The hardcore tour de force of Lock & Key have been very hard to miss over the past year. The quintet have made a whole lot of noise in a whole heap of places throughout 2015, and debut album ’Peaceless’ looks set to a catalyst for even more of the same as 2016 roars on.
Album starter ‘Hostile’ is a vicious statement of intent, but the wall of noise leaves very little to shine through. Vocalist Rich Lardner is on form, but when anyone whose seen Lock & Key live can attest to their instrumental prowess, it’s a shame that such strengths don’t quite come across as ’Peaceless’ gets underway. It’s not an uncommon issue for hardcore bands trying to capture themselves at their most feral in album form, and luckily it’s one that they manage to overcome on later tracks. ‘Burning Bridges’ is a great thrashing lunge in the right direction, and by the time ‘Unclear State of Mind’ gives way to ‘Burnt Out’ the five-piece are at their very best.
The middle phase of the album is where Lock & Key really shine but even with as powerful a voice as Lardner has, the effect of Create to Inspire frontman Sean Midson has on ‘No Justice’ is nothing short of staggering. It makes for the best chorus that ’Peaceless’ has on offer, and it helps that guitarist Ben Wright and drummer Josh Murphy are at their thunderous best as well. Lardner outdoes himself on ‘No Acceptance’ however, and it’s clear that there’s no-one better to provide vocal duties for the Birmingham wrecking crew.
‘Vultures’ and ‘Dead Prayers’ bring proceedings to a close in a characteristically visceral fashion, wrapping up an album that – once it finds its feet – is really easy to get swept up in. It’s a great first full-length effort from Lock & Key, and ahead of what will undoubtedly be another busy summer for the Midlands quintet, the state of British hardcore seems to be in safe hands.
‘Peaceless’ by Lock & Key is released on April 8th via Crooked Noise.
Words by Antony Lusmore (@VilinskiKonjic)