Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dethklok - The Dethalbum II (2009)

After the staggering success of first offering, The Dethalbum, it was only a matter of time before Metalocalypse creator Brendan Small returned to the studio for a second session of brutality. Two years later, he has returned, but something is different this time around. The laughs are still present, but this is not the same Dethklok. This is the album we, as metal fans, had been waiting for.

Instantly, you can hear a much more crisp production on "Bloodlines." Tribal drumming leads into shredding guitars. Nathan Explosion's deep, coarse screams are more powerful than ever. An intermediate breakdown leads into a blood curdling, high intensity scream, never heard before on a Dethklok track. Gene Hoglan is once again behind the drum kit, showing us in every way why he has been dubbed "The Machine."The next track, "The Gears," is a call to arms for all Dethklok fans. You are told that "you're here because/you're one of us." And this could not be more true. Intertwined guitar scales, dipping in and out of Hoglan's uncanny speed and precision are a deadly combination.

The starting gallop of "Burn The Earth" is an instant headbanging classic. Lyrically dark and yet somehow amusing, Explosion plows through the song with gritty interjections; "Pour the gas, light the match, burn." The guitar work of Brendan Small is at its best, one blazing solo after another. "Laser Cannon Deth Sentence" takes no prisoners (literally), pressing forward with just a hint of keyboard fueled brutality. The music has evolved, beyond the jokes and the tongue-in-cheek humor.

"Black Fire Upon Us," the song from the season 2 finale, has been hashed out into a six minute masterpiece. While it comes in as one of the slower songs on the record, make no mistake about it. This is Dethklok at its best. From the growling vocals, to the deliberate chugging guitars, everything we have come to expect from Small is present here, and so much more. "Dethsupport" brings the tempo back up, shredding through a 2 and half minute plea to pull the plug. Explosion pours out a list of illnesses, with each line followed by a demand to pull the plug. After all, it's costing too much.

"The Cyborg Slayers" and "I Tamper With The Evidence At The Murder Site Of Odin" are both strong, with Hoglan's drumming really seeing the spotlight. A familiar whine takes you head first into "Murmaider II: The Water God," a sequel to a track from The Dethalbum. It takes everything the original had to offer, and builds more on top of that foundation. You have committed murder, and you now live knowing you are being tracked. But you proclaim, "I am the water god."

Destiny comes at full force in "Comet," complete with what may be the best guitar solo the album has to offer. You are treated to an almost Pantera-esque stomp in "Symmetry," a song about physical perfection and jealousy. The song contains a serious southern groove, accenting Explosion's vocals. The band concludes with "Volcano," which contains a group of background singers, chanting along. Again, something you would not expect to find in a Dethklok offering.

When it comes to success in the music business, you are often confined to your sales numbers and Billboard chart positions. Brendan Small has been able to count success in more ways than one. Yes, The Dethalbum II sound 45,000 copies in the United States in its first week, placing it at #15 on the Billboard Chart. But more than that, he has created a loyal following of fans not unlike the ones that Dethklok encounters in their show. With the release of the first album, we found ourselves wanting to do anything for Dethklok. Now, we are truly gears.


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