King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard on Friday unleashed the beast that is their new album PetroDragonic Apocalypse; Or, Dawn Of Eternal Night: An Annihilation Of Planet Earth And The Beginning Of Merciless Damnation. The 24th studio album from the Australian psych juggernauts in a decade, the double LP hears the band return to the thrash metal form it first explored on 2019’s Infest the Rats’ Nest.

It’s impossible not to talk about PetroDragonic Apocalypse and Infest the Rats’ Nest in the same breath (a very deep breath, if you’re using the former’s full title). Stylistically, they both inhabit the same end of the genre pool—that is, “heavy as f–k” (their words, not mine) thrash metal. Both are also concept albums that address issues of ecological destruction that paint grave realities of humans’ effect on the planet. Even with all of these similarities, however, King Gizzard breaks new ground on PetroDragonic Apocalypse and shows just how far they’ve come in four years (and nine albums).

Though PetroDragonic Apocalypse is a double album, it contains only seven songs (less than its thrash predecessor Infest the Rats’ Nest with nine). Of those seven tracks, three butt against the ten-minute mark in a display of Gizzard’s evolved songwriting.

Rather than straight-ahead mosh-inducing romps (which PetroDragonic still has plenty of), these songs also contain more structured, multi-part arrangements that showcase the band’s complex songwriting style developed out of their “jammy period.” Each of the band’s past five albums has contained at least one song over ten minutes in length, and look no further than the band’s live shows—filled with more and more Phish fans with each passing concert—to see their solidified commitment to improvisation, something heard both in the studio and on the stage.

Related: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Return To Red Rocks For Three Shows In Two Days [Photos/Videos]

The other evolution of Gizzard’s songwriting comes from the storytelling aspect of PetroDragonic. On Infest the Rats’ Nest, the general concept was that of doom. Straight-ahead riffs for a straight-ahead story: the planet is f–d and we’re the ones that did it. PetroDragonic Apocalypse follows a similar outline but with the introduction of “witches and dragons and s–t.” The difference is like going from Heavy Metal to Lord of the Rings.

“We wanted to start the story in the real world, and then send it to hell,” frontman Stu Mackenzie said. “It’s about humankind and it’s about planet Earth but it’s also about witches and dragons and s–t.”

The band’s commitment to the story is further exemplified on the vinyl release with an exclusive 15-minute rack devoted solely to telling the album’s plot. In essence, the tale boils down to a not-too-distant future where Earth’s inhabitants—after ignoring environmental crisis past the point of no return—resort to witchcraft to solve the issue. Unfortunately, in trying to do so, they unleash a dragon from the depths of hell that will ultimately bring about the end of the world. No good deed goes unpunished.

Stream the new King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard album, PetroDragonic Apocalypse; Or, Dawn Of Eternal Night: An Annihilation Of Planet Earth And The Beginning Of Merciless Damnation, via the player below or on your preferred platform. KGLW’s “residency tour” continues this weekend in Carnation, WA. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit the band’s website.

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – PetroDragonic Apocalypse; Or, Dawn Of Eternal Night: An Annihilation Of Planet Earth And The Beginning Of Merciless Damnation – Full Album