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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover

LIZARD

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 2080 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars As usual I disagree with the general consensus, "Lark's Tonngues in Aspic" is seen as one of KING CRIMSON'S masterpieces and "Lizard" is underrated, but my opinion is exactly the opposite, I simply love "Lizard", because is the last of their albums in which they privileged the melody and sense of musicality over the adventurous but sometimes senseless experimentation.

It's obvious that we're before a band that is mutating, from a clear Symphonic birth they evolved into a Jazzy album with clear Symphonic leanings and the addition of orchestral instruments help to create this Medieval mood somehow closer to Canterbury scene than ever before or after.

"Cirkus" is an amazing song, the soft beginning announces a melodic soft track, but it's only a mirage, they never loose the melody but surely they make a lot of experimentation, maybe the only problem is Gordon Haskell's voice, but his strange range suits perfectly into the general atmosphere.

I always heard Robert Fripp is a guitar virtuoso, but only understood the magnitude of his abilities when I heard this album, just perfect or at least close to perfection. The arrangements are outstanding, every instrument appears in the precise moment, love the section when Gordon sings almost as a troubadour narrating a history, he hit the nail in the head, great material and you'd better believe this comment coming from somebody who is far from being a KING CRIMSON fan..

."Indoor Games" is much more jazzy with the wind instruments in contrapuntist performance, the vocals are weak in comparison with the previous track and the song seems a bit confusing but still is great material.

"Happy Family" starts violent and aggressive, somehow closer to free Jazz, the flute adds coherence to what seems a controlled cacophony, it's interesting to see the spirit of Jazz present because every instrument takes it's own path, but God knows how they keep control over a track that could had easily escaped from their hands at any moment, an excellent experiment of advanced fusion that I'm sure served as inspiration for Mahavishnu Orchestra.

"Lady of the dancing Water" is a medieval tune that starts with vocals, flute soft piano and a dreamy guitar and flows gently during the 2:45 minutes as an introduction to the epic that will close the album.

"Lizard" is a complete multipart epic in which even one of the parts is subdivided, Jon Anderson pays a short visit leaving his unique voice, that may not be my favorite but has a special flavor hard to imitate.

The chorus is simply breathtaking and the percussion is out of this world, if you add the classic piano and the Symphonic cadencies you got a masterpiece, but if you still add some jazzy touches, well this is something very special and deserves to be listened.

Of course there is a very complex instrumental section around the last quarter of the song that doesn't allow us to forget that Robert Fripp is capable of surprising even the most expert specialist on his music, again a very good track.

To be honest after this album I loose the interest in KING CRIMSON until "Red", because the Symphonic and melodically strong era is closed for ever with "Lizard", after that they will privilege the experimentation over the musical coherence and that's not my zone of comfort.

Now, I'm in a great problem, how in hell will I rate this album, not a masterpiece and not an excellent addition for everybody (I heard a lot of times this is the less accessible KING CRIMSON ALBUM), but it's more than just good, 3.5 stars will be perfect but I will have to go with 4 stars that seem a bit too much, but every system has limits and we must adjust ourselves to them.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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