King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Album Review
Written by mccormacke1 on September 17, 2023
PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation – By King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Album Review by Chris Alberico
Earlier this year, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released their 24th studio album on June 16th, 2023. Listening to their discography could be a full time job considering the sheer number of albums they have released. A discography in which I have not yet and probably will not finish for a very long time. However, as bloated as the number of albums they have released, the quality of the music has not faltered one bit.
The band, hailing from Melbourne Australia, consists of a whopping six members and do not limit themselves to just one genre. They have tried their hand in jazz, progressive rock, folk rock, funk, and the genre of today’s review: thrash metal.
If I had a nickel for every time King Gizzard has released an album focusing on the topic of a post-apocalyptic earth with a chaotic, in-your-face score, I would have two nickels. And they would be my favorite nickels, because PetroDragonic Apocalypse and its close relative Infest the Rats Nest are absolutely some of the group’s best work. For today I will be focusing on the former.
PetroDragonic Apocalypse is easily one of the greatest projects released this year due to how unique it is, with a 48 minute and 40 second runtime, this album wastes no time getting straight to the point right as the listener presses play. The opener Motor Spirit is absolutely brilliant. It gets the ball rolling while simultaneously setting the tone and laying the foundation for the fictional story at large, which will continuously evolve throughout the entire project. Sonically, this track is Electrifying with a capital E – the powerful riffs, booming percussion, and grimy vocals captivated me throughout the first half of the eight minute and thirty-two second runtime.
The midsection begins to take its foot off the gas a little bit to tell more story, but it picks back up towards the end to flow into the next track, Supercell. What a wild ride this song is from the first second your ears are again bombarded by the band’s ultra-impressive instrumentation. Their style of play in this song is very unique as well: The percussion and strings feel like they are constantly clashing in different sections, with some points of the track focusing on the technical drums, and other sections, the mesmerizing guitars.
In the end, the two sides converge on the next track, Converge. As corny as that joke was, this song is the complete opposite of that. With another super powerful hook, the group continues to melt faces with their rough sound. That is, until halfway through the track where they take a very unexpected turn opting for an interesting sound change, reminiscent of the band Tool. I love them a lot, so this is a very welcome change in my eyes.
The change of pace marks what I like to think is the halftime break between the first and second half of the project. The next track Witchcraft is almost psychedelic in nature. It features exotic guitar tones, balanced drums, and elaborate bass. Speaking of the bass, Lucas Harwood absolutely kills it in this track. As a bassist myself, I love songs that highlight the importance of the instrument. Granted, he’s been stellar throughout this entire project… I just feel the need to highlight it during this specific track because the band gives him time to shine here.
With around a minute left, pick the energy back up, leading into the final stretch of the album. Track five Gila Monster is next up, and if I have to be honest, my feelings about this song are extremely mixed. It dials down the energy from the end of the last track, which makes the buildup have minimal payoff. However, this can be excused because the small payoff at the end of Witchcraft, into the slight drop-off of this track makes the music itself feel like it matches the stories told on the songs. This project is about post-apocalyptic lizard people, lizards are rough to touch and act unpredictably, just like this song. Even if you don’t enjoy this stylistic approach, it is the shortest song of the seven with a runtime of only four minutes and thirty-five seconds.
Speaking of lizards, the next track is Dragon, which completely contrasts the prior song, boasting a massive nine minute and forty-four second length. Split into three sections, Dragon turns the trash up to 100 in the first part with more quick drums and infectious riffs. The three minute mark begins to taper the energy down to a level more reminiscent of the band’s usual psychedelic sound, until around the six minute mark where you’re slapped in the face with the heaviest riff on the entire album out of nowhere. They carry the riff for the final three minutes with flawless execution, the group is completely synced, it feels almost inhuman how they’re able to play in these odd time signatures so effortlessly.
Finally, we’ve made it to the closing track, and my personal favorite, Flamethrower. I can’t praise this song enough, it’s everything I love about this album and King Gizzard wrapped into one. Right out the gate, you’re hit with brain-melting guitars, captivating double-bass drums, and front man Stu Mckenzie’s one-of-a-kind vocals on full display. Nobody leaves anything left to be desired- musical motifs from previous songs are wedged into parts as well, and after all the gas has been burned, the track takes a complete left turn and morphs into a psychedelic-rock jam session for the final five minutes of this nine minute twenty-two second masterpiece. They close the album out with their classic sound heard in albums like 2016’s Nonagon Infinity.
Overall, I don’t have enough words to describe how ingenious Petro Dragonic Apocalypse is without making this review way too long. There are no deep themes or meanings in the lyrics, just amazing music with cinematic storytelling to match. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is truly a once in a lifetime act to follow. There is no modern band I have heard that comes close to their versatility, skill, and passion for the music they create. I for one hope to hear much more metal from them because they sure as heck know how to do it better than bands devoted to thrash.
Rating – 8.5/10
Image from Amazon.com