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The band —vocalist Nathan Explosion, guitarists Skwisgaar Skwigelf and Toki Wartooth, bassist William Murderface and Pickles the Drummer — are so universally beloved and talented that they've become a government-swaying superpower (and the seventh-largest economy in the world), and heaps of bloody carnage await anyone who crosses their path.
As witnessed throughout the four seasons of Adult Swim's animated series — and the new feature-length film, Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar — Dethklok's fanbase is intense. Their passionate followers gleefully sign pain waivers absolving the group from any catastrophic disaster that might occur during their shows: from immolation and polar bear attack to exsanguination and so much more.
The cartoon band (lead in real life by series co-creator and musician Brendon Small) have always blown the minds of the public (often literally) as they continue to unlock new levels of sonic violence. Simply put, these songs aren't interchangeable. Each one is a tombstone, complete with its own unique shape, engraving and maggot-filled cadaver beneath it.
Dethklok have released four full-length albums — from 2007's jaw-dropping debut The Dethalbum to the new Dethalbum IV — and each crushing opus in their catalog boasts its own gruesome merits. Every Dethklok track is a morbid testament to face-smashingly awesome death metal, but some are just more brutal than others.
So brace yourself: Here are our picks for the 25 greatest Dethklok songs of all time.
Dethalbum III, 2012
The opener on 2012's Dethalbum III sees Dethklok firing on all cylinders, kicking things off with a burning whirlwind of Skwigelf-Wartooth guitar harmonies (courtesy of Dethklok mastermind and guitarist Brendon Small) and roaring into an unstoppable gallop.
The misanthropy of the band's earlier work is traded for a charging momentum and a wiener-out attitude. Equally straightforward in its speed, complex in its musicianship, and hostile in its lyrics, the track illustrates exactly why Dethklok deserve their seat of power.
Dethalbum II, 2009
Fiery and static, "I Tamper With the Evidence at the Murder Site of Odin" offers one of Dethklok's most uncommon song rhythms and arguably one of their best song titles. The track isn't an easy one to headbang to, but its frantic, off-kilter beat only ups the sense of urgency and panic around its killer riffs.
Of course, the indulgent wails of Skwisgaar Skwigelf later in the track make sure this one will still get the fans moving. Draw your sword.
Debuted in grisly grandeur on anti-gravity platforms (as seen in the Metalocalypse Season 2 episode "Dethrelease"), "Black Fire Upon Us" was meant to be heard midair.
Lofty and dramatic, using empty space to showcase Toki's rhythm accents and Pickles' double-bass rolls (executed in real life by drum phenom Gene Hoglan of Death, Testament and others), "Black Fire Upon Us" is a sonic spreading of wings that sounds divine despite its viciousness. Sometimes, it's worth it to just sign the pain waiver.
Only Dethklok could write a song that makes beauty sound so hideous. Slow and churlish, "Symmetry" stomps forward at a tanktread pace as it decries the sociopathic standards of beauty at the core of show business.
Heavy doses of Pantera-esque groove on top of Skwigelf's soaring accents drive home the cold distaste that the band have for all things "beautiful." Though not the boys' typical blast-beat tornado, the track shows off just how brutal Dethklok can sound when taking a moment to savor the ugliness around them.
The Dethalbum, 2007
"You people out there give us more than just record sales — you give us something to hate. And we hate you, you brainless mutants!" With this immortal battle cry, Nathan Explosion (voiced by Small) kicks off Dethklok's ode to their repugnant, sycophantic fanbase.
The rest of the band chug furiously through the track with admirable zeal, but it's Explosion's lyrics that take center stage: mercilessly calling out Dethklok obsessives ("You masturbate on the sheets/Your mothers clean for you") while hailing his own financial superiority ("Go to work and make me money/Before I put you down"). We feel seen.
Dethalbum IV, 2023
Over 15 years since Dethklok first broke records and smashed faces with their 2007 debut, The Dethalbum (which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 21, making it the highest-charting death-metal album ever at the time), the band continues to outdo themselves in the realm of sheer sonic violence.
On "Aortic Desecration," the lead single from this year's Dethalbum IV, the guys sound as furious as ever as they herald their return with a roar of stampeding rage. Nathan Explosion kicks things off with a throttling chant — "We are all going to die!" — before Skwisgaar and Toki unleash a terrifying barrage of riffs that evoke steel plates having sex in your nightmares. Out with the old, in with the 'Klok.
The sequel to 2007's gill-ripping "Murmaider" expands both the mythology and sonic palate of Dethklok's most famous track for fish. Explosion's lyrics and delivery hearken back to the checklist structure of the original, but this time he peppers those references with arcane descriptions of ancient shark dialects and black-eyed sea deities.
Perhaps most surprising is the expert and, dare we say, audible playing of William Murderface, whose basslines (played by Small) are the bounding, gnarly backbone of the song's bluesy breakdown sections. Just when you thought it was safe to dip your ding-dong back in the water…
With its brooding classical accompaniment, "Dethharmonic" takes Dethklok's globe-spanning appeal to new heights of both class and barbarity. Baroque strings heighten the feeling of malice at the core of this song, which is rooted in Nathan Explosion and Co.'s anger at having to pay taxes: "Brutality is near/In the form of income tax/I'd rather take a fucking axe/To my face."
The seething cauldron of financial fury comes to an incredible close with a crescendo commanding the death of the listener by, what else, a laser beam.
"Face Fisted" is a front-to-back, Icy Hot-on-the-neck headbanger — with Skwisgaar and Toki trading their signature harmonies and flourishes for succinct skull-punching riffs. Nathan's rhythmic bellows of "I'm so fucking tough!" make it a perfect track for muscular metalheads to beat their chests to.
In Dethklok lore, every Klokateer (their legion of hooded roadies/servants) begins their training at the band's HQ, Mordhaus, by murdering another human with their bare hands (Metalocalypse Season 2, Episode 14: "Dethsources"). This is probably the song that plays in their heads while they do it.
"Bloodrocuted" reveals the depths of Dethklok's bristling hatred for humanity, which, of course, starts at home — hence the song's appearance in the hateful "Dethfam" episode from Metalocalypse, Season 1. Its driving pace and furious riffage are tailor-made for causing pit concussions.
While the lyrics display Nathan Explosion's killer inventiveness as he dreams out loud about using the human body's water retention and circulatory system as a conduit for electrocuting someone to death.
In many ways, "Laser Cannon Deth Sentence" is the quintessential Dethklok song. All the pieces are there: murderous technical drumming, punchy-yet-elaborate riffs, rapid-fire lyrics about dying in an utterly absurd way and a badass build into an epic crescendo.
And that's why it sits so perfectly in the center of this list. It's a blaring exhibition of all things Dethklok — and also the perfect soundtrack for getting strapped to a rocket and blown to pieces.
So often, Dethklok's brutality is ground level — cracked skulls, spilled guts, beer shits — but "The Galaxy" sees the band expanding their scope into more transcendent realms. Over the course of the track, the boys seem to finally accept their place as lords of this world and beyond ("We are the dark and the light/We have the power of time").
While the lyrics soar, it's Skwisgaar Skwigelf who elevates the track to untold heights with his intricate harmonies and universe-spanning solo work. Sometimes, the blood you want Dethklok to spill is God's.
Dethklok sure know how to employ a thunderous rhythm — and on "Impeach God" they charge forward with the rush of a storm. Unwavering in its momentum, the song offers awesome energy. Even the track's catchier breakdown in the middle, though a little light on guitar, goes hard thanks to the steady rhythms of Pickles' drumming.
Written during Nathan Explosion's brief and destructive stint as the governor of Florida (Season 2, Episode 10: "Dethgov"), the song remains a hurricane-summoning classic beloved by Dethklok devotees
If there's one thing Dethklok have always championed, it's burning money just to watch it go up in flames. "Crush the Industry" is the band's war cry against the industry machine that grovels at their feet, and it beautifully conveys their single-minded loathing.
Pickles attacks the drums in a frenzy that only commerce can elicit, while Explosion's snarls ("Capital is worthless now/Your life I inside trade") overflow with contempt. The epic closing passage adds a lovely sense of grandeur to the middle finger that Dethklok are throwing at every cent they've ever made; it's as though Skwigelf gilds the lily just to show you how many gilded lilies he's wiped his ass with.
On Dethalbum III, Dethklok began trading some of their technical ecstasy for sneering groove. "Andromeda" is one such track, with a killer central riff and some of Explosion's most aggressive lyrics: "Drowned in Andromeda's piss/The serpent slain dies forever/Bleed on the floor like a bitch/The bloody rift leaks Deth/ How can you still be alive?"
But the real champion here is undoubtedly Pickles, whose double-bass rolls, throttling fills and tasty cymbal accents over Skwigelf's extraterrestrial solo are the beating, bloody heart of this crushing anthem. This is proof that no matter what the tempo, brutal is brutal.
As any Dethklok fanatic can tell you, there is no greater honor than to be branded with the Gear, don the black hood and join the Klokateer corps. In tribute to their loyal army of servants and protectors, Dethklok offered "The Gears" as a rallying cry for all of those who have pledged their allegiance to Facebones, the band's fiendish mascot.
The track's marching pace and chant-along chorus are absolutely riveting, and the grand finale crescendo is ready-made to ignite a fire in the hearts of true believers. It's understandable why so many young men and women heard this song and immediately enlisted.
Finland's gotta learn to appreciate a great apology. Dethklok didn't need to write the nation a bitching death-metal classic as a way of saying sorry for nearly destroying the country on tour, and they didn't need to pull the lyrics from a legendary Finnish tome of necromantic spells.
But they did, and the result, "Awaken," is so electrifying a track that Finland should be happy to make it their new national anthem. OK, so the song also summoned a murderous troll (Metalocalypse Season 1, Episode 4: "Dethtroll"). Big deal, that just means it's even more awesome. Get on Dethklok's level, Suomi.
"Thunderhorse" is the closest thing Dethklok have released to an instrumental track — and it's all about the band's energy, momentum and musicianship. Whether it's Toki's ripping rhythm sections, Skwisgaar's serpentine solos, Pickles' dynamic and tireless drumming, or Murderface's, uh, haircut, the full extent of the band's versatile talents is on display here, drawing the listener into an inevitable cyclone of headbanging.
No wonder former UFC fighter Tamdan McCrory chose the track as his intro music — without lyrics to distract the listener, this is the perfect mental preparation for the most vicious of ass beatings.
The first cut on Dethklok's groundbreaking debut is a bold declaration of what the world's most brutal band is here to do. The opening drum-guitar salvo instantly pulls the listener into the abyss and sets up the ultimate neck-snapping rhythm for Explosion's genius checklist verse pattern.
Of course, it wouldn't be Dethklok if it didn't bash you into a concussion — and the titular line comes via a pummeling chorus that somehow feels right at home with the atmospheric riffs and rolling blast beats around it.
Recorded in the Mariana Trench, the song ushered in an obsession with the ocean that has come to define the band's career. Don't forget your laser beams.
Few moments in music history have given listeners chills like Dethklok's rig rising from the Gulf of Danzig during the live debut of "Go Into the Water" (Season 1, Episode 20: "It Has Begun"). The song's plodding pace and cinematic atmosphere spotlight the band's expert ability to slow things down without losing even a fraction of their monstrous might.
Most noteworthy throughout is Skwigelf's input; while the skull-crushing riff at the song's core is powerful, it's his bluesy, howling solo that eventually takes center stage and brings a tear of blood to one's eye. That the track inspired a slew of fans to drown themselves just proves the draw of Dethklok's sonic power — and their ability to incite the good ol' art of natural selection.
The Dethalbum, Deluxe Edition, 2007
Premiered at the notorious Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle Batsfjord Massacre Fest (Season 1, Episode 1: "The Curse of Dethklok"), Dethklok's most famous promotional track is just over a minute long — and yet in that short chunk of time, the band make it clear which coffee brand you'll drink until your untimely death.
A lyric like, "Do you folks like coffee?" shakes the listener to their diseased core, forcing them to admit that yeah, they could go for a cup of Duncan Hills right now. Much like the scalding coffee that rained down upon the crowds in Batsfjord, this track will melt your stupid face clean off. Prepare for ultimate flavor.
The Dethalbum, Deluxe Edition
After learning the art form from Mashed Potato Johnson, Dethklok delved into the blues and championed that genre's two core tenets: slowing things down and singing about trains. The result is one of the boys' most infectious and criminally underrated tracks, a vengeful hippie-slayer that moves to the rhythm of a pendulum swing.
Though listeners can tell it kills them to do so, Skwigelf and Wartooth cut their tempo in half, and by doing so only wail more mournfully than they have in ages.
Rarely have Dethklok gone as monumentally huge as they do on "Burn the Earth." The track is pure energy, moshing tirelessly out of the gate and building toward two apocalyptic choruses condemning the entire burning planet and its doomed inhabitants.
Explosion's lyrics smolder with contempt ("There's nothing to save/You're my slave/Burn the earth/For minimum wage"), but it's Skwisgaar and Toki who burn the brightest — weaving together extravagant guitar harmonies that make the song's crescendos even more gut-wrenching and massive.
Fun fact: the hatred-infused "Burn the Earth" is the first-ever track to be recorded to a new analog format: "on water."
We can all agree that the traditional "Happy Birthday to You" song was tired as hell. It was time for someone to write a new anthem that recognized what birthdays are: Death himself ticking one more bead off the abacus of your shitty life.
And boy did Dethklok succeed at capturing the yearly milestone's true horrid essence. Written to honor the birth of repulsive bass god William Murderface, "Birthday Dethday" calls out the inevitability of time (and the utter stupidity of celebrating the day you got expelled into the world) via a rollicking death & roll tune.
So go ahead and open your Dethday present: It's a box of fucking nothing.
At the end of the day, "Bloodlines" is unquestionably Dethklok's greatest musical achievement. Fast yet dense, lofty yet primal, the track walks that perfect line on which the five horsemen forever follow: where the cosmic meets the tangible and the bottomless depths of the soul meet the flimsy, blood-filled sack that is your corpse-to-be.
Inspired by Nathan Explosion's discovery that he's one-quarter Yannemango (the cannibalistic Amazonian tribe featured in Metalocalypse Season 2, Episode 9: "Dethcarraldo"), the track kicks off with thunderous tribal rhythms that put the listener in a hypnotic and bestial state, which give way to a gnarly riff amid Explosion's dire lines: "I track my history/Bloody burned family tree/ Native blood runs in me/Murderous tendencies."
By the time the crushing and exultant solo-filled breakdown arrives you're really feeling the vibes: God, if it even exists, definitely hates us all. That Explosion wrote this track about two of the vilest things in existence — family traditions and cannibalism — speaks to his inherent understanding of the unthinkable horror that is being alive.
To deny that is to never truly live. And to live is to die — for Dethklok.