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I am sort of obsessed with the VH1 Classic show Metal Evolution. It chronicles the origins of metal from the earliest Celto-Scandinavian troll worshiping proto-Druids to today’s loud and angry angry-loud dudes, and ties it all together with lineage charts, moon phases, farmer’s almanacs, bundles of sage and armor piercing cod-pieces. As Eli says above, it IS a rich and storied history.

Last week’s episode regarding the proliferation of European “Power Metal” was particularly fascinating. Power Metal is a sub-genre that involves fast soloing with classical influences, powerful high vocals, and lyrical content about dragons, destiny, glory, battle, brothers and sisters rising, challenges, more destiny, a boat, more dragons, a bigger boat, ice, THE MOUNTAIN, overcoming, an enchanted lute, a regular lyre, a sorceress’s betrayal, the last unicorn, a dwarf, crystals, and valor. Another thing worth mentioning about Power Metal is nearly all of the songs sound like they COULD be glorifying white supremacy. They aren’t. But they sound like they COULD be. I strongly recommend Metal Evolution for all fans of music and the endless permutations of musical genres.

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I had previously mentioned that the airing of a commercial for a video game on stage between bands at the Dethklok concert was… unwelcome at best. Turns out that particular part of the show hasn’t been very well received by the audiences at each of their tour stops. I assume the fire that halted a San Francisco Dethklok show was the result of a disgruntled fan that didn’t want to be sold anything else after purchasing a $30 ticket with $15 in convenient charges, a $25 shirt and several $4 beers.

It was a lot like the first time I saw a commercial at a movie theater instead of just trailers. You’re excited for the entertainment you’ve paid for and are about to enjoy and then something happens to make you feel ashamed and dirty. When they began projecting the advert on a 50 foot wide screen in front of us Josh panicked and began trying to fast forward the concert. I explained that what were were experiencing wasn’t recorded on a Tivo but was actually a live event that couldn’t be time-shifted. He then tried to delete the torrent. I just held him as he acted out his paranoid psychosis  and wept.

I get it. Touring is crazy expensive, and when a corporation approaches you and offers to foot some or all of the bill if you agree to certain impositions on behalf of your audience it’s probably pretty difficult to say no. I guess it just seemed like the kind of thing that would be more at home at a Panic at the Disco show than a Dethklok concert. That logic, and my disapproval, really don’t make any sense seeing as how “Dethklok” is just an advertisement for an ad supported cartoon, DVD’s and other merchandise. Like I said, I actually enjoy their music regardless of their fantastically entertaining television program.

I remember seeing Weezer at the first Honda civic tour in the early 2000’s. That was my first experience with corporate sponsored rock and roll. There were Honda Civics on the floor of the concert that you could sit in. I think there was a mosh pit test drive too. There were tents where I could play Playstation racing games featuring the all new Civic, and informational booths where I could learn more about the ABS brakes, dual airbags, and “roomier than you would think” interior. I got a free Weezer poster at that show. Well, it said “Weezer” in tiny letters. Mostly had a picture of a car. And the name of a car.

In all honesty, I really wasn’t even all that offended at the Dethkomercial. I was just VERY SURPRISED to see it DURING a metal show. That’s all.


Josh and I saw Dethklok live on Saturday night.

It’s hard to explain the series of mental hoops one has to jump through upon realization that you’ve just paid $50 to see a cartoon heavy metal band play live.  I’ve said this before on the HE Podcast, but I enjoy Dethklok in a completely un-ironic way. I know the band members are technically animated characters on an Adult Swim show, but I listen to their music just like any other band. Actually, I think I enjoy them more than most bands because there’s a built in mechanism where they CAN’T take themselves too seriously… because they don’t exist.

Dethklok manages to perfectly blend my interests in rock & roll, comedy and satire. Their music instantly transcends being a “joke” because Brendon Small, the show’s co-creator and composer, is a fantastic metal musician. Josh and I were talking after the show about how amazing this guy’s life seems (on paper). He got to make a fairly popular cartoon (Home Movies), then somehow he got to make an extremely popular cartoon (Metalocalypse), then through some series of witchcraft and enchantment he parlays that cartoon success into becomming an actual rock star. And make no mistake, he was a FUCKING ROCK STAR.

The first panel of this comic actually happened. We wondered aloud if the audience would consist more of Adult Swim fans or Metal fans. It was almost entirely the latter. The legitimacy the crowd granted this intentional farce was a site to behold. The opening bands (Chimaira and Soilent Green) were ACTUAL metal bands. They have paid their dues (or were still paying them), toured the country, scraped by and earned the respect of the people in the audience. They were both very well received. Dethklok, on the other hand, A) doesn’t even exist, and B) has only played a grand total of 30 or 40 shows to date and they were greeted like the second coming of Lemmy.

The show itself consisted of the band playing live while synced up animation plaid on the screen behind them. It was a good mix of scenes from the show and all new clips.  Every 3 or 4 songs, the human band would exit the stage and we’d get 2 or 3 minutes of bonus animation, such as an orientation from “Face Bones,” and vinette about Murderface pissing sitting down.

Show Highlights were:

  • Extended Skwisgar sex scene in “Thunderhorse”
  • The “Duncan Hills Jingle” live
  • The fact the Brendon Small can sing live as Nathan Explosion with no effects
  • Brendon Small carrying on a live conversation between Nathan, Skwisgar and Pickles
  • Pickles and Nathan’s dueling vocals on “Hatredcopter” despite being voiced by the same dude
  • Seeing “Go Into the Water” live (it’s my favorite Dethklok song)

Check out some full reviews from Saturday’s show at Dethklok.org.