LOCKJAW “Annihilove” EP review
Reviewed by Ric “Suiskyo” Dorr
So… right around the turn of the century, 1998 to be exact, a band was rising from the ashes of a dying century that was in need of something to alleviate the masses from the sediment of the music they had been being fed by the mainstream that had become enamored with a pablum the media described as some of the best-ever, shoving it down the collective throat of the general public. The horizon grew darker with each passing song, the crest appeared to break just a little as a man strolled ever closer with the promise of something that was not like anything anyone had witnessed; his name was Medavon DeRaj’e and he was in no mood take anyone’s shit. No ‘boy-meets-girl’ drivel to be found here, he quickly began developing the songs that would become the release ‘Dirty Minds and Smiling Faces’ that was quickly followed by the release of ‘Hell Inside’ that let the world know that this was not just more if the ‘same old song and dance’ as it were. Playing at every venue he could book, he continued to grind out music that rattled his insides and shook his brain with an urgency he could not deny leading to the release of ’Starving For Salvation’. This partnered with the ‘pressing the flesh’ that seemed unending, the gigs got to be more and more. They opened for bands ranging from KMFDM to Prong to Lords Of Acid eventually even leading to direct support for Marilyn Manson, proving the public that they fit in anywhere you could imagine and did it with finesse and ease like not many other bands had the ability to do. I myself had never heard of them… until the first time they opened for MM… I was so impressed that I ended up buying several shirts and a copy of each cd they for sale. Fourteen releases later, we are now ready to enter a new chapter of hell-rock, and the worlds hasn’t needed it more than right NOW.
In the shadow of the grains of sand, Medavon would typically write everything and then take it on himself to perform each song himself and then mix everything himself and get a band together to get it onstage, true to his vision. For the new record, he has re-assessed things as they stand on this post-plague stage of societal evolution and do a little bit differently this time. Not only is he handling the vocal duties as well as synths, guitars and programming, there is a new cast of players on board, providing they each have what Medavon demands for his lifeforce to grow even larger in scope and essence, that being Lockjaw.
Jake Steffes on bass guitar, KW Mart in drums and Scotty Damned on lead guitar each contributed their own sections to each song, a first in Lockjaw history from my recollection and the strength of each track shows a level of musicianship that holds up and surpasses what has come to be expected from what we have heard before. The press release describes this record as one that quote “combines the old school abrasive sound of Lockjaw with melodic hooks and pounding beats inspired by the likes of Aesthetic Perfection and Julien K.” enquote. The results will not disappoint with the single released a month before the full-length, ‘Annihilove’ opens with all four in full force, churning guitars, quick beat and thick bass slathered all over your ears, you can’t help but rock your head in response.
Another first happens with the presence of two mixes of the song ‘A River So Still’. The first mix (Upstream) jumps right at you with a nice staccato tempo layered with all the parts nice and thick in the mix, in perfect unison with Medavon’s vocals working their spell as he weaves his story across your hungry tongue. The flavor permeates before you even realize it. The second mix (Downstream) enters with a different tempo that fits just as perfectly with the other three parts and that first minute will seem essential as the tempo shifts taking you on another ‘lap’ across the proverbial water.
‘Tribe Of Kaos’ is a bit slower than the rest BUT it is a fitting showcase for the unity this band has due to the new members and allows each to expand their might as players as Medavon has never sounded better in MY opinion. The conceptual continuity has always been present and with these others contributing to the collective, he can spread his dark-wings as wide as they can be.
This brings us to my personal favorite on this one, ‘Nobody Cares’. This one in particular stands out for me as an old-school metalhead in that the guitar lines are crushing, the bass line is beyond hypnotic and the time shifts are simply put, perfect!!
The entire EP is front-to-back, stellar. Great songs, performances top-level and the production is just what can push this record to the top of your favorites. Great place for new fans to start as well and could be just the key to opening the door for hell-rock to take your world by STORM!! Maximum volume, share it with all in your realm and go see ‘em if you get the chance… Keep it LOUD!!
From the press release:
Since starting out in 1998, Lockjaw has released 15 albums to date on Dark Drug records with their previous effort being 2021’s “Reverent” and later in July 2021 “Somewhere In A Dream”. Lockjaw’s “Bored Again” from the CD “Dirty Minds and Smiling Faces”(2004) is featured on the X-Box360 game “Dead Rising”.