Friday, February 11, 2011


Metalocalypse Season 1
Cartoon Network adult Swim
Brenden Small, Tommy Blacha, Victor Brandt, Mark Hamill, and Malcolm McDowell

"We’re here to make coffee metal! We will make everything metal! Blacker than the blackest black times infinity!"

On the recommendation of my good friend Jeano of the Creeping Cruds I ordered the first season of Metalocalypse from Netflix. Now I was somewhat aware of Metalocalypse, and had even watched an episode or two but had never really paid it much attention. I thought I’d give it a closer look… and I’m glad I did.

 Metalocalypse is an animated TV series that airs on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. The episodes for season one season are 11 minutes each, which is a nice length when you start watching them back to back.  Metalocalypse follows the most successful band in the world, the death metal band Dethklok. The band is made up of 5 members:

Nathan Explosion – Lead Singer – He speaks in a deep growl, and loves all things “Brutal” and “Metal.” He drinks so much he sometimes throws up blood and has to have regular liver transplants.

Skwisgaar Skwigelf –Lead Guitar – From Sweden, he is the fastest guitarist in the world. He is unable to read music but is so talented he doesn’t need to. His hands are insured for ten billion dollars – one billion per finger!

Toki Wartooth – Guitar – the second fastest guitarist in the world. Toki is Norwegian, and is the most childlike member of the band, although he is responsible for just as much death and destruction as the rest of the band.

William Murderface – Bass – Murderface is an always angry alcoholic that speaks with a heavy lisp. He can play the bass with his schlong (the band refers to this as the cock-slap technique) and is fond of destroying historic artifacts.

Pickles – Drummer – Has taken so many narcotics and illegal drugs he is immune to all effects. He used to be the singer in an 80’s hair band called “Snakes and Barrels.”

Dethklok is amazingly popular, so popular, in fact that the band’s net worth is in the billions and is greater than that of some small countries (and climbing).  They are so powerful that the government turns a blind eye to all sorts of illegal activities perpetuated by the band, including murder. The band is pretty much allowed to do whatever they want – which is not necessarily a good thing since their combined I.Q. is about that of a guitar amp. They boys are dumb, and pretty much oblivious to the real world. They all definitely dabble in the dark side and blood, death and murder are an everyday part of life for them. That is the METAL way of life.

The band lives in a giant medieval structure called Mordhaus. They have their own private army of servants and guards (that also double as roadies) called the Klokateers that blindly follow their every order. The Klokateers all wear black sleeveless t-shirts and executioners hoods. They each have the band’s logo tattooed on the back of their neck and no longer have names – they are just called by numbers. If a Klokateer fails a task or displeases the band, they are killed.

Dethklok’s concerts are sold out events where the audience will do anything to get into the shows. Each attendee to a Dethklok show must sign a waiver of liability, even in the event of death – an event that is highly likely at a Dethklok show. The audience members gladly sign away all rights just to be at the show.

A secret organization of world leaders called The Tribunal keeps tabs on Dethklok and monitors their activities. This secret group often tries to foil the plans of the band and infiltrate their inner circle by sending in specialists to disrupt them.  This inevitable fails, and even often backfires on The Tribunal. The band leaves behind a trail of death and destruction wherever they go. The term Metalocalypse refers to an ancient Sumerian prophecy the Tribunal fears the band is drawing powers from. In this prophecy, the world will be destroyed by an Apocalypse of Metal!

Metalocalypse was created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha and premiered in August, 2006. Brendon had previously created a series called Home Movies that also ran on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. He wrote, did voices and composed music for that series, which ran for four seasons. In 2006 he worked with writer friend Tommy Blacha to create Metalocalypse. The voices are done by Brenden, Tommy, Victor Brandt, Mark Hamill, and Malcolm McDowell. The music is all done by Brendon Small.

Much like Spinal Tap the band actually put out CDs. Their first CD was released in 2007 called The Dethalbum. It consisted of music from season one of the TV series plus additional new songs. The album amazingly debuted at #21 on the Billboard top 200 chart!

A band called Dethklok featuring creator Brendon Small on vocals does actually tour, but they don’t dress as the characters on the show. They do play the music from the show and CDs, however.

The first season consisted of 20 episodes:

Episode 1- The Curse of Dethklok – The band plays a huge concert to promote a new coffee jingle to a sold out crowd of 300,000.

Episode 2 – Dethwater – The band records their new album in the most brutal place on earth – the Marianas Trench.

Episode 3 – Birthdayface – Murderface’s birthday the band buys him a unique present – JFK’s limo decorated with priceless memorabilia, and they enlist him in a demolition derby so he can literally “destroy history.”

Episode 4 – Dethtroll – The band accidentally awakens a giant troll when they perform a new song whose lyrics were lifted from an ancient folk song.

Episode 5 – Dethkomedy – The boys decide it would be brutal to learn comedy – then learn the only way to become successful comediennes is to embrace their rage – and focus it on the crowd.

Episode 6 – Dethfam – a talk show host secretly invites the band’s parents to Mordhaus – Nathan says – “The fact that my parents had sex in order to create me makes me want to be buried alive.”

Episode 7 – Performance Klok – After a fight onstage the band hires a therapist to help them get along.

Episode 8 – Snakes N’ Barrels – Pickles reunites with his old band, Snakes n’ Barrels.

Episode 9 – Mordland – Mordhaus is open to the public for one day a year, with “brutal” results.

Episode 10 – Fat Kid at the Dethharmonic  - the band adopts an overweight kid but have no idea how to be parents.

Episode 11 – Skwisklok – Skwisgaar holds a pay per view guitar class.

Episode 12 – Murdering Outside the Box – Dethklok learn someone is embezzling from their company – it eventually turns out to be themselves.

Episode 13 – Go Forth and Die – Nathan goes back to get his GED while Murderface enters a spelling bee.

Episode 14 – Bluesklok – The band learns the blues from blues legend Mashed Potatoes Johnson and makes a deal with the devil.

Episode 15 – Religionklok – Murderface almost dies in a motorcycle crash so he tries to find religion – at a variety of places from a Christian rock concert to a satanic mass.

Episode 16 – Dethkids – Toki tires of being nice and becomes super “brutal”, while a terminally ill girl wins a trip to see him.

Episode 17 – Dethclown – Toki becomes friends with Rockso, the cocaine sniffing clown, who is secretly a spy for the Tribunal.

Episode 18 – Girlfriendklok – The band has been asked to host the Pornography Awards, but Nathan’s new overbearing girlfriend has other plans.

Episode 19 – Dethstars – The band stars in a new movie called “Blood Ocean” but their acting is atrocious.

Episode 20 – The Metalocalypse has Begun – The Tribunal attacks the band at the performance of their new album.

I think at first I just didn’t “get” this show. This time around it took three or four episodes before I caught the vibe of it. But I have to say the more I see the more I appreciate it.

This show is firmly tongue in cheek. It is both a parody and a tribute to the excesses and successes of metal bands. Think Spinal Tap on an unlimited budget. This band is beyond ridiculous. They go wherever and do whatever they want and are more out of touch with reality as David St, Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel or Derek Smalls on their worst day.

There is a heavy horror influence on this show, including monsters, demons and supernatural events. This of course is a play on the “brutal” subject matter of death metal bands. Gratuitous amounts of violence and gore are an everyday occurrence on Metalocalypse, and the show has a rating of TV-MA V. There are also quite a lot of sexual references – but the thing that makes all of this work is that it presents everything – the extreme metal music, the violence, the sex and the gore with a black sense of humor. The show is a comedy – it doesn’t take itself seriously or expect the viewer to. It praises metal music and musicians as much as it parodies and makes fun of the excesses of bands and the content of their songs, much like a modern day Spinal Tap. Definitely a creative and entertaining show. Give it a try and watch a few episodes before you make up your mind about it.

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