King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's second album of 2017 is a rampaging, feverish blast of sci-fi prog punctuated by whizzing synths and robotic voice-overs. Murder of the Universe is broken into three chapters, each telling a tale of humanity being driven out of existence by AI-driven machines and cyborgs. Subtract the story and it's trademark King Gizzard, with pummeling guitar riffs pitched between garage punk and heavy metal, Stu MacKenzie's yowling yelps at the mike, and the rhythm section's unstoppable drive combining to make exhilarating music that flashes like lightning trapped in a bottle and hits harder than Thor's hammer. The first two chapters work the best. "The Tale of the Altered Beast" has electrical sparks shooting from the riffs, sticky hooks that slice through the gnarly guitar crunch, and pleasantly evil voice-over work by Leah Senior. "The Lord of Lightning vs Balrog" brings back large chunks of Nonagon Infinity's sound, even reprising some of the melodies and words, while housing the album's best song, "The Lord of Lightning." How much the listener enjoys the third chapter, "Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe," might depend on their tolerance for graphic descriptions of a cyborg vomiting, and in the process, murdering the universe. Perhaps it's a little overdone; and not only that, this section is the least interesting musically and the story is slight, which is often the case on albums like this. There are still some fun snippets of doom psych in this chapter and on the whole, the album is a nice diversion for King Gizzard, though it's not very adventurous or experimental; it's mostly fun, but a little predictable -- more like something they should have given away free instead of calling it an album and selling it. Still, anytime King Gizzard hit the studio, the result is worth hearing, and even run-of-the-mill Gizzard leaves most neo-psych freaks swimming in their sizable wake. ~ Tim Sendra
Paste (magazine) - "A creepy conceptual effort that manages to incorporate despair, angst and the apocalypse into one not-so-neat-and-tidy package, it boasts a title that perfectly sums up those sentiments to a tee."
Clash (magazine) - "With incendiary psychedelic guitars and enough blaring harmonicas to cause an acid trip, chapter one is an onslaught of psych perfection."
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