Lizards Exist – s/t (self-released 2014, CD/DL)

Lizards Exist are a guitar, bass, keyboards, synths, melloton, and drums instrumental quartet from Croatia who play a spaced out blend of Prog, Jazz and Blues.

Bamija opens with a jazzy bass and drums groove as spacey Bluesy guitar and keyboard leads trip along. After a buildup the band launch into a full blown Space-Jazz-Fusion jam, with the guitar and keys rushing through a variety of intense leads. I like the intermittent rushing oscillation wave and the mellotron that chimes in near the end adds a bit of spacey Prog-Jazz spice. The piece segues seamlessly into Ljetni Hit, another cosmic Blues rocker with some cool saucy and sometimes freaky Blues guitar leads. Add in some brief Rick Wright sounding keys and it takes on a Pink Floyd feel, though Lizards Exist are way more in Space-Jazz-Blues Fusion territory than the Floyd. Later the keys later take on swirling Ozrics gone Prog style that sounds great, and this all leads to a smokin’ organ and manic wah guitar led jam finale. There’s barely a moment before the band slingshot into the next track, simply titled the number 58. The groove and guitar remind me a bit of Hidria Space Folk at first, though Lizards Exist are Prog style turn-on-a-dime zipping all over the place, veering though bursts of blazing rock, Space-Blues and Prog-Jazz-Fusion. There’s a cool Latin tinged organ and guitar section that sounds great, and the intensely bubbling and swirling alien synths and gliss guitar are nice touches indeed. Tightly played and SMOKIN’ hot rocking! Finally, Anunnaki Dance is the 17 minute epic of the set, though really this album has flowed continuously from the start. The music grooves along at a cosmically atmospheric, slowly but steadily flowing pace, exuding a spaced out sassy attitude and featuring lots of great guitar and organ sounds and leads. Then about halfway through the band transition to a freaky effects laden soundscape section that’s part Hawkwind Space Ritual and part alien haunted house. This goes on for a while before the tension starts to build and soon bursts back into a high intensity Space-Prog-Fusion jam.

In summary, these guys can PLAY. I really dig their Space-Prog-Blues-Jazz hybrid, which frequently draws on 70s sounds and styles but doesn’t sound retro. This is a kick ass set of free-wheeling instrumental music.

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Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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