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  • Writer's pictureCase Cockrell

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s 80-minute epic is an eclectic and worthwhile thrill ride

King Gizzard just doesn't quit. From their 2017 5 album stint to 3-hour marathon shows in the cannon for 2022, the band has made it their mission statement that they're going for the gold. The band's ability to crank out album after album, transcendent live show, and ever-growing vinyl package onslaught showcases the band's ever-prolific philosophy.

On Omnium Gatherum, the band produces tracks that pull the listener to realms where the band has never explored before, with the band spanning genres and other sounds that King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard has never touched until this period. From piercing Hip-Hop bars to heavy, extended instrumental jams, Omnium Gatherum is one big rager that doesn't let up until its end.

When the album's 18-minute opening number The Dripping Tap, reaches its 10-minute mark, it is abundantly apparent that the band is channeling their inner jam-inspired chops, and the result is a cacophony of shredding guitars and driving drum beats that we as King Gizzard fans have become infatuated with. Mackenzie’s blitzkrieg guitar lines on this track make me want to call him “Machine Gun Stu,” similar to 90s Trey Anastasio’s playing throughout their tours before Phish’s initial disbandment.

Singer-songwriter Stu Mackenzie's anthemic choruses and infectious melodies on The Dripping Tap have the power to get a whole audience dancing and moshing, and this track is a shining example of the band's ability to evolve an arena-ready sound while still retaining the fuzziness and noisiness of their past output. Given the track's 18-minute runtime, the band projects a powerful message lyrically and instrumentally, possibly continuing their environmental activist message showcased on the band’s 2019 studio effort, Infest The Rats Nest.

When the dust settles on the album's scorching opening track, the band dials it back for the synth-heavy Magenta Mountain. The synths that back the song throughout are a notable representation of King Gizzard's way of delivering memorable tunes that are hauntingly catchy. I found myself humming along to this track instantly, with each vocal section being a divine complement to the twinkly keyboards all over the track. The song's last minute combines the mystical synths with Mackenize's angelic melodies, which are just icing on the cake for only the record's second offering.

The metal-inspired freak-out on the track, Gaia, has King Gizzard erupting into a distorted heavy psychedelic rock meltdown that calls back to their previous heavy metal efforts. The Slayer-Esque tempos and garage-riddled production feel right at home on this record, with the polished sounds shining just as much as the blown-out sounds. The track's galloping guitars and pummeling drumbeat make the band seem like they don't mind going from softer indie sounds to abrasive, acid-soaked metal tracks. This track shows the band can still shell out the heavy ones in a fashion that always makes for an exhilarating listen.

The funky instrumentals on Ambergis bring a somber, often blissful feel to the record in its first quarter. The synths with the funky bass line combine gorgeously with the melodic vocal lines make for an astounding track that perfectly represents what the band can do when attempting to scale it back while also producing a concert-worthy track that is sure to make all live audiences grooving in the track's illuminating glory.

On the Sadie Sorceress, the band finds themselves in an alternate realm they have never explored before, with frontman Stu Mackenzie spitting hip-hop bars like he's been performing rap music his whole music career. The fluttery synth interludes on this track add to the King Gizzard weirdness that keeps fans guessing what's next for the band. After all, this is a double album that goes in many different directions. Therefore, the listener will likely think, "Rap?" "Why the heck not?"

Grim Reaper also captures the band's ability to write psych-hop music, with Mackenzie dropping more furiously delivered lines with the accompanied driving instrumentation carrying the track into its well-deserved fade-out into the album's 2nd half. The hip-hop sounds on this record present an extreme change of pace for the band. With this pair of hip-hop tracks, the band's crossover appeal is proving to be undeniable.

The slow-burning cheeriness of Evilest Man shows the band's love for instrumental effects that keep the listener on their toes for what sound the band will throw out next. The enchanting piano lines on this record soar throughout the track, giving it a jammy, flowy feel that shows off the band's ability to have a track that starts slow before descending into its inevitable explosion into psychedelic garage madness.

When Predator X kicks in, the band lights the trail of gasoline that they have poured all over the record's explosive terrain. When the chugging guitars and blast beats finally come at full force, the sounds that surround the track spark into a bonfire of heavy music that King Gizzard has only started exploring recently in their discography. While this may be thought of as a b-side to previous acclaimed effort Infest The Rats Nest, this track acts as a worthy sequel to the record, with pummeling drums and impeccable tightness sealing the track as a massive highlight of the record.

The mellow Presumptuous towards the end of the record is almost like a callback to acoustic-driven record Paper Mache Dream Balloon, with groovy acoustic strums and pop-inspired vocals throughout. It's refreshing to see King Gizzard visit older sounds while exploring new ones. It shows fans that the band is never ruling anything out. The jammed-out middle section of the track shows that the band is constantly developing their different, previously-explored sounds, never abandoning the ideas magnified on previous records.

Don't let the album's long runtime faze you. This record jams and shreds itself into a psychedelic vortex that leaves the listener begging at its knees for more King Gizzard, and this album is the band telling us that they aren't slowing down for anything, not even a global pandemic that put all live music related activities into submission. King Gizzard's 20th effort is elongated but is a worthwhile expedition that is worth exploring, at least until they generously enchant their fanbase once more with their prolific output that never seems to let up under any circumstance.

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1 Comment

Daniel Cockrell
Daniel Cockrell
May 11, 2022

Well-written and thorough as usual. Keep up the good work!

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