Deadlock // Bizarro World
Rating: 1.0/5.0 — It’s a bizarro world where anyone likes this
Label: Lifeforce Records
Websites: xdeadlockx.com | Stream at Metal Hammer
Release Dates: EU: 2011.02.28 | US: 03.15.2011

Deadlock - Bizarro WorldHeavy metal was once the most popular music in the world. Sure, it was glam rock, but bands that were genuinely cool were doing really well even if they weren’t getting radio play. Think about the success of Metallica pre-black album, or Iron Maiden selling out the Long Beach Arena 4 nights running on the tour for Powerslave. The music was technical, but it was still accessible and the mass appeal was still synonymous with good bands. But since the 1980s the quality of pop music has declined dramatically, and popular rock with it. We have now landed in a bizarro world, where bad, fundamentally not very catchy or interesting bands that lack all content are popular, and where innovators and interesting bands have trouble getting any recognition. But there’s an even more terrible place, and that’s the ill-advised attempts of people to try to blend these two things. No good can come of this.

Deadlock is living proof of this. Bizarro World is pretty bizarre in that it rocks some pretty interesting melodic death metal that is consistently ruined and pissed on by a desire to forcibly shove pop music, and I mean real pop music, complete with synths and overproduced female vocals, into the mix. Deadlock sounds a lot like Sonic Syndicate, this is certainly no compliment, but they’re actually heavier, with a real death metal vocalist and some seriously interesting guitar work at times. There are some solid riffs that litter tracks here and there and some genuinely good things that show up. While the production is super fake and annoying, it’s par for the course, you know? I’ve come to expect it, and I’ve got a thing for perfectly sweeped arpeggios.

Unfortunately, this band decided that groovecore or melodic death metal wasn’t good enough, they decided they needed a clean female vocalist, as well. And then they decided that they wanted to mix in Top 40 pop music into their sound. To quote one dead guy from Lord of the Rings “Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly.” And folly, it indeed is. Of course, the problem is, that I have very little reference for modern pop music. I don’t listen to pop radio ever unless I’m forced to in public places, which is a rarity in the days of portable music. But let me put this into context:  Deadlockthis is how I imagine Miley Cyrus would sound if I had ever heard her. She’s bland, sure she can sing, but since she’s so over-produced it’s hard to tell if her voice has any personality or anything. Then on top of it she brings with her an R&B kind of sense to rock music, with all the wrong flourishes in all the wrong places, but then draping it Evanescence style lyrics (i.e., bad, depressing teenage angst lyrics such as “You left me dead. Dead as dead can be.” – That deserves a fucking award).

So basically you’re left with a record that is half groovecore with the occasionally awesome solo and or some fun At The Gates or Soilwork riff which gets offset by anonymous, shitty pop music out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, by the way, Sabine Scherer can sing and is a talented vocalist. But she’s anonymous and really has no personality or character that draws this listener to her voice. She sounds like every other pop vocalist I’ve ever heard since about the 1990s, the overproduced vocals that sound like they should be flitting over techno beats, not on a metal record. And the lyrics don’t help, when they’re coughing up crap like: “What a brutal romance, what a brutal romance.. It always takes two to tango!” I can’t imagine anyone ever liking this anywhere who isn’t a 14 year old girl. And frankly, I’ve met some 14 year old girls who listen to way heavier and cooler shit than this, I shouldn’t do them a disservice of comparing what they like to this.

If you want a perfect snapshot of how shitty this record is, go find the track “Renegade.” Make sure to bring a bucket with, ’cause I guarantee that you’ll blow chunks.