Brendon Small Brendon Small's Galaktikon

Brendon SmallBrendon Small's Galaktikon
Brendon Small is the mastermind behind the animated television series Metalocalypse and, by extension, virtual death metal band Dethklok. Small performs guitars and vocals on Galaktikon, his latest solo effort, which he also wrote, while Brian Beller performs bass and Gene Hoglan handles drums. Small's website refers to the album as a "high stakes, intergalactic, extreme rock album." It was recorded during a time when the second Dethklok album was in limbo, but Small had already booked studio time, so this record was created instead. Galaktikon's narrative follows a somewhat subversive version of a very archetypal science fiction story: the space hero must battle a giant worm and save a woman from the clutches of his archenemy. Only in this case, the damsel in distress is his ex-wife and she and his nemesis dated for a while. Galaktikon has all the complex, energetic riffs and deeply satisfying solos fans would expect from a Dethklok album, but with a far more melodic and alt-rock-inspired backbone to the song structures. It goes for the feel of a sweeping epic, with cosmic vistas and alien landscapes, and has a great, irreverent pulp feel. The deepest issue with the record, however, is that at every turn and in every way Devin Townsend's Ziltoid The Omniscient is just better and the overlap between these works is too great to avoid comparisons: both are set in space, possess a sci-fi/comic book/pulp novel narrative and are retro-tinted and glazed with satire. The narrative here possesses no risk and brings nothing unexpected; we know that the hero will kill the worm and save his ex, and that the two will amicably part ways in the end. With no genuine danger or surprises, the album can only get so far under the listener's skin. Galaktikon is pretty and well executed, but doesn't catch and hold. (Independent)