Deadlock // Bizarro World
Rating: 1.0/5.0 — It’s a bizarro world where anyone likes this
Label: Lifeforce Records
Websites: | 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.

  • Steel Druhm

    Yep, that right there is a classic AMG review!!

  • I think someone has a case of “I let my girlfriend in the band” syndrome. Even Splinters of Death would get better than 1.0 AMG review.

  • Deadlock had their classic melodic death metal album with Earth.Revolt. Since then they have been experimenting with different styles of music. Whether it is techno, rap, sax solos, drum & bass, whatever you want to think they will probably try and tie it to metal.

    With that said, they are getting a little stale because they are stuck in the pattern of fast neck breaking music (ala At the Gates), but when the girl sings they slow down. That’s their biggest flaw to me after 3 albums like this. But hey what do you expect from a vegan melodic death metal band?

  • Hell³

    Oh boy I almost wish there where more albums as bad as this one, so we could get the chance of reading more reviews as funny as this.

  • Zadion

    After awhile, I can’t help but feel that you don’t like the idea of bands mixing non-metal genres into metal songs. I’m no fan of Deadlock – a couple or three songs off their last album I found to be pretty awesome, but that’s about it. However, I do appreciate the efforts. One of the things I love most about metal is that you can mix pretty much any other style into it, and it has the potential to be good.

    • Well, you’re wrong. Genre redefining and mixing is fine. Doing it poorly and with a style of music that I think is horrendously offensive to my ears is something else. If you like shitty pop, you are free to listen to this. But I think it’s foul.

      And if you read a bit deeper you’d see that I really enjoy lots of different styles and the blending of styles. What I don’t like is this modern breed of Swedish metal which feels so plastic and shitty. And Deadlock is also feels plastic and shitty. You see? Orphaned Land, on the other hand, mix styles remarkably.

      • Zadion

        Well, that’s why I said it has POTENTIAL to be good – not that it will be. Very few bands can do it effectively, and Deadlock really are one of the many who can’t. Their last album for example had rapping…wtf? I just appreciate the efforts of them trying to screw around with their music to create something new. And I will admit, though I prefer the more complex styles of metal like Opeth and whatnot, that pop stuff really gets me at times.

        But I will agree. Orphaned Land is fucking remarkable. Actually, I wanna thank you for that, as I’d never even heard of Orphaned Land until reading your blog.

        • Oh, also Finntroll? How about Diablo Swing Orchestra? The last thing that is true is that I don’t like bands mixing genres. I don’t like bands sucking.

          • Zadion

            I was unaware that you reply to comments that are this old.

          • I was reading this review again, so I checked the comments.

  • Tom

    I recently listened to this album and really thought it wasn’t too bad. The female vocals can make a nice touch (even them being non-metal), and I think that a lot of people think they’re trying to add pop into this fusion (look for A Day to Remember for that) but really her voice seems to sound sort of bluesy. Definitely not anywhere near my favourite record at all.

  • Brent Chayka

    Hey!  I just heard this album the other day.  I’m not a big fan of Modern Death Metal bands either (not much really hits me in that scene) but I’m still willing to give any Metal or Prog Rock album a chance….modern or not.  The trick is to listen with an open mind, rather than immediately dismiss something as garbage simply because it blends with a style you’re not particularly fond of–in this case, Pop Rock.

    I hate Pop Rock as much as the next metalhead, but this album is actually pretty good.  Full of energy, memorable riffs and great vocals from both the growler and female vocalist.  I think the female vocals are over-produced too, but nowhere near as bad as you make ’em out to be.I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Bizarro World.  Renegade is undeniably catchy.  Sure, it’s sappy and the lyrics are…..emo-ish….but God DAMN it’s a good song! The closing track is also a stand out for me. 

    Is this a great Metal record? Oh God no.  But when taken for what it is, it is a good record.  I’d have given this record, at the very LEAST, a 3.    I think you’re too hard on Modern Metal records…open your mind man.  There’s more to life than JUST Metal.  You may be missing out.  This is FAR, from a bad record…and hey, guaranteed there is a large audience for this music, and yes, they are older than 15.  Go to any random bar. 

    As a Metalhead who’se not fond of this brand of music, I’m dubbing this album with a 3.5.  Through the perspective of the general masses, I’m giving it a 4.  This is a GREAT gateway record for the general audience.  We all need to start somewhere.  Slipknot was my gateway band.

    As a professional journalist, I can see bias when I see it.  I’m calling bias on this particular review.

    Of course, I still enjoy reading your reviews and will continue to do so.  I just thought this album deserved to have a positive comment.

    • As a professional journalist, I’d hope that you’d be smart enough to actually be able to see the difference between “just the facts” reporting and the subjective nature of reviewing music.

      “Bias”? What’s my bias? That the songwriting was pretty alright and then interrupted by totally terrible paint-by-numbers pop music? C’mon dude.

      Also, let’s be straight about “bias”: You, “as a professional reporter” show your bias based on how you report things. Do you regularly interview impoverished people about financial markets? Do you take gender into account when doing stories on politics? Do you do serious investigative journalism instead of reworking a press release? How we go about our jobs is fundamentally about our socialization, position in society, and so forth. Objective reporting is a sham.

      • Godwalker

        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.

        This is where the bias is revealed-in your into no less. You are bias towards Pop Rock.

        You mention you like Diablo Swing Orchestra and Orphaned line, which is all well and good…they are GREAT bands, but that’s like comparing apples and oranges. They have their own unique style and play a different ball game than Deadlock. On a side note, I don’t even think Orphaned Land should be compared to D.S.O.

        It’s fine you don’t like Pop Rock…but don’t deny that you have a grudge against it. It’s pretty obvious at this point.

        • No, I’m biased _against_ pop rock. But that’s not really true either, as I like plenty of different types of pop (see: Vienna Teng’s career).

          The point of talking about bands like DSO and Orphaned Land is that they are bands that blend sounds. And you forget that DSO went fucking dubstep on their last record at times, and have very poppy moments. I also love new Nightwish, which is definitely an exercise in pop music. Deadlock sucks, because their brand of pop is boring, rehashed, crappy, predictable, irritating, drole, banal, and most specifically, their vocalist is cliché and overproduced. You get the point.

  • Actually I’m of the same opinion as Brent.
    Tough my favorite metal genre is nothing close to the music of Deadlock I wouldn’t call them all that bad! The guy’s screaming voice is pretty heavy and the girl’s voice is – even if it’s kinda pop-music’ish – beautifully clear.

    The only thing I really dislike about this band is their vegan lifestyle. To my mind they can do what ever they feel like is OK for them but they shouldn’t try to convince other people of that way to live in their lyrics.


  • Godwalker

    For the record, Deadlock’s newest album really blows….badly….