Dethklok – Dethalbum III
It’s so cliché for people to say that a band is maturing usually when they are trying to justify a new sound for any given band. However, it’s pretty ironic when you are speaking of a band based on an Adult Swim cartoon ‘maturing’. Before you get scared, it’s not ‘maturing’ like Metallica did with Load, Dethalbum III is more of a tighter all around approach that musically and lyrically feels like more of a straightforward death metal album that would still be relevant in the metal community if there were no Metalocalypse. It makes the critique from people like Chris Barnes who claim that Dethklok “cheapen the metal scene” sound pretty stupid.
While it may be a little bit more of a mature sound, the album thankfully still contains a sense of humor but is still a little more marketable to all ages than Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Fucked With A Knife’. The unmistakable “this has to be Dethklok” sound becomes apparent at the opening riff of the opening track, ‘I Ejaculate Fire’. ‘Crush The Industry’ is a chance for creator Brendon Small to flex Nathan Explosions’, for a lack of a better term, cartoonish growl. Of course this is the greatest band in the world so there are plenty of guitar solos to be had inside, but they seem to carry the weight of the end of the world in an action movie feeling. ‘Andromeda’ feels like it could be a long lost track from Bloodbath’s Resurrection Through Carnage album with the hooks, solos and the “How can you still be alive?” chorus throughout. ‘The Galaxy’ continues with the ominous feeling and probably is the most cartoon band sounding song on the album. ‘Starved’ is an awesome song that feels like it has a death metal layer consisting of Nathan’s vocals and then a progressive metal layer of guitars underneath that would make Michael Romeo proud.
I’m not sure what ‘Killstardo Abominate’ is, but it is short (2:32) and to the point as a straight up no gimmicks, minimal guitar wankery death metal song that will sit along side of something in the Suffocation discography long before you’d expect it to be from a ‘fictional’ band. ‘Ghostqueen’ sticks with being heavy but in the middle the song and the album begin to taper off into the trademarked chugging Dethklok solo that sometimes seem to last too long. Traces of the songwriting found in the catchy as fuck, sometimes cheesy debut, The Dethalbum, can be found on ‘Impeach God’. It’s a song that finishes each line with a repetitive guitar lick much like songs such as ‘Murmaider’ and ‘Go Forth and Die’ once did. ‘Biological Warfare’ and ‘Skyhunter’ are both quality tracks but don’t provide anything earth shattering or memorable in comparison to what you’ve already heard. The solos are even a little bit tired after listening to the first eight tracks. ‘The Hammer’ is catchy but a bit too monotonous to be considered a standout track on the album. The album wraps up with ‘Rejoin’ which is one of the standouts of the album. A minute plus intro that has the makings of a countdown to the apocalypse feels justified when the song finally kicks in. After the quality of the song obviously declares victory, the following solo doesn’t feel as gloomy as the rest of the album, and instead sounds like something that would be playing in the background of any one of those decent to mediocre 80’s Tom Cruise movies where he’s about to get the girl. It is a fitting way to end the album on a high note and leave hope that the door is open to another season of Metalocalypse and a Dethalbum IV.
The album is another musical showcase of a group of musicians who will never get the credit they deserve for the music that they are making in Dethklok. Maybe it’s just too awesome to lose yourself in the idea that you are getting your ass kicked by a cartoon to comprehend the talent required for what you’re actually listening to, but it makes for a fun ride. As the album progresses, the songs and the solos start to sound like they’ve been done before, but that is one of the downfalls of a lot of death metal albums unfortunately. Sometimes there are only so many ways to reinvent the wheel on a single metal, especially death metal, album. Regardless, creator Brendon Small and his supporting cast of Gene Hoglan (drums) and Bryan Beller (bass) put together a solid album worthy of multiple listens that enriches the metal world a hell of a lot more than Six Feet Under’s Back In Black covers album once did. It’s a solid 7.5/10 album that Dethklok fans and metal fans alike should enjoy.