DEADLOCK – The Arsonist15th August 2013
Album: The Arsonist
Record Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 26th July 2013
Reviewed By: Mark Booth
Standout Tracks: “As We Come Undone”, “The Final Storm” “Small Town Boy” and “Hurt” if you like Fiona Apple etc or want a ballad.
Second up in the German invasion from Napalm Records is Deadlock with their 6th album and first release for Napalm. Yet another group that I haven’t heard of from the fatherland…after a quick look up the band are described as Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore with dual vocals from leading lady Sabine Scherer and John Gahlert. So I was a little excited and thought lets give this a whirl and see if am in for a treat?
Before I go any further I want this to be blunt and to the point…’The Arsonist’ isn’t a good album, it isn’t the worse thing I have ever listened to but it isn’t the best either by a country mile. Why such the hate towards the album I hear from the legions? Well I can tell you its because Deadlock seem to be suffering from an identity crisis and it makes the album a little like listening to a schizophrenic babble on for 40 minutes. ‘The Great Pretender’ musically starts off just fine and even new “harsh” vocalist John Gahlert (former bass player with Deadlock) is quite a capable vocalist, although a lot of other reviewers have said that he isn’t as good as previous vocalist Johannes Prem (I can’t comment as I haven’t heard any previous albums). Then this is where the album falls down as when Sabine Scherer starts to sing the music slows down to a crawl. It’s like they don’t think her voice can be paired with heavy music and when she does sing the music switches to Melodic American Pop Metal which has no redeeming moments.
At times Deadlock can play decent music, even some of the melodic parts, but the majority of the album is generic and predictable. This album still has its moments and grasps onto some aggression and dignity which can be found among the substandard djent riffs, electro pop metal and melodic rhythm section. Some of the solos sound like they were played on a keyboard or digitally enhanced to within an inch of their life. The better tracks on the album are “As We Come Undone” and “The Final Storm” showing just what Deadlock can do and show that there is still some bite in the band, “Small Town Boy” is a Bronski Beat cover however it seems more like a cover of the Paradise Lost cover of the song! Although it shows the song does show that Sabine can sing over the more up-tempo music.
A stand out track on the album is “Hurt”, however it is a stand out for all the wrong reasons…it stands out as it is just a Sabine Scherer solo track. Not too bad I hear you say as you mention how great a vocalist she is? The problem is the song is a sorrowful ballad where her voice is accompanied by a piano and the song wouldn’t be out of place on a Fiona Apple record (who I don’t mind by the way), when this is meant to be a Melodeath metal album. Although the keyboard does get replaced by guitars near the end as the song climaxes! The album then finishes with “My Pain” which is exactly what it is…the song is electro pop with guitars thrown in the mix to make it metal, it’s like they wanted to make a radio friendly song!
From what I’ve read about Deadlock on the internet the previous albums are worth a listen to, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and hope this was a blip in their career. I just hope they don’t carry on in this direction as it’s the wrong direction for them and will only lead to ruin and despair. In my opinion this release is only for diehard fans, sadomasochists and people who are weaning themselves from pop or pop metal onto heavier stuff. Listen to the tracks I have said to download and if you like them then you might just like this album, however they are the best of a mediocre bunch of songs. Also one is a cover and the other a ballad which isn’t even metal…!!!
SCORE – 5/10
1. The Great Pretender
2. I’m Gone
3. Dead City Sleepers
4. The Arsonist
5. Darkness Divine
6. As We Come Undone
8. The Final Storm
9. Small Town Boy (Bronski Beat cover)
10. My Pain