Released: 2006, Firebox Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
This act comes from Finland - the Karhula area to be exact - and was formed in 1998. A few demos and videos were made, but due to laziness the guys never persued a record deal too eagerly. Finally, in 2002 they sent in their brand new demo VALLEY OF EVERGREEN to a label in England who actually signed the guys, and the work on their debut album started. The debut was called THE MAD MOON RISING and was unleashed in 2004. Shortly after the release of that album the label went bankrupt, and because of that not much promotion was made, and the search for a new deal began. Manitou signed on with Firebox, who re-released their debut album with bonus tracks added. At the same time, the band’s keyboard player left and the rest of the guys decided that there wasn’t need for a new one.
Without a keyboardist, Manitou decided to change musical direction on this second album that I’m about to review right now. I don’t know what kind of music Manitou played on the previous album, but on DEADLOCK they deliver well played traditional heavy metal with a hint of progressive parts. You can clearly hear that the guys are inspired by Iron Madien, Ozzy, and Judas Priest, but also by Queensryche and Dream Theater.
One thing that doesn’t benefit the band musically is the longer instrumental parts that get really progressive, but I’m not a fan of progressive metal, so instead I think they could have focused on and developed more of the solid heavy metal music. There is one ballad called “Swallowing the Dark” that I think could have been erased from the album. The only thing that makes me happy on that track is the amazing lead guitar parts played by Markus Vanhala (known from Omnium Gatherum). And even though they haven’t got anyone on keyboard, they still insists on featuring it, and I think that if you’re going to play heavy metal no keyboards should be allowed.
Killer tracks are the traditional heavy metal pieces “And the Silence Bites”, “Fools In Control”, “Waste, Damnation”, “Burning Flame”, “Psychoracer” and “By The Waves Of Stars”.
Manitou has created a solid production with Janne Saksa; the good old heavy metal sound updated for the 21st century. Otherwise, there isn’t much more to say about DEADLOCK as an album. I think Manitou can go far in the future if they dump the progressive parts in their music. DEADLOCK is a great heavy metal album that leaves nothing more to wish for except for the things I already mentioned. With Manitou, Finland shows that they have more to offer music-wise than only battle-metal, goth, and power metal that currently seems to dominate the Finnish music scene.