King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard — ‘Infest the Rats’ Nest’ (ATO Records)

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.

Listen to Infest the Rats’ Nest on Spotify!