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That is the most metal thing I ever heard in my whole life
on 12 October 2007
"We will make everything metal. Blacker than the blackest black... times infinity!"
So says Dethklok, in one of Adult Swim's best series ever -- an affectionate, hilarious satire on metal and celebrity. And the first season of "Metalocalypse" is crammed with sex, alcohol, gratuitous gore, rock'n'roll clowns, messy death.... and lots and lots of doom metal.
Dethklok is the biggest, darkest, most brutal, most METAL band in the world: the gravel-voiced frontman Nathan Explosion, enraged nihilist William Murderface, the smart guy Pickle, childlike Toki, and haughty elf-like Lothario Skwisgaar. The only ones who don't adore them are a secret Tribunal, who monitor all of Dethklok's goings-on, from their love lives to their celebrity endorsements.
As the series opens, the band is playing a sold-out megaconcert to promote a coffee jingle ("We will make coffee METAL!"). Unfortunately their latest chef accidentally gets dismembered during the concert ("By the power of all that is evil, I command you to awaken and make me a sandwich!"). Since they now have to cook for themselves, a disastrous trip to the "Food Library" follows.
But that's not the only problem Dethklok must deal with (or cause): they set a lake troll loose on Finland, record in the Mariana Trench, arrange a "metal" birthday party, adopt a porcine child, undergo group therapy, suffer through a fan tour of their Mordor-like citadel, and attempt to cope when Nathan starts dating a shrewish actress.
They have to deal with stand-up comedy, religion, the blues, old band reunions, and celebrity endorsements... as well as Dethklok's ghastly movie debut, the turgidly wooden "Blood Ocean." And as they prepare to play their newest album live, two rogue members of the Tribunal decide to finally destroy Dethklok once and for all...
With the exception of the immortal Spinal Tap, it's hard to think of a fictional metal band that is half as good -- or funny -- as Dethklok. "Metalocalypse" relentlessly makes fun of metal, even as it gives it an affectionate pat on the back ("Finland is expecting our apology for almost destroying the nation last tour").
The episodes are only about eleven minutes long, so Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha have to cram the material in -- it's frankly amazing that they can manage even a small plot. There's loads of violent gore (exploding heads, for instance), crazy metal antics and funny scenarios -- when trying to sell their souls to the devil, they manage to drive him away with legalese.
And the dialogue is pretty much genius -- Smalls and Blacha load it with quotables ("That's my bread and butter you're f***ing with"), weird conversations ("In Sweden, underwears is, y'know, the kinky stuff, worn as a fetish..."), and surreal lines ("Candy: tastes like chicken, if chicken was a candy"). Hardly a scene goes by without at least two hilarious lines or exchanges.
Frankly none of the Dethklok members are actually people you'd wanna know -- they're inept, disconnected from reality, kinda sociopathic, and only Pickle seems to have real brains. But they're all entertaining to watch, and over time they actually become endearing, with their own little quirks and oddities. Especially Toki ("Wowie!").
If you like mature, sophisticated comedies of manners, full of witty repartee... then the first season of "Metalocalypse" is not for you. Talk about brutal.