They promised it would be “heavy as fuck.” They weren’t lying.
Billed as a sequel to their 2019 thrash metal classic Infest the Rat’s Nest, PetroDragonic Apocalypse shares an unexpected lineage with a different Gizzard record: 2022’s Ice, Death, Planets, Lungs, Mushrooms and Lava. Ice Death is known for its long orchestrations, and we see them here with Petro, too; only “Gila Monster” runs shorter than five minutes. The rest are lengthier explorations, with “Motor Spirit,” “Dragon,” and “Flamethrower” all approaching double-digits.
Still, like Rat’s Nest, the album uses heavy riffs to underscore its apocalyptic lyrics, i.e. “coal-black cloud horizon,” “miasma of hair and bile.” You get the idea. The concept of environmentalism shines through once again, albeit in a fantasy milieu rather than the science fiction of Rat’s Nest or the aquatic bliss of Fishing for Fishies.
Petro emphasizes guitars and drums throughout, with a hint of synths and throbbing bass. Ambrose’s harmonica is absent, as is Stu’s flute (though honestly, the latter would’ve surprised me). A little disappointing, but certainly not enough to slay this dragon.
Now let’s take a track-by-track look.
1. “Motor Spirit”
Stu’s doing his best impersonation of a smoker on this song, which I’ll admit is not my favorite vocal delivery. Still, the riffs are nasty, especially when we enter the track’s third act at 4:55. The two-word lines here are effective: “Burnt rubber/Grave robber/Fire starter/Spark imparter.” Really makes you want to buy a Tesla.
This one’s appeared on touring setlists for a while, so it’s nice to hear the official version. It’s pure energy, with a chugging central riff and a fun call-and-answer chorus featuring Amby and Joey. There’s a pretty cruel inversion of The Wizard of Oz in the first verse, too, with lines like “Bodies flying on a rainbow/Run Toto” and “Angle grinder, a welcome friend/Dorothy’s end.”