The blossoming revival of 1970s-influenced space-rock has spawned a diverse and unique following over the past ten years or so, ranging from typically urban-dwelling millennials to even folks in their fifties and sixties who seek to find groups who put a modernized twist on beloved 1970s acts such as Hawkwind, Gong and a lot of continuously sought-after experimental German groups ala Can. One group that is becoming increasingly well-known amidst members of this community is the aptly named King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard; a group that has gained considerable success and recognition through their prolific recording output of ten studio albums since their formation in 2012, their knack for energetic live performances and their high levels of musical diversity and genre-shifting.
‘Murder of the Universe’ is a sprawling and ambitious record which spans fourty-six minutes and consists of three chapters; the sections of which are divided into separate songs, or perhaps one might even call them ‘transitory pieces’. The concept, according to band leader Stu Mackenzie, consists of “three distinct, but somewhat interrelated stories.” Musically each chapter differs a little bit whilst still retaining a common theme throughout, most notably through the high usage of narrative-speech. The first chapter, ‘The Tale of the Altered Beast’ is riff-driven and definitely utilizes the theme of hooks and catchy reprised choruses throughout. The second chapter, ‘The Lord of Lightning vs. Balrog’ is perhaps the most left-field part of the album which takes full advantage of oscillating high-pitched synthesizer swirls and loud climactic flourishes. The third chapter, ‘Han-Tyumi and the Murder of the Universe’ is almost a blending of the ostinato sensibility of the first chapter and the strange cacophonous beauty of the second.
Stu Mackenzie – vocals, lyrics, stories, guitar, synths, keyboards, mellotron, bass, text-to-speech (16-21), producer, recording
Michael Cavanagh – drums, percussion
Cook Craig – guitar
Ambrose Kenny-Smith – keyboards, harmonica
Lucas Skinner – bass guitar
Joey Walker – keyboards, synths, stories (21), recording
Eric Moore – “management”
Leah Senior – spoken word (1-9, 11-15)
Casey Hartnett – recording
Michael Badger – recording
Joe Carra – mastering
Jason Galea – artwork and layout