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LIZARD

Eclectic Prog • Poland


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Lizard picture
Lizard biography
Founded in Bielsko-Biała, Poland in 1990

LIZARD has a variety of influences. They intrigate Crimsonian influences with a spirit skin to that of their compatriots in COLLAGE. The vocals have a neo prog influence while the instrumental parts have an emphasis on the individual player's skill. The musicianship is intricate with complicated band interplay.

"W Galerii Czasu" reflects a strong influence of UK and ELP. The CD is produced really great ... no redundant effects and clear sound of all instruments. Now I'm convinced that this album is a masterpiece, a future classic of the Polish Art-Rock.

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LIZARD discography


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LIZARD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 66 ratings
W Galerii Czasu
1997
3.60 | 42 ratings
Psychopuls
2004
3.71 | 63 ratings
Tales From The Artichoke Wood
2005
3.27 | 37 ratings
Spam
2006
3.90 | 112 ratings
Master & M
2013
3.74 | 19 ratings
Trochę Zˇłci, Trochę Więcej Bieli
2016
3.86 | 82 ratings
Half-Live
2018

LIZARD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 17 ratings
Noc Zywych Jaszczurˇw (Official Bootleg)
1999
3.67 | 6 ratings
One night in Holland (Boot)
2003
3.50 | 6 ratings
In The Land of Emerald Lizard (Boot)
2003
4.00 | 3 ratings
One Night in Holland
2003
3.67 | 12 ratings
Destruction and Little Pieces of Cheese
2015

LIZARD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LIZARD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LIZARD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 8 ratings
Strange Time
2013
4.67 | 3 ratings
Single Omen
2017

LIZARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Half-Live by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.86 | 82 ratings

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Half-Live
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by Harold Needle

4 stars "Half-Live" is a new, delightful studio album by one of my favourite Polish prog bands, Lizard. There guys have been around for way over 20 years now, and man, they still come up with a great material. Actually, I'd consider "Half-Live" to be the best Lizard album, right after their wonderful "W galerii czasu" debut.

Everything is in the right place in here. The instrumentation is very well balanced, every instrument gets some important roles in the structure of the piece, none of them seem more important than the other. The violin feature in the first part of the piece is a really nice touch and recalls the UK and early King Crimson influences. Damian Bydlinski's rich and poetic lyrics (anti-war message, it seems) are great, as always. Too bad all the non- polish listeners are going to miss on that. Also, I wanna mention just how amazing the artwork is! I love both the concept and the color scheme, very much in Roger Dean's style. Gotta be my new favourite Polish prog-rock cover art from now on. Unfortunetely the band doesn't really break any new grounds here, everything you're going to hear on this album was done before at some point. I'm also kinda tired of the band proclaming their music as "hard, difficult and unpleasant", which just seems a little bit pretentious. I mean, this album isn't pushing any new boundaries of prog music, let's just be clear about that. Still though, I'm very positively surprised by this album. Both great material and performance. As I mentioned ealier - I'd consider it to be the best Lizard album since the debut. I'm very happy to hear the band in great shape, and wish for more new music, which hopefully'll be a bit more experimental and cutting edge. Definitely worth recommendation, especially if you're into classic retro prog.

 Half-Live by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.86 | 82 ratings

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Half-Live
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by Gregor

5 stars Today, I've just realised that in 1997 I had the opportunity to see them live, supporting EL&P on their, first and only until then, concert in Poland. To be honest I do not remember their performance, so I assume it wasn't great, but 22 years changed a lot. Actually I fell in love with their latest album. On the first go it seems to be a bit to lightweight IMO, what sometimes means it's not going to stay with you for long, but after a few more tries I'm quite optimistic about that. There's also a layer not available for non-polish speakers which makes the whole album definitely worth 5 stars, but for some of potential listeners it's an obvious obstacle in true appreciation of its beauty.
 Half-Live by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.86 | 82 ratings

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Half-Live
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by wiz_d_kidd

5 stars Lizard is Lizard again!

I had been a long time fan of this Polish band, up until they released Master & M, when I noted in another review that their style had changed substantially, and not for the better (in my opinion). All that disappointment I had is now gone with this wonderful release.

Gone is the Damian-only vocal/guitar show that was Master & M. And also gone is the poor mixing that sent the rest of the band to inaudible oblivion. Back are the wonderfully melodic vocals of Damian Bydlinski -- pure tonal with no annoying runs or other embellishments -- vocals that fans will appreciate from the Spam era and before. Back are the wonderful compositions that feature all the band members unabashedly displaying their talented musicianship with ample time in the foreground. They're balanced again. They're Lizard again.

The lineup is the same as on Master & M, except for drummer Mariusz Szulakowski who returned to the band shortly after Master and M's release. The violin performance is un-credited, but a good guess is that it is Krzysztof Maciejowski who played with them on Spam and prior releases, and whose play is credited on Single Omen, a single released prior to this album. Welcome back to both of them! Mariusz wastes no time in making his presence known with some cool poly-rhythmic work at the start of the album (beginning around the 2:00 mark). I just wish Krzysztof had a greater violin presence, but what he does is truly sublime.

Interestingly, this album has only one track at 44 minutes. You might think that it comprises a bunch of unrelated passages, unceremoniously glued together, but in fact, the entire piece is well composed, flows seamlessly, and incorporates a recurring piano theme to tie it all together. Also interesting is the incorporation of excerpts from prior albums. The attentive listener will hear Bez Litosci, Pt. 2 from the album W Galerii Czasu at around the 32:55 mark.

Thank you, Lizard! Thank you for returning to your roots and your strengths. Four and a half stars, rounded up to five for the shear joy of having you back!

 Master & M by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.90 | 112 ratings

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Master & M
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by wiz_d_kidd

3 stars If Master & M were my first exposure to the Polish band Lizard, I probably would not have purchased any of their other works. As it were, I began my Lizard adventure with the album Spam, and having become completely enamored, I quickly scooped up Tales From the Artichoke Wood, Psychopuls, and W Galerii Czasu (In the Gallery of Time). I love them all.

So it was with great anticipation that I waited for their next release, Master & M. I waited, and waited, and waited. It took several years from their original announcement and teaser releases before the full album was published, during which time I grew increasingly concerned. And rightfully so. The band had changed, and not for the better, in my opinion.

You see, the music prior to Master & M was just fantastic. Nice melodic vocals, up-front percussion and bass presence, occasional stand-out (but not overwhelming) guitar parts, cerebral violin passages to smooth everything out, forward-leaning compositions that played the tension and release game nicely, and the whole thing nicely mixed so no single player dominated. All of that disappeared on Master & M.

Certainly, a large part of the change was due to the loss of Krzysztof Maciejowski (violin & keyboards), Mariusz Szulakowski (drums & percussion, programming) and Andrzej Jancza (keyboards). The new keyboard player's parts seemed to be mixed to minus infinity dB, aside from a few (but very nice!) solo parts. The percussion and bass were also mixed to oblivion. I had a hard time finding any standout performance by the new drummer, while the bassist did have opportunities to make an occasional statement, but with far less presence than past recordings. And gone completely was the violin. Oh how I missed that violin! One track (Chapter IV) did have some violin-like parts, perhaps from synth guitar, as an ersatz replacement.

So, the new band just doesn't hold a candle to the old one, in my opinion. That aside, the entire mixing job created an entirely muddled mess of overly dominating guitars and vocals. It seems like every time Damian Bydlinski (vocal, guitar, guitar synthesizer) sang, they had to turn it up, and every time the guitars chimed in, they had to turn it up -- both way louder than necessary. Bass, percussion, and keys simply disappeared in the poorly mixed melee. It created a very spectrally-imbalanced album, with most of the music and vocals in the high frequency range, but with very little low-frequency presence. I found myself constantly reaching for the equalizer to try to balance it all out, but it didn't work. What used to be an equal-opportunity band, with everyone's contributions easily recognizable, became a vocal- and guitar-centric band, aside from an occasional flourish or solo from keyboard or bass.

The thing is, I liked Damian's voice and guitar playing on the other albums. And he did it while keeping a nice balance with the rest of the band. In Master & M, the balance is gone. I was extremely disappointed. It's not a bad piece of music, mind you, just bad mixing (or arranging) and a far cry from what I was expecting as a follow up to their prior albums. What could have been a five-star album, was demoted to a four-star rating because of bad mixing and arrangement, and then demoted again to three stars because of my utter disappointment.

 Tales From The Artichoke Wood by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.71 | 63 ratings

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Tales From The Artichoke Wood
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

2 stars I want asking for my excuses to all PA Collaborators which gives a very high rate to this album ( 50% 4 stars + 22% 5 stars = 72% ) ! In my humble opinion this album don't deserves any note above 2 stars, and I write this after my last review about their first album "W Galerii Czasu" ( review (#1490296 Friday, November 20, 2015 ) where my rate is 5 stars . I recognize in this work almost the same influences and mix of progressive rock music styles , but, at this time the final results is boring , whit a few exceptions. One of this few moments as in the Track 1"Tales from the Artichoke Wood Part I ", Track 4 "Vicent : Impressiom III" and Track 8 "Pablo: Impressiom II (with a middle section clearly inspired by King Crimson) , however , without the same "bright" of "W Galerii Czasu" . How I've previous said my rate is 2 stars !!!
 W Galerii Czasu by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.64 | 66 ratings

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W Galerii Czasu
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by maryes

5 stars I consider this first album from Polish band LIZARD "W Galerii Czasu", a very good late 90's release, and a very well done mix of some progressive East's European bands. In my first and superficial impression the band shows a great influence of bands like M.EFFEKT and PROGRESS II ... this last mainly by the work in " Dialog s vesm'rem" (both from Czech Republic), their countryman from COLLAGE and some hints of KING CRIMSON. The band "cross" between countless of progressive rock styles : heavy-prog in the track 4 "Strefa cienia " where about 1 min 48 sec exists a brief intermission in King Crimson mood and this K C mood returns in a diferent way about 3 min 34 sec.- a bit of jazz-prog mixed with a ballad theme in the track 6 "W krainie szmaragdowego jaszczura" ... This album is a must , all tracks are fantastic, the musicians are skilled and the arrangements exceptional. My rate is 5 stars !!!
 W Galerii Czasu by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.64 | 66 ratings

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W Galerii Czasu
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Although formed in Bielsko-Biala, Poland in 1990, Lizard escaped right from the start from the typical Neo Prog sound of the local bands.Singer Damian Bydlinski, guitarist Miroslaw Worek, keyboardist Andrzej Jancza, bassist/guitarist Janusz Tanistra and drummer Mariusz Szulakowski were the original members, who focused on recording the first demo tapes of Lizard and building a cult fame through live appearances.In 1996 the band came to the attention of the Polish label Ars Mundi and the same year they recorded their debut ''W galerii czasu'' (''In the gallery of time'') at the SL Studio in Gdansk, released in 1997.

When you take your name from a KING CRIMSON album, it's impossible not to include some hints of the British legends to your sound.But being a Prog Rock band, developing your style in Poland through the 90's, the Neo/Symphonic Prog vibes are almost impossible not to be part of your music.These two styles led Lizard to their debut, they tried to evoke the sound of COLLAGE or ANNALIST and pass it through a personal filter, which contained the darkness and complexity of KING CRIMSON's offerings.While not fully convincing or moreover cohesive, the result was definitely enganging and quite personal.Echoes of PINK FLOYD, MARILLION and KING CRIMSON are evident throughout the album.Plenty of atmospheric passages and intricate instrumental work, complemented by Bydlinski's theatrical vocals are main elements of Lizard's debut.The keyboard and piano parts are falling fairly into a more symphonic enviroment, but most of the guitar parts are complex and tricky with light jazzy influences and occasional breaks into heavier textures.The music generally is pretty dramatic and sinister with more romantic/atmospheric overtones in particular moments, as the band avoids approaching to melodious themes and prefers to offer rhythmic, dark or atmospheric variations.The long closer ''W krainie szmaragdowego jaszczura'' pretty much defines what Lizard were born to do.Experimental touches, mid-70's GENESIS and even SBB influences in the instrumental and vocal passages, nice and heavy guitar moves and an excellent closing theme, somewhere between PINK FLOYD and MARILLION, with evolving piano and synth lines and a growing guitar sound.

Metal Mind re-released the album in 2003 with some extra material from lives.An intricate mix of Polish Neo Prog and KING CRIMSON-esque Heavy Prog with both good and mediocre moments, but satisfying enough to earn a recommendation.

 Master & M by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.90 | 112 ratings

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Master & M
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Lizard is a distinguished prog band that has kept its flame going for a few decades now, releasing a few spectacular albums (the tasty debut and Tales from the Artichoke Wood) as well as a few lesser successful attempts (Psychopuls and Spam). Guitarist and vocalist Damian Bydlinski as well as bassist Janusz Tanistra still lead the group from Poland but have added new blood on guitars, keyboards and drums with this rather sparkling album. The inspiration to create a brooding, aggressive and pulsating work is obvious from the get- go, Damian never compromising in singing in his native language which gives their music so much personality and creative merit. Tanistra shows off his considerable bass skills with a trebly sound that harkens back to Squire days but within his very own style. The disc is divided into 5 chapters but must be listened to as a whole, which was clearly the intention. Source material (yeah, its prog!) is the celebrated Russian novel 'The Master and Margarita' by Mikhael Bulgakov , written between 1928 and 1940 but unpublished until 1967. It 's a story woven around a visit by the Devil to the dictatorial and atheistic Soviet Union. Needless to say that bashing the former overlord after 50 years of cultural enslavement is a passion shared to this day by most Poles and Hungarians in particular!

Divided into 5 chapters , the music is tremendously effective even if one does not understand the language. There is a new wind in Polish prog , a new found vigor and energy that is highly evident in recent releases by stalwarts like Riverside, Millenium, Believe, After and Satellite, as well as newcomers like Soma White, Votum, Lebowski and many others. Characterized by modern keyboard techniques, harder edged guitar pyrotechnics as well as bold incursions into a fantasyland of tones and sounds that are truly magnificent. The live scene is also vibrant (check out all the Katowice live DVD releases, amazing!) and Lizard pull no punches, as their new theatrical material is totally resplendent, giving the listener a curiously imaginative experience that transcends the expected and formulaic.

'Chapter I' is a bombastic, dive bombing flurry of tortured guitars, deranged synths, goose- stepping bass and dictatorial drums, over which Damian unleashes a Polish version of Marillion-era Fish theatrics. Starting out with careening screeches, somber reptiles lurking in the Gdansk shipyards waiting for that one day to be unleashed by events beyond the secret police's talons. Echoes of stolid depression and barely contained rancor, the atmospherics are as overbearing as a five-year plan of gross incompetence and elitist corruption. Ominous sounds that morph into a steamroller riff, a relentless monolith, all held together with some catchy soloing of the finest caliber!

The beginning of 'Chapter II' is the polar (pun again) opposite, a trembling vocal-only that nods at early King Crimson, reinforced as the booming torrent kicks in lustily, just like 'in the Wake of Poseidon', not surprising in lieu of Lizard's early career as a KC cover band. The hints are obvious and highly reverential, as the Crimson King was quite popular behind the once Iron Curtain, a band that always, like them or not, stretched the boundaries of acceptability and norm. Axeman Daniel Kurtyka squeezes some zealous passion out of his electrified strings, while new drummer Aleksander Szalajko prefers a muscular approach, making this a lively and intense affair.

'Chapter III' is short, breezier and chattier, Damian rambling nicely over some clavinet and funky guitar riffs, as the bass powers through the arrangement, thus displaying a much wider and cinematographic tendency. Doesn't stop Kurtyka to mistreat his instrument and the assorted pedals at his disposal. After the explosive climax, gentle ripples of sweet synth and pastoral acoustic riffing returns. A jazzier side that is most welcome, almost like a Polish Stealy Dan!

'Chapter IV' is the same 7 minutes in length as the preceding piece and perhaps my favorite on this inspired disc, a highly evocative groove piece loaded up with unbridled emotion, subtle playing and a foreboding sense of doom. This is exactly my style, a contrast between menacing and pastoral, simple technically but oh so cool as the electric piano suddenly relays a stupendous vibe! Tanistra cuts a fierce bass solo through the jangly riffing, just propelling this amazing piece forward. I mean, wow! Stunning!

'Chapter V' has that deadly combination of acoustic guitar, mellotron and vocals, a progressive classic formula if there ever was one. A brilliant 13 minute + finale forces the listener to succumb to the trials and tribulations of denial as well as political survival, just like the Devil dealt with the Politburo! Undelivered promises and caged suffering that thankfully lasted only 50 years, a slew of minds released from oppressive bondage and rigorous incompetence! These thoughts are perfectly expressed by the twisting and colliding instrumentation, harsh riffs and immovable pulsations. Vitriolic cascades of KGB keys, crushing Gulag guitars, nasty Beria bass and Stalinist drumming.

'Master & M' represents Lizard's finest achievement and an all-out 2013 classic! A finely crafted and entertaining symphonic prog album that will please all fans, even those who do not comprehend the lyrics. The music thus will speak for itself! The brooding cover art eerily resembles the Flower Kings latest, lots of metallic gray amid a splotch of red, a wink at the oppression suffered by the Central and Eastern Europeans alike.

5 Barbed wires

 Master & M by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.90 | 112 ratings

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Master & M
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Probably the coolest album I've heard from 2013 and definitely the one I'm most hooked on. Not since MAD CRAYON's 2009 release, Preda, have I heard an album with so many diverse influences so well melded together. There's KING CRIMSON--lots of King Crimson--but the band has somehow enmeshed within it sounds and styles from 80s techno pop (I hear THE BLOW MONKEYS, KAJAGOOGOO, ABC, ICEHOUSE, GENE LOVES JEZEBEL, and, especially, MINIMAL COMPACT), 70s metal (the reminder of BLUE OYSTER CULT--especially in Buck Dharma-like lead guitar soli--is strong), 80s pop metal (DEF LEPPARD and WHITESNAKE immediately come to mind) and even late-70s jazz fusion (e.g., EARL KLUGH, BOB JAMES, FREDDY HUBBARD, NARADA MICHAEL WALDEN), all covered with amazingly gorgeous and powerful vocals--all sung in Polish! Infinitely melodious yet interestingly constructed and, amazingly well mixed/engineered and produced. Amazingly, I have to give five star ratings to all of the songs (all given the simple designation of "Chapter," I through V) with four of them achieving my own personal (10/10) highest rating. If the album has a weakness it would be in the fairly straightforward drumming and predominance of straight rock time signatures. The singing of founding member, Damian Bydliński, the bass playing of the only other member from the original band, Janusz Tanistra, the keyboard work of newcomer Pawel Fabrowicz, and the electric guitar work of Daniel Kurtyka are all extraordinary--top notch--each a real joy to tune into.

Man, Poland and Italy are where it's at in ProgWorld these days!

4.5 stars rated up for creative originality.

 Master & M by LIZARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.90 | 112 ratings

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Master & M
Lizard Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars For some reason it has taken seven years for Lizard to return with their fourth album, but at thankfully this has been worth the wait as this is their best album to date. Only founder and songwriter Damian Bydliński (vocal, guitar, guitar synthesizers) and Janusz Tanistra (bass) are still there from the last album, so obviously there have been lots of things going on in the background, but the music and package has obviously been taken a step further than previously. I only wish that I could speak Polish as the vocals and lyrics are obviously incredibly important as it is based on Bulgakov's novel "The Master and Margarita" (which I haven't read, but a Russian proghead I know was ecstatic when he heard about this release as Lizard is one of his favourite bands and this is one of his favourite books).

What makes this album work so well is the sheer variety of music that is contained within: broken into five chapters this contains influences from bands as diverse as King Crimson and SBB, that is definitely outside the mainstream but at times is strangely commercial as well. This is one of those prog albums that transcends language barriers, and while I am sure I would get more from it if I could speak the language, in this instance it just means that the vocals themselves become another instrument. There are periods of reflection, and others when the guitars are far more dramatic and in your face (having a second guitarist join the band has given them some additional facets, but they are definitely still eclectic as opposed to heavy).

Lizard have long been one of my favourite Polish prog bands, and this album has just cemented that view, as it really is quite special. Although the lyrics are in Polish, it is possible to view their website in English, thankfully. www.lizard-band.com

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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