King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are probably the most easily distracted band in the world. After having fun with microtones and boogie woogie on 'Infest The Rats' Nest' they've turned to the darkside for a bit of good old fashioned thrash metal. Fair play to them, they've done a decent job of evoking the golden years of the likes of Metallica and Slayer. I wait with baited breath for their first opera.
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In my mid-teen years, I lived for thrash metal. I wore my bootleg Megadeth t-shirt with pride everywhere, thrash perpetually blared out my speakers and earphones, and I embarked on a lengthy pilgrimage to witness the 'Big Four' perform together for my first festival experience. Fast-forward a decade and my music taste has changed dramatically, but when it was announced that Aussie psych rockers King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard were making a thrash record, my inner kid was jumping for joy.
‘Infest the Rats' Nest’ is a concept album which details an imminent apocalypse and mankind’s escape to another planet. Delivering its ecological message in an unapologetic manner with a caustic sound to match, the record is the ying to ‘Fishing for Fishies’ cutesy psych pop yang.
Musically, the record serves as a homage to 80s thrash, complete with Metallica’s rhythmical vocal barks, the a-tonal solos of Slayer, the tasteful shredding of ‘Rust In Peace’ era Megadeth, the choppy grooves of early Exodus, and breakneck heaviness of Sodom and Kreator. Motörhead are crucial influences too, as King Gizz mimic the double-kicks on ‘Overkill’ on opener ‘Planet B’ and shape irresistible barebones riffs that could have slotted neatly into ‘The Ace of Spades’ on following track ‘Mars for the Rich’. Stoner rock diversions like ‘Superbug’ show King Gizzard’s psychedelic edge working in their favour, preventing the record from becoming a pastiche of all those bands you see on grizzled scene veterans' battle jackets.
‘Infest the Rats' Nest’ is a hugely enjoyable excursion into thrash which proves King Gizzard can suavely pull-off any genre they choose to tackle. Hopefully, this album will get heavy metal fans into psych rock and lead to thrash explorations for King Gizzard fans. The record made me want to dig out my old thrash favourites, buy a garish Slayer shirt, and raid our stock room for thrash obscurities. I can’t wait to see what these guys decide to take a stab at next.
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