Having just finished a rewatch of the entirety of Metalocalypse, including The Doomstar Requiem AND the recently released Army Of The Doomstar movie (Available now by heading here), we’d say our excitement for the live return of Dethklok was pretty high. Lucky for us, we timed our binge just right as the BabyKlok (BABYMETAL + Dethklok, get it?) tour was slated to hit town soon after and, despite the fact that this was our 4th show in a week (And 3rd in the Fenway area), nothing was going to quell that insatiable hunger for Nathan Explosion and company “in person” for the first time in over ten years!
For those who haven’t been yet, MGM Music Hall at Fenway is a pretty rad addition to the Landsdowne Street music scene. It’s spacious, sounds great, and is filled with nary a bad seat in the house no matter the floor you end up situated in on one of the many levels. Speaking of levels, the energy from the crowd was palpable and visible before a note from any of the three bands on the bill was heard with the merch line extending up 3 flights of stairs full of anxious fans waiting to get their hands on the latest tour items (Us included as we just had to have a pink Dr. Rockzo tee).
But first! Guitar virtuoso Jason Richardson kicked off the show who opened with booming backing tracks that hit so hard you could feel the reverberations in yer bones! With a shreddy set that brought a Proggy heaviness to the masses with its’ mix of Meshuggah meets Steve Vai, Richardson impressed with a selection of tracks off I and II including “Tendinitis”, “Sparrow”, and “Retrograde” to name a few. You can check out more from Richardson by heading here.
And then it was time for Dethklok. Having only seen them once before and only soon after Season 1 of Metalocalypse had concluded…. it was like seeing the band for the first time again. With four proper albums under their belt now and still driven by Brendon Small (Vocals/guitar, voice of “Nathan Explosion”, “Pickles”, and “Skwisgaar Skwigelf”) and Gene Hoglan (Drummer aka “The Atomic Clock”, Strapping Young Lad, Testament) with Berklee alum Nili Brosh (Danny Elfman, Cirque du Soleil) on additional guitar and Bryan Beller (Mike Keneally) on bass, the combined might of the 4 on stage representing the 5 animated icons was electrifying.
After a fresh intro on the big screen, “Dethklok” took the darkened stage to rip through the iconic theme song, “Dethmeme”, and from there it just got more intense. The pair of Hoglan and Small are a FORCE whenever paired for Dethklok with the drummer’s legendary beats instantly and efficiently gelling off Small’s sick shreds throughout the night live and on record. Speaking of record, a number of newer tracks off their latest album (The aptly titled Dethalbum IV which has limited tour edition signed vinyl versions avaiable at shows) showed up in the Boston set including killer first single “Aortic Desecration” and “SOS”, both of which play significant roles in the just released Army Of The Doomstar film and were relentlessly replicated live with extra heft thanks to Brosh and Beller.
Other highlights include classics like “I Ejaculate Fire”, “Murmaider”, and “Briefcase Full Of Guts” which fit nicely among other Metalocalypse mainstays like “Birthday Dethday” and “Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle”. Another stand out was hearing the creative genius of Small live on a track like “Hatredcopter” which features both “Nathan Explosion” and “Pickles The Drummer” (Both voiced by Small) trading verses. For the most part, it was a night filled with all killer and no filler. For the most part. And that’s only because the evening was broken up by Dethklok’s resident “mascot” Face Bones (And later, by “Nathan”, “Pickles”, and “Skwisgaar”) and a series of very relevant PSA’s addressing the audience on proper etiquette at shows pertaining to etiquette and drug intake in particular. Not since “The More You Know” campaign has a PSA ever been more warranted. Getting back to the crowd itself, they were the live version of the audience seen in the show without the carnage: moving as one, devil horns raised, and headbanging in sync throughout.
Ending the night was BABYMETAL’s own brand of “Su-Metal” which kept the momentum rolling with a solid set that featured “Pa Pa Ya!!”, “Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!”, “Gimme Chocolate!!”, and “BxMxC” among other fan favorites. The BabyKlok tour concludes on October 12th at the YouTube Theater in Los Angeles. To find out where you can catch all the live mayhem before it’s over, head here.