Review Summary: Solid metal. How Deadlock all started.Whether you are ever going to feel this warmth again which makes us human,
Create this bright new world.
Cure the cancer of progress with even more progress.
It is the necessary evil.
Deadlock has established itself as more or less a respectable act in the metal community, especially because of Sabine Weniger’s standout abilities as a prominent female vocalist in heavy music. Their Lifeforce debut with “Earth.Revolt” made quite the impression, which was only reinforced by the follow up with “Wolves.” As we wait for the release of their latest effort “Manifesto” in the following month, I will attempt to promote some preparation or revisitation, especially with their most overlooked full-length debut “The Arrival.” Weniger was not an official member of the band with this release, but this shows how appropriately complimentary she was in the beginning to merit a full-time position in the band. The other original band members also showcase their skills and the improvements they underwent.
The album commences with “Opening the Gates…” and it does just that; it serves as a synth heavy ethereal opener to the album, leading into the first audio pulverization that is “With a Smile on My Face.” The majority of Johannes Prem’s vocals are nowhere near as deep and guttural as you would find on their later efforts, but they are just as powerful. The guitar assault of Sebastian Reichl and Gert Rymen is very raw, majorly assisted by the hollow production quality. The destructive melodies range from heavy riffs and hooks, to driving chords, and quick fingerpicking and arpeggios. Underneath this, the synth plays very subtle accoutrements, adding euphonically to the sound albeit subconsciously to the listener. The song concludes with guitar feedback droning into a soothing synth chord that resonates in reminiscence to the opener.
The next track is an eleven minute behemoth entitled “Killing the Time with Haemoglobin.” The opening has guitar parts that sound much like they would belong in a Darkest Hour album. This is where Prem’s vocals soar. His screams of “you are so overwhelming” have a near-whiny aspect to it, seeping his desperation and emotive frustration through the mic. The synth contributes more heavily, but in the right moments, adding for pleasant variance…it is an eleven minute song after all. About eight minutes in, dynamics suddenly decrease and a single guitar plays a crooning riff as Prem engages in a raspy speak/whispering underlined by the crisp and steadfast beats of the toms and bass by Tobias Graf. Slight crescendos carry the break into a beautifully epic conclusion, accompanied by the ever-necessary synth, playing an orchestral buildup. Definitely one of the standouts of the album.
“Spring Awoken” marks the first guest appearance of Sabine Weniger’s beautiful voice in a very expressive and melodic track, acting almost as a (very slight) ease from the prior heaviness. An upbeat piano melody at an allegretto tempo starts the song while Reichl and Graf aid with subdued but driving accompaniment. Prem blasts through with his vocal devastation, until the reprise of the piano melody. Then Weniger comes in starting her recitation of lyrics with an ascending scale. Another highlight of the album.
There are many other memorable moments throughout the album. “Menschanhand” and “Lebe Wohl” features lyrics entirely in Deadlock’s native tongue of German. “Lebe Wohl” is an especially great song for its incredible instrumental execution, a beautiful Brian Eno-esque interlude, and some brief singing (word used loosely) by Prem. Prem engages in actual singing in a duet with Weniger in the short interlude “Prealudium,” which also features a nice but quick guitar solo. “This Winter Day’s Magic” features a great bass riff (entirely audible!) a little before the halfway point. Weniger makes her final appearance in the closer “…For the New Prophets.” The eight minute track slows into a slow and somber piano track as Weniger closes the album with her angelic voice.
There are many aspects to this album that have a vibe (especially instrumentally and atmospherically) similar to Underoath albums before the admittance of Spencer Chamberlain, namely “Acts of Depression” and “Cries of the Past.” Prem’s voice even sounds arguably like Dallas Taylor’s at moments, especially when he speaks, but indisputable is his shear force and presence. The guitars and drums are precise and well-executed, but not as technical as Deadlock would later become. The lyrics are definitely lacking, but it is something that the band would overcome in future releases. This album provides a look into Deadlock before full maturity, and improvements from hereon are expectedly unequivocal. Nevertheless, this album in itself is a solid metal release, sure to please fans beyond the confines of Deadlock enthusiasts.