I'm a newcomer to Deadlock. I'll admit that right now. Why haven't I encountered this German bunch previously? No idea, other than it's impossible to check out every single one of the plethora of bands out there. However, based on their new album, 'Hybris', I'm cursing myself for not discovering Deadlock sooner, for their music is an immersively engaging fusion of metal idioms, and beyond. Growled male and clean female vocals embellish a rich tapestry of flawlessly blended elements including groove, thrash, death, technical, and even some metalcore style breakdowns (although don't be put off by the perennially dreaded 'metalcore' label... Deadlock only borrow and blend fleeting sonic references from said subgenre). They even incorporate a few moments of both melancholic and uplifting alt-pop in their compositional stream, not to mention ephemeral techno divergences. Their fusion of elements has been so skilfully crafted in their compositions and arrangements, that the whole most definitely transcends the sum of songs' parts. As such, this is best considered a modern metal record, free from any subgenre affiliations. Its appeal is, therefore, a potentially wide ranging one.
Suffering multiple personnel changes over the years, the majority of Deadlock in 2016 are relative newcomers, with bassist Ferdinand Rewicki joining in 2011; drummer Werner Riedl in 2014; bassist Chris Simmerl in 2015; and vocalist Margi Gerlitz just this year. Only guitarist Sebastian Reichl remains from the band's original formation. And with John Gahlert (himself only a member since 2009) switching from bass to lead growls in 2011; and Rewicki from bass to guitar in 2013, Deadlock are, effectively, a new-ish band in terms of their constitution. In that sense, maybe I haven't been missing out all this time. Either way, the 2016 version of Deadlock have proven themselves capable to making one of the best modern metal records I've heard in some time. And the so-called "beauty/beast" duality of female singing and male growls is now an age-old device that's been borrowed by all too many metal bands... but Deadlock still make this sound like a fresh approach, largely due to fine performances by both Gerlitz and Gahlert.
A quick word, too, about the minute of silence at the tail-end of the alternately beautiful and brutal 'Ein Deutsches Requiem', which is to respectfully honour the memory of their previous drummer, Tobias Graf , who sadly passed away in 2014. It's a poignant moment, made more emphatic by the track's sudden conclusion and jarring transition into nothingness. A beautiful idea.
Review by Mark Holmes
8th July 2016
4) Blood Ghost
6) Wrath - Salvation
7) Backstory Wound
8) Ein Deutsches Requiem
10) Welcome Deathrow
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Their fusion of elements has been so skilfully crafted in their compositions and arrangements, that the whole most definitely transcends the sum of songs' parts."