Galaktikon II is a masterful performance that is as harmonious as it is brutal
One does not have to look far to see how far Brendon Small’s reach has stretched since he first burst into the heavy music scene with Metalocalypse and the four albums made in support of the series that followed the exploits of beloved (fictional) death metal band Dethklok. Galaktikon II: Become The Storm continues the legacy of Dethklok, but with more creative liberties taken in its creation than one could imagine to be possible before.
Galaktikon II Marks the sixth studio album since Brendon Small and Gene Hoglan’s union was initially formed, and the level of comfort they display with each other’s style is more evident than ever. Every track has a larger than life type of grandeur that is often missed in many modern compositions, adding to the fact that Galaktikon II marks a triumphant return of sorts as fans were denied a proper send off to the last major creation of musical mastermind Brendon Small.
The album starts off with a track called “Some Days Are For Dying,” which in retrospect is the best possible song on the release that could have been set as the opening track. This fact has nothing to do with whether or not the song is compositionally better than the others, but the buildup that it provides going into the rest of the album is unparalleled. It starts with a slow lead guitar phrase and abruptly shifts into a blistering, double bass intensive, harmonically rich barrage at the 14 second mark.
The slow intro into faster material is a formula that is relied upon heavily on many tracks such as “Icarus Six Sixty Six” “Become The Storm” and “To Kill A God” each with their own sense of character and opulence that bring great credit to Mr. Small’s prowess in songwriting in addition to his skillful display of guitar playing. This is not the only archetype used for all of the songs on the album however, songs like “My Name Is Murder” and “Nightmare” keep a consistent energy from start to finish and the seven minute epic “The Ocean Galaktik” bring a little bit of everything to the table. The entire album is completely refined and makes excellent use of ambience throughout as well, ranging from keyboard synthesizers, to digital samples and to gratuitous use of vocoders used for complimenting growling death metal vocals to create harmonies never before heard in music.
The drum work alone is nothing short of masterful; Gene’s command of his drum set is awe inspiring. The beginning of “The Agenda” and “Become The Storm” as well as the entirety of “My Name Is Murder” cement this fact without even having to mention any of the other material. Not only is the playing good from every party involved, the way that every section compliments every other section creates an incredibly vibrant soundscape that solicits an emotional response from the listener at several points, none so much as the title track “Become The Storm” does.
As a whole, Galaktikon II: Become The Storm is a masterpiece. The combination of resounding harmonies, masterful drumwork, mixture of clean and growling vocals, and the atmosphere created within are nothing less than a show of force. This is what Brendon Small and company are capable of when they put their minds towards doing something that will transcend the current musical landscape, simply because they can.