King Gizzard go from psych wunderkinds to metal maniacs on ‘Infest The Rats’ Nest’

King Gizzard go from psych wunderkinds to metal maniacs on ‘Infest The Rats’ Nest’

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Words by Jonathan Reynoso

The seven-piece just don’t know when to stop.

Infest The Rats’ Nest is a brash, no filler thrash metal album – a stark contrast from King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s previous album released just months ago.

King Gizzard released a breezy, blues and boogie rock album in April of this year titled Fishing For Fishies. The record raised concerns over the excessive use of plastic and overfishing. On Infest The Rats’ Nest, the band continues their quest for informing the masses of our inevitable doom if we don’t get our shit together.

There are two narratives on the album; Vocalist Stu Mackenzie revealed that the first half of the record is “set in the near future and is about real shit going on right now – especially ecological disaster.” The opening track ‘Planet B’ criticizes humanity’s negligence. To escape our dying rock, the wealthy and powerful colonize our neighbouring planet on ‘Mars For The Rich’. Back on Earth, humans become savages on ‘Organ Farmer’, and the poor finally wipe themselves out with ‘Superbug’.

The second narrative begins with ‘Venusian 1’, A group of rebels leave Earth in search of Venus. They glide around the planet’s orbit on ‘Perihelion’ and finally begin their new life on the second Venusian themed track. ‘Self-Immolate’ is the B-side’s gruesome climax, one that conjures images of people bathing in flames. The final track ‘Hell’ sends our protagonists down to Satan’s realm.

Of the band’s seven core members, only three appear on Infest The Rats’ Nest, (Mackenzie on vocals, guitar, and bass, Joey Walker on guitar and bass, and Michael Cavanagh on drums) – a first for the group. Some of the collaborative magic is lost on this album because of this; however, Rats’ Nest is plenty loud and bricked out. Seriously, this is an ear-piercing album. Strong influence from Metallica and Slayer are present, but King Gizzard add their own weird narrative spin.

Front-to-back, this is a fantastic project. While their take on ‘80s thrash is admirable, the only gripe is that Mackenzie leans heavily on his James Hetfield voice, only singing in his normal register on two songs. That, and the lack of members on this project. It’s odd not hearing Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s voice or harmonica on a Gizzard project.

Overall, this album finds King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard comfortably adding a new genre to their arsenal. In past releases, they’ve merely teased audiences of their heavy metal prowess. Here, they put it on full display.