Hyperspace Records [Release date 01.09.15]
The Lizards may leave us waiting far too long between albums but when they do appear they are invariably worthy of attention. We reviewed their last “proper” 2006 release ‘Against All Odds’ noting that it made grown men who should know better very happy.
2008′s ‘ar-che-ol-o-gy’ was essentially an album of cover versions, even if no less impressive for that. Things ramp up again on their seventh album with several guest “names” plus that ubiquitous session whore, Glenn Hughes, who was also on the 2006 release.
Whilst you could argue that The Lizards don’t really need big-name assistance, the stellar cast enhances rather than detracts. This is a superb groove-laden heavy rock album.
Mike DiMeo (Riot) provides superlative vocals throughout and the core band is ably completed by Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Blue Oyster Cult), Randy Pratt (bass) and Patrick Klein (guitar) now joined by Scott ‘The Doctor’ Treibitz (keyboards).
Opener ‘Ton On The One’ and ‘Incurable’ recalls prime time Van Halen/Sammy Hagar whilst ‘Evil Eyes’ features a nice bluesy guitar solo from Frank Marino and a groove-driven bass line from Pratt. The groove repeated on the slinky ‘Crawlin’ King Snake’.
The great thing about this album is that the band do not constrain themselves by any four-minute song format (although they can do – ‘Wild West’ and ‘Pray For Peace’ for example) and there is plenty of instrumental stretch-out and – as previously – progressive influences as evidenced on ‘Crash’ (with a Vinnie Moore solo) and ‘In The Pleasure Dome”.
The Lizards save the best for last: the band’s seventies influences are best displayed on the Free-like ‘Turnin’ Me Under’ and Glenn Hughes makes his appearance on another album standout, the superb ‘Miracle Man’.
‘Reptilicus Maximus’ will further gladden the heart of ageing rockers who will be thankful that a less than familiar band with a certain collective kudos (if not maturity of years) can offer something relevant yet retro, and they don’t have to submit to the brainwashing and hype of certain new kids on the block. ****1/2
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
Archive review (‘Against All Odds’, 2006)
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 23 August 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 25 August 2020.
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