The uniqueness of LizZard stems to a type of metal I’ve enjoyed, but have never been a huge fan of. That type of progressive experimental metal that such bands as Tool have become famous for. LizZard, however, are a little less intense and more easy to listen to than Tool, taking away the absolutely impossible complexities of their music and adding in alternative metal sounds similar to that of a band like Deftones.
The first notes of Vigilant, the first song off of LizZard’s latest album Majestic tell you something about the next fifty minutes you’re about to endure. The opening notes are soft and creepy and it doesn’t take long for the offbeat drums to kick in with a more distorted guitar playing over the cleaner spooky sounding riff that continues underneath it all. Eventually the song gets louder and louder with more guitars overlapping over each other with Mathieu Ricou’s soft yet powerful voice adding effectively fitting vocal melodies, all while that same clean and spooky guitar riff plays underneath it all.
The experimentation is furthered into other songs on the album like the guitar intro to Aion and the strange drum beat and progressively complex changes of The Roots Within (Majestic). When the latter track breaks in to its melodic middle section, I can’t help but get hooked. The usage of acoustic guitars and different percussions in Circles makes it a stand out track as well as the stop and go rhythms of Colour Blind. But it’s the albums instrumental Just A Breath where the tightness of the band is at its best as the band continues to hold their fearlessness to experiment with different sounds and beats on their sleeve while hooking listeners with Mathieu’s lead guitar melodies. For an instrumental, I applaud how well it keeps me entertained throughout.
Majestic has no shortage of rockers too. Bound puts most progressive elements aside and concentrates on just delivers a sludgy alternative edge, reminding me of Deftones meeting Three Days Grace. Only One has drummer Katy Elwell playing a pretty standard drum beat for once, as opposed to her super complex beats that never cease to impress me. The simplified drum beats (even though the drum beat played during the songs verses borderlines into complex territory) make the song a welcome change from the rest of the album. Reminder is a slower song, and ever so slightly softer while being driven by William Knox’s bass beat. It doesn’t rock as hard as others on the album, but it still makes for a simple listen, one that many listeners are sure to appreciate and enjoy.
LizZard end Majestic with one last experimental goodbye in Falling In Zero. This six minute track stays slow and sludgy throughout, but it changes in attitude, with its loud instrumental intro, before changing into a predominantly slow song which continues the trend of adding guitar effects such as delay and having William’s bass playing and Katy’s drums carry the tracks rhythm just terrifically. The song, of course, picks up ever so slightly, not in pace but in volume, kind of like one last blare before they end the album.
I have no real complaints about the bands integrity and their progress in reaching their goals. LizZard could stand to be mentioned in the same sentence as Tool or Deftones by more people in the future, but as of right now they aren’t quite there. This is where my lack of fandom toward such bands comes to haunt me, because with the exception of Tool’s flat out madness with how they play their instruments, I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about Tool and Deftones (just to name the two bands I keep bringing up) that ever made them such multi-platinum selling bands. What I would like to see improve with LizZard though is the usage of vocals. Mathieu Ricou’s voice is great, he truly is the right man to sing these songs, but I feel he needs to add more hooks, maybe even some harmonies to his vocals because they aren’t what stick in my memory after listening to Majestic. It’s the music that does. I believe if the singing can improve to the level in which the music is at, then we’d have ourselves one hell of a band to be reckoned with.
“The Roots Within (Majestic)” – I wanted to pick one of the experimental tracks to have as the highlight, and while there are two or three highlight worthy tracks, I feel The Roots Within (Majestic) captures the bands playing at its best. The bass lines with the drum beat behind the chosen guitar sounds best exemplify what the band is capable of musically. Not to mention the melodic middle part of the song when I feel is when people should really get hooked to the song.
7 (Out of 10)
- The Roots Within (Majestic)
- Only One
- Just A Breath
- Colour Blind
- Falling In Zero