After two acclaimed albums this Finnish band strikes back with a very impressive third full length in the form of “Deadlock”. I am not very familiar with all of their past output, but I have heard some tracks off their “Mad Moon Rising” album, pleasantly surprising me. This album is somewhat more melodic yet also heavier in a sense.
The minute the first song, “…And The Silence Bites” hit, I was floored by their brilliant melodies and knack of subtle intricacy. Song two, “Fools In Control”, continues in much the same vein with heavy riffs intertwined with many melodic and progressive hooks. “Waste, Damnation” is probably the album’s highlight with its IN FLAMES-like opening riffs and brilliant melodic leads around the mark. After this brilliant three track salvo the album loses a bit of steam, but luckily songs like “Psychoracer” (very impressive vocal work here) and “By The Waves Of Stars”, more than make up for it. The little instrumental isn’t too bad either…
Markku Pihlaja is one hell of an impressive vocalist that never overdoes his singing, while still maintaining a very convincing emotional tone all the way through. Kudos would also have to go to the two axemen (Antti Lauren and newcomer Markus Vanhala), as their strong riffing and ethereal soloing really elevates this album above so many of the other faceless Melodic Metal albums around today. Oh yeah, I must also note that the production is absolutely superb, with crystal clarity being the name of the game, but also giving the guitars some crunch and backbone.
I would definitely have scored the album a bit higher if it weren’t for the couple of fillers songs midway through, but overall this is a strong album, that will appeal to fans of IRON MAIDEN, IN FLAMES (“Whoracle” era) and VANISHING POINT.