Dethklok: “Dethalbum III”

Dethklok is a virtual five-piece band that is the creation of Brendon Small, the musician/ comedian/ animator/ voice-actor and the star of the Adultswim show “Metalocalypse” on Cartoon Network.

The fascinating thing about the show is that the virtual band managed to escape from Small’s imagination and found life as a touring band with guest musicians. And the music from the show (written and performed by Small with Gene Hoglan, who provides the drumming) has managed to become the highest charting death metal albums released in the United States.

But even with the pressures of writing and voicing characters in a cartoon and the relentless touring schedule for both fans of the show and the music, Small still makes the music the center focus.

So what can one expect on the third album from the fictional band members Skwisgaar Skwigelf (aka taller than a tree), Toki Wartooth (aka not a bumble bee), William Murderface (aka Murderface, Murderface), Pickles the drummer (aka doodily doo ding dong doodily doodily doo), and Nathan Explosion? If that last sentence meant anything to you then you’ll already know you’re going to buy this album. But if it didn’t, I’m pleased to say on its merits as a death metal album, “Dethalbum III” delivers some brutal goodness.

Far from shunning some of the sillier qualities of metal and its over-the-top image, Brendon has no problem embracing them while still showing his love for the genre. On “Dethalbum III,” any restraint that might have been present on the first two albums is done away with immediately by the delightfully juvenile shock-fest of the album opener “I Ejaculate Fire.” But beneath the shock-value, gross-out humor lies some brilliant melodic death metal that would put many “real” bands to shame.

Brendon’s dizzying guitar playing serves up all the tasty riffs and soloing madness that any seasoned head banger would love. The dark humor Dethklok is known for is still present, whether it’s the tongue-in-cheek rant of “Crush The Industry” or the sheer ridiculousness of “Impeach God.” But there’s also a truly epic feel to the album with longer songs.

For people who aren’t fans of this kind of music, a lot of the humor is lost, and the music may prove inaccessible. Even for metal fans, at nearly an hour the album feels a little too long and some of it begins to feel repetitive near the end. But there’s still plenty to recommend.