King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are a prolific Psychedelic Rock group from Australia that have plans to release four to five albums in 2017 alone. This is yet another group that I’ve never heard of but need to now collect everything they’ve done. Their sound isn’t strictly Psychedelic – it’s closer to Garage Rock with hints of Indie and Punk. At the center of this all is singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Stu Mackenzie. His voice is simply incredible, and feels so similar to the eerie and commanding voice of Roger Wootton from Comus. The real magic here though is the entire band coming together, and with some masterful mixing, creating a sound that’s thoroughly captivating and cohesive. The tones of the guitars are matched just perfectly with the keyboards, and it creates such an incredibly enjoyable listening experience.
The album is split up into three “chapters”, the first being ‘The Tale of the Altered Beast’. It oscillates back and forth between Mackenzie’s repetitive singing and Leah Senior’s spoken word – all about slowly becoming inhumane. It all feels like one long song that’s split up into seven different parts, it flows to the point where it’s almost arbitrary that the songs are separate. It’s a high intensity song that’s a lot of fun to jam to, just very solid heavy Rock with Psychedelic themes and influences. Senior’s spoken word is quite eerie and unsettling at times, and Mackenzie picks up where she leaves off without missing a beat.
The second chapter is ‘The Lord of Lightning vs. The Balrog’ – a seemingly silly title but given the band’s names and themes, this isn’t a surprise and the band plays this completely earnestly. I love the throat singing on the intro of The Reticent Raconteur, it’s such a trippy sound when mixed with the smooth keyboards. The meat of the story is just epic, Mackenzie hypes up both The Lord of Lightning and The Balrog in anticipation of this mighty battle and I just can’t help but smile when he chants “Balrog” over and over. Who wins? You’ll have to listen to the album to see.
The third chapter is entitled ‘Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe’, a completely different setting for the story as they go Sci-Fi, but quality of sound does not falter at all. The spoken word is now a text-to-speech bot and the narrator is now Han-Tyumi – a cyborg with an existential crisis. What he wants more than anything is the visceral experiences of a human, to the point where he would enjoy death, regardless of how it happened. He goes so far as to create an experiment that allows him to vomit, but it gets exponentially out of hand, culminating in, of course, the final track Murder Of The Universe. Like the second chapter, I won’t spoil the details but you can guess what happens.
Murder Of The Universe is such a fun album to listen to, it’s just so full of energy but reminiscent of that fantastic 60’s and 70’s rock sound. I can see if someone was to say their sound is derivative, but I wouldn’t agree with that sentiment at all, this is something completely new and unique. The spoken word might be a bit abrasive but I would imagine you would get used to that very quick, I personally love it on albums when it’s done right, and this is one of them. I would recommend this to anyone interested in Rock, Psychedelic, Garage Rock, and well just about anyone really.