Dethklok Metalocalypse – Deth Album II (Adult Swim)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Funny how a cartoon death metal band is better than a lot of… you know, actual death metal bands. Even with that, it’s hard to justify what qualifies as death metal nowadays, so maybe Dethklok isn’t a true death metal band per se, but the project of creator/all-around musician Brendon Small has some serious merit to it. And Deth Album II is an album that should be taken seriously, if only a musical level. This is a cartoon, after all.

Backed only by drummer Gene Hoglan (seriously Gene, how many bands are you in? 900?), Small puts his extensive musical knowledge to work on 12 cuts of brutal, but song-oriented death metal. The only real parallel to the cartoon is the voice of singer Nathan Explosion and the oftentimes comedic subject matter, which is often a direct shot at the dead-serious content of genre is kinda-sorta parodies.

In terms of the songs, there’s a lot to like, including absolutely killer groove of “Burn to Earth,” the rapid-fire vocal rattling of “Laser Cannon Deth Sentence,” and the melodic mastery of “Black Fire Upon Us” and “The Cyborg Slayers.” In face, it is the guitar melodies and well-constructed songs that force one to keep coming back to this and Small is no slouch on the guitar himself – the man did go to Berkelee School of Music, after all.

Let’s go back to our initial comment as to how this is better than a lot of current death metal. Sure, it sounds strange, but the components (brutal, yet catchy riffing, tasteful drums, the odd melody) are here in full force, so let’s embrace this for what it is. Plus, consider the number of units the cartoon has moved and the added notoriety it has given death metal…it’s all one big plus.

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