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King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.42 | 2976 ratings

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars You know how some groups have that perfect album or that certain period of time when everything they do is perfect. King Crimson had a lot of those albums and periods. Their best work is more disbursed throughout their repertoire however. This album is one of their perfect ones. Words can't describe just how amazing it is. It was decades ahead of it's time. Listen to a lot of the post rock bands today and tell me that I'm wrong.

Larks Tongue Part One is the most following a classical music style than the other four (or five if you count "Level Five") in that there are string instruments and the ever amazing mellotron that balance out the heavy guitars that appear throughout, though not as much in abundance as the other parts. However, that doesn't diminish the quality and compositional finesse that are apparent in this track. Lovers of KCs heavier music might consider this one the least of their favorites of the entire suite because of the quiet parts throughout, but this one has it's share of tension building all throughout and in my opinion is just as great as the other parts. If anything, it's more original sounding than the others because of the variety of dynamics and instrumental leads throughout. Personally, I love all the parts, two of which are on this album and the other two are on later albums with Level Five also on a later album. This track is over 13 minutes and totally instrumental, but it is still over way too quickly.

The next track introduces John Wetton as lead singer and his voice fits so well with the music. Not the best vocalist out there, his voice can be too brash at times for some listeners but his voice works so well with this music because of it's dynamism. This track is quite short and mostly acoustical.

Nice bridge to the next track "Exiles" which clocks in at over 7 minutes. This one starts out sounding experimental but soon breaks out into a lovely interchange between acoustic and violin and drums and John's voice joins in the interchange. A pattern of freestyle sounding improve and tightly composed sections continue throughout and the combination is amazing. The dissonance here is understated never taking the song out too far into left field, but still there, and never drowning out the beautiful melodies that are evident in the sections of the song that are more tightly composed.

The next track "Easy Money" is more intense, but that is the feeling that remains throughout the rest of the album. It follows the same pattern as the previous track with tight sections and loosely composed sections. The difference here is this one is not as careful as the last, it's more humorous, louder and irreverent. The last section breaks the tight/loose pattern of the song and crescendos and levels off several times nicely to become more and more chaotic as it goes on. This is a very well developed track.

"The Talking Drum" is an instrumental which is an awesome study in building tension starting out pianissimo and constantly building with percussion over a driving bassline and a wandering violin. I love this! This one should get the blood moving and the heart pounding as you are anticipating where this whole exercise in tension is going. It builds in tension and in volume. Fripp's guitar soon starts to have it's say increasing tone, volume and more tension. The tension, chaos and craziness all culminates and explodes into a sudden frenzy that segues so beautifully into the heaviness of the guitar driven masterpiece known as "Lark's Tongue, Part 2"

Like Part One, we have a very dynamic instrumental piece driven by guitars and heavy bass and percussion. Nothing else was like this in it's day, but there is a lot out there nowdays that have been influenced by this music. Grunge and Post Rock roots are heavily embedded in this music.

Fortunately for all of us, KC would continue to explore this type of music throughout their albums. Amazing album. Influential? Absolutely! Essential? You better believe it! Enjoyable? Oh Yes! Everyone that appreciates rock should own and know this album. So hard to believe that it was released in 1973, except for a few minor passages, it does not sound dated as is the case for "In the Court of the Crimson King" does, even with it's own influence on earlier Progressive rock. If there is one band that you should listen to to understand where a lot of the current heavier Prog rock groups get their sound, this is the band to study. If you like this one by KC, you'll definitely want to listen to the albums "Red", "Discipline", and "Thrak" and there are plenty of tracks from their other albums that you will enjoy also, so all of their albums need to be explored.

TCat | 5/5 |


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