WHO ARE THEY? The wildly prolific Australian sextet whose psychedelic musical explorations and detours are every bit as absurdly extravagant as their name.
WHAT IS THIS? Their 15th studio album in eight years (they released five LPs in 2017 alone — like I said, wildly prolific). Infest the Rat’s Nest also their second disc of the year, and one that marks their latest sonic and stylistic shift: It’s a thrash-metal and stoner-rock concept about global environmental collapse and the colonization of space. No, really.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A surprisingly and impressively authentic homage to old-school ’80s and ’90s bruisers and speed demons like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Motörhead and Kreator — complete with thundering blast beats, furious riffs, screaming solos, harmonized licks, prime-number time signatures, fire-breathing vocals and trippy lyrics. If this is a parody, it’s a damn good one.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Heavy Meta.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? At full volume, while playing air guitar, banging your head — and appreciating just how superbly these guys pull this off.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Surprising, ambitious, aggressive, intense, gritty, fuzzy, intricate, weird, blazing, relentless.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Put it this way: The songs Planet B, Mars For the Rich, Organ Farmer, Superbug and Self-Immolate live up to their titles — both in terms of heaviness and hilarity.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘They’re not serious, are they?’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? If you’re an old-school metal fan, get ready to fire this sucker into heavy rotation: It’s honestly one of the best thrash discs to come down the line in ages.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A CAR, WHAT KIND OF CAR WOULD IT BE? An old boogie van with a galactic mural on the side — and a jet-fuelled rocket engine under the hood.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Invest in Rat’s Nest.