Band Gimmicks- Part Six: Where the Band IS the Gimmick 1.0

by Vick Sacha (and Mike Marlinski)

If we’re going to have a series about gimmicks, I feel the need to take a time out from the bitching to dedicate an article about one of the greatest things to ever come into my life.  This, actually, might be one of the things that started to steer me into the metal realm, and it definitely came along during an important part of my growing-up.

If you’ve never seen the Adult Swim series Metalocalypse, I think you’ll need to get out from underneath that rock you’ve been living under. For those of you that don’t know, the show’s 15-minute episodes revolve around death metal band Dethklok and all of their.. misadventures, if you will. The world they live in is rather bleak. There’s always violent and macabre content, in addition to lots of profanity. Furthermore, in the world of Metalocalypse, everything revolves around Dethklok’s comings and goings. They’re always the biggest worldwide news story and are one of the biggest economies in the world. Basically, their world is a metal kid’s dream, or at least mine, anyway. The band members include vocalist, Nathan Explosion, guitarists, Toki Wartooth and Skwisgaar Skwigelf, bassist, William Murderface and Pickles, the drummer (doodley-doo). Of course, there’s their manager and that “rock-n-roll” clown that does mounds of drugs, but the band is really what matters.  Right, I should probably show you this now too; allegedly, these fictional band members have been modeled after some rather identifiable people….

I have also seen that the Nathan Explosion character is also partially modeled after George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher, and I think that’s a bit more fitting than Pete Steele, especially because of that bulbous neck and the plentiful windmills.

There are, at least that I’ve been exposed to, few shows that completely revolve around the metal genre, but none really hit the nail on the head like Metalocalypse does. Even back before I decided I wanted to be a total metalhead, while I was listening to emo bands like Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is…, and Cobra Starship, Dethklok was a massive bogey on my radar. There were very few walks on my way to work when I wasn’t headbanging to that theme song. Oh yeah, that’s right- since the show first aired in 2006, Dethklok has released FOUR full lengths, along with an EP brought to you by Adult Swim. Though, mind you, this is a comedy show and a partially comedic band, so not all of their songs are about Vikings or murder. One of my favorites has to do with being a door-to-door salesman.

But I think I know what those who don’t know about this are thinking- ‘Ok, so it’s an animated band that puts out music. GorillaZ was doing that shit back in 2001, so what? Even still, there were dozens of shows about bands way before this. Do you fucking remember the Banana Splits?!

The beauty of it all, I think, are the live performances. Yeah, you read that right, I said live performances. The musicians behind these characters can play their songs flawlessly without any studio magic and also represent their brand with stellar stage presence. When I saw them at Town Ballroom in Buffalo in 2008, the only gimmicky part of their set came about when they killed the lights in the venue and had a dialogue using their character voices from the show. The band seamlessly blends humor and metal and I can’t think of a better example of a gimmick being done in good taste.

Now, you may have noticed the “1.0” in the title of this article. From that, one can only surmise that we’re going to be back with a hard look at another gimmick driven band in the near future. Who are we going to take a stab at next?  Well, YOU’RE JUST GONNA HAVE TO WAIT. But for now, rest assured knowing that it’s someone stealing a lot of limelight right now and that no punches will be pulled when we call them out. So, as always, thanks for reading and stay tuned for our next article and let us know how we did!  And, as always, if you’ve got something you’d like to see us write about, hit us with it! Literally. With a 2×4.


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