King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is an insanely prolific seven-piece from Australia that combines psychedelia, garage rock, jazz, prog and now thrash metal to create a sound that is wholly theirs over the course of 15 albums. In 2017 alone, they released a mind-boggling five uniformly great albums. After a relatively silent 2018, King Gizzard returned earlier this year with Fishing for Fishies, an LP of soft, environmentally-conscious blues rock with songs about feeling bad for the fish you catch and boogie-oogie-oogie-ing. Fishing for Fishies may have had a few duds buried in its tracklist, but it also held some of the best King Gizzard songs yet, including: “The Bird Song,” a thoughtful track about perception in nature built around a nice, addictive piano riff, and “Cyboogie,” the sprawling, electronic centerpiece of the whole record. Just four months after the release of Fishing For Fishies, they have returned with yet another new LP. It’s called Infest the Rat’s Nest, and as you might surmise from the title, it is an audacious 180 degree turn from the mellow tones of Fishing for Fishies. A full-length experiment with thrash metal, Infest The Rat’s Nest is the band’s most consistently punishing yet, with one rager following another, and also one of their best.
Infest the Rat’s Nest opens with “Planet B,” a monstrous song with multiple sections wherein lead vocalist Stu Mackezie bellows a simple one-line chorus that you will never forget: “THERE IS NO PLANET B!” Message: there is no Earth 2 to fall back if we destroy this one. Mackenzie forgoes the light, filtered vocal style of Fishing for Fishies and instead opts for an aggressive, primal scream, wedded to harsh instrumentation, which fits the grim and apocalyptic tone of the album. A prime example is the futuristic dystopian sci-fi camp of “Mars for the Rich,” a track that tells the story of a poor boy stuck on the dying Earth while the rich live happily on Mars with massive, chugging guitars, a great refrain and a nice bass solo at the end. “Organ Farmer” is an insane, fast-tempo, mind-melting nightmare of a song with gruesome lyrics about mutilation that’s thousands of miles away from the songs about boogie-ing that they were releasing just months prior. “Superbug” is a nearly seven-minute odyssey that grows in intensity until it peaks with a massive chorus at the end. “Venusian 2” is yet another rager about a group of rebels escaping Earth to live in the atmosphere of Venus. Although the comically sci-fi narrative and intense genre-hopping of the band may make this phase of their discography seem like a gimmick, don’t be fooled, because this band definitely has the chops to back up the camp. — CHARLIE COLAN