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King Crimson - Lizard CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 2138 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Criticized in some quarters for producing a virtual facsimile follow-up to their seminal 1969 debut 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', 'Lizard' would prove a stark departure from the ethereal, mellotron-washed blueprint King Crimson had dusted down for 'In The Wake Of Poseidon'. Although a very similar album, both in sound and structure, 'In The Wake Of Poseidon' was still a fine slice of post-psychedelic grandeur; 'Lizard', however, would find Robert Fripp and company heading in a different direction. A dense and difficult affair, this is progressive rock in it's most ambitious guise, featuring a multitude of differing instrumental climates, a daunting atmospheric coating and a sonic palette stuffed with enough ideas to fill several albums over. No doubt stung by the criticism flung at 'In The Wake Of Poseidon', this is very much a case of King Crimson performing in almost deliberately contrarian fashion, crafting a lengthy, multi-chaptered concept album that makes it's predecessors seem simple in comparison. This is best summed up on the twenty-three minute long title-track, a four-part prog marathon which takes the listener on a spellbinding journey through carefully-crafted segments of rich chamber rock layered with intricate free-jazz cul-de-sacs, warm acoustic medleys, medieval- styled passages and squalling metallic attacks, thus producing a truly mesmerizing experience. It's a powerful if somewhat humourless and occasionally stiff reading of the progressive rock genre in all it's cerebral glory, yet the display of pure musical imagination offered up deserves real kudos. The shorter tracks also stand up to careful observation, with both the chromatic opener 'Cirkus' and the delicate, acid-dipped folk-jazz of 'Happy Family' glowing with a dark and mysterious ambience, whilst 'Indoor Games' adds a confident, fiery and almost jocular tinge to proceedings, exhibiting a deft ear for melody sometimes crowded out by the sheer volume of instrumental ideas. Although maybe not in the same exulted class as their genre-defining debut, 'Lizard' is nevertheless a powerful and original statement from one of progressive rock's pre-eminent outfits. This is highly cerebral music for those with the time to appreciate such things and it is only after multiple listens that one can truly appreciate the album's multi-faceted musical architecture. Some will find this 1970 effort deliberately obfuscating and pompous, others no doubt will point to the radical instrumental approach and technical prowess as proof of it's singular musical vision. Album's such as 'Lizard' are rare; the raw creativity showcased throughout even more so.


stefro | 4/5 |


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