Dead Good

German melodic death/black metal powerhouses Deadlock begin and end this gem of an album with two track titles which seem to some them up in a nutshell -'Demonic' and 'Harmonic'. The vegan, straightedge metallers have ultimately delivered on their debut full-length for Lifeforce Records as they gracefully strum their way through 54 minutes of beauty rising from decay. This long player based on a concept that the world has been overthrown by chaos, giving way to a new era free from humanity's greed to be born, never fails to bring something extraordinary to the ear throughout. Whether it be the haunting keys and vocals of Sabine Weniger or the gloriously complex guitar arrangements of Sebastian Reichi and Gert Rymen, the band proclaim their environmental ideology majestically and although these ideas are key to the album's success, it could be what stops them from achieving it.

'Earth.Revolt' is unmistakeably an excellent and technically proficient album that at times allows us to make links with Swedish masters Soilwork. The fusion of Reichi and Rymen's guitars, at times, is nothing short of pure, refined artistry and when combined with the melancholy synths of Weniger, the group are in their element bringing their unique blend of Goth influenced, earth conscious metal to a scene becoming more and more stagnant as we speak. Tranquil breaks in tempo provided by Sabine's keys and her sometimes almost poppy vocals assist this full length in rising above its competitors - stand out track 'Awakened by Sirens' is evidence of this. Uniting the harsher, more guttural tones of lead singer Johannes Prem against the angelic vocal chords of his female opposite is something that has been done before [by Austrian band Visions of Atlantis for example] but where they've failed Deadlock have definitely succeeded. It is on songs like the aforementioned 'Awakened by Sirens' and '10,000 Generations of Blood' that the group really start to flourish, however its important to note that not all of the album includes a woman's dulcet tones. Roughly 80% of this record is all voiced by Prem and is just as good. On epic masterpiece, 'May Angels Come' the listener is treated to just over 8 minutes of the German metallers in their prime, riffs, bass, drum and vocals all blend together to create a volatile mix of a genre instrumented like it should be.

But flawless as they may sound, Deadlock aren't without their problems. The production of this record, although excellent, doesn't represent the vocals of Prem as it could have. At times you couldn't be blamed for missing an entire verse of his screams due to the fact the instruments are growling louder than he is which really is a shame. The lyrics scripted by the Germans also are lost in the hail of sound. Profound and at times slightly overbearing, the words aim to inform their fans to respect the environment and the world we live in. As admirable a mission this is, the cries of 'beauty' in final track 'Harmonic' by Sabine Weniger really do begin to grate on the nerves and might do so to people wishing to get into the band. 'Earth. Revolt' as an introduction to Deadlock might on first listen seem not to be as spectacular an album as it is on the fifth, but it is this effort which will really make you start to appreciate the creativity of this group.

From the subtle, subdued guitar and piano work on tracks like 'Earth. Revolt' and 'Harmonic' to the aggressive, heavier approach on 'Everlasting Pain' and 'Kingdom of the Dead', Deadlock's years in the underground scene have certainly paid off. A tree-hugging Soilwork? Maybe. But of the same calibre? We'll have to wait and see.