(Released: January 2015)
Italian band Lizard Queen deliver charismatic lo-fi stoner metal, touching upon desert rock in some parts, doom in others and elsewhere sludge. From trippy chanting and droning to full-on rock raucousness, Lizard Queen pack their compositions with intrigue and invention, ebbing and flowing between hard-hitting riffs and dream-like doomy mantras.
This, their second full-length release, is jammed with original and high-quality stuff, but too often it’s about as heavy as an inflatable sparrow on the moon. That’s because the guitar tones sometimes sound thin and lifeless, while the rumbling bass is often too quiet. Which is a real shame, because many of the eleven tracks on offer here would be pretty awesome if they were infused with a bit (lot) more power.
For example: the track ‘Monolith’ features the kind of classic stoner metal riff that you could sit and listen to non-stop for a week. There are some nicely balanced melodic rock vocals on display and, for once, the churning bass guitar is loud and prominent in the mix. But the song struggles to maintain its initial momentum. It’s not helped by the rather stilted drum fills and awkward transitions, but mainly it is undermined by a slight disengagement or feeling of distance. Similarly, ‘Summer Of The King’ starts off as a swirling, delicately doomed monster, but the lack of depth in the band’s overall sound again proves critical.
Undoubtedly, the quality and creativity is present, and if you’re not looking for really super-heavy stuff, then you’ll be happy enough with this stoner fare. Hypnotising though Lizard Queen are (such as on the great finale ‘Lotus Of Destruction’), it is difficult not to feel that this album is a missed opportunity. Had they been able to capture all their power and commitment into the recording, then ‘Third Eye’ would be a real blast.