Dethklok Metalocalypse - Dethalbum III (Williams Street Records)
By: David E. Gehlke
[8/10] One doesn’t normally equate cartoons and heavy metal as legitimate items. Usually, the two diametrically-opposed entities are met with a healthy barrage of criticism and ridicule, left to operate by their own collective devices to a cult-like core audience. However, the two worlds have meshed perfectly in Brendan Small’s Dethklok Metalocalypse, which by now, you should know as a cartoon about a fictional cartoon metal band Dethklok. The third album by the “band,” Dethalbum III simply carries on in the professional and ahem, “legitimate” tradition of the show.
Comprised of Small (who handles guitars and vocals), drum mega-dude Gene Hoglan (Death, Strapping Young Land, etc.) and bassist Bryan Beller, Dethklok as a musical entity, hits all the right spots, especially in the melodic department. Small (who is a Berklee trained musician) has a keen ability to weave melodic guitar line, a lot of which border on gorgeous, especially on “The Galaxy,” where a booming and saccharine lead melody catapults the song into a whole new stratosphere entirely.
The lyrical themes and vocals of Nathan Explosion (performed by Small) are the only real parallels to the show; if you had no idea who Dethklok was, then you’d take these guys at face-value as a marauding death metal combo. There’s no real need to expand upon Hoglan’s playing (he’s as tasteful as ever), so the real happening moments come in the groove-laden portions of “Starved” or the valiant “Impeach God,” and closing grandeur of “Rejoin.”
A triumph by modern day melodic death metal standards, Dethalbum III carries plenty of weight in all facets, yet it’s Small’s attention to detail, coupled with Hoglan’s elaborate playing that make this album a success. Rare when two worlds like cartoons and death metal collide with such exacting precision, culminating in an all-around memorable release, one that should stick around long after the cartoon has called it a day.
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