If you're not already aware, Adult Swim's Metalocalypse follows the exploits of Dethklok, the Earth's most popular heavy metal band. This band is so popular that they've become one of the largest economies in the world. They fly around in a gigantic metal helicopter and employ thousands of hooded minions, dubbed 'the Klokateers,' to cater to their every whim while lounging around their compound, Mordhaus. When they're not delivering huge concerts to thousands upon thousands of fans who are willing to put their lives at risk or recording the most brutal albums in history, they're generally hanging around playing video games, relaxing in the hot tub together, or drinking.
The band is made up of five members: vocalist and lyrical genius Nathan Explosion (voiced by co-creator and co-writer Brendon Small), second fastest guitar player in the world Toki Wartooth (voiced by co-creator and co-writer Tommy Blacha), the hateful bass player William Murderface (Blacha), fastest guitar player in the world Skwisgaar Skwigelf (Small), and former 'Snakes N Barrels' member Pickles the drummer (Small). Each band member has his own unique personality, whether it be Murderface's penchant for war and women hating, Toki's love of coke snorting clowns, Skwisgaar's holier-than-thou attitude and incredibly condescending manners, Pickle's penchant for booze and drugs or Nathan's love of all things brutal. Individually, they are strong, but as Dethklok, they are unstoppable!
So powerful are they that a covert group made up of powerful military types like General Krosier (Victor Brandt), Senator Stampington (Mark Hamill) and Vater Orlaag (Malcolm McDowell) have joined together to monitor Dethklok's every move. They know that if they don't periodically interfere that the band will become even more powerful than they already are and seeing as they're already the seventh strongest economy on the planet, they don't want that, particularly as it looks more and more like Dethklok could very well bring about the end of the world - and in this third season, they come pretty close!
The episodes in this set, which make up the complete third season of the show, are presented in the following order:
Renovationklok: The season opener begins where season two left off. The band's manger, Charles Offdensen, is missing and the band has no idea how to manage themselves or how to take caer of their own finances. They wind up spending all of their money which puts them at the mercy of a vindictive record label manager.
Tributeklok: After Murderface makes a few big PR blunders, the band decide to get back to their roots and so they collectively replace the members of Thunderhorse, a Dethklok tribute band, and get back to life as 'regular jackoffs.'
Dethhealth: The band has a near death experience when they play a pro-pet-neutering show that causes them to reevaluate their lifestyle and try to get into better shape despite their collective hatred and distrust of doctors and dentists. Toki, meanwhile, adopts a kitty cat, Pickles is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and the band insists everyone around them refer to dying and mortality is 'hamburger time' because it's happier.
Dethmas: Murderface decides that he's going to get his own Christmas Special on TV even if the rest of the band want nothing to do with it. It all goes downhill when the band members' mothers show up and get drunk and horny and when Toki finds Dr. Rockso working as a mall Santa.
Fertilityklok: Toki is getting tired of all the sluts in his life and so he decides to use a matchmaking service to set him up with the perfect mate that he can take on dates and start a family with. While all of this is going on, Murderface finds himself in a desperate attempt to sleep with more women than Skwisgaar, the band's resident Romeo.
Dethsiduals: Murderface and Toki decide to sue the other three band members for residuals even though they don't actually do any of the songwriting. This causes tension between the two sides as Murderface and Toki become increasingly more desperate to contribute to the band's writing process.
Fatherklok: Skwisgaar never knew who his father was and so when his mother calls him to tell him she's found his father, he returns to Sweden and quits the band despite the fact that Murderface is trying to be a father figure to him so that he can sleep with Skwisgaar's mother. Other band members work on their father related issues too, except Nathan, whose dad was awesome.
Rehabklok: Since Pickles can't hold his liquor and crashed the hover drum set, the band see him as a liability and send him to rehab and while he's gone, replace him with a hard partying drum machine that eventually holds the band hostage and threatens to blow them up. With his sobriety hanging in the balance, Pickles must rescue his band mates, even if he is mad that they replaced him.
Dethzazz: Dr. Rockso has hit a new low so Toki decides to help him get his old band, Zazz Blammymatazz, back together and winds up spending the band's vacation fund to host their reunion show. With their vacation on the line the band decides to help Toki make sure that this happens and that they make their money back, so they set out to find the fourteen year old girl who broke Rockso's heart back in 1980.
Doublebookedklok: The season closes out with this last episode where Offdensen books the band a show in Israel. When their manager is too busy to pal around with the band, however, they wind up getting sloshed and booking a show in Syria at the same time. With the two nations unable to find a compromise, it's up to Offdensen and Dethklok to figure out how to make this work before World War III breaks out.
The crew behind the series have branched out a little bit in this third season. Now that they've gone from twelve minute episodes to twenty-two minute episodes. This lets the scripts get a bit more involved and the series is all the better for it. This time around we're treated to a few interesting origin stories that build up the characters nicely and give us some welcome background information on them. a perfect example is the Fatherklok episode where we're not just taken back to Skwisgaar's home town in Sweden but shown exactly how and why he became a guitar god and where his rampant promiscuity and insatiable sexual appetite stem from. We also learn about Toki's background and why he feels the need to try and rescue Dr. Rockso, which gives his appearances a welcome context and in turn explains to both the band and the audience why they'd put up with that in the first place.
The series remains truly creative in both its writing and its animation style. Considerably more complex from an artistic stand point than a lot of its Adult Swim brethren, Metalocalypse's fairly detailed style helps it stand out from the rest of the late night pack and ensures that there are all manner of little details you won't pick up on the first time around. This gives it quite a bit of replay value, as does the series tendency to pack in a lot of references that only metal fans will pick up on. It's easy to think that, given the fact that the series is a lot like Spinal Tap, it would have jumped the shark by now but somehow the writers have managed to come up with enough good new material that this third season is just as good, if not even a little bit better, than the two that came before it. The show has managed to stay true to its roots while at the same time taking on a more epic approach that also allows for better and more amusing character development.
The new longer format for the show also allows the series to work in quite a few more musical numbers this time around. We still get the Dethklok performance segments that the series has always features but additionally we get a few other remarkable songs. Toki in particular gets to sing about his feelings a few times, which is far funnier than it probably sounds, while Murderface and Pickles also get a chance to sing for us whereas in the past they've never had that opportunity, at least not on the same level as it in this third season.
Metalocalypse looks pretty good here and it's nice to see that the episodes are presented in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen (the first volume was not 16x9 enhanced). The series is intentionally pretty dark with a lot of blacks, browns and reds used so don't expect a particularly bright color palette here but color reproduction is pretty much spot on and there are no problems with mpeg compression artifacts. Some slight line shimmering shows up here and there but at least the picture is consistently clean. Overall, the video quality is very good.
Each and every episode in the set is presented in English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix with optional subtitles in English only. Dialogue is clean and clear though some may have trouble with a few of the characters' accents or with deciphering the lyrics to some of the songs (the subs provide help here if you need it). The low end sounds nice and growly during the songs and channel separation in the front and back of the mix adds some atmosphere to certain scenes when its required.
There's nothing on the first disc (excluding two amusing Easter Eggs) but the second disc contains forty-nine minutes worth of deleted scenes not used in the broadcast versions of the episodes contained on the set. Additionally, there are two amusing Easter Eggs which are fairly easy to find off of the main menu screen. Highlights include Nathan trying to order at Dimmu Burger's drive-thru, Murderface and Pickles ragging on Ikea shoppers, and some Klokateer training videos. Most of these are pretty funny and if you enjoy the series you'll be happy to have them - though you can't help but wish there was more supplemental material here.
Both discs contain animated eerie menus as well as episode selection and 'play all' options. The two DVDs are housed inside a fold out case that in turn sits inside a metallic slipcase. In a rather obnoxious move, the powers that be behind this release have seen fit to include a fair bit more extra material on the Blu-ray release than on this DVD release.
As funny, if not funnier, than the two seasons that came before it, Metalocalypse may not get as much supplemental love as it could and should have but at least it looks and sounds good. The series itself remains one of the funniest shows on the Adult Swim line up and one of the most creative. Highly recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.