Interview with the “Metalocalypse” co-creator, Dethklok vocalist/guitarist, and mastermind behind Galaktikon | By Nick Harrah
Brendon Small and “Metalocalypse” fans may have lost the battle to bring back the show for a final season, but Small would be damned if he and his very real heavy metal army lost the war—he’d just have to invent another planet to win it on.
Adult Swim extended the middle finger to fans after the October 2015 “Metalocalypse Now” petition campaign sought a fifth and final season. Since Turner Broadcasting also owned the rights to the name Dethklok—the real band who sprang forth from the TV show’s fictional one—hopes seemed extinguished for any future output from Small, bassist Bryan Beller, and drummer Gene Hoglan, the team who made three Dethalbums—in 2007, 2009, and 2012—and The Doomstar Requiem in 2013.
But to lift a line from NOFX, Small and friends would have the last laugh, in effect saying, “This music ain’t your fuckin’ industry.”
Small’s solo effort, Brendon Small’s Galaktikon, came out in 2012, and now, Galaktikon II: Become the Storm is set for release Aug. 25 via Megaforce Records. Dethklok fans in particular and fans of epic, melodic death metal in general can look forward to having their faces melted and their minds blown on the second installment of Small’s intergalactic “audio comic book,” as he calls it.
Small is hoping to recreate the feeling of awe and wonder he had for rock ‘n’ roll growing up in the early ‘80s for metalheads today. He also hopes to create something that will live on with them even after—they think—it’s over.
“It’s funny. I was lucky enough—we’re in a strange time right now for music and guitar and stuff, but it wasn’t a strange time for guitar when I grew up,” the 42-year-old recalls fondly.
“I knew, from when I was 7 years old, I wanted a guitar. I just wanted to have one. I’d look on TV and see guitars and would think, ‘There’s nothing cooler in the world than a guitar!’ That’s how I felt. And I still, believe it or not, after 20-plus years of playing, I still can’t believe how much I love guitar.”
“I think a lot of people are kind of like me, in that they’re always trying to—” Small pauses, “they’re trying to rekindle something that happened in their childhood, some kind of exciting moment or two. That’s what I’m doing with this.”
This is a three-sided, 11-song follow-up to Small’s solo debut, which told the “intergalactic divorce story” of its hero, Triton. Become the Storm finds Small—again with help from producer Ulrich Wild—expanding his vision and love for science fiction, creating a divided planet—hopefully?—united through love and music, as well as a story of good ultimately defeating evil.
The title and the album itself are a nod to those who matter most: the fans. The love and support they showed during the “Kloktober 2015” petition to revive the show wasn’t lost on Small.
“This poor audience got fucked over pretty hard,” he admits of the campaign’s anticlimactic outcome. “It’s really strange; for me, my relationship with the show and working with it was a good one, and even though—you know, you work in TV and you know any day can be your last, […] so nothing’s a huge surprise for me. But to the audience, they got led in one direction, then they got fucked over.”
“They’ve been supportive, they’ve given a shit, and they cared,” he adds. “People carried the characters with them outside of the show; they dressed up like them, they talked like them, they listened to the music. So, it’s really like a big ‘Fuck you!’ to the fans more than anything, which I think is sad.”
“But what I have is the ability to kind of give them something that I think will—” Small pauses again and sighs, “help them out a little bit,” he laughs. “I saw all these people on the front lines trying to bring ‘Metalocalypse’ back, and I thought, ‘These guys, they—”
Became a storm?
“Exactly!” Small exclaims, laughing. “Very much so! They became a storm! That’s part of what got me activated, because the joke about ‘Metalocalypse’ is that Dethklok hates their fans. In real life, we can’t do anything without fans. […] This record’s basically for the people who stuck with us for all these years and want more.”
Photo By Jim Donnelly