King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard melt faces with 15th studio album, ‘Infest the Rat’s Nest’
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard have been one of the hardest working bands since their start in 2011. So far, they have released 15 records, with five records coming out in 2017 alone. On their new album, Infest the Rat’s Nest, Gizzard has made the exact opposite of their April album, Fishing for Fishies. Infest the Rat’s Nest finds the band at a whole new level. The songs are short, sweet, and to-the-point; the drums are using double bass, the guitars are chugging, and the vocals are menacing. Yes, Gizzard has made a metal album. The album tells stories of planet Earth burning to a crisp, superbugs being made out of bacteria and antibiotics, and humans colonizing space, all with ferocious riffs and a wide variety of metal subgenres. While not being their most eccentric album to date, there is still plenty to unpack in what’s certainly their heaviest album yet.
A love letter to metal genre
As with every kind of music, there are many different subgenres of metal. Infest the Rat’s Nest offers the likes of doom, stoner, thrash, and even power metal, all while staying true to their concept and sound. Album opener, “Planet B,” is a great thrash song that tells the listener what they’re in for. The song offers chugging guitars and rapid drum beats straight out of an early Metallica record while still feeling true to the band. “Organ Farmer” and “Venusian 1” create a sense of impending doom with their high-speed tempos. The real magic comes from songs like “Mars for the Rich,” a groovy, catchy tune with a Black Sabbath-inspired riff, and “Superbug,” a six-minute monster of a track that calls back to the stoner-metal sounds of Finally. The closer track, “Hell,” offers an insane variety of sound while flowing extremely well, transitioning from thrash to power metal. Gizzard does an incredible job of taking different forms of metal and blending them together with Infest the Rat’s Nest. The record never feels like a blatant rip-off of metal bands, nor does it feel corny or cheap. The band mixed metal with their own unique sound that can be found on all 15 of their records.
Another great tale our planet needs to hear
This is not the first time Gizzard has offered a story to an album. In fact, most of their albums are conceptual and can all be connected. Fans call the universe that the albums are connected in “the Gizzverse.” This album’s story, however, is different from the typical sci-fi epics and beastly tales. It tells of planet Earth falling to its inevitable and excruciating doom, while the humans are split between the rich, who can inhabit space, and the poor, who must stay on Earth and burn. It doesn’t end there with a group of rebel humans are trying to flee Earth and travel to Venus, which doesn’t end well for them. While the story is very over-the-top, the message is displayed well enough and makes for an entertaining listen. The intense music behind the story adds to the horror and mayhem that is happening to the characters. In addition, the lyrics are quite descriptive, which is something that singer Stu Mackenzie has done on almost every Gizzard album. These lyrics add to the madness and give the songs a sense of urgency, especially on the opener, “Planet B.”
A minor riffing problem
One of the biggest problems with thrash metal is keeping it interesting. Thrash metal gets boring and repetitive when the guitars are mindlessly chugging on the E-string without adding anything else. While this isn’t a major problem with the record, it feels as if all the thrash songs have a moment when the chugging gets too repetitive, like on “Venusian 1” and “Organ Farmer.” This flaw is mostly avoided by the variety of riffs found on the other songs along with the other instruments that can be heard. Gizzard typically adds a ton of variety to their songs, but on Infest the Rat’s Nest that isn’t always the case.
Mars for the Rich
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