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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 2112 ratings

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5 stars My (currently, and probably forever) favorite KC album - and extremely underrated, this one is very unique and rich of instrumental exploration, even more than their other masterpiece "Lark's Tongues in Aspic". It manages to be even more complex and therefore harder to get the attention of the occasional listener, and it is the perfect mix of sad, romantic / mellow and fun parts. The most amazing is that all these different music styles all flow very well without losing path during the album! Something that only Fripp and Co. would be able to make with their eccletic musical characteristics that we find through KC's vast discography.

The fun moments are "Indoor Games" and "Happy Family", those are 2 songs that work very well together, since they show the most pleasant side of jazz that i could ever appreciate in this genre which i never enjoyed too much (i absolutely can't stand KENNY G). After a crazy laugh by Mr. Haskell at the ending of "Indoor Games", the album leads to "Happy Family". Some people will find this track annoying due to the vocal distortion and the bitting piano that flows during it, but i have to admit that this is one of the most different "fun" songs i've ever had the pleasure to hear, and it doesn't annoy me at all! It makes me feel happy and full with energy. It ends in an inoccent way with Haskell singing for two or three seconds alone in a childish manner. The next song, "Lady of the dancing water" is an example of the mellow and romantic side of this album, and the flute is the instrument that leads it together with a soft guitar at the background. Haskell sings in a very beautiful way here, very different from "Cirkus", the first track and another member of the KC's romantic side. In "Cirkus" (which has a good intro) we have a more serious and cold vocal performance, on the other hand the 4th track shows a softer tone of Gordon's voice. But the best is still to come. The title song arrives and...does anyone recognize this guy? He is YES' vocalist JON ANDERSON, making a wonderful performance in this epic. This song shows the sad and the romantic sides put together in a bolero-like performance after the vocals on the first part named "Prince Rupert awakes". On this first part we have Jon singing in a so passionate way leading to the album's climax, where he delivers his "aa-aaaaaahs" followed by the great mellotron solo, a sad and beautiful moment, and the best one of this album. Part 2, the bolero one, shows the fun side again after some seconds, in a not-so crazy KC jam, a very natural one, not sounding so forced like the one in "21st Century Schizoid Man", mixing VARIOUS instruments together and making a very complex arrangement. After the jam, the bolero recovers its original mellow pace, reaching the second climax of the album on around the 30th minute of the album. "The battle of the glass tears", the last part of the most wonderful KC song ever done, brings Gordon Haskell back to scene, and it is firstly based on a quiet vocal performance with a wind instrument on the background, and delivers a similar feel of the early years of your childhood, giving memories of your mom telling stories to you before going to sleep. But this mellow tone doesn't last too much, as a more noisy part kicks in with some nice drums, mellotron, sax, flute and bass work, all put together in perfect shape. This may seem like another successful and not forced jam by the band, and it is a very well estructured one i might say. The piano may sound a bit bluesy sometimes after a while, but the main thing here is top quality jazzy jam, which lasts a bit too long but i really don't mind. A drum beat than interrupts the jam, and Fripp's unique guitar notes start to flow, and some great bass work begin to rise the jam back from the ashes, this time being more insane and heavy than ever, but again not so forced on the point of becoming annoying. Some weird noises looking like footsteps on the above floor appear after the jam's end and a chaotic and quiet at the same time guitar arrives. A great guitar solo, leading to the epic's glorious end. This is without question the best song the King has ever done, much better than my also beloved "Starless", which i considered for a long time my fav KC number. Some mellotron notes then born, on the 1 minute finale "Big Top", giving a disturbing and schizofrenic true circus feel, and the album ends in a golden shape.

One more thing that i would like to add is that Gordon Haskell is the most underrated vocalist of all times! I couldn't stand him some time ago, but i now realised that he was just the perfect guy for this album. GREG LAKE would probably not do this one so much justice, and even though i consider him one of the best vocalists of all times, i think that Haskell (despite being technically not as great as the awesome voice master that shows his deeper skills on songs like "Epitaph" and "In the Wake of Poseidon"), was a fortunate choice to sing here mainly due to the fact that his "old man" voice seems to fit more with the jazzy feel we get in this album.

And for the ones who haven't listened to this which is one of the best progressive recordings of all time, do it NOW. Really, this is the peak point of King Crimson, and the only near they would get to this masterpiece would be three years later on the weirdly titled "Lark's Tongues in Aspic", but it still doesn't have the same brilliance showed on "Lizard". Together with "Wish You Were Here", "Foxtrot" and "Pawn Hearts" this one would make an honorable mention to a "the best album of all times" contest. And it surely is worthy of such unique mention.

Eclipse | 5/5 |


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