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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats' Nest CD (album) cover

INFEST THE RATS' NEST

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.77 | 32 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars In an unexpected, and honestly extremely cool change of pace, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard decided to almost entirely eschew the psychedelic roots of their core sound for Infest The Rats Nest, replacing it with the sound of pure thrash and stoner metal. This was especially promising given how consistently exciting the band's heavier albums were, the teaser single of Planet B solidifying such hype. After listening to this album a number of times, I can safely say the the excitement I had for this was founded, as this album is consistently engaging in its breakneck intensity and apocalyptic atmosphere, with each track feeling sufficiently different as to not making it a slog to get through, despite clearly taking extensive inspiration from classic thrash like Metallica.

As previously mentioned, Planet B definitely sets up the album incredibly well with fast paced drumming and classic, chugging riffs which really establish this aggression that's trying to be achieved, the intro leading into similarly unexpectedly deep vocals reminiscient of the vocals of Sleep. The rest of the song continues quite strongly in a similar fashion, not really doing anything new or crazy, but continuing amazingly as a powerful, aggressive thrash metal track that sets the stage perfectly. Mars For The Rich shakes things up with a more bluesy, hard rock kind of track, which reminds me of Black Sabbath's Hole In The Sky without sounding like a copy of it. The song has a cool, driving bassline and some really cool lyricism to go along with it all, coming together to make for one of the album's most memorable songs. Organ Farmer unfortunately represents the worst elements of thrash for me, focusing primarily on stuffing as many solos into a short track, with everything feeling very stilted, overall a very mediocre song.

I feel the album really kicks it into high gear from this point onwards with Superbug however, channeling the sound of stoner metal and creating an incredibly powerful 7 minutes, and definitely the heaviest moment on the album. What I find especially impressive about this is how it manages to maintain a slow, crushing pace throughout, becoming especially intense during each absolutely immense repetition of the chorus. While the Venusian songs are both good, it's the remaining 3 songs that really stand out. Perihelion brings further freshness to everything with its more grandiose presentation, culminating in a reprieve from the heavier nature of the album through the one moment of the vocals being higher pitched and more melodic, without completely sacrificing the identity of the album, making for a breath of fresh air, providing for a more engaging experience. Self Immolate is tied with Superbug as my favourite cut off this album, for embodying the cmoplete opposite of what Superbug did, being the most insane track here, seemingly never slowing in pace, the chorus merely making everything sound that much more wild. I think that it's always a great sign when a song can make me compulsively headbang along to it and sound so intense at the same time. Hell is the track that everyone seems to remember for one thing, and that's its final minute, not that I can dispute that, as it is definitely one of the absolute greatest moments on the album, having such insanely cool riffing that builds up in such a satisfying way to make for an equally as satisfying conclusion.

While not really much more than a classic thrash album in amny respects, I feel that the additional styles put on here, such as some hard rock and stoner metal elements provides this album for some great variety to break up the monotony that can be caused by too much of a singular heavy sound. I find this to be one of my absolute favourite albums from the band for being able to make such a faithful recreation of classic thrash without sounding like a carbon copy of it, not to mention actually being exciting all the way through like only the best of the best are able to do for me when it comes to this genre. While not the first place I'd point someone to when trying to get into this band, since it's so different to the rest of their material, it's nonetheless an album that I think is amazing in what it does, and would be getting a 5 stars if not for the fact that in a prog setting, this isn't what I'd consider an essential album.

Best tracks: Mars for the Rich, Superbug, Perihelion, Self Immolate

Weakest tracks: Organ Farmer, Venusian 2

Verdict: While not representative of King Gizzard in any major form, this is nonetheless one of my favourite albums in their discography for its consistency yet cohesive variety at the same time, making the album one that I find engaging from start to finish. It's something I strongly recommend to those who are fans of thrash metal, as I think you'll definitely get a kick out of this.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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