LOCK UP - THE DREGS OF HADES
BATTLE-SCARRED GRINDCORE SUPERGROUP OF VETERANS RETURN
“Never had one” was once the humble response from Shane Embury, bassist of Lock Up (and Napalm Death, Venomous Concept, Meathook Seed) when asked by an interviewer about his career. That pithy truth pretty much encapsulates the ethos of this ‘supergroup’ side-project composed of a rotating crew of hoary old death metal veterans. Currently vocal duties are shared by Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth), and Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates, The Crown, Disfear) with Anton Reisenegger (Criminal) on guitar and the brutal drumming of Adam Jarvis (Pig Destroyer, Misery Index). The intermittent releases from Lock Up are usually unpretentious labours of love from musicians who came from the extreme metal underground and are essentially fans who know little else.
Indeed there are few surprises here on The Dregs of Hades which is a hyper-active and frenetic fusion of grindcore, death metal and crust – in essence the constituent backgrounds of each band member. Lindberg and Sharp trade vocals with the former’s idiosyncratic wheezy rasp alternating with the latter’s guttural bark. It is a feral combination but an absolutely crucial accelerant to the mix is, however, Jarvis’ pinpoint machine-like drumming that forms an explosive propellant. It is a hell of a performance that augments and drives each song with a clinical and brutal element and without this, the record would be a murkier, muddier affair. At times it is brash and rabid with the likes of Dark Force of Conviction or Misdirection Thief adding a distant punkier aspect or the maniacal throttle of opener Hell Will Plague the Ruins, Dead Legions and Triumph of the Grotesque back in frenzied blast beat home turf.
Despite the combined age of the members and notwithstanding the sheer volume of their collective output over the decades, The Dregs of Hades is far from jaded but instead brims with confrontational attitude and broiling energy. There are plenty songs crammed on as well, in fact the record could have got away with being shorter. There is an underground humility to this as well, designed as it is for dives and diehards rather than financial dividend. You certainly know the musicians involved are not doing this for big money but the love of making a ruddy grindcore din. Make no mistake, Shane Embury and everyone like him are likely to be making noisy records like this for the rest of their lives – just not their ‘careers’.
The Dregs of Hades was released via Listenable Records in November 2021.