Live Review + Photo Gallery: Dethklok, DragonForce & Nekrogoblikon – Roseland Theater – Portland, Oregon 2024.05.03

By Anthony Moore

This past Friday at the Roseland Theater was show full of fantasy, bringing together Goblins, Dragons and the most brutal death metal band in animation. For the unfamiliar, I am referring to the metal performances of Nekrogoblikon, DragonForce and Dethklok, the latter originating from the Adult Swim show Metalocalypse. Metalocalypse was a show created in 2006 by creator Brendon Small, it follows the brutal and macabre lives of the members of fictional death metal band, Dethklok. The band would evolve beyond the show, including 5 full length albums and tours over the past 16 years. This spring the band toured through out North America for the “Mutilation On A Spring Night” tour wrapping up this past Friday in Portland, Oregon.

Opening the night was Nekrogoblikon the American metal band whose music revolves around the fantasy of goblins. New lead vocalist Dickie Allen provides harsh metal screams, while John Goblikon blends in clean vocals through out their songs. Mr Goblikon appearance may frighten those who have never seen a goblin in real life, he quickly warms the crowd with his energetic dancing acting as a hype man for the band when he’s not singing. The heavy riffs and energy got the audience pumped up and all nice and warmed up for the evening – a perfect opener for the night.

Photos by Anthony Moore

As DragonForce stage was being prepared I was informed by a stage hand that unfortunately due the smaller footprint of the Roseland Theater’s stage, there would be no actual dragons tonight. With this DragonForce would still not disappoint. With two large arcade machines positioned on either side of the stage, these would act as raised platforms for the various guitarists of Dragonforce.

As the name may hint at, DragonForce songs dip into the whimsy and the fantasy, like a modern day Dio with a bit of nerd culture mixed in. The arcade machines were not the only bit for the gamers as they pay homage to the Super Nintendo classic, Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with the song “Power of the Triforce”. Vocalist Marc Hudson introduced the song by throwing a large plush chicken into the crowd – chickens being a staple of the Zelda games since the Super Nintendo release. Guitarist Herman Li is famous for his ability to shred and anyone who knew someone who played Guitar Hero in the early 2000’s, you’ve likely heard of the song your friend bragged about beating on expert mode “Through the Fire and Flames”. The popularity of the song through the video game was referenced before the band performed the song to close out their set. Li’s ability is jaw dropping on the intro and through out the song to say the least is something to behold live. I have seen DragonForce several times over the years, it’s always a pleasure and an escape into the fantasy to stories of their songs tell.

By the time it came for Dethklok to take the stage there was not an area of the theater that wasn’t packed with fans anxiously awaiting for their faces to be melted off. The lights came down, the crowd roared in excitement as animations started to play on the giant video board positioned on stage. With flashes of animations the crowd grew loud only for Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” to play through the speaker. The tease was for the movie Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar that was release last summer. With fun being had all night, the crowd laughed it off and soon the actual Dethklok would take the screen.

Playing from shadows was a full live metal band, fronted by shows creator Brendon Small, who provides the vocals and guitars for the band. Each song had dedicated animations that followed along with the band, showing the violence and over the top gore that the fans of the show fell in love with. While the band seem at face value to be poking fun at death metal with the use of words like brutal to describe any item or song that brings the band pleasure, the band is truly a love letter the the genre. Dethklok, went from being a fictional tribute to the metal genre to becoming a real life band of talented musicians. Over the years they have continued to build a very dedicated fan base that appreciates the music Brendon and company makes – this shows as they continue to sell out shows over a decade since the show stopped airing on Adult Swim.

With the tour coming to a close there are no current upcoming dates to see Dethklok, however both DragonForce and Nekrogoblikon will be embarking on their own tours. Nekrogoblikon will be on tour through North America this May and Europe later this summer. DragonForce has a full list of European dates this August. More information is available on each bands websites.

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