|Brendon Small and Gene Hoglan proved their animated death metal band Dethklok had the chops to rock out like a living, breathing group on THE DETHALBUM. On DETHALBUM II, Small and Hoglan make Dethklok sound more like a real band than ever before--for better and worse. Without a doubt, these songs rock hard. The production is tighter and the attack is even heavier than it was on the first album, but surprisingly, that ends up being a slight weakness rather than a strength. What made THE DETHALBUM special was that the songs were funny, but not jokey; tried and true metal fans could appreciate the humor that was mixed into the heaviness, while the wit drew in metal neophytes. But on DETHALBUM II, Small and Hoglan have gotten so good at lovingly embodying metal clich?s that the songs aren't as overtly funny or catchy as they were on the first album. Some tracks are almost indistinguishable from music by a genuine death metal band (to casual listeners, anyway). With DETHALBUM II, it feels like Small and Hoglan are courting metal fans first--and with several successful tours under Dethklok's animated belts, they certainly have the support to do that. Even if this album has a slightly more selective appeal, die-hard metal and Metalocalypse fans will still gladly sign pain waivers to hear it.