The seven Melbourne natives that comprise Australian psychedelic rock group King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are known for being musical chameleons. In the span of just nine years, they have released 13 albums, each with their own distinct sound. If that does not give you some perspective into just how prolific the band is, in 2017 alone, King Gizzard released five albums and explored diverse genres such as microtonal music, spoken word, psychedelic jazz and progressive rock, just to name a few.
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s lineup is impressive, consisting of seven multi-talented musicians who create some of the most groundbreaking music in the business. Fronted by singer and rhythm guitarist Stu Mackenzie, the band made a name for itself by taking risks. For one example, the title track from their debut record, “12 Bar Bruise,” was recorded through four iPhones placed in different areas around a room, with Mackenzie singing directly into one of them (Purple Sneakers, “Album Review: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, ‘12 Bar Bruise,’” 08.17.2012). However, the group really broke new ground with their hit record, 2016’s “Nonagon Infinity,” which features nine tracks that form a continuous loop—hence the title.
After taking 2018 off, the band has returned with plans (apparently) to release two new albums this year. So far, the group has released three singles for the latest collection entitled “Fishing for Fishies,” which is due to be released on April 26. With such songs as “Cyboogie” and “Boogie Man Sam,” it seems that King Gizzard loyalists can expect “boogie” to be the theme of this album. Each of the singles released features a mellow, dance-like groove. However, most compelling is the band’s ability to take the “boogie” sound and translate it to different genres. “Cyboogie,” for example, is an upbeat, dance floor-shaking synthpop tune, whereas “Boogie Man Sam” seems to draw on bluegrass influences, with band member Ambrose Kenny-Smith’s harmonica skills prominently featured on the track.
The biggest surprise comes from the band’s latest single. On April 8, King Gizzard released the music video for a song titled “Planet B,” a metal tune that is not featured on the leaked tracklist of “Fishing for Fishies.” The sound is so different from the styles found on “Fishing for Fishies” that it has led to speculation from fans that 2019 may be the year that King Gizzard finally releases a metal album.
Clocking in at just under four minutes, “Planet B” seems to answer the question, “What would happen if Slayer took acid?” The headbanging riffs, lightning fast drums and shouted, abrasive vocals harken back to a style of heavy metal that has long been forgotten: traditional thrash metal. The lyrics, too, indicate a change for the band. While King Gizzard’s lyrics normally deal with abstract concepts, the band seems to have taken a page out of Megadeth’s handbook, writing largely socially conscious lyrics. “Planet B” is a song about the destruction of Earth due to climate change, with harsh criticisms of society’s ignorance in the face of blatant facts about climate change. The last line of the chorus states “there is no Planet B,” warning us that we do not have a backup plan(et).
As a fan of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, I am excited to hear the rest of “Fishing for Fishies.” However, I cannot help but be even more excited to see what direction the band will take following the release of “Planet B.” If the single is any indication of the band’s future plans, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s second album for 2019 might just be the best metal album of the year.