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Aug 26, 2014
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Deadlock – “The Re-Arrival” COMPILATION (2014)

Label: Lifeforce Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Ladies and gentlemen, Deadlock has re-arrived! On their latest output, “The Re-Arrival”, the German melodic death/thrash metal band Deadlock brings the listener a melding of the old and the new – and here’s the kicker – it all sounds fresh and vital in today’s metal landscape.

With “The Re-Arrival” Deadlock present us with 15-songs and over an hour’s worth of material, some re-recorded versions of older favorites and three brand new songs. The first new song is the opening track. “An Ocean’s Monument” which happens to be a ferocious opener – this song gets the listener pumped right away. The band is fronted by the clean female vocalist Sabine Scherer and screamer extraordinaire John Gahlert. The two of them make an awesome combination. Continue reading »

Jul 6, 2012
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Interview : Sabine Scherer – Deadlock

 

 

Interview by Si Smith

 

Rooted in 60s DC comic culture, the idead of the bizarro world has long fascinated those with the time to wonder; a place where everything has its “perfect imperfect duplicate”, a world of topsy-turvy superheroes and supervillians. Since then there have been numerous references to the concept, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the American sitcom Seinfeld. But now the metal world has its own take on the Bizarro theme: German melodic death metal/metalcore band Deadlock bring it straight into the 21st century with a new album tinged with the very antithesis that gives Bizarro its identity. Rough and smooth, demonic and divine, silence and noise, fast and slow, this album has it all. I spoke to superheroine Sabine Scherer for a healthy dose of alternative reality.

First, thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us, and a warm hello from all at Femme Metal.

In 2011 Deadlock can truly be said to be established as a metal force to be reckoned with, now that you have five full-length studio albums behind you.

How has the journey been across this time for you personally?

It’s been a pretty cool experience so far! We’ve been on the road with so many cool bands and played great shows, visited places I would never have dreamed of, like Japan, Ukraine or Russia.  

It’s now been almost three years since the release of the remarkable “Manifesto”: what have Deadlock been up to in the three years since the last album?

We’ve played many shows and went on tours with All That Remains and The Haunted, Soilwork, Lacuna Coil, played the X-MAS Tour with Heaven Shall Burn and Caliban, played some festivals like With Full Force and Summer Breeze, as well as these great trips to Japan, Ukraine and Russia. Those were some fast three years :)

Not only a new album but a new logo and from the paintbrushed lines of the first through the intricate angular etching of the second, now we have the futuristic minimalism of the third. A deliberate attempt to forge a new identity, or just coincedence?

We all think that with the musical progress which we went through, it was time to underline the musical evolution in the look. We’ve had this idea earlier, but never really felt it was the right time. But with the new album, I think it totally fits.

“Bizarro World” is an album firmly rooted in its concept. For those who are not aware of the concept, would you take us briefly through your understanding of the phenomena of Htrae and the Bizarro Code? How important are these to the album?

“Bizarro World” is a place where all good is bad and all ugly is beautiful and vice versa. Sad but true, we often find that this “Bizarro World” often corresponds to the world we actually live in, way too often. It has become quite common not to question the things we’re confronted with and we’re accepting the presented solutions in a non-critical and non-constructive way. For example, we’re trying to heal so-called diseases by poisoning ourselves, states go bankrupt but spend a horrifying amount of money on weapons and the war industry, everybody is talking about saving the environment but who’s actually doing something? This is Bizarro World.

“Virus Jones” is a strong opening song: not only do you start the album with the longest song on it, it also showcases your vocals at the very start; how do you begin to prepare your voice for recording a vocal like this? Could you take us through the recording process as you see it?

I usually don’t really prepare for recording sessions, voice wise. some times I do voice excercises, sometimes I’m drinking a beer before recording ;-)  one day we’re done in 5 minutes, the other day we need 5 hours, it simply depends on how much we’re going with the flow.

No rapping or guest vocals this time – just the grandiose concept! And the sharp contrast of Johannes‘ death metal growls with your crystal clean melodics. There are a couple of ballads here where you can show off your voice to the full – namely “You Left Me Dead” and ”Paranoia Extravaganza”. Of all the styles that you sing, have you a favourite style? What is your MOST and LEAST favourite thing about singing for Deadlock (if you can tell us…:-))? 

There is no bad thing about singing for Deadlock, and no bad style. Of course, there are songs that are more exhausting than the others, but all of them are fun to play, sing and perform.

I notice the techno breakdowns are still there intermittently – eg on “Renegade” – has there been any temptation to leave these out to satisfy some of your critics? Or are they an integral part of the Deadlock sound? 

I think that if we would have felt that we needed more of these electronic styles in any of the new songs, we would never have hesitated to use them. We would never just not use something just to please other people.

I would definitely say that “Htrae” works up to a great climax for the album. Some bands use up all their good material and by the end you are left with filler, but not Deadlock : it is one of your most powerful vocal moments on the album I think. How does it feel when you perform tracks like this live?

I love this song, but we have not yet played it live, and we’re currently not planning to play it in the future.

The band appears to be very tight musically, and all the parts join together to create something so much more than the sum of its parts. How do you all manage to stay “in sync” with each other when playing a Deadlock song? Are the relationships strong between the band members?

We do rehearsals before tours and everything and we know each other and the way he uses his instrument very well.

Personally I would say that on this album your vocals have become more prominent than on previous offerings and you have been given a wider range of vocal acrobatics to perform. How has the change affected you, going from guest singer on the first album in 2002, to becoming basically one of the focal points of the band’s sound in the present day?

Well I got more things to do on stage :) I think it’s a cool balance on the live set and both Joeand I are giving our best to transform the songs from the album into an enjoyable live experience.

It has been great as an onlooker to see you progress through the five albums, becoming stronger each time. Have you any advice you would give to up and coming vocalists who wish to be in it for the long haul like yourself?

Thank you! I’d say that it’s most important to always be yourself and never try to copy others. Of course, it’s good training to cover songs, to find out what’s easier for you and what’s more difficult, but in the end, you have to put your own soul in it.

Finally, looking to the bigger picture, do you feel you have found your “niche” with Deadlock? Or do you have any ideas for other projects or vocal avenues that you could explore in the future?

I guess that we’re always on the move. We might as well put out an electronic album next time, without guitars, haha. Just dance. Call it Dance-Metal. I don’t know, we have been doing so many things and our heads are full of ideas, I’m excited myself about what will come out the next time we hit the studio.

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Apr 30, 2012
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VV. AA. – “Femme Metal Presents Melody and Malice” COMPILATION (2011)

Label : Femme Metal Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Here we are again. This is the latest compilation album put out by Femme Metal Records and like the ones before it, this is as comprehensive a look into the Femme Metal scene that you are going to find anywhere. “Melody and Malice” features 32-songs and over two hours worth of music spread out over two discs, in short, this compilation is packed to capacity with some great music. The beauty of compilations such as this is that it displays how wide and varied the Femme Metal genre is. All styles are well represented here, from power metal to symphonic metal to goth metal to prog metal to thrash metal, well you get the point. CD 1 begins with the modernized metal warfare of Deadlock with the track “Virus Jones”. Exoterik is next with the great track “Revive”, another modern metal song with some great moments of melody. Kittie is ferocious as ever with “Cut Throat” and In This Moment are on hand with the ultra melodic “A Star Crossed Wasteland”. Mongrel contributes the chugging, marching vibe of “Zombie War”. This compilation does a great job in mixing the well known bands such as Kittie, Lacuna Coil and Arch Enemy with some of the more obscure acts like Regardless of Me, Katra and Alerion and it all flows together quite nicely. The first disc is completed by the raucous hard rock of Jaggedy Anne (who also gets my vote for the best band name). It would be difficult to go track-by-track (not to mention long), but suffice it to say there is something for everyone here. Some other highlights that can be found on disc one are: the great classic metal outfit from Poland, Crystal Viper with “Blood of the Heroes”, “And Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep” by the Canadian metalcore troupe The Agonist and the UK’s Sarah Jezebel Deva with “The Corruption of Mercy”. Disc 2 begins with the Romanian Power Metal band Magica with “Wait for Me”, which is one of their very best songs (in my opinion). With compilations such as this, it is possible to find those gems that otherwise you might not be privy to. One such band for me, would have to be Witchburn from the U.S. I was completely blown away by this band and their down tuned contribution “Bleed the Stone”, just excellent. After that, we get the more familiar with Austria’s Edenbridge and The Mariana Hollow. Luna Mortis contributes “Ash”, sadly this band is no longer with us, but “Ash” is a pretty good representation of what this band from Wisconsin had to offer, which is a lot. Two of my current favorites Triosphere (with “The Anger and the Silent Remorse“) and Solsikk (“Relish in Nervous Delights”) are two more highlights. Other highlights that can be found on the second disc are: Achilla (another revelation as I had never heard them before), Amberian Dawn, Evil’s Desire and Rising Dream. I can’t imagine the work that goes into compiling a compilation such as this. It must be a daunting task, but the end result is a resounding success. Like the compilations before it, this is a great place to start if you would like to investigate some great Femme Metal bands.

Rating – 95/100

 

Tracklist

Disc 1

  1. Deadlock – “Virus Jones”
  2. Exoterik – “Revive”
  3. Regardless of Me – “Until I Die”
  4. Kittie – “Cut Throat”
  5. In This Moment – “A Star Crossed Wasteland”
  6. Mongrel – “Zombies of War”
  7. hAND – “Fate Sewn On”
  8. Decadence – “Vulture”
  9. UnSun – “Whispers”
  10. Katra – “One Wish Away”
  11. Crystal Viper – “Blood of the Heroes”
  12. Winter Storm – “The Embrace”
  13. The Agonist – “And Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep”
  14. Alerion – “Turn of Fate”
  15. Sarah Jezebel Deva – “The Corruption of Mercy”
  16. Jaggedy Ann – “Skin of Your Teeth”

Disc 2

  1. Magica – “Wait for Me”
  2. Witchburn – “Bleed the Stone”
  3. Edenbridge – “Higher”
  4. The Mariana Hollow – “Your Halo”
  5. Luna Mortis – “Ash”
  6. Beneath the Stares – “Guilty Bystander”
  7. Achilla – “Mirrors”
  8. Amberian Dawn – “Talisman”
  9. Lacuna Coil – “Spellbound”
  10. Triosphere – “The Anger and the Silent Remorse”
  11. Solsikk – “Relish in Nervous Delights”
  12. Noctis Notus – “Scarlet Storm”
  13. Arch Enemy – “I Will Live Again”
  14. Further From The Truth – “Drifter”
  15. Evil’s Desire – “Touched by Insanity”
  16. Rising Dream – “Religion for the Weak”

 

Apr 25, 2012
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Deadlock – “Bizarro World” (2011)

Label : Lifeforce Records

Review by Tony Cannella

From Germany, Deadlock was formed in 1997 and released their full-length debut (“The Arrival”) in 2002. “Bizarro World” is the name of their just released 5th album, and showcases Deadlock’s intense brand of Melodic Death Metal, but in addition to their Death Metal sound, the band also includes a catchy Hard Rock and even a pop feel to some of the songs. I know it sounds confusing, but that’s what you get in the “Bizarro World” of Deadlock. The groove-laden, head banging inducing opening track “Virus Jones” gets things off to a fast, furious, brutal and melodic start. The heaviness and brutality accompanies the energetic, extreme vocals of Johannes Prem, whilst the song shifts gears and becomes more melodic and instantly accessible when it comes time for Sabine Scherer to sing her parts, this is perhaps Deadlock’s biggest weapon and they do it quite well. “State of Decay” begins with a piano intro before the song morphs into a strongly melodic and mid-tempo number with Sabine handling the vocals on this one. This is another strong track that focuses more on the melodic elements of Deadlock. The chaotic “Falling Skywards” brings back the Death Metal vibe, yet still manages to change tempos at times throughout the song. The crunchy “Earthlings” is next and is pretty much a straight forward pounding track. Other highlights include: “You Left Me Dead”, “Brutal Romance”, “Htrae” (Earth spelled backwards) and “Paranoia Extravaganza” brings the 40-minute “Bizarro World” to its conclusion. Of course Death Metal is an acquired taste, and I don’t think any death metal band ever aspired to be the biggest band in the world but Deadlock has something different to offer. Even fans who are not necessarily into Death Metal may find something to like about “Bizarro World”.

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Virus Jones
  2. State of Decay
  3. Falling Skywards
  4. Earthlings
  5. You Left Me Dead
  6. Brutal Romance
  7. Alienation
  8. Renegade
  9. Htrae
  10. Bizarro World
  11. Paranoia Extravaganza

 

Line Up

  • Johannes Prem – Vocals
  • Sabine Scherer – Vocals & Keyboards
  • Sebastian Reichl – Guitars & Keyboards
  • Gert Rymen – Guitars
  • John Gahlert – Bass
  • Tobias Graf – Drums

 

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