Germany's Deadlock formed 1997 and by 2002 they released their debut album with the appropriate title The Arrival. Wolves is the third effort from the band and further the first with Sabine Weniger as a full member, even though she contributed with her vocals on the debut. Deadlock has the by now well proven vocal-combination of " the beauty and the beast" , meaning male growls and clean female vocals. However, unlike most other bands using these vocals, Deadlock show no passion for the goth side, since this is steadily based in death metal of the melodic kind.
Cry wolf and run for cover, cuz' Deadlock is on the prowl, and once they sink their fangs in you, believe me, you are hooked. After the intro World Domination comes the up-tempo track We All Shall Bleed, and that song is an awesome opener for the album. Much reminiscent of Dark Tranquillity it kicks off with blistering speed, a healthy dose of aggression from the growling Johannes Prem and explodes into a melodic refrain where Sabine Weniger explicitly delivers the clean vocals. It is tight and compact music the band deliver and to draw comparisons with Dark Tranquillity and the Gothenburg sound feels rather natural with Deadlock.
Musically this album feels refreshing, not least with the guitars that are performed excellent, they are doing a fine job with smashing leads and the technical solos as well as with the heavy riffing, and once again Dark Tranquillity comes to mind as the guitars bears a similar mark. Bloodpact is a full head-on melodic death assault where the song in itself isn't anything special, but it is the brilliant guitars that do the trick with that one. The electronic parts play an important role as well in Deadlock, with the dashing keyboard-attacks and the soundscapes that fill the sound. Although they could have left out the annoying break with techno rhythms in the otherwise good song End Begins, that reminds of the more aggressive side of Danish band Mercenary.
As for the vocals it works splendidly in both ends, the growls are hard, dark and screams of authority while the clear and light female voice makes a perfect counterbalance. I like the contrast between the growls and her voice, without losing too much of the aggression and character the female sung refrains gives a lighter and catchy tone. An even more aggressive and rougher side of Deadlock is unleashed in Losers' Ballet. This song is leaning more towards black metal considering the atmosphere and the orchestral arrangements, and you could think of Bal-Sagoth or a lighter version of Dimmu Borgir with this one. As Word For Bullets, if it hadn't been for the female vocals, could have been done by In Flames, hard-hitting verses that break off with more modest melodic parts and with a driven force in the chorus.
Wolves has a homogenous feeling straight through the album, and even if it musically does differ some between the tracks it isn't enough to say in general that any songs stray away. Although, there is one song that separates itself from the other, the closing ballad To Where The Skies Are Blue, and in my eyes it is a sin to end an album with a ballad. I want something hard-hitting leaving me pumped up with adrenaline and that makes me want to spin the album one more time, and I am not sure that a ballad is the right recipe for that. Anyhow, Sabine gets to sing out in a ballad that is not very metal, albeit worthwhile but yet a bit inappropriate. It is simply her voice and a piano in a song that has a touch of Evanescence more than the death metal presented in the other songs.
This is an album that I have listened to a lot, mainly because I have wanted to, but also to see if the album holds up after quite some extensive listening. I was afraid that when the first overwhelming feeling settled so would this album, but no, it grows, it holds and it kicks ass, trust me.