Artist: King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard
Album: Murder Of The Universe
Genre: Psychedelic Rock
Review by Steve Jenkins
They're a nerdy, proggy, fuzzed out collective that are only getting weirder as they get more popular. With King Gizzard releasing album after album, that collective is only gaining more and more fans as it grows, spending so much time in a recording studio they may as well live there.
Their songs are spaced-out and stitched together, guaranteed to take you on a tripped out journey with some very funky, rock and roll vibes. They make not make sense, and at times it might feel like you're finding yourself in the middle of a song that you can't even comprehend, but does it sound good? Yes, it does. Perhaps if Ghost sat down and got super high then it may come out sounding a little like King Gizzard.
So here's another King Gizzard album. Their second release of 2017 with still more to come, they don't muck around. It's been less than six months since their last, Flying Microtonal Banana, which, whilst solidifying their well known trademark sounds around focused and highly melodic songwriting, did little else to differentiate itself stylistically from the abundance of other King Gizzard albums available. The repetitive rhythms, the fuzzy production values, and the barely-there occultist themes that prove necessary for any garage rock revivalist, surely well done, but familiar all the same. As such, Murder Of The Universe attempts a broad shift into weirder rhythms, more varied song structures, and a pallet of '70s rock that extends beyond cosmic and experimental music. Predictably, it still sounds pretty much exactly like any other King Gizzard album. Is this just too much music to quickly?
'The Lord Of Lightning' and 'The Balrog' are the most successful attempts of songwriting on this release, reorienting the band's hypnotic qualities towards unfamiliar grooves whilst retaining the general ruckus of overdriven guitars and supernatural thematic. Gizz's strength however is obviously in their concise and functional riff-oriented songs, so it's not as if they are an obvious cut above the fray. There's clearer attempts at the new format, 'Digital Black' and 'Vomit Coffin' are standouts when jamming on a overused, fuzzed out rhythm. Yes, Murder Of The Universe is essentially the same King Gizzard album as their previous releases, updated for the sake of its own consequence. But it's also better than most other albums of its kind, specifically because King Gizzard appear able to coherently piece together a fun anthem with a sense of musical direction. Those probably aren't great standards, but when so many others seem to do nothing but rewrite the classics, the qualities that King Gizz do possess are both impressive and completely entertaining.
It's a lot to take in with 21 tracks spanning 46 minutes, and with such an intense and psychedelic journey it may take a few listens to get what they're trying to achieve. It's an ambitious record, much like most of their work, but King Gizzard succeed in being able to draw you into their weird and outlandish universe. It's a bit of fun and I'm looking forward to hearing what they come up with next, and I'm sure that won't be long.
6 out of 10 stars.
Murder Of The Universe is out now.
Check out the video for 'The Lord Of Lightning Vs Balrog' below