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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.

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King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest the Rats’ Nest Music Album Reviews

On their second album of the year, the ever-mutating Aussie psych-rock outfit embrace throwback thrash metal to soundtrack the end of life on Earth.

Heavy metal demands true devotion. It disdains the hipster tourist; it maintains purity through its own antifa(lse metal) movement; it requires that at least 85 percent of your wardrobe be given over to black band t-shirts. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, on the other hand, are non-commital by nature—the ever-mutating Aussie psych-rock outfit are synonymous with impulsive aesthetic shifts, resulting in a deep, frequently updated discography in which no two albums sound alike. But even by the Gizzard’s scatterbrained standards, 2019 has yielded two albums so diametrically opposed, you’d think one of them was mislabeled. Following the whimsical electro-glam boogie of April’s Fishing for Fishes, the Gizzard return with Infest the Rats’ Nest, an album that embraces the contentious stance that metal isn’t necessarily a way of life, but a passing mood we all feel from time to time.


Infest the Rats’ Nest’s throwback thrash isn’t just a matter of Gizzard king Stu Mackenzie upgrading his favorite Lemmy band from Hawkwind to Motörhead; it’s a raging response to a world where even the most despairing UN climate reports barely make a blip. King Gizzard are no strangers to getting heavy, but Infest the Rats’ Nest is their most succinct and single-minded statement to date, presenting a vision of modernity where fleeing Earth to begin civilization anew in outer space looks less like sci-fi and more like docudrama. And when devising a soundtrack to imminent eco-pocalypse, drug-resistant disease, and furious contempt for the planet-killing powers that be, only the most merciless metal will do.

With a handful of members tending to other musical and familial obligations, Infest the Rats’ Nest finds the Gizzard in a rare power-trio formation: Mackenzie is backed by fellow guitarist Joey Walker and drummer Michael Cavanagh. As a result, the album forsakes thrash’s technical precision and more grandiose, prog-inspired qualities for a gritty immediacy redolent of the genre’s early days. While jackhammer beats and gratuitous shredding abound, the album also shrewdly connects the dots between thrash and its ’70s-metal forebears: The murderous charge of “Planet B” (as in: “there is no”) peels down the asphalt laid by Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” while “Mars for the Rich” mimics the bloozy, brontosaurus chug of Black Sabbath’s “Hole in the Sky.” But if King Gizzard’s take on thrash still bears their stoner-rock stamp—particularly on the sludgy “Superbug”—Mackenzie treats the occasion like heavy-metal Halloween, abandoning his natural singing voice for a Venomous bark that favors hook-free howls and minimalist rhymes (“Counterfeit! Hypocrite!”; “Auto-cremate! Self-immolate!”) to hammer home his doomsday prophecies. (Only lines like “shoot the dingo while the shit goes out the window!” remind you that you’re still listening to Australia’s most proudly absurd rock group.)

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Coming from a band that was singing wistfully about birdies just a few months ago, Infest the Rats’ Nest is a convincing display of metal muscle. But as heavy as the album is, it feels slight in the context of the band’s catalog, lacking both the unpredictable detours of their biggest rock-outs and the insidious melodies of their more pop-focused work. At their best, King Gizzard absorb an array of seemingly incompatible influences into a sound uniquely their own, with a careening momentum that ensures you’re never really sure where they’re taking you. Infest the Rats’ Nest, on the other hand, is a rock’n’roll spin class—intense and relentless, to be sure, but ultimately fixed in the same spot. Even when the album’s second side introduces a conceptual narrative about a group of people who escape Earth to live on Venus (spoiler: things do not end well), it doesn’t venture anywhere—musically or thematically—it hasn’t already been. As the Gizzard’s two releases this year respectively prove, they’re not afraid to push their sound to its most playful and punishing extremes. But it’s always been more thrilling to hear them excavate the uncharted territory in between.


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