DETHKLOK — The Dethalbum (review)

DETHKLOK — The Dethalbum album cover Album · 2007 · Melodic Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"The Dethalbum" is the debut full-length studio album by US metal act Dethklok. The album was released through Williams Street Records in September 2007. Dethklok is both a virtual band featured in the Adult Swim animated series "Metalocalypse" and a real band assembled to play live shows. Dethklok was created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha. The latter does voice-overs on the album, while the former performs all vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, voice-over, and handles production. The drums on the album are played by prolific drummer Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory...etc.). "The Dethalbum" features tracks from the Tv-series as well as unreleased material. So this is like the heavy metal equivalent to Gorillaz or something like that.

Stylistically this is melodic death metal with strong traditional heavy metal leanings. It´s not a particularly hard edged death metal release, although the music is powerful enough. The band make good use of guitar harmonies, but also powerful riffs and rhythms. Hoglan is as always an incredibly skilled and powerful drummer who knows exactly what to play at the right time to push the music forward in the most effective way. The vocals are a bit odd and took a bit of getting used to. They are essentially growling vocals, but they are clearly processed and sounds more like they are spoken, put through effect filters, and turned up in volume, than actually sung. Personally it was a bit on an issue to begin with, but after getting used to the vocal style, I see know that it´s just another feature to make Dethklok stand out.

The material on the 16 track, 52:16 minutes long album is well written, catchy, and effective. The tracks are relatively accessible, featuring easily recognisable vers/chorus structures, and quite a bit of repetition both in the vocal department but also in the way the drum patterns and the riffs are arranged. Sometimes a bit more variation between tracks would have been nice, but overall the material is strong and memorable. It is great for the variation though, when the band introduce a few symphonic elements on a track like "Dethharmonic".

"The Dethalbum" is very well produced, featuring a powerful and detailed sound, which suits the music perfectly. Great emphasis is put on making the drums sound as great as possible, and when you have a drummer like Hoglan playing for you, that makes perfect sense. "The Dethalbum" is upon conclusion a high quality release by Dethklok. It´s certainly one of the most unconventional and different sounding melodic death/heavy metal albums on the scene, but it´s probably also an aquired taste (so consider yourself either warned or intrigued). A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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