Cartoon Network // 2008 // 242 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // December 24th, 2008
Black fire upon us.
Dethklok, the world's most popular metal band, is also the eighth largest economy in the world. Feeding the world's metal needs isn't as easy as it sounds, however. Singer Nathan Explosion, lead guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf, rhythm guitarist Toki Wartooth, bassist William Murderface, and Pickles the Drummer must contend with threats on their lives, giant Finnish trolls, and a secret organization called the Tribunal bent on bringing the force of metal to its knees.
For the second season of Metalocalypse, creators Brendan Small and Tommy Blancha pull out all the stops: more guest voices, more action, more metal, more brutality than should be legal in a twelve minute cartoon.
Metalocalypse: Season 2 contains 20 episodes, including two 2-parters:
"Dethecution": Depressed by threats on their lives, Dethklok refuses to leave their stronghold of Mordhaus. To cheer them up, Ofdensen arranges the world's largest mass execution for them to perform at...and they get to pick the mode of death!
"Dethlesson": Toki, feeling left out by the band for his inferior guitar skills, goes to get professional lessons, invoking the jealousy of Skwisgaard.
"Dethvengeance": The band finally starts recording their new album, while a renegade group of former fans, The Revengeancers, begin their quest to kill their former idols.
"Dethdoubles": Ofdensen hires doubles for the band members to increase security but they quickly become the band's best friends. Little do they know that the doubles were actually hired by the Tribunal.
"Dethfashion": The boys decide to get into the world of high fashion, so hire the diabolical designer Eric von Wiechlinghammer to create the most metal (literally) clothes in history.
"Cleanso": Dr. Rockso, the rock 'n roll clown, has hit rock bottom. Dethklok, against their better judgment, helps him to get off cocaine and get back on his feet.
"Dethwedding": Pickles's opportunistic brother is getting married and wants Dethklok to come to the wedding so he can bilk some of their wealth from them.
"P.R. Pickles": Pickles becomes a high profile subject thanks to Liz Bane, a former cult leader and owner of a P.R. company looking to recruit Dethklok fans into her deadly new scheme.
"Dethcarraldo": After reading some random information about South America, the band heads down to play a show and take some drugs. Meanwhile, the Tribunal makes a direct strike on the group in the jungle.
"Dethgov": After refusing to grant Nathan Explosion a state holiday, Georgians murder the governor and install the singer in his place.
"Dethrace": Toki and Skwisgaard get sent to Driver's Ed after a drunken high speed chase. Neither can actually drive, but they have to get through the class so they can compete in Murderface's Medieval Times-themed car race.
"The Revengeancers": The anti-Dethklok terrorist organization begins their strikes by blowing up coffee shops, but the band is too preoccupied with their summer colds to really care.
"Klokblocked": After his still-comatose girlfriend is seen canoodling with a handsome aristocrat, Nathan decides it's time to start dating again. He meets a lot of nice women, but the other band mates keep making friends with them, ruining his chances to get anywhere with any of them.
"Dethsources": Frustrated that Ofdensen won't give them ten grand for socks, Dethklok hires a second manager. He wants to make it a full-time thing, but he's going to have to kill Ofdensen to take control of the band.
"Dethdad": Toki gets word that his abusive father is dying of cancer, so takes the band to Norway, the birthplace of black metal, with him to pay his final respects.
"Snakes 'n Barrels II": Snakes 'n Barrels, Pickles's old band, reunites once again; this time, without Pickles as the singer. Instead, they're led by sobriety maven Rikki Kixx, who aims to turn the entire rock and roll world into teetotalers.
"Dethrecord": The band finally starts recording their new album, but there's strife when Toki and Murderface want the song they co-wrote, "Takin' it easy," included on the album. The song totally sucks.
"Dethrelease/Black Fire Upon Us": On the night of the record release party, the Revengeancers plans come together and they lay siege on Mordhaus. Can Deathklok escape with their lives?
Metalocalypse is the finest animation programming on television today, and the second season builds on everything they did in the first to even greater success. Like This Is Spinal Tap, show creators Brendan Small and Tommy Blancha skewer the music industry, the world of metal, and a society overly obsessed with celebrity to a fantastic degree. Their ability to write smart dialog for such stupid characters is second to none; the jokes appeal to those who appreciate intelligent, character driven writing as well as those who like firecrackers blowing up in people's faces. They so deftly skirt this line between intelligent and juvenile humor that it's easy to forget just how stupidly self-obsessed these characters can be.
The subjects of the satire haven't changed much for the second season. Metallica is still the main target in many ways though, and with James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett as regular guest voices, they are completely in on the joke. We get a few more jabs at Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Guns 'n Roses, plus some new fun with the banality of Nordic black metal, cult leaders, and dreaded summer colds.
In his fine review for Metalocalypse: Season 1, Judge Gibron describes the show as "satiric sturm und drang," and that statement couldn't be more accurate. If they only made fun of metal and the music industry, however, the show wouldn't work nearly so well. Smalls and Blancha clearly love the music they skewer and, again like Spinal Tap, the spirit of the music is dead on and this lends more credibility than any amount of quality writing could do. Fast and loud, the songs are brutal, but they add just the right amount of pretension and self-seriousness to really give the music, and the entire show, the perfect tone.
While the DVD set of Metalocalypse: Season 2 isn't perfect, it is a marked improvement over the first season. Most important, the image is anamorphically enhanced, a terrible oversight with the first set. The picture looks great, better looking than how it airs on television (at least on my broadcast) with deep colors and excellent contrast. The sound doesn't fair as well. As in the first season release, the sound is a simple stereo track. The bombast of Dethklok demands a surround mix, but they didn't change this deficiency as they did the video. The extras follow the same path as the original season as well; all the extras are presented as easter eggs. This is annoying to me. If what we got was that great, it might feel better, but a few extended scenes and a twenty minute segment of Nathan Explosion reading long excerpts from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus really aren't worth the trouble. Are they funny? Sure. Will you be missing something if you don't press the particular button combination that highlights one of the dragon eyeballs? Not really. They're simply too much trouble to navigate for them to be worth it. It is an improvement over last season, but there are still enough problems to make me feel like this is a pretty lazy release of such a fabulous show.
This show is absolutely metal in every way. Great writing, great music, and a DVD set improved over the first season, Metalocalypse: Season 2 has come out just in time for that little Dethklok fan on your Christmas list.
Review content copyright © 2008 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Cartoon Network
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 242 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Animated shorts