I think its something to take DETHKLOK with a grain of salt. It’s always hard to review a band that was created to mock/humor ‘real’ Heavy Metal bands in the world, and taking that grain of salt with me, I ended up loving the first release from our cartoon counterparts, DETHKLOK. It was catchy. It was fun. It was actually a pretty talented and well written record, even with tongue firmly planted in cheek. “The Dethalbum” is one of the highest selling Death Metal albums of all time in the United States (which says a whole lot about the industry here in America). So with a skip in my step I definitely was ready for album number 2 to match the music from the second season of "Metalocalypse".
What I was treated to on this sophomore effort from the self proclaimed biggest band in the world though wasn’t what I thought DETHKLOK was about. In fact, the title of this album, “The Dethalbum II”, says it all: unoriginal. So many things that made DETHKLOK such a fun and entertaining listen are drained from this second release and the fictional band of awesome has seemingly lost their charm.
Firstly, I think this album takes itself too seriously. There was a charm from the first release with its tongue in cheek approach to music and lyrical writing. “The Dethalbum II” doesn’t really have this. Yeah, a couple of the songs have some pretty funny lyrics, but the majority of it is your standard Death Metal affair. The album just sounds like an average Death Metal release instead of an album that references the genre in the style and pokes good fun at it.
The writing is far less ridiculous musically too and more straight up. I must admit, “The Dethalbum II” is probably more proficient and cohesive in the instrumental writing then its predecessor, with less emphasis on being user friendly and more on writing good Metal, but this actually doesn’t help the album as it tends to be unmemorable this way. We have some solid riffs occasionally and the melodic leads and solos fit nicely. The drums may be well played, but the writing is pretty lackluster (sans the fun opener “Bloodlines” that sounds like a lost SEPULTURA track at times) and the vocals are still a weak point with ‘Nathan Explosion’s’ airy delivery and over layering. It’s as if the band has ceased to be a band of reference and has become its own entity that doesn’t hold its own in the world of Metal…which is ironic considering in the show they are the biggest band in the world.
Perhaps I am just overanalyzing a release that is supposed to be taken with a grain of salt, but I just felt “The Dethalbum II” had become something it wasn’t supposed to be…a real album release. DETHKLOK lost its focus as a pseudo-Metal act and has moved towards becoming a true touring and living entity (yeah, they even tour regularly now) and they don’t quite have the chops to make it work out fully on the musical side. I still enjoy the TV show, myself, but I will definitely be more hesitant with my purchase in the future.
Songs to check out: “Bloodlines”, “Laser Cannon Deth Sentence”, “Murmaider II: The Water God”.
(Online November 26, 2009)