September 8, 2017 | by James Greene, Jr.
Merriam-Webster defines “deadlock” as “a state of inaction or neutralization resulting from the opposition of equally powerful uncompromising persons or factions.” Deadlock is also the title of several movies, including a 1931 British crime drama, a 1970 western made in Germany, and a 1991 sci-fi production from HBO starring Rutger Hauer and Mimi Rogers that was eventually retitled Wedlock. Wedlock was directed by Lewis Teague, who also helmed 1989’s Collision Course (which teams Jay Leno with Pat Morita for 100 minutes of pure hell) and the 1997 “Dukes of Hazzard” reunion titled Dukes of Hazzard Reunion!.
But I digress. Deadlock is a strong, forceful word, which is probably why so many musical acts across the planet have used it as a moniker. Perhaps the best known Deadlock in the realm of recorded sound is the melodic death metal outfit from Bavaria which calls itself by that name (my evidence: they’re the only one with their own English language Wikipedia page). This Deadlock was formed in 1997 and have pumped out at least eight studio albums. Dip into 2007’s Wolves and the listener will discover a band with all the technical precision of a cyborg running an infinite number of marathons in Hades while some disgusting beast mercilessly heckles it (between bursts of female pop vocal). Deadlock’s LPs offer the expected type of song titles for this genre — “Spring Is Awoken,” “The Year Of The Crow,” “Praeludium,” “Praeludium II.”
One of earliest Deadlocks came together in the Polish city of Gdańsk in 1979. Poland’s Deadlock serve up a loosey goosey smattering of punk and reggae on 1981’s Ambicja (Ambition), their sole full-length. The group ceased to exist beyond 1983, though they managed to staple themselves to one of punk’s weirder legends before falling apart. The 1982 seven-inch Best Perfumes of The Revolution advertises as its A side the “No. 1 punk ensemble” of Canton, China, an assembly named the Dragons who absolutely butcher “Anarchy in The UK” on traditional Chinese instruments. Members of Deadlock collaborated with friends from Kryzys (Crisis), a fellow Polish punk group, for the single’s B side (credited as Kryzys & Deadlock). Unfortunately for whomever concocted this silly gimmick, enough circumstantial evidence exists to suggest the Dragons were very likely the same players from Deadlock & Kryzys (the crisscrossing label credits and general timing are too conspicuous).
One version of this legend claims an ex-pat pal from China was involved with Perfumes, but that doesn’t change the fact revolutionary rock music as we might recognize it did not exist in China in 1982 and would not develop in that nation until years later — granted, a fact not easy for Westerners to verify at the time.
Other punk rock Deadlocks existed in Europe at roughly the same time. Greece had their own that began in 1983, though Αδιέξοδο (as they write it in their native language) can also translate to Dead End. The group’s 1986 effort .38 lays out a pained scrape guided by the commanding bark of singer Σωτήρης Θεοχάρης (Sotiris Theocharis). Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, a band called Deadlock infused hardcore slam with rockist tendencies for 1985’s Name The Beast. This album was mastered by George “Porky” Peckham, who believe it or not also worked on LPs by Fleetwood Mac, the Who, and Led Zeppelin.
If you’re in the market for a Deadlock with a sweaty testicle Clinton era power metal sound that conjures up memories of beer-soaked club shows populated by swarms of dudes who looked like nondescript background characters on Beavis & Butt-Head, look no further than Australia’s Deadlock. 1995’s Suits of Rule was released on Body Bag Records, a fine name for a record label if ever I heard one. For extremely solid crossover hardcore, check out the Japanese Deadlock; their 1994 release Fear Will Continue is vital.
Going back to Australia, at the turn of the century that country boasted an electro noise artist named Deadlock. Emphasis on “noise”; much of 2002’s Slaughterhouse sounds like every CD you own is skipping at the same time on a stereo with 15 blown-out speakers. Avoid this one if you have epilepsy. Going back to Greece, around the same time a hip-hop outfit called Deadlock was bumpin’ that unitary parliamentary republic with a palpable but not overwhelming Wu Tang influence. Wave your Konstantinos Stephanopoulos in the air like you just don’t care!
Additionally, there’s the Irish metal band Deadlock, the German grindcore band Deadlock, US electro artists Deadlock Collective, US thrash merchants Deadlock Frequency, US rappers Deadlock Click, Russian rappers DeadLock Movement, and of course UK acoustic artist Ada & The Deadlocks. If you suddenly find yourself in a state of inaction or neutralization resulting from the uncompromising number of artists who have taken the name Deadlock, don’t worry. There’s always a chance two or more will change their name to Wedlock.
A Smattering of Deadlock