2001 Purity Records
We're not sure what to call this strange and unpredictable blend of metal, hardcore, death, and oddness. This New York City group is one of those bands that appears to dislike repetition or musical stability as they seem to change riffs about every 5 seconds. It's difficult to determine if they're simply unsure of what to do, or if they've got some master scheme. There's a fine line between rambling songwriting and ambitious song structuring, and Locked In A Vacancy appears to straddle that line at every turn. The menacing chaos of this album is evident right from the start as the first track, "Beware The Jabberwock, My Son...", combines machine gun snare drums, growling vocals, and tempo changes o'plenty. Layered above the frantic grooves are simultaneously melodic and dissonant guitar leads, which further accentuate Locked In A Vacancy's diverse style. So when a rolling bass and a tight drum beat briefly form a catchy groove to kick off track 2, listeners will no doubt wonder where this album is headed. In reality, this record is headed everywhere. From jagged metal to strange fits of noise and muted dialogue, categorizing this band is impossible. The percussion is sometimes fast and precise, sometimes slow and driving. The guitars run the gamut from traditional metal leads and palm-muted riffs to technical scales and power chords. Meanwhile, vocalist Dyami Bryant uses death growls, hardcore yelling, and high-pitched screams to give the already multi-faceted music an added dimension. Don't expect to be humming these tracks anytime soon. This music is thick, dark, heavy, and full of hostility. The album's lyrical content doesn't do anything to brighten the mood as standard themes include conformity, death, and segregation. While nothing is remotely "catchy", don't be surprised when infectiously confusing tracks like "Lincoln Zelda" slowly begin to grow on you. Bottom Line: While these guys may not be doing any one thing that hasn't been done before, the abstract music Locked In A Vacancy constructs with these "things" is truly original. Give these guys a bit more recording time in a better studio and they could deliver something extraordinary.