Saturday 22 November 2014

LizZard - Majestic (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Released: October 17th 2014
Label: Klonosphere Records

Majestic” CD/DD track Listing:

1). Vigilent
2). Aion
3). Bound
4). The Roots Within (Majestic)
5). Only One
6). Just A Breath
7). Circles
8). Reminder
9). Colour Blind
10) Falling In Zero


Following the release of 2012's debut album "Out Of Reach", which was produced by Rhys Fulber (Paradise Lost, Fear Factory, etc…) and garnered some highly enthusiastic reviews, French heavy-rock trio Lizzard are now prepared to release their second full-length “Majestic”, without a single doubt their most focused and accomplished effort to date.

Produced by the band, mixed Sylvain Biguet (Klone, Trepalium), “Majestic” sees them taking the approach of their debut album, offering ten tracks full of heavy rhythms, beautiful and engaging melodies. Lizzard provide an intense, emotive listening experience with “Majestic”, and its dark and strident alternative rock sound will surely surprise fans of Tool, Karnivool, Deftones and other artists of that ilk.

The Band:

Mathieu Ricou (guitar, vocals)
Katy Elwell (drums)
William Knox (bass, vocals)


Often when you see bands list prog-metal titans like Tool/Karnivool/Deftones as influences, they either fall flat or sound absolutely nothing like these bands whatsoever, leaving you wondering why they listed themselves as sounding like them at all. Thankfully, LizZard does actually pull of this sound and a very heavy “Sound Awake” era Karnivool influence permeates LizZard's second album “Majestic” as it successfully hits the right sound as it moves through its ten tracks. Not to give the impression LizZard is copying these groups, but this is not an easy type of music to play much less write and not many people can play this flavor of prog and write coherent songs.

The songwriting LizZard displays is pretty fantastic throughout and the second track “Aion” is a great example of this as it begins with a tapped section and moves into a very Karnivool “Goliath” sounding bass line, then moves into territory that distinctly belongs to LizZard alone with some strong unison melodies. The juxtaposition of the simpler riffy melodies with the more advanced tapping section really grabs your attention and displays a fully mature sense of song writing.

The vocals throughout “Majestic” shade towards the clean end of the spectrum and move from solid to exceptional throughout, the dual vocalists compliment each other very well and a minor critique is I would like to hear a little more harmony in future outings. Katy Elwell on drums, deserves a solid nod as well her drumming is very reminiscent of Aaron Harris' from Isis/Palms drumming on Isis' seminal “Panopticon.” Slow burning with some very tasteful jazzy hits, she has a hypnotic pulse especially on the more atmospheric sections of the album. Her rolling beats at the beginning of track seven “Circles” in particular is instant smile inducing, and her subtle change into the chorus is absolutely perfect.

The mix on this album is a little odd, the tones are good throughout but it sounds very uncompressed and is a bit quiet. All this really means is you have to turn it up a bit more than usual to get the full experience, but when you consider how compressed everything is nowadays our ears are conditioned to it, so this actually serves to make “Majestic” sound really different. That being said, all the instrumentation is clearly audible and the levels are perfect throughout, overall they did a fantastic job recording this album. The bass tones in particular are pretty crushing and it's nice to hear them so up in the mix, when you have a talented bassist it's nice to hear him once in awhile!

This is a pretty slick album with some more mainstream influences than what I've normally reviewed here on The Sludgelord. That being said where LizZard really triumphs is in keeping the hooks with uncompromising song writing and a clear and unique artistic vision. When I listen to “Majestic” I hear a band that is on the cusp of something really big and if anyone has the opportunity to see them live while they are still playing small clubs now is definitely the time. Go check it out, you'll like it.

Words by: Chris Tedor

You can pick up a copy here

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