April 15, 2024

In a new interview with Radioactive MikeZ, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire", Brendon Small, co-creator of "Metalocalypse", the hit animated series on Adult Swim featuring the fictitious metal band DETHKLOK, was asked which METALLICA album he thinks is better, "Ride The Lightning" or "Master Of Puppets". He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I would always say 'Master Of Puppets' because I think the music is honed, the music is unique — everything from 'The Thing That Should Not Be' to 'Battery'. There's a darkness, there's evil, there's old-school fire-and-brimstone gravitas that's almost neoclassical. Whether or not they know it, they're using these traditional harmony chords to elevate and accentuate everything. It's just great riff writing."

He continued: "I love METALLICA because, especially in those days, and I would also put '…And Justice For All' in that category too, where they are doing this wonderful kind of beautiful… Thrash can get at this tempo where it just drops you off in one place and it zigzags you through this labyrinth and drops you off in a completely different place and you don't know what happened, but you went on some epic journey. And that's what I love about METALLICA, is they really create the journey, they create the labyrinth. They start you off slow, they lift you off fast. There's a breakdown somewhere along the way, but there's so much musical experimentation that I wish they never, ever stopped and kept getting more intense and heavy. But I also respect that they go where they want to go, because that's what the artist should be doing. Anyway, so long answer short, I always think 'Master Of Puppets', though 'Ride The Lightning' is 'Ride The Lightning'. I mean, there's 'The Call Of Ktulu', which is one of the most epic songs, I think, in the world too. So it's hard to compare a great band to itself. But I would also say that there's so much rage and anger and darkness and inside of '…And Justice For All' that it's, it's hard for me to not even mention that one with the other two. So much time has passed, I see that as a real masterpiece too."

Elaborating on his love of "…And Justice For All", Small said: "It's a dark album. They've lost an important family member [referencing the death of METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton] and they're wrestling with it. And you can hear that. There's humanity all throughout that. Plus there's darkness. It's militaristic. Again, it's epic. METALLICA is epic — when they're really, really epic, they're not screwing around. And then, for some reason, one of the craziest songs ever, 'One', is the one that broke through, and it has elements of a ballad, but then it turns into this crazy… It's a story of a person with no arms or limbs who doesn't wanna be alive anymore. And that's the song that everyone's, like, 'Bring it on. That's the song we wanna hear — the one with the person with no limbs. Give it to us.' And America opens up its arms to METALLICA. What a strange, strange story. But that record's also important because I was discovering heavy metal around that age too, and that was the record that came out. That's an important thing, when you're thinking of your own favorite records. Some of them are just going to mean a little bit more to you because that was your record… So it may be surprising to some people, but that's where I was when I discovered [heavy metal]. It was '…And Justice For All', then 'Master Of Puppets' and 'Ride The Lightning'."

Asked to name his favorite METALLICA song, Brendon said: "Oh, Jeez. My favorite METALLICA tune. I don't think I can answer this question in any kind of rational way… Let's go with 'Blackened'. That is just that crazy upbeat on that thing. It's so nutty. I don't know how the hell they play that live. I don't know how James Hetfield comes up with these riffs.

"It's so funny. I play an Explorer [guitar]," he continued. "I love James Hetfield. There's a reason I play and Explorer, and there's a reason I keep it low these days, is because it's the James Hetfield way. He's figured something out about the right arm and keeping it slung low, 'cause there are guitar players that keep their stuff up high. And it also works — it really does — and I do that too on other guitars, but my Explorer needs to be low because the center of gravity needs to be low for your right hand [for] all those down strokes.

"There are so many great rhythm guitar players in that era, and James Hetfield may reign above them all," Small added. "I'm not sure if I even have the authority to say that… I think he really was just constantly asking himself, 'What can I do that's different? What can I do that's faster? What's SLAYER doing? How can we make our own version of stuff?' And they were always putting their personality into their music. And that's not easy to do, to find a voice inside of your — even your own band. But they certainly did. I mean, if you took his actual voice away and you just listened to his decisions on guitar or how they were derived between Kirk [Hammett] and Lars [Ulrich] and, I guess, Jason [Newsted] at the time, how did that come together? And it's that great, beautiful decision-making process and the fact that they just pushed themselves to go harder and more intense, especially on that record."

"Metalocalypse" is a cartoon series about a fictional death metal band called DETHKLOK that's bigger (and far more powerful) than THE BEATLES. The show ran for seven seasons, with the final episode being an hour-long rock opera, "The Doomstar Requiem".

After "Metalocalypse"'s rise in popularity, Small assembled DETHKLOK as an actual live band to play the music featured on the show, with Small himself handling vocals and guitar.

DETHKLOK's first three albums charted in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 and the third release, "Dethalbum III", peaked at No. 10, making it the highest-charting death metal album of all time. In addition, "The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera Soundtrack" made it to No. 7 on Billboard's soundtrack chart in 2013.

After several years of dormancy, DETHKLOK returned last year with a new album, "Dethalbum IV" and an animated movie, "Metalocalypse: Army Of The Doomstar". It was hard fought since Adult Swim abruptly pulled the plug on "Metalocalypse" show a decade ago, despite its rabid following amongst the metal crowd, many of whom came to appreciate the show's regular easter eggs and voice appearances from the likes of King Diamond, METALLICA's Kirk Hammett and CANNIBAL CORPSE's George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. Indeed, "Metalocalypse" may be the only quasi-mainstream show to be truly catered to a metal audience, which can explain its enduring popularity and the steady drumbeat of requests for its revival.

As previously reported, DETHKLOK has just embarked on the "Mutilation On A Spring Night" tour. Running from April 7 through May 3, the trek, produced by Live Nation, is seeing support from DRAGONFORCE and NEKROGOBLIKON.

Last year's "Babyklok" co-headlining trek with BABYMETAL was the first DETHKLOK tour in over a decade.

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