Review Summary: Polymetric Annihilation; or, Gaia Bequeaths A Molten Slab of Eternal Thrash
Even by King Gizzard’s now far-reaching and experimental standards, PetroDragonic Apocalypse
t crazy. Ash, soot, oil, lava, tectonic fissures, and more allusions to actual lizards than a band named after a magical lizard have ever used before all await you on the Aussie group’s brand new Mad Max: Fury Road
simulator, a reckless battering ram of a record that obliterates the standards of heaviness set by 2019’s Infest the Rat’s Nest
before opening odyssey “Motor Spirit” has even reached the end of its runtime. As this head spinning curtain riser progresses, listeners may also notice that the rhythmic fu
ckery that made its mark on Polygondwanaland
has also made a timely return, only this time with the metric sophistication dial set to “actually let’s go with maximum fu
ckery”. Even within the epicenter of its punishingly slow breakdown, “Motor Spirit” experiments with rapidly shifting polymeter and intricate rhythmic phrasing, a musical theme that comes to define the rest of Apocalypse
’s cataclysmic lifespan. “Witchcraft” takes this methodology to its most extreme, cleverly disguising straight 4/4 time behind some of the most disgustingly syncopated drumming you’ll hear all year, while the face-melting “Converge” chooses to hide nothing about its complexity and oscillate between measures of 5, 7, 9, and 13 within the blink of an eye. Of course, all of this would mean nothing if it were showmanship for showmanship’s sake, or handled in a clumsy manner, but Apocalypse
has no such issues. Tracks like “Dragon”, “Converge”, or the infectious “Supercell” will pull the rug out from under you before you even notice anything has gone astray, with the volcanic pulse of the music always remaining discoverable underneath every metric layer. Drummer Michael Cavanagh has truly outdone himself on this collection of tracks, actualizing the potential displayed on Rat’s Nest
and Omnium Gatherum
to craft a dizzying thrash performance for the ages.
Any fan of heavy music has borne witness to the devastating effect that excessive technicality can have on songwriting quality, a trend that is ironically bucked on the record’s two most straightforward bangers. Strangely enough, lead single “Gila Monster” is the only lifeless sounding cut Gizz have to offer here; it’s the track on which the band most clearly decided to throw caution to the wind and rock the fu
ck out, which only results in the finished product resembling an inferior clone of earlier tracks like “Gaia”. Elsewhere, “Supercell” emerges as the record’s crown jewel thanks to its combination of songwriting sensibility and responsible technicality. Its twisting, harmonizing riffs and seismic gang vocals conjure the power of the EF-5 tornado it describes, a sinister energy carried on by the apocalyptic images witnessed from the International Space Station on “Converge” and the final coup de grace
delivered to the Earth by Gaia himself on “Flamethrower”. No one is ever competing for the spotlight, and it never feels as though too much is happening at one time, despite how chaotic this album can get. Gizz are a sonically united front throughout the entirety of the record, and this is why some of the wildest phrases and sections they’ve offered on Apocalypse
have been the ones getting stuck in my head throughout the entire day.
is a landmark release within the vast King Gizzard catalog, primarily because of its unrelenting intensity on multiple fronts. Say what you will about the narrative integrity of the “GizzVerse” at this point, but the catastrophic imagery of Apocalypse
’s lyricism works seamlessly in tandem with its astounding musicianship. Stu Mackenzie, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, and Joey Walker all turn in top tier performances with their guitar work, transporting the listener to the end of the world with their commendable team effort. A full breakdown of the rhythm section’s strengths would be far too expansive, but suffice to say that Cook Craig’s low end and Cavanagh’s aforementioned drumming prowess carry the album to an otherwise unreachable height. As “Flamethrower” recapitulates “Motor Spirit” in Apocalypse
’s closing moments, listeners are reminded of one strangely comforting fact; it’s the end of the world every single day, and King Gizzard have just offered you its soundtrack.