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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover

TARKUS

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1286 ratings

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penguindf12
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Okay, so ELP's songs on side two of the album aren't that bad. The "Tarkus" suite is a masterpiece, pure and complex. The other songs range from pure crap to mediocre, but aren't quite as bad as I originally thought.

"Tarkus" enters with "Eruption," an 5/4 barrage of keyboards which depicts the birth of the half-tank,half-armadillo creature that is Tarkus (as pictured in the album's little inner booklet thingy) from a volcano. This song is apparently about "de-evolution" or regression through primitive and thoughtless acts. Anyway, after the dramatic eruption, things calm down for "Stones of Years," where a sympathetic narritive entity sings of Tarkus' ignorance in ruthlessly killing for no reason (again as shown in the booklet). Anyway, after the instrumental barrage that is "Iconoclast" ("kill your idols"-- the punk "attitude", being made fun of by none other than the largest target of punks -- ELP), a catchy guitar enters courtesty of Lake, and we roll into "Mass," which could be called so for two reasons: the lyrics mention "the weaver and the web that he made," and "mass" could mean the mass of webs and traps Tarkus has set for himself; also, there is heavy religious imagery in this part of the song, and "mass" also means the Catholic gathering on Sunday. After this great song, we enter another battling instrumental, "Manticore," in which Tarkus is fights a creature and loses. This slows down into the sympathetic and sorrowful "Battlefield," in which the narrator mourns Tarkus' stupidity. What goes around, comes around, and this is especially true for Tarkus. After this is the quirky and muffled "Aquatarkus." This odd instrumental builds up, then a crash of the cymbals and we hear a reprise of "Eruption." Then the song closes after a huge instrumental buildup. Excellent.

...and now the filler material. "Jeremy Bender" is a half-hearted bar piano song, with obscene and nonsensical lyrics about some trailer trash guy. Luckily, this joke is very short. Afterwards is "Bitches Crystal," which, despite its name, is the best song on the second side. Rollicking keyboards and some haunting lyrics for a nice 3 minute song. Afterwards is the lyrically confrontational but instrumentally ho-hum song "The Only Way (hymn)," followed by the basic 7/4 instrumental "Infinite Space." "A Time and a Place" is another okay song, but nothing interest-grabbing. "Are You Ready Eddie" sounds like an Elvis song, another yawner...but if it is any consolation, this one is MEANT to be a joke -- a jest at their producer, Eddie.

Overall, the first song and "Bitches Crystal" alone are worth buying this album, but the rest is ho-hum. It serves as a fairly good introduction to them, however.

penguindf12 | 4/5 |

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