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Deadlock - Hybris

Deadlock – CD Review

Deadlock – Hybris


CD Info
Napalm Records
10 tracks
English/German lyrics


Deadlock is a band that gives to the word “survival” a brand new definition; after several line-up changes through the years (lead guitarist Sebastian Reichl is the only original member left in the band), the loss of a founding member (drummer Tobias Graf died in 2014) and the departure of their female singer (Sabine Scherer), Deadlock didn’t lose their way as in Reichl’s own words “Giving up was never an option.”

Hybris is their seventh full-length studio album (and their second one with their new label, Napalm Records) and let’s face it; it’s a pretty damn good album! But let’s take things from the start, shall we?

Deadlock play melodic death metal. Okay, there are so many other bands that play in the very same music style, so what? What makes this band unique and special? Well, first of all, they have a female clean vocalist. Secondly, all the band-members are vegans, and this reflects on their lyrics a lot. All of their songs deal with socially conscious themes like animal rights, how we preserve the earth we are living on, in what level and ways the human kind harms nature etc. These guys clearly don’t sing about sunsets, birds and butterflies!

The title of the album, Hybris, comes from the Greek word “hubris”, which is very much common in ancient Greek tragedy and means excessive pride towards or defiance of the gods. According to their recent interview with Avenoctum, for the band, hybris is “the state of the system we are born and raised into and which we have to change a lot if we as humans want to live truly free and in peace in the future.”

The album kicks off with “Epitaph” which includes heavy riffing and double kicking drums (both elements of death metal’s very core) and also some clean guitars combined with melodic choruses. This blend applies on the whole album more or less. After all, Deadlock are not brutal death metal band; therefore, some moments of ease on their sound are essential as well.

“Carbonman” includes a very interesting combination of vocals (a huge thumb-up for front-lady Margie Gerlitz here!). The vegan theme is all over here alive and kicking. “Berserk” features some quite futuristic stuff, and reminded me a lot of the manga/anime series under the very same name. Since the lyrics seem to be very much related to the theme of this anime series, my guess is that the band inspired the song from it. “Blood Ghost” starts off really smoothly and it looks like a ballad track. But it’s not; it’s a heavy one and it includes a small surprise -- a hidden track! This is a really nice gesture towards their dedicated fans. “Hybris” is all about forgiveness and spiritualism which reminds to the listener that Tobias Graf’s memory still remains. This song also features some enchanting backing female vocals which add a really nice touch to the whole track.

“Wrath – Salvation” follows; music-wise it’s in the same concept with the rest of the songs, just in a more modern direction by adding a bit of electro elements. “Backstory Wound” could easily be the band’s next hit-single. “Ein Deutsches Requiem” is Deadlock’s version of Johannes Brahm’s “Requiem”. This song is a special one in so many ways; the interpretation and conversion of a classical song into a death metal one, the soprano vocals all over the track performed by Margie, and the dedication of one minute of silence to their late band-mate and loyal friend. However, Margie is not a classically-trained singer, and the listener can clearly realize that lack of training in the soprano passages.

“Vergebung” is a 2-minute instrumental track and the beautiful melodies played by acoustic guitars work perfectly in order to let the listener catch his/her breath a bit before the grand finale. “Welcome Deathrow” is a very powerful track which again relates to Graf’s death with the lyrics referring to those dark days of September. (Tobias Graf died in September 2014.)

Deadlock chose to work with two different producers, Eike Freese (Dark Age) and Alexander Dietz (Heaven Shall Burn). John Gahlert praised Dietz’s work and expertise which helped him to finally find his original vocal style. And in my humble opinion he is totally right on this; his vocals on Hybris sound much more natural and spontaneous than in the band’s previous album, The Arsonist. One thing I actually liked a lot on this band is their male harsh vocals. There are certain bands in dual male-female bands that feature awful harsh vocals, and nobody seems to notice. Nobody complains. They get away with it every time, with every album. Harsh vocals can be overproduced in a cozy studio with all the right and expensive equipment but what happens with the live shows where they sound ridiculously awful? Deadlock is clearly not one of these bands; I’d bet my ass on it!

To sum up, if you want to enjoy some really loud, well-produced and pretty djent-like stuff, you should get this album. Their new singer, Margie Gerlitz, is a great fit for the band, as she sounds a lot like her predecessor but not in the level of being a copy of her. The whole album goes really smoothly even for a death metal newbie like me. With the digipak edition of Hybris you can get two bonus cover tracks (“Uncivil Hands” by Morning Again and “Fight Song” by Marilyn Manson), plus a 90-minute DVD documentary which visualizes all the effort and hard work this band has put in just to stay alive, leave behind its dark days, and hit the road again.

Give them a try! I think they are really worth your time and money. 9/10