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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 1945 ratings

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The Ace Face
4 stars A big step up from Poseidon, this album brings Fripp's jazz fantasies to their full fruition. He gets a number of horn players to assist him, and it works very well. we'll get right into it:

Cirkus: A great song drenched in mellotron, sometimes dark, and sometimes sad, with some amazing acoustic playing from fripp. Haskell is a good sub for Lake, but not that good. The Sax solo in the middle, courtesy of Mel Collins, is hair raising. Tippet adds some nice electric piano fills, and Fripp brings the mellotron in hard as it segues back into the vocal part. The strumming then goes insane, and the drums kick back in. The mellotron goes dark once more with evil, heavy riffs. This continues into an outro filled with horns, sax and trumpet dueling.

Indoor Games: A nice horn trio introduces us to this very odd song. Haskells vocals are much more upfront here, with some strange tones playing through his voice. The rest of the band, however, is a little off during the vocal sections, with some rather simple playing. When the horns kick in again though, its fun again. The sax solo alternating with odd sections is classic, but ultimately cannot bring this song to be great. The weird laughing outro is a little annoying.

Happy Family is another odd song, with some very interesting, chanted vocals, and a dark tone. There is a weird effect on Haskell's voice, making it undulate from speaker to speaker. the horns are great as usual, adding the right notes in the right places. The flute solo in the middle is eerie, fitting the song perfectly. it later gets augmented by trombone, very nicely placed.

Lady of the Dancing Water: The ballad of the album, introduced by a great flute run and mini solo, accompanied by some nice electric piano and acoustic guitar. it works well, but gets a little boring after a while. the flute is superb throughout, however.

Lizard: The only epic in Crimson History, they certainly do it well. The eerie mellotron leads us into it, setting the mood for what is to come. the piano enters, with Jon Anderson singing. He isnt in his usual yessound, but it fits the music well. the mellotron bursts in at perfect moments. the chorus seems like something anderson would do with yes, being poppy and upbeat. the verse repeats as does the chorus, and leads into a chanting section, with clapping as well. it seems converse to everything crimson is about, but it fits nicely. the verse is then reprised with some interesting dissonant piano chords stuck in, and some nice snare drumming. then the mellotron kicks into high gear and the song rises in power and emotion. it leads dramatically into a few bars in major, then back to minor for an amazing trumpet solo. the piano arpeggios augment it nicely. the sax then kicks in in a more sad mood, perhaps reminiscent of days passed. this whole time, the snare has not lost its militaristic tap, even when quiet in the background. next comes the oboe, quavering on each long note beautifully. next up is the trombone and trumpet duet, with the piano turning more jazzy, and the sax jumping in too, and some very awesome sounds come out of the trombone as the three instruments weave their way in and out of one another's paths. the music is starting to crescendo, and it builds into softer section, where everything except drums and trombone cut out, then they slowly come back in again. the piano now takes a more central role, banging away. then the sad sax theme from earlier is reprised. the sax and mellotron build into a dramatic release. the sax the slowly builds in an eerie way. Haskell then comes in for the first time and sings in a low, creepy way. the sax follows his vocal line nicely. then the mellotron and drums kick in again, reusing the dark sax riff and making it loud and scary. the horns build into a positively mad flute solo. this horn and mellotron exploration continues for quite a few minutes, including some more amazing trombone noises. this all cools down into alot of nice piano work, and builds again, a common theme of this song: climaxes and crescendos. then there is some distant electric guitar, followed by a strange circus outro, slowly building in volume and going up in keys.

Overall, a great album, almost jazz, and one of the more interesting in the Crimson catalog.

The Ace Face | 4/5 |


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