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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest (Album Review)

Friday, 16 August 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s output is prolific. The Aussie experimentalists have released 15 albums since 2012, and while one can describe their basic sound as psychedelic rock, the reality is more complex. This is a band of rich imagination and elaborate generic diversity. 

‘Infest the Rats’ Nest’ sees them lean hard into thrash metal, which they previously explored on 2017’s concept album ‘Murder the Universe’. Here the results are impressive, if not totally convincing. Thematically it’s pretty dark. Track titles like Self Immolate, Mars for the Rich and (ahem…) Hell tell you what you need to know about their influences for this record.

It's an album about self destruction and darkness and death and pain. As such, the arrangements borrow from metal juggernauts such as Slayer and Rammstein, alongside less well known 1980s bands such as Exodus and Overkill.  Strangely, the result is a pleasingly entry-level metal album. 

Organ Farmer has raucous, frenetic energy with rickety drums and screaming guitars. It’s quite technical rock with sudden stops and time signature changes, but very listenable.

Metal can often descend into a bit of a musical pissing competition, with each band trying to outdo the other on the complexity and speed of the composition and performance. ‘Infest the Rats’ Nest’ is tame by comparison, but should actually pull more people towards the genre.

Similarly, Superbug is an epic metal jam coming in at just under seven minutes that has the sludgy canal water sound of Black Sabbath alongside more contemporary guitar playing recalling the work of John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees. 

Like opener (and standout track) Planet B, it revolves around a central scream of doom laden despair: “Superbug! In My Blood / Superbug! Made of the disturbing stuff.” This line is telling—disturbing stuff is quite a poor, mealy-mouthed lyric. Are the band sure there wasn’t time to find a reference to Nordic or Greek mythology? How about something Biblical?

‘Infest the Rats’ Nest’ is a very well put together record, and the band should be lauded for a fairly convincing sojourn into the genre, but like the above lyric, a lot of the music feels like they are playing up to being metal instead of living it. There are few genres as specific, technical, intense and immersive as the one King Gizzard are dipping into here. As a compositional exercise, the album works, but one is left with the feeling that this isn't really music for tourists.

King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon September 30 2019 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Tue October 01 2019 - GLASGOW Barrowland Ballroom
Wed October 02 2019 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Thu October 03 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Victoria Warehouse
Sat October 05 2019 - LONDON Alexandra Palace

Click here to compare & buy King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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