Heavy metal gets animated! That’s right all you headbangers, we have the world’s first animated heavy metal band. I must say these boys from Dethklok can shred. Well, I should say Mr. Brendon Small, the creator, lyricist, guitar/bass player and vocalist of Dethklok can shred. Brendon Small has definitely created something new in the world of heavy metal, and in my opinion he has done a thrashing good job. Brendon learned to play guitar from Berklee College of music. The guitar work on “The Dethalbum” shows his impressive skill. He is also a comedian. His comical influence shows heavily in the lyrics of Dethklok and mainly in the animated series the “Metalocalypse” which is on adult swim. The songs on this cd are all featured in the series.
Brendon Small has basically made Dethklok a one man band except for the drums which is done by Gene Hoglan, who I believe was in the band Strapping Young Lad. Being basically a one-man band, I doubt we will ever see these songs played live, unless Mr. Small wants to hire a bunch of musicians to go on tour. But I’m sure that’s not his intention. Although with how popular this cd is becoming I wouldn’t count that idea out.
As far as the music on this album it’s not bad at all. In fact I’m quite impressed. I was very skeptical; I figured “oh well how good can music be from a fictional animated metal band be?” The answer is heavy as a freight train. Brendon has created a good tribute to heavy metal with comical edge. I wouldn’t necessarily call this album a straight death metal record. Although the vocals are guttural the music is basic heavy metal with many different influences from each metal sub group. But they defiantly have a death metal influence. It’s not really thrash, death, black or power metal, but it does have elements of each. If I could give dethklok a label I would call it groove metal because there is so much chugga, chugga, chugga riffs that just kind of groove along, although Small delivers a large amount of blistering guitar solos that would make Glenn Tipton and KK Downing proud. The pleasing aspect about Dethklok to this veteran metal head is Small gives homage to the world of heavy metal with this record. Although he does give it his comical edge which is very entertaining, his humor relates to that of the Spinal Tap in a way but he takes it a step further with the music itself being more extreme and his work almost has a comic book feel to it, well hence the band are animated.
As far as the songs themselves they kind of have a Gwar like feel. This is seen not so much in the music itself but more so in the lyrics. Songs like “Hatredcopter” which is about a guy who flys a gigantic monster that brings vengeance and death to his enemies. Tracks such as “Fansong” are hilarious because it actually makes fun of hardcore 35-year-old fanboys that spend all their money on band merchandise and such and still live in their mom’s basement. “The Lost Vikings” is one of my favorites on the record mainly because it has a strong Amon Amarth feel but it has Small’s comical edge. Basically it’s about a band of Vikings that can’t find the battle but the music still has the epic strong Amon Amarth quality. In general that’s the whole cd, the music sounds serious but the lyrics are comical. Brendon does seem to have a broad listening preference in heavy metal. In the cd credits he thanks bands such Cannibal Corpse, Arch Enemy, King Diamond, Metallica, Emperor, Exodus, Queen, and the Who. So he definitely admires good music, and this shows in “The Dethalbum”
For me the as good as the music is it still has an extremely clean almost overproduced sound to it, which can be hindering to most forms of heavy metal. The sound of this album can also get a bit bland sounding especially the first half of the cd. But one has to realize that this is basically a sound track to the series Metalocalpse and I don’t think is really meant to be a stand alone album. The music itself I would rate about a 3 when compared to other real life extreme metal acts, however the extreme imagination within Small to create these characters, music and voices is very commendable and impressive. He also sounds like a great guitar tech. I would rate his creativity a 5 for an average of 4. This is defiantly worth a listen for any metal head. So go forth be conquered, go forth and buy this album. Dethklok is a good reminder for us metal heads not to take ourselves too seriously all the time.