Normally for an album review of a well known artist, one could comment on how meaningful the lyrics are and how much the songs must have meant to the artist as they were being written. Needless to say, Dethklok’s lyrics are horrendous and I can’t ever imagine a couple turning on the radio and hearing I Ejaculate Fire, then saying “OMG, THAT’S OUR SONG~!”. Oddly enough, that’s one of the things that makes the band/show appealing. Everything about Metalocalypse is ridiculous and lovable, which is truly an odd thing to say when not an episode goes by where someone doesn’t meet a bloody demise.
Since the first episode was aired on Adult Swim in 2006, Metalocalypse has become one of the highlights of Adult Swim and for metal culture, featuring references to bands from Carpathian Forest High School to the Three ½ inches of Savings convenience store. It’s become one of those shows that you can’t help but love, unless you have no sense of humor whatsoever. Although it’s main fanbase is fans of the same kind of music as Dethklok, it’s attracted viewers that have gotten into metal because of the show. It’s not that uncommon to meet the acquaintance of people who don’t not metal worth a damn, but their favorite band is Dethklok.
Although Dethklok is most famously known of with the lineup of Nathan Explosion, Skwisgaar Skwigelf, Toki Wartooth, William Murderface and Pickles the Drummer, the “real life” album is recorded by a different set of characters. The guitars and vocals are recorded by the cofounder of the series Brendon Small, who is as much of a guitar god that Skwisgaar is. Since it’s pretty hard to fill the shoes of the cartoon world’s best drummer, Brendon had to have only the best record in the steed of Pickles. If you know Death Metal in the least, you know Gene Hoglan. Reading the “Discography” portion on his Wikipedia page is like reading the pocket edition of a Dictionary. To complete the recording lineup, Bryan Beller recorded bass on the album…but since he played with Steve Vai, he might be slightly overqualified to play for Murderface.
Although Dethalbum III is more or less a soundtrack, it had just as much effort put into the writing and production as any average metal album, and would be popular even without the publicity it gains from the show. One thing that has always been true with “real life” Dethklok albums is that you can listen to them without even watching the series and enjoy it just as much. Besides the purposely bad lyrics, the album is an incredible piece of musicianship, and fondly reflects Small/Hogla/Beller’s skills as musicians. The songs are not composed as just something to throw into an episode, but rather as something you would kill to hear live.
Unlike most albums for “actual bands”, the music in Dethalbum III didn’t truly progress from the last two records. Although a few small things have changed, most of remained was consistent because the songs weren’t taken from the latest season, but were pulled from the past 3. Generally, it remains true to the Death Metal/Melodic Death Metal style that the band has primarily played in the past. The main difference that you notice offhand is Nathan/Brendan’s vocals slightly becoming more “strained”, around the same time the vocals in the songs started to become more flat, Nathan’s voice in the show did the same thing, which could tie it to the progression of the character. I Ejaculate Fire starts the album with a melodic intro, which isn’t very normal for the band at all. After the listener is thrown off and the short beginning ceases, it goes back to trademark Dethklok and makes the way for a “I know what episode this song is from” grin. All 12 tracks are as brutal as they come, each being different in it’s own way but all in the style of Dethklok. Occasionally something significantly diverse comes along like The Galaxy, which is uncharacteristically slow, but not balladic. It’s hard to describe Dethklok to anyone who doesn’t know the series, but for some reason you can’t listen to the album and stay in a foul mood. The ball was dropped nowhere in the making of this album, and it’s easy to hear the amazing production and musicianship the album features.
Although the first two Dethalbums are extroardinary, the third installment in the cleverly named series is a great followup, and can be enjoyed by fish and humans alike. It was especially fun to listen to the full versions songs off my favorite episode, while being able to enjoy the ones I couldn’t remember where they were put in the show. The first Dethalbum will always remain as my personal favorite, but the third does not disappoint in the least.
1. I Ejaculate Fire
2. Crush the Industry
4. The Galaxy
6. Killstardo Abominate
8. Impeach God
9. Biological Warfare
11. The Hammer