Dethklok: The Dethalbum III

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Dethklok: The Dethalbum III
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Dethklok: The Dethalbum III
Death Metal
Williams Street Records
October 16th, 2012
Release length: 51:15
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It’s been about three years since the famous and infamous animated musical group Dethklok issued a new album. Since the release of The Dethalbum II, the physical incarnation has grown stronger on the touring circuit, and a good number of new episodes of Metalocalypse have premiered on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. For 2012, Brendon Small went back into the studio to co-produce The Dethalbum III with Ulrich Wild and present the latest offering for the die hard fans. But, is this effort a far better experience than the previous release, or will this one suffer the same flaws as before?

The Dethalbum III once again carries a crisp, even sleek audio quality to it. The digital recording is obvious, and does remove a bit of the bite, but thankfully not enough to ruin the instruments in any way. The drums stick out the most, bringing up the volume of the crisp cymbals and the thunderous click of the bass kicks rather loudly, nearly drowning out the tight snares. While this sounds good, it’s sad that you may have to struggle at times to pick on the rest of the kit. But, like the kicks, the bass guitar comes through rather loudly, and is pretty deep, helping to make the rhythm quite infectious against the mid-range distortion of the guitars that could be a bit louder, though not too much, and the podded up cleaner leads that appear largely in intros, bridges and choruses, introducing an epic atmosphere to the song. The vocals are a mixture of gutterals and higher growls that are great and suit the music well. They do end up nearly buried by the louder instrument levels, but are still distinct enough that you can pick up on every single word.

Some of the most impressive tracks are the grander offerings, such as “Crush the Industry,” which utilizes some tension in the riffs that leads to an explosive, furious chorus with plenty of powerful bridges that even include additional keyboards against the clean hooks. This creates a somewhat emotional tone when used that really sticks out. “The Galaxy” offers up some infectious riffs in the chorus that do push things a bit further over the top. There’s some subtle disturbance in the audio through keyboard influence in the main verses, but no real tension that builds in them, instead being solid Death Metal with a slight hint of melody to paint more of an astral atmosphere. “Skyhunter” isn’t quite as grand, focusing more to the solo and bridges, but this packs as much power as the others. Having a bit of an uplifting vibe, the pounding bass kicks fill the catchy riffs well, adding enough edge to instantly have you banging your head each time.

“I Ejaculate Fire” kicks off the album with a very brief symphonic introduction, the lead chords kick right in with an epic scale through the clean hooks that continue to grow for a short time, offering a superb opening and impressive bridges throughout. It changes to restrained simpler riffs and a clear focus on the bass kicks for the main verses, building the tension for a while, though taking forever to pay off thanks to rather basic Melodic Death Metal-esque passages that seem to follow until the song reaches it’s climactic end where the wait proves its worth. There’s also the shorter, but still somewhat furious “Andromeda” to take note of. This is more of a traditional Death Metal track overall, but the charging riffs and well paced drumming really let it stand out as an aggressive track full of authority. The song does slowly evolve into a violent assault as time goes on, but still manages to incorporate some catchy riffs, as well as less-than-rich bridges that can hold it back slightly. But, by the end, there’s no denying you’ll be banging your head along and wanting more by the time it ends.

Unfortunately, there’s a few that just aren’t that great. “Ghostqueen” is a highly basic Death Metal track overall, though still catchy. The riffs are pretty straight forward and really focus on the bass pushing it along. The chorus and some bridges have a little more complexity that do pick things up a bit. The solo is pretty short, but thanks to the natural progression it adds just enough extra bite, though the later ones take on a Progressive Metal stance that doesn’t quite fit, and even can become weak towards the end. “Starved” has plenty of head banging potential in some spots, but there’s a repetitive groove similar to Meshuggah that can be found throughout that doesn’t pack enough energy with it, leaving those sections to ultimately sound boring. There’s also a guitar solo with horrible riffs that sound as though someone went in with an untuned guitar and laid it down in the studio, or perhaps performed it one or two frets down from where they were supposed to. This is sad since, after that, the track picks up with some grand material that is worth hearing.

Fans of the Metalocalypse cartoon series can be rather rabid, and probably already lined up at their local Metal retailer for this on day one. However, if you haven’t and are buying the album for quality, The Dethalbum III is still a surprisingly good effort worth hearing despite your views on the television program. The audio quality is a bit too crisp, yes, but the deeper sound really gives it some additional bite that simply is required given the digital recording the men behind the band are going with. On top of that, you have a nice mixture of traditional and far grander offerings that will hook you right away, though there are still a few that easily could have been better. In the end, this Dethklok album is well done, and fans of the progression that The Dethalbum series has made thus far will definitely appreciate the Arch Enemy direction, and how well they pull it off this time around.

01. I Ejaculate Fire – 3:38
02. Crush the Industry – 5:29
03. Andromeda – 3:28
04. The Galaxy – 5:15
05. Starved – 4:57
06. Killstrado Abominate – 2:32
07. Ghostqueen – 4:18
08. Impeach God – 3:34
09. Biological Warfare – 4:35
10. Skyhunter – 4:08
11. The Hammer – 4:29
12. Rejoin – 4:52
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Dethklok (band)
Dethklok

Digital review copy of this release provided by Williams Street Records via Adrenaline PR.