The Zoa Studio team, you may have noticed after more than 100 articles, has a soft spot for anything irreverent, so we couldn’t not tell you about Metalocalypse!
Let’s restrict the field of action to irreverent cartoons (do you remember Daria?) to talk about this incredible metal-themed series that really got “animated”! If you are curious to find out what happened, keep reading … we tell you everything in detail!
What is Metalocalypse?
Metalocalypse is an American animated television series for adults, created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha, which premiered on August 6, 2006 and ended on October 27, 2013 because the show was canceled.
In October 2015, Small set up a month-long social campaign called “Metalocalypse Now” to invite fans of the show to contact television producers Hulu and Adult Swim and get them to co-finance the series finale of Metalocalypse, titled: Metalocalypse: The Army of the Doomstar – The Final Chapter. As a result of the campaign, investors came forward to finance one final season, but Adult Swim declined to produce the series.
The story centers on the death metal band Dethklok and is a kind of hyperbolic black comedy. The cartoon, widely announced, is both a parody and a tribute to heavy metal culture.
Dethklok are the biggest, baddest and most famous heavy metal band in the world. The quintet is made up of the Americans Nathan Explosion (vocals), William Murderface (bass) and Pickles (drums), along with Scandinavian guitarists Toki Wartooth and Skwisgaar Skwigelf.
Together they face fame and other situations that arise in their lives, constantly monitored by a government organization that intends to destroy them, a kind of Illuminati-style group known as The Tribunal.
The funny thing is that the band’s popularity is such that fans really do anything for Dethklok, even if it means melting their faces with hot coffee or facing death. Which, in fact, happens often.
Various artists have contributed to the series by lending their voices and as musicians. The list is really long and we’re just citing a few: Michael Amott, Jack Black, George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, Marty Friedman, Angela Gossow, Dave Grohl, Kirk Hammett, James Hetfield, Marco Minnemann, Joe Satriani, Slash, Devin Townsend, Steve Vai and Cristina Scabbia. Incredible characters!
Characters in Metalocalypse
Speaking of characters, we reveal that each of the members of Dethklok seems to represent a particular type of metalhead: Nathan Explosion is the rude and brutal metalhead, Skwisgaar Skwigelf the effeminate and vain guitarist, Toki Wartooth the metalhead with a heart of gold, William Murderface the depressed and pessimistic metalhead and Pickles the drugged and alcoholic metalhead.
Wtf! Let’s find out in detail! For true fans, the characters action figures can also be purchased!
Nathan is Dethklok’s frontman and singer, as well as their creative soul. He is described with long black hair, black nails and green eyes. When composing songs, he often uses violent images and his sensitivity is expressed in the lyrics. Also because it appears that, up to 5 years, he did not say a word.
Compared to the other members of the band he seems to be a bit more stable, but he has a total ignorance of some basically simple things in life, like reading a cooking recipe. His skills focus on specific areas, such as a broad knowledge of rock culture and a good knowledge of French.
Creator Brendon Small based Nathan Explosion’s look and performance style on the lead singer of Cannibal Corpse George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.
Skwisgaar is the lead guitarist of Dethklok. Originally from Sweden, Skwisgaar has a strong Swedish accent and often makes mistakes when conjugating verbs. He is described as tall and thin, with long blond hair, a studded belt with a skull-shaped buckle and blue eyes. Even when he’s not playing, he often carries his guitars around. He is depicted as having extreme sexual abilities and a preference for plump or older women. Here I see the faces of the readers … jaw drop in 3 … 2 … 1 !!!
Skwisgaar is responsible for most of the arrangements for Dethklok’s songs and writes Murderface’s guitar and bass lines. Skwisgaar generally discards and re-records Toki Wartooth’s recorded rhythm guitar (and bass parts) several times and often belittles him for his guitar playing skills. Also in this case it is the creator of the series who says who the guitarist looks like: Skwisgaar’s attitude and style are inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen.
Toki is the rhythm guitarist of the band. Like Skwisgaar, Toki also has no American origins and doesn’t speak the language well. He is in fact originally from “an abandoned town near Lillehammer”, in Norway. Visually, he has a large “mustache”, brown hair and very light blue eyes. Toki is also the most physically fit of all the band mates, and who takes care of himself as a diabetic.
His character is rather childish, innocent and good-natured. His bedroom is practically that of a teenager, complete with action figures, stuffed animals and posters.
A recurring point of the plot is the death of the people Toki grows fond of, including a guitar teacher and his father, so much so that the Tribunal comes to call him an “angel of death”.
Toki doesn’t have a specific artist he is inspired by in real life, but his style is reminiscent of that of Iron Maiden.
William Murderface is the bass player of Dethklok. He has brown hair, green eyes, a diastema and a lisp. He has tattoos on the upper and lower abdomen, the upper part says “Pobody’s Nerfect” and the lower part says “This Mess Is A Place”.
Brendon Small describes Murderface as “thin skinned and incredibly sensitive and just wants to be accepted constantly but can’t get it because he’s such a jerk and pushes people away”.
As a child, Murderface’s father killed his wife with a chainsaw, before turning it on himself in front of the little one in a macabre murder-suicide. The child blames his ugliness for what happened.
Murderface is “a bassist who hates himself” and who, as useless as he may seem to the band, is actually not. His mentality of negativity and the hatred that Murderface brings is crucial to the writing of Dethklok’s lyrics.
Pickles is the drummer. Do you know that the pickles are the gherkins that are put in burgers? Just saying.
Pickles has long red hair, styled in dreadlocks and a combed skullet, and green eyes. He grew up in Tomahawk, Wisconsin and speaks with a Northern Midwestern accent.
Very intelligent, he is able to grasp concepts that the other members of the band do not understand, but “gets wasted” by abusing drugs and alcohol. Abuse caused by feelings of resentment towards his family.
Describing the character, Small said, “I thought the drummer has to be able to do a lot of things, like Roger Taylor in Queen.” As for the physicality, Pickles takes a cue from Devin Townsend, but the character design was modified to avoid it being too much like him.
Metalocalypse…from fiction to reality
The cartoon includes music written under the name Dethklok by Brendon Small, the creator of the series, with songs on the subjects of the current episode.
But Small did more! Together with Gene Hoglan on drums and Bryan Beller on bass and guitar, the multi-instrumentalist really “gave birth” to Dethklok, taking them from fiction to reality!
In late 2007, a promotional tour was organized for Dethklok, which included performances across twelve university campuses, with tickets available only to students. In an interview, Brendon Small described the tour “like Gorillaz, with animated characters”.
Do you remember what we said at the beginning? “The funny thing is that the band’s popularity is such that fans really do anything for Dethklok, even if it means melting their faces with hot coffee or facing death”?
Here is a curious and decidedly heavy metal anecdote! During the June 5, 2008 show at The Fillmore in San Francisco, an electrical fire broke out during the performance. Attendees were reluctant to leave the building thinking it was part of the show, which created a situation not exactly easy to manage. Fortunately, then the participants realized that the concert was real and they all managed to evacuate and remain unharmed.
Dethklok’s tours continued, both as the opening act of other metal bands and during special events, such as Comic Con in San Diego. The last performance is quite recent, it dates back to 2019 at the Adult Swim festival, the production house of the animated series.
But the “real” band didn’t just tour, they also released more than one album!
Guess what the band’s third album is called?
Dethalbum III! Something like Led Zeppelin‘s albums! Deathalbum III came out today, October 16th, but in 2012, so let’s celebrate it!
The album peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling over 20,000 copies in its first week of release. It even surpassed Dethalbum II as the highest death metal album on the charts.
And, as long as you like heavy metal or not, you can’t disagree that “I ejaculate fire” from the album we’re celebrating today is the most perfect title ever for a song!