A landmark release
Alfie Verity
12:00 18th April 2022

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have reached a landmark: their twentieth album. In the past ten-plus years, the shapeshifting Australian sextet have crammed a thousand ideas, sounds and textures into their colourful, haywire discography, beginning with their 2012 debut full-length release 12 Bar Bruise. Now, relieved from their frequent impetus to commit an entire album to a singular theme, Omnium Gatherum arrives as more of a compendium of their many different styles than anything else.

It’s a buffet of all the different flavours the band have experimented with over their past nineteen albums, with some new ideas for seasoning. Moments from the best of their career make reappearances on Omnium Gatherum: there's the gothic thrash of Nonagon Infinity, the intense metal anthropocene drama of Infest the Rats’ Nest, and the airy psychedelia of ‘Paper Mache Dream Balloon’.

In fact, the album was originally conceived as a place for revised cuts that didn’t make their previous records, before the band ended up throwing in plenty of new material and writing anyway. Either way, it doesn’t feel like King Gizzard are plainly retreading old ground here. Omnium Gatherum mostly comes across as a band having a good time, comfortably enjoying their fine-tuned sound, delivering intricate rock with a noticeable confidence.

Ultimately, your enjoyment of the album will likely depend on how you feel about any combination of their many styles, but altogether there’s a lot to keep you entertained here regardless. For instance, opener ‘The Dripping Tap’ is a whirring, explosive 18-minute epic which feels like the band performing a victory lap of sorts, buoyed by the clear assurance they have in their technique and style, twenty albums deep into their career.

Elsewhere,‘Gaia’ is King Gizzard at the top of their game: it's a guttural cut told from the perspective of the Greek goddess of Earth, a sonic portrait of how creatively the band can approach urgent subjects like the health of the planet, by conjuring apocalyptic might through fanged psychedelic metal. Single ‘Magenta Mountain’ is a silky smooth and genuinely pretty tune, while ‘The Garden Goblin’ effortlessly captures the addictive, goofball quirkiness that has made King Gizzard a repeatedly captivating band over such a wide-spanning career.

Admittedly, across its 80-minute runtime, the shine wears off at points. Though it relieves some of the pressure off King Gizzard from having to commit to a singular sound, the band’s multitudinous approach to genre here means Omnium Gatherum lacks the thematic cohesion of their best work, and some tracks, like the Beastie Boys-inspired ‘Sadie Sorceress’, feel a little awkward.

While there’s lots to enjoy in its separate pieces, the album lacks a definitive thread, a whole story to tie it together. King Gizzard shine when their music manifests a complete world, full of interconnected zany or surreal characters and grotesque locations, like on their standout 2017 release ‘Murder of the Universe’, and without this, Omnium Gatherum can feel scattered at times.

Nevertheless, especially if viewed as a milestone celebration, Omnium Gatherum is still another strong release from King Gizzard. Across each of their unique experiments over the years, the band have always been consistently interesting, and here on their twentieth album, they offer a reminder of all they are capable of, and prove they’ve still got a lot more gas left in the tank yet.

Omnium Gatherum arrives 22 April.

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Photo: Press