• Axl Rosenberg

800px-dethklok2.jpgI cannot believe it has taken me this long to discover Metalocalypse, which is very possibly the best television show of all time, and most certainly the best television show since that Super Mario Bros. cartoon with Captain Lou Albano.

The animated series, which airs Monday nights on Adult Swim (I never thought I’d type this, but: check your local listings), follows a half American/ half Scandinavian death metal band called Dethklok who are so popular (the show tells us that they’re the world’s 12th largest economy) that they can get away with murder – literally: on the episode that aired this week, “Dethkomedy,” for example, the band is taken to court for making an album that accidentally inspired a million people to kill themselves after the band’s lyrics instructed listeners to “breathe underwater” – but the case is dismissed when the band’s attorney points out a disclaimer on the album alerting buyers that the music is intended only for fish.

Like most shows on Adult Swim, their’s a bizarre, kinda random style of humor that works best in rooms filled with bong smoke; but there’s also an intelligent, satirical streak at work here. After winning their court case, the band goes and plays golf in polo shirts while discussing how to make their next album even more metal than the last – a jab at super successful bands paradoxical need to retain their street cred. They then decide that they’ve gotten as dark as they can, and consequently come to the conclusion that the most metal thing they can do is try comedy (“Hatredy”); with the help of, of all people, a drunken sailor (the unrecognizable voice by James Hetfield, one of many guest appearances on the show by members of Arch Enemy, Nevermore, and Cannibal Corpse, amongst others) who teaches them that while metal is about hating society comedy is about hating oneself and hating the audience (another astute satirical observation on the part of the show’s writers), they manage to make the transition successfully (one bit involves a ventriloquy act substituting a corpse in a body bag for a dummy).

Of course, the use of metal isn’t incidental; the show’s creators, Brandon Small and Tommy Blacha, are clearly huge metalheads, as displayed by the little details (the band uses Krank amps), the various guest spots, and the metal in-jokes (a fast food chain is called Dimmu Burger). And then there’s Dethklok’s music itself: semi-melodic death metal that’s actually pretty damn good.

The best part of Metalocalypse? The episodes run fifteen minutes or less, leaving you plenty of time to do something more productive than sit in front of your television set – like listen to Carcass, jerk off, or jerk off whilst listening to Carcass.


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