Pleasures Pave Sewers

Lock Up

Nuclear Blast Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I remember the halcyon days of my college education well. The late nights spent trying to decipher my "Law And The Media" notes, the numerous racketball games with my buddy Brian, the night I got completely snookered and turned one poor schlep's room into a vomitorium... but I digress.

I also remember re-discovering the love of speed metal - music that made driving on the Autobahn look like Florida roadways on Senior Citizens Day at Food Lion. Hearing groups like Napalm Death was a true spiritual purging - and I enjoyed every brutal minute of it.

That's kind of the feeling I got again when I listened to Pleasures Pave Sewers, the debut release from Lock Up. (Note to the faint-hearted: this isn't the same group that released Something Bitchin' This Way Comes a few years back.) With the core of Napalm Death - guitarist Jesse Pintado and bassist Shane Embury - guiding the path, drummer Nick Barker sounding like he's having an epileptic seizure behind the kit, and Hypocrisy lead singer Peter Tagtgren growling out the vocals, you have all the makings of the next generation of grindcore. Welcome home, boys - missed you.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In true grindcore fashion, I didn't understand a single word on this disc - and, believe it or not, I'm not complaining. As strange as it may sound, I don't need to understand what Tagtgren is bellowing on tracks like "Submission," "Pretenders Of The Throne" or "Salvation Thru' Destruction" - even though I'll admit to being curious after reading promotional material saying the lyrical content was a bit "lewd".

Confused? If you've ever even dipped a toe into the grindcore pool, you know that, often, the sheer energy of the performance is enough to seal the deal. Of course, it sometimes doesn't mean shit if the musical aspect is neglected - and fortunately for Lock Up, the songwriting and performances are just as strong, making this a killer disc.

Normally, I'd rant at this part of the review about a disc being far too short - and, clocking in at under 30 minutes, you might expect me to do the same. (Full disclosure: I'm working off an advance copy of the album; the track listing I saw on CDNow lists one track I don't have. So, the running time of the disc might be over 30 minutes with this addition - and you'll be hearing the full album. Another reason for me to go out and buy another copy of this disc.) Nope - not this time. It almost is as if Tagtgren and crew knew exactly when to stop tape and let the work speak for itself - something you don't often see in the day of 77-minute CDs padded with more crap than the dog run at a public park. In the case of Pleasures Pave Sewers, less truly is more.

Besides, it is so easy to get caught up in tracks like "Triple Six Suck Angels" and "The Dreams Are Sacrificed" that you lose all track of time. It could be 30 minutes, it could be 30 hours, but as long as the music is so good, you don't really care.

Pleasures Pave Sewers is the kind of album that not only will restore your faith in metal, but will also remind you of just how enjoyable grindcore could be at its best. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Lee Dorian-era Napalm Death, but Lock Up has definitely earned a prized spot on my CD shelves. Here's hoping we'll be hearing much more from this partnership.

Rating: A-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nuclear Blast Records, and is used for informational purposes only.