When I told a couple friends I was going to shoot Dethklok on November 27 at The Hollywood Palladium, they invariably replied, “Uh, didn’t they have that song on Guitar Hero?”
My friends are not metal.
If they were, they’d know that Dethklok is a real death metal band originally created for a promotional tour to market a fictional group of the same name from an animated show called Metalocalypse, where the lead singer (and co-creator of the show) provides vocals for both incarnations of the band as himself, Brendon Small, and as the fictional Nathan Explosion.
The blur of life imitating art imitating life started before the concert when Klokateer techs came on stage. Klokateers, for the uninitiated, are the band’s expendable black-hooded minions who are often dispatched in darkly hilarious ways (in the cartoon, hopefully not in real life).
The lights soon dimmed and Dethklok’s metalhead fans roared — completely without irony. Admittedly, it was a little jarring when four ordinary looking guys took the stage, looking nothing like their metal-by-numbers animated brethren. As soon as the thumping roar started, however, the giant screen above the stage lit up with the familiar opening sequence to Metalocalypse and the illusion held.
Each song had an accompanying music video packed with de rigeur gore, sex and violence. Between songs, an animated vignette entertained the crowd featuring Metalocalypse favorites like Dr. Rockzo, the coke-addicted rock ‘n’ roll clown, and the band’s stalwart manager Charles Foster Ofdensen. Unlike many metal shows, the mosh pit was fairly small and localized as most fans stood mesmerized by images of laser-wielding topless mermaids, exploding heads and all manner of impossible flying machine whether fortress, zeppelin or starfighter.
Overall, the “fake” rockers of Dethklok know how to put on a real death metal concert. They’ll be touring with The Black Dahlia Murder, Machine Head and All That Remains until December 14. Their latest album Dethalbum III was released in November. Oh, and for my non-metal friends, Dethklok did play “Thunderhorse.” You know, that song from Guitar Hero.