Released: 2009, Lifeforce Records
Reviewer: Mr. Rock
Deadlock seem to be a band in search of an identity. From the opening strains of the pop-electronic intro “The Moribund Choir vs. The Trumpets Of Armageddon”, to the soft ballad “Altruism”, to the mix of heavy vocals with clean, to the weird title track, MANIFESTO is all over the musical map. This diversity, while it fits for some bands / genres, I have a feeling that in this case, it may turn fans off. It’s not heavy enough to please the metalheads, but it’s too heavy in spots for any fans of more mainstream music.
There are some cool metal moments found here though. “Martyr To Science” has an almost black metal feel to it, and the mix of clean and heavy vocals (Johannes Prem – heavy, Sabine Weninger – clean). I really dig the vocals of Johannes Prem on this track as he really has the ability to kick your ass. The frantic “Slaughter’s Palace” is also is cool, though it is a little too chaotic for a most. The clean vocals do reign in the insanity a bit. Vocalist Sabine Weniger is a bright spot on MANIFESTO, though I do question how she is used. The production of the vocals is a little too far back in the mix, and there just doesn’t seem to be any edge to her sound. I know, I know…she does the ‘clean’ vocals, but that doesn’t mean a little ‘oomph’ would be a bad thing. I do think she’s a little over-used here too. This is where the band needs to make a decision – melodic or extreme. The use of so many melodic songs and passages tells me that they might have already made that decision.
With more songs like “Fire at Will” (though the solo is not cool…) and “Dying Breed”, Deadlock could position themselves to move into the big time of extreme metal. They have the chops, but they need to focus on one solid direction. There is far too much going on here for the listener to stay focused. They are trying to be a jack of all traits, instead of a master of one. I would love to hear more extreme, less melodic (here it just kinda sounds weak), and have the band just go for it.
Deadlock is a talented band that has what it takes, and I really wanted to like this disc; but after several listens to MANIFESTO, I asked myself one simple question… “Am I going to want to listen to this disc one week from now?” The answer, sadly, is no.