Infest The Rat’s nest is King Gizzard’s latest and 15th full length album, and with it comes yet another stylistic meander for the band, both visually and musically (this time it’s thrash metal). So to celebrate I’m going to just go through what I like about the band.
King Gizzard essentially makes concept albums, which is part of the reason they’re able to have such stylistic range. They have a theme and they completely follow through with it with absolutely no compromises. Their first few albums seemed to be stick to the musical style of 60’s Psychedelic Rock, Float Along - Fill Your Lungs is where they started to get some critic attention. I started listening right around the time Nonagon Infinity came out, an album that is designed to loop forever. Other interesting entries in their discography are Flying Microtonal Banana, an album made entirely using microtonal scales, Paper Maché Dream Balloon, an album recorded entirely in a farm silo, Quaters, an album made of four prog-rock-esque 12 minute tracks, and many many more.
Most (maybe even all) of the visuals for the band are either created by (or in terms of videos and interactive media, directed by) Jason Galea, who always fundamentally understands what kind of feel King Gizzard is going for and absolutely nails it every time. One of my favorite album covers hes made was the cover for I’m In Your Mind Fuzz…
A design heavily inspired by box art for the videogame, Fortress, by Louis Saekow. The main reason I like this is simply because it just looks so cool, but it also fits the musical retro style of the album, and it makes sense with the overarching theme of the album, where your mind is the fortress, etc. Overall it’s just just a good looking cover art. This is also one of the first albums where they start to let the concept of the album bleed into elements other than the music/cover art, where they made an old school colour split 3D video for one of their tracks, Cellophane, since the lyrics of the track are literally “you can watch your movie in 3D, its so strange… with cellophane”.
I will now talk about their newest album though, because theres a few interesting elements, the first of which is an awesome but simply creepy album art, yet again by Jason Galea…
The album art is photo of a golden rat sculpture, which is kind of terrifying in of itself. It definitely has a creepy aura about it and despite not being at all similar to the kind of cover you’d expect from a metal album, it suits the music. I am intrigued as to how they came to this as the cover however, since it is just so bizarre. There are three music videos from this album one for Organ Farmer, Self-Immolate, and Planet B, all directed by John Angus Stewart. They’re pretty crazy videos.
My favorite part of the album however is the web game they made for the track Mars For The Rich. It’s a first person shooter game, seemingly inspired by area shooters like Doom…
It’s a relatively basic game, you just run around the arena, where there is a giant rat sculpture atop a pyramid in the centre of the arena, this spawns waves of rats which you kill with a pistol. When the game activates, the song Mars For The Rich plays. There are some obstacles, pillars and big pieces of stone to jump on and around for things like ammo and health. Occasionally a giant flying rat will appear which is harder to kill and shoots fireballs at you. Despite it’s simplicity its really fun to just have something to do while you listen to the song, having something interactive to do is really a great opportunity to further shape the impression that the song has on the listener/player, it turns it from something that a person listens to into something that a person experiences. It shows that the band really cared about how they wanted to make the listener feel when listening to their song.
Having an interactive element to accompany a song is something that’s starting to take off in recent years, Real Estate have a site where you coloured in their music video as it plays in real time, Anamanaguchi also had a puzzle game as the actual album itself, and Arcade Fire has an interactive video thing for their track We Used To Wait which is pretty cool. There are so many more examples but these are a few that stick out in my head.
I went off on one there a bit, but anyway, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (and friends) are a great creative bunch and I hope they keep doing what they’re doing. I highly recommend looking into the band because they never cease to surprise me with their genius.