Metalocalypse: Season 2 (US - DVD R1)
Gabe practices his dia dorian scales in order to write the most brutal review ever
Dethklok is the biggest band in the history of the world. Members include Skwisgaar Skwigelf (lead guitar, and taller than a tree), Toki Wartooth (rhythm guitar, and not a bumblebee), William Murderface (…Murderface Murderface, bass), Pickles (the drummer doodily doo ding dong doodily doodily doo), and Nathan Explosion (lead singer). After attempts were made on their lives the band finds themselves afraid of their fans and too listless to make a new album. But in their absence the world threatens to spiral into total chaos, so there is a job to be done.
Is it a real sign of the Apocalypse when the best working metal band in the world is made up of cartoon characters? I’m not aiming to argue taste with other metal fans (most of which are probably much more rabid then myself), but I honestly think that Brendan Small’s Dethklok is the best metal band making new metal music today. Despite the silly lyrics, Small’s compositions and skills are second to none right here, right now.
Metalocalypse is more than freakin’ brutal metal though, it’s also a nearly brilliant lampoon of celebrity, and celebrity obsession. Spinal Tap is the obvious comparison to make, and there’re more than a few similarities, but Small and company takes things to such a delightful extreme memories of Rob Reiner’s groundbreaking mockumentary begin to melt away about half way through the first season.
There’s not a lot of plot to the show, but there’s enough that starting with season two might prove slightly confusing. Mostly acceptance is a matter of getting used to the show’s sense of humour, which isn’t exactly average for mainstream television. Small was partially responsible for Home Movies, Soup 2 Nuts Dr. Katz follow-up, which was largely improv based (not unlike Spinal Tap). Personally speaking Home Movies is second to nothing, but the style was distinct enough that there were a whole lot of detractors. Metalocalypse is more plot based, but retains a lot of the improv style that made both Home Movies and Dr. Katz so popular. I definitely can’t guarantee that everyone will love this show.
But gorehounds and horror fanatics should also take notice. In case you guys missed it, Metalocalypse is the goriest thing since Peter Jackson stopped making horror movies. The animation is Flash based, and not exactly ‘realistic’, and the violence is always a big part of the show’s over-the-top teasing of heavy metal music, but the imagination that goes into the grue produces some really memorable doozies of ultra-violence.
Adult Swim had the good sense to present Metalocalypse season two in anamorphic widescreen. For some reason, even though the show is presented in 1:78:1 widescreen on television, the first season DVD was not anamorphically enhanced. Unfortunately, this is an interlaced transfer, and the interlacing effects are noticeable. It’s not a terrible transfer by any realist means (it is a low-budget show, from a low-budget studio), but the thick white edge enhancement is a problem.
Though I’d of course prefer a 5.1 remix similar to the one that accompanied Venture Bros. season two, this is a solid 2.0 mix, with a thick low-end, and a definite sense of spacing. The show uses the stereo field quite often to separate the uncomfortable dialogue, making it easier for us to discern specific characters amongst the babble. The music takes precedence in most cases, though there are a few really big audio effects, like the Dethcopter destroying the rainforest with machine guns. There are a few cases where I wished the music was a little less processed, as it misses some of the raw aggression of the CD tracks. I should also note that despite warnings of bad language on the box, all the forbidden curse words are still censored with electric guitar harmonics.
Like last time every single one of the set’s extras are presented as main menu Easter Eggs, and like last time, a great deal of these extras are really long extended scenes and improvs. Small’s love of uncomfortably long and awkward jokes might’ve made for an impossible to watch show, had he not been wrangled by the eleven to twelve minute run time per episode. Most of the extras are pretty painful to sit through.
Starting with disc one. In Pickles’ right eye is a seemingly never ending clip (two minutes) of the Dethboat as it’s dragged up an Amazonian mountain, from the episode Dethcarraldo, an episode that spoofs Werner Herzog’s classic Fitzcarraldo. In Skwisgaar’s right eye is another elongated scene from the episode where Dethklok’s men inadvertently shoot an anthropologist to pieces while clearing a spot for the Dethboat on the Amazon. In Nathan’s left eye is a link to an impossibly long scene (eleven and a half minutes) of the band’s manager talking on the phone in his office as the camera pushes in impossibly slowly.
Those still looking for the really good extras can try Toki’s right eye for a few seconds of Toki playing a vector based shooting arcade. The most brutal of these scenes is twenty-five minutes of the band in a dark closet (animated eyes on black only) as they try to think of famous band names, found in the Metalocalypse logo’s right eye. The logo’s left eye features a man watching a special on Dethklok, which we cannot see, but can hear. The funniest too-long-to-really-be-funny extended improv is six and a half minutes of Murderface talking on the phone at the Opera, which can be found hidden in Murderface’s right eye.
The disc’s good extra, for those of you looking to skip the extended scenes and improvisations, is in Toki’s left eye—a music video for the band’s debut album opener ‘Mermaider’, a song about what is required to kill a mermaid. Clicking on Skwisgaar’s left eye leads to ‘Facebones’ showing us a bunch of the show’s animated props for almost five minutes.
Then onto disc two. If you click on Murderface’s left eye you can watch a five minute scene of the Tribunal’s psychiatrist setting up his video presentation concerning Murderface with a computer tech. Toki’s right eye is a boom box in a grassy field playing Toki and Murderface’s co-written song, complete with the audio of the characters presenting the song to Dick ‘Magic Ears’ Knubbler. In Skwisgaar’s left eye you will find the DVD’s credits.
The bottom spike of the Dethbeast above Skwisgaar features an ‘in memoriam’ of various Klokoteers (Dethklok employees) set to easy listening muzak. The middle spike features a real deleted scene of Dethklok getting wasted with their manager. In the Dethbeast’s eye you’ll find another genuine deleted scene of the band watching NASCAR’s going in circles. The other Dethbeast’s eye (the one above Murderface) is a very short scene of fans being crushed by giant turbines. Then, in that Dethbeast’s top spike is a pretend special effects preparation. And to finish it all off is another music video, this one for ‘Bloodtrocuted’, in Toki’s left eye.
Metalocalypse isn’t for everyone. Actually, it runs on a very sectish sense of humour, and the all important music is pretty abrasive. If you like heavy metal, Home Movies, and celebrity satire, you might want to give the show a try. The rest of you are probably already fans, and because I’m so far behind on my reviews, you probably already own this second season set.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Release Date: 2nd December 2008
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround English
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes, Videos, Other Stuff
Easter Egg: No
Director: Jon Schnepp
Cast: Brendon Small, Tommy Blacha, Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell
Length: 210 minutes
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