonization is in overdrive much of the time.
Even the hardcore-like chug of “Foul From the Pure” or “Void,” with bassist Shane (Napalm Death) Embury's grinding bass leading the way, head off to the races for a stretch. “Oh well, here we go again,” Sharp hollers just before the band blasts off on “Pure” as more of a warning than a dismissive crack.
Yet Lock Up's unbridled fury is more exhilarating than exhausting here thanks to Reisenegger's crafty guitar work that mixes in punchy hooks all over the place and has an infectious, often punk rocky tone in its slashing yet tuneful riffs. Demonization may be big on abandon, but the songs have plenty of bite and will definitely stick with you.
Tracks like “Demons Raging,” “The Decay Within The Abyss,” “Sunk” or “Desolation Architect,” for examples, are surprisingly – almost unfathomably – catchy, blending aggression, groove and finesse to make for something memorable instead of a mere maelstrom of noise. Previous Lock Up albums certainly had their moments of brilliance amid the bluster, but Demonization flat out slays from top to bottom.