Hey there, headbangers of darkness. I’m about to drag you all on a monstrous trek into a world as loud as the firepits of hell, as brutal as a mosh pit at a death metal concert, and as hilarious as a group of death metal musicians trying to go grocery shopping. That’s right, LOD has elected to discuss none other than one of our favorite adult-animated shows of the last two decades – Metalocalypse!
This wildly creative, macabrely funny, and head-thumpingly metal cartoon show aired on Adult Swim between 2006 and 2013, and I’ve got to say, if you love metal, if you love cartoons, if you love absurdity or hell, if you just love laughing your face off, you owe it to yourself to watch this show.
So, prepare your fragile mortal ears for an assault on your eyes and eardrums because we’re about to dive deep into the brutal world of Dethklok.
Meet the Band
This symphony of savagery revolves around the adventures (or misadventures) of the world’s most successful and influential metal band, Dethklok. Let’s meet the bandmates.
First, we have Nathan Explosion, the band’s hulking lead vocalist. With his long, black mane and perpetual scowl, Nathan is your quintessential death metal frontman. But don’t let his intimidating persona fool you. Beneath his brusque exterior is a man who struggles with the complexity of his lyrics and can’t even buy groceries without causing a catastrophe.
We have Skwisgaar Skwigelf, the arrogant, tall, and blonde Swedish axe slinger on guitar. His lightning-fast fingers are only matched by his knack for belittling his bandmates, particularly his fellow guitarist, Toki Wartooth. Toki, the Norwegian second guitarist, is an unusual blend of childlike innocence and brutality. He’s simultaneously the band’s heart and comedy, often finding himself in ridiculous situations.
Then there’s the bassist, William Murderface. Ah, Murderface. His instrument may be inaudible in every track, but his insecurities and misanthropy scream loud enough to rival Nathan’s growls. Rounding off the band is Pickles the drummer. This laid-back redhead from Wisconsin has seen it all. He’s the voice of reason in Dethklok, even though that reason is often as twisted as his bandmates.
The Premise, The Plot, and The Perfidy
The premise of Metalocalypse revolves around a dystopian future where Dethklok’s music has become a cultural phenomenon, to the point where they are more powerful than many countries (It is, in fact stated in the very first episode that the band is the world’s fifth largest economy). These metal maestros have a global following, and their concerts are nothing short of apocalyptic events, often resulting in the deaths of thousands of fans. But along with their unstoppable rise to fame comes a whole legion of villains determined to stop Dethklok’s epic reign.
The first is the mysterious Tribunal, a secret organization that sees Dethklok’s power threatening the world order. Led by the sinister and demonic Mr. Salacia, the Tribunal is constantly plotting nefarious schemes to undermine the band and sabotage their concerts. From hiring inept assassins to attempting to control Dethklok’s minds, the Tribunal’s evil designs make for some seriously twisted and comical moments.
Another formidable foe is Magnus Hammersmith, the CEO of the rival band, The Blues Devil. Magnus is a larger-than-life character with an intense hatred for Dethklok. He’s always scheming and conniving, trying to one-up the metal legends at every turn. Whether it’s stealing their fans or attempting to steal their thunder, Magnus brings a whole new level of deviousness to the metal scene.
Charles Foster Offdensen
Let’s talk about the ace up Dethklok’s sleeve (just kidding, they don’t have sleeves) – Dethklok’s manager, Charles Foster Offdensen. With his stoic demeanor and unyielding commitment to the band’s success (not to mention his murderous martial arts prowess), Offdensen is the unsung hero who keeps the chaos in check. He deftly navigates the treacherous waters of the music industry, taking care of Dethklok’s business affairs while protecting them from all manner of nefarious threats. Offdensen’s sharp wit and James Bond-level resourcefulness make him a fan-favorite character, as he eviscerates assassins, solves international crises, and keeps the band on track amidst their own hilarious and drunken shenanigans.
As the world’s most influential metal band, Dethklok doesn’t just rely on their music to conquer hearts and minds but also on their legions of devoted followers. Known as The Klokateers, these die-hard fans have taken their dedication to another level. Clad in black armor adorned with Dethklok’s iconic symbol, they march in perfect unison, ready to defend their metal overlords at all costs. With a combination of unwavering loyalty, fierce determination, and an unrivaled knowledge of mosh pit combat, Dethklok’s personal army strikes fear into the hearts of their enemies. Whether it’s protecting the band from the wrath of the Tribunal or ensuring the safety of their explosive concerts, the Klokateers stand as a testament to the unbreakable bond between a band and their fans. And dying in frightening numbers doesn’t deter them in the least. Hail to the Klokateers!
Who can ever forget the lovable but bumbling Doctor Rockso, the rock-and-roll clown? Rockso is a character that will haunt your nightmares in the most twistedly entertaining way possible. With his flamboyant outfit, wild hair, and insane drug addiction, he’s a walking embodiment of pure chaos, who also happens to be one of Toki Wartooth’s best friends.
Doctor Rockso’s unhinged behavior and catchphrase, “I do cocaine!”, make him a bizarre and unforgettable addition to the Metalocalypse universe.
Snakes n’ Barrels
Pickles’ old band. Known for their wild antics, destructive lifestyle, and explosive performances, Snakes n’ Barrels left a trail of chaos in their wake, setting the stage for Pickles’ transformation into a metal legend. They make recurring appearances, often with hilarious and bloody results.
The Classic Episodes
Ahhh, the memories! In its impressive four-season run, Metalocalypse birthed an array of unforgettable episodes. It’s like trying to pick your favorite guitar riff – nigh impossible, but let’s give it a shot.
- “The Curse of Dethklok” – How better to kick things off than with the show’s pilot? This episode beautifully establishes the show’s essence: brutal metal, violence, and humor.
- “Dethwater” is where the band decides to record their new album in the Mariana Trench, of all places, “the most brutal place on Earth.” If that doesn’t scream ‘metal,’ I don’t know what does.
- “Birthdayface” – Aka Murderface’s birthday. It’s hilarious, it’s dark, it’s sentimental – it’s a microcosm of pure Metalocalypse madness.
- “Dethwedding” – In which Nathan accidentally gets engaged to a fan. Wedding bells have never sounded this terrifying…or this funny.
- “Cleanso” – Murderface tries the impossible – to quit drinking, and the result is one of the series’ funniest, most absurd episodes.
- “Dethkids” – A particularly heartrending episode where Toki adopts a terminally ill child, displaying a depth to his character that most wouldn’t expect.
- “Dethsources” – The band’s fight with their record label is both a critique of the music industry and a window into the band’s dynamics.
- “Dethdad” – When Toki’s father dies, we are treated to a uniquely Metalocalypse take on loss, mourning, and, bizarrely, funerals.
- “Dethrecord” – Dethklok tries to record their new album. Needless to say, it doesn’t go smoothly.
- “The Doomstar Requiem” – The rock opera season finale is an hour-long magnum opus that perfectly encapsulates the brilliant madness of Metalocalypse.
Music to the Ears and A Feast for the Eyes
Beyond its humor and eccentric characters, Metalocalypse wows with its music and visual artistry. The band’s music, written and composed by co-creator Brendon Small, is a smorgasbord of melodic death metal – it’s as brutal and intricate as you’d hope from a real-life metal band. Each episode is filled with head-banging riffs, insane solos, and growls that would make a polar bear shudder.
Then there’s the animation style. The show paints a dark, dystopian world that beautifully complements its bleak humor and metal music. The colors are primarily grays and dark tones, creating a somber atmosphere. Yet, the character designs are distinct and exaggerated, injecting an element of ridiculousness into this grim world. It’s like a death metal album cover come to life, with a dash of Looney Tunes for good measure.
Banging the Gong
Once, I was obsessed with Metalocalypse, but writing this post made me realize something: I still am. I can endlessly rewatch episodes without tiring of them. Brash as a face-melting guitar solo, insane as a mosh pit, as fun as headbanging with fellow metal fans to your favorite metal tune. This show embodies the spirit of metal: raw power, absurdity, darkness, and, above all, camaraderie. And if you haven’t yet sampled the show but tend to enjoy a brutal onslaught of laughs, riffs, and animated anarchy, give Metalocalypse a try. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Until next time, dwellers in darkness.
Stay metal, always.
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