The Dethalbum

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On The Dethalbum, virtual death metal band Dethklok rocks so hard, and obliterates the fourth wall so thoroughly, they create their own style: heavy meta. Dethklok's show, Adult Swim's Metalocalypse, spoofs and glorifies metal clichés and touchstones, from dreadlocked skullets to endless endorsement deals, so perfectly that it could only be the product of people who know and love those clichés well (the metal world has returned the favor, with Cannibal Corpse's George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher, Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, and King Diamond making vocal cameos). The Dethalbum, however, is not a Metalocalypse soundtrack; it's a full-fledged Dethklok album, with songs that sound even more brutal and metal than they did on the show. On Metalocalypse, tracks like "Birthday Dethday" were as heavy as they were witty, but they were stylized and abridged -- caricatures of songs by a caricature of a band. Here, Brendon Small and Strapping Young Lad drummer Gene Hoglan breathe life into Dethklok and their songs, fleshing them out with intros, outros, bridges, and, of course, lots and lots of guitar solos. Anyone who watched Home Movies knows that Small is a talented musician (as expected, a Berklee College of Music grad). Still, he outdoes himself on The Dethalbum, giving singer Nathan Explosion a death growl that many bands would kill for and Skwisgar Skwigelf and Toki Wartooth the rapid-fire soloing and rhythmic chops befitting the fastest, and second fastest, guitarists alive. Hoglan is listed in the liner notes as "Insane Drummer" and it's no lie; with him behind the kit, it's easy to buy that Dethfans would be suicidal with anticipation for the band's albums and sign pain waivers to see them live. There are plenty of moments on The Dethalbum that will make Metalocalypse fans smile, such as the nod to "the makers of Banana Stickers" in the album's "thank you" section, or "Hatredcopter," which features vocals from Pickles the Drummer. There are also more than a few moments where the band's more satirical edge comes to the front. Dethalbum boasts not one but two trilogies of songs: the Viking Trilogy, which includes Guitar Hero 2 favorite "Thunderhorse," and the trio of underwater-themed songs that are metal for fish (three other songs, "Face Fisted," "Detharmonic," and "Fansong," lay out Dethklok's violent, greedy, and hateful tendencies in all their glory). Mostly though, The Dethalbum is full of rock-solid metal that just happens to be funny. "Go into the Water" and "Go Forth and Die" are doomily majestic enough, and "Bloodtrocuted" and "Awaken" are grinding and relentless enough, to hold their own with any non cartoon-affiliated metal (and, very likely, impressive enough to bowl over any metal fans still unfamiliar with Metalocalypse). As producer extraordinaire Dick "Magic Ears" Knubbler exclaimed after recording with Dethklok in the Mariana Trench, just before the oceanic pressure and the awesomeness of the band's music blinded him, "The drums rock! The bass rocks! And the guitars -- oh, the guitars rock! Check it out!"

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