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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2306 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I think this is the best album that Crimson have created by far. It is consistently dotted with melodious licks - vocally and instrumentally - that are extremely satisfying to a prog rock ear. Furthermore, the musicianship is good: from the unique technique of Fripp's guitar playing to the technically perfect drumming of Bruford to the thick, solid bass of Wetton. The simple - yet astounding - arrangements, marvelous musicianship and great melody lines make this album a must have on any self respecting prog fan's shelf.

The opening song has the word PROG written all over it, with shifting 4/4, 7/4 time signatures and its "loop" song format, this is by far the best instrumental that Crimson have ever come out with (Level Five from "The Power to Believe" album is questionable). Gaps between riffs leave Bruford space for some elaborate drum fills whilst Fripp's snappy riffs and Wetton's bass lines keep the song steadily intact. This may not be the strongest song from the album, but it is a cracking opener and portrays the heavy atmosphere of the rest of the disc perfectly.

The tracks "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare" are my personal favourites, and could easily pass as regular rock tracks from the 70s. Fallen Angel is a nice ballad with flowing melodies and not a bad idea in sight; it even leaves the prog trend and actually has lyrics that mean something! This not only could appeal to most prog fans but even a few mainstream music fans as well. One More Red Nightmare is a heavy jazzesque number with Fripp's guitar powering the most of the song and a very good sax solo within the outro section. Bruford's drumming, once again is also to be noted for.

The penultimate track - Providence - is probably the weakest track of them all, with absolutely no melody, no structure and no appealing qualities whatsoever. It was blatantly created merely to fill up space on the album, and in my opinion should have been replaced with another decent song to match up to the master levels of the rest of the album. However, the final and best song on the album - Starless - is an absolute masterpiece of prog rock and is highly underrated amongst musicians. The opening 4-5 minutes is an excellent piece of work with a catchy, mysterious melody and some beautifully simple guitaring from Fripp. The build up, by far, is the best part of the song and should be respected and looked up to by all prog musicians nowadays. Some may criticize that Fripp's one note solos are extremely tedious, however, if you are paying attention to the theme of the song, then you would realise that the quite, atmospheric minimalism is the whole idea, and it begins to pick up considerably when the drums kick in. Finally, to finish the song and the album, there is the huge, heavy, jazzy, proggy, complex movement that everyone anticipate at the end of the song, and is filled in with a 13/8 time signature and a kickass sax solo from Mel Collins on Soprano. A true gem to finish off an album.

All in all, I am giving this album a 5/5 not because of the album in general, but because of the high and supreme quality of the good stuff within the album (all bar Providence) and is a vital album in prog rock history.

The Pessimist | 5/5 |

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