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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 1117 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars ELP's Pictures at an Exhibition is a great achievement for the band. They were able to take a Mussorgksy work and transform it into that distinctive ELP style. The effect is great. While the album may not be essential to own, your collection would indeed be made better if you were to own it. At first listen for me, I was kinda thinking "What's going on here?" but after a while, I began to realize that it was incredible. The Promenades themselves I won't review, they are just good interludes between the different phases of the music as a whole.

The Gnome: This is the main song where I was confused on my first listen. It makes no sense the first time you hear it. However, slowly but surely, you begin to realize: wow, this is a really great song! After I began to like it, I wondered how this was taken from a classical piece of music. Since then, I have heard the classical piece itself, and it makes perfect sense now.

The Sage: Other than Nutrocker (which almost doesn't count) this is the only song here not contributed by Mussorgsky. This is a Greg Lake ballad added into Pictures at an Exhibition. Some may find this pretentious. I, however, do not have much of a problem with it. It works fairly well, and I don't see why it shouldn't be there.

The Old Castle/Blues Variations: Although they are separate track numbers, these 2 songs go together. The Old Castle has one of my favorite drum beats of all time. It's just so catchy. Then, the transfer into Blues Variations with that jazz organ is simply incredible. Just a fun, rockin' time.

The "Baba Yaga" series: Starts off normally, then really kicks. Carl Palmer goes absolutely insane on the drums towards the middle to end of the whole thing. He just goes crazy, it's mind-blowing. Keyboards also stand out here (just like in every other ELP song) but it sounds very good here.

The Great Gates of Kiev: It's tough to find a better album ender than this one. The emotion comes back into everything. This is best heard after listening to the rest of the album. Almost uplifting. Actually, not almost. It's uplifting.

Nutrocker: A fun jam session to appease the crowds. Pretty cool, actually. ELP is not a band to leave the audience hanging.

Very, very good live album. Probably the only live album that revolves around a single concept and wasn't already done in the studio. Also, the other thing I like about it is that ELP did not destroy this work. It was added to and changed, but not destroyed. That makes me happy. Overall, 4/5 stars.

Yanns | 4/5 |


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