Album Review: Brendon Small – Galaktikon II: Become The Storm

By Rosie Walker

In 2006, the animated show Metalocalypse debuted on Adult Swim and metalheads around the world rejoiced. Creator Brendon Small made the show about a famous death metal band, Dethklok, and all their random adventures. It was a successful show that made everyone laugh and head-bang. In 2007, Brendon released, ‘The Dethalbum’, a record that complied all the bits of songs from the show and made them full-length. With Metalocalypse’s popularity, the album reach #21 on the Billboard 200 chart. ‘Dethalbum II’, Brendon’s second record, reached #15 on the chart in 2009, making it the highest charting death metal album in history. Brendan’s genius made metal mainstream and funny, but even after the show ended in 2013, he still makes metal today. On August 25, he is releasing ‘Galaktikon II’, his follow-up to ‘Galaktikon’, his debut solo record that came out in 2012. Brendon takes his creative weirdness and meshes the brutality of Dethklok with more melody and rock elements. On this new album, Brendon says… “all bets are off”. He takes his intergalactic themes to a whole new level by creating a series of outer space stories. He is in fact, making an anthology of aliens sound metal.

Opening track ‘Some Days Are For Dying’ is a flame that flickers and builds, burning to the point of savage speed and shred. Brendon’s gripping gutturals grasp the listener with his unique ability to tell a story. When you hit the chorus, it’s like walking into a Queen song. The layers of vocals and their harmonization is refreshingly unique for a heavy metal album. Brendon really explores his singing capacity on this record, and ‘The Agenda’ is a juicy number that shows off his vocal varieties. His cleans have a lot of reverb, creating an ambient, almost ethereal feel on top of the heavy instrumental work.

The longest song on this 11-track album, ‘The Ocean Galaktik’, really paints an exciting picture of rumbling riffs that roar with a confident fieriness and grungy vocals. Bassist Bryan Beller adds intensity to every song with his passionate ability to anchor each movement with his groove, melody, and finesse. The guitar hooks catch and sink you deep into the space stories that Brandon has conjured. So many dynamics and interesting twists mixed in with the typical yet well-developed heaviness is entertaining and appreciated. Brendon said the album has melody where it matters, and the choruses on this epic number has a real ’80s, happy-go-lucky feel with its major chord melodies. Much like Devin Townsend, Brendon knows how to take some extreme sounding material and make it light hearted.

Also like Devin, Brendon loves to get dramatic and whimsical. ‘Become The Storm’ brews up a squall that takes his eccentric imagination and shapes it into such a massive, theatrical-sounding piece. The generous, but delicate use of electronics is mesmerizing and fitting. The numbe, ‘Could This Be The End’ sounds like Metallica meets The Beach Boys. There’s a real bite and smooth speed to it. The mighty Gene Holgan shines with his classic, hard-hitting technique on the drums by sculpting the songs with such a vicious groove. The last 3 tracks are the heaviest on the album. ‘To Kill A God’, has an amusing militant vibe and aggressive sound making the number stick out. The last song, ‘Rebuilding A Planet’, is an instrumental track that ends the album in a stimulating, memorable way.

You hear a lot of Dethklok on this record, but Brendon’s love of ’80s rock and classic metal really is apparent in each song. ‘Galaktikon II’ is more melodic, exaggerated, and dramatic than a lot of his previous work. How Brandon duels his growls with his unique guitar techniques is captivating and special. He compels his listeners with that signature distorted twang and riffing that never gets old. There is not a dull moment on this record, and every fan of his needs to add this record to their collection right away.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Record Label: Megaforce
Release Date: August 25th 2017

Track Listing:
01. Some Days Are For Dying (4:37)
02. Icarus Six Sixty Six (3:53)
03. The Agenda (4:00)
04. The Ocean Galaktik (8:24)
05. My Name Is Murder (3:36)
06. Become The Storm (5:17)
07. Nightmare (4:29)
08. Could This Be The End (6:00)
09. To Kill A God (4:42)
10. Exitus (4:37)
11. Rebuilding A Planet (6:06)

Total Duration: 55:41

Galaktikon links: website | facebook | twitter | instagram