Review Summary: Unlike most parodies or satires, Dethklok's debut feels thought-out and the music within can compete with almost any "serious" contemporary metal band.
Take a moment now, and think of every metal cliche you've ever heard. To name a few, poorly spelled band names, band members with shady backgrounds, lyrics about violent death, and growled vocals singing octaves lower than previously thought possible. If one were to mix all of these components together, they would get a band not dissimilar to Dethklok. Even though the band warmly embraces metal cliches, chances are, there are no albums quite like Dethklok's The Dethalbum
. Undoubtedly, many bands combine death metal with melody, and quite a few try to add humor to their music, but few do it as successfully as Dethklok.
There are two components to a satirical band: the humor and the music. What separates Dethklok from almost every other humorous band is that either component of Dethklok's music is strong enough to stand alone. There is a deservedly successful show, Metalocalypse, based on the fictional exploits of the band, and even without the strong lyrical effort aiding it, the music found on this album would bevery strong.
The stronger aspect of The Dethalbum
is undoubtedly the lyrics. Throughout the album, one can hear singer Nathan Explosion contemplating murdering a mermaid, summoning the ancient troll Mustakrakish, threatening to take over the listener's face with his Hatredcopter, and calling his fans "brainless mutants". The album is consistently hilarious and is filled with many references to Metalocalypse that will delight fans of the show. It should be noted that to appreciate the humor, one must not necessarily watch the show, but they will not understand many of the more entertaining jokes.
Musically, The Dethalbum
is surprisingly competent, especially when compared to other parodies. Songs such as the crushing, pulverizing, Cannibal Corpse-esque Briefcase Full Of Guts
perfectly complement meteoric pieces such as the hypnotic, driving Awaken
or the slab of savage, monstrous, caustic death metal known as Face Fisted
. There are also some very ambitious pieces scattered throughout Dethklok's debut album. For example, in Thunderhorse
, one of the band's most entertaining songs, the only vocals are a background chant of
"Ride, Ride, Thunder, Horse, Thunder, Horse, Ride, Ride"
and so the piece stands only on the musical and compositional ability of the band. Another highlight, Dethharmonic
sees the band playing with a philharmonic orchestra, to much success. The intertwining thundering drums (courtesy of human drum-machine, Gene Hoglan), battering guitars, and slow, melancholy violins make this one of the better death metal songs in recent memory.
Unfortunately, the songwriting sags at times and shows signs of immaturity. Both of these problems would be fixed on the bands second album the creatively-titled Dethalbum II
. Despite these small flaws, The Dethalbum
is a very strong album remains one of the strongest parody albums of the decade, and is arguably the best satire of or homage to death metal in recent memory.