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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover

LIZARD

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 1944 ratings

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Ludenberger
5 stars After the release of "In The Wake Of Poseidon" and most of the original band going off to pursue other musical avenues, most bands would just part ways, not bounce back to release the eclectic masterpiece that is "Lizard." Not only did King Crimson managed to pull the impossible off like they always do, but they even managed to release it in the same year as the previous album. Like "In The Court of the Crimson King," this album shows that KC are already ahead of other artists by leaps and bounds.

Fripp and Sinfield remain from the original band, making even more of a collaborative effort this time between two creative minds. Not only does Pete Sinfield return to write the lyrics, this time he also designs one of King Crimson's finest album covers, as well as one of prog's finest. Mel Collins joins the band as an official member this time around, bringing his amazing flute and especially amazing saxophone skills to the table. As for other members, Gordon Haskell comes on to do most of the vocals and bass guitars here, and he does a fine job, but not an outstanding one. Andy McCulloch is the drummer of the band, but it seems like he was just told to do his best impression of what Michael Giles was doing.

Moving forward from where the last two albums left off, "Lizard" decides to go in the jazzier direction that the early band seemed destined to go in at some point. Flutes, saxophones, trombones, cornets, and more take the spotlight, as opposed to a more traditional rock format using guitars. Many jazz sections are found in the tracks on this album, especially on tracks like "Indoor Games" and the title track.

"Cirkus" is the perfect opening track, and it immediately grabs your attention with abstract lyrics, and the highlight of the song, which are the menacing mellotron and horn sections after each verse. It's also one of Haskell's finest vocal performances on the album, and overall, a circus I like coming back to again and again.

"Indoor Games" follows a similar bombastic format to "Cirkus," getting even jazzier this time. With a "hey ho" from Haskell, we're launched into the next attraction of the circus, which is "Happy Family." Many consider this to be a weak song, but I think it's the perfect culmination of what "Cirkus" and "Indoor Games" were leading up to. Oh, and it's about the Beatles, too.

"Lady of the Dancing Water" is similar to "Cadence and Cascade," and although I probably like "Cadence" a bit more, this is such a peaceful song to close off the first side, giving the first 3 songs room for a better experience. The best part of the song is Collins's flute playing, and it echoes the brilliance of Ian McDonald's playing on "I Talk To The Wind."

Finally, the track that makes this album a prog essential is the title track of "Lizard." First and foremost, it is one of the first side-long suites in prog, coming in a year before ELP would release "Tarkus." It set a trend that other artists such as Genesis and Yes would take inspiration from. Speaking of Yes, one of the best things on the song is the fact that Jon Anderson, the vocalist for Yes, comes in to sing "Prince Rupert Awakens," and the song fits his voice perfectly. Next in the suite we move directly into "Bolero," the jazziest piece on the album which culminates in crashing cymbals, leading into the chilling opening notes of "The Battle Of Glass Tears." This section takes up most of the suite, but it doesn't disappoint and it really feels like a battle. Even Haskell's vocals fit the section well, representing a calm before the storm. The suite is ended off with "Big Top," a short nostalgic piece on the mellotron that never fails to give me chills.

Even though this album is said to be "hard to get into," it is worth it and overtime, its true musical excellence of "Lizard" starts to show. 5/5

Ludenberger | 5/5 |

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