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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Palmer CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 1913 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars ELP's debut is, for many, their best and it stands as one fo the finest debuts in prog. Prog rock's first supergroup wasted no time placing themselves at the top of the burgeoning heap, and they would go on to become more popular that Genesis and Yes in the early years. The members brought with them mastery of their respective instruments and would make some defining records. Keith Emerson is the only man who could ever outplay Rick Wakeman. Lake brings his wonderful voice as his incredible bass skill, as well as high competence with a guitar. The stand out, however, is Carl Palmer, who plays the most technical drumming that had ever been heard at that point.

"The Barbarian" opens the album with heavy bass and organ from Lake and Emerson before mellowing out for a bit with piano, then coming back fiercer than ever. It's one of the more enjoyable ELP instrumentals, and it sets teh stage for the high musicianship of the album, especially Carl. "Take a Pebble" features Keith messing with the strings of a piano before playing liek a normal person (if you can call his phenomenal skill "normal"). Lake's voice is incredible, as is his bass. Emerson has some great improv in this song. "Knife Edge" is the best song of the album, and it obliterates the tranquility of the last song with crushing heaviness clearly influenced by Lake's stint with Mr. Fripp. This song is really the best glance into what ELP would sound like on the next few albums. Songs like this show how well these guys could gel, and it's a shame that so many of their arrangements serve only one member at a time.

For example, "The Three Fates" lets Keith show off and "Tank" is Carl's drum solo. They are both very good, especially Tank, but it kills the togetherness by having essentailly two solos back to back. "Lucky Man" is the pop tune for the album. It's the only ELP pop tune I enjoy; later ballads would lack energy or even decent lyrics.

Overall, this is ELP at their rawest. They act like aband, not three separate stars. The next three albums would show ELP conquering the progressive world, until ego and greed got the best of them and they released failure after dismal failure. This remains the only ELP album without filler, and prog fans must have it.

Grade: A-

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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