It’s hard to accurately describe to younger fans how huge Metalocalypse was when it first premiered. For decades, metal culture had been depicted as painfully ultra-gritty or a lot of cheesy, poofy-haired bullshit. All of a sudden, here was this cartoon by the guy who made Home Movies about Dethklok, a death metal band — a real goddamn death metal band, who looked and sounded like the bands we love — becoming the biggest cultural entity in the world. At the same time, the show never took things too seriously, poking fun at the misanthropic brutality of these dudes as they tried to, say, shop at a supermarket or renovate a house. The fact that the first two albums based off of the series became the highest-charting death metal records of all time only spoke to the sincere love of metal that was at the core of the show.
Now that HBO Max is streaming the entire Adult Swim suite, Dethklok — vocalist Nathan Explosion, guitarists Skwisgaar Skwigelf and Toki Wartooth, bassist William Murderface, and drummer Pickles The Drummer — are back on the radars of metalheads around the world. In celebration of this development, we got pee-pants wasted, cleared our schedule, and watched all 61 episodes of Metalocalypse (and the climactic TV special) so we could rank them. Here’s what got the most banana stickers…
61. “Dethdinner” (Season 4, Ep. 10)
It’s unclear what the point of “Dethdinner” is other than moving along the broader plot of Metalocalypse. The jokes don’t really land, the characters come off as petulant and annoying, and the premise — that the band have to take part in a huge industry dinner which could alter their careers — makes you wonder if maybe Small had recently been forced to attend such an event. Whatever the case, it’s not a very lovable episode and feels a little like a footnote.
60. “P.R. Pickles” (Season 2, Ep. 8)
In its corner, “P.R. Pickles” does have some great scenes of Pickles the Drummer being totally shithoused. But its theme of his P.R. rep actually being a cultist, and the band starting their own P.R. company that does terribly, feels kind of flimsy. There also aren’t a ton of memorable gags in this episode, besides wasted Pickles, of which you can probably just find a YouTube compilation.
59. “Diversityklok” (Season 4, Ep. 2)
Hooo boy. Dethklok’s attempt at confronting racism in metal kind of backfires, in part because the episode relies on easy jokes and doesn’t go deep enough into the issue. Some careful writing could’ve saved this installment and made it a really interesting statement; instead, you have the band accidentally dressing as the Klan, and Murderface rocking a Hitler mustache. They should’ve either committed to the premise or not even explored it at all.
58. “Klokbloked” (Season 2, Ep. 13)
“Klokblocked” is a bunch of pretty great pieces that don’t quite work together. The character of Lavona Succuboso, a hardcore cult leader obsessed with obtaining Nathan’s seed (and voiced by Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow), is awesome, and Nathan’s selection of nice, polite dates is kind of funny, but the whole cock-blocking thing feels a little forced. Aw, and they could have done such great stuff with Lavona accidentally getting Murderface’s rotten seed instead of Nathan’s and having a horde of the ugliest babies in the world!
57. The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera
Brandon Small’s grand conclusion of Metalocalypse — as well as a seeming return to form, given Home Movies’ infamous Franz Kafka rock opera — doesn’t quite live up to its potential. Not only does the hour-long episode not really confront the concept of the Metalocalypse and the threat of Salacia, but its use of goofy rock songs over death metal gets a little annoying after a while. There’s only so much singing-what-you’re-doing one fan can take before they want something a little heavier. Kudos for the joke about jacking off on Bozo The Clown’s grave, though.
56. “Breakup Klok” (Season 4, Ep. 11)
You’d think an episode about Dethklok breaking up would be classic — but, bogged down in the lore of the show, this one is just depressing. Worst of all, the show’s big reveal scene about Salacia is hugely disappointing, and raises more questions than it answers. Like, why are Dethklok playing a typical show after all of their epic science-fiction concerts from previous seasons? How are the band shown as having unlimited firepower most of the time, and then, when attacked by an unholy force at their last concert, they…blow smoke in his face? A bummer of an episode that wastes the series’ big moment.
55. “Dethsiduals” (Season 3, Ep. 7)
“Dethsiduals” feels like Metalocalypse is taking a previous concept — that Toki and Murderface are useless and broke — and trying to push it to its limit. And while some of the episode’s jokes are pretty great, such as nu-metal band Get Thee Hence (voiced by Mastodon’s Brent Hinds, Troy Sanders, Brann Dailor — and Ace Frehley, of all people), none of them are true gems. It’s also one of the many later moments where they make Murderface’s negativity out to be a bad thing, even though it’s portrayed as part of the band’s appeal earlier on.
54. “The Revengencers” (Season 2, Ep. 12)
Fan-terrorists are bombing Duncan Hills Coffee locations, and Dethklok have a summer cold. This is pretty much the entirety of “The Revengencers,” which feels more like a plot-mover than a true part of the series as a whole. That said, it’s not a total bust — the band’s slow bleed-out is pretty fun, and the episode’s track “Pull the Plug” is excellent. That said, it’s just not a cartoon that really warrants repeated views.
53. “Church of the Black Klok” (Season 4, Ep. 12)
On the one hand, “Church of the Black Klok” is awesome because it reveals the prophecy behind the members of Dethklok, along with Ofdensen and Salacia. On the other, it’s a huge info dump that doesn’t exactly make a ton of sense, and its coupling with the funeral of Roy Cornickelson feels cluttered and weird. The whole Nathan apologizing storyline just doesn’t feel seeded enough, and the climax shifts everything away from this epic supernatural prophecy and onto the Revengencers plot. Bummer, we wanted more.
52. “Dethkomedy” (Season 1, Ep. 5)
The premise of “Dethkomedy” looks solid on paper — that Dethklok are trying to get into comedy as opposed to tragedy. And there are definitely funny moments here and there in the episode. However, most of the gags feel like inside jokes for comedians, and there’s never a laugh-out-loud moment. The one real takeaway is that to be funny, you’ve got to be full of hatred — something metalheads and comedians know all about.
51. “Bookklok” (Season 4, Ep. 5)
The very fact that Toki Wartooth’s tell-all book is titled Skwisgaar Is Ams Dick is enough to redeem this episode. Some of the other jokes are pretty great as well — Pickles and Nathan’s sly commentary on people pissing themselves, for example (“Skwisgaar…it appears that someone has peed your pants” gets us every time). Otherwise, it’s all a little aimless, and the whole defibrillator side-story feels super tacked-on. A decent commentary on tell-all books and fickle audiences, we’ll give it that.
50. “Fertilityklok” (Season 3, Ep. 6)
There’s actually a lot of solid material on sex and online dating in “Fertilityklok,” but we’re really just here for how hideous Toki’s lifemate is. The show does a good job of animating her as awkwardly gross, and her obsession with joyless sex — right down to the medicinal penis soap — is fucking brilliant. Otherwise, this is a weird and at times confusing episode about Skwisgaar banging more chicks than Murderface, which seems like a random storyline to write at all. And then you pull out your dick!
49. “Fanklok” (Season 4, Ep. 1)
Nathan has begun dating a fan, only to discover she…sucks off other dudes who look like him. This premise alone makes “Fanklok” kind of a outlier, and the side-plot of the other band members smoking cigarettes comes out of nowhere. There’s one saving moment, though: Klokkikon, the episode’s send-up of comic conventions, which features Dethklok furries and Skwisgaar/Toki hentai. Hey, man, that Rule 34’s a bitch.
48. “Fatherklok” (Season 3, Ep. 5)
When Skwisgaar decides to finally find his birth father, he…doesn’t? Not only that, but he ends the episode with another rock opera singalong as opposed to a rad death metal track, which became a frustrating tradition in Season 3 (we guess “Underwater Friends” landed well). That said, Skwisgaar’s panic at finding his mom getting double-teamed is some belly-laugh shit, and Pickles’ rage at his dad’s drunken comment, “You belong in a garbage can” is damn funny. Definitely mid-level material, if still a worthwhile watch.
47. “Dethkids” (Season 1, Ep. 15)
Sort of like the killer whale episode of South Park, “Dethkids” exists entirely for the big joke at the end. Otherwise, it’s a classic case of several storylines that don’t totally pan out. Pickles is drunk? Nathan’s reading Shakespeare? An attempt at recording Planet Piss? While Toki’s black metal persona is pretty funny, the episode just feels like it comes up short, and there’s no line from it that you drunkenly shout at your friends all the time. That said, what an ending.
46. “Rehabklok” (Season 3, Ep. 8)
“Flying hoverdrums all across Mozambique–who does that?” While the commentary on Pickles getting sober is funny at times, “Rehabklok” is a mixed bag. Once again, there could’ve been a cool death metal song during Pickles’ time in rehab, but instead there’s another rock opera track that feels designed to please fans of the show’s goofball nature rather than metalheads. Meanwhile, the introduction of the drum machine is funny — but then it sort of goes nowhere. A premise that feels like it would’ve benefited from the previous seasons’ 15-minute format.
45. “Dethsources” (Season 2, Ep. 14)
“Dethsources” is an example of a mixed episode with some incredible moments. The premise of the band hiring an outside consultant whose a disgusting badass never really pans out, and at times makes the viewer wonder if the show’s creators just wanted to find a way to get Brian Posehn involved somehow. That said, “The Gears” is one of Dethklok’s best songs, and the scene in which drum legend Gene Hoglan’s character learns that death, disease, and hazardous waste are all pretty fucking metal is iconic. Definitely worth a watch.
44. “Doublebookedklok” (Season 3, Ep. 10)
The culmination of Metalocalypse’s third season does something both smart and jarring: it steps outside of the bigger lore of the show, and instead gives fans a stand-alone story. While the plot doesn’t always make a load of sense — Toki’s hitting people? What? — it also provides some cool insight into the business behind Dethklok and how easily the band could end the world with their idiocy. What really makes the episode, though, is the finale, in which a massive hologram of the band perform “The Galaxy” and bring peace to the Middle East with the power of metal (and snow cones). That’s the scope we’re here for.
43. “Dethcamp” (Season 4, Ep. 7)
While the premise of Toki Wartooth attending a rock and roll fantasy camp is funny in its own right, the strength of “Dethcamp” is in the details. There’s the insight into Dethklok’s humble beginnings, including a tiny apartment with ‘MORDHAUS’ scrawled across the front and the Mustainian guitarist Toki replaced, Magnus Hammersmith. There’s Ludwig, the virtuosic bully who we’re pretty sure is one of Skwisgaar’s illegitimate children (check the hair). And then there’s Patton Oswalt’s expert narration which explains what rock fantasy camps teach you to be: “a pretend rock star” who might get a blowjob from their wife. A weird, funny episode, if not a true classic.
42. “Fat Kid at the Dethharmonic” (Season 1, Ep. 10)
“RELEASE…THE KITTIES.” That line alone cemented this episode as an important part of Metalocalypse, in that it helped coin Dethklok’s mixture of brutality and cuteness. Even better is that the group adopt a fat feral child for “charity,” only to chain him up in the yard. That said, the plot of this one’s a little out there, and where the whole adoption narrative came from is anyone’s guess. Enjoy this episode over a bucket of fuckins hankboigers.
41. “Dethrace” (Season 2, Ep. 11)
We all have a friend whose told us about their half-brained idea for a ‘NASCAR-Type Theatrical Hybrid Event,’ so Murderface’s poorly-organized racing event definitely feels genuine for metal fans. Meanwhile, his ‘BRUTAL PRESS MELTDOWN’ in this episode cracked us up, and Skwisgaar and Toki’s drivers’ ed movies are death metal incarnate. On the other hand, this episode’s plot feels haphazard, making it less cohesive and genius than previous installments. All that said, gotta love Murderface literally dragging his ass.
40. “Dethmas” (Season 3, Ep. 4)
Most Christmas specials end with the main characters learning the true reason for the season; Metalocalypse, however, takes the very metal approach of ending their holiday special on a shitty note. Murderface’s parade of failures, the drunken horniness of Dethklok’s irritating moms, and Dr. Rockso’s coke-fueled antics all lead to a violent, booze-addled, handjob-filled disaster — just like every family Christmas. It felt weird that Dethklok would do a Christmas episode, but watching it, we’re glad they did.
39. “Tributeklok” (Season 3, Ep. 2)
With a recession changing Americans’ lives in 2008, Brendon Small made the smart move of turning the public against Dethklok’s rich-guy bullshit. The lifted ban on Dethklok tribute bands results in the guys ofrming a tribute to themselves, complete with Toki as Skwisgaar, to get back to their roots. The episode also does a good job of pointing out how impossible it is to please every fan in the form of the kid yelling, “YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER” at both the band and their tribute act. Kind of deep, for an episode of Metalocalypse.
38. “Dethlessons” (Season 2, Ep. 2)
“Dethlessons” is an example of when a Metalocalypse subplot is better than its central premise. The theme of Toki trying to usurp Skwisgaar is never perfectly executed (and gets reused in Season 4’s “Bookklok”), but the running theme of Murderface teaching Pickles and Nathan the art of being a dick is excellent, and leads to some good rapid-fire jokes. A powerful tribute to the member of every band who don’ts dos nothin’ (and if you’re telling yourself that’s not you — it is, bud. Your band hates you. Even Mark. ESPECIALLY Mark).
37. “Dethclown” (Season 1, Ep. 17)
Doctor Rockzo quickly became one of Metalocalypse’s most popular characters following his appearance in “Birthday Dethday,” so it was only a matter of time before he got his own episode. The basic premise here is simple: he’s Doctor Rockzo. He does cocaine. This definitely provides some continued hilarity, especially in the form of the good Doctor’s music video, which was banned from MTV because you can see his junk through his jumpsuit. David Lee Roth, snort your heart out.
36. “Going Downklok” (Season 4, Ep. 9)
While Dethklok not liking to give women head is a baffling idea for an episode, the band being trapped in a submarine and going through jack-off madness is pretty spectacular. The scene in which the boys are chastised by their label head (“I am just incredibly saddened to find out you’ve been jacking off on the company dime!”) makes the entire thing worthwhile, but watching Nathan get jacked and Pickles become Gollum without masturbation is also killer. Extra props for the moment when Ofdensen, asked if he goes down on women, gives a firm, “Ah…no comment.”
35. “Renovationklok” (Season 3, Ep. 1)
The first installment of Metalocalypse’s 30-minute-episode season sees the band spending money like assholes and trying to renovate their own home. But while Dethklok’s insane spending and the resurrection of Ofdensen are cool, this one blows its wad early with its flashback to the day Dethklok signed their record deal, complete with an asshole record exec asking Nathan, “What sort of music do you play?” to which the frontman replies “DEATH METAL” and breaks the dude’s fucking nose. Funny at times, but definitely feels like a show adjusting to its new format.
34. “Girlfriendklok” (Season 1, Episode 18)
When Nathan Explosion gets a celebrity girlfriend, the rest of the band find him thoroughly whipped — and when it keeps them from attending the United States Pornography Awards, they take matters into their own hands. “Girlfriendklok” does an excellent job of depicting the total brutality of love, including the confusion that comes from being unable to break up with someone who’s bad for you. That said, it’s the band’s utter despair at missing the USPAs that makes the episode; Pickles saying, “I…want to die…” is perfect. An episode that delivers on its premise.
33. “Dethstars” (Season 1, Ep. 19)
Dethklok go full KISS as they try to make a movie, only to discover that they’re terrible actors. The episode is a great send-up of how terrible musicians usually are in their own films, down to Skwisgaar having to be dubbed so anyone can understand him. But it wouldn’t be classic Metalocalypse without a great metal Easter egg, which comes in the form of the fat asshole studio exec being named Grishnackh, a reference to Burzum frontman and noted pissant Varg Vikernes. A great premise with some solid moments, but maybe not a repeat-view episode overall.
32. “Black Fire Upon Us” (Season 2, Ep. 19)
The first half-hour episode of Metalocalypse sees the band releasing their new album and bringing together the various storylines of Season 2…though if we’re being honest, it’s mostly about the band trying to suck their own you-know-whats. That said, Small and Co. do an exceptional job at culminating the show’s brilliant second round, down to Toki getting way too day-drunk because of all the crazy shit he’s been through. The whole thing is tied together with one of the more dynamic sci-fi performance sequences in the show’s history. Oh, and before you ask, Pickles does it.
31. “Skwisklok” (Season 1, Ep. 11)
Skwisgaar decides he’s going to host a guitar masterclass, but there’s a big problem: no zazz. The result is a whirlwind of insane sponsorship deals, a terrible lack of dragons, and an allergic reaction to cilantro that makes this one of the show’s more memorable episodes. Perhaps the best moment comes when Skwisgaar gets caught crying, and excuses his bloodshot eyes by explaining he’s “totally high.” A look inside the fragility of lead guitarists, something every metal musician knows a thing or two about.
30. “Cleanzo” (Season 2, Ep. 6)
Dr. Rockzo hits rockzo bottom, and Toki has to help him quit the drugs. To get him back on his feet, Wartooth uses the promise of ice cream and hookers to lure him into an intervention. It’s here that the episode’s true potential comes out, with Nathan reading perhaps the worst intervention letter of all time and Murferface trying his hand as a solo songwriter with the heartfelt ballad “Titty Fish.” While Rockzo can be pretty damn irritating — that’s sort of the point — this episode does a good job at taking the piss out of him.
29. “Snakes N’ Barrels II” (Season 2, Ep. 16 – 17)
The two-part episode about Pickles’ old band getting sober and returning without him is mostly unforgettable because of its guest star. Faith No More’s Mike Patton does an amazing job as Rikki Kixx, the sobriety-pushing vocalist of Snakes N’ Barrels’ boring new incarnation and a stand-in for every rocker trying to pretend like being straightedge is super fun. That, plus Nathan’s response to forced concert sobriety and the shithead every metalhead knows who ruins the show for Toki, make this an episode that feels deeply relatable. Death to sobriety!
28. “Go Forth and Die” (Season 1, Ep. 13)
Nathan, plagued by visions of his whole band being eaten by blackbirds, realizes he’s too stupid to have a back-up plan and has to get his GED. As such, “Go Forth and Die” is an episode all about the show’s central conceit: that somehow a bunch of dumbass metalheads became the most famous people on earth. The whole thing comes to a head when Explosion gives the commencement speech at Harvard, and acknowledges the show’s other main lesson — that we’re all going to die. Stars and ends with an incredible ‘title track.’
27. “Dethrecord” (Season 2, Ep. 18)
“Dethrecord” contains both a lot of great insider musician jokes and some classic all-purpose material. Pickles trying to record drums while everyone dicks around and gives advice, Skwisgaar having to jump out of a plane to get the right tone, Nathan trying to lay down vocals in a suit of armor — what musician hasn’t been there, in one way or another? That said, the best part is easily “Takin’ It Easy,” the complete and utter disaster that Toki and Murderface write in an attempt to make more money. Anyone who’s ever been stuck in the studio dreaming of suicide will crack themselves up with this one.
26. “Dethzazz” (Season 3, Ep. 9)
“Dory McLean, and she only fourteen/Gonna suck it all night, she’s a sweet suckin’ queen…” These are the lyrics of Dr. Rockzo’s timeless song to his lost love, who was in fact fourteen when he penned them. A hilarious send-up of hair metal reunions, the attempted reinvigoration of Rockso’s old band Zazz Blammymatazz is spot on, right down to the power ballad about an underage girl (looking at you, Winger!). Of course, what truly makes the episode is the final scene when Dory shows up all these years later…and Rockzo greets her with a resounding, “Ka-ka-ka-DAMN, you got OLD!” Wholesome family television.
25. “Prankklok” (Season 4, Ep. 3)
The title of “Prankklok” suggests that the episode’s main focus is the unnecessary prank call storyline between Murderface, Toki, and Skwisgaar. But what it’s really about is Nathan and Pickles’ Friender Bender, in which they go around the world getting wasted (“Italy. Fuckin’ grappa. Art, boo, who gives a shit.”), and Nathan’s tequila-fueled destruction of the album (Nathan’s relationship with tequila is brilliant–we all have that friend who can’t handle one specific type of liquor). The art is also gorgeous, between the sinking ships carrying Dethklok’s new album and the spiral chamber in which the liquid master is kept. An example of the series’ comedic and dramatic sides coming together just right.
24. “Dethgov” (Season 2, Ep. 10)
Somehow, “Dethgov” feels more relevant now than it did upon being released in 2008. Nathan explosion becomes the governor of Florida after the previous governor denies him a national holiday and is torn to shreds by rabid fans. In return, he metallicizes the state government, leaving it unprepared for a hurricane he dubs Scrambles the Death Dealer. An example of Metalocalypse fully embracing their characters’ scope — and an affirmation of the total shithole that is the Sunshine State.
23. “Mordland” (Season 1, Ep. 9)
If there’s anything more brutal and disgusting than death metal, it’s death metal fans. “Mordland” invites Dethklok’s massive, rabid fanbase into the band’s home, so they can witness such wonders as Pickles overflowing a toilet, Nathan getting a liver transplant, and Skwisgaar, uh, practicing some more (shout out to the first appearance of Skwisgaar’s recurring booty call). The episode also offers a solid dig at metal Internet culture with the Jomfru Brothers, bloggers trying to extort money out of Dethklok. Also features one of the best Dethklok songs of all time, in which they rail against their own fans with lyrics like, “You masturbate on the sheets your mother cleans for you.” Pure gold.
22. “Motherklok” (Season 4, Ep. 4)
Though seemingly an extension of “Dethfam,” “Motherklok” is a hilarious rip on how many metal bands have conquered the world — only to have their moms ask them when they’re getting a real job. Pickles the Realtor is great, but maybe more interesting is how the episode addresses Dethklok’s sheer size, with Nathan getting booed off the stage because his destruction of the band’s new album has destroyed the world economy. Honestly, though Pickles’ mom’s face when he tells her to go fuck herself is why the episode ranks so high.
21. “Dethvanity” (Season 4, Ep. 8)
The premise of ‘Could Murderface be handsome?’ is already cool, but the ensuing episode surpasses even our wildest fantasies. The bassist’s trip to Mexico for budget plastic surgery gets us every time, as does his fantasy of handsomeness, the actual results of the operation, and Dethklok’s appearances while they attempt to combat the effects of age. The winner here, though, is the presentation on cosmetic surgery by specialist Dr. Alsajahb Fifborgiltk (voiced by Andy Richter), who delivers the line, “The average man, after a cosmetic procedure, will end up looking like a woman, a large game animal, an alien, even a children’s puppet.”
20. “Snakes N’ Barrels” (Season 1, Ep. 8)
With “Snakes N’ Barrels,” the guys behind Metalocalypse really began to show the depth of the series and its characters. That Pickles was basically Axl Rose before discovering death metal is brilliant (and formerly being guitarist-frontman adds a multi-instrumentalist aspect to him), while Dethklok’s weird emotional reaction to his reuniting with his old band adds new layers to their personalities (also gotta love the lore presented by Skwisgaar’s endless former band list, including such gems as Fuckface Academy, Financially Rape, and Gogmog Mug Alugdug). It all goes down smooth with a hit of Totally Sweet Awesome Alabama Liquid Snake.
19. “Dethecution” (Season 2, Ep. 1)
The premiere of Metalocalypse’s second season goes all in on everything we love about the show — epic concerts, unspeakable violence, and really stupid merch ideas. The concept of Dethklok getting to commit an act of mass capitol punishment is amazing; that they do so by attaching prisoners to rockets and blowing them up from atop a giant spider module is pure genius. The whole thing being ruined by a spurt of mace from a codpiece mace belt brings the entire ridiculous enterprise together. One of the more entertaining and on-brand episodes in the show’s entire run.
18. “Religionklok” (Season 1, Ep. 16)
“Religionklok” is as close to direct social commentary as Dethklok gets, but man, it fucking rules. Murderface’s attempt to become religious results in awesome, ultraviolent send-ups of everything from Christian rock to devout atheism. The episode wouldn’t be metal if it didn’t bring in the Satanists, though, but rather than portray them as badass soldiers of darkness, the show makes a point of showing off just how silly organized devil worship really is (as well as its appeal — when Toki wants Rachel Ray to die, the high satanic priest bids Satan to do so, leading him to mutter, “That’s cool”). All of this leads Murderface to posit the most important question anyone with religious leanings can ask themselves: are there any bars around here?
17. “PerformanceKlok” (Season 1, Ep. 7)
Dethklok go full Metallica when an onstage fight forces them into band therapy. This leaves them in the hands of Dr. John Twinkletits (pronounced ‘twin-KLET-ets’), a name so amazing that it automatically earns this episode its place in the Top 20. However, the band’s lust for psychological fulfillment in the form of banana stickers, and the animated sequence depicting Murderface’s father dismembering his mom and then himself with a chainsaw, make “PerformanceKlok” one of the series’ most necessary viewings. Let’s rock talk.
16. “Writersklok” (Season 4, Ep. 6)
Wasting too much time eating imported breakfasts and partying with sluts, Dethklok are given a new producer (voiced by Jeneane Garofalo) who sends them to fend for themselves in the Middle East — where they’re mistaken for women and forced to play for a misogynistic sultan (Jon Hamm, crazily enough), lest they have to suck his dick. Questionable political connotations aside, “Writersklok” does a great job of showing the rifts growing between the members of Dethklok, and contains easily one of the top three music video sequences of the entire show with the band’s performance of “Andromeda.” The icing on the cake is Dick Knubler’s seduction technique, where he brings up “something that fits real nice into a…hooot dooog buuun…” Truly repulsive.
15. “The Curse of Dethklok” (Season 1, Ep. 1)
We all knew this show was going to be a classic the minute that concert cube landed in the wrong spot. The episode that introduced Metalocalypse to the world, “The Curse of Dethklok” remains one of the show’s best. This one has it all: unspeakable violence, bandmates talking over each other, metal Easter egg store signs, and of course a massive performance of a song about coffee. What could’ve easily been a baffling experiment for Adult Swim became, in this single fifteen-minute period, a musical institution, shoving extreme metal culture under the nose of the rest of the world so they could smell its BO.
14. “Murdering Outside The Box” (Season 1, Ep. 12)
“I love being motivated! I LOVE BEING MOTIVATED!” Dethklok’s Employee Conference and Raffle offers a look into both the band’s drunken excess and the plots against them by the government. From Pickles being too blotto to buy a cinnamon bun chain to death by diamond-encrusted codpiece, the episode brings all the gory, elaborate mayhem that the show became famous for. It also does a solid job of illustrating its central thesis — what if death metal was applied to everyday parts of life, like work? Extra points for the Klokateer answering his survey question in Skwisgaar-ese.
13. “Dethdad” (Season 2, Ep. 15)
When Toki’s dad has cancer, the band go to Norway, only to find out it’s not brutal, at all. Unafraid to skewer even metal’s most mysterious subgenre, “Dethdad” does an amazing job of going after black metal, between the adorable widdle fan in the street to the Nattefrost-esque guy who runs the first black metal shop and hates his own band the minute someone else likes it. But the real reason we’re here is for when Toki’s dad breaks through some ice and Toki watches him die, screaming, “Aw, he slips into the darkness!” Just try to watch that scene without laughing so hard you pee a little.
12. “Dethdoubles” (Season 2, Ep. 4)
In a perfect illustration of Dethklok’s role as massive political figures, they’re given doubles to take on some of their public appearances, and, of course, get assassinated in their place. This obviously becomes a problem when the band get too attached to them because they’re “not allowed to have friends,” and waste everyone’s time paling around with their Me’s. A perfectly rounded episode, “Dethdoubles” has a bunch of hilarious dialogue, but more than anything works because you spend the whole time looking between Dethklok and their doubles and thinking about how the rest of the world sees the band (the doubles, incidentally, voiced by members of Dimmu Borgir). The lunch scene between the guys and their mutilated doubles at the end is sheer genius.
11. “Bluesklok” (Season 1, Ep. 14)
As far as first-season storylines go, a death metal band trying to learn the ways of the blues might sound a little random, but Metalocalypse pulled it off with gusto. The episode does a great job of referencing both metal’s bluesy origins and both genres’ shared love of violence and devilry (and trains?). Not only that, but “Bluesklok” also contains arguably the best guest voice actor in the show’s whole run: King Diamond as the Blues Devil, whose contractual skills are no match for those a band who will do anything not to leave money on the table. It’s a shame that the song spawned by this episode, “Murder Train A-Coming,” is a bonus track you can’t find on Spotify, as it’s one of Dethklok’s best.
10. “Dethhealth” (Season 3, Ep. 3)
The death of millions of fans is one thing, but their own? “Dethhealth” shows how, for all their morbidity, Dethklok are terrified of dying, to the point where they replace the word ‘death’ with ‘Hamburger Time.’ The band’s complete paralysis in the face of their own declining health is priceless, as are their solutions to the problem, such as drinking bleach or getting a tooth drilled done with no anesthesia. For everyone out there whose toughness and brutality is tempered by a bone-deep fear of the dentist, this episode is super relatable. Bing bang boom, hair out, hamburger time.
9. “Dethfam” (Season 1, Ep. 6)
When confronted with every rock star’s worst nightmare — having to deal with their families — Dethklok lose it, and pure hilarity ensues. The bandmates’ reactions to seeing their parents once again is priceless (“The fact that my parents had sex in order to create me…makes me want to be buried alive”), but also gets at the weird, deep-seated hang-ups everyone has with their own families (“I just can’t stand to see her chew! I just locked in on it!”). Of course, it ends on a note that drives home the episode’s entire thesis: there is nothing more brutal and horrible in this world than being a family.
8. “Dethcarraldo” (Season 2, Ep. 9)
Turns out that Nathan is one-quarter Yaneemango, a cannibal tribe from the Amazon, so the band plan a trip upriver. The adventure quickly becomes a tribute to both Werner Herzog and Cannibal Holocaust, with Murderface getting a parasitic fish up his urethra and the band trying a strange ritualistic drug named Yopo after being captured (in Pickles’ immortal words, “If we’re gonna die, we’re gonna die high!”). Not only is the episode remarkable due to its sheer originality, but it contains one of the show’s most memorable lines in Skwisgaar and Toki shouting “Stop copies me!” at each other, and its music video sequence for “Bloodlines” is absolutely breathtaking. Super unconventional, incredibly rad.
7. “Dethtroll” (Season 1, Ep. 4)
Being the nation with the most metal bands per square capita, Finland deserved its own episode of Metalocalypse, and boy did it get one. In an attempt to apologize for nearly destroying the country during their last tour, Dethklok accidentally awaken a lake troll that, uh, threatens to destroy the country. That Dethklok are then forced to play acoustic instruments points out both metal’s tendency toward Scandinavian folk and its aversion to performing without distortion. This one’s notable because it contains a character voiced by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and features the first time the band interact with their manager Charles Foster Ofdensen, who at this point is still worried about being murdered by them.
6. “Dethvengeance” (Season 2, Ep. 3)
There’s digital, and then there’s analog, and then there’s fucking water. In “Dethvengeance,” Dethklok change recording technology as we know it when their duo of goofy-ass scientists figure out how to record music to water. Besides the massive sci-fi scope of the world-killing machine that allows the band to do this, the episode includes a bunch of small jokes that fans’ll find themselves reciting for years to come, like Dethklok’s deaf commentary on their own music and the invention of electronic STD radar-navigational dildo helmets (“You can’ts be toos careful”). All of this is tied together with ttheir performance of “Burn The Earth,” easily one of the show’s best musical sequences. Burn it on water!
5. “The Metalocalypse Has Begun” (Season 1, Ep. 20)
By the end of Season 1, Metalocalypse had really come into its own, embracing the sheer size of its fictional band and the role metal would play in the show’s universe. The closing episode brought together the storylines of the previous 19 with Dethkok’s performance in the Gulf of Danzig, with a cinematic matching of animation and music — the epic and genre-bending “Go Into The Water” — that’ll give audiences goosebumps to this day. It also excellently expanded the show’s lore, with Salacia teasing viewers with the epic reveal to come (that was, sadly, disappointing) and showcasing Ofdensen’s true badassery. There may not be a better line in the show than Dethklok’s manager saying to their would-be killer, “That’s my bread and butter you’re fucking with.”
4. “Dethfashion” (Season 5, Ep. 2)
Excellent German news, everyone. Dethklok’s new clothing line runs into a serious setback: their own fat asses. The band’s body shaming at the hands of designer Eric von Wiechlinghammer (Emperor’s Ihsahn) leads them into the dark world of dieting, and, in Murderface’s case, bulimia. While the episode’s depiction of the hideous monstrosity that is the fashion industry is phenomenal — von Wiechlinghammer is one of the show’s best single-episode characters — even better is Murderface’s homophobic inability to eat any food shaped like a dick. The installment is quickly elevated by one of the show’s most perfect moments, when it’s revealed where Eric gets his “special…leathaaaaaa.”
3. “Happy Dethday” (Season 1, Ep. 3)
“GOD, e-vites…” For all of us metalheads tired of singing “Happy Birthday,” Brendon Small wrote the perfect new anthem in honor of William Murderface’s birth. Before that, the episode is a mind-blowing marathon of memorable moments, including Murderface playing bass with his dick, Skwisgaar’s deep-seated hatred of the Dutch (and his inability to tell them from the Danish), and most importantly, the first appearance of Dr. Rockzo, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Clown, who does cocaine. As ridiculous as it is awesome, “Happy Dethday” shows how Murderface’s negativity and shittiness was once celebrated in the show, casting aspersions on metal that Small perhaps later regretted. Big props if you get the Deep Purple reference towards the end.
2. “Dethwedding” (Season 2, Ep. 7)
As expert Dr. Milminaman Lanilim-Swimwamly puts it, the American wedding is a dark and fearful sham. So when Pickles’ brother gets married to a stripper he knocked up, the rest of the band get to watch him go through family hell while getting hammered and laughing their asses off. While “Dethwedding” does a great job of ripping on both weddings in general and the American Midwest (“A bunch of Swedes cames here over 200 years ago and gots fats and ugly…I loves it”), it’s their depiction of watching someone’s family drive them insane and turn them into a grown child that’s truly beautiful. We’ve never seen so much blood at a wedding. Awesome.
1. “Dethwater” (Season 1, Ep. 2)
From the opening music video for the epic “Thunderhorse” to the release of the band’s fish-only record, “Dethwater” is everything you could possibly want from an episode of Metalocalypse. Dethklok’s dedication to true heaviness is evidenced by their decision to record their new album in the deepest, darkest place on ocean, while their decadence and fractious behavior goes on full display as Murderface gluts himself on baked beans and Pickles causes a toxic radiation leak. The episode also contains a number of important firsts for the series — the first appearance of producer Dick Knubler, the first cute Toki Wartooth singalong song (gotta love “Underwater Friends”), the first record that Nathan destroys because it’s not brutal enough, and the very first appearance of Ofdensen. Immediately, the episode became a standard which all others had to live up to, and endeared both metalheads and casual fans to a cartoon about a death metal act trying to take over the world.
Words by Chris Krovatin