You might start to get a little worried by the opening minute of Manifesto, the new release from Germany's Deadlock. One wouldn't expect a progressive death metal release to start off with bubbling techno synths, followed by a effects laden gothic male voice stating "come on mother f*&%#ckers". Well, thankfully Deadlock end that pretty quickly and blast in with plenty of death metal ferocity on "Martyr to Science", a song that also features the lovely female vocals of keyboard player Sabine Weniger. She's one of the best female vocalists in metal that you've never heard, her soaring pipes playing off the evil growls & screams from Johannes Prem, giving some of these songs an almost Dark Tranquility meets Lacuna Coil feel at times. In fact, much of the music here falls firmly into the Gothenburg style of melodic death metal, except the band adds plenty of prog-rock style synths and Sabine's gothic/pop flavored vocals. She again provides the sultry nature to the otherwise ripping "Slaughter's Palace", while she fully takes over on the symphonic "Brave/Agony Applause", a song that is littered with plenty of keys and tasty guitar solos.
Not sure what the band was thinking on "Deathrace", a lengthy piece that starts off as a virtuoso melodic & progressive death metal track that suddenly changes gears and becomes a full-fledged rap song, expletives and ghetto trash talk taking complete control. All I can say is WTF? Again, what were they thinking...I have no idea. Thankfully, "Fire at Will" returns to a melodic mix of extreme, gothic, and progressive metal, growls and clean vocals flying about the mix and doing battle with raging guitar solos from Sebastian Reichl & Gert Rymen, plus there's even a neat jazzy sax solo as well to mix it up a bit. Some more of the gothic/techno styled synths re-appear on "Dying Breed", a fantastic melodic metal track, sounding at times like Scar Symmetry as well as Epica, while "Altruism" is a mellow pop number featuring the gorgeous vocals of Sabine supported by lush strings and synths.
If it wasn't for the opening techno passage and the incomprehensible rap section, this one might have gotten a near perfect score, as it's that damn good. Musically, these guys are right on point, as there's plenty of thunder, complexity, and melody to be found on Manifesto. Ultimately though it's the memorable songs and the powerhouse vocal performance of both Weniger & Prem that drive this thing, as Deadlock are showing the world just how male and female vocals can work together in the world of extreme metal.
1. Moribund Choir vs. The Trumpets of Armageddon
2. Martyr to Science
3. Slaughter's Palace
4. Brave/Agony Applause
6. Fire at Will
7. Seal Slayer
9. Dying Breed
11. Temple of Love