Dethklok triumphed at the Hollywood Palladium Nov.27, playing to a packed crowd with supporting acts Machine Head, All That Remains, The Black Dahlia Murder.
Dethklok is an act of wonder, because Dethklok is a fictitious band. That’s right – fictitious, an invention. Dethklok was borne in an adult animated comedy television series called ‘Metalocalypse’, and Dethklok are the show’s stars – a television show featuring an invented, cartoon band of hardcore metal musicians. Actually, it’s a little more extreme than that –Dethklok are introduced to us as supreme rock stars - bigger than the Beatles - of Death Metal music, Death Metal being a very specific underground genre of heavy metal. If you’ve ever seen a black t-shirt with unreadable and crazy red lettering, there is a strong chance is comes from the cave in which Death Metal was born, a very real genre of metal music. As real as Dethklok has become.
Dethklok of the television features a group of musicians, like Dethklok the headlining act at the Hollywood Palladium. Both are amazingly tight, never missing a note or break. This is to be expected, given that the Dethklok who blew up the Hollywood Palladium are nearly the same group of guys as those who provide the soundtrack for the television show.
The television show describes Dethklok as having wild global success, so great that they have grown to be the world’s seventh largest economy, making money comparable to that of the largest economies of global nations – empowering Dethklok with a standing somewhere between the UK and Brazil. This mysterious Dethklok, the imagined heavy metal band, wield an unmanageable power as only a metal band with a devoted and equally misguided fan base - the size of a country - could. Even more disturbing and comedic, band members are completely lost outside of music, and their devoted followers will sacrifice all for their heavy metal idols. You have got to see the ‘Metalocalypse’ series to believe it; even metal heads have a sense of humor. This is proof, and it’s funny stuff.
The show’s co-creator, Brendon Small, takes the stage – he is lead vocalist and guitarist of Dethklok. The voice is larger than life, his guitar riffs are ripping, and the stage show hammered the crowd, eyes and ears, as a large screen above the band projected images from the television show frantically, like a giant television gone haywire. Gene Hoglan drums for both the studio and touring versions of Dethklok, and he never fails as one of the most powerful drummers in Death Metal. Mike Kenally (who toured with Frank Zappa) is on guitars and backing vocals, and renowned innovative bassist Bryan Beller seams together the bottom end. Together, the band is a bit unbelievable, ripping through their own brand of Death Metal anthem, given that they have been brought together by a very silly comedy cartoon. Being an adult have never been so fun.
Though Dethklok of the television show features band members completely bent in a Hall-of-Fame kind of way – a parody of successes as well as failures, Dethklok on the stage were there as themselves, great contemporary musicians playing the soundtrack to what is perhaps the end of this world, as triumphant as it sounds. Watch and listen – Dethklok continue touring December 2012 in support of ‘Dethalbum III’ while fans of the show wait with baited breath for the next season of Metalocalpyse. Being a metal head gets better all the time.