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King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 1640 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Cigarettes, Ice Cream, Figurines of the Virgin Mary

A heavy, improvised album from the classic King Crimson line-up of the '70s It is also the hardest to appreciate as it is between two great albums, Larks' Tongues In Aspic and Red. Most of the tracks were recorded live and then some of them were fixed up later in the studio (such as The Night Watch). The first two tracks (The Great Deceiver, Lament) are the only songs to be recorded totally in the studio.

Only four of the 8 tracks have lyrics in them, and they are sung well by John Wetton who's voice is a perfect match for the music and the lyrics. The lyrics were written by Richard Palmer-James (who is the Richard Palmer who started Supertramp and wrote most of the songs for the debut). The lyrics for The Great Deceiver and Lament are satirical commentaries on religion and the music industry, respectively, while The Night Watch is about Rembrandt's painting of the same name and brings it to life.

Musically this album is brilliant, a godsend. The live recordings give the music a breath of life, capturing the intensity and heaviness of the band while the editing out of the crowd's sounds and applause makes this a timeless masterpiece as it is not grouped with one spot in time in the '70s but allows it to revive itself with each listen. It is a mix of heavy improvisation (Starless and Bible Black, Fracture) and melodic/symphonic prog rock (The Night Watch, Trio). The last song, Fracture is the longest track and the best track with its awesome heavy inspiration typical of this King Crimson era.

The only track that is mediocre and ensures that this is a 4 star rating instead of a 5 star is The Mincer. It has an okay start, and a great middle section - oh the improvisation!- , but after Wetton's vocals, it just abruptly ends and leaves the listener wanting for more. If there was an ending for this song than the track would still be lacking because of the shortness of it. The music improvisation that is present is not given enough time to expand and the music takes the band no where.

All in all this is a great album. All the tracks are good ones, with the exception of The Mincer. It is the hardest out of all the Wetton/Bruford era King Crimson albums to get into but once you do it is awesome. Give yourself time to appreciate and get used to the album over the course of about a week (I did this during a week when I had no school along with Soft Machine's Third). This is a great album and worth getting. My favourite tracks are The Great Deceiver, We'll Let You Know, The Night Watch, and finally the best track on the album, Fracture. 4/5 stars.

Also some of the improvisation tracks, if you listen very carefully during when it gets intense such as 8 minutes 26 seconds into Fracture and 3 minutes into We'll Let You Know you can hear a "Whoop!" or a "Yeah!" from one of the band members (I bet it is not Fripp though) as it is really awesome music around that time.

progismylife | 4/5 |


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