Lock'n like Dokken
dB rating: 9/10
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Lock Up never aimed for grand evolution or innovation. The notion of four mates/scene patriarchs rapid firing allusions to some of the greatest works belonging to the grind/death canon has simply been enough. But while the band’s always sounded like they’re having a blast (pun most definitely intended), the actual relevance of their output has been something of a niggling question.
With the unfortunate death of riff-atomizer Jesse Pintado in 2006 and the subsequent drafting of Criminal’s Anton Reisenegger into the role, things were bound to change. Though Reisenegger’s inaugural outing with the band, 2011’s Necropolis Transparent, was predictably modeled on Pintado’s singular approach, Demonization boldly enunciates Reissenegger’s own style, incorporating it seamlessly into Lock Up’s foundation of wanton grind. And, to quote Robert Frost, that has made all the motherfucking difference.
While still referencing grindcore’s field guide (World Downfall, Utopia Banished, etc.), Demonization is festooned with the sort of fetid, L.A. thrash treatments that made Holy Terror and Dark Angel so caustically addictive—meanwhile, doomy Frost counterpoints bloom like bedsores hither and yon. Additionally, Reisenegger’s tendencies for crisp articulation and shifts in meter wheedle Nick Barker’s propellant drumming into exhaustive speedways littered with hairpin bends and cloverleaf junctions.
Ex-Brutal Truth-er/cowboy-hatted Cossack Kevin Sharp serves up vox this time out in the form of an album-length panic attack, and, by dent of his feverish charisma and smart phrasing, proves himself to be the greatest Lock Up frontman by a country mile. Yes, better than Tägtgren. Better than Lindberg.
While a touch overlong (brevity flatters death/grind—ask Nails, if you don’t believe me), Demonization is undeniably finger Lock’n good. This is no exercise in nostalgia. Rather, this is a head-turning contender for best extreme album of 2017.
— Forrest Pitts
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