I didn't really know what to think walking in to this show. It's not even a real band. A friend of mine had introduced me to Cartoon Network's (Adult Swim) "Metalocalypse" last year, and I was astonished anything remotely featuring metal so prominently was on TV. Gotta love Adult Swim.
An astonished grin has to encompass Brendon Small's face at all hours of the day. This little "cartoon", as people like to call it, has broken records that most real metal bands can't even get close to. After a highly successful first season on Adult Swim, Small put an actual band together to emulate Dethklok. Who knew he could make the cartoon more brutal?
The soundtrack for season one was released, appropriately titled "The Dethalbum" and it debuted at #21 on the Billboard chart. The highest debut/chart position ever for a death metal album. This isn't a typical sugar coated High School Musical/Miley Cyrus pre-teen snot fest that routinely rules the charts, this is a brutal death metal album (even though the lyrics deal with coffee and mermaids, but who's complaining?).
So as I am walking in to the Marquee in Tempe, I figured it's going to be a fun night regardless. The line was incredibly long, and after getting inside I quickly realized that the show was sold out (the Wiltern was sold out as well a few nights earlier). This almost never happens at the Marquee for metal shows. While I am checking things out, a Metalocalypse fact comes flying out of nowhere -- doesn't the entire audience usually die during the performances?!
One thing for sure, this band surpasses a lot of bands that are doing it for real. With Small on vocals and guitars, metal legend Gene Hoglan on drums, guitarist Mike Keneally and bassist Bryan Beller --Dethklok has never sounded more ...well...brutal.
This show was brilliantly delivered in both audio and visual. The lights came from behind the band members, thereby keeping them in the dark from the front, while an episode or portions of the show played on a gigantic screen behind them. There's nothing like seeing Nathan Explosion on a 30 foot by 30 foot -- or whatever the screen size was -- glaring at you with intent to kill. At times when the visual showed the "cartoon" band playing, it actually seemed like the real band was in sync. While this might seem like a no brainer conceptually, it was still impressive to see live.
Wasting no time, the band launched in to a sonic avalanche of brutality with songs such as "Briefcase Full of Guts", "Birthday Dethday", "Hatredcopter", "Murmaider", "Bloodrocuted", "Thunderhorse" and "Go Forth and Die".
Even Facebones made appearances throughout the night in between songs and videos.
The thing that caught me off guard about this gig was the show time, as it seemed abnormally early. Hell, as most people were still outside going through security and dealing with will call, Soilent Green was tearing it up on stage. I think I walked in during the last song.
The mosh pits started when Chimaira's dueling guitarists started in on the unsuspecting crowd. Commencing with "Pure Hatred", "The Flame" and "Nothing Remains", the band was a strong choice to support Dethklok. Singer Mark Hunter was working the crowd like the seasoned vet he is. The whiplash continued throughout "Worthless", "No Reason to Live", "Salvation" and "Resurrection".
This will easily be the most brutal tour of the summer. If you're in to the show, catch one of the last few dates of the tour and you seriously will not be disappointed. If you have no idea what all this is about or just don't get it, sit tight -- I think Miley Cyrus is releasing a new disc soon.