On The Arsonist, Deadlock's sixth album and first after the departure of Johannes Prem, unclean vocalist, the band are very similar, yet different. While former bassist John Gahlert takes over on the unclean vocals, he isn't an upgrade. His screams aren't as strong or as stirring as Prem's were.
While the songs such as "The Great Pretender" and the title track are good and aggressive and quite catchy, they don't hold up to the best songs off the band's last two albums Manifesto and Bizaro World. "Dead City Sleepers" and the first single "I'm Gone" come close, but there is nothing as good as "Virus Jones" or "Martyr to Science."
The album's heaviest song "Darkness Divine" is up next. A fast, melodic death metal song that features Gahlert's best performance on the album as well as a slowed down chorus by Scherer. This song is followed by the electro-inspired "As We Come Undone,' a song that isn't very jarring and nothing to redeem the album until Scherer's clean chorus comes along to save the day.
The band slow things down on their best ballad ever, "Hurt." The song starts out as a piano filled ballad but in the second half becomes a rocker, very similar to "My Immortal" by Evanescence. The next song "The Final Storm" picks the pace of the album back up again. The song has a more gothic metal inspired chorus, Scherer doesn't even show up until the bridge. Even with that being the case, this is still an album highlight.
"Smalltown Boy" is a cover of the Bronski Beat song from the 80s. This cover is a good addition to the album and a great way to close things.
The bonus tracks on the album include the industrial influenced "My Pain," which also has a gothic metal feel to it. This song is a change for the band and they would do good to keep switching it up. The other two bonus tracks are dance remixes of the songs "Dead City Sleepers" and "As We Come Undone."
While this album is a great record, it isn't as great as the band's past two records. But the experimental tone of the album makes it a step up from their previous records.