Pleasures Pave Sewers (Nuclear Blast)
by Tim Den
I loved Lock Up the moment I heard rumors about their existence. I didn’t even need to hear the band to know what was in store: heart-warming grindcore. It might not warm your heart or give the local priest butterflies, but there’s nothing like old-fashioned grindcore to give yours truly the afterglow. After all, a “super group” comprised of Shane Embury (bass, of Napalm Death fame. Also known as Mr. I-can-write-anything-and-it-will-be-mindblowing, Mr. I-can-play-guitar-and-drums-better-than-you-but-I-play-bass-just-to-rub-it-in, Mr. Introspective Lyricist, and Mr. All-Around Genius), Jesse Pintado (guitar, of Napalm Death. Also ex-member of the legendary Terrorizer), Nick Barker (drums, of Dimmu Borgir, ex-Cradle Of Filth), and Peter Tägtgren (vocals, frontman/guitarist and vocalist of Hypocrisy, Abyss, Pain, ex-War, and famed producer) simply cannot be anything other than top notch. So was I surprised when I heard the first ten seconds of Pleasures Pave Sewers? You bet your ass I wasn’t. Not at all. It’s just as breath-taking as I’d expected.
Starting with “After Life in Purgatory,” Lock Up whips up a grind fury the world hasn’t seen since Napalm Death’s Harmony Corruption or Utopia Banished (and, of course, the aforementioned Terrorizer). Seeing as those records are among my all-time faves, I was extremely pleased at how I was propelled into elbowing every pedestrian near me and my discman. And like every good grindcore band, Lock Up throws in the pit-agitating breakdowns at just the right times. As if that weren’t enough, the first verses of “Darkness of Ignorance” and “Salvation Thru’ Destruction” are so goddamn ass-shaking, I almost wiped out on the frozen sidewalks doing my silly “hardcore” dance.
Oh, and did I mention the drumming? And the riffing? Let me remind you again that most of the record was written with the two guys from Napalm Death. Enough said. The shred is tasty, it’s tricky, it’s got the undeniable catchiness that only a pair like this can come up with. How they manage to write hook-filled grinds without using any conventional melody is something I’ll have to learn to accept as-is, but I bet having fifteen years in the biz doesn’t hurt. And although I hope they give me more dirty, distorted bass tones next time (I love that old “ffffffuuuuuuuuzzzz”), it’d be an understatement to say that I liked this record… or even that I played it a few times.
I applaud the parties involved for releasing something like Pleasures Pave Sewers. This is extreme music done the real way.