On their latest album, Infest the Rats’ Nest,
the Australian seven-piece King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have put forth
an unabashed homage to heavy metal and thrash—undoubtedly making this fifteenth
release from the neo-psych rockers their heaviest yet.
The album opens with the raining hellfire of the
apocalyptic “Plan B,” before moving onto “Mars for the Rich,” which begins as a
Sabbath-esque, groove metal swinger before switching gears into a death march, fuzzing
out towards the end with a muddy bass solo à la Cliff Burton. “Organ Farmer” is a pure hat-tip to
Slayer, with its break-neck pace and harrowing guitar leads. “Superbug” sounds
exactly as it should: as guitars churn along ominously—creeping along like an
alien predator with its prey inches from its jaws—singer Stu Mackenzie howls
from the beyond about the focus of title track’s indifference to humanity.
Elsewhere, nods to Exodus and Motörhead permeate, perhaps making Infest the Rats’ Nest the best thrash album never recorded by a thrash band. There’s enough speed, doom, and sludge riffery here to make the most rotted of corpses shake in their tombs. But make no mistake—KGTLW aren’t mocking heavy metal; their tribute here is sincere, and not exactly from out of left field, as previous albums such as Murder of the Universe and Nonagon Infinity have teased a heavier dimension of the group (though nothing quite like this).
If you’ve ever tweeted out “Lemmy Is God,” or randomly yelled out “SLAAAYER!” in a crowded room, then Infest the Rats’ Nest is a must-listen.