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Dethklok - "The Dethalbum" (CD)

Dethklok - "The Dethalbum" CD cover image

"The Dethalbum" track listing:

1. Murmaider (3:24)
2. Go into the Water (4:20)
3. Awaken (3:37)
4. Bloodrocuted (2:19)
5. Go Forth and Die (4:22)
6. Fansong (2:53)
7. Better Metal Snake (3:27)
8. The Lost Vikings (4:26)
9. Thunderhorse (2:46)
10. Briefcase Full of Guts (2:44)
11. Birthday Dethday (2:48)
12. Hatredcopter (2:56)
13. Castratikron (2:57)
14. Face Fisted (4:17)
15. Dethharmonic (4:31)
16. Deththeme (0:36)

Reviewed by on April 24, 2008

"Dethklok deftly top the humor metal heap."

It had to come eventually. Like some inevitable, unstoppable meteor tumbling through the blackness, a Dethklok album was bound to make an impact. As the show continues to resonate on Cartoon Network, a summer tour looms and the band seems poised to take over the world. With their debut offering, appropriately titled "The Dethalbum," Dethklok delivers the ultimate metal punch-line.

Dethklok embodies metal to such an extent that the similarity to other metal and rock artists is unavoidable. While Nathan Explosion is a dead ringer for Type O Negative’s Peter Steel, he sounds like Henry Rollins delivering a spoken word vocals through a Niilo Sevanen (Insomnium) filter. To the initiated, Explosion's “Spoken Death” vocals are relatively easy to decipher. Those familiar with the show will also have a leg up as well. Drummer Pickles is severely indebted to Strapping Young Lad, owing as much to drum deity Gene Hoglan for his chops as frontman Devin Townsend for his skullet. The band’s resident axemen, Wartooth and Skwigelf, nearly live up to their reputations as world's greatest guitarists. Leads and solos are more in your face than face-melting. Imagine GNR-era Slash attempting 80's thrash. Rhythms are cherry-picked from all of metal’s archetypes; riffs stomp, gallop, and surge. Much to the chagrin of Murderface and in keeping with metal tradition--bass lines are notably subdued.

From the infamous “Murmaider” checklist to the trumpeted "Deththeme,” this album truly captures the spirit of the show. Lyrics are often smirk inducing, occasionally even hilarious. Most importantly--the band stay in character. The listener may be laughing, but Dethklok are deadly serious. The relative introspection of “Blooddrocuted” may draw a smile even after repeated spins, while the oppressive ridicule of “Go Forth and Die” and “Fansong” is comedic genius. The band keeps things snappy with sprinting tempos and short song lengths, ranging from 30 seconds to five minutes. With 16 tracks, it shouldn’t be a surprise that things eventually get redundant. Despite a clever title, “Briefcase Full of Guts” is somewhat uninspired and “Awaken” is cut from the same cloth as the show's theme song.

By taking Spinal Tap’s lead and slaughtering tongue-in-cheek cliches like Lordi and Fozzy, Dethklok deftly top the humor metal heap. And if you’re not left bloody by the hooks in "Dethalbum," you simply are not listening. This is metal that is both catchy AND heavy. It should be noted that "The Dethalbum" makes a strong starting place for budding death metal enthusiasts as well. It’s only fitting that Dethklok are the lords of all they survey in their series. In an appropriate twist of fate, "The Dethalbum" is the highest charting death metal album EVER–A feat that is astonishing, disturbing and amusing all at once.

Highs: "Murmaider," "Go into the Water," "Go Forth and Die," "Fansong," and "Birthday Dethday"

Lows: Samey vocals plague this album (though Pickles comes to the rescue in “Hatredcopter”) and some of the jokes wear thin after just a few spins.

Bottom line: Though not brutal death metal by any definition, it is convincingly heavy and ridiculously catchy. They are arguably the best “joke” band in ages and this album supports that position.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)