*Spoiler Alert* The lights dim, with a rise in response from the anticipating crowd. A large globe and stars appear on the screen while two cartoon men, the first being a protagonist and second being the lead antagonist, inform the crowd on the dangers of Dethklok. The suspense in the room intensifies and a silence falls overhead, while the fans prepare for the introduction of the band. The graphics and story behind them created an intense yearning that not only could I feel in myself but from the entire room. Yellow eyes fade into Murderface, Skwisgaar, Pickles, Toki, and Nathan and BOOM, darkness swept the room - the live band starts as Mike shreds his guitar while Brendon growls heavily into the microphone and the whole room breaks out into a roar.
Brendon Small’s deep death growl takes control of the room. The band’s stage presence is active and bold, while they don’t need to be as energetic performers as let’s say Machine Head (supporting act of the night) because the visuals are transfixing and too much movement from the band would diminish the background illustrative imagery that deepens the vision of the music - that's at least my take on it.
When I first saw Metalocalypse, I became obsessed, although I was very taken aback after absorbing the music. Brendon Small is an incredible guy: co-producer, co-writer, composer, and he does the vocals for Skwisgaar, Pickles, and Nathan Explosion. Tommy Blacha is also amazing, the co-writer and co-producer, performing vocals for Toki Wartooth, William Murderface, and Dr. Rockzo (of favored characters) although he does not tour with the band. While the vocal elements and cartoon depictions are hilarious, the music is composed wonderfully and is extremely catchy.
Dethklok’s live members are absolutely phenomenal musicians. Brendon Small (vocals, guitar) not only produces and writes the show but is a fantastic composer and an excellent performer as well - complete Renaissance man. Gene Hoglan (drums) has toured and/or recorded with every band from Opeth to Devin Townsend to Testament - his music history is exceptional and the double bass drum that Dethklok uses so well, that gets your heart pumping and blood flowing - nobody could do this better than Gene. Bryan Beller (bass) has a jazz-rock background. Both Bryan and Mike Keneally (guitar) have worked with Dweezil Zappa and Steve Vai. Mike even has a history going back to the Frank Zappa-era as a stunt performer and member of the touring band.
Dethklok’s live show is a theatrical production in itself. You get a different experience attending the live show then watching the cartoon. There is a unique storyline, character interaction, plus the ongoing excitement that each guitar riff and bass thump projects. With the skillfully synchronized videos, well-crafted storyline, and the utilization of music making each scenario all the much more powerful and suspenseful - you can recognize a great deal of vision and innovation is present. Sure, every live performance takes creativity; however, Dethklok brings a new element to the table - IMAGINATION. With the combination of a well-plotted narrative and a death metal concert, Dethklok does a fantastic job at not only one-upping a play, but also a live show.
I don’t believe anything will ever stop people from loving to see their favorite artists live. Although, in this day and age where everything has been accomplished, it has become crucial for a band to develop their niche to attain success. With this view in mind, Dethklok really owns their vision and takes the throne on musicianship and performances, setting a new standard for metal today. Go Dethklok!
II. I Ejaculate Fire
IX. Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle
XI. The Gears
XII. The Galaxy
XIV. Go Into the Water
XVI. Crush the Industry