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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Omnium Gatherum CD (album) cover


King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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5 stars KGATLW decided to create their own White Album. That's quite ambitious.

That said, they have attempted and succeeded in many things before. Since their debut, 10 years ago, they released 19 different albums. An average of two per year. And in 2017, they released five! But they are not only prolific but also very diverse. They have made a habit of creating albums around a musical theme with a lot of variety. There's hardly a style they haven't attempted and succeeded in. While still being King Gizzard.

This album was supposed to be different. Finally able to work together in the same room again, they let the creativity flow. They wouldn't decide upon a theme and then create the music to fit the theme. They freed themselves of those self-imposed shackles.

But does it hold up?

Well, comparing your output to one of the most iconic outputs of one of the most iconic bands in history is a risk.

The Dripping Tap is a monster of a track. Starting slow and bluesy that turns into a great jamming session. Is it too long? I don't care! I like it! Should it end the album instead of being the start? Perhaps. But it starts everything off with a bang. 8/10

Magenta Mountain is a very melodic tune, reminiscent of the Butterfly 3000 album. It is absolutely fine. 8/10

Kepler-22b is a jazzy outing and a familiar-sounding track. They have entered this territory before. It continues to be a great track 8/10

Gaia is the first thrash metal outing on the album. It would fit perfectly on Infest the Rats Nest. It's maybe a bit more melodic 7.5/10

Ambergris is laid back. The total opposite of the previous track. Melodic it is. But a bit bland as well. It is akin to Prince. But not as good. 6.5/10

Sadie Sorceress will rub many the wrong way. KG into 90's hip-hop. But I like it a lot. I grooves! 8/10

Evilest Man is one of the longest tracks. It starts very playfully. But the instrumental is mean. An interesting combination 7.5/10

The Garden Goblin is playful but also a bit too goofy for my taste. 6.5/10

Blame It On the Weather is another shortish track much in the same vein as the previous one. Not the best 6.5/10

Persistence is funky in a Gizzard way. They have done this in a better way. It's enjoyable nevertheless. 7/10

The Grim Reaper is another rap track, combined with some eastern tones. It again works for me 8/10

Presumptuous is melodic and adventurous 8/10

Predator X is Gizzard doing thrash metal. And doing it well. As always, the typical GZ things shine through, like the repeating of the chorus. This is one of my highlights 9/10

Red Smoke is absurdly calm after the noise outbreak we had before. It works 7.5/10

Candles is another melodic tune you could find on Butterfly 3000. Nice 7/10

The Funeral is a beautiful largely instrumental with acoustic guitar to close the album. 8/10

If we are going to compare, let's take it a step further. Just like the White Album, this one from KGATLW is eclectic. It has everything but the kitchen sink. And it has ups and downs. But unlike the Beatles, this album has moments of dullness and, may I say it, lack of inspiration. There are tracks that are rather forgettable. In my eyes, that is even worse than irritating on unsettling. As Revolution 9 is for many.

All in all, I like this record. It is a good KGATLW album. And I always applaud their ambition and boldness. I give it 4 stars.

Report this review (#2738799)
Posted Friday, April 22, 2022 | Review Permalink
3 stars Gizz has released another album like "Oddments" and "Gumboot Soup" that is an eclectic mix of songs with no overarching genre theme or styling. We end up with heavy metal songs similar to stuff from Infest the Rats Nest, to chill electronic songs like those from the Butterfly 3000 album, to even a couple hip-hop songs akin to something the Beastie Boys would make (that's not a comparison I expected to make on this site!) I enjoy most of the songs on the album, but the constant genre jumping makes it hard to call this album cohesive. The Dripping Tap, the first and longest song on the album, is one of the highlights of the album, a fast rocker of an environmental-protest song. Some other the other highlights of the album for me include Ambergris (a very chill song almost reminiscent of Prince), The Garden Goblin (which has hints of 80s prog in it), Presumptuous (a kind of chill rock song with hints of Santana, especially at the guitar solo), and Red Smoke (probably the most laid back song on the album). I think people will have certain songs from the album they love, but there's just so much jumping around on it that there aren't going to be a lot that love everything here. Probably worth somewhere between 3-3.5 stars.
Report this review (#2738959)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2022 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Gizzard has put out many albums in many different genres and almost every album has good songs and the ones that you like the least (or even hate), but when it became clear that we will get a double LP from Gizz a question rose: how many songs will be just fillers and how many will be downright bad? Let's be real, double LPs nowadays usually get boring towards the end and really don't have to offer that much on their second half (other than a few cool songs probably), but this album is... something else, I'd say. You can disagree here and say that the stuff on the second half of Omnium Gatherum is worse than stuff on the first one, which I can actually agree with since the second half has less interesting tracks than the first one, but there are still a lot of bops there, in my opinion.

Now, I need to say that I, personally, don't think this album has any terrible or bad songs, - they're all fine and I can listen to them every day (and I most likely want to) - but of course there is my least favourite one that I'd probably skip every time it turns on (aka Evilest Man or "Newspaper man bad, sell him to Reddit"), which is basically what was supposed to happen eventually, although I'm still surprised I enjoyed every other song on the album more than half of the stuff on Butterfly 3000.

If we take any song from the album, we will see that it has it's own kind of unique style, it's own idea, that was either created back in the time or in 2021, when they were recording the record. As such, Gaia came from Demo №79, The Dripping Tap came from Hat Jam as well as Satanic Slumber Party, a collab EP of TFS and Gizz, and etc., or that it kind of reflects on the compositions the band created before. And I gotta say, making some old scrappy demos and evolve into something that is greater and full-on is a magnificent thing! As well as taking some ideas from previous records and making them into something better.

Speaking of being better, let's talk about the minor flaws in the songs, beginning with Persistence, which is one of the worst songs on the album because of its sex-driven lyrics about cars and love and kind of boring yet groovy instrumental part that was on I'm Sleepin' In back in 2017 on Gumboot Soup, which worked fine on that album, but almost doesn't on this one; Predator X misses more dynamic and thrash metal drums in its second half, which makes it not a 5/5 song; Evilest Man is one of the more boring songs that Gizz have put out in the past few years, but it seems like people enjoy it 'cause it sounds like Nonagon Infinity, which makes a good opportunity for me to call it a day and never listen to that song on my own. And that's probably not even the end of my complaints, but I will stop whining to talk about the better moments of the album. Gaia is just gorgeous, I didn't think that new metal from Gizzard will be that good, since their previous two metal songs, K.G.L.W. Outro and The Hungry Wolf of Fate, were just okay and didn't have the right production to do the job right, but not close to the stuff on Infest The Rats' Nest. Presumptuous is like... well... for some reason it sounds like Nickelback for me. It's so chill and groovy, that I can learn how to flex just to dance to it. Magenta Mountain is basically Butterfly 3000, but at time I enjoy it even more than Blue Morpho, so that probably shows how good the song is, lol. Kepler-22b is another bop on OG and probably the best song on it; its lyrics are the ones I relate to the most, and that downtempo-ish instrumental is really astonishing. I also can't deny the fact that the two rap songs on the record, Sadie Sorceress and The Grim Reaper, are great and I vibe to them a bunch, even though I prefer jazz rap.

The mixing and mastering of the album isn't that great though. It's probably because of the effects that Stu used on some songs except for Ambergris, which has the best and the smoothest mixing on the record for sure, or it's just that the album's been mastered through some sort of hi-fi machine that plays vinyl and then Joe Carra just masters the stuff with aussie magic or something, I don't know how it really works, but it definitely left a huge trail on the album's sound. And it sounds great, really, but also damn weird since it's the first time something like that has been used on a King Gizzard album and because I wasn't expecting everything to have a barely hearable vinyl crisp sound over all songs. If we look back at the last year's album, it doesn't sound like that, it sounds way cleaner, when OG has probably the rawest and somewhat garage sound with no lo-fi of all albums that they've done in the past 8 years, conceding 12 Bar Bruise, their debut LP, which wasn't really lo-fi, it was just noisy and garage-y, when others (i.e. Float Along - Fill Your Lungs and Oddments) were. I also have to admit that the transitions between tracks on this record are sick. Even sicker than the ones on Polygondwanaland and BF3K.

All in all, Omnium Gatherum is definitely one of the better albums of the year for now. I really hope these guys won't fall off on their next three albums and won't give us a metal album with a vinyl crisp sound over it at all times, that'd suck.

Report this review (#2776054)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2022 | Review Permalink
Heavy Prog Team
4 stars We're not even a third of the way through the year and King Gizz is releasing its second album of the year--and it's rumored that a total of five are due to be released this year! Well, if it's all happy music like this one, I for one welcome it!

LP 1 (40:21) 1. "The Dripping Tap" (18:17) the first 75 seconds of this sound as if the lead singer of ARCADE FIRE were singing karaoke over an instrumental version of some AL GREEN lounge song. But then the band takes a quick turn to convert to rip-roaring rock with that punk rock on speed drumming plowing through to mark the way. Multiple guitars and synths, even vocals, try to express their joy and excitement in a kind of ALLMAN BROTHERS way, jamming over Robo-Jaki (LIEBEZEIT)'s frenzied metronomic drum play. At 6:25 the Win Butler heavily-treated voice returns over a bit of a break from the instruments (they're just sipping from their drinks, toking from their bongs) but then they're all off to the races for round two. In the 12th-minute there is another brief lull from the instruments during which a chorus of vocalists organize themselves around a chant of "Drip drip from the tap, don't slip" which then goes on for a good three minutes before a swell of guitars breaks it off. Then a relative quiet of the lead instruments allows another vocal section before everyone is unleashed yet one more time for a display of frenetic passion. The final minute sees a recapitulation of the opening section only with the full rhythm section in rapid support. A good song if you're into these jam songs--if you like listening to the passionate solos of a variety of instrumentalists. (I, however, am no longer one of these.) (35/40) 2. "Magenta Mountain" (6:05) a bit of a THE FLAMING LIPS feel to this. Nice bass sound and b vox. (8.5/10)

3. "Kepler-22B" (3:13) a very catchy, groovin' R&B tune that makes me think that Tame Impala might have merged with Durand Jones & The Indications. One of my favorite KG&tLW songs of all-time. (9.5/10)

4. "Gaia" (5:11) a monstrously heavy beast, chugging along as if it were a djenty metal song. Even the vocal approach is right in line with the growl vocalists of those genres, all in the attempt at presenting our planet's persona from a testosterone-driven male perspective (which is an interesting prospect in and of itself). If tongue-in-cheek, it's hilarious; if serious, it saddens me. The band is certainly branching out into new territory with this one. (8.5/10)

5. "Ambergris" (4:27) another gentle, romantic R&B-like slow-dance groove with some awesome EW&Fire-like group vocals and wonderfully playful bass play and an awesome little microtonal guitar solo--so sexy! (9/10)

6. "Sadie Sorceress" (3:08) with a beat like a1990s Hip Hop classic, the boys take on the territory of the sacrosanct BEASTIE BOYS and do quite an admirable job of it as they do (though once again I hear much more of JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE's voice and rap style). (8.75/10)

LP 2 (39:59) 7. Evilest Man" (7:39) sequenced percussive computer notes are intermixed with the boys' full-on jam ensemble before clearing out for the Fender Rhodes chords that support a solo voce vocal performance that sounds like it comes from the 1970s. (13/15)

8. "The Garden Goblin" (2:57) a song that sounds so straight out of the psychedelic 1960s London Scene--until, that is, the synth solos. Everytime the vocal choir sings I picture The Buckinghams or The Lovin' Spoonful up on stage in Top of the Pops. (8.5/10)

9. "Blame It on the Weather" (2:31) feels like a continuation of the previous song (same instrumental sound palette and effected choral-vocals). Nice guitar durning the choral chorus. (8.25/10)

10. "Persistence" (3:48) another song that could've come from the cutting floor of a Justin Timberlake recording session in the 2000s. Nice early Tony Levin ChapmanStick-like bass line. (8.25/10)

11. "The Grim Reaper" (3:06) harpsichord and bass open before rap rhythm track takes the fore and the group rap takes over. The overall vocal tone sounds almost like Alvin and the Chipmunks. The intent of this might be more clear if I were into lyrics. The music is okay. (8.5/10)

12. "Presumptuous" (4:53) another song that sounds like (could very well be) a tongue-in-cheek Justin Timberlake parody. It's actually quite well done--has a great melody line, vocal performance and, when the full band joins in (about halfway in) nice overall groove and sound--a bit of SANTANA being channelled in the instrumental second half (some of it quite obviously intentional). (8.75/10)

13. "Predator X" (3:46) another foray into the realm of metal music. It just feels wrong--half-hearted and thus, tongue-in-cheek. I don't think this is a direction the band should continue pursuing. (8/10)

14. "Red Smoke" (4:22) I don't which band member is the voice of these teenage Arcade Fire vocal performances but he has my permission to try another shtick. (7.75/10)

15. "Candles" (4:34) pretty sound palette and arpeggiated chords to open before a "Shaft" cymbal-play signals a shift into another gear. The dreamy choral repetition of the word "Candles" is funny in a The Lonely Island kind of way. Sounds 1960s French while, of course, coming from a 21st Century perspective, thus, funnier than hell. (9/10)

16. "The Funeral" (2:23) a nice continuation of the sound and style of the previous song. (4.5/5)

Total Time 80:00

Whichever reviewers called this a "smorgasborg" of the band's new "greatest hits," they were spot on. I do not think that, overall, this album stands up to most of the songs on Changes or Laminated Denim's "Hypertension" or most of the stuff on Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms, & Lava. Also, I don't know if it is the expressed or subversive intent of the band to make fun of old musical styles and artists, but it sure seems so--and would gain points for successful attempts at humor if it were so.

B/four stars; a very nice addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you like upbeat, tongue-in-cheek parodies of older musical styles--rated up for volume, quality, and variety.

Report this review (#2869386)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2022 | Review Permalink
3 stars I hesitate to use a label more restrictive than "rock" to describe King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. These astonishingly prolific Aussies have one of the most diverse back catalogs in modern popular music, ranging from garage rock to prog to thrash metal to synthpop to microtonal music and beyond. Their latest release is a dizzying encapsulation of their always-shifting style. The appropriately-titled Omnium Gatherum (a faux-Latin phrase meaning "a collection of many different things") is a sprawling, 80-minute record that has a bit of everything.

The opening track is "The Dripping Tap"--the band's longest studio recording to date?and it's a [%*!#]ing banger. This song is 18 minutes of balls-to-the-wall fuzzed-out psychedelia. King Gizzard effortlessly weaves between blazing instrumental passages, soul-influenced verses, and krautrock-like repetition over the course of this epic.  The band hardly takes their foot off the gas at any point; even during quieter moments, there's still an irrepressible momentum. This ranks right up there with "Planet B" and "Robot Stop" among the band's all-time best songs.

Following that stomping, acidic onslaught, "Magenta Mountain" cools things way down. There's a vaguely "Eastern" quality to the lead synth line, and the verses are quiet and gentle. This would have fit in well on Butterfly 3000, but it goes on for a bit longer than it needs to. "Kepler-22b" is tonally similar, but with a more complex rhythm and overt jazz influences. The drumming in particular is great, and I like how forward in the mix the bass is.

"Gaia" represents another left turn. This song sees the band dip their toes back into the waters of metal. Stu Mackenzie's growl is distinctive and fantastic, and the song manages to be both artful and heavy. This track somehow naturally flows into "Ambergris". "Ambergris" is a bit of laid-back, jazzy space-funk, so that transition is quite impressive. The song itself is fine, if not particularly memorable. It's not really my thing, but the title of this album is effectively Hodgepodge. Not everything's going to be up my alley.

King Gizzard's experiments enter new territories on "Sadie Sorceress". This is a hop-hop song that works pretty well. I'm still not crazy about rapping as a vocal style, but the backing track is funky, psychedelic, and jazzy. The groove really sucks the listener in.

Sequenced synthesizers kick off "Evilest Man", the album's second-longest cut. The verses are light and bouncy, but there are some wonderful, contrasting stabs of squealing guitars. This song falls somewhere between Butterfly 3000 and Polygondwanaland with its blend of synth-heavy psych-pop and progressive song structures. "The Garden Goblin" is similar in tone but peppier and more whimsical; and "Blame It On The Weather" flows right out of the preceding song to make a mini-suite.

"Persistence" has a fun, laid-back groove, and the extensive car-based metaphors in the lyrics are charmingly goofy. In contrast, "The Grim Reaper" is another hip-hop track based around a simple keyboard pattern. The flute in this song is haunting with a subtle Japanese flavor. The instrumental elements gradually build up and add complexity.

Warm electric piano opens up "Presumptuous". This song reminds me a lot of Steely Dan, but that's not a band I'm a fan of. It's passable, '70s-style jazz rock, but it hardly stands out. And "Predator X" is the most disappointing song on the album for me. Infest the Rats' Nest might be my favorite King Gizzard album, so this underbaked, lazy thrash song left a bad taste in my mouth. There's a decent idea or two in this song, but it needed to be better developed.

"Red Smoke" blends folk rock and jazz rock, and the bass stands out quite nicely. Unfortunately, this song doesn't have much variation in it, which makes for a very long four-and-a-half minutes. "Candles" is a kitschy bit of lounge-rock that overstays its welcome, and the closing "The Funeral" is a passable atmospheric piece with some Spanish guitar noodling.

Omnium Gatherum is impressive in its scope and ambition. There is a lot of good music here from a lot of different genres. Unfortunately, it is overlong, and it ends rather weakly. Everything after "The Grim Reaper" is skippable, but that still means the first two-thirds (11 songs and approximately an hour) is pretty good. 

I know the band wanted to do something sprawling and incredibly diverse, but that's a tough feat to accomplish. There's a reason The White Album is such a highly-revered piece. King Gizzard does an overall good job here, but a bit of trimming would have benefited this release.

Review originally posted here:

Report this review (#2904542)
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2023 | Review Permalink

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