Record of the Week: Deadlock: S/T 7"

Deadlock: S/T 7” (Painkiller) Highly recommended nine-song smasher from this Boston-meets-London hardcore supergroup, including Tom from Violent Reaction on vocals. I’ve heard Tom say repeatedly that he hates being the frontperson in a band, which is a shame because this 7” clearly illustrates that he is one of the best hardcore vocalists in the world. I’ve always thought that great drummers make particularly great hardcore singers, and that is perfectly evident on this EP. For the most part, hardcore vocals aren’t about melody, but rhythm, and Tom’s vocals exhibit a great drummer’s feel for when to accent a certain beat or how to navigate a transition between two parts, only as the vocalist he’s doing these things with syllables and phonemes rather than with drums and cymbals. The songs themselves are straightforward hardcore in the early DC mold and sound like they’re more or less modeled on SOA’s catalog, but they’re executed with the perfect balance of precision and rawness. But, again, the vocals take what might otherwise threaten to be slightly boneheaded riffs (and I mean that in the best way possible!) and elevate them into downright explosive and memorable punk tunes. I’m sure that fans of the musicians who play on this record (who you may know from Violent Reaction, Arms Race, No Tolerance, and many others) will pick this up automatically, but anyone into early 80s-style hardcore should give this a listen. Also, it’s limited to a one-time pressing of 500 copies, so don’t blink or you’re likely to miss out.

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