Germany’s Deadlock are perfect for anyone who likes their metal with a dose of synth-pop but can’t bear the saccharine nature of Amaranthe. The Arsonist picks up the thread that runs through every Deadlock album, with songwriter Sebastian Reichl sticking to a formula that works: super-tight percussion and chunky riffs laden with delicate piano and thudding synths, topped off with beauty-and-the-beast vocals from John Gahlert and Sabine Scherer.
The latter provides the infectious choruses of I’m Gone, as well as the title track, which, with its electronic beats and chanted refrain could have been lifted off BMTH’s Sempiternal. Brutal opener The Great Pretender and Darkness Divine are standard death metal injected with synth melodies, while a brilliant cover of Bronski Beat’s Small Town Boy and closer My Pain are insanely catchy.
Deadlock are a well-oiled machine, perhaps too slick at times, with the low end almost getting lost in the mix and the beautiful voice of Sabine Scherer underused until the haunting ballad Hurt, in which she ascends the scale to soaring high notes.