Dethklok - Dethalbum II
Williams Street Records
Melodic Death Metal
12 songs (51:53)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Kyle
Major event

Since so many metal fans are blindly hostile towards Dethklok, I feel that a disclaimer is necessary before I begin this review.

This review has been HELL to write, and for one simple reason: I did not want to like Dethalbum II. The original Dethalbum, while fun for a few listens, was a fairly sub-par album, and after hearing so much negativity about the new record (Especially from our regular MR forumites), I just wanted to be able to listen to D2, decide that I loathe it, review it with a low score, and join the majority of you reading this in bashing one of the worst albums of the year.

But that’s the problem. I don’t hate this.

Not. One. Bit.

The more and more I listen to Dethalbum II, the more I love it. Every listen just gets better and better; I’ve gone from originally planning on giving it a score in the high 60’s / low 70’s to enjoying it so much that I have to give it a score in the upper 80’s. In case you haven’t noticed our rating scale by now, that means “Outstanding”. And there lies my problem: Every time I listen to this disc, I have to revise my review; Not only to fit my own opinion of the album, but also to address the negativity of the nay-sayers. You can trash this record all you want in the forum, you can criticize me for liking it so much, but just remember that if you do so, I will not give a damn, and I will not reply to you. I have better things to do than to stoop to your level and get in a petty argument, and there’s no way in hell you’ll be changing my opinion of Dethalbum II in any way, shape or form. Because this thing freaking kills. Now, onto the review!

Dethalbum II is fictional Melodic Death Metal band Dethkok’s follow up to 2007’s Dethalbum, the band’s debut. While their ability to come up with original album titles certainly hasn’t improved, almost every single aspect of their music has. Dethklok may still be far from the “Most brutal band ever” that they claim to be, but they’re taking great strides in all the right directions; D2 takes the best parts of the band and greatly improves on them, taking away almost all of the generic cheese feel that was once present. On the debut, there were some attempted stabs at epic, melodic segments (Thunderhorse, Detharmonic) that to me came across as tacked on, but they’ve been improved and multiplied on this record; some moments seem downright MASSIVE, and they’re often beautiful in their simplicity. These parts often consist of melodic tremolo riffing, blastbeats, and subtle (yet at the same time noticeable) synths in the background, all while frontman Nathan Explosion growls along at a driving, reasonable pace. Speaking of the vocals, they’re another aspect of the music that has greatly improved; not only are the growls fiercer, but there’s more variety to them, with some vaguely blackened rasping popping up every once in a while to break the monotony.

The groove elements that were present on the debut are still very much intact, and perhaps even stronger here, as seen in several riffs on tracks like Bloodlines and The Cyborg Slayers, the latter of which featuring some fantastic hooks, especially in the mid-section where lasers blast and sirens blare against plowing, bluesy groove riffs. The band has also taken a few shots at Tech-Death in the form of the tracks Laser Cannon Deth Sentence and Dethsupport; Dethsupport in particular features some very complex riffing and drum patterns while still sounding very much like Dethklok. This is what truly strikes me most about Dethalbum II: There’s so much experimentation and variety on here, yet nothing seems tacked-on like with the original Dethalbum. Dethalbum II feels like a true, well thought-out album from an actual band, rather than a thrown-together soundtrack of mediocre Melodeath songs.

But is there fault to be found with Dethalbum II? Of course. Most of the lyrics are just plain BAD, and the jokes and attempts at sounding br00tal are tired enough to make one groan at the overall cheesiness of it. The one spot where the lyrics truly shine is on Murmaider II: The Water God, which is obviously a continuation of the opening track of Dethklok’s debut. It continues and builds upon the story from the first Murmaider, with the “Gods” deciding the punishment for the mermaids’ killer. The lyrics along with the song itself are both very well-crafted, and it takes themes from the original and builds upon them with slight alterations and the addition of entirely new elements. It comes in as track nine on the twelve-song album, and while it leaves you waiting for more, here lies my second complaint: After Murmaider II, things go downhill. The two tracks that come next lack the creativity and originality of the first nine tracks (Except for the rather dull Black Fire Upon Us), and it feels like Brendan Small pinned the two worst songs on the tail-end of the album so that the listener wouldn’t lose interest until the last bits. Thankfully, however, the album is saved by the excellent conclusion Volcano, which features one of those, big, BIG moments near the end along with some Ensiferum-esque “Whoah-oh-oh” style chanting.

The truth, though, is that any of the three lesser tracks would probably qualify as “Killing Songs” on the debut; though lacking a unique identity of their own, they’re still far more well constructed then anything on the first Dethalbum. Dethalbum II saved my interest in a band that I originally viewed as little more than a passing fad, and while not everyone will enjoy it, I see it as one of the best Melodic Death Metal releases of the year. That said: Let the forum hating BEGIN!!

Killing Songs :
All, except for Burn The Earth, Comet Song, and Symmetry
Kyle quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Dethklok that we have reviewed:
Dethklok - The Dethalbum reviewed by Dylan and quoted 65 / 100
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