Written by: TL on 03/12/2008 11:42:41

You guys remember Deadlock? The female fronted German goth/melodeath outfit I reviewed when they put out their last album "Wolves" a little over a year ago? Well, they're back with a new album titled "Manifesto" and if you get the chance to pop that on, you're initially not going to believe it's the same band - but more on that later.

I want to make up for something I neglected in the previous Deadlock review, namely giving you a short and crisp description of the band’s sound. Imagine In Flames or Soilwork crossing axes with Within Temptation or Nightwish, throw in a variety of electronic elements and effects here and there, and top off the cake with lyrics that, now more than ever, all seem to be about how modern mankind is hurting the environment. Traditional death metal growls are being traded with silky pop-vocals that have been coated with a slight layer of production, effectively sounding better than your average Tarja Turunen wannabe. All on top of grand arrangements that shifts between harrowing melodeath and modern melodic metalcore.

What's initially makes this new Deadlock album feel so strange is first and foremost its intro as well the fifth track "Deathrace". The former would have been nice, as its techno leads very smoothly into the riffs of the first real track "Martyr To Science", but it’s impossible to take it seriously given the "Come on motherfuckers!" (at least that's what I think it is) that someone who sounds like René Dif of Aqua is trying to growl halfway through. Better skip that one to leave your good impression of the album intact. As for the latter, "Deathrace" starts out like any other Deadlock song, but after a solo and a final chorus around the 4-minute mark, the last two minutes of the track are made up of different MC's rapping about something as unusual as animal rights. I honestly don’t know what to say about that.

Deadlock seem dead serious about the subject though, as Sabine Wenger angrily preaches on in "Fire At Will" which opens up the last half of the album better than any of the songs on the first half. "Seal Slayer" also follows up well, with Nightwish-y sampled violins backing the onslaught - And seriously, all you DM disciples, have you ever heard a title as cruel as that? I mean "Seal Slayer"? Think of those cute little things! Then think of clicking them until they explode in Warcraft 2. Hehehehehhe..

The title track itself is an atmospheric interlude, complete with samples, classic orchestration and Gregorian choir, heralding the coming of the last three songs on the album. "Dying Breed" follows in the footsteps of "Seal Slayer" and "Fire At Will" nicely, while "Altruism" is a short ballad driven by piano and Sabine's mournful voice. At the end of the line, the band has covered The Sisters Of Mercy's "Temple Of Love", the violins of which have been turned into a choppy guitar riff that now sounds even more like Iron Maiden's signature "Fear Of The Dark"-riff, making it awesome by definition as long as you can get over the similarity. It may be a bit shiny compared to the feel of the original song, but in my book it's just cool that Deadlock has given the song their own spin.

In summary, there sure are a number of things to put someone off from listening to "Manifesto". The crystal production and typical metalcore growl/clean formula, present especially in tracks 2-4, should turn away its fair share of people who like their metal to stay "true" (whatever that means) and the self righteous preaching against all us beef-eaters probably aren't going to make Deadlock any friends either. For those that can get around those things though, there's plenty to like in Sabine's vocals and the blazing riffage, which there is more of, resembling that of the old "Code Of Honour" song, even if no songs here will explode into your face as that did when you first heard it. The oddball tracks "Deathrace", "Manifesto" and "Altruism" have been placed cleverly in order to variate the feel of the band's default soundscape and along with the unusual choice of content matter, this actually makes the album a quite interesting listen. So while there are still things for Deadlock to work on, I also still think that they've gotten a little bit better.

Download: Seal Slayer, Fire At Will, Dying Breed, Temple Of Love
For The Fans Of: In Flames, Within Temptation, Soilwork

Release Date 23.11.2008
LifeForce Records

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