With Chimaira and Soilent Green. Thursday, July 19, at House of Blues.

Dethklok metal cartoon

Dethklok started out as a joke and became the biggest death-metal band in the history of Billboard's album chart. Cartoon Network's Metalocalypse launched in 2006 with a simple but esoteric premise: What if the planet's most popular band was an extreme-metal group that actually lived in a world filled with the guts and gore that the genre's musicians (usually) only sing about? And what if it had fanatical legions of fans who lived — and literally died — for it? The show became an instant cult hit. Creator Brendon Small recruited legendary California drummer Gene Hoglan (who plays in Jason Popson's locally based Pitch Black Forecast) to help make Dethklok's music, an oddly catchy mix of thrash, Cookie Monster growls, and lovingly satirical lyrics. The show spawned a soundtrack, The Dethalbum, which sold more than 130,000 copies. Dethklok's now on the road, performing in the shadows as cartoon images unspool on a giant screen in front of the stage. "It pokes fun at metal from a fun way, because everybody involved in the show are fans of metal," says Hoglan. "I'd suggest that everybody come check it out, even if you don't like the [TV] show. The music is killer."

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