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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity CD (album) cover

NONAGON INFINITY

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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5 stars Nonagon Infinity is in my opinion, a landmark of modern psychedelic rock music. Though I think King Gizzard had previously struck gold with their records "I'm in Your Mind Fuzz" and "Quarters," in many respects Nonagon Infinity sort of irons everything out into one very cohesive and undeniably realized package. While this is a psychedelic rock album first, I feel there's some very strong elements of progressive rock in the forefront of the music. While there's certainly tons of odd meters across Nonagon Infinity, just the general sound of the band and the way all the songs jive together is like nothing i've ever heard before. Every track seamlessly flows into one another, including the last song into the first song, creating an 'infinite' loop of music. The songs are covered in melting, textured and fuzzy psychedelia, with real nasty driving riffage, very modern sounding keys and production values as well all sorts of varying memorable grooves. This album holds no punches and it takes you for a ride right out the gate with headbanging and explosive "Robot Stop." This song never fails to get me amped up within the first few seconds immediately just jumping head first into the rampaging main riff in 7/4. There's a lot of very subtle passages across this song and record where the drums will hold a steady beat setting the stage for the other members to unleash an onslaught of what can best be described as "King Gizzard noises" upon you. Super distorted guitar effects, raging harmonica, and punchy, often rhythmic synths and electronics. "Big Fish Wasp" keeps that same energy with a super earworm of a main hook. For me these first two tracks really go hand in hand and you can't have one without the other and they smoothly come together to create an awesome 10 minute block of music with no shortage of memorable riffs between them. I feel very similarly about the next two tracks which are two of my favorites on the album, the first of which being the headbanging "Gamma Knife." Every single vocal line in this song is unbelievably catchy, often mimicking or singing in unison with the guitar lines. I love the ending of this track where it comes into what I'd describe as a bit of a smooth landing where it strips down to just the guitars playing on top of one another building a slight sense of tension before the drums come back in and the song kicks back into full swing effortlessly segueing into "People Vultures." Stuff like what I just described is just an example of King Gizzards mastery of short but effective build-ups and payoffs. People Vultures was the first KGLW song that I heard and it immediately grabbed me with its real droning and menacing psychedelic intro that kicks into the absolutely filthy main riff. On this song and throughout their discography you get a taste of lyrics that just gush with creativity and personality, and the music videos add another layer to the very original and clever aesthetic their music brings. I really love the spacey synths in the latter half of this track, it's like I'm getting abducted by aliens mid song. The next track is the cleverly titled "Mr. Beat," which is a play on the words "Missed a Beat" as the song alternates between 4/4 and 3/4 (7/4, but for explanation purposes....). With this song, it's simply impossible to not move your body while listening to it. This track falls into the vein of the purposefully repetitive vocal based style that's become a bit of a King Gizzard trademark notably on songs like Rattlesnake and Trapdoor. There's some very punchy and bluesy organ work in the mix and a gorgeous main hook, with the last minute of the song fizzling out to set up the next track, another one of my favorites: "Evil Death Roll." I'll sound like a broken record but the main riff here is nasty and one of the first to come to mind when this record pops into my head. This ones really 7 minutes of straight headbanging action. The main hook is super effective, but my favorite park of the song is the super proggy and space rock tinged middle passage starting at 2:54. It kicks back into that odd meter with this awesome guitar/keyboard? melody over it that really grabs the ear before hitting you with these super distorted waves of sound continuing with the riffage in-between. There's all sorts of motifs and references to the other tracks on the record throughout this jam. "Invisible Face" is fantastic, I love that main riff and groove that opens this track as well as the pretty low register and distorted vocals on top of it. However after about a minute it totally changes pace morphing into full blown jazzy space rock bliss with flowing synths and light, subtle guitar playing. One of my favorite parts of the whole record for sure. Now in the final stretch, "Wah Wah," turns the headbobbing riffs back on, now in 5/4 with the harmonica and guitar trading off lead parts. In the verse there's some sweet acoustic guitar parts sitting in the background adding another layer of punch to the vocals on top of it. "Road Train," is the album closer, it kind of reminds me Deep Purples Hard Loving Man, because it's super driving and unexpectedly heavy considering it's the closing track, almost bringing forth elements of thrash metal which they would explore further on future releases. The bass sits in the forefront providing the backbone to this track, as it goes on several reprises and references from the previous tracks pop their heads in and out of the track. in the final 20 seconds you start to hear that familiar Robot Stop groove pick back up before things come to an end.... or.... don't, rather.

In my book, an essential rock album of the 2010s. Nonagon Infinity is always such an enjoyable and rewarding listen that myself, and I'm sure many others will be playing and talking about for years. 5 Stars.

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Posted Sunday, January 17, 2021 | Review Permalink

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