Category: thrash metal

New Video: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Share an Enormous, Thrash-Inspired Ripper

Back in 2019, the members of the acclaimed Aussie JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard released their thrash metal concept album Infest The Rats’ Nest. The album allowed the band to tap into their inner metalhead, to commute with the pre-teenage selves. Written as an off-the-cuff experiment, Infest The Rats’ Nest quickly became a fan favorite, and the album’s headbanging, mosh pit stirring rippers are highlights of their live shows. And although, it was initially intended as a one-off, the band has head the siren call of metal in the wind.

“When we made Rats’ Nest, it felt experimental,” King Gizzard’s Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar) says. “Like, ‘Here’s this music that some of us grew up on but we’d never had the guts or confidence to really play before, so let’s give it a go and see what happens’. And when we made that album we were like, ‘Fuck, why did it take us so long to do this?’ It’s just so much fun to play that music, and those songs work so well when we play them live. So we always had it in our minds to make another metal record.”

Understandably, the band was wary of repeating themselves. So when Gizzard’s core trio of metalheads — Mackenzie, Joey Walker (guitar, bass, vocals) and Michael “Cavs” Cavanaugh (drums) — convened to began writing the material that would eventually comprise their remarkable 24th album, and second foray into thrash metal, the double LP PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation, they approached the creative process and the project in a radically different way for them. “We worked on it the same way we started our Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava album last year,” Mackenzie explains. “We wrote a song a day, and we came into the practice space with no riffs, no tunes, no ideas, and started from scratch. And we jammed, and recorded everything, and pieced the songs together from that. I’d sketched out the story the songs would tell, and I’d portioned it out into seven song titles, with a short paragraph of what would happen in the song. I guess we kind of made the record backwards.”

PetroDragonic Apocalypse owes a ton to fantasy lore — I mean, look at the title, right? “We wanted to start the story in the real world, and then send it to hell,” grins Mackenzie. “It’s about humankind and it’s about planet Earth but it’s also about witches and dragons and shit” he laughs. Superficially, the album’s lyrics are fun, but they’re profound if the listener digs a bit deeper. Shakespeare and the Bible inspired the vice of some of the lyrics, which play out in the album’s blackly comedic and bleakly destructive tale, delivered with high drama. Sonically, the album’s material is reportedly pure headbanging thrash metal riffage that also channels the prog-influenced vibe of the genre’s late 80’s apex.

PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation is slated for a June 16, 2023 release through the band’s own KGLW. The album’s first single “Gila Monster” is a headbanging, hard-charging, ripper, built with layers of crunchy, power chord-driven riffage, thunderous drumming and the Aussie JOVM mainstay’s unerring knack for mosh pit friendly hooks paired with Mackenzie’s snarling delivery. While clearly indebted to late 80s thrash metal, “Gila Monster” sees the band stepping past their influences to create something that sounds remarkably period specific — but absolutely new.

The accompanying video, directed by SPOD is fittingly bonkers and hits every metal trope. It features wizards, demonic-looking rituals, animals that could be simultaneously friend and foe and cinematic vistas. “I wanted to shoot Lord of the Rings 4 but also make a video game, so I mixed both mediums and came up with this majestic journey for truth and power in a cursed world,” SPOD explains. “I mixed 3D animation, modeling & live footage in a 3D video game program to create this marvelous voyage of man & beast.  Friend or foe?”

Now, if you’ve been following the Gizz over the past decade, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that the band is currently putting the finishing touches on album 25, another seven-track concept album that was started around the same time as PetroDragonic Apocalypse, and followed its improvised, one-song-a-day method. “I’m not a tortured artist, I’m more of a mad professor,” admits Mackenzie. “And after a bunch of records crafted out of jams, we’re very much ready to make records in the old-fashioned way of writing the songs before we enter the studio, once these ones are done.”

Formed a little over two years ago, the rising New Orleans-based metal outfit Total Hell features an All-Star cast of the city’s metal and punk scenes: Sick Thoughts‘ and Trampoline Team‘s DD Deth, a.k.a. Drew Owen (drums, vocals); Static Static and Heavy Lids‘ John Henry, a.k.a Henry Hell; Persauders‘ and Tirefire’s Jason “Panzer” Craft (guitar); and Trampoline Team’s Micheal He-man, a.k.a Michael Maniac (guitar).

The New Orleans-based metal outfit’s self-titled debut EP is slated for a November 19, 2021 release through Goner Records. The tracks on the EP reportedly sees the band crafting melodic rippers with a floor-to-ceiling hugeness but while doing so in an economical manner. “Recorded on a Tascam 8-track cassette live at home (aka “The Parkway”) by Michael He-Man and the process was a nightmare,” Total Hell’s DD Deth explains. “Original tape crapped out on us back in early 2020 so we had to redo the whole thing.” 

The EP’s first single “Clones from Hell” begins with a hellish sounding countdown before roaring out of the gate as a Motörhead-like ripper, centered around scorching, felt-melting riffage, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. Lyrically, the song is perfect for the season: clones from hell have run amok! But seriously though, play this one loud and imagine yourself in a sweaty mosh pit.

New Audio: Stockholm’s Spelljammer Releases a Brooding and Forceful Ripper

Stockholm-based doom metal/stoner rock act Spelljammer — currently, Niklas Olsson (vocals, bass), Robert Sorling (guitar) and Jonatan Remsbo (drums) have crafted a unique sound centered around a long-held penchant for massive, sludgy power chord riff-driven dirges with dramatic interludes.

2015’s Ancient of Days was the Stockholm-based act’s third release — and in many ways it was a rebirth of sorts: it was the band’s first recorded output as a trio and sonically the album represented a decided move towards a heavier, doom metal-leaning sound. Lyrically, the album was inspired by Swedish author and Nobel laureate Harry Martinson’s epic poem “Aniara,” in which a spaceship leaving an uninhabitable Earth is hurtled off course, sending its thousands of passengers on a steady course in the wrong direction — and there’s nothing they can do about it. The poem ends with the spaceship’s passengers dying as the ship continues on its journey through the vast nothingness of the solar system.

Spelljammer’s fourth release, Abyssal Trip is the first bit of new material from the acclaimed Swedish act in over five years, and the album reportedly finds the band bridging their earlier desert rock/stoner rock leanings with their more recent massive, slow-burning sludgy riffs. And while continuing Olsson’s long-held obsession with pondering the vastness of everything, Abyssal Trip derives its name from the perpetually dark, cold, oxygen-free zone at the bottom of the ocean. The album’s six songs manage to embody that bleak and dark realm with rumbling and oozing guitars and dramatic melodic interludes. But unlike its predecessors, the album finds the band crafting material that slowly unfurls, which gives the proceedings a hypnotic quality.

“The lyrical themes we address, like the ultimate doom of man, and the search and longing for new and better worlds, are still there,” Olsson says. “The concept of something undiscovered out there in vast emptiness is pretty much always present.”

Clocking in at a little under 7:30, “Lake,” Abyssal Trip’s expansive first single is centered around alternating sections of crushing, sludgy doom-laden dirge and menacing galloping thrash, a gorgeously shimmering, melodic break and a scorching guitar solo — and it’s all held together by mosh pit friendly hooks. “Lake” manages to find Spelljammer crafting a song that evokes the vastness and and power of a brewing storm over an enormous body of water — and the smallness and powerlessness of humanity.

Abyssal Trip is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through RidingE

Live Footage: The Death Wheelers Perform “Ditchfinder General”

With the release of their full-length debut, 2018’s I Tread On Your Grave, the rising Canadian act The Death Wheelers — Max “The Axe” Tremblay, Richard “Bastard” Turcotte, Sy “Wild Rye” Tremblay and Hugo “Red Beard” Bertacchi — have developed a sound that’s largely inspired by the aesthetics and ethos of bikesploitation movies like The Wild Angels, Werewolves on Wheels and Psychomania — and Dave Allen, The Cramps, Motörhead, The Stooges, and Grand Funk Railroad.

The Canadian metal act’s forthcoming album Divine Filth is slated for a September 11, 2020 release through RidingEasy Records, and the album will reportedly continue the band’s reputation for crafting, sleazy, head banging instrumental anthems that also simultaneously serve as the soundtrack for fictional bikesploitation films. While naturally centered around power-chord driven riffage, the album sonically finds the band drawing from Motörhead, The Cramps and Dick Dale.

Recorded in a breakneck series of live sessions, Divine Filth is all killer, no-filler, no bullshit scuzzinness with a layer of juvenile crassness that happily recalls Troma Films. Their sophomore album is loosely based around a fantastically dumb yet pretty fucking awesome plot synopsis: It’s 1982. Spurcity is run-down,The crime rate is up and so is drug use. A new kind of kick has hit the streets and it ain’t pretty. DTA, a powerful and highly addictive hallucinogenic drug, is transforming its loyal citizens into undead trash. Its users experience an indescribable high, but it leaves them rotting away within days, craving human flesh. No one knows who is dealing this new potent drug, but rumour has it that the motorcycle cult, The Death Wheelers, is behind this concoction. Could this be the end of civilization as we know it? What is motivating this group of psychotic individuals?

Last month, I wrote about the sludgy, The Sword-like album single “Corps Morts.” Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Ditchfinder General” is arguably the most expansive ripper they’ve released to date as it features elements of Dick Dale surf rock, crusty Headbanger’s Ball-era riffage  and dashes of prog rock experimentalism — thanks to an atmospheric and brooding bridge. Continuing their reputation for a cinematic take on metal, “Ditchfinder General” sounds as though it would be part of a movie’s key scene — in my mind, it’d be early on, when the protagonists and antagonists are introduced and defined to the viewer.