Publisher: Madman Entertainment
Formats: DVD (reviewed) / Blu-ray
Release Date: October 21, 2015 / Original Release Date: December 5, 2012
Price: $34.95 AUD (DVD) – Available Here / $34.95 AUD (Blu-ray) – Available Here / Box Set $89.95 AUD – Available Here
Dethklok has produced a new album. It is shipping around the world on water, an analogue format that carries a higher quality sound according to the band. The master copy of the album is destroyed along with all retail copies of the album, forcing Dethklok to record a new album underwater. Tensions rise during the month of recording before the conspiracy surrounding Dethklok is revealed.
This season marks the return to the 11 minute format that has been used throughout the majority of the series. A lot happens in this short season, including a significant amount of plot progression and even some unexpected character development. The members of Dethklok act nastily towards each other most of the time, but they have rare moments of compassion. The show was entertaining before when it was almost entirely about the satire, but it is more engaging now thanks to the writers rounding out of the main characters.
Despite the shift towards drama, satire is still present in the majority of this season. The opening episode features an over-the-top satire of what can happen when a fan dates a hugely successful celebrity while at the same time grossly exaggerating what fan obsession is like. Events become strange and overly dramatic as this situation comes to a conclusion, but the dark humour does not end there. Accusations of racism come into play in another episode, with that episode having an even more shocking ending than the last. Terrorist threats are even parodied just for the sake of shock value. Even though the writers seem to be trying to outdo the dark humour with each episode, they somehow never take it too far and avoid turning Metalocalypse into a show that is just about shock value, which is exactly what has happened with many other North American animated series over the years.
Tensions have often been high between members of the band, but the tensions rise to a fever pitch towards the end of this season. They may be unaware of the conspiracy surrounding them, but the individual band members have their own problems to deal with. Having to spend a month recording with just one woman in their company, the band’s new producer Abigail, drives some of them mad. Unsurprisingly, two of them compete for her attention with predictable results. As the season draws to a close, the series finally beings to show its emotional side. It ends on a major cliffhanger, but the plot is now well and truly underway.
There is a reliance on visual humour in this season. Unlike with season two, however, the visual humour is based on shock value rather than pop-culture references or in-show references. There are multiple sex scenes in this season, as well as visual references to the Ku Klux Klan and Adolf Hitler. One episode also satires the popular trend for people to get plastic surgery in order to ‘improve’ their appearance. This has predictably disastrous and grotesque results. There is still a lot of blood and gore, so fans who particularly enjoy the violent aspects of the show will still find a lot to enjoy even as the series gradually and dramatically moves towards its conclusion.
The music is as high quality as ever, but there are less Dethklok songs featured than usual. This is not only because of the smaller length of this season in comparison to previous seasons. It is also because Nathan has writer’s block and because of the issues that the band has during and after their month of recording. Those who particularly enjoyed the musical elements of the series may find the significant shift in tone towards the end of season to be a disagreeable change, but this season ultimately does not suffer because of its relative lack of Dethklok songs.
This set does not contain any hidden extras. Nathan Explosion’s reading of Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors can be found in the special features menu on the first disc. Several extras can be found in the special features menu on the second disc. These include: “Pickles Flyby”, “StaresDown” Parts 1-3, “MurderThoughts”, “The Prophecy”, “Dr. Rockzo’s Greatest Hits”, “CFO Raps”, Dethklok fan art and “The Dethgame”. As always, the entertainment value of the extras will vary. It would have made more sense for the fan art to be included as a gallery instead of as a video, but viewers can of course pause the video if they want to look at a certain image more closely. The previous videos featuring Nathan Explosion reading Shakespeare’s plays have been reasonably entertaining and interesting despite the limited animation, but even the most dedicated Shakespeare fans will have issues with this fourth reading. It is monotonous and extremely tedious to watch; the PAL version has a runtime of over 84 minutes. This means that it is technically a feature film, as the scrolling text at the end points out. If the production did not seem so poorly planned then the length might not have been a problem, but the final version could have several whole minutes cut out of it and not suffer at all. Sounds and even whole dialogue segments are looped for minutes at a time. This extra features an attempt at humour through repetition, and although it is successful on a few occasions, the repetition is taken so far that it seems as if the existence of this extra must be a cruel joke. The scrolling text in all of Nathan’s Shakespeare readings may sarcastically suggest something to that effect, but this time around it is difficult to see the sarcasm.
The shift from 21 minute episodes back to 11 minute episodes results in the series becoming more like it was to begin with. Although this season is significantly shorter than the previous ones, the satire is as clever as ever. The two story arcs in this season are well paced and well written, and although it is difficult to see how the series could conclude with just a single television special, it will be worth finding out what happens next.
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