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TRACK LIST: 1. Part I-1 1:23 2. Part I-2 7:22 3. Part II-1 0:34 4. Part II-2 8:17 5. Part III-1 1:35 6. Part III-2 4:36 7. Part III-3 4:23 8. Part II-3 3:50 9. Part IV 11:36 All music: by Bydlinski, except 1, 8, & 9: Jancza, & 5: Tanistra. LINE-UP: Damian Bydlinski - vocals; guitars Andrzej Jancza - keyboards Janusz Tanistra - basses Mariusz Szulakowski - drums; programming With: Krzystof Maciejowski - violin; keyboards Produced by Lizard & T. Dziubinski. Engineered by J. Hunka.
Prolusion. "Psychopuls" is the second studio album by the veterans of Polish progressive scene, LIZARD. In fact however, the band, which was formed in 1990, has two more CDs to its credit: "W Galerii Czasu" ("In the Gallery of Clocks", 1996) and "Noc Zywych Jaszczurow" ("Night of the Living Pangolins", 1999). The latter is a live album, which features excerpts from the debut outing, and also four renditions of songs by King Crimson and UK. Last year, Metal Mind Records remastered both of the Lizard previous albums and reissued them with bonus tracks.
Synopsis. Looking at the CD track list, anyone can arrive at the notion that "Psychopuls" is most likely a concept work. But while many separate Polish words sound familiar to me, I am not able to understand whether all the lyrics on the album are submitted to a united conception. The note in the CD press kit, which explains that King Crimson, UK, and ELP influence the band, sounds topical only with regard to the former band, at least in the case of this album. Keyboards are at the helm of the arrangements only on the seventh track, Part III-3, while on the others they (mostly slow passages of Mellotron or synthesizer) play a supporting role. The passages of violin solo throughout Part I-2 (2) and are as excellent as those of the other instruments involved. However, they more remind me of David Cross's style than Eddie Jobson or someone else's. The composition is molded from structures of the opening tracks of King Crimson's "Starless & Bible Black" and "Red" and David Cross Band's "The Big Picture" and "Testing to Destruction". The same blend of a guitar Art-Rock and Cathedral Metal, typical for King Crimson in 1974, is presented on Parts IV (9) and II-2 (4), though the former begins as an electronic music, and the latter is much richer in the band's original ideas than those two. The music is rather dark and is mostly dense and eclectic, just like that by the band's benefactor at the said year. The other three tracks: Parts III-2, III-3, and II-3 (6, 7, & 8), the last two of which are instrumentals, and Part II-3 contains only a few whispered phrases, are free of any direct influences and, thus, are my favorites - along with Part II-2. All these are remarkable compositions, consisting of ever-changing arrangements that, at the same time, are full of charm and beauty. As implied above, Part III-3 is the only entity of Symphonic Art-Rock. Part III-2 was performed without drums and presents constantly developing interplay between passages and solos of acoustic guitar and solos of bass. The Mellotron-based Part II-3 is an original combination of Classical and electronic music. The first of the three short instrumental pieces: Parts I-1, II-1, and III-1 (1, 3, & 5) consists of slow passages of synthesizer and electronic effects. Both of the latter are made up of fluid solos of guitar and distorted solos of bass. These can be regarded as intros to the following songs, especially Part III-1, which is by all means inseparable from the fourth track.
Conclusion. From a compositional and progressive standpoint, "Psychopuls" is very solid material and is a really enjoyable recording in general. I am certain that many Prog lovers, especially fans of the seventies' classic King Crimson, will easily find it a masterpiece. The album gives me a lot of emotional pleasure, and only as being the purist of a complete originality, I can't rate it with all the six stars I have in my arsenal.
VM: July 16, 2004
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