Brendon Small, ‘Galaktikon II: Become the Storm’ – Album Review
Many metal fans were saddened to see the demise of the animated series Metalocalypse that aired for several years on Adult Swim. The show featured the exploits of the band Dethklok, who released four albums. In the aftermath, Brendon Small, creator and mastermind behind the project, recorded an album as Galaktikon back in 2012 with the same lineup as the Dethklok albums (Small on vocals/guitar, drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Bryan Beller).
Ten years after the first Dethklok album and five years after Galaktikon's debut, Small and company return with Galaktikon II: Become the Storm. It's a concept album, and Small co-produced it with Ulrich Wild, who also worked on the Dethklok records.
“This record is a combination of all the sounds I've been making throughout my creative life,” says Small. “It's as heavy as I want it to be and melodic as I want it to be – it's the bigger, darker record I wanted to hear. And what a way to celebrate my 10-year anniversary of making metal with Gene, Bryan and Ulrich, some of the best in the industry. I'm excited to have it live inside listeners’ heads and let their imaginations take over!”
The album features plenty of traditional death metal with growling vocals that Dethklok and Galaktikon fans are familiar with, but they stretch beyond that on several tracks. Songs like “Icarus Six Sixty Six” are meat and potatoes death metal, while “The Agenda” is very melodic and catchy with clean vocals mixed in with the growls.
“The Ocean Galaktik” is the most epic song on the album, in both length and scope. The nearly eight-minute track has a cinematic feel that at times sounds like a Queen song. That's contrasted by the brutal and concise “My Name Is Murder.” Small did an excellent job with the sequencing of the album, separating similar sounding songs and making it an immersive album instead of just a collection of songs.
Small utilizes a lot of clean vocals on the disc, and sings with surprising power on some songs while moderating it a bit on others. His growls range from guttural barks to more of a sing-song style. Hoglan is one of the best in the business behind the kit, and Beller is also an extremely talented musician who has played with artists ranging from Dweezil Zappa to Steve Vai.
They all get a chance to show their musical chops on the instrumental album closer “Rebuilding a Planet.” A couple of minutes could have easily been edited out, but it's an effective way to close the proceedings, and leaving the door wide open for a sequel.
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