Review by Carl Lyon
For those of you unfamiliar with Metalocalypse, but familiar with Brendon Small?s previous work on the underrated Home Movies, take a seat. You folks who don?t know either show, pull up a chair. Fans of Metalocalypse?what the hell are you reading this for? Go pick up the damn box set already!
OK, are they gone? Cool.
Home Movies, Brendon Small?s previous work, was a computer-animated series revolving around three kids who made short camcorder films that were usually cinematic metaphors for their lives, their emotions and life events committed to video cassette for their own indulgence. Lasting four seasons, its brilliantly layered scripting, improvised dialogue and emotional impact made for provocative and intelligent television.
Metalocalypse is about as far removed from Home Movies as you can imagine. Created by Small and Tommy Blacha the show centers on Dethklok, the most popular band in the world, and their metallic misadventures. Comprised of Nathan Explosion (vocals), Skwisgaar Skwigelf (lead guitar), Toki Wartooth (rhythm guitar), William Murderface (bass), and Pickles (drums), the band spends their 11 minute episodes lampooning the metal scene and its excesses with equal doses of mockery and respect. In the first season alone, the show manages to skewer the Judas Priest lawsuit of the 80?s, metal?s notorious alcohol and substance abuse, reunion tours, endorsement deals, and countless other gags. The character names and places certainly earn cred for Small and Blacha, as some moderately obscure references are made to bands such as Burzum, Amon Amarth, and Gorgoroth. The band members themselves represent a peculiar cross-section of subgenres, from Nathan?s death-metal styling modeled after Cannibal Corpse?s George Fisher, to Murderface?s uncanny resemblance to Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler. Even respected performers from metal join in on the joke, as the series is littered with voice cameos from Metallica?s James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, operatic vocalist King Diamond, the majority of the band Nevermore, and the aforementioned George Fisher.
The music itself is also noteworthy, as it manages to be believable (and often quite good) in spite of the absurd lyrics that the songs contain. The song that is played by the band in the ?Fatklok? episode (with a philharmonic orchestra, no less) starts off as a genuinely rousing piece that wouldn?t sound out of place on a Dimmu Borgir record, except it?s about tax preparation.
The DVD set is certainly worth picking up, especially for the completely absurd number of hidden easter-eggs across its two discs. It?s almost necessary to load the discs into a computer?s DVD-ROM, as the hidden icon buttons for the easter eggs practically cover the screen in every nook and cranny, offering up interviews, outtakes, and uncensored footage. I never thought I?d see that many cartoon boobies outside of Japan!
It?s certainly weird to see Brendon Small almost devolve between Home Movies and Metalocalypse. The latter is puerile, goofy, violent, offensive, and a hell of a lot of fun. If Home Movies is the artsy kid in the sweater writing poetry for his next Slam, Metalocalypse is the guy wearing headphones in study hall drawing bloody skulls on his Trapper Keeper. They?re both great to hang out with, but Metalocalypse just knows how to party harder.