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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.62 | 4033 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Much has been said and written of this mind-blowing album, and I'm going to add to the endless shit already in cyberspace or

Without doubt this was the album that started it all. I'm not trying to start yet another debate as to the progressive nature of Pink Floyd's earlier stuff, whether Sgt Pepper and the psychedelia movement were in fact the origins of prog bla bla. Nonetheless this album's 'let's-make-this-music-as-complicated-as-possible' ethos, mellotron infused moodscapes and outright mentalness is the fulcrum around which all prog albums have since been based.

By and large it came completely unannounced to the music world, and revolutionised rock ' I can assure you that as a socialist I don't take that word lightly. There was no mediocre pop prequel played by spotty teens as was the case for Genesis, or cheesy British invasion R&B tunes to precede the great albums, as witnessed in The Beatles or The Moody Blues. What's more those two bands needed inspiration from a certain Timothy Leary endorsed chemical to produce their best music, and to the best of my knowledge Fripp and co. never used psychedelic drugs. It was, in all, completely fresh and undefinable.

From the schizophrenia-inducing front cover to the first chord of 21st Century, the album quickly establishes a chaotic aural assault akin to much later metal music. This was the first prog album I properly listened to, firstly through my dad incessantly playing it, but I was quickly intrigued and started listening on my own volition. The opening track will strike a chord with any metal fans or grunge obsessives (I've heard it through the grapevine that Kurt Cobain was a Crimson fan), as it did for me as a 13 year old. However the mellotron, brass instruments, changing time and key signatures, melodic interludes and instrumental passages quickly dispel any notion that this is a run of the mill heavy metal album.

Personal favourites 'I Talk to the Wind', and the haunting 'Epitaph' provide much more reflective moments, with an impending sense of doom in the lyrics, strings and percussion.

The ballad 'Moonchild', is arguably the weakest offering on the album, although it pains me to admit it. The simple reason for this is the passage of experimental guitar twiddling at the end of such a beautiful track. Although I personally quite enjoy it, the experimetation detracts from such a haunting track yet, more positively, leaves us chomping at the bit for the medieval-themed epic 'In the Court of the Crimson King'.

Peter Sinfield's influence is perhaps at its strongest here, as lyricist and artistic creator in KC;

The purple piper plays his tune, The choir softly sing; Three lullabies in an ancient tongue, For the court of the crimson king.

Such lyrics prove Sinfield and Fripp's obsession with the middle ages and tie in hand-in- hand with the epic proportions of the music. The choral and string crescendo certainly make hairs stand on end, whilst the flute passages and guitar-plucking provide brief, uncomfortable moments of repose before more mellotron madness. The percussion throughout is incredibly strong, and may have you flailing your arms about like a spastic chimp on speed. A flute solo / instrumental section divides the four verses, and just as you think the track has come to a sad end, some more bizarre flute magic and crashing of drums introduces the final reprise.

Unfortunately it does eventually end.

The success the album gained was completely warranted, and should be heralded alongside or even above the best albums ever made by the likes of The Beatles or Pink Floyd. What's best is that King Crimson did not stop there in their quest for new, improved musical formulas, leading to countless line up changes and Fripp having to court (geddit) the cr'me de la cr'me of progressive musicians such as Bruford, Wetton, Tippett, etc.


Julianofprog | 5/5 |


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