Thursday, November 19, 2009

Overdue Review of Adult Swim Metalocalypse Tour: Dethklok and Mastodon, October 17, 2009

All righty, moving along with our overdue reviews. I'm working on Iris to do the Indigenous review because she knows a lot more about that band than I do. Come back, Iris!

So if you're familiar with Dethklok and Mastodon as well as opening bands High on Fire and Converge, you might be thinking, gee, Maise, that doesn't seem like your musical genre. You're right; it's not. I drag Mr. Maise to so many concerts and social events that every now and then I choose to do something that he would actually enjoy doing. Sometimes this means that I sit through Ozzfest in 118-degree heat or endure an evening of Godsmack. And he's been kind of going through a country music phase lately, so in comparison to some of the things he could drag me to, a Dethklok show is a piece of cake because I do enjoy the show Metalocalypse on Adult Swim. It's kind of a hard show to describe, but it involves the exploits of Dethklok, a metal band with endearingly stupid members. Somehow a sinister group of world leaders and religious figures fears the power that Dethklok has over its fans, so they always have some sort of plot to take down the oblivious members of this band. And their concerts are always extravagant, resulting in the gruesome deaths of audience I said, it's kind of hard to explain, but here's the theme song and a little clip, just to give you an idea, if you haven't seen it before:

In one of my favorite little scenes, bass player Murderface encounters the "rock and roll clown," Dr. Rockso:

So obviously since this is an animated band, I was expecting something along the line of the Gorillaz. Animation playing on the screen to a live accompaniment. Since death metal isn't really my thing, as I explained above, I figured that at least I would have something to look at. I wasn't expecting to enjoy the show as much as I did. However, there were some opening acts to endure first.

The first act, High on Fire, was actually pretty good. I certainly didn't hate them. It's not necessarily something I'd listen to on my own, and it kind of felt like A Day in the Life of Dan Angel, but considering it was a metal opening band that I've never heard before, I felt pretty fortunate. Their songs had some melody, which is optional when you're dealing with the "cookie monster metal" bands. Here's a general example.

Next up was Converge. You probably wouldn't peg the members of this band as death metal types. They are short-haired and look a little like frat boys (except with more tattoos). The lead singer's vocal stylings sound EXACTLY like my male dog barking. EXACTLY. It's a lot of "WOOFWOOFWOOFWOOFWOOF!!!!!" Needless to say, the lyrics of their songs are completely unintelligible, and I started to get bored with them very quickly.

Mastodon was up next, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. They sort of reminded me of Metallica, when Metallica was good. They played "Crack the Skye" for us, their concept album that is kind of about some guy in a coma and Rasputin. They had some cool imagery for us to look at...scenes that seemed to come out of an old B-movie, psychedelic pictures of Rasputin holding bears on leashes, interstellar travel, and other trippy stuff. But I could really only handle an hour of them. They played "Crack the Skye" all the way through, and then they started playing older stuff, I presume. But I needed to take a break in the lobby because I was starting to get antsy, and they were really LOUD. So loud. OMG. This concert had me feeling my age, that's for damn sure. I had forgotten ear plugs, which I normally don't have to wear at shows, but this was just way beyond my comfort level. I could have sworn that my ears were about to start bleeding at some point.

Here's a clip of Mastodon live, to give you the general idea:

With the surprisingly painless (well, except for my ears) opening bands out of the way, I was eagerly anticipating Dethklok. They opened, naturally, with the Dethklok theme. In this video, you can get a better look at the guys actually playing the music; they seem unlikely candidates for the creators of heavy metal:

Brendon Small, one of the series' creators, writes and performs all the music and does the voices for at least three of the Dethklok members. I have a hard time believing that the voice of Nathan Explosion, Dethklok's lead singer, comes out of his mouth. If you've ever seen Small's work on another animated series, "Home Movies," you'd probably find it even more surprising. He would occasionally banter with the crowd, using the different character voices. It always fascinates me to see a real live person talking in a famous cartoon voice...maybe that's just me.

They played a lot of songs from their first album, accompanied by videos, which were, like the show, grotesque and hilarious and kind of epic. I'll post a couple of my favorites here. These two had me laughing out loud while totally rocking out.

This one, in particular, is the perfect theme song for the health care debate. I'll post the lyrics below because I never have any idea what "Nathan" is saying:

Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug
Pull the plug

I drove my truck into a moving van
It was all filled up with jet fuel and
I crashed right in and explosion
Smash through the window and ripped off my hands

Medical team drove up and found me
Bleeding in pieces picked up off the street
Drove me into a filthy hospital
Horror experienced financially

Woke up in pain in a gown in bed
Internal hemorrhaging inside my head
I really think that I should be dead
I saw the bill and then I cry bled

To keep me alive it is costing me
National deficit times three
There is no way to avoid this fee
Please pull the plug and kill me

It's costing too much

Pull the plug plug

Pull the plug

Breath lighted
Heart attacks
Pull the plug

Pull the plug


Pull the plug

Pay you my life instead of life support
Harvest my plasma because it's worth more
Take all my blood and my organs
Sell them to buyers over in third worlds

Burn my cadaver for some energy
Charge the patients in their misery
Such a strong quarter for the industry
Pharmaceutical fucking victory

Can't pay the price
Pull the plug
Pay with my life
Pull the plug
Say my farewell
Pull the plug
See you in hell
Fucking pull the plug

So. Fucking. Brilliant.

So although this was an evening I originally thought that I was going to tolerate at best, I had a great time. Mr. Maise enjoyed himself too, and it was actually something that he wanted to do, for a change. I'd highly recommend checking out Dethklok, primarily for the experience of the animation + live music. Plus, if you don't already watch Metalocalypse and think that might be your absurdist cup of tea, I'd recommend that as well. I'm kind of hooked now, myself.

Any pleasant surprises in your lives lately?


Anonymous said...

It is certainly interesting for me to read this article. Thank author for it. I like such themes and everything connected to them. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

Isabel said...

Pleasant surprise is Airbourne at Sonisphere. They're an AC/DC style band which I'm not massively into although I've been to see them and they were fun - but there was something quite endearing about Airbourne's main guy and his love of his guitar. I got quite swept away by it

Isabel said...

Even though I had tonsilitis and was in agony and not in the best mood to be impressed by anyone

Isabel said...

You've got that Murmaider song going round and round in my head now - I'm changing nappies going 'knives -check - rope -check' etc etc. Worrying

maise said...


That's brilliant!

Shiv--check! Saw--check!

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