Metalocalypse: Season Three DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
Turn the volume up to 11 and enjoy...
The world of animation is a wonderful thing. However, there are so many out there that still dismiss cartoons as being “for kids”. Ever since the days of Fritz the Cat and Heavy Metal, there have been those special animated programs that have been for adults only. One look at Cartoon Networks' Adult Swim will take away the idea of cartoons being kiddie fodder...
Metalocalypse is a show that features Dethklok, the world’s most brutal and most popular death metal band. The band experiences a popularity that is atypical of any heavy band, in that people from every corner of life seem to be fans of them. The members – vocalist Nathan Explosion, lead guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf, rhythm guitarist Toki Wartooth, bassist William Murderface, and drummer Pickles – are none too bright, but have a real love for their craft. They are aided by their manager and chief financial officer Charles Foster Offdensen, who tries in vain to teach them about their finances and business, but to no avail.
Still, he has been quoted as saying the job is “very rewarding”. They live in a castle-like home called Mordhaus, and are waited on by servant called “Klokateers”, who dress in black and wear masks similar to hoods worn by medieval executioners. Their every move is watched by The Tribunal, who believe that Dethklok is the band prophesied in ancient Sumerian texts to bring about the Apocalypse. Dethklok shows are extremely brutal, with fans signing waivers making the band not responsible for death or injury.
The series was created and written by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha, with the band’s music written and recorded by Small. Small and Blacha perform most of the voices, with the bulk of the rest performed by Mark Hamill (one voice is performed by Malcolm McDowell, while small bit parts are performed by actual members of the metal scene, such as James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, King Diamond, Corpsegrinder of Cannibal Corpse, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and others). It is put out in 10-episode seasons, with the first season being 15 minute episodes, and switching to a half hour (with commercials) format halfway through the second season.
At the end of the second season, an attack had been launched against Dethklok, and in the aftermath it was believed that Charles had been killed. Season three starts off with a flashback to the day the band signed with their label: the son of the head of the label barges in on the meeting, and insults the band, causing Nathan to punch him. He tells them that he won’t forget them, and that one day, they’ll be sorry. Flash forward to the present, and we see that the boys are struggling to rebuild Mordhaus and go on without Charles there to see to everything. They wind up spending millions on unnecessary additions to the mansion, such as Nathan’s scream-activated lighting, and Skwisgaar’s platinum practice room with a ruby metronome (he tells his band mates it’s “so expensive it makes him horny”). They go into so much debt that they have to put on their most expensive show yet to make their money back. Unfortunately, the head of the label is near death, and his son has taken over. He threatens to pull the plug on the show if they don’t re-negotiate their contract, giving him most of the profits. The show goes on, but he shuts them down, and has them at the point of signing their new contract when Charles re-appears. He tells the boys to play the show, and he will take care of the business end. After the show, they tell Charles they though he was dead, and he tells them that the story will be told, but not yet.
The focus of this season isn’t on brutal deaths as much as the past two have been, but they have gotten in more nudity than in the past two seasons. The humor of the show remains its strength, as we see the band dealing with all sorts of issues: in the episode “Tributeklok”, the guys deal with accusations that they are sellouts, and try to get back to their roots by joining a Dethklok tribute band. After some time playing clubs, loading their own gear, and starving, they realize that they already paid their dues, and decide to go back to the lavish lifestyle they are accustomed to. In “Dethmas”, Murderface and producer Dick Knubbler throw together a Christmas special, which ends up being produced by the Church of Christian Churchology, which Murderface keeps a secret as he gets the others involved. The band is also dealing with all of their mothers being in Mordhaus for the holidays, and Toki is trying to help his friend Dr. Rockso, the rock and roll clown, who has just been released from prison after doing time for cocaine possession. Everything goes to hell when Dr. Rockso sneaks into the set during the live broadcast, and the rest of the band realize that the church is producing the special.
Other episodes involve Skwisgaar trying to find his father, Pickles going to rehab, Murderface and Toki suing the other members for songwriting residuals, even though they don’t write songs, and Toki deciding he’s tired of loose women, and that he wants a real companion (which, of course, doesn’t end up the way he wants it to). The show also deals with the band trying to do the simplest of tasks without failing, like cooking or interacting with people. The last episode, “Doublebookedklok”, deals with the band’s frustration at the lack of attention they seem to be getting from Charles. They end up going to Syria to hang with a prince, and end up booking a gig there. Unfortunately, it’s the same time as a gig Charles has booked in Israel, which makes for a very tense situation, one that Charles has to defuse. He becomes angry with the band, and yells at them for the first time. Eventually, he realizes that they can do both shows by doing one suspended over the border of the two countries. War between the two is avoided, and peace is achieved in the Middle East. But The Tribunal has marked Charles for death...
Fans of heavy metal will appreciate the soundtrack and how the show portrays the day-to-day lives of rockers (being a musician, I love this aspect of the show), as well as the guest spots by many of metal’s finest musicians. Horror fans will appreciate the black humor of the show (think This is Spinal Tap, but much more hellish), as well as the gruesome deaths that occur. Those of a weak constitution might want to stay away from this series, which can be a little much if you’re not strictly a fan of these genres.
As far as extras, the DVD set is pretty sparse. There are a handful of Easter eggs, none of which are really worth watching. The Special Features are nothing more than a list of cut and extended scenes which are fun to watch, but don’t really add much to the episodes. One extended scene does deal with a record store manager informing his staff that the store is closing, because it’s a record store, and thanks the customers for killing the record industry and to enjoy their downloaded music. There are no commentaries or featurettes, which I was really hoping for. Overall, while I enjoy the show, I have to give this DVD set 3 out of 5 stars, mostly because there are only ten episodes, and due to the lack of special features. It’s not a show for everybody, but there are those twisted individuals that will get the sense of humor in the series and might identify with the lives of the band members.
Metalocalypse: Season Three is out now.
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