King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

PetroDragonic Apocalypse

by Colton Game

Over the 2010’s, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have created a name for themselves from their prolific and varied output. For those not in the know, since 2012, they have released 24 full length albums, and that’s without me including EPs, live albums, or their remix album. On top of that, their sound shifts and changes with each record, and many of them have a concept flowing throughout. You wouldn’t expect a band with such an insane schedule to be able to maintain a decent quality on their records (hell, they put out three albums in a single month in 2022), yet somehow they stay consistent.

Now I’d consider myself a fan of the band, but I won’t lie, it gets hard for me to keep up with all their projects. After 2019’s incredible Infest The Rats’ Nest, I tuned out for a bit. I’d check out their pair of albums, K.G. and L.W., pop in to listen to a single now and again, but not much stuck with me for a while. That is until I heard the first single for this new album, “Gila Monster,” which absolutely blew me away. It’s rare for me to listen to an album on release day, especially for these guys, but I tuned in immediately for this one, and I’m very happy to say that PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation might just be my favorite King Gizzard project to date.

This is what I’d classify as Gizzard’s second metal album, and it’ll definitely get plenty of comparisons to Infest the Rats’ Nest, however PetroDragonic Apocalypse is a much different type of metal. The former has incredible quick bursts of energy, and felt like a love letter to thrash metal. This album however sees Gizzard completely defining their own version of the genre. They’ve taken almost every trick they’ve learned up to this point and applied it here, from odd time signatures, having each track flow perfectly into the next, and even applying the use of microtones yet again. They’ve created their own brand of progressive and math-heavy metal that absolutely crushes the bands of the 80’s they were paying homage to on Rats’ Nest.

The album kicks off with “Motor Spirit”, which sets the tone perfectly. Over the course of eight and a half minutes, the track shows off the cryptic lyricism, as well as their absolutely monstrous playing style, and from what I could count, six different guitar solos. It also has a point in which the band quiets down, followed by a tempo change, which then goes into a full on breakdown, right before bringing it back to the energy we saw at the beginning of the track. It also contains insane lyrics, with one of my favorites being the group sung “Summon forth thy motor spirit / Drink the fuckin' gas and killeth!”

“Supercell” has become one of my favorite tracks here as well, mainly due to its crushing drums, chants of “Superceeellllll!!” as well as its allusions to The Wizard of Oz. Of course that might make no sense if you haven’t been keeping up with this album’s story. From my own interpretation, it’s yet another tale of climate change and its damages to the world (something the band has tackled many times up to this point), but this one is more post-apocalyptic and fantasy oriented. I believe the album starts off with damages from oil corporations causing giant storms, which is why the band alludes to The Wizard of Oz here.

This brings us to the next two tracks, “Converge” and “Witchcraft,” which, in my eyes, serve as a narrative prelude to “Gila Monster.” “Converge” seems to be from the perspective of the Supercell storms themselves, while “Witchcraft” seems to be from the perspective of some sort of creature being created (which I assume to be the Gila Monster). “Witchcraft” is definitely my favorite of these two, with its insane harmonic solos, as well as its uses of campy witch-y sounding terms, with references to black cats, crystals, and eventually a “harmless skink Transforms into a mythic king.”

Of course, that skink has transformed into the Gila Monster, which is also the title of the next track to focus on. The chants of “Gila! Gila! Gila!” give an insane primal energy that invokes a feeling of nordic warriors fighting some mythological creature, which is most definitely intended. This is easily the most straightforward track of the whole album, with it being the only song under five minutes, as well as having the least progression of any song here. This isn’t a downside at all, if anything it should be taken as a compliment that the single that initially drew me in wasn’t even one of my favorite tracks.

Next is “Dragon”, which lyrically is also straightforward, but I see it as the beginning of the end for the record. The Gila Monster has essentially taken over the whole planet, and the lyrics begin to reflect what we’re given in the album’s title, with the band saying pieces of the title throughout the song. This is also the longest track here, standing at nearly 10 minutes long. The chants of “Dragon,” leading into the buildup of “PetroDragonic Apocalypse” are absolutely chilling, and right after the screamed “Welcome to hell!” we get multiple passages spoken entirely in latin, evoking the feeling of truly being in a man-made hell on earth.

If you thought “Dragon” was an intense track, the first few minutes of “Flamethrower” blow everything out of the water, as it starts out as the heaviest track on the whole album. It ties the record’s narrative up really well, with the monster essentially torching everything around, with one lyric even saying “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” The back half of this track is what I would call my only flaw with the entire record, but it’s not something I’m too mad about. About halfway through, it kind of enters an electronic segment, which isn’t bad, it’s just a very quick change of pace that I don’t think works in the album’s favor. The band has said that this album is only the first half of two albums (much like their K.G. and L.W. projects a few years back), so I suppose that makes sense, but I can’t help that wish I could just listen to the first 5 minutes of “Flamethrower” without having to skip the tonally jarring ending.

With all that being said, this is now tied with Nonagon Infinity as my favorite Gizzard project to date. It’s reintroduced my love for this band back into my life, and I’m definitely going to go back and visit some of the projects I’ve missed over the past couple years. I’m also happy to say that I’ll do a better job of following their output in the future, and I expect them to blow my mind again with their next project, whatever genre it may be.