Music/Popular Culture

#SNRGTR Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem – The Duel – Skwisgaar and Toki

This song is my ringtone. I miss calls sometimes because of how much I enjoy the sound of a ringing phone. Dethklok made my phone metal. Dethklok makes everything metal. Dethklok uses Gibson guitars and Krank amps. Dethklok is The Archies of my generation. You can see them on Adult Swim at 1:15AM Monday through Friday, if 1:15AM on Tuesday counts as Monday, which it does.

The creator of Dethklok, a cartoonist named Brendan Small, plays the guitar solos attributed to fictional lead guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf. He also does that awesome death growl voice attributed to fictional frontman Nathan Explosion. Dethklok is pretty much his baby, although the real band members are contenders for greatest living (a) guitarist Mike Keneally, (b) bassist Bryan Beller, and (c) drummer Gene Hoglan.

None of that matters, though. Dethklok is about all of us, the sheer madness of the world and the rage engendered by our inability to change it. It’s a march in lockstep toward the lemming destruction of our species. It’s a coping mechanism drowning out the survival instinct that tells us the whole flock is spooked and racing off a cliff. It’s a release.

This is the purpose it serves in the show as well. The world is always on the verge of collapse. The band itself is the seventh largest economy. The Tribunal, an unholy alliance of business, war, religion, and other powerful estates are monitoring and sometimes interfering with the band. A confluence of hurricanes sinks every ship carrying Dethklok albums, resulting in a global metal shortage of catastrophic proportions.

Metal has something to teach us, which can only be extracted within the metalocalypse. All that hammering futility and all that indecipherable screaming are part of a larger picture. When music itself is touched by the dehumanizing mechanization of civilization, it throws the guitar solo into sharp relief. You may have noticed that the guitar solo on this track echoes baroque and classical traditions. It’s actually three guitars sounding contrapuntally, a fugue.

The melodic lines are giant robots fighting their way forward through a canyon of thundering kick drum and relentless snare. They are the tenor and the soprano. They embrace. They turn away. It is hopeless. Love is eternal. Time goes on. Suddenly, they dance, team up, form a hybrid robot. They leap. Flight seems possible. What choice do they have? They crash and burn. Do they dare to try again? They dare.

I own three previous Dethklok albums. I recommend buying none of them. They are for Dethklok fans only. Unless you get it, you’ll hate it. If you want to do it right, start at Season One and hear the coffee jingle first. If you want to hear more Skwisgaar guitar, check out Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera, available on Amazon, Android, iTunes, and other services. Thank you and good night.

Joshua Booth is the bassist of Doco, a three piece band from North Carolina. His bad habits include politics, history, fiction, poetry, and religion. He appreciates your time. 

Read the rest of the series.

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