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Dethklok is both a fictional melodic death metal band featured in the Adult Swim animated program Metalocalypse, created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha, and a virtual band created to perform the band's music in live shows. The band is sometimes cited as an example of "comedy rock" on par with bands such as GWAR and Spinal Tap. The first Dethklok album was released on September 25 2007, entitled The Dethalbum. The music heard on Metalocalypse is performed by Brendon Small, with others as needed. Small and drummer Gene Hoglan performed on the album. The album debuted at number 21 on Billboard Magazine's Top 200 list. The band released The Dethalbum II on September 29, 2009, and is currently on tour with Mastodon.

Fictional background

In the Metalocalypse series, Dethklok is depicted as an extremely popular and successful death metal band, described by their adversaries, the Tribunal, as the "world's greatest cultural force." The band's fan base includes billions of metal fanatics, who frequently endanger themselves to watch the band perform live. With their widespread commercial success and lucrative sponsorship contracts, Dethklok is ranked as the world's seventh largest economy (by the end of the second season).

The members of Dethklok are often portrayed as incompetent at almost everything not related to their profession. The band struggles to perform everyday tasks, including shopping for groceries, preparing food, and maintaining proper social relationships. They are often assisted by their manager and lawyer, Charles Foster Ofdensen, who frequently attempts to prevent the band from making poor decisions. The band's actions and uncanny misfortune have caught the attention of an Illuminati-style council, known as The Tribunal. The Tribunal is portrayed as Dethklok's antagonist throughout the series, and secretly monitor their actions in almost every episode. The leader of The Tribunal, however, frequently instructs the other members to allow Dethklok to do as they will.

Fictional members of the band

Nathan Explosion

Nathan Explosion (voiced by Brendon Small) is the frontman, lead vocalist and "lyrical visionary" of Dethklok. Portrayed as a tall, bulky figure, with long black hair and green eyes, Nathan always speaks in a deep, gravelly voice, even when not singing. According to his dating profile, Nathan describes his ethnicity as "White/Native American". He is the lead songwriting force in Dethklok, and uses violent imagery or plot elements when writing and composing song material.

Small described Nathan as a "quarterback", and based his character's appearance and performance style on Cannibal Corpse vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.

Skwisgaar Skwigelf

Skwisgaar Skwigelf (voiced by Brendon Small) is Dethklok's lead guitarist. He is described as, "a handsome guy who thinks he's the greatest thing in the world", with a little bit of Yngwie Malmsteen in his attitude. He is tall and skinny, with long blond hair and blue eyes, and plays a Gibson Explorer, which he often carries around even when not playing. He is known to be the fastest guitar player in the world. Hailing from Swedenmarker, Skwisgaar has a marked Swedish accent and often makes mistakes when conjugating verbs. He is responsible for the majority of the arrangement of Dethklok's songs, writing the guitar lines as well as Murderface's bass lines. Skwisgaar also typically discards and re-records the rhythm guitar parts recorded by Toki Wartooth for Dethklok's albums.

Toki Wartooth

Toki Wartooth (voiced by Tommy Blacha) is Dethklok's rhythm guitarist and keyboardist. He typically plays a Gibson Flying V. A native of "an abandoned town near Lillehammermarker," Norwaymarker, he has a distinct whisker-like style of mustache known as the Fu Manchu, long brown hair and very pale blue eyes.

Small explained Toki's relationship with Skwisgaar as "...Norwegian to Skwisgaar's Swedish, pompous attitude. And, again, a second-class citizen in the same band.", and compared his guitar playing style to that of Iron Maiden.

He is the youngest member of Dethklok, Dethklok being his first band. He looks up to Skwisgaar, to the point that his admirer hates him. This idea is pointed out in a season three episode in which Toki was in a Dethklok tribute band, ironically posing as Skwisgaar. According to the season 3 premiere there was another rhythm guitarist before him.

Mikael Åkerfeldt of progressive death metal band Opeth told Ultimate-Guitar.com that he received an email from Toki, which confirmed that his character borrowed Åkerfeldt's likeness.

Pickles

Pickles (voiced by Brendon Small) is Dethklok's drummer. He was raised in Tomahawk, Wisconsinmarker and speaks with a Yooper dialect. He refers to himself as "very Irish" and has long red hair, styled into dreadlocks and a comb-over skullet, and green eyes. He is depicted as having an average build with a slight beer belly. Describing the character, Small said, "I thought the drummer should be able to do a bunch of stuff, like Roger Taylor in Queen. Even though it's not based on his personality, it's what he can do in the band and what parts of the songs he does contribute to.".

William Murderface

William Murderface (voiced by Tommy Blacha) is Dethklok's bassist. He plays a Gibson Thunderbird Studio 5-string. He has brown hair, green eyes, a heavy lateral lisp and a diastema. Murderface's father killed his mother with a chainsaw before turning it upon himself in front of Murderface in a grisly murder-suicide when he was just a baby, leaving him to be raised by his grandparents. Murderface is "a self-hating bass player who's always trying to act like he's more important than he is," in part because his bass playing is usually mixed out completely..

Brendon Small describes Murderface as "thin-skinned and incredibly sensitive and just wants to be accepted constantly but can’t get that because he’s such a dick and pushes people away". Murderface's voice was originally achieved by Tommy Blacha putting paper towels inside his mouth when voicing the character, but he has since refined his technique to avoid the paper towels.

Actual band

Current members



Touring members



Tour

In late 2007, Adult Swim organized a promotional tour featuring Dethklok and …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. The tour comprised performances at twelve college campuses, with tickets available to students only (except for 50 tickets set aside for the UCLA show in the Los Angeles area). The band featured Brendon Small, guitarist Mike Keneally, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Gene Hoglan. Tour information was made available on Adult Swim's promotional site, http://www.adultswimpresents.com . In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Brendon Small described the tour as being "like Gorillaz, with the animated characters" with Small's ensemble of musicians performing visibly.

In a February 2008 interview on California radio station Indie 103.1 with Full Metal Jackie, plans for a summer 2008 tour were announced. Brendon Small described the tour as being like "a Disney ride but with murder." Dethklok toured the U.S. in June and early July with Chimaira and Soilent Green. 27 dates were released in April 2008.

During the June 5th show at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA., an electrical fire broke out during Soilent Green's set. The concert was halted and the building was evacuated. Many of the fans resisted leaving the club, thinking it was a hoax, which could have created a potentially dangerous and deadly situation should the fire have spread. After the fire department came it was made official that due to fire damage to the building's electrical systems that the club was to be closed. The concertgoers were not allowed back into the building and the show was rescheduled for the following Monday minus the opening bands.

A third tour for The Dethalbum II started in October 2009 with Mastodon, Converge and High on Fire.

Discography

Studio albums



Music videos

Year Title Director(s) Album
2007 "Bloodrocuted" Jon Schnepp & Brendon Small The Dethalbum
2008 "Murmaider" Jon Schnepp
2009 "Bloodlines" The Dethalbum II
2008 "Briefcase Full Of Guts" The Dethalbum II Deluxe Edition Bonus DVD
2008 "Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle"
2008 "Birthday Dethday"
2008 "Hatredcopter"
2008 "Thunderhorse"
2008 "Go Into The Water"
2008 "Dethharmonic" Mark Brooks
2008 "Castratikron"
2008 "Awaken" Chris Prynoski
2008 "Go Forth And Die"


References

  1. allmusic.com
  2. " Strapping young lad's Gene Hoglan laying down tracks for Dethklok album" December 23, 2006.
  3. " Dethalbum Debuts At #21 On Billboard Top 200" October 9, 2007
  4. "The Curse of Dethklok". Metalocalypse. No 1, season 1. (August 6, 2006) "Reporter: They are called pain waivers. Fans are signing their lives away releasing Dethlok from any and all liability."
  5. "Opeth: 'The Band Will Continue For As Long As There's Good Material In Us'", interview by Duncan Geddes. Retrieved November 22 2007.
  6. http://www.synthesis.net/music/interview/item-7111/2008-07-17-metalocalypse
  7. http://emusician.com/interviews/metalocalypse_now_bonus/
  8. "[1]" September 18, 2007.
  9. adult swim - dethklok tour
  10. Dethklok's Brendon Small: 'This Show Is For Guitar Geeks' | Interviews @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com
  11. Dethklok, Chimaira, Soilent Green tour // News // Lambgoat
  12. [2] Babbermouth.net 2009 Tour Annoucement
  13. Des Moines Register Music notes: July 30


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