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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 2112 ratings

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3 stars Lizard is a quite a unique album in the Crimson discography. By consequence, it has both its devoted fans and people that rate it below other KC albums. Whichever way you turn, I think it has excellent material and serves as a landmark album of the then still premature prog scene.

The opener Cirkus is simply amazing, it's a superb composition, alternating gentle verses and brilliant acoustic guitar picking with that big dramatic guitar theme. It has beautiful mellotron and nice jazzy elements and, in typical Crimson style, it ends in a big and almost chaotic climax.

This is probably the only King Crimson album that features some synths, a VCS3 to be precise. It's done very subtly as on Indoor Games. This song is less overwhelming then the opener but it grows with frequent listens. Also Happy Family features some keyboard, resulting in an eye-catching opening part. The core of the songs is difficult to get into though, and sounds more like a practical joke that got out of hand then like a regular Crimson track. Very 'circusy' indeed, this one. Lady of the Dancing Water must be one of PFM's main sources for inspiration. Very smooth and gentle but not really convincing.

Lizard lifts this album almost to 5 stars. Jon Anderson opens with amazing vocals, alternating subdued verses in typical Crimson style with a very uplifting chorus that bathes in dazzling Yes-light. Even the lalala is gorgeous. These first 4 minutes rate amongst the most beautiful of the classic symphonic rock style. They are followed with a soft jazzy section, improvising around the main theme of the chorus and borrowing the rhythm of Ravel's Bolero. Halfway in, there is a short piece on Oboe that is slightly reminiscent of Stravinsky, Gorden Haskell takes over vocal duties and the band launches in another 10 minute of experimental jazz rock drama and mellotron washes. The last 3 minutes before the short finale feature some very abstract guitar playing from Fripp.

An out of the ordinary Crimson album, incredibly dense and orchestrated compared to their usual stark sound. I think it's one of their brightest, most melodic and most playful albums. Lovers of symphonic prog shouldn't miss this.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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