Locktender is stupefyingly brilliant. From Cleveland, Ohio, this art-focused, art-soaked project has made every attempt to both set themselves apart from, and simultaneously set, the norm of heavy music. Where some in the hardcore and metal scenes dabble in kitschy, pseudo-philosophical puns, Locktender dives into the abyss of literature with arms overhead. Rest assured, though, I'm the pretentious ass, not Locktender; leave it up to 4 guys from the vast Midwest (the same Midwest that spawned Hemingway, Vonnegut, and most-importantly, David Foster Wallace) to go full-steam-ahead in a purely gorgeous endeavor with zero pretense and humility the size of the sprawling, corn-sea they hail from. Only the Midwest can do that.
N.B. that before the actual review begins, I've included a photo of the perfect companion to this listening experience. (Fig. 1)
|(1) Ah, companionship.|
Sonically, LT commands the listener with gruff, seared vocals and guitar tone so heavy and crippling that your computer will ask for a human response after fifteen minutes of continuous play (listeners by tape deck or turntable are categorically S.O.L.). Take earlier, groundbreaking metalcore bands like 7A7P a la Jhazmyne's Lullaby, and combine with the sheer, rhetorical strength of Wes Eisold (absolutely no relation other than intensity of rhetoric). After combining, multiply your result by the potential your Sophomore year English teacher saw in you, before you started doing drugs. That's Locktender.
Five songs in 34 minutes. Not bad, but is there filler? Surely, there must be. Answer: no. Like contemporaries The Blue Letter (on Prima Facie, who accomplished a similar feat), Locktender manages to present a fully-formed, unblemished lamb unto the listening public--no frills, no filler, no bullshit: hardcore ethic. Guitar leads swim through the alternating vocals--half reverb-heavy clean, half bloody-teeth coarse--and the drums, although being in the majority of modern hardcore bands (i.e., "could have been tracked better"), snap and plow between measures of phenomena, surely inspirational in the truest sense: god-breathed.
What's there to hate, then? Verily, verily, I ask unto thee: what remaineth for thou to loathe? Again: nothing. I, as a complete and utter asshole about music, and one of the few people forced to roam the earth with hyper-opinionated ideals of music, cursed to never be satisfied until the day of my atonement; I, the correcter of grammar mistakes and other mishaps that will never, ever amount to anything beneficial; what have I to find at fault? Well, unless an abundance of genuineness and a passion for art is a fault, there is nothing.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to enjoy a Stone Ruination and wait for Jesus to come back: it's gonna be soon.
Addendum: This is a concept album, based entirely on the lesser-known works of Franz Kafka, i.e., his Aphorisms. If you take a minute, and are interested enough, go to Locktender's website to check out their lyrics, in which they contain the Aphorism that inspired them. Check it out here.
N.B. that I, the author of this review, (sadly) have connection with neither 21st Amendment Brewery nor Stone Brewing Co. Shit. I have things I need to work on.
Last Addendum: Locktender has their entire discography available for download on their website. Isn't that cool? More bands should do that. Wink wink. Nod. Wink. Seriously, bands, do that shit.