Deadlock – Bizarro World
Label: Lifeforce Records
Release date: February 28, 2011 (March 15, 2011 U.S.)
Despite the abundance of metal that gouges my ears on a weekly basis, I have somehow managed to miss out on Germany’s Deadlock…until now. The band is actually on their fifth album, the soon to be released Bizarro World, the concept for which the band describes on their website:
In the Bizarro World – also known as Htrae (Earth spelled backwards) – society is ruled by the Bizarro Code which states “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!” Since its introduction in DC comics in the early 1960s the concept of “Bizarro” has been ingrained in popular culture where it has come to mean a weirdly mutilated version of anything; so has the concept of “Bizarro World”. With their newest record Deadlock are now designing their interpretation of a world built up on extremes and antitheses.
If that world of converse aural juxtapositions was Deadlock’s target then they hit it dead on. Bizarro World is a gem of an album providing sonic contrasts throughout. The album was produced by band guitarist Sebastian Reichl, who did a magnificent job of tastefully and masterfully entangling the dichotomy of musical elements that grace Bizarro World.
One might logically compare the band to fellow metallists Lacuna Coil or Nightwish, as both mix harsh male vocals with beautiful clean female vocals, but such similarity is surface. The band started in 1997 as a death metal outfit steered by vocalist Johannes Prem and drummer Tobias Graf, but as the band grew they began expanding their sound to include more melodic elements, even techno sections. Enter Sabine (Weniger) Scherer, whose ethereal vocals play beauty to Prem’s beast. Sabine was initially just a part time member of the band, but has since become full time, and an essential part of the band’s signature sound.
On Bizarro World, the band combines those gruff death metal growls and driving guitars with sweeping atmospheric orchestrations familiar in vein to bands like Within Temptation and Epica.
Each track flows sonically with the next despite the contrast of ugliness versus beauty. Bizarro World is a unique and epic album. If you hold an aversion to harsh vocals in your metal, I would argue that Deadlock’s interfusion of both vocal styles creates a symbiotic comingling that is worth opening your mind—and ears to.
Normally as I review a new album I like to separate out individual tracks for interpretation, but there is really no way to severe a part from the whole with Bizarro World. From the album opener, the crunchy hammering grit of “Virus Jones,” through the poetic and ghostly, “Paranoia Extravaganza,” each track needs the other to keep the pulse of the album intact and breathing. So as you sit down to listen, prepare to devote a full 40 minutes for your listening pleasure.
Deadlock’s Bizarro World is a record of flawless imperfection, and a true musical paradox of harmonious asymmetry. This is one album that can readily cross, and be appreciated by fans of all metal genres, and that is not journalistic hyperbole. Buy it!
Until Bizarro World is available, go back and get your ears on 2008’s Manifesto and hear where the band’s current sound really began to take form and gel. You will likely find yourself wondering how they’ve been so tragically overlooked.