Lock & Key
Release Date: 8 April 2016
Review by: Alex Sievers
Writing songs that work in a live environment isn’t a bad thing. Quite the contrary, really. Having songs that punters can easily mosh, stage-dive, and circle-pit too can make for a great gig. However, when you remove the band performing right in front of you, the audience, and yourself from the venue, then the songs may fall flat when experienced solely on the album. Such is the case with Lock & Key’s newest album, Peaceless.; an album that work wonders live.
Now, I don’t think that Peaceless is a bad album. I just don’t think it’s a great album either. One may argue that sitting between the two extremes is the worst outcome, as it doesn’t necessitate a strong reaction. But that’s a deep rabbit hole to go down another time.
Anyway, let’s get on with this hard-hitting English outfits album, shall we?
11 songs, 40 minutes, a metric f*ck ton of breakdowns and far too many repetitive song-structures later and Peaceless is done. It’s a record that is just far too indistinguishable between songs to be memorable or have any impact. This is one of the most generic releases I’ve heard in 2016, and that includes Conquer Divide’s debut album as well.
After a while the distorted riffs, the drum grooves and one-note screams and growls just all blend into one. That, my friends, is not a good thing unless you’re an instrumental post-rock band who releases hour-long albums. It also doesn’t help that L&K can only seem to write fast, punk-jumping sections, two-step moments and slow, chug-heavy breakdowns that felt dated in 2010, if not earlier. Early songs like Hostile and Burning Bridges are the worst offenders.
Now, let me be clear, I think it’s fine to play a generic and over-saturated genre of music; that makes the success all the sweeter. But, when you merely dwell within genre’s norm and limitations and settle for a meat-and-potatoes sound, then I’m more inclined to forget your music faster than Kanye West goes onto full meltdown mode.
As I said before, I don’t hate or love this album, but there where a few things I quite enjoyed. The occasional melodic guitar lines were so welcomed. These helped the final song, Dead Prayers, to standout from the pack. No Justice is a great song too, as it sticks out by being the only song with any clean vocals on the album. Finally, some variety! Also, the album is sonically tight and it features some solid performances and deliveries, and you can see the talent in Lock & Key, no doubt. But the fact that all you get is a pretty by the numbers heavy “core” release bums me out to no end.
Basically, Lock & Key are a far less engaging version of While She Sleeps and that’s a damn shame, as I know they can do better than this.
As there are so many bands doing some really interesting things with this genre these days – Ocean Grove, My Ticket Home, Stray From The Path. Hell, even Cane Hill, and that’s a band that I’m really on the fence about. It’s really a competition for people’s time and money nowadays. Ergo, you need to be interesting to rake in the listeners and this album just isn’t that interesting, honestly.
But its got songs would be great to mosh too at one of their gigs, so there’s that.