Review Summary: Deadjentlock. An album that's even worse than that portmanteu.
Let's be swift, honest, and decisive about this: The Arsonist
is not good. It's a metal abortion on par with Super Collider
with the only difference between the two being the smaller fanbase Deadlock has to disappoint. And make no mistake, they disappoint.
At times, I wonder how it is that The Arsonist
is as weak an album as it is. 2011's Bizzaro World
, while looked down upon by some, carried a crisp and tight execution with a more modern take on the band's polished melodeath roots and was, if nothing else, a personal favorite. Yet The Arsonist
forgoes almost everything the band has done before. So much so that The Arsonist
may as well be a new release by a new band. A far, far worse band than the Deadlock we've known in the past.
charges full force into a "darker, heavier" sound laced with poor production that heaps all of the worst qualities of a common djent band onto what was once a fairly unique and talented melodeath act. And it's a shock - nothing in Deadlock's previous work anticipates this terribly psychotic shift into a style which largely forsakes melody, and with good reason. Sabine Wagner's voice simply works better when framed by mid-high melodic leads and the sort of orchestral underscoring that made previous albums successful. Yet those very elements are suspiciously absent on The Arsonist
following the departures of Joe Prem and Gert Rymen.
This album focuses almost entirely on a low-end sound that's become something worse than merely "generic" all executed in a way that feels less than inspired. Sure, Sabine's voice makes it apparent that this is a Deadlock album, but at most points, her voice doesn't even mesh properly with the music. The latter half of the album is a bit better at catering to her leading melodies by easing off of the low-end gas, but the tracks still feel weak, uninspired, and generally shameful, though it's hard to blame Sabine for an album which runs almost exclusively counter to her greatest assets (which are, consequently, the band's greatest assets).
John Gahlert sounds weak and forced on harsh vocal duties and with Sabine in tow, it's hard to imagine why the band chose to lead with John at about a 70:30 split between the two. Of course, his voice seems to fit this new musical direction more easily, though that begs the question: Why force a worse singer to front a worse style of music?
From sloppy and slow soloing over muddy djent rhythms that kick off "The Great Pretender" to the downright boring and uninspired rhythmic sections of... well, the entire album (not to mention the awful Skrillex-esque drops of "As We come Undone"), there's very little redeeming to be found in The Arsonist
. In fact, it's an album that really shows Deadlock becoming everything you'd hoped they'd never be and shamelessly burning any hope they had for a continuing melodeath conquest.
is the antithesis of anything the band has done to this point and, quite honestly, it should be burned and forgotten, as its own title so lovingly implies.