Review: Lock Up – Demonization


What do you look for when you listen to a supergroup? Do you like it to sound like a combination of the different members’ bands or a totally new project? Do you prefer it spread across multiple genres or fit more neatly into one? Does each member need a moment in the spotlight or should it sound like one unit? All of these questions are, of course, totally irrelevant. Further, you should feel shame for partaking in such pseudo-intellectual music nerd wankery. Go shave your neckbeard and stick your head in the toilet. I’m kidding…well, only somewhat. These are worthwhile inquiries, and I’m sure we can debate them endlessly over pints of rare New England style DIPA’s and/or cups of monkey shit coffee, but it’s all missing the point. The question you should ask, as you should ask of all albums, is: are the songs good? If the answer is yes, then perhaps you found yourself listening to Lock Up‘s latest album, Demonization.

If you don’t know, Lock Up is a deathgrind supergroup founded by Napalm Death‘s Shane Embury and original Cradle of Filth drummer Nicholas Barker (also ex-Dimmu Borgir). They’re joined on this album by a new vocalist, Kevin Sharp (formerly of Brutal Truth, but also the vocalist for Venomous Concept, a group he formed with Embury) and guitarist Anton Reisenegger (Criminal and the Chilean Pentagram). Basically, it’s a solid group of musicians playing some kickass deathgrind. It’s a 42-minute album and it’s pretty relentless, but still catchy. You’re going to find some of these mid-paced death riffs stuck in your head for days and you ain’t gonna regret it.

The album is pretty much ready to rip your face off from the get-go. The opener, “Blood and Emptiness,” fades in for only about 20 seconds before you start getting hammered with riffs. It’s fairly punishing, and some of the fast-paced and thrashy chord changes really get you headbanging. Like I said though, there’s plenty of mid tempo death metal riffs that are going to get suck in your head. The title track is over five minutes long and is fairly slow and brooding. It’ll make you stomp your foot to the groove (careful not to spill your beverage…I may have) and, in my opinion, is a good change of pace to keep the listener from getting bored with the faster and grindier stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with speed, but a whole album needs to have some dynamic to it. Demonization does a good job of changing up the tempo.

Aside from the riffs, I’m also a big fan of Sharp’s vocal delivery. He’s got a low and harsh scream that really brings out the old school vibe on the faster tracks. He snarls his way through verses at a rapid pace, but he’s clear enough that you can make out the lyrics and shout along (which you will want to do, a lot). On the slower sections, Sharp lets out longer, more painful sounding screams. There’s even a bit of layering that gives it a darker and haunting vibe. Definitely an excuse to keep the album cranked.

Sadly, we’re not done yet. We answered the aforementioned question. Yes, the songs are good, but something is not quite right. Let me tell you: it’s the production. It’s a common complaint of mine these days, but it really kills the old school vibe that the riffs and vocals have otherwise It’s not the most compressed I’ve ever heard (I didn’t find my ears bleeding), but it’s enough that I’ve got a problem with it. The guitars drown everything out. Sharp’s vocals are great, but they tend to bleed into the same range as the guitars, making some parts feel noisy in a way that makes the riffs hard to discern and enjoy. Embury’s bass is barely audible except for a few key moments. The drums don’t aren’t necessarily bad, but with the guitars jacked up to eleven it feels somewhat in the background unless Barker is wailing on the snare.

However, Lock Up‘s Demonization is still, all in all, a fun collection of deathgrind jams that is short and diverse enough to be enjoyed. If you find yourself a fan, odds are you’ll end up returning to it as well. If the production doesn’t bother you, even better! It’s a fairly solid collection of angry tunes that grindcore and death metal fans shouldn’t skip.


The album is out March 10th on Listenable Records. Currently that only includes a European release, which you can already preorder, but they’re supposed to be announcing North America and other regions soon. Keep your eyes on the dang ol’ Facebook, I tell ya what. Yep.

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  • Deathgrind is the new OSDM in my listening habits lately. Asphalt Graves (another “supergroup”) started me in that direction last year.

  • sweetooth0

    Lock Up is good, but like all “super groups” they simply cannot compare to the individual bands that make up their ranks.

    • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

      Their first album was fucking sweet, with Papa Tagtgren on vocals and Mexican grindmaster Jesse Pintado (RIP) on guitar, but everything else they have done has been exactly like you say.

      I’ll still check this album out because I’m curious about how they sound with Sharp on vocals

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Nick Barker >>>>>>>>>

  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    The embedded tracks are definitely a fun listen. Nothing groundbreaking, but it’s nice to hear Kevin Sharp still being his own manic self.
    The band members all have at least one metal pièce de résistence classic under their belt (yes, even CoF).

    • TheGranulatingDarkSatanicMilfs

      90’s COF is >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      • Dave Vincent’s Perm

        Total Fucking Darkness >>>>>>>>>>>>

  • Howard Dean

    Death metal supergroups: Often underrated.

    New England Double IPAs: Mostly overrated.

    Will be good to see some more variety from craft brewers. I am surrounded by awesome craft breweries that make some great IPAs (The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead, Foley Brothers, Idletyme, Lost Nation, Zero Gravity, etc), but those dudes need to start diversifying. There are so many great types of beer. I’d love to see more creative pilsners, lagers, brown ales, porters, and Belgian style beers. Every beer doesn’t need to hopped within an inch of its life.

    [end rant]

    • RustyShackleford

      Best beer I had in recent memory was a Belgian tripel that was poured over coffee beans. Still had that perfect and clear golden color but had a strong coffee nose (not so much in the taste). I love me some New England doubles, but damn did that was that coffee tripel just fucking impressive and it blew my mind.

      • Howard Dean

        Holy shit that Tripel over coffee beans sounds phenomenal. Love Tripels. I love to buy Belgian Abbey ales and Trappist ales (shit’s expensive, though). Probably my favorites. Allagash out of Maine makes a pretty mean Tripel.

      • atchdav

        Local brewery here makes a chocolate flavored (bitter not sweet chocolate) winter ale that’s pretty awesome.

    • RJA

      I’m over the hops myself – had a founder’s “redankulous” recently – double red ipa – and found myself thinking “I’ve had enough”.

      • NDG

        Reel it in, mang! Ease up on the heavily hopped beers and develop a new appreciation.

        Drinking a double red IPA and complaining that it was too hoppy is like listening to Manowar and complaining that it is too metal!


      hey buddy. since i mentioned it earlier, the full Harvest Gulgaltha is up streaming on BC now. Pretty darn good.

    • NDG

      Brown ales, porters, and Belgian style beers – Yes

      Creative pilsners and lagers – Depends

    • more beer

      I agree HD. I had this conversation with a friend a couple of months ago. Personally I prefer the maltier beers myself. I don’t even remember the last time I had an IPA.

  • Doom Scientist

    Hullo. I apologize for being crabby and mistaking the term “scene” for “clique”.
    Besides, it’s getting lonely in the Quiet Room. : (

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Cool review dude. Liking the sound of this, fierce but leavened with unassuming catchiness.

  • Depechemodeisgangsta

    Props to Shane, he is a trooper, from what i understand in this upcoming European tour, he is going to be pulling triple duty in all the dates.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      He’s doing it in Australia too in October. I’m buying my ticket tomorrow.

      • Depechemodeisgangsta

        Sweet show man, enjoy it.

  • Waynecro

    Nice work, Rusty! I’m super pumped for this album!

  • Sid Vicious Promos

    Rings of Saturn may be staying at my house. My parents didn’t even mind. I’m so glad I went to this show

    • Doom Scientist

      Wow, really? Get some pix or an interview.

      • Sid Vicious Promos

        There was actually 5 guys including their sound guy so I couldn’t help them as I didn’t have enough room for 5 people.

        • Doom Scientist

          Ah well, too bad.

    • Howard Dean

      So did they end up staying at your house? Did you guys play Twister?

      • Doom Scientist

        Perhaps we’ll get a Rings Of Saturn/ Mr In Your House split EP out of the deal. #Blessed.

        • Sid Vicious Promos

          That would have been amazing.

      • Sid Vicious Promos

        Sadly no. I wish they could have but alas I didn’t have as much room as I thought.

  • NDG

    Speaking of Kevin Sharp are many of you (specifically addressing those who reside in the USA) aware of the work he did with the Australian metal band Damaged?

    They were an anomaly when they were active (mostly in the 90s) but still sound distinct today.

    Check them out (KS didn’t do the vox on this album…see second link for his work):

    • NDG
    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      I saw Damaged play with Kevin Sharp for this album at Newtown RSL back in the day

      • NDG

        Nice. Did they do any of the old material?

        I only saw them a couple of times in the early 90s around the time Do Not Spit was released.

        • Ted Nü-Djent ™

          Nah just the Kevin Sharp material. I saw them before supporting SYL around the Token Remedies Research era. They were tight both times.

  • Doom Scientist

    Good thing I took action when I did. The Iron Maiden/Ghost show in Mansfield is now SOLD OUT along with the 2 Brooklyn shows.