From left to right: William Murderface, Skwisgaar Skwigelf, Nathan Explosion, Pickles, and Toki Wartooth.
Background information
Genres Melodic death metal[1][2]
Years active 2006–present
Labels Actual: Williams Street
Fictional: Crystal Mountain
Associated acts Brendon Small, Fear Factory, Zimmers Hole, Strapping Young Lad
Website Official website
Brendon Small
Mike Keneally
Gene Hoglan
Bryan Beller
Nathan Explosion
Skwisgaar Skwigelf
Toki Wartooth
William Murderface

Dethklok is both a virtual band[3] featured in the Adult Swim animated program Metalocalypse, as well as a real band created to perform the band's melodic death metal music in live shows. The band was created by Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha. The music heard on Metalocalypse is performed by Brendon Small, with others as needed. The first official Dethklok album was released on September 25, 2007, entitled The Dethalbum. The album debuted at number 21 on Billboard Magazine's Top 200 list.[4] The band released Dethalbum II on September 29, 2009, and toured with Mastodon, High on Fire and Converge. Small and drummer Gene Hoglan performed on both albums.[5][6]


Fictional background

In the Metalocalypse series, Dethklok is depicted as an extremely popular and successful death metal band. The band's fan base includes billions of metal fanatics, who frequently endanger themselves to watch the band perform live.[7][8] With their widespread commercial success and lucrative sponsorship contracts, Dethklok is ranked as the world's seventh largest economy by the end of the second season.[9]

The members of Dethklok are often portrayed as incompetent at almost everything not related to their profession. The band struggles to perform everyday tasks, including shopping for groceries, preparing food, and maintaining proper social relationships. They are often assisted by their manager and lawyer, Charles Foster Ofdensen, who frequently attempts to prevent the band from making poor decisions. The band's actions and uncanny misfortune have caught the attention of an Illuminati-style council, known as The Tribunal. The Tribunal is portrayed as Dethklok's antagonist throughout the series, and secretly monitors their actions in almost every episode. They describe Dethklok as the "world's greatest cultural force." The leader of The Tribunal (Mr. Selatcia), however, frequently instructs the other members to allow Dethklok to do as they will.

Fictional band members

Nathan Explosion

Nathan Explosion (voiced by Brendon Small) is the frontman, lead vocalist and "lyrical visionary" of Dethklok. Portrayed as a tall, bulky figure, with long black hair, black nails, and green eyes, Nathan speaks with a death growl even when not singing. He did not speak a word until he was five years old and in high school excelled only in frog dissection and football. According to his dating profile, Nathan describes his ethnicity as "White/Native American". He was raised in New Port Richey, Florida. He is the lead songwriting force in Dethklok, and uses violent imagery or plot elements when writing and composing song material. Nathan is slightly more sensible than the rest of the band, though he is still incompetent and unintelligent. Despite this, he does seem to have some knowledge in specific areas, such as negotiating a contract, extensive knowledge of rock culture, and a proficiency in French. He attempts to get his GED in "Go Forth And Die", and only fails in part due to the band's influence, and in "Fatherklok" tells Murderface not to interfere with Skwisgaar's father issues. Nathan sometimes acts in a parental manner towards Toki, and in the first episode insisted that the band never drinks before a show (though they had all been drinking all day.)

In the episode Fatherklok, it was revealed Nathan enjoys an excellent relationship with his father. A brief montage shows Nathan and his father fishing, racing go-karts, and playing Scrabble. He is the only member of the band who spends time with or likes his father.

Small described Nathan as a "quarterback", and based his character's appearance and performance style on Cannibal Corpse vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.[10]

Skwisgaar Skwigelf

Skwisgaar Skwigelf (voiced by Brendon Small) is Dethklok's lead guitarist. He is described as "a handsome guy who thinks he's the greatest thing in the world". Both his attitude and his technical playing style are compared by the show's creator, Brendon Small , to Yngwie Malmsteen.[10] He is tall and skinny, with long blond hair, a studded belt with a skull buckle, and blue eyes, and plays a Gibson Explorer, which he often carries around even when not playing. Other guitars in his collection include the Gibson Excaliburtar (a guitar in the shape of a sword), the Swiss Army-tar (a guitar that looks like a Swiss Army Knife, and comes with many different accessories, just as the Swiss Army Knife does), and a guitar made from the wood of Jesus Christs' cross. He is referred to as the fastest guitar player in the world. He is depicted as having extreme sexual prowess and a preference for elderly ladies. Hailing from Sweden, Skwisgaar has a marked Swedish accent and often makes mistakes when conjugating verbs. He is responsible for the majority of the arrangement of Dethklok's songs, writing the guitar lines as well as Murderface's bass lines. Skwisgaar also typically discards and re-records the rhythm guitar parts recorded by Toki Wartooth for Dethklok's albums and frequently belittles him for his guitar playing skills, although he does appear to share something of a codependent relationship with him.

Toki Wartooth

Toki Wartooth (voiced by Tommy Blacha) is Dethklok's current rhythm guitarist. He typically plays a Gibson Flying V. A native of "an abandoned town near Lillehammer," Norway, he has a very muscular build as a result of being forced to constantly perform manual labor by his abusive parents. Toki is the only Dethklok member who's physically fit, as well as the only member with no prior band experience. He has a distinct accent, and often inappropriately pluralizes words, similar to Skwisgaar. He even refers to Pickles as 'Pickle." Visually, he has a distinct whisker-like style of mustache known as the Fu Manchu, long brown hair, and has very pale blue eyes. It was also revealed in the first episode of the third season that Toki is not an original band member. A recurring plot point is the death of people Toki grows fond of, including a guitar teacher and his father; the Tribunal has described him as a "god of death". In contrast to the heavy cynicism, grim behaviour, sexuality, and alcohol and drug abuse by the other band members, Toki's character is generally childlike, innocent, and good-natured. He has a boyish bedroom complete with action figures and wall posters, and a prominent hobby of his is building model planes. Toki's personality makes him a reluctant popular icon to children.

Small explained Toki's relationship with Skwisgaar as "...Norwegian to Skwisgaar's Swedish, pompous attitude. And, again, a second-class citizen in the same band.",[10] and compared his guitar playing style to that of Iron Maiden.[10]

Mikael Åkerfeldt of progressive death metal band Opeth told that he received an email from Toki, which confirmed that his character borrowed Åkerfeldt's likeness.[11]


Pickles (voiced by Brendon Small) is Dethklok's drummer. He was raised in Tomahawk, Wisconsin and speaks with a Wisconsin accent. He refers to himself as "very Irish American" and has long red hair, styled into dreadlocks and a comb-over skullet, and green eyes. He is depicted as having an average build with a slight beer belly and a strong propensity for drugs and alcohol abuse stemming from feelings of resentment towards his family. Pickles is a multi-talented performer, whom IGN Magazine described as "the band's deepest thinker".[12] Pickles is the former front-man of a group called Snakes 'n' Barrels. Brendon Small uses the voice of Pickles to sing the chorus of Hatredcopter, a song from The Dethalbum. Describing the character, Small said, "I thought the drummer should be able to do a bunch of stuff, like Roger Taylor in Queen. Even though it's not based on his personality, it's what he can do in the band and what parts of the songs he does contribute to."[10] Pickles' original design was changed to avoid his looking too close to Devin Townsend.[13]

William Murderface

William Murderface (voiced by Tommy Blacha) is Dethklok's bassist. He plays a Gibson Thunderbird Studio 5-string. He has brown hair, green eyes, a heavy lateral lisp and a diastema. He has tattoos on the top and bottom parts of his abdomen, the top reading "Pobody's Nerfect", and the bottom saying "This Mess Is A Place". Murderface's father killed his wife (Murderface's mother) with a chainsaw before turning it upon himself in front of Murderface in a grisly murder-suicide when he was a baby, leaving him to be raised by his grandparents. Murderface is "a self-hating bass player who's always trying to act like he's more important than he is," in part because his bass playing is usually mixed out completely.[10] Although Murderface's musical ability is apparently completely redundant, Dethklok realizes when they expel him from the band in "Dethsiduals" that he imposes a mentality of negativity and hatred upon the band that is crucial to their songwriting.

Brendon Small describes Murderface as "thin-skinned and incredibly sensitive and just wants to be accepted constantly but can’t get that because he’s such a dick and pushes people away".[14] He is sensitive about his weight and appearance, which his bandmates often obliviously exacerbate. Murderface's voice was originally achieved by Tommy Blacha putting paper towels inside his mouth when voicing the character, but he has since refined his technique to avoid the paper towels.[15]

Actual band members

Brendon Small performing live.
Studio members
Live members


In late 2007, Adult Swim organized a promotional tour featuring Dethklok and …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead.[16] The tour comprised performances at twelve college campuses, with tickets available to students only (except for 50 tickets set aside for the UCLA show in the Los Angeles area). The band featured Brendon Small, guitarist Mike Keneally, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Gene Hoglan. Tour information was made available on Adult Swim's promotional site, .[17] In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Brendon Small described the tour as being "like Gorillaz, with the animated characters" with Small's ensemble of musicians performing visibly.[18]

In a February 2008 interview on California radio station Indie 103.1 with Full Metal Jackie, plans for a summer 2008 tour were announced. Brendon Small described the tour as being like "a Disney ride but with murder." Dethklok toured the U.S. in June and early July with Chimaira and Soilent Green. 27 dates were released in April 2008.[19]

During the June 5th show at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA., an electrical fire broke out during Soilent Green's set. Attendees were hesitant to leave the building thinking that it was part of the show which created a dangerous situation, but they soon realized that the fire was real and evacuated and the concert was rescheduled.[20][21]

A third tour for Dethalbum II started in October 2009 with Mastodon, Converge and High on Fire.[22][23]

Dethklok played in San Bernardino on July 9, 2011 at the Mayhem Festival in place of Megadeth.[24]

Revolver Golden God Awards

Dethklok received the "Metal Hammer Ultimate Award of the Viking Bloody Dawn Unicorn Killer" award during the 2009 Revolver Golden God Awards.[25] A clip of the band's acceptance speech was played after they were announced as the recipients. They were presented the award by Chuck Billy, best known for his work as the vocalist for the thrash metal band Testament.[26][27]

At the 2010 Golden God Awards, creator Brendon Small performed with Brian Posehn's All Star Band, and he introduced Fear Factory which features Dethklok drummer Gene Hoglan.


Studio albums

Music videos

Year Title Director(s) Album Release for music video
2007 "Bloodrocuted" Jon Schnepp &
Brendon Small
The Dethalbum The Dethalbum deluxe edition bonus DVD, Metalocalypse season 2 DVD,
Dethalbum II deluxe edition bonus DVD
2008 "Murmaider" Jon Schnepp Metalocalypse season 2 DVD, Dethalbum II deluxe edition bonus DVD
"Briefcase Full of Guts" Dethalbum II deluxe edition bonus DVD
"Birthday Dethday"
"Awaken" Chris Prynoski
"Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle" Jon Schnepp
"Dethharmonic" Mark Brooks
"Go Forth and Die" Chris Prynoski
"Hatredcopter" Jon Schnepp
"Go Into the Water"
2009 "Bloodlines" Dethalbum II Metalocalypse Season 3 Blu-Ray Extras
"The Gears"
"Burn The Earth"
"Black Fire Upon Us"


  1. ^ "Dethklok - The Dethalbum - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  2. ^ "Artists :: DETHKLOK". MusicMight. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  3. ^ Phares, Heather (2007-09-20). "Dethklok". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  4. ^ "Dethalbum Debuts At #21 On Billboard Top 200" October 9, 2007
  5. ^ "Strapping young lad's Gene Hoglan laying down tracks for Dethklok album" December 23, 2006.
  6. ^ "'Dethalbum II' First-Week Sales Revealed" October 7, 2009.
  7. ^ "The Curse of Dethklok". Metalocalypse. No 1, season 1. (August 6, 2006) "Reporter: They are called pain waivers. Fans are signing their lives away releasing Dethlok from any and all liability."
  8. ^ Staff, (2006-07-14). "Interview: Dethklok". IGN: pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  9. ^ Harris, Will (2008-12-04). "Seen Your Video: Dethklok, "Mermaider"". Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Robair, Gino (2008-02-01). "Metalocalypse Now". Electronic Musician. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  11. ^ "Opeth: 'The Band Will Continue For As Long As There's Good Material In Us'", interview by Duncan Geddes. Retrieved November 22, 2007.
  12. ^ "Dethklok Interview". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  13. ^ ""Metalocalypse" Brendon and Tommy (2006)". The Culture Shock. 2006-09-21. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "An interview with Metalocalypse co-creator, Brendon Small". Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  16. ^ "Adweek – Breaking News in Advertising, Media and Technology". 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  17. ^ "dethklok tour". adult swim. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  18. ^ "Dethklok's Brendon Small: 'This Show Is For Guitar Geeks' | Interviews @". 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  19. ^ "Dethklok, Chimaira, Soilent Green tour // News // Lambgoat". 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  20. ^ ", ''Electrical Problems Force DETHKLOK's San Francisco Cancellation'', 6 June 2008". Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  21. ^ "Pollstar, ''Electrical Problems Prompt Fillmore Evacuation'', 6 June 2008". 2008-06-06. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  22. ^ " 2009 Tour Announcement". Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  23. ^ Des Moines Register Music notes: July 30[dead link]
  24. ^ "Rockstar Mayhem Festival 2011 Âť Blog Âť The Mayhem Is Upon Us!!". 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2011-07-01. 
  25. ^ "Dethklok's Golden Gods Acceptance Speech". Revolver. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2010-12-30. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Golden Gods Past Winners". Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  27. ^ "Dethklok's 'Animated' Award-winning Speech". Retrieved 2011-09-25. 

External links

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