It was nearly two years ago that I was first introduced to the musical stylings of Deadlock. It is an experience that did not start off all that well but ended on a modestly positive note. Now, here we are with another dosing from the melodic death metal act. The big question is how have those intervening years found them? Have they improved upon the better elements of their music? Held the status quo? Gone in the wrong direction? With not a whole lot of feeling one way or the other, I pressed play and dove in.
I was greeted by a pretty awesome heavy riff and some great lead sweeping before some death-style growls kick in. So far, so good. Then the clean vocals of Sabine Weinger arrived and the music began to spiral into a schizophrenic mess. Such a disappointment. The death metal end of the spectrum is really solid but the clean vocals and softer melodic stuff drag everything down.
The production is spotless, the music is precise, and the overall album sounds good, but the content just isn't. Deadlock strike me as a band that has a world of talent but is trying to have its cake and eat it too. Trying to bring in the heavy fans with the death stuff while attempting to play nice with a more mainstream audience with the poppy melodic clean singing stuff. In the end it just makes the music come off as confused and unfocused. Seriously, pick one and go with it.
I am not against the idea of blending styles, Lacuna Coil does a fine job of it with two vocalists, and it rarely gets any better than Howard Jones and Killswitch Engage for playing the heavy/melodic line with his amazing voice. What is it about Deadlock that doesn't work? Well, it's hard to put my finger on where it gos so wrong as the production and performance is there.
Letting the music sink in a little bit more, I suspect it is the melodic stuff. It keeps interrupting the death metal with its heavy riffs and growling vocals. On top of that, while it is clear that she can sing, I cannot ge a read on her emotional investment at all. It feels like teen angst emanating from my speakers and I am just not that into it.
If there is any difference between this and the prior album, Manifesto, it is Bizarro World lives up to its title and is a bit more polished. Neither of which adds up to a winner in my book. I would really like to hear them make a straight up death metal album. Now that could be interesting.