The Four Best — and Most Brutal — Songs From ‘Metalocalypse’
In Metalocalypse, death metal isn’t just music — it’s a way of life. Or, ya know, death.
The animated Adult Swim series told the story of Dethklok, a melodic death metal band whose massive popularity placed them atop an empire that rivals major world powers. Creator Brendon Small described the in-universe sensation as similar to Beatlemania, “just a thousand times more dangerous and a billion times more stupid."
Back here in the lamer, less-brutal real world, Dethklok isn’t just an animated band from an immorally canceled TV show — they’re also the highest-charting death metal artists of all time. Small even periodically tours with some of the musicians behind the recording of the songs featured in Metalocalypse, though the in-real-life Dethklok concerts are generally less genocidal than those of their animated counterparts.
We recently learned that a straight-to-streaming Metalocalypse movie is in the works, and Small and the IRL Dethklok will return to live performance by playing in two festivals later this year. In reverence for the masters of Mordhaus, here are our four favorite Dethklok songs, viewer discretion obviously advised for those sensitive to flashing lights, melodic mayhem or debased brutality.
Murmaider, ‘The Dethalbum’
From the depths of the Mariana Trench, Dethklok delivered the subsurface serenade “Murmaider.” The song first appeared in just the second episode of the series, wherein Dethklok retreats to their deep-sea recording studio to create the album Dethwater. In the episode, Dethklok gives producer, music engineer and secret Tribunal plant Dick “Magic Ears” Knubbler the first taste of the album with “Murmaider,” which causes Knubbler to develop a hysterical reverence for the band, and he decides to betray his nefarious masters before a calamitous return to the surface causes his eyes to explode. The song was also featured in the Jack Black-led video game Brütal Legend.
Thunderhorse, ‘The Dethalbum’
Another song from Dethwater, “Thunderhorse” was recorded prior to Dethklok’s journey to the bottom of the sea. The song is a part of the “Viking Trilogy,” along with “Better Metal Snake” and “The Lost Vikings” — the trio presumably tell some sort of Norse-oriented story, but it’s decidedly hard to tell what the actual fuck is going on in it since the only words in “Thunderhorse” are “ride,” “thunder,” “horse” and “revenge.” “Thunderhorse” was another video game favorite, appearing in Guitar Hero II.
Bloodlines, ‘Dethalbum II’
“Bloodlines” heralds from the Season Two episode “Dethcarraldo,” which saw Dethklok lead vocalist Nathan Explosion return to the homeland of his ancestors deep in the Amazon jungle. The bloody, surreal excursion is beset by hallucinations brought on by the ceremonial drug Yopo and an invasion of Tribunal soldiers, who are slaughtered and devoured by the cannibalistic Yaneemango tribe. “Bloodlines” explores the suffering of Explosion’s ancestors at the hands of white settlers, and the atrocities committed against real-life Native Americans during the 18th century.
I Ejaculate Fire, ‘Dethalbum III’
If ever there was a song title that needed no further explanation, it’s “I Ejaculate Fire.” The song is from the Season Three episode oxymoronically titled “Dethhealth,” in which the bandmembers go in for their annual doctor’s visit to uncover their predictably horrific health problems. The hospital visit is preceded by an epic Cayman Islands bender, after which the band decides to detox by drinking bleach, leading to one of the most iconic Nathan Explosion lines of the entire show: “Bleach is healthy. It’s mostly water. And we’re mostly water. Therefore, we’re bleach.”
The song was nominated for heavy metal magazine Revolver’s annual Golden Gods Awards in the “Song of the Year” category, losing to Black Veil Brides’ “In the End.”