Last March progVisions wrote a review of the album “Half Live“. A live album of the Polish band Lizard. According to the band itself, Lizard is known for their hard, difficult and unpleasant music ... but then the band says; Let people think on their own now ... and your progVisions reviewer says, just enjoy the real progressive music of one of my favorite Polish bands. Leader, guitarist and vocalist Damian Bydlinski surprised me with a copy of the newly remixed and remastered album “Master & M“. Originally an album from 2013. He knew this was the only album that was missing in my Lizard collection. Much appreciated Damian! The band released this album also as part of Lizard’s Magic Box which includes besides the Cassette, CD and vinyl versions of the newly remixed and remastered album also all kinds of memorabilia. As part of the collector’s series there is also a special vinyl version with red transparent vinyl.
Damian Bydlinski - vocal, guitar, guitar synthesizer; Janis’s Tanistra - bass guitar; Daniel Kurtyka - guitar; Pawel Fabrowicz - keyboards; Aleksander Szalajko - drums & percussion
Featuring Mariusz Szulakowski - drums & percussion on Woland’s Great Ball part I, II & III
The album includes besides the five chapters of the original album also a live bonus track. On the CD version you will find “Woland’s Great Ball Part III“ and on the vinyl versions “Woland’s Great Ball Part I & Part II“.
“Chapter I“ (15:48) opens with a four minute intro with delicate sung vocals and atmospheric guitar and synths. The atmospheric guitar parts reminds me of the solo work (soundscapes) of Robert Fripp. As you will know the band has a special connection with King Crimson. In their live shows you can enjoy often a brilliant King Crimson cover as one of the encores. After those first four minutes of atmospheric music the band goes full throttle and the complex music of King Crimson is shining once more through the music. But with the first vocal parts the music slowly passes into typical Lizard music. You can find some lovely bass, guitar and synth solo’s in the instrumental parts of this composition. The new mix sounds fresh and transparent. Almost sixteen minutes of pure progressive rock. In the end the atmospheric character is returning for a while. Great opening track. After an abrupt ending of the first chapter the next track “Chapter II“ (10:38) is opening again with a nice vocal opening before up-tempo guitar parts are accompanying the next vocal parts. Because I don’t speak Polish I am more focused on the nice vocal melodies. Halfway the song there is a nice change in rhythm and you can enjoy a wonderful and delicate sung part accompanied by synth flutes and delicate guitar parts. After this lovely intermezzo the tension of the music is slowly building up towards an aggressive guitar solo. Those freaky parts give a nice contrast to the music that has often a lot of melody. “Chapter III“ (6:58) is the shortest chapter of the album. It didn’t surprise me that this chapter has been released as the first single. It has all the ingredients of the longer chapters. Including a nice aggressive and freaky guitar solo. The contrast with the following synth part is very nice. Second single of the album is the following part “Chapter IV“ (7:01). A chapter that opens with a beautiful vocal melody on top of a delicate instrumentation. Again the bass part strikes me because it lays nice in the front of the mix. In this part the Jazz influences in the music of Lizard come to the surface. There is a nice Rhodes like jazzy piano part. And the vocal melodies are very nice. After this relaxed part the original last part of the album is “Chapter V“. (13:26). It has a nice vocal opening before the guitars and synth are kicking in. Also in this last chapter you can find some King Crimson influences but now they are combined with jazzy keyboard work. But in overall the music and especially the vocal parts are typical Lizard. Over the years the band has developed their own unique musical style. And what strikes me is how often this “difficult” music contains beautiful melodies. Love all the diverse keyboard work in this final chapter. As I told you this CD version has a single live bonus track “Woland’s Great Ball Part III“ (9:33) which is in fact the live version of “Master & M Chapter IV“. This is a welcome addition to this album. Beautiful synth lines and the most melodic vocal parts of all the chapters. The slow character of the song is slowly developing into a lovely jazzy tune. After this the beautiful vocal melodies are returning once more before a nice synth solo is introducing a guitar solo. This develops then into a nice synth / guitar battle before the synth melody ends this very interesting live version.