Rock is good. Dark brooding rock is better. Throw a violin in there and I’ll will hand the money over without a second thought. Okay, Lock and Key might be better described as metal, or tumulus rock, although someone is bound to tell me that it’s actually post-sub-anti-gothic-progressive metal-core or any one of those distracting labels that get thrown around in those quarters. But no-one really cares about labels anymore. What really matters, what has always mattered, is the music. And anything sounding like New Model Army doing the alternative nightclub, gothic rope dance with Queens of the Stone Age whilst Tool go to the bar to buy a round of Cider and Black is fine by me.

As analogies go that’s a bit forced but whereas most metal lets you down because it is more often than not a band with everything turned up to 11, littered with demonic growls and guitar showboating, which isn’t really impressing anyone who has hit puberty, Lock and Key is build on taut bundles of sonics, dexterous weaves and dark designs. And these it uses to build weight through layer upon layer being perfectly placed one on the other until the light can no longer get in.

And then driving everything along is that most unexpected sound of the violin, an instrument always swathed in elegance and musical eloquence. Here it soars and dives, powers through and provokes, lays down incendiary, cavernous waves as effortlessly as it does classical deftness, and running a sonic gamut that most guitarists would have trouble keeping up with.

It’s a long time since I paid much attention to metal in any of its myriad forms but if this is the sound of where the genre is at today, count me back in the game.

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