Metalocalypse Season 2 DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
Bringing new accuracy to the term 'Death Metal', ladies and gentlemen...Dethklok!
Life isn't always easy for the world's greatest death metal band. Between playing monstrous gigs on the tops of volcanoes and fitting in trips to cannibals in the Amazon, you have to accommodate personal matters like over-inflated egos, new clothing lines and crotch mace dispensers. Still, the mighty Dethklok muddle through, even if it does cost the lives of a few thousand fans every gig.
Welcome to the second season of Metalocalypse, where the world panders to the needs of Dethklok in fear of a fiery retribution if they don't. With a world full of rabid fans willing to die for their band, a balance must be struck, and in the shadows a shady collection of military generals and leaders from around the globe constantly monitor the antics of Dethklok, looking for their chance to end their brutal reign.
Now first things first, before you go and buy this DVD, there are a couple of things you should be warned about. Number one: this is a comedy about a death metal band, so if you don't like the music, get the hell out now. Number two: this series is not for the squeamish. Every instance of bleeped-out swearing is compensated by some of the most brutal deaths this side of Mortal Kombat. There isn't a single episode where the band plays the gig and everything goes right. Be it a four-legged robotic stage that goes haywire or a race-car crashing into a dragon statue, causing the venue to go up in flames, there is a low rate of survival for many Dethklok fans.
If you look past the various mutilations in each episodes, you'll find another great Adult Swim comedy. Each character shines through with their own personality. Nathan Explosion, the lead singer, is an empowering presence on stage, but in the real world, is simple-minded and goes from one impromptu madcap scheme to the next. William Murderface, the bassist, is, to describe it accurately, a dick. Out to ruin everyone else's day, all the while following the same old bass guitarist cliché of wanting the limelight. Toki Wartooth, the rhythm guitarist, is child-like in nature, and lives under the shadow of the smooth-talking, womanising lead guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf. Last and not least we have the drummer Pickles - just your everyday alcoholic, never at any public appearance without a bottle of spirits in hand.
The main comedy comes from the band's inability to function in the “real world”. Outside of playing metal and performing live, they have little or no social skills, and find tasks like buying the weekly shop or going out on dates a challenge. Great bits of the band's incompetence include wasting money on mace dispensers that attach to the crotch, being cheated on by a girlfriend in a coma, rehabilitating a drug addict clown and losing weight to fit into new stage costumes.
Each episode runs no longer than 15 minutes, with each being self contained, allowing you to dip in to any episode without having to know the backstory. However there is some confusion at the beginning of the series: although I have watched Metalocalypse before, I had never watched the last season finale. Due to this I was left a little in the dark about the Tribunal, the antagonists of the series. Presented as an Illuminati that secretly monitors the band's every movement, little explanation is given for their reasoning. Even less explicable are the revelations they give in the final episode. Then there's the mysterious Silver-faced man who is obsessed with killing the band's manager and lawyer, Charles Foster Offdensen. A little recap in some of the episodes would be nice.
What I found really lacking with this release was the significant lack of special features. To my knowledge most Adult Swim releases at least either have deleted scenes, or taster episodes of some of the other programs that the television network provides. It's always nice have a little something extra at the end of everything, and I almost feel empty after watching the entire series and having nothing else to entice me to watch again.
From the get go you can tell that Metalocalypse has gone down the same path as many other Adult Swim productions by using cheaper animation techniques, such as the use of Flash as an animation tool. Although it doesn't distract too much from the action (and it sure doesn't stop the torrent of blood and guts), you do sometimes feel like the show was made on a shoe-string. This gives the series a certain charm, that sets it apart from other main-stream cartoons, and gives it its own character. Well, that and the rocking soundtrack; and more death in a single minute than was caused by the plague.
As a final verdict, I'm not sure if Metalocalypse can become anything but a niche cult favourite, even in niche circles. This series demands you to be a true believer of the metal faith, and garner a love for all things satanic and bloody. For those with a weaker stomach, you'll probably end up losing your lunch and running in fear. However for those who deem themselves fans and strong in constitution, then Metalocalypse is hilarious. Watching the guys and some of their screw-ball schemes reminds me of some of those classic times in The Simpsons and Family Guy. Just with a little extra blood and guts.
...even with the missing extras.
Metalocalypse is released on DVD in the UK on October 11th.
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