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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2129 ratings

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The Wizard
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Is Brain Salad Surgery really the classic it is claimed to be? To many, it is the brilliant climax of classic progressive rock, defining the genre itself. Unfortunately I find Brain Salad Surgery takes prog's weaker sides and focuses on them while containing little of the brilliance that other prog bands carried.

While Brain Salad Salad Surgery is bombastic, over-the-top, and pretentious, it lacks well thought out compositions and any real emotion. The solos are long and obnoxious, like the musician is soloing just to prove how good he is instead of trying to express something musically. The whole album is based on Emerson's egotistical solos. If half of them were removed, there would be little left in the album. I love a great keyboard solo, but the Emerson solos is annoying.

BSS is basically half-assed. There is little songwriting, the most well written songs are covers of classical works. Not a single melody written by the band is memorable. The lyrics are trite and cheesy too, not helping affairs. 'Still... You Turn Me On' and 'Karn Evil 9 (3rd Impression)' are the biggest examples of poor lyric writing. Just more cheese, sloppily sprayed over the platter. 'Toccata' is a very cool idea and I must say it starts out nice, but eventually it becomes an excuse for Emerson to stroke his ego even more with yet another obnoxious solo.

I find that Emerson tries to show his classical influence too much. It's like he's trying to prove that he is a real artist and that he's really turning rock into an artform by marrying it with serious and intelligent music. But the beauty and compositional intricacy of classical music is absent. Emerson brought pretentious to a new level in rock music, I seriously doubt he even enjoyed rock'n'roll.

There are redeeming qualities to the album, but they are so overshadowed by it's weaknesses that they're not worth. BSS lacks intricacy and emotion, two of prog's most important quality's. If you are a newcomer to progressive rock, I suggest you don't waste your time on this album. Try Yes, Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator or Jethro Tull instead, but just stay clear of this album.

The Wizard | 2/5 |


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