DEADLOCK — Bizarro World

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DEADLOCK - Bizarro World cover
3.52 | 9 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2011

Tracklist


1. Virus Jones (04:59)
2. State of Decay (03:43)
3. Falling Skywards (04:22)
4. Earthlings (03:41)
5. You Left Me Dead (04:11)
6. Brutal Romance (04:08)
7. Alienation (01:42)
8. Renegade (03:25)
9. Htrae (04:48)
10. Bizarro World (02:11)
11. Paranoia Extravaganza (03:08)

Total Time 40:18



Limited edition:

12. State of Decay (S.U.N. Project remix) (04:21)
13. Virus Jones (Trickpop remix) (04:12)

Total Time 48:51

Line-up/Musicians


- Johannes Prem / vocals
- Sabine Weniger / vocals, keyboards
- Sebastian Reichl / guitars, keyboards
- Gert Rymen / guitars
- John Gahlert / bass
- Tobias Graf / drums

About this release

CD released 21st February 2011 on Lifeforce Records (LFR 112-2).

Thanks to Time Signature for the addition and Bosh66 for the updates

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Bizarro WorldBizarro World
LIFEFORCE RECORDS 2011
$9.77
$2.03 (used)
Bizarro World by Deadlock (2011-03-15)Bizarro World by Deadlock (2011-03-15)
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DEADLOCK BIZARRO WORLD reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

adg211288
Bizarro World is the fifth album by German melodic death metal act Deadlock, which was released in 2011. I’ve been a follower of this band for several years now. They first came to my attention with their 2007 album Wolves, which I thought was a really excellent melodic death metal release with a few progressive/experimental tendencies thrown in. For me, Wolves is easily one of the best albums of its genre, mostly because it showcased a band unafraid to be a bit different. The band then went and released the album Manifesto a year later, and my opinion of the group plummeted. So poor was the material I heard from it that I didn’t even end up checking out the whole release. There was even a song that was going pretty good and then bang, the song turns into a full blown rap song. Not rap metal, but actual rap music. Obviously, you can imagine the ‘WTF’ moment I had with that one. So now we’re in 2011 and the group drops Bizarro World and I decide to give the band another chance. So pretty much, this is the make or break album for Deadlock and me, and I expect anyone else who was let down my Manifesto as well. Here’s how I found it.

Bizarro World is can both pretty intense and pretty mild as far as death metal (even the melodic variant) can go. I guess you could call this a showcase of the genre getting watered down, although this is nowhere near as commercially inclined as it potentially could be. The vocal style is of the Beauty and the Beast vein; that is death growls from Johannes Prem, which are pretty strong and deep, and certainly help give the release a more powerful death metal feel, along with clean female vocals from Sabine Scherer (nee Weniger), which certainly add the melody into this release. They’re a good vocal team and the mix of growls/female cleans certainly works well for Deadlock’s sound. Bearing in mind though that it is still supposed to be death metal however, it seems that there is a larger focus on Sabine’s vocals, which is where I was going with the watered down remark. Even as soon as the second song in, State Of Decay, they band delivers a track with no death growls whatsoever. This is a good song, but far too soon into the album to work as best as it possibly could. I’d have sooner have heard at least three melodic death metal track before such a track was included.

Fortunately most of the material is generally in the same vein as Wolves was; which is obviously a big plus for the album in most ways. I dislike the use of odd sounds to open some of the songs, such as opener Virus Jones and Falling Skywards, but otherwise the songs are solid material. There is something of an electronic feel to parts of the album, some of it sounds very techno as well, such as in Renegade, but I can live with that, as the actual melodic death metal aspect of the album is highly enjoyable with generally good riffs and leads throughout, with the album being a clear showcase that Deadlock are competent musicians. Admittedly some parts of the album are unsurprising in the way they are delivered, but every now and then there comes a bit that is truly unexpected, such as the little instrumental Alienation. The album goes out on a quiet note though with the short orchestral title track and a ballad, Paranoia Extravaganza. This doesn’t exactly mean it goes out on a downer, but it doesn’t go out with a bang either.

Anyone who has heard Wolves may note from the descriptions above that I could actually have been describing Wolves if I’d just switched the names around (like swapping Renegade for End Begins for example). That’s because when it boils down to it it’s almost as if Deadlock did try to make Wolves II with this album. The similarities are hard to miss when you know both albums as well as I have come to. They even end in the same manner with the ballad, although Wolves forgoes the preceding instrumental, and both have techno parts. The major difference is that Bizarro World is a slightly inferior release, but that’s about where the differences end unless you want to point out on all the finer details.

The best tracks for me are Earthlings, because I think Sabine in particular sounds fantastic on this one, and the same can be said for You Left Me Dead. Renegade is another good one, because somehow against all odds Deadlock manages to make techno death metal (to coin a term) something highly enjoyable, and also Brutal Romance, for showing that Deadlock can still have a bit of a kick to their sound. Htrae, however, is probably the album’s crowning achievement.

In summary I find Bizarro World to be a solid return to form for Deadlock. The material is not overall the strongest I have heard from them, but at least there is no rap, which, in all honesty is a redeeming factor all in itself. It may not flow as well as Wolves did but neither is it a total atrocity like Manifesto was promising to be. In fact although it’s no masterpiece I am actually quite pleased with this album. May it signal a run of great releases from Deadlock.

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven, scored at 7.6/10)
J-Man
Brutal Romance

"Beauty-and-the-beast" melodic death metal acts seem to be gaining popularity nowadays, and Deadlock is surely among the top of the heap. On this album you'll find excellent melodies, killer riffs, angelic vocals from Sabine Weniger, and brutal death growls from Johannes Prem. There are a few cheesy pop-ish ballads that I could've one without, and a few riffs come across as generic, but that doesn't hide the fact that Bizarro World is an enjoyable, and occasionally excellent, album from Deadlock. Its appeal towards "tr00 deth metl d00ds" is certainly limited - those who despise any mainstream sensibilities in their extreme metal will want to keep a safe distance from Bizarro World. For what it's worth, I've had a great time listening to Deadlock's latest effort over the last week and, although I have a few complaints, it's a largely successful effort that should please their dedicated followers and (hopefully) a whole new legion of fans.

The music here can be considered melodic death metal, which is certainly a warranted tag. There are plenty of downtuned chugging-riffs on Bizarro World accompanied by brutal death growls from Johannes Prem. However, a decent chunk of the album, particularly the title track, "Paranoia Extravaganza", "State Of Decay" and "Alienation", can barely be considered metal at all. During the heavier tracks (which feature both clean and growled vocals), I'm reminded of acts like Engel and especially System Divide (which plays a similar, albeit more "metal", style of melodeath). The music can get a bit formulaic, but it's always enjoyable and filled with highlights like "Brutal Romance" and "Virus Jones". As mentioned, a few riffs can feel a bit "generic", but that may only be due to the terribly weak production. I'm not against polished productions, but this is so overstressed that it actually serves as an obstacle for me. I would really like them to take a rawer approach with the production next time.

Conclusion:

Bizarro World is an impressive and confident album from Deadlock, even though it's marred by an overstressed production and a few uncomfortable transitions. Regardless of its setbacks, this is a great melodeath album that fans of the genre should certainly seek out. Deadlock is certainly among the better "beauty-and-the-beast" bands out there, and this strong effort is worth 3.5 stars. This isn't an album for all of you die-hard Cannibal Corpse fans, but anyone who can appreciate the mainstream and (very) melodic forms of death metal will enjoy this one.
Time Signature
You left me dead...

Genre: melodic so-called death metal

Deadlock's music is often described as melodic death metal, and the music is obviously inspired by the Gothenburg-style, but apart from Johannes Presm's growled vocals, there is not a lot of death metal on this album. There are a lot of melodeath traits, but not a lot of death metal, if you know what I mean, and, at times Deadlock remind me more of bands like Engel, Dead By April, and Sonic Syndicate (although Deadlock, like Engel, are lightyears better than especially Dead By April).

The tracks on this album can be divided up into two categories based on the band's two main formulas of writing.

One category consists of aggressive tracks with thrashy and groovy riffs which display technical finess, while maintaining the focus on melody. The verses are typically growled by Johannes Prem, while the choruses are sung melodically by Sabine Weniger. Examples are "Virus Jones", "Falling Skywards", "Earthlings", "Brutal Romance" and, to some extent, "Htrae".

The other category consists of popy and ballady (but sometimes heavy) tracks which are primarily sung by Sabine Weniger (although sprinkled with growls from Johannes Prem). Examples are: State of Decay", "You Left Me Dead", "Renegade" and "Paranoia Extravaganza".

This certainly is not bad music. I especially like the tracks mentioned under the aggressive category as the band really manages to create equilibrium between aggression and melody, but the formulaic aproach makes things a but uninteresting and predictable at times. The soft tracks are fine, too, but I don't think they will appeal to a lot of metalheads to be honest.

I think that fans of melodeath and Göteborg-metal will really like this album, while fans of death metal proper might be able to enjoy it in small doses at the time.

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