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King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Dragon Review

Do King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard not sleep? They are drip-fed five-hour energy capsules and locked inside the studio. Don’t come out until you have three new records for us boys, no excuses. No excuses indeed. Dragon, their latest single from the upcoming PetroDragonic Apocalypse; or, Dawn of Eternal Night: An Annihilation of Planet Earth and the Beginning of Merciless Damnation is a mouthful. It is also a cracking step in the right direction which shores up their traipse through nostalgic rock. If the past can do it well, King Gizzard can do it better. PetroDragonic Apocalypse gears up with a tongue-in-cheek spirit but a sincerity to their latest single, matching nicely with the pace and momentum of Gila Monster.  

Bringing about an epileptic nine minutes of dark and harsh, caged rock with the goth aesthetic is another great attempt to prise the love for certain rock eras away from the fans. King Gizzard has not the patience for those who think the Jethro Tull of today has what it takes, as evidenced by Gila Monster and the extreme putdowns of their Nordic obsession. Under thick and clear guitar riffs, massive power and gothic rock-like pitches, Dragon springs to life. Repetition of the title certainly helps too. Absolutely as intense as it gets for the band, a ten-minute powerhouse in insanely sharp and well-realised rock antics. This is where the album gets its title from but it is also where listeners get a glimpse on the heavier side. King Gizzard are masters of whatever they turn their hand to. 

Anyone hoping to bring about a grand and operatic-length rock track needs a smart pace and tone on their side. King Gizzard has this in abundance. A clear direction for the band but also a plentiful helping of breaks and slower focuses on the lyrical works which feature throughout. What a turn it takes though, those instrumental breaks are of surreal and immediate quality, the weighted blanket of percussion holding firm, a base from which King Gizzard’s other pieces can work from. Gothic in image but thrashy on delivery, the blur is too simple it becomes impressive. How King Gizzard manipulates the fundamentals of these sub-genres, pooling them together convincingly with this nostalgic flow to them, a tongue-in-cheek bash at the bad graphics and worse messages of the dated 80s rock phase. 

Keeping their heads well above water with a sincere and well-steered titan of a track, Dragon provides King Gizzard with another platform to mock and make their own sound heard. Much better to hear the latter than it is to pocket all the pieces of the former, the influences and examples King Gizzard learn from and disapprove of. Powerful pushes to the next step of rock music are crucially made here and the legendary bands returning to try and charm seasoned audiences would do well to take note of what happens through Dragon. Innovation, creation, an explosive little beast of a track which sees a confident and self-assured slice of the PetroDragonic Apocalypse come through. Hot off the heels of Gila Monster and it seems King Gizzard are not one for lying down. Harsher, harder and more inclined to thrash metal than the first single from this latest album, they bring about sincerity in rock, when it has been lacking for years.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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