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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 2104 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another year, another Crimson record.

This time with an actual band (and unfortunately Gordon Haskell on full vocal duties), the song remains basically the same. Fripp playing pretty much everything, Sinfield doing all the producing. Although it's still sax heavy, there's even more of a bebop-influenced sound, and Sinfield takes a much more hands on approach by using more distorted sounds and synth effects. "Cirkus" errs a bit towards classic Crimson, but "Indoor Games" features more synth sounds and effects while "Happy Family" plays around with more distortion on Haskell's vocals, while also messing with faders to pitch sounds all around the place. The guitar and organ sound like they're crunched up next to the mike while the flutes sound like they're in another continent, but to good effect, while "Lady of the Dancing Water" is a typical folk influenced ballad.

The title track is the meat of the album, with Yes frontman Jon Anderson taking center stage. This is a big song, not just because it clocks in at a whopping 23:19, but because the entirety of the Crimson sound up to now is showcased here to stunning effect. From medieval salutes to jazz breakdowns to bebop shizophrenia, this one's got it all. It's an absolute stunning masterpiece of a progressive rock work. It's just a shame it doesn't feel like it has an actual ending. It feels basically like one big improv that Sinfield just faded away when he realized he completely used up all the time on the track.

The bare bones are still Crimson, but now there's advancement in terms of sound and technology is concerned. It's a step more towards production wizardry and tech gadgetry and a step away from the sax heavy, bebop spastic theme heavily populating the previous two records. The title track obviously is the main highlight, but all the song aren't terribly bad. It's a fresh enough record to place it above "Poseidon", but below, say, "Red" (which has grown on me only because the heaviness of the record feels like they took a page out of Deep Purple's playbook [and I love me some Deep Purple]).

Honestly, the main downside to this album is Haskell. Never been a fan and probably never will. His singing just doesn't do it for me, it feels too half-assed. Can't take him seriously when he tries to be slightly comical and neurotic on "Happy Family", but I can't take him seriously even when he's serious. It's just a style that doesn't fit with the music, honestly. Hell, Jon Anderson sounded better on a Crimson track than Haskell. and Anderson's a bubbly, high pitched, soaring eagle of a singer. He doesn't do neurotic. Yeah, something feels wrong about that picture, doesn't it? Nevertheless, this is an important album in foreshadowing the transitional phase between the "Crimson King" sound and the more production and synth based sound of future albums.

Wicket | 4/5 |


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