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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.13 | 2222 ratings

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4 stars Lizard - King Crimson (3.67 stars) Original Release: 12/11/1970


Cirkus including Entry of the Chameleons (4 stars) Creepy, psychotic circus music with a great instrumental chorus with mellotron that sounds like a horn blown by Poseidon himself. The bass comes in underneath with a malevolent swagger and the acoustic guitar flows around it like a manic feather boa. This sound also has good mellotron and saxophone instrumental section. Overall great mix of instrument, mood and drama. This song ends with a sound effect like that one that ended "The Devil's Triangle" on their previous album; a kind of shimmering light sound.

Indoor Games (3 stars) I am unable to get much understanding out of the lyrics on this song. Their is a confusion of guitar around the vocals and a bemused sax melody. Strong strums on the acoustic guitar accent the brief chorus. The instruments are numerous and complex but syncopated.

Happy Family (3 stars) This song has the same light tone as the previous song and is connected to it by the vocalist's laughter. The instruments also, similarly, are played like a controlled avalanche around the vocals. I've read that this song is about the Beatles' break up; perhaps, if I knew more about the Beatles I might be able to recognize this in the lyrics. Otherwise the lyrics are just strange like some Ringo Starr song.

Lady of the Dancing Water (3 stars) There is excellent flute playing on this slow, quiet song. If I'm not very much mistaken this is actually a love song; I can't think of another love song that King Crimson has done.

Lizard: Prince Rupert Awakes, Bolero: The Peacock's Tale, The Battle of Glass Tears: (Dawn Song, Last Skirmish, Prince Rupert's Lament), Big Top (4 stars) Given that there is seemingly a story behind this song, I imagine that the lyrics are penetrable but I have not been able to make too much sense of them. This is King Crimson's only epic length song. I think the band has turned down the complexity a slight notch for the most part in favor of more straight-forward instrumentation. Jon Anderson's mystical voice climaxes in the first part of the song with a passionate mellotron in the tradition of King Crimson's album-titled songs so far. The mood is anticipatory and calm until this first climax is reached. Then starts a beautiful instrumental, a bolero, with a succession of elegant woodwind and brass instruments that play slight variations on the main theme. The instruments include trumpet, clarinet, oboe, saxophone and trombone together, then all these instruments join together with a piano, often played like a harp, in the background. The mellotron comes in at the end like a backing string section. After this bolero the oboe plays an ominous song of the dawn before a battle. The regular vocalist returns to sing and after this the mellotron kicks in with bass beating the drums of war. Then the saxophone sings a war march. Further sounds emulate the chaos and violence of war until a further climax resolves into a kind of funeral lament with the bass plucking deep notes and the guitar screaming someone's agony. After this misery fades away the sounds of a big top fade in and then as soon fade away again as the pitch and tempo slowly increase, suggesting a kind of madness. Also, this theme may have been an effort to tie the album's beginning and ending together conceptually.

Album: This album has a more cohesive sound than its predecessor "In the Wake of Poseidon". I sense that the mellotron is gradually loosing ground in successive King Crimson albums, but it is still being used effectively. Woodwind and brass instruments often get to shine on this album and are not always lost in an effort to create a crazy cacophony. This is one of the highlights of this album's style, to showcase the talents of the musician's individual efforts.

MP3 recommendation:

Four stars (4 stars) 1. Cirkus (4 stars) 2. Lizard (4 stars)

sealchan | 4/5 |


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