Lizzard - Out Of ReachFrench rocksters Lizzard are one of those immensely frustrating bands that barely put a foot wrong but still manage to create an utterly underwhelming impression.

A quick browse online will unearth Tool comparisons, but in reality Lizzard are a little bit grunge, a little bit metal and a little bit alt-rock, without ever finding a comfortable or confident niche of their own. When the band’s own biography states the album ‘doesn’t break new ground’, we know there’s a problem. You could at least pretend guys.

The musical and vocal performances are decent, the title track particularly highlighting the wide and diverse range of singer Mathieu Ricou, but an over-reliance on conservative, predictable tempos and the lack of memorable melodic hooks, means that nothing really sticks.

The production from Fear Factory / Front Line Assembly guru Rhys Fulber offers spectacular clarity and separation, as well as characteristic electronic embellishments used sparingly enough to be effective, but very little in the way of warmth and soul, prompting the conclusion that while his style may be perfect for industrial metal, it’s not so well-suited to the stripped down guitar, bass and drums of a rock power trio.

Lizzard fall through the cracks in the pavement; too artistically-inclined to ever pump out the sort of fist-pumping anthems buried deep inside, but seemingly too afraid to throw aside conventional rock structures and unleash any sort of true trailblazing spirit.

In trying to balance the two, the band ends up saying nothing. “Out Of Reach” is unconvincing, strangely unemotional and lacking conviction. Even the shittiest garage band should be passionate about its music, playing it not because they want to, but because they need to. Lizzard don’t sound like they needed to make this album any more than you need to hear it.

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