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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 2492 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Having in large part started the (symphonic) progressive movement, King Crimson ditched it. Instead, here we have Jazz and Hard rock warped together, and put on drugs. In some cases, this formula works marvelously, like in the opener. In some parts of the album, it sounds a bit silly. There is some classical touches, mostly to impress a sort of medevil mood. Fripp largely sticks to a background role, which works very well.

Although this album is a fantastic album in it's own right, it is best seen as a transition album towards the masterpieces which are LTIA, SABB, and Red. The wackyness is there, the improvisation isn't quite as tight. As such, I would give this album 4 stars, but the title track earns back the fifth star.

The opener, Cirkus, is the most coherant of the three first tracks. All three of these tracks are off beat, relatively, and very jazzy. CIrkus is a five star song, wheras the other 2 are maybe 3.5 star songs. The fourth track, Lady of the Dancing Water, is simply beautiful. It is my favorite among the early king crimson ballads. It is unfortunatly short.

The side-long, Lizard, is yet another masterpiece. It features a guest appearence of Jon Anderson of Yes. It is very spooky at first, and has great dynamic contrast. The careful orchestrations on this song are possibly the best King Crimson has had to this point. Bolero in particular is beautiful. The jazzier moments on this song are good, and maybe more memorable then tracks 2 and 3. I particularly enjoy the saxophone. The line between jazz and composition is made rather blurry, but not as much as later albums. The eading to the third movement with Fripps triumphant guitar is another fantastic part of this song.

Yet again (as in the first 2 albums), the lyrics by Peter Sinfield are untouchable. His lyrics are pure poetry, and good poetry at that. The imagery he presents is convincing, each image not only evoking a clear image, but evoking a feeling. Spokeless wheels is somehow striking to the heart. All sorts of allusions, and other tricks of the poetry trade abound. Once again, the lyrics are quite a deal to decipher, but ultimatly worth the effort.

The first 4 king crimson albums were intended to fit thematically with the four elements. The first album was air, the second was water, islands was land, and this one was fire. In this, I imagine dancing flames when I hear the various instruments dancing around each other. Also, the destruction rampant throughout the lyrics of the epic stand with fire's destructiveness. Lady of the dancing water touches on passion, the fire of the soul.

Overall, this album is 4.5 out of 5 in my estimation. The title track is one of the essential masterpieces of Prog, and should be required listening for any fans of fusion prog, or avant garde prog.

Nuke | 5/5 |


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