King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, an Australian psych rock band, is back and fiercer than ever. The second of supposedly five albums they’re going to release is here and it’s a killer. It’s called “Murder of the Universe” and it brings back what defined “Eyes Like the Sky”, launched in 2013: a narrated album. But this one was done slightly differently. It’s composed of three chapters, totalising 21 songs, also sung by King Gizzard’s lead vocalist, Stu Mackenzie, and throat sung by Joey Walker, the band’s lead guitarist.
Chapter one is called “The Tale of the Altered Beast”, a nine-song story narrated by Leah Senior, an Australian singer, also signed to Flightless, the band’s record label. It starts out nasty and pleasantly doomy with “A New World”, an intro to the tale completely narrated by the excellent voice of Senior. Then commences a series of crazy-sounded songs called “Altered Beast” and “Alter Me”, played intermittently. But by crazy, I mean in a good way. They’re wild, they’re sick, and they’re awesome. “He came from underneath”. A sick majestic line which I’m a great fan of. I also personally adore the start of “Altered Beast II”. It starts incredible with the lead guitar, and gets wildly fun throughout the song. “Altered Beast III” is equally fantastic. And by fantastic, I’m referring “slow” part that starts at roughly 1:26. Simply godlike.
The second part is called “The Lord of Lightning vs The Balrog”, which depicts a battle between two monsters. It commences with “Some Context”, which surprisingly incorporates the final portions of “People-Vultures”, a “Nonagon Infinity” track (which I reviewed, here), alluding to and practically confirming the “Gizzverse”, a theory that says that all albums, or at least these two, plus “I’m In Your Mind Fuzz” (2014), are related. Again, the vocals start out with an intro by Senior, at “The Reticent Raconteur”, something I got disappointed by because I was hoping for a different narrator. Nonetheless, one of the best aspects of this part is how “The Reticent Raconteur” transitions soo smoothly to “The Lord of Lightning”, “The Lord of Lightning” incredible. “The Balrog” is what follows and is equally great. It’s a song that uses intensely the repetition elements present in “Rattlesnake” and “Trapdoor”, making it fairly catchy.
Like the other parts, “Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe” is violent. Violent and epic. Particularly “Digital Black” and “Vomit Coffin”. It was hard to resist trying to destroy everything around me with the first listens.
I’m obviously exaggerating, but really, these songs just got into my head and dominated me. “And when I declared to my design, like Frankenstein’s monster, I am your father, I am your God, and you’re the magic that I conjure”. The hype I had when I first heard this in a Facebook video of a concert, before the song was released (yes, King Gizzard usually plays the songs on tours before they release its studio versions), was immense. These lines in particular are what made me obsessed with “Vomit Coffin”, not to mention the electric guitar progression after “And you’re the magic that I conjure”. It felt truly sick. Like I said, it just entered me and controlled what was going on in my head. And the studio version didn’t disappoint me at all. “Digital Black” on the other hand didn’t stay in my head with that intensity, but it’s still a great, fun track.
The vocals of the narrated guy, Han-Tyumi himself, in the rest of the part are pretty sick too. The part, and therefore, the album, ends with “Murder of the Universe”: an epic, four-minute song narrated by him with pretty comical lines. “It bleeds through the pores of my skin, and it smells good”. “I am a black hole shitting into the void”. Imagine King Gizzard releasing a comedy album. It would definitely be awesome. Continuing, overall, “Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe” is truly phenomenal and a great finish for a great album.