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


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.

Report this review (#2494841)
Posted Sunday, January 17, 2021 | Review Permalink
4 stars You really have to applaud King Gizzard for their creativity and boldness to push the envelope. But it's one thing to have a creative idea, another to pull it off. And again something entirely different to create a beautiful and memorable album. KG&tLW did just that. They created an amazing record.

This record basically consists of one big suite of 45 minutes. At the same time, it's 9 individual tracks with their own sound. Another layer on top of the complexity is that the record plays as an infinite loop. Having it on repeat, it's a record with no beginning and no end. It goes on and on. Indeed: nine tracks playing infinitely. Nonagon Infinity.

King Gizzard absolutely have ambitious compositions, display experimentation, and musical virtuosity on this one. Labelled as garage rock or psychedelic rock, there are many progressive elements to be found. This record is a blast for many prog fans.

Robot Stop opens the album with a blast, switching time signatures effortlessly. King Gizzard tells you what you are in for, right from the start. 8.5/10

Big Fig Wasp continues the energy of the first track. Gotta love the drumming and guitar parts. 8/10

Gamma Knife brings a different swing to the table, still with the energy of the first tracks. Again switching time signatures back and forth without losing the focus and drive. 8.5/10

People-Vultures takes from the themes of the previous tracks, but still is a piece of its own. However, it's where you are looking for a bit of a change of pace. The end of the track is foreshadowing this. 8.5/10

Mr. Beat is joyful and ingenious at the same time. Funky in a Gizzard way, with again interesting time signatures. 8.5/10

Evil Death Roll brings us back to the major theme of the album. A fast driving riff guides us and around the midway of the track, expands and even gets a bit spacey. Ending with a sprint to the finish line. 8.5/10

Invisible Face starts with a continuation of the theme of the album before it moves into a spacey part and seamlessly transforms into the next track 8.5/10

Wah Wah brings us another time signature, but with the recognizable riff. It is a very energetic outing. 8/10

The record ends with Road Train. The most straightforward Motorhead-style rocker on the album. As straightforward as King Gizzard can be that is. There's a change of pace near the end. And it sets us up for the loop as it flows into Robot Stop smoothly. 8/10

This is a 4-star album in my book.

Report this review (#2735828)
Posted Wednesday, April 6, 2022 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I have their first twelve studio albums and decided to review my favourite five from those then get to the rest later. I've already reviewed "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz" from 2014 their first great record. "Quarters!" is probably my sixth favourite sitting between that album and this one "Nonagon Infinity" from 2016. I feel like they took the best stuff from "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz" and tried to better it here. So the first four tracks on "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz" were like a high energy medley then they slowed it down pretty much the rest of the way while here we get a lot more medley type stuff going on with most of these blending into the next, and more often than not this is high energy music. I kept picturing the band onstage playing this with a Hall full of young people all bouncing up and down song after song. A lot of youthful exuberance with this band although they certainly have their lighter, more mellow records.

Man the music here is so catchy and uptempo with the band seeming to be having the time of their lives. The title of the song generally gets repeated a lot along with multi-vocal shouts at times throughout the high energy tunes. The harmonica, guitar and on one song the organ usually lead the way as soloing over top but it's that two drummer rhythm section with the bass that really drives the music.

"Gamma Knife" is right up there as far as favourites go and yes he says "Gamma knife" a lot but again so catchy and energetic and the harmonica is on fire. I like the guitar 3 minutes in as the drums roll in and out. "People-Vultures" and "Mr. Beat" are both so catchy and energetic, yes I'm a broken record here but those are two great tracks. My favourite might be that heavy closer "Road Train" where we get some heavy drums and distorted guitar to open as vocals join in. Such a powerful rhythm section. Gotta love that sound just before 3 1/2 minutes with the riffs as it builds. So good! I haven't even mentioned "Robot Stop" and "Evil Death Roll" two killer tracks and there's more.

A solid 4 stars but I prefer "I'm In Your Mind Fuzz" to this one.

Report this review (#2758465)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2022 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's discography is pretty sprawling, but Nonagon Infinity (so named because it has nine songs which, if you put the album on repeat, presents a continuous musical cycle with no beginning or end) is one of the more widely-celebrated landmarks. Compared to Polygondwanaland, the first album of theirs I'd heard, it's somewhat more direct and straightforward - think psychedelic rock with a garage rock attitude, or perhaps garage rock that's been dropping acid, rather than the sort of progressive space rock approach of their more elaborate and prog-like releases. It's a fun and entertaining example of the type, and I'd say is worth a listen, but it doesn't reach the top tier for me, and leaves me wondering whether King Gizzard might be a band which churns out large quantities of four-star albums when they could be putting out a smaller number of five-star albums.
Report this review (#2936471)
Posted Thursday, June 29, 2023 | Review Permalink

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