King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s newest release caught me in a whirlwind both literally and sonically. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was reviewing Flying Microtonal Banana. The sonic whirlwind, however, is much more exiting. When you press play, the room you are in shatters and suddenly you’re standing on a cliff. The narration that begins in “A New World” and carries on throughout the album takes you to such places as King Gizzard’s music blows past you like heavy winds.
The tale told in Murder of the Universe is the epitome of dystopian and fantasy story telling. Steel and earth come together and pull apart. Our humanity comes into conflict with forces that are as old as time, yet brand new. This duality is demonstrated with two concepts/characters: the Altered Beast (seen in “Altered Beast I-IV”) and Han-Tyumi (seen in “Han-Tyumi The Confused Cyborg”, “Soy-Protein Munt Machine” and “Murder of the Universe”). The Altered Beast’s story is told by the narrator and by the music. The speed metal influence and shaking rhythms paint a picture of a feral creature that is tangible in its influence, yet intangible in its physical state.
Unlike its counterpart, Han-Tyumi tells his own story along with the music. Han-Tyumi’s artificial sentience overpowers the Altered Beast’s organic, corrupted humanity. The music that accompanies Han-Tyumi’s story telling is kindred with the music of the Altered Beast, but it is more precise and calculated like the being itself. As Han-Tyumi’s intelligence grows in complexity, the music does too.
An album is supposed to tell a story. Murder of the Universe exceeds that expectation. It tells a human story by bringing in nostalgic pieces of past works like In Your Mind Fuzz and shadowing the infinite loop of their eighth album, Nonagon Infinity. By breaking their past work open, they create a musical landscape that illustrates the mounting dystopian conflict between mankind and machine.
With Murder of the Universe, King Gizz continues to build this fantastical world that is a reflection of our own while promising even more mind-blowing, sensory explosions in the future.
by Hayley Robertson