Deadlock - LIVE: Islington Academy 2, London 2012

Demon Hunter Tour
May 5
Capacity 250

When it was announced that Demon Hunter would be headlining a bill of melodic death metal at the Islington Academy 2 on the same day as the highly publicised Primordial/Hell/Winterfylleth mega bill next door, there was speculation that the show would sell poorly as a result. Such speculation was unfounded, with the venue completely sold out by the time the door opened. Some of that can be placed on Demon Hunter's own audience, what with the band having a huge following back in their native country. However it certainly didn't hurt that also on the bill were Nightrage and Deadlock, two bands who command their own respectable followings. There's no doubt that there was plenty in the crowd just for either or both of these two bands; Demon Hunter certainly kept a healthy crowd, but by the time their set came around it was clear some had left for the night or gone to the venue downstairs.

As far as Nightrage goes, despite being arguably the most recognizable name on the bill, they weren't particularly noteworthy as a band. Whilst having a fairly illustrious history, with many celebrated figures once in their midst, the current line up of Nightrage just seems... adequate. There was nothing wrong with the band's performance, but at the same time they were rather forgettable. Okay as a support, but little more.

Deadlock, on the other hand, were much more charismatic. Once again the band were down a member – this time it was guitarist Gert Rymen missing, due to an impending fatherhood, which seems like a damn good reason not to be in attendance. Again the band had chosen to simply use a backing track for the rhythm guitars instead of a replacement member or no rhythm guitar at all. Whilst it is understandable that a substitute member wouldn't be easy to acquire for a small band like Deadlock, and a set without rhythm would be out of the question, the bodiless rhythm guitar did feel odd and noticeable. At the start of the set, it was extremely awkward and obviously apparent, though it eventually faded into the mix much more elegantly.

Otherwise, Deadlock put on a fine performance to arguably the biggest crowd of the evening. The set was mostly the standards and there were no surprises, but the songs still have a lot of character to them – more importantly, their set felt very varied and had a lot of depth. There was some softer material in State of Decay, heavier in Awakened By Sirens and End Begins, with some big sounding anthems in Code of Honour, Dark Cell and opener Earthlings. New singer John Gahlert looked incredibly comfortable in his new role, a natural frontman if ever there was one; it seems hard to imagine him doing anything else. Sabine was as note-perfect as ever, and Sebastian Reichl remains one of the most underrated guitar players in the melodeath scene.

There were a few odd songs missing – Martyr To Science most importantly – but that's what happens when you get such a short set. Hopefully the band will be brave enough to venture over to the UK on their own headline show next time, as it did seem like they had much of the audience behind them.

“ varied and had a lot of depth ”

Setlist: Earthlings / The Brave/Agony Applause / Virus Jones / Code of Honour / Dark Cell / State of Decay / Renegade / Awakened by Sirens / End Begins

Written by James Donovan
More: 2012, Death Metal, Female-fronted, Gigs,

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