It was foretold that Judge Daryl Loomis would eat chili for lunch today.
Our reviews of Metalocalypse: Season One (published November 28th, 2007), Metalocalypse: Season Two (published December 24th, 2008), and Metalocalypse: Season Three (published November 17th, 2010) are also available.
Go homes, dings dongs!
The events of last year revolving around Dethklok, the most popular and most metal band ever, were shocking, but the band barely remembers any of it. Instead, for them, things are very much the same as they always were. But major things are afoot and evil forces are finally set to reveal themselves, all while Dethklok concerts continue to cause countless fan deaths. Metalocalypse, the best thing Adult Swim has ever aired, is back for a fourth season and it's as good as ever.
Facts of the Case
The twelve episodes of Metalocalypse: Season Four arrive on a single Blu-ray disc.
• "Fanklok"—Dethklok returns to Earth and Nathan has an announcement: he's fallen in love with one of his fans.
• "Diversityklok"—Accused of racism, the band puts on a free show to promote diversity, but it doesn't go so well.
• "Prankklok"—Murderface figures out the art of the prank call and makes his bandmates miserable.
• "Motherklok"—To try to finally win his mother's approval, Pickles gets a job as a real estate agent, a move that threatens the world economy.
• "Bookklok"—Angered that Skwisgaar won't let him play a solo, Toki writes a book trashing the guitarist, which causes Skwisgaar to lose all his endorsements. Meanwhile, Nathan buys a defibrillator.
• "Writersklok"—On a deadline to finish their new album, the band finds that they can't write any new music, causing the label to replace their producer.
• "Dethcamp"—After the guys make fun of his diabetes, Toki decides to go to Rock Fantasy Camp to get away and make some friends, but finds nothing but bullies there, too.
• "Dethvanity"—After winning an award for being the ugliest thing on Earth, Murderface spends his fortune on plastic surgery.
• "Going Downklok"—Still unable to complete the record, Dethklok takes their submarine to the deepest part of the ocean for inspiration.
• "Dethdinner"—The band gets invited to a fancy dinner with their label, but strife within the band causes a public breakup.
• "Breakup Klok"—The band has announced their final show in Iceland and Mr. Salacia uses the occasion to reveal his true face and start the apocalypse.
• "Church of the Black Klok"—The band is done and its members have started their new lives, but they are called together once more to learn the real reason Dethklok exists.
Season Three showed a bit of a drop off from the previous two seasons, and there's one good reason. In order to help build characters and expand plots, creator Brendon Small (Home Movies) made the decision to extend the episodes from 11 minutes to 21 minutes, or a full half-hour block of television. When I heard about it, I was initially excited, but the fact is that the characters and situations aren't really sustainable in the longer format. It wasn't a bad season, and there were quite a few moments of greatness, but there were plenty of episodes that plainly felt too long.
Luckily, in Season Four, Metalocalypse has returned to its short-form roots and the result, predictably, is big improvement. The show works so well because it keeps it simple, with a ridiculous situation, a few dumb jokes, and some metal. The format makes for a nearly perfect fifteen minutes of television, especially for the metalheads out there.
What was built from the end of Season Two through Season Three comes to a head this year, with the obscure conspiracy that was going on behind the scenes and out of sight of Dethklok becoming increasingly important to the plot. The episodes, especially by the end of the season, are directly connected without being multi-parters, something that rarely occurred before, and they're able to build a quality overarching story that takes place throughout the season.
The importance of Dethklok to world peace and the economy has always been there, but with the breakup storyline, it becomes that much bigger. As we get closer to the end, we learn about a bizarre prophecy that has foretold all of it, what comes next is awful, and only Dethklok can see humanity through the horror. Odd, considering how many die when Dethklok performs, but that's all part of the joke. But it's the smaller, forgettable bits that have always been the funniest. This time around, it's stuff like Pickles selling real estate, or Murderface pranking Toki and Skwisgaar right in front of them, and the defibrillator montage that really make the show hilarious.
But I would be remiss if I didn't mention the continued great performance, vocally and musically. The regular cast of Small and Tommy Blancha as the band is great as always, and regular guests Mark Hamill (Batman: The Animated Series) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) are fantastic, but this year, we also get Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Patton Oswalt (Big Fan), Andy Richter (Run Ronnie Run), and a perfect ongoing part for Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man), whose cold German accent delivers phenomenal narration to the season. The music is as good as ever and punches out each episode in grand metal fashion. I couldn't ask for more; I love this show and I loved this season.
The Blu-ray of Metalocalypse: Season Four comes from Warner Bros. and will completely satisfy fans. The whole package comes on a single disc, but it is stocked with extras. The image looks great, which it should, with rich and deep colors, inky black levels, and a nice clean look that shows off the simple, but occasionally very detailed animation. The 1.78:1/1080p transfer is basically perfect and it looks as good as or better than it looked on television. The TrueHD 5.1 Surround track is great, as well, with a mix that's nice and loud to accommodate the sound effects and fantastic metal, which is distributed very well throughout the channels, while the dialog is very clear; the mix is excellent.
The extras aren't terribly substantial, but there are a lot of them, nearly two hours of them. The biggest is the continuation of the "Nathan Reads Shakespeare" series, with him reading A Comedy of Errors this time around, though not really. Really, it's ninety minutes of rambling about any number of topics. It's going to get old very fast for many viewers, but the big fans will watch and laugh heartily, I'm sure. This is essentially the case with the whole slate of extras, which is a bunch of extra clips of the band doing various things, like staring contests and tour guiding. This stuff is strictly for the big fans, but they'll get a kick out of it.
The return to the shorter format really helps Metalocalypse: Season Four return to the form that it had lost somewhat during Season Three. This group of episodes is fantastic and, with the cliff hanger ending, it looks like there's another tour in store. I can't wait.
Totally metal, as always.
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Studio: Cartoon Network
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