The heroes of Metalocalypse came to life at the Fillmore in Detroit. Ramming the riffs with Machine Head, Black Dahlia Murder and All That Remains, the pounding bass beats could be felt within the chest. A moshing good time, a creeping sense of doom lingered in the air.
Back Dahlia Murder lured in the crowd with their pounding riffs and dark melodies. People with various metal shirts rush to the front of the main floor. The ambiance of the Fillmore in Detroit may harken back to another era, with its stately knights and massive crystal chandeliers, but the Black Dahlia Murder creeps in with a panic akin to being chased through the dark forest by an unseen being that you know does not have good intentions.
Machine Head floods in with blinding lights, like a beacon from a lighthouse in a foggy night on the ocean, but these guys are the band on tour that has been banned from playing Disney venues. “Halo” is one of the songs that got them on the banned list, along with their “undesirable fans.” The band revels in the status, telling fans they should embrace their given title, wear it like a badge of honor on their sleeve, and slam their heads til their necks hurt.
Creepy images illuminate, ranging from an eerie locust-like insect to a skeleton figure that looks like the Angel of Death. Demons pull a crowd of followers – their hands held high, like they are eager to merely touch the demonic presence; green glowing lights, like from a nuclear explosion, gleam in the blackness. Members of the audience help add to the smoke, but not with cigarettes; the smell of burning jays wafts through the thinning oxygen.
Dim oval lights, with what looks like a spider web in iron, hovers over the bar, and the stone faces on the wall watch the crowd. Machine Head slows to an occultist growl, then pounds a growing beat that threatens to take over lost souls, and you almost fear that the looming knight might drop his sharp ax onto unsuspecting people for a quick beheading. People chant and scream, “Machine-fucking-head!”
All That Remains blazes the stage with images that almost look like a burning celluloid, a film burning in the reels of a theatre, and the theatre style seating only adds to the effect, making you paranoid that the whole place could go up in smoke. Red, orange and yellow lights, with flames licking the LED screen behind the band, colors echoing off the screen, imprinted on the walls. Sweat drips off bodies.
Fears are cooled with hues of blue like ice, cooling people like a gulp of water. Fists pump as the former lead singer of Shadow’s Fall belts out an expanded range, singing amongst the screams. The female bassist is refreshing, as it’s always nice to see women in metal that can belt out a blood curdling scream just as well as any guy.
Electrifying images amidst two 55-gallon drums spewing light like a bum fire, Phil challenges people to “Become the Catalyst.” Guns crossed, rifles under a skeleton, a new age jolly roger, the band sparks an eager crowd, who bangs their heads and opens up the circle for a mosh pit. Griffins guard amongst fleur des lis on the ceilings, and purple hues like cyanide slowing the beat like the poison in the blood stream, lessening the heart rate, but it’s only momentary, as the slamming beat builds momentum like a storm rolling in, a maelstrom.
The lines of reality and fiction blur, as the animation plays with the band Dethklok. Chinese stars illuminate the stage. One screen, sexy mermaid killers spill blood.
An aborted fetus of a mermaid sawed in half, as they rattle off a list of weapons. The band is not illuminated, only the cartoon is real, and the gore is heightened beyond the level of any horror movie, as anything is possible with graphics. Imagination is the limit, as horrific as the wildest of dreams.
An 80’s glam rocker clown makes the crowd scream “cocaine,” “dildos,” “booze,” and “boners.” People clap, eager to repeat anything the clown has to say. The cartoon character begs for cash, jewels, stocks, momma’s purse, just one of the many hilarious antics included within the animated show.
Murderface is bulimic, and the band assures they don’t care what size he is, because they’re too worried about themselves. The institute of Learned Learning has a multitude of classes, including blow jobs. While the cartoon plays, henchmen lurk around stage and setup, wearing the triangular black masks, like they’re ready to run the guillotine.
Flashing colors of the stage-sized screen flicker through the chandeliers. Skull coffee mugs and teddy bears flash on screen, and thoughts creep in, wondering if the band really is holding back the evil forces trying to take over the world. The armed knights next to the stage seem fitting, like this should could only be held here at the Fillmore.
The stage floats with foggy mist, like on a scary night of a storm. Bondage on screen with purple lights, sunflower-like fish scaled glass circle above the balcony seems a shattering entrance for a spaceship. Instead of long black hair, the lead singer sports a neatly-shaved do.
“Maybe you missed Metallica; they played at four o’ clock.” The lead singer goes through the barrage of voices from the characters of the cartoon, and with the silhouette in red lights, you feel that the characters are alive and kicking. It’s amazing he can do voices after so much screaming.
He promotes their new album, “Crush the Industry.” Dethklok is not just pretty voices, but they’re actually musically talented with escalating crescendos that embody impending doom. Their emblem is supported by tribal that drips like blood with two axes on the sides where the tribal flares up; the center is like a puckered anus dripping semen.
Henchmen march with flashlights on stage like early Mushroomhead, only synchronized like soldiers. The show bends the perception of reality, bringing cartoons to life. Metalocalypse is on Adult Swim.
Marisa Williams is the author of 100 books. She earned her Master’s in Writing at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. For more on Marisa, visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/thorisaz and www.wix.com/thorisaz/photography.