Home > Uncategorized > Review – Dethklok’s Dethalbum II

Review – Dethklok’s Dethalbum II

I’m going to try to keep this one short, for one main reason. This will come to a shock to many, I’m sure, but I actually don’t know a damn thing about metal. Oh sure, I love it, but aside from Soilwork and probably Opeth, I couldn’t tell you the difference between any two Swedish melodic death bands. My knowledge of thrash only extends to the Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax) and even then it’s more like Big Three for me (because I know… three?… Anthrax songs to the point I could recognize them.)

But I do know enough to know the the album spawned by [adult swim]’s metal band Dethklok, Dethalbum II, is all sorts of awesome. There are some obvious references to a particular style or band, as in “The Gears,” which is somewhere between Slayer and At the Gates, and “Murmaider II: The Water God,” which takes its form and function (and to a lesser extent, melodies) from Metallica’s propensity for making endless sequels to their song “The Unforgiven.” The cover art—or at least, the logo design—is an homage to the work of Mastodon artist Paul Romano.

And the song titles are definitely comedy gold. “Laser Cannon Deth Sentence”? “I Tamper with the Evidence at the Murder Site of Odin”? “Deth Support”? (That last one is pretty planely a reference to Metallica’s “One,” at least in content.)

At this point, though, I should probably talk about the music itself. The first Dethklok album sold, if I recall, something like 300,000 units, which is pretty good for a metal album by a made up, cartoon band. Or for a metal album in general. That album, though, had some pretty major flaws, the main one being that it sounds… well, “like ones and zeroes.” The production on that album wasn’t to great. So the first major point of Dethalbum II is the much better production. The drums have punch and power, and Gene Hoglan’s snare cracks through the mix with a healthy snap. There’s a fair amount of variance in guitar tones, which helps give the impression of more than just Brendon Small playing every part. And what’s that low, sorta rumbly sound? Holy shit it’s bass. Small and producer Ulrich Wild obviously go against genre convention and mix the bass up to a listenable volume on this one.

Gene Hoglan’s drum work here is simply amazing. While he’s already considered a living legend for his work in Death, Strapping Young Lad, and numerous other bands, his work here is top-notch. The double-kick work is amazing, and he ventures into some real blast beats at times. (For those who don’t know, a blast beat is when the drummer plays the kick, snare, and a cymbal—usually the hi-hat—all at the same time, at speeds that would make meth-heads pass out. Used extensively in black metal, but they also pop up in death and occasionally thrash. Yes, there is a difference among the three.)

Brendon Small’s vocal delivery on this album is much more refined and consistent than the first album, probably due to working for two seasons on the show and touring extensively for said album. There are some guest vocals on this in places, but none of them seem to be credited. This is where my lack of metal smarts really comes back to bit me. I’m relatively certain Devin Townsend has some screaming in there, but a few other vocal performances I’m not so sure about. Also, there are a few particularly Vai-like guitar parts (though they might be Devin Townsend), but I’m not sure if they were actually Vai/Townsend or Brendon Small. At this point, I’d be surprised by what Small can’t do on a guitar. However, as far as the guest spots are concerned, there certainly isn’t anything as blatant as James Hetfield’s non-credited appearance on “Hatredcopter” from the first album. Half the fun of Metalocalypse for me is trying to place the cameos, so making some that are obviously “not Dethklok” but not obviously “someone else” is a little frustrating.

But maybe that’s the point.

All in all, this is easily one of the best metal releases of the year. Considering the new and upcoming albums from Mastodon, Slayer, Rammstein, Dethklok, and Megadeth, 2009 seems to be a good year for metal. And that makes me glad.

Another review I read prior to writing this mentioned that Dethalbum II doesn’t have the hooks or the comedy that the first album had; Small has decided to make an album that appeals to metal fans first, and comedy fans second. My question is, “Isn’t that the point?” I mean, Metalocalypse isn’t going to attract all that many people that aren’t “in on the joke.” As funny the recording scenes in the show are, wouldn’t they be funnier to someone that’s actually experienced scenes just like them? Isn’t a metal album going to be more well-received by metal fans? I don’t think the purpose of Dethalbum II is to bring new Klokateers into the fold. I think it’s to serve up a big, meaty, metally plate of BRUTAL. Any fanbase growth is secondary.

Besides, Dethklok hate their fans. They’re brainless mutants.

Overall rank: 8.5 of 10. Some of the songs drag on a little bit, but I think it’s more of a joke than a flaw.

Post Script: Who plays the keyboards in Dethklok? Not for real, obviously; that’s Brendon Small. I mean in the band. Nathan Explosion? Maybe Toki Wartooth? Who knows, but I’d love to see it addressed in Season Three.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Holkie
    October 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    There was an extra on the first season DVD that showed Toki at the keyboards. Disremember what the extra was from. But it is Toki who plays keyboards, at least as per that extra.

  2. Rick
    October 2, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Really? Thanks! I’m going to have to go look at the extras on that one.

    Thanks for reading!

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