The first of three albums dropping this month
Brad Sked
11:19 6th October 2022

It’s starting to get to the point now that if a  King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard/ King Gizzard/ King Gizz/ Gizz (or whatever your preferred term for psychedelic cosmonauts is) album doesn’t drop, or five, within a calendar year, then you do have to start questioning whether the Earth really did circle the sun.

Labeling the almost mythological outfit ‘prolific’ really would be quite the understatement.  Before this latest offering, the ever hard-working fuzz-lords had released 20 studio albums (not too shabby for a band that released their debut in 2016), plus multiple live albums and an insurmountable amount of ‘official’ bootlegs, all under their ever-growing 'Gizzverse'; that would even make Marvel proud, if not jealous.  Now, within the month of October 2022, King Gizzard are to release a total of three - yes three albums (insert your own Peep Show meme in response, if you like) across the month.

To some, this may seem a gimmick, yet King Gizzard have been doing things on their own terms for a while now ever since they appeared just over a decade ago. Take for example ‘Eyes Like The Sky’. A second-album is often the most daunting experience for a band, yet King Gizz and their artistic endeavors of doing things their own way saw them deliver a second outing which was a spoken word psychedelic-spaghetti western saddle ride storytale that felt like being dropped into the world of Red Dead Redemption on acid.  So three albums in a month might well see a cynical retort by some, but the tour-de-force are on an artistic onslaught of doing very things differently to most, and who are we to stop them?

With that, would their first album of this month live up to their ever fine standards? Let's find out…

A blissful serenade to the fungi kingdom itself, Mycelium kicks things off. A wonderful whimsical acid-psych-folk folly, the first outing in King Gizz’s Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava feels like waltzing around with the garden spirits of some fantasy novel. A real glorious, sun-drenched pastoral benediction from the alchemic reptile royals.

The beauty of Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, is that it evokes a real free-spirited nature. A less constrained take towards the approach of the 'album'. There’s indeed a contrasting nature to each track on Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, yet it all wonderfully compliments each other and fits so very well. Ice V for example, kicks things up a little. Serpetining towards more Fela Kuti-esque afrobeat and funk, with Goat like ‘wah wah’ fuzz-filled licks, the groove-laden psychedelic freakout is a danceable delight for the mind-body and spirit that's hopefully not the last of its kind from them.

Magma sees the maniacal Melbourne mind-melters channeling the realms of Can-esque krautrock with their own signature groove, before erupting with a searing riff-riot fuzz-filled volcano. The multi-headed hydra that is King Gizz also seemingly touches on the warm sounds of Turkish psychedelia akin to modern-day legend Erkin Koray, being the absolute genre sponges that they always are.

The searing theme continues with ‘Lava’. The shortest title on their 21st outing clocking in at just under 7 minutes, it begins with something Zappa-esque that also feels like it should soundtrack the Fantastic Planet. All iust before delving into a more percussion-based prog affair, with a storm of flutes and fuzz, conjuring images of some frenzied shaman ritual at Stonehenge. 

"...the output of an untethered, unrestrained colossus of a band, relentless in their work ethic..."

The spiral plunge into the fungi realm takes a more playful approach with ‘Hells Itch’, which is almost paradoxical given that it takes a more ethereal approach. It's an enchanting wondrous acid-psychedelic folk-jazz feast, reminiscent in parts to Ultimate Spinach, along with contemporaries Dungen and and the sadly-soon-to-be departed Kikagaku Moyo . The pastoral-ish hullincinatory time warp clocks in at just over 13 minutes, yet the sonic  trip feels almost hypersonic. That’s the remarkable thing with Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava, whilst it’s a near mammoth 60 minutes, the rocket-ride is such a blast that fatigue isn’t just seldom, it’s non-existent.

It’s a continuous change-up, such as Iron Lung, which moves towards the celestial, where around the midday way point gives nods to King Gizz-era 2016 in becoming a riff tornado, where the portals of the Gizzverse open up time itself. The beastly acid-psychedelic space jam is so wondrously sprawling, being a fun precursor to the more unnerving of Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava in Gilese 710. Intertwining from their acid-psych that’s so prevalent on this LP with more avant-garde-jazz, there’s part San Francisco experimental 70s cult outfit Fifty Foot Hose, combined with the cacophonous frenzy of black midi for something really rather enthralling. 

Overall, Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava is the output of an untethered, unrestrained colossus of a band who are so relentless in their work ethic. It parly feels like a best-of album, cherry-picking the greatest elements of some their own-made verse -  where it feels like the best parts of the likes of ‘I’m In Your Mind, Fuzz’, ‘Nonagon Infinity’, 'Paper Mache Dream Balloon' and ‘Quarters’ have come to the foray, whilst adding some fresh paint and incorporating a part of their wider influences to create a splendid kaleidoscopic cocktail. 

In the ever growing Gizzverse canon, Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava really stands as one of the finest within it.

Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms And Lava arrives Oct 7, with the remaining 2 albums dropping in the following weeks... lock in.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

Photo: -