Sound — 9
So, just as the second season of the most brutal show on earth, Metalocalypse starts, I receive a copy of the legendary Dethklok's new recording, The Dethalbum. The regular edition comes with one disc, but I received the deluxe edition, which has a second disc with seven extra tracks, a music video and the first episode of the second season. As anyone who's seen the show on Cartoon Network's '[adult swim]' will know, Dethklok are the most brutal band on the planet, and their music makes people die. I was surprised by the real quality of some of the songs in full, and while the small sections of some of the songs you hear in the series aren't exactly bad, the fact that Brendon Small had the willingness to make them all into coherent (not to mention awesome) songs is very impressive. The god-like Gene Hoglan (uh... I mean Pickles) took drum duties for this album and, as is expected from him, he impressed me massively. There are some fantastic little fills, technical drumming and some beats that really require an experienced drummer to pull off with flair. Unlike a lot of Hoglan performances however, there's no mucking around, but I'm glad because there are times where I've heard him ruin a section of a song simply to be slightly more technical than he really needs to be. Aside from the drums, everything was performed by Brendon Small (UhI mean Nathan Explosion, Toki Wartooth, William Murderface and Skwisgaar Skwigelf), and the guitar work in particular is very impressive. Contrary to Dethklok's revered catchphrase (Brutal), the music isn't really that brutal, and is far more in the style of melodic death than plain old DM, laden with gorgeous little leads and some impressive solos by the two fastest guitarists alive. Their tone is near-perfect (though I suppose funding from Cartoon Network helps), this shows their endorsement of companies like Gibson, Krank and Line 6 clearly isn't just a corporate marketing scheme. There's some genius riffs on the Dethalbum ('Bloodtrocuted') and solos that truly do rip face. The only musical department in which Dethklok disappoint me is the vocals. Sure, the lyrics are just comedy value but the vocals aren't that clear in the mix and Brendon clearly isn't a developed growler. His timing is top notch, and adds to the hilarity of the lyrics but his tone and conviction are pretty weak. The texture compliments the tone but his technique isn't great and generally I don't enjoy his vocals too much. This is definitely a problem when the vocals should be audible enough to hear the lyrics. With that in mind, you'd think more clean vocals would be welcome but their very brief appearances on 'Hatredcopter' and 'Kill You' (originally by the Pickles-fronted Snakes N' Barrels) are actually even worse than the growls. Still, so long as I can still read the lyrics in the booklet, I can thoroughly enjoy the record as a genuine metal album.
Lyrics — 10
Without the comedic quality of Metalocalypse, this album would be nowhere, but thankfully the lyrics to all of the songs reflect the humour in the show as a whole. There's a few songs which are just parodies of mindless gore lyrics in the vein of Cannibal Corpse, others which are on completely random topics (You have lined my pockets, overflowed with gold, you're living with your parents, you're 35 years old is a select favourite of mine from 'Fansong'). Hell there's even a track which summons a troll that can only be put back to sleep by playing grandpa's guitars. All of the tracks contain at least a few moments of lyrical genius, but there's a few tracks (such as 'Birthday Dethday' and 'Briefcase Full Of Guts') that are in all seriousness the greatest lyrics ever. Of course the show itself is funnier but the lyrics to the songs and especially the spoken word track 'Dethklok Gets In Tune' get huge laughs out of me every time.
Overall Impression — 10
If you haven't seen the show, I would definitely recommend doing so before buying the album, but you won't be massively missing out on the enjoyment if you don't, because the album is a great piece of work in it's own right, and the great humour that goes along with it is a substantial bonus. As I've said before, there's only one minor error and huge value for money, packing plenty of music into your purchase, and a whole lot more if you get the deluxe edition. I've actually seen a few people that have got into death metal through Metalocalypse, and hopefully the release of a full length album will help that along even more, as this is definitely a solid release. Of course it's far from the best album in the world but who cares? It's Dethklok, it's hilarious and most importantly of all, it's metal.