Dethklok pairs witty parodies, quality music
Band behind ‘Metalocalypse’ has killer third offering
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 08:10
Dethklok is the most important band in the world. They single−handedly run the economy and have a fan base that signs “pain waivers” in case of accidental death at their shows. At least, that’s the case in the Adult Swim cartoon “Metalocalypse,” in which the band members of Dethklok are the protagonists.
In a series made in the style of “This is Spinal Tap” (1984), “Metalocalypse” creator Brendon Small decided to make his joke band a reality and did so with much success. His first album release, “Dethalbum” (2007), became the most popular melodic death metal album ever released. The songs on the albums refer to episodes from each season of the cartoon, and although the music and vocals are legitimately good metal, the lyrics often relate to events that have happened in the episodes and therefore have a humorous spin to them. “Metalocalypse” was created as a show to parody metal bands, but, in a way, it also idealizes the genre and lifestyle.
Released on Oct. 16, Dethklok’s third album is humorously titled “Dethalbum III,” for obvious reasons. The songs are taken from episodes stemming from season two of the show to season four. Although songs relate to certain episodes, the album is still cohesive enough to be listened to independently.
The first song, “I Ejaculate Fire,” is an appropriately epic beginning to the eagerly awaited album. Brendan Small voices several of the characters on the show, most notably the lead singer of Dethklok, Nathan Explosion. Nathan sings with the characteristic death metal growl, but in a way that makes the lyrics understandable — a rarity in the metal community. The song relies on a catchy guitar riff, but the song degenerates into Brendan Small’s more intense growl laid over an intense drum solo courtesy of Hoglan about halfway through.
“Crush the Industry” shows off Small’s prowess on the guitar. Because Dethklok is a parody band, Small really never gets enough commendation on his technical skill, awesome growl and the fact that he created a hilarious television show as well.
Still, it isn’t just Small who has skill, as proven by the speed drumming at the beginning of “Andromeda” that continues throughout the entire song in Nile−esque intensity.
The album lags a little in the middle and although the songs are still quality metal, the instant catchiness that pervaded Dethklok’s previous two albums is absent. “Starved” and “Killstardo Abominate” are probably the weakest points of “Dethalbum III,” but the album picks up again as soon as the first drumbeats of “Ghostqueen” kick in.
Small’s rhythmically growled lyrics and the constant thrumming of the bass guitar make the song somewhat hypnotizing.
“Impeach God” is one of the highlights on the album. The concept of the song is hilarious and the guitar weaves through the song with relentless technical skill. Small growls, “I challenge the gods, to stand their ground / Taste my word sword, in your filthy mouths.” About halfway through the song, the music takes on the typical Dethklok sound and the listener can relax with the knowledge that Small still has it.
“Skyhunter” probably has the best intro riff of the entire album and it remains in the song in between Small’s lyrical verses as he sings, “Take my power and trade it away / Now I live in Kryptonite / Do what I must to have it again / And I’ll explode the planet tonight.” Many of Dethklok’s lyrics are concerned with the faux−epic or absurd elements of metal lyrics, so there are plenty of mythology parodies and lyrics relating to death and sacrifice.
Dethklok’s skill lies in the fact that while parodying the metal genre as a whole, Small and Hoglan still make good music with memorable, witty lyrics.
The band’s albums are excellent, even when removed from the reference point of the “Metalocalypse” show. Still, with the added knowledge of the puns behind the songs, they are that much more entertaining to listen to.