|Review: Deadlock - Manifesto|
Label: Dynamic Arts Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Melodic Death Metal
Review online: January 10, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Rated 3.08/5 (61.67%) (12 Votes)
It isn't that I'm against protecting animals and preserving their right to walk the Earth and live in peace. I just hate the obnoxious tendency of groups like PETA to push their beliefs on the general meat-eating populous in such a garish, grotesque and generally grating manner as they tend to. We earned our right at the top of the food chain, and the need to survive eliminates any such bleeding-heart notions like PETA or any other such group pushes forward. Yes, there are things wrong with the way animals are treated, there's no denying that, but the way these groups conduct themselves is no better. Besides being presumptuous, arrogant and douchey, it's really just annoying as Hell. That's what it all boils down to. Those types should be met with a swift middle finger in the air and a "Fuck you, I will eat what I want," no questions asked. Those types certainly have no place in music, much less Heavy Metal...
...which brings us to our latest ghastly aberration, Deadlock, and their new album Manifesto. Yes, it's pompous progressive melodeath with vegetarian lyrics, and it is every bit as disgusting and terrible as you can possibly imagine. Sounding like an amalgamation of Ozzy Osbourne's solo project, with the heavy and distorted guitars, and Pagan's Mind's more electronic, spacey moments and elaborate lead guitar work, Deadlock at least don't sound like anyone else, if that is any consolation. The first song, "Martyr to Science" kicks in after a laughable intro piece that tells us "motherfuckers" to get ready, or something like that, over some pop synthesizers, and it isn't terrible. I mean, that introduction piece had me ready for some grade A bullshit, but the band doesn't start out the album in the worst way possible, not at first. Despite the riffs taking the pinch-harmonic squeal thing a little too far, the song has a nice uptempo beat and some great female vocals by pretty Sabine Weniger, who is by far the best part of this album. So, this one song is alright, a nice opener to get the listeners fired up. It isn't good, but it's certainly not bad, either.
But then the next couple of songs kick in, and they're all pretty much the same. This album only has two modes of emotional discourse: energetic and over the top, and even more energetic and over the top. Everything is always played loud and proud, and while I normally would appreciate such bravado, it's like Deadlock don't have any notions of subtlety. They want to get their shitty message across, so they play everything LOUD AND EXTREME, because that's the only way to express yourself in music apparently. They think their listeners are morons, too dense to "get" their message without obvious, blunt lyrics and modern guitar chugging à la Lamb of God or Biomechanical. No, there is no way to express yourself by using well written songs that aren't just clusters of heavy guitar clunking (in fact, the amount of actual riffs on this album is surprisingly low, looking back) and shredding solos. Of course not. This is sometimes listenable, as on the more melodic "Agony Applause," but most of the time it's just faceless and bland. The songs lose themselves in their suffocating, sterile technicality and become faceless and boring.
Alright, alright, the vegan lyrics are atrocious, but we can at least fool ourselves into thinking the music is okay even though the lyrics amount to little more than a paragraph broken up into stanzas, right? I mean, it certainly isn't the worst thing I've ever heard. It's silly, over-produced and pretentious, but I've heard worse.
Well, I thought so until the album reached the halfway point with "Deathrace," where it just became obvious that the band didn't care about the music at all. The song is a typical blasting, chugging modern metal extravaganza until around the 4:30 mark, where a rapper comes in and starts rapping: "Animals can't speak but we can," he says first, and then the song just goes to shit right there, as he continues to project his verbal vomit all over this song for the next two minutes until its end, over this hypnotic, repetitive synth melody that reminds me of the music that plays in cartoons when a character gets brainwashed. With the little swirls in their eyes and the drool dripping from their gaping mouths and the whole package, you know the deal.
That, my friends...that was the point of no return. Nothing could have ever redeemed Manifesto after that. The album had dug its own grave and lay right down in it and buried itself alive. No matter how good the songs following it were (they aren't), the album would have still received a zero. There is no going back after something like this monstrosity, this perversion of nature.
There isn't even any clever build-up to it. It's like two completely different songs, divided right down the middle, and this guy is a really terrible rapper, at that, even when you don't take into account what he's rapping about (that is, he's trying to make us feel sorry for the animals, as the rest of the album is). I'm at a loss of words on this one. Is this what all of our musical advances have come to at the end of the day? Six minutes of torture with crappy modernized slush on one end and barely tolerable rapping on the other? It's like being caught in an alley-way between a rapist with Syphillis and a brick wall covered in acid and barbed wire, there's no way to come out wholly intact. What were they thinking? It's like the band just threw their hands in the air, gave up and decided to stop trying to make their music listenable. Besides, throwing in rappers in a metal album is SO OPEN-MINDED, right? Even if it's as sloppily done and poorly written as it is here, right? Now you guys can hide behind the "You're just too close-minded to understand our complex and deep music!" veil, right? Haha...ha...ha...my brain is melting out of my ears right now.
I'm still calling bullshit on that, though. Being open-minded and appreciative of music doesn't entail liking crap like this. Who the fuck listens to music to be preached to like this anyway, huh? That's what I want to know; that's the other thing wrong with this. I cannot think of one plausible and well-reasoned explanation for why anyone would consider this patronizing, egotistic, holier-than-thou trash entertaining or of any value at all. Yes, the message isn't a bad one, but the execution of it is: the band is constantly talking down to you, telling you how you should think, blowing things out of proportion and trying to make you feel all guilty for not being a vegetarian like the pompous assholes that they are. It's very, very poorly done, and even I could make a better set of lyrics, and I don't even follow the message conveyed here.
Deadlock didn't want to write a metal album with this release. They can pretend they did, but really all they were doing was lording their beliefs over everyone else under the guise of shitty guitars and over-done solo work. The promo sheet I got for this one claims that they were "picking out mankind's gorging and exploitation of animals as a conceptual storyline," but I don't think that's true at all. I think this band should stop making music, throw away all pretenses of intellectualism and go back to picketing fast food restaurants and malls, because that is clearly where they belong. There's no point in talking about any of the rest of the songs after "Deathrace"; why bother? The album died right there. The rest of it is pretty much crap, and that's all there is to it. Watered down, flashy garbage to appeal to people with no attention spans or taste or standards at all. Since I do not ride a short bus or wear a tin foil hat, this music does nothing for me.
It isn't like music with vegan lyrics HAS to suck, either. This could be done well, even on a metal album, if the bullshit was reigned in and the lyrics and songwriting were better. I could see an album with more poetic and intelligent lyrics (probably conceptual) focusing on saving the animals or vegetarianism being tolerable, with the right minds behind it. Deadlock's Manifesto isn't, though. This is definitely the worst album of the year, and rarely has any music ever made me this angry. Fuck this album. Fuck everything it stands for, and fuck anyone who thinks it's any good. This album is unpleasant by way of both the music, being uninspiring, uncatchy and thoroughly unenjoyable all around, and especially the lyrics, posing itself as this ridiculous sort of sympathetic animal apologist and this "enlightened" all knowing one at the same time. Deadlock are a joke that stopped being funny before it even began, and if you think I won't break that promo CD I got in half and throw it in the trash after this, you are mistaken. Good fucking riddance.
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