King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard releases new album

William Becker, Staff Writer

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What if I told you that one of the best thrash metal albums of the 21st century did not come from Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Overkill, Testament or even Exodus? What if told you that honor would go to a seven-member, Australian psychedelic-rock band? If you are a fan of rock/metal music and like thrash metal, you are doing yourself a massive disservice by not listening to “Infest The Rats Nest.”

“Infest The Rats Nest” is the 15th album from King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, not to be confused with King Lizard and The Gizzard Lizard. It pays homage to traditional thrash metal in its production style, double kick drumming and even its length, clocking in at 34 minutes and 50 seconds, heavily inspired by albums like Metallica’s “Ride The Lightning” and Slayer’s “Reign in Blood.” The entire album is full of blistering riffs, screeching amelodic guitar solos, throbbing drums and lyrics that focus on the destruction of the earth, escaping to mars, self-mutilation and a journey to Venus. It is important to remember that the band is somewhat of a chameleon when it comes to genres, switching to a new one each album. Sure, some music by King Gizzard is heavy, but they have never fully embraced thrash metal quite like this.

Right from the start of the lead single, “Planet B,” the band shows that they are not playing around. One of the main problems some people have with thrash metal is that it lacks significant hooks or progression, saying that each song sounds exactly the same. It is hard to listen to “Planet B” and not get the lyrics stuck in your head; the same can be said for most of the other tracks on the album. “There is no planet B!” lead singer Stu Mackenzie snarls on the track, reminding the listener that once the earth has been destroyed, there is no place to go. It goes without saying that this album is extremely relevant in 2019.

“Mars For The Rich” seems to speak of how when colonization of mars eventually happens, the earth will be deteriorating, and only the rich will be able to escape, with lyrics such as “Mars for the privileged/ Earth for the poor/ Mars terraforming slowly/ earth has been deformed.” The song seems to channel Motörhead in the instrumentation and White Zombie with the vocals.

“Organ Farmer” channels Slayer in every single way possible, from lyrics to vocals, and even the machine-gun-fire speed of the drums. The song happens so fast that before you can really think about it, it is over. Oddly enough, it is one of the least catchy songs on the album. Still, it is hard to believe that the band responsible for this song is not purely a thrash band.

“Superbug” is the longest song on the album, wearing inspirations like Black Sabbath, Kyuss and Sleep on its back, and it might be one of the best songs here. The lyrics prophesize of bacteria evolving to the point of being basically indestructible, turning them into superbugs. It is stoner rock at its core and it really shines well here.

The B-side of the album starts with “Venusian 1” and focuses on a narrative about a group of rebels escaping from earth and landing on planet venus, but failing as they are hurled into the sun. The song quickly melts into “Perihelion,” which is about a group of cultists literally worshipping the sun on the surface of venus. It is another highlight of the album, with its chorus being stuck in my head for weeks after the album’s release.

It blends seamlessly into “Venusian 2,” which is yet another song that screams Motörhead, and is about the rest of the survivors on earth coming closer to venus, before they finally go insane with desperation, as they land on the surface and burst into flames on “Self-Immolate.”

If that does not sound crazy enough to you, the album climaxes with “Hell,” where the cultists who died on venus go to hell. It is absolutely nuts, extremely heavy and oozes that more satanic vibe of bands like Slayer. It is evil, it is brooding, it is loud, it is intense, but if it is not awesome, I do not know what is. The drums rumble through speakers like an earthquake, the background vocals make it seem like the listener is descending into hell.  “Satan points me to The Rats Nest!” Mackenzie screams out in a particularly epic moment.

“Infest The Rats Nest” is an incredible album through and through. Sure, at times, it does feel a bit monotonous, but it is so short, concise and focused that it becomes extremely addictive after repeat listens. If sinister, hellish, thrash metal about earth dying off and making turning to the stars is what you like, you will absolutely love “Infest The Rats Nest.” Each song is memorable, catchy and unique, which puts it above a lot of albums by other thrash bands (this is more impressive, considering King Gizzard is not a thrash band.)

Listen to it, but make sure you play a hefty amount of “Doom” while doing so.