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Lock Up - The Dregs of Hades

Lock Up
The Dregs of Hades
by Chris Hawkins at 02 December 2021, 12:40 PM

LOCK UP has been a force to be reckoned with for over two decades now.  Incidentally, I still have my copy of their Nuclear Blast debut, “Pleasures Pave Sewers”.  Honestly, that record is just as much a kick to the teeth today as it was back in ’99.  Though Shane Embury is the mainstay, the lineup, as always, is impressive with Tomas Lindberg and Kevin Sharp performing dual vocals and an immensely prodigious recording debut for drummer Adam Jarvis (PIG DESTROYER, MISERY INDEX, SCOUR).

After the near two-minute intro “Death Itself, Brother of Sleep,” the second track, “Hell Will Plague the Ruins,” is an enormous, bludgeoning experience.  In fact, the first thing I noticed was the drums.  It is no small feat to be placed in the shoes (literally) of one Nick Barker, but Jarvis pulls it off with a prime performance of pummeling percussion.  The first proper track is an exercise in the Grindcore the band is known for though many of the other songs deviate into more straight-forward Death Metal material.  The relentless blasting of the following, eponymous album track is dizzying yet there is quite the level of diversity in approach throughout the performance.

Turning the focus away from the drums specifically, fourth track, “Black Illumination” features some killer old school Death Metal riffs.  The middle breakdown section is a stomping, decidedly violent effort.  At points, there was an almost-OBITUARY vibe created which is a surprising twist.  Perhaps it is all in the chord progressions.

The studio effort put into this record is impressive to say the least.  Effectively capturing the unique timbre of Lindberg versus Sharp could not have been an easy task yet it was certainly achieved.  What resonates throughout, though, is that glorification of the old school in tone and approach.  Any lover of ‘90s Extreme Metal will undoubtedly adore this record.

Other tracks of note include the sixth, “Misdirection Thief,” a spiraling, maddening affair.  Keeping the riffs generally less complex really opens things up for Jarvis to dazzle with his incredibly creative fills and blasts.  By this point of the recording, it seems the rookie is stealing the show though I’m sure the vets are not complaining.  The following track, “Dead Legion,” is a chaotic tour de force.  Precision riffing and blistering vocals combine for extra impact in one of the most dazzling displays of technical proficiency on the album.

The Dregs of Hades” is a valiant effort to revitalize and Extreme Metal scene that has become simply vapid.  Perhaps I am jaded but after another year spent listening to new Metal releases regularly for Metal Temple, it is hard to be but so impressed with newer acts.  Brutality is one thing, but can the band actually write a song?  The collective resumes of LOCK UP prove that they are more than capable of waving the banner for solid songwriting in an extreme format.  That formula is how the band have managed to release yet another album, their fifth now, that ups the ante in heaviness, stays true to its roots, and expands upon their prior work.

Songwriting:  8
Originality:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Death Itself, Brother of Sleep
2. Hell Will Plague the Ruins
3. The Dregs of Hades
4. Black Illumination
5. Dark Force of Conviction
6. Misdirection Thief
7. Dead Legions
8. Triumph of the Grotesque
9. Nameless Death
10. A Sinful Life of Power
11. Ashes
12. The Blind Beast
13. Crucifixion of Distorted Existence
Lineup:
Shane Embury – Bass
Kevin Sharp – Vocals
Anton Reisenegger – Guitars
Adam Jarvis – Drums
Tomas Lindberg – Vocals
Record Label: Listenable Records
     


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