PetroDragonic Apocalypse; Or, Dawn Of Eternal Night: An Annihilation Of Planet Earth And The Beginning Of Merciless Damnation
Review by Ves on July 10, 2023.
It's been a while since I had enough focus on an album to note down my thoughts. While I am indeed scatterbrained and busy, there is a different reason for this - the new King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard album PetroDragonic Apocalypse; Or, Dawn Of Eternal Night: An Annihilation Of Planet Earth And The Beginning Of Merciless Damnation. Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? The stupidly prolific band's 24th album is their second metal effort, the first one being the excellent thrash album Infest The Rats' Nest from the summer of 2019. While fans and other people familiar with the Gizz will know that their other 22 albums are not united by genre, ranging from jazz fusion and psychedelic rock to a spaghetti western-inspired short story, others will wonder how the hell this band managed to put out 24 albums in 13 years of existence. To that, I can only say "Yes."
PetroDragonic Apocalypse has more in common with Infest The Rats' Nest than just nasty riffs and higher tempos. The lyrical concept seems to be inspired by the impending climate catastrophe, with the evacuation of the Earth on spaceships and terraforming of other planets in the Solar system from the predecessor replaced with another story of humanity and the Earth, but also with "witches and dragons and shit" as frontman Stu Mackenzie recently explained. Where PetroDragonic Apocalypse also excells is taking the stonery-thrash approach KG&LW took on Infest and pushing it further into their own little niche within metal, with a thick fuzzy crunch, odd time signatures, lengthy cuts, and more varied vocals than on their previous metal album. I especially enjoyed the backing vocals on 'Supercell', cutting through the thick riffage and Motorhead-flavour drums. Another case of nice supplementary vocals are Ambrose's raspy declarations on 'Gila Monster'.
The album was written as a result of multiple jam sessions, with most songs written in a day, the band explains. Again, this should not surprise any KGLW fans, as the six members can probably read each other's thoughts after such a long time playing together. The tempo and time signature changes just stack on top of one another perfectly, feeling both intentional and spontaneous. For example the shift from that driving 3 against 2 polyrhythm to the 11/8 outro section and solo which flows perfectly into the 11/8 and 7/8 'Dragon', whose intro riff might be my favourite of the album. Speaking of 'Dragon', it's one of the two 9+ minute songs, the other one being the closer, 'Flamethrower'. The first track, 'Motor Spirit' is also a lengthy one, with its 8 and a half minutes of stonery thrash goodness. Even with that being the case, none of these songs feels like it overstays its welcome for even a second, and the album runs for a reasonable 48 minutes. That is, of course, if you're a plebeian like me and have only listened to the digital release. The vinyl edition has an exclusive 8th track - a 14-minute spoken word cut titled 'Dawn Of Eternal Night' - which tells the story of the Earth's demise from Gila's perspective. If you're into fantasy as much as Stu Mackenzie or myself, do not miss it.
With Infest The Rats' Nest my thrash album of 2019, it's safe to say the Gizz have followed up with another strong contender 4 years later. After the 3 album marathon last October which were all great in their own way, especially Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, I'm happy to see the boys from Melbourne keep one-upping themselves. Can't wait for the next one and, let's be real, I probably won't have to for more than a couple of months.
Rating: 9 out of 10250