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DETHLOK “Dethalbum IV” (Album/ 2023)

DETHLOK “Dethalbum IV” (2023)


Who doesn't know the Metalocalypse series and its starring band Dethklok? It's hard to find a metalhead who has not listened to one of their songs at least once. The fun and heterogeneous lineup of the animated band with Nathan Explosion (vocals), Skwisgaar Skwigelf (lead guitar), Toki Wartooth (rhythm guitar), William Murderface (bass) and Pickles (drums) have become to make history and in what a way, leaving a mark and inspiring other metal cartoons and animated bands such as BATMETAL and Metal Family.

Dethklok has undoubtedly been the best creation of musician and animator Brendon Small, who is in charge of composing, performing and producing all the band's music along with some important collaborations, but it really became famous because of the television series, which aired between 2006 and 2013. The series narrates the adventures and misadventures of its five members, who are considered the most popular and powerful musicians in the world, but also the most clumsy and irresponsible, in a world that combines black humor, violence, gore and metal, with a critique of the music industry, consumer society and pop culture.

So far, Dethklok had released three studio albums: Dethalbum I (2007), Dethalbum II (2009) and Dethalbum III (2012). Albums that, while I felt they were far below the marketing hype they were getting, they have been crescendoing and improving, making each new release a little better than the last. Now, after more than 11 years of silence, Dethklok has returned to the scene with their fourth studio album, Dethalbum IV, which was released on August 22, coinciding with the premiere of the movie Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar, and which closes (supposedly) the saga of the self-proclaimed most brutal band in metal.

But is the new Dethklok worth listening to? In this article, I will give you my opinion about it.

Dethalbum IV contains 11 songs, totaling almost an hour in length. The cover of this album is notable for its sobriety. It presents a macabre and dark touch enough to capture the viewer's attention, and it seems that from the very first moment this album will be a gift for the band's followers, who have been waiting anxiously for their return a long time.

They put the meat on the hoe from the first minute with “Gardener of Vengeance”, a forceful track with epic melodies, and that curiously starts with the sound of a lawnmower. However, already from the first bars you can tell that this will not be a particularly different album, and although the screeching riffs have taken a back seat to transmute into a crisp and enveloping sound, there are no significant changes in most of the sound elements. Still, I highlight the final part of the song, with its sturdy march and human screams in the background. In general, a catchy and acceptable single.

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Within the striking tracks I highlight “Aortic Desecration” and “Poisoned by Food”, which show a brighter and more electric melody, as well as the joint skill of the whole band, which adhere to a steely sonority with progressive guitars.

“Mutilation on a Saturday Night” (which flirts with thrash sonorities) and “Bloodbath” do sound powerful, with fast and aggressive guitar riffs, a forceful drumming and a guttural voice that makes you feel the fury in every word. These songs do manifest the sonic strength that the band has managed to capture in their last album, but they leave me with the feeling of having heard them before, maybe in the previous release.

“I Am the Beast" on the other hand, even though it follows the same sonority and structure, ends up becoming one of the high points of the album with its defiant lyrics and frenetic rhythm. The guitar becomes a lethal weapon that immerses you in a state of euphoria and adrenaline. Another one that is impossible not to mention is "Deadface”, where Dethklok presents us with a more soulful and dynamic facet of his music. Although their instrumentation is still impressive, what really stands out is the way the band manages to incorporate captivating melodies in the midst of the chaos. Every new riff brings an additional dose of passion and madness, masterfully orchestrating and demonstrating the band's ability to explore new musical territories without losing their characteristic essence. And of course, on this album we also have a third installment of Murmaider, which becomes the apt ending to the album. “Murmaider III” maintains their characteristic style of melodic and technical death metal, thus consolidating the sonic proposal that the album as a whole was able to offer.


Conclusion about Dethalbum IV:

I have tried to capture the elements that I consider remarkable in Dethalbum IV and I have tried to exclude those that I consider that do not contribute anything new and that I qualify as “more of the same”. There are 11 tracks and I have only talked about 7 of them, judge for yourselves.

In my opinion, the new Dethklok album still doesn't manage to overcome the musical status of the band, and remains faithful to its sonority and its characteristic style, a fact that can be praised by some and criticized by others, and in my particular case for me, I place myself more among the second ones. Some new details can be appreciated in comparison with previous works, but these are not enough to change the direction the band has presented since their debut in 2007 and after 11 years of absence I really expected a better result.

Dethalbum IV is an album that disappoints and does not live up to the expectations generated by the return of Dethklok. The album is mainly aimed at the American audience who enjoyed the animated series and who identify with the band's concept, but internationally, it is far below other bands in their style, melodic death metal. The album is not bad, but it is not good either, and stays in a medium level which, I consider, does not do justice to the real potential of the band. Maybe I had the expectations too high, but I hope that Dethklok will have a chance to redeem themselves in the future, because this album seems to me insufficient to be the culmination of their whole career.

Rating: 7.5/10

                                                                   🖋 Jandro Martínez

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