“Infest the Rats’ Nest” catapults King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, a shape-shifting Australian psychedelic rock band, into the realm of throwback thrash metal. Amidst their constant musical evolution, this album stands as a bold departure, embracing the ferocity of heavy metal to mirror the chaos of our times.
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Infest the Rats’ Nest Album Overview
In a year that gave us the upbeat “Fishing for Fishes,” “Infest the Rats’ Nest” is a stark contrast. Released in 2019, this album is a defiant response to a world seemingly immune to dire warnings, where environmental crises often fall on deaf ears. King Gizzard defies their own norm by channeling an unapologetic urgency through an unmerciful strain of metal. The album envisions a future where fleeing Earth for outer space feels eerily real.
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The album’s power-trio formation showcases Stu Mackenzie on vocals and guitar, accompanied by guitarist Joey Walker and drummer Michael Cavanagh. The immediacy of their sound channels thrash metal’s roots rather than its complex intricacies. Tracks like “Planet B” resonate with Deep Purple’s fervor, while “Mars for the Rich” evokes the iconic groove of Black Sabbath. Amidst the metallic onslaught, hints of King Gizzard’s stoner-rock influence emerge, particularly in the weighty “Superbug.”
Production and Instrumentation:
The production on “Infest the Rats’ Nest” is raw and unfiltered, embracing the unrefined spirit of thrash metal’s origins. The gritty guitars and thunderous drums blend seamlessly, creating an intense atmosphere that mirrors the album’s themes. The absence of polished perfection enhances the album’s primal energy and emotional resonance.
Songwriting and Lyrics
Lyrically, the album delves into doomsday prophecies, ecological disasters, and a vehement disdain for those perpetuating harm. The minimalist rhymes and urgent howls enhance the apocalyptic mood, channeling the collective sense of impending catastrophe. While the narrative on the second side touches upon escaping to Venus, the album largely remains thematically focused on its grim outlook.
Stu Mackenzie’s vocal transformation into a venomous growl adds a layer of ferocity to the album. Abandoning his natural singing voice, he adopts a hook-free, aggressive delivery that aligns with the album’s doomsday ethos. The harsh vocal style becomes a driving force, infusing the tracks with a sense of urgency and desperation.
Comparisons and Influences
“Infest the Rats’ Nest” skillfully bridges thrash metal with ’70s-metal influences. The album draws parallels to Deep Purple’s charged intensity and Black Sabbath’s iconic grooves, while retaining King Gizzard’s distinctive stoner-rock signature. The fusion of these elements creates a unique listening experience that pays homage to metal’s history while embracing modernity.
The album’s unrelenting heaviness and stark themes evoke a visceral emotional response. “Infest the Rats’ Nest” captures a sense of impending chaos and urgency, mirroring the turmoil of the present day. The emotional impact lies in its ability to channel collective fears and anxieties into a cathartic musical experience.
This album caters to both dedicated metal enthusiasts and King Gizzard’s existing fan base. It invites metal fans to embrace the band’s foray into the genre while offering longtime followers a new perspective on their versatility. The album’s intensity and unfiltered emotion are likely to resonate with listeners seeking a visceral and unapologetic musical journey.
While “Infest the Rats’ Nest” excels in its focused intensity, it lacks the unpredictable detours that characterize King Gizzard’s expansive compositions. The album’s unyielding commitment to its thematic core may feel limiting in comparison to the band’s more diverse works. Additionally, the raw production may not appeal to those accustomed to polished studio aesthetics.
As a longtime follower of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, “Infest the Rats’ Nest” surprised me with its unbridled ferocity. The departure into thrash metal showcases the band’s willingness to embrace new musical territories, even as they maintain their signature style. While the album’s unrelenting heaviness is captivating, I missed the unexpected twists that often characterize their music.
“Infest the Rats’ Nest” is a bold and unapologetic addition to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s discography. Its departure into throwback thrash metal demonstrates the band’s ability to channel urgent emotions and contemporary concerns into a visceral musical experience. While it may not encompass the full range of their musical prowess, the album serves as a testament to their adaptability and willingness to explore uncharted musical realms. Whether you’re a dedicated metalhead or a curious listener, “Infest the Rats’ Nest” invites you to join King Gizzard on a relentless journey into the heart of the impending storm.