It’s clear there’s a lot going on upon first listen to one of the three singles Melbourne, Australia band Chained Lizard has released thus far. Theatrical sound design, thrash metal-level guitar shreds and beat structures that range anywhere from industrial to future bass come together in “Broken Glass,” “Take Me for a Ride” and their latest psycho-sexual offering, “Electric Vibes” in a way that hearkens memories of Evanessence or early Linkin Park. There’s even more going on beyond the first listen, however.
With composition that’s more like an orchestral arrangement than a rock, pop or standard EDM track, Chained Lizard might truly be able to be called progressive EDM. That said, the group is put together like a standard jam band, with the only exceptions being vocalist Olivia Lisa Marie adding synths and drummer Chris Vozz producing the “electronics.” That’s the thing about being progressive though, isn’t it? Transcending the expected in every way possible. Are Chained Lizard improv or highly composed or both? From the sound of it, both.
The band say that their latest “Electric Vibes” single is an amalgam of the styles in their previous tracks, “Broken Glass” and “Take Me for a Ride,” but each of those tracks has plenty of style-melding of their own. “Broken Glass” is a future bass beat and seemingly quite minimal, mostly featuring Olivia Lisa Marie’s extraordinary vocals and acoustic 12-string accompaniment from metal guitarist John Vozz. The sound design, however, borders on industrial or drone. Towards the end of the track, both Vozzes get to show their real chops as it drops into even heavier, nu metal-style sound design and John’s Alexi Laiho-level electric shredding.
“Take Me for a Ride” has more pop cachet but still heavily seated in nu metal, with the guitars now a bit more 80s hair metal-inspired. It’s interesting for a guitarist of Vozz’s caliber to be so ensemble-minded, but with his bandmates also being so talented, “Take Me…” seems like a real ensemble effort. it’s anyone’s guess which band member made these compositions or, again, if it was a jam-style effort.
The band sort of answers the question with “Electric Vibes,” saying that more time in the studio over the lockdown allowed them to create even more complex and complete music.
“If there is any silver lining to lockdown it’s that with all this extra time in the studio we have been able to produce our most technical and ambitious song so far. We think our existing and new audience will really enjoy this track as it is an amalgamation of styles of our first 2 releases. It begins very isolated and delicate and builds to a thumping upbeat and catchy electric vibe.”
Indeed all the rough edges from the previous tracks have been sanded down in “Electric Vibes,” and while this track has the most pop feel out of the three tracks thanks to the starburst future bass beat and the A-B-A-B-C-B vocal structure, once again it’s much more complex. Lines of rock and industrial are written into the breaks, ensuring that “electric” bit is felt as emotively as possible at the crescendo, a cacophony of sound reaching the operatic right before the song cuts off.
With a sound that’s already so amped up and volatile and so many styles interwoven in the fabric of compositions, it’ll be interesting to see where Chained Lizard go next. More complex beat arrangements? Full tilt progressive black metal (we bet Olivia has a good screech in her vocal repertoire)? Despite their obvious collective skill, it’s likely the band don’t even know what’s coming next. What will happen with the lizard is unchained? Better wait and see.
“Electric Vibes” is out now and can be streamed along with “Broken Glass” and “Take Me for a Ride” on multiple platforms by clicking here. Check out other studio content from Chained Lizard on their YouTube channel.