(Dedicated to the memory of Nathan Johnston, R.I.P)
Unless you were in a cave on Mars with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears during 2016, you probably heard of the obnoxious fad in the form of a Ned Flanders-themed metal band. Screw Flanders. They were rank amateurs compared to Melbourne’s Dr. Colossus.
Melbourne is already renowned as one of the most cultured cities in the world, with Dr. Colossus’ ‘The Dank’ introducing an original art form based solely on references from The Simpsons. As an avid fan of The Simpsons myself, I’ll try to match the quality and quantity of said references. I listened to ‘The Dank’ in a bar last night. The sound wasn’t on, but I think I got the gist of it…
The album begins with a slow bass lick, before introducing us to the dud incarnate, the titular Thrillho, Milhouse Van Houten. A melancholy tune ponders Milhouse’s struggles through unpopularity and misfortune, despite having cool parents (his dad sleeps in a racing car, do you?) and being cast as Radioactive Man’s sidekick. Though the interlude perks up briefly and everything comes up Milhouse, we’re reminded that he’s already Bart’s sidekick in real life, and friend zoned by Bart’s sis, his unrequited crush.
Though normally exploiting Milhouse as his scapegoat, Bart is not exempt from the scrutinous lyrics of Dr. Colossus…
If you’ve watched the show thoroughly enough, you’ll know that all future depictions of Bart portray him as a degenerate leech, at one point being morbidly obese. The song, Future Bart, explores the possibility that all noncanonical hypotheses, whether it’s the male stripper, the starving musician, or even as far as those that went unmentioned such as the drifter or food tester, could be one and the same.
But what would Bart say about a song being written about him?
The theme and overall mood of ‘The Dank’ is nothing, if not entirely relatable; as such, it’s not all doom and gloom. Optimism kicks in with the upbeat It’s Still Good, and Excellent provides a generally positive, sensual groove and is quite good. At turning. Me on.
Dr. Colossus’ unique blend of stoner and doom breathes more life into the fictional 2D-universe with an atmospheric depth to their title song, Dr. Colossus. They’ve given Death Mountain, an evil lair referenced only once in the entire series, a foreboding presence; like looking into the eye of the storm.
The closing song and primary ballad of The Dank, Dr. Tongue, is a melancholic ode to the struggle and heartache that comes with trying to impress the girl next door to no avail, no matter how well you emulate late-playboy Hugh Hefner or how many agonizing school pranks you subject yourself to. The song makes me imagine a black-and-white montage of Bart and Laura (or “Blaura”); their dance, Bart’s heart-breaking fantasy, Jimbo flushing his head in the toilet, Moe’s rampage, etc.
With Simpsons references done right, Dr. Colossus have brought something new and innovative to the world of progressive Melbourne metal. I’ve no doubts that they’ll embiggen local audiences with their cromulent live performances. I’m not really good at signing off on reviews, but I only need a couple more words…