Review Summary: Brendon Small proves that his talents go beyond television with his guitar, bass, and vocal work. Gene Hoglan of Death and Strapping Young Lad lends his talent behind the drum kit creating an amazingly catchy, yet technical metal album.
First off, make this rating a 4 if you're a fan of the show Metalocalypse. There are plenty of inside jokes from the show all over this album, and when you understand them, it makes the album much more enjoyable. Even without ever hearing of the show, there are plenty of reasons to love this album.
The Dethalbum is a surprisingly musical album featuring plenty of guitar. There are guitar solos all over the CD, and many of them contain rather melodic feels. Sweep picking is a given, as well as several harmonized solos. Each song contains plenty of riffs, keeping the album constantly moving. The drums have a great sound, and compliment the music well. However, do not expect much venturing out in the form of solos (there is one on the bonus disk). The bass makes its way into a couple of tracks, but most of the time it is very difficult, if not impossible to hear (with a wink to Metalocalypse with its many references to mixing out the bass). Vocals are intelligible in spots, and difficult to make out in others. They fit rather well into the death metal genre, but sacrifice some emotion for the sake of being understandable (many vocalists use inhumanly low grunts that sound great, but are very difficult to understand). Possibly the only gripe for the average listener would be the lyrics. Metalocalypse viewers will most likely find them funny and fulfilling. If you do not watch the show, you may be a little confused. Lyrics discuss murder by mermaids ("Murmaider"), the awakening of a Lake Troll ("Awaken"), and using one's own blood to conduct electricity into his enemies ("Bloodtrocuted"). Overall, do not expect very meaningful lyrics, but enjoy them for what they are there for; your enjoyment. Everything seems great production-wise, and quality is on par with a "normal" release.
For the most part, the tracks are well-written, and have a somewhat catchy feel to them. Unlike the TV show, all of the drums are done by Gene Hoglan, creating an obvious improvement from the programmed drums of Metalocalypse. The songs from the show were re-recorded and extended to full length tracks. Thankfully, the length did not come from cutting and pasting clips, and the full tracks are well thought out. It is easy to find yourself banging your head to tracks like "Fansong", while others would be perfect for stirring up a mosh pit in a live situation. A perfect example of this is "Bloodtrocuted". Several brand new tracks make their way onto the album, all of which are easily assimilated with the other tracks.
Boring moments are few and usually forgotten, as the longest track is only four minutes and thirty seconds long. There are several change-ups throughout the songs including a symphonic violin piece, spine-tingling chorus parts ("Murmaider", "Better Metal Snake"), and varying vocal styles. For example, clean vocals can be found on "Hatredcopter", and "Kill You".
For those debating on buying the Special Edition, it's worth the extra dollar or two. The bonus disc contains seven more tracks as well as the video for "Bloodtrocuted" and the first episode of the second season of Metalocalypse. Viewers will be happy to see "Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle" as one of the tracks. A Snakes n' Barrels cover of "Kill You" is also on the bonus disc (For the record, S n' B is a virtual band from the show). Blues guitarist "Mashed Potatoes" Johnson makes his way into the recording studio to give Dethklok a quick refresher on the blues on "Murdertrain a Comin'".
The Dethalbum is an entertaining and technical metal album featuring a plethora of references to Metalocalypse. Whether you like the show or not, give The Dethalbum a try anyway, as it is listenable as a stand-alone album.
Short songs keep the album moving along
Surprisingly technical guitar work
Many references to Metalocalypse
Bass is virtually non-existant
Non-viewers of the show won't get some of the humor
Fansong (to get a feel for the humor)
Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle (bonus disc only)