Director: Adult Swim Release date: 11th October (UK) Starring: Nathan Explosion, Pickles, Swiksgaar Skwigelf, Toki Wartooth, William Murderface Metalocalypse follows the metal band Deathklok, who have somehow risen to such a level of fame that they control everything from the prison system to the economy. This is despite the fact they are nothing but overgrown toddlers and self-obsessed idiots who use their massive power to further their own ambitions. For example, in one episode the band release a mass-murdering fashion designer from prison to design their new clothing range; in their press release they ensure everyone that this does not make them gay. In another, a politician has his head cut off because the lead singer would rather eat crisps than save his life. This mad set-up is used to justify them doing everything from being elected the leaders of Florida to sailing to the Amazon. The show celebrates metal culture just as much as it satirizes it, and to get many of the references you will need some grasp of it. That said, most of the humour does not require an extensive knowledge of the genre, and you won’t need to know the difference between a Gibson and a Ibanez to start laughing. Metalocalypse works because it deals with the minutiae of real life just as much as with the realities of being a metal band. They may be fools, but are certainly not malicious, and look at some of the horrible things that happen to them with such wide eyed innocence that you forgive their transgressions.
From this, the relationship between the band members and their manager is by far the funniest section of the show, and the programme flows more evenly when it sticks to more sitcom plot structure. Many of the large events feel too random and long in length ,and it’s a relief when an episode has a proper structure to it. The overlapping dialogue can prove quite exhausting at first, but really sets it aside from any other comedy shows- for something so noisy it is very subtle in places. At the same time, it manages to pack a lot of ideas in, and manages to build a world where it really does feel like Deathklok have infinite resources of wealth and power. The feeds into the animation style, which is very Adult Swim, and extremely gory. Any opportunity to pull someone’s head off or rip out an arm is taken, and it really adds to an atmosphere of oppression and insanity, and a great deal of humour arises from the unnecessarily brutal violence. What on a first viewing can seem quite a difficult, opaque animation reveals itself to be not only a succinct satire of metal bands, but of mainstream media and politics as a whole. Some episodes are a bit hit and miss, and there will be those who simply don’t get it. But if Metalocalypse sounds like your cup of tea, it will almost certainly turn out to be so. On a side note, any actual metal in the series is brilliantly silly, and is worth checking out for that reason alone!