Sound: Lets get one thing straight Brendon Small may be a comedian, but this album is no joke. Brendon Small graduated from the Berklee College of Music, but then decided to go into comedy instead of music due to the declining music industry. Brendon started his career by working on a cartoon that eventually became known as "Home Movies" as a co-creator, voice actor and also did all the music for the show. From there he has went on to have cameos and voice cameos in many other cartoons and comedies, but has become most known for "Metalocalypse", his cartoon about an exaggerated metal band where he performed all the music and did several of the voices. He has released two full albums under the name of his cartoon band, Dethklok. The first album released by Dethklok was "Dethalbum" which debuted at #21 on the Billboard 200 and was the highest charting death metal album ever, until it was ousted by "Deathalbum II". Surely, the popularity is largely due to the popularity of the "Metalocalypse" cartoon, but it also stands up musically to all the rival 'serious' melodic death metal bands. With "Galaktikon" what you get is NOT another Dethklok album, but a concept album about an intergalactic superhero going through a messy divorce. Musically, the album would most likely be labeled as speed metal or thrash metal, and very melodic.
There are 9 tracks on the album with a total run time of just over 41 minutes. Brendon Small plays guitar and does vocals on the album. Brendon began working on "Galaktikon" in his free time from his work on "Metalocalypse" and began the process around the same time as he began work on "Dethalbum II". The release is on April 29th at the same time as the season debut of "Metalocalypse Season 4". Gene Hoglan and Byran Beller play drums and bass guitar, respectively, the same instruments they play in Brendon's real life Dethklok band. // 8
Lyrics: Brendon Small performs all the vocal duties on "Galaktikon", and for a change from his Dethklok albums these are actually sung vocals vs. death metal growls. Brendon's voice fits really well with the music on the album, and even knowing it is somewhat of a "joke" album going into it, I find myself taking it very serious and really enjoying it. Brendon's vocal styles do have a fair amount of range on "Galaktikon" going from soaring vocal delivery to a guttural scream (not a growl). The lyrics should come off as ridiculous as the whole concept is an absurd story about a superhero and his woman troubles, but I find they don't really detract from the music at all. While Brendon Small isn't really in competition to be a metal vocalist great like Dio or Ozzy, he does have a great metal voice with enough character in his voice to make it stand out as his own.
From the track "You Can't Run Away" I've tried to transcribe the lyrics: "I am inside your mind/ ghost of your past and time/ I have condemned your soul/ you are under my control/ You can't run away from me/ I want you to know/ if you try to go/ I can detect your lies/ You're risking both our lives/ You will be content to wait/ You have found your place to stay/ You will never get way/ you can't run away from/ you can't run away from/ you can't run away from me/ I realize that I am feeling so much colder/ I realize I am running out of time". I may have made a few mistakes as this is just what I heard on a single listen, and I wasn't absolutely sure about all of it. // 7
Overall Impression: I was completely blown away by "Galaktikon" which to be completely honest has happened to me on the first listen to every album released by Brendon Small. I wonder how metal would be improved today as a genre if Brendon Small had went into music as his first and primary career. One of my favorite songs on the album are "Dangertits" which is an instrumental that Brendon Small has stated is a tribute to some of the guitarists who inspired him such as Steve Morse, Steve Vai, etc. I also really enjoy "Deathwaltz" and "Beastblade". There aren't really any tracks on this album I dislike, but if I had to choose the one I like the least it would probably be "Arena War Of The Immortal Masters".
The story of the album is about a superhero named Triton who is divorced by his wife. He then is told a prophecy by a Lazer Witch that if his ex-wife gets into trouble he should not attempt to rescue her. In the meantime, Triton's arch enemy, Beastblade, escapes from prison and vows to get vengeance on Triton. Beastblade seduces Triton's ex-wife and Triton learns of this and knows his ex-wife is in trouble and goes to save her but is kidnapped and forced to fight in an arena against a giant worm. Triton then gets the gladiators in the arena to band together to kill the giant worm. Triton then returns to his quest to save his ex-wife (who now realizes she is in danger), and after traveling to the lair of Beastblade has a final battle and saves his ex-wife. Triton may or may not have been mortally wounded I can't really figure it out, but either way it doesn't detract from the album. // 8
- Brendon East (c) 2012