Nonagon Infinity: The Album That Never Ends [Review]

Nonagon Infinity: The Album That Never Ends [Review]

If there was any word I would use to describe King Gizzard, I think it would be “determined.”

They’ve released fifteen, (sixteen later this month), albums, two EPs, and a few live albums since 2010; five of which being released in 2017 alone. They’ve ended up experimenting with more genres and styles than most artists do in their entire career; starting with garage/surf rock, they’ve played along with everything from psychedelic rock and thrash metal, to boogie rock and elevator jazz.

One thing they really seem to like to make is concept albums; an album that has a larger purpose than the individual songs. Most notably, they’ve released Quarters!, which consists of four songs, each taking up exactly one-fourth of the album at ten minutes and ten seconds each, a quasi-audiobook album, Murder of the Universe, a full-on Western audiobook in Eyes Like The Sky, and Nonagon Infinity, an album which, if played correctly, can go on forever.

The last in that list was my first introduction to the band, purely by coincidence. A month and a half ago, I was scrolling through Twitter near the end of a class, and someone had posted a bunch of vinyl download codes. So, naturally, I dropped everything I was doing, and somehow claimed all four of them; one of which being Nonagon Infinity. I listened to it a couple of days later, and it blew me away; I had no idea that it would be as good as it was. Of course, I also knew absolutely nothing about the album, so when the album finished and went straight back into the first track, I’m almost certain that I let out an audible “Woah!” If you couldn’t tell, I’m a sucker for that kind of thing; songs transitioning into each other, that is. However, this was on another level for me, it was so fun.

So, I think we should just jump in, so I can show you why this is absolutely a must-listen rock album.

Robot Stop

The song immediately starts with a line you’re going to hear multiple times throughout the album:

Nonagon Infinity opens the door
Nonagon Infinity opens the door
Wait for the answer to open the door
Nonagon Infinity opens the door

I’m sure it must seem really tacky written out like this, but whenever I hear it in the album, it gives a really strange boost of serotonin. Not only that, but it’s a really good way to symbolize how everything is connected in the album, with it being repeated constantly.

Loosen up
Time to drop
F— s— up
Don’t forget about it
My coffin’s all I see
Robot STOP!

The song is about the frontman, Stu Mackenzie’s, experiences with trying to juggle everything at once; writing albums, recording albums, touring, and playing said concerts, all while trying to make it seem genuine, before inevitably breaking down just as a machine would.

My body’s overworked
It’s just the same I know
When can my body work
Cold static overload?
My body works, I know
It’s just the same, I know
My only difference
Is robot influence!

Oh, that’s another thing I forgot to mention; King Gizzard puts on some killer live shows, if not just some of the best music acts out there. It’s almost magical how they’re able to do it while keeping a consistent album output.

I’m up here for the weirdo swarm
I’m the door when you come for more!

Of course, the instrumentation is amazing, too. I mean, you should expect that from a band with seven members, including their two drummers. Everything immediately kicks into gear as the first verse ends. You’ll notice stuttering and whining guitars, booming drums, a bass riff that carries throughout the song, and even a harmonica, courtesy of the band’s multi-instrumentalist, Ambrose Kenny-Smith. One of the first things you’ll notice is that it sounds like it was recorded in the 70s. I don’t think this was done on purpose. Well, I mean that I don’t think it’s specifically meant to sound like it was made in the 70s, I think that’s just their style, and that’s just how their style sounds.

The middle of the song, for about two to three minutes, is just purely instrumental, and never calms down. There are some really nice touches in this part of the song; namely a quick riff based on the song Hot Water from their 2014 album, I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, and, around two and a half minutes into the song, their first use of microtonal tuning. If you don’t know what that is, it’s when, (at least on a guitar), frets are placed in between the frets, so you can play what are called microtones, essentially the notes between the notes. It’s not commonly heard in western music; it sounds kind of middle-eastern, and kind of funky. King Gizzard decided to create an entire album experimenting with it in 2017’s Flying Microtonal Banana, (named after Stu’s guitar), and explores it even more even more in a direct sequel to the album, K.G., which is being released November 20th.

Either way, this song is an excellent start to the album, and one of my favourites for sure.

Nonagon Infinity opens the door
Nonagon Infinity opens the door
Wait for the answer to open the door
Nonagon Infinity–

Big Fig Wasp

Yeah, this song is literally about Autralian wasps. Nothing special when it comes to the meaning.

However, the song’s instrumentation is really cool, because it starts by using a riff from the instrumental break from Robot Stop, so, since you have that subconsciously implanted into your mind, you would probably think you were still listening to Robot Stop if you weren’t paying attention; that’s what happened when I first heard it, at least. In fact, near the end of the song, the instrumentation shifts back to that of Robot Stop, as the chorus from that song is sung again.

The sense of connection throughout this album is unbelievably well-done. Hints of each song are found within each other. The riff from Robot Stop in Big Fig Wasp, People-Vultures sourced from Gamma Knife, and so on; and I feel like this song is here to hammer-in this idea of connection, and it’s a perfect way to do it.

Gamma Knife

After a series of drums and one last “Nonagon Infinity opens the door” for a while, Gamma Knife starts, with a kind of electric sound that I can’t quite explain. Then, after a quick riff and “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWOO!,” the song bursts into action, with everything becoming full-bodied, the other guitars coming into play, the drums holding the melody on its shoulders, and, of course, the harmonica, it simply just rocks. Eventually, this unspoken aura in the song fades, and is replaced with Stu’s vocals, being a kind of mix of talking and singing; it’s not as awkward as it’s described, it actually works really well.

It’s really strange how during the verses of this song, it’s kind of a mix between calming, (at least to me), and just being absolute headbang material, it’s interesting for sure.

There’s also this quick, delayed sort of chant of the word “gamma” near the end of the song, that leads the song into this period of downtime until the drums take over. And after that solo, the song, naturally, goes back into motion once again, with the chanting, not of the word gamma, but rather a chanting of the melody by the drums.

And with that, the song shifts into the next track.


The song starts off with a riff that was split between the ending of Gamma Knife and the beginning of this song. It’s almost haunting in a way, and yet amazing at the same time. It quickly ends, dipping to silence, only for the instrumentation to come back and save it, with the riff playing once again, but quicker and more down to earth with Stu’s vocals over it, and then the song kicks in.

I don’t really know how to describe it, but the song never calms down, and it’s so, so, so fun to listen to. Well, it doesn’t calm until the end of the song, where the main riff of the song is played as it was when it started.

Mr. Beat

I’m just going to be completely honest, whenever I listen to this album, I dread this song. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, because it really isn’t. I just feel like it kind of disrupts the album in a way. There’s this ghostly but fun, like Scooby-Doo, type of rock track, that bursts into… what is completely the opposite, a slightly uplifting, acid, pop-rock, acoustic… thing.

Although, if you completely take out of account the awful contrast between this song and People-Vultures, it’s good! Again, as I said, it’s kind of an acid pop-rock song, and it can be pretty calming to listen to. Especially the end of the song, where the instrumentation and Stu’s voice get quieter and quieter, as a pulsing synthesizer starts to shift in as the synth, itself gets slower and slower until the song ends.

Evil Death Roll

This is the first time in the album where there’s actually a moment of silence between the songs, but it’s very quick, and fits the songs very well, with Mr. Beat ending with what sounds like an amp powering down, and this song starting with a distorted guitar, the energy of which can only be compared to lightning.

This song is very strange to me, though. In its 7-minute run time, the song isn’t very consistent in its style. It starts off with the pure chaos and flow of electricity, only for the chorus to sound similar to Mr. Beat, the middle of the song being calmer than you would think, and during that, the chorus of the following song is sung. Plus, the album chorus, “Nonagon Infinity opens the door…,” returns for the first time since Big Fig Wasp, so that’s kinda neat. Point is, it’s all over the place, but it’s still a fun listen.

Invisible Face

After the drum roll of the last track, a warped, synthesized… thing starts the track off, as Stu starts to sing along with it. It continues like that until about a minute in, where it melts into a relaxing, spacey, elevator jazz-ish track not too dissimilar from what you can find on the calmer parts of Quarters!, lasting until about two and a half minutes in, where a guitar screeches, moving the song into motion again, just slower and with a lower pitch, and the song ends with a guitar riff not too dissimilar from the opening. Very short song with not much to write about, but it’s good stuff.

Wah Wah

Unfortunately, there isn’t really much I can say about this track either, as it’s also short, and I feel like it’s mainly just a transition to the final track.

Anyways, the song starts with a bass riff based off of the last track, and whining guitars to accompany it shortly after. All of the verses are calm and quiet, only for these chaotic bursts of energy after each one. This formula loops about 3 times until it falls straight into the finale of this album.

Road Train

That giant final burst of energy leads into Road Train, the culmination of Nonagon Infinity. The beginning of this track is crazy, with this guitar whining, and screeching over these drums that sound like the chugga-chugga-chugga of a train. Once the untamed screeching disappears, the guitar joins in with the musical train, only for Stu to join in as well, with his vocals perfectly matching the instrumentation, in some crazy way.

The spawn of Satan’s back!
It’s made of steel and black
It comes to bring you pain
It comes again and again
(Road train!)

The song, for the most part, carries the same formula: 4 lines of lyrics, and then a monotone call; “Road train!” Of course, they actually give that line life in the live versions of the song. Then, after that there’s usually something like:

Burning wheels of fiery red
Keep on trucking ’til we’re dead!
This beast is angry too,
Drive real fast and eat up you!

However, one of the most strangely impactful parts of the song is when in the end of a verse, the phrase “Nonagon Infinity… Is coming!” is shouted, with the chaos bumped a bit up in the instrumentation. Of course, I can’t actually do it justice as to how it’s delivered, but it has this feeling as if something big is about to happen, with, at least I’m only guessing, it referring to the album about to loop. That is the big event of the album, after all.

After one final line, the song unravels and fades out, as a quiet chant gets louder and louder:

Non–agon– Infin–ity-
Non–agon– Infin–ity-
Non–agon– Infin–ity-

Is coming!

With that chant ending, the last 20 seconds or so are dedicated to an oh-so-familiar melody, only for it to immediately link on to Robot Stop, effectively ending and starting the album once again.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Nonagon Infinity is one of, if not the best effort from Australian rock band King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. It’s the best introduction you could give yourself to the band, as it’s a perfect median between all of the tones and styles experimented with by the band. This isn’t something I can give justice; but this is absolutely a must-listen, and is bound to become one of your favourite rock albums. I doubt you would actually be able to finish it, though.

Favourite Tracks: Robot Stop, People-Vultures, Road Train

This article first appeared in The Daily Chomp.