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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4559 ratings

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5 stars Review Nš 10

In 1967, guitarist Robert Fripp, drummer Michael Giles and his bass player brother Peter Giles, joined together and formed the band Giles, Giles & Fripp. They can be considered as the genesis of King Crimson, founded two years later, in 1969. King Crimson is considered the foundational progressive rock band in the history of progressive rock music.

"In The Court Of The Crimson King" is the debut studio album by King Crimson and was released in 1969. It reached third place on the British charts and was certified gold in the United States. The album is a mix of symphonic and jazz elements. It has long been considered the first progressive album of ever, and is also one of the most beloved and legendary albums that still stands the test of time, even than more of forty years have passed after its release.

The line up on the album is Robert Fripp (guitars), Greg Lake (lead vocals and bass guitar), Ian McDonald (baking vocals, woodwinds (saxophone, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet), keyboards (mellotron, harpsichord, piano and organ) and vibraphone, Michael Giles (backing vocals, drums and percussion) and Peter Sinfield (lyrics and illumination).

After the album, both, McDonald and Michael Giles left King Crimson for to pursue their solo musical careers. They also recorded an album together, in 1970, before dissolving their partnership. McDonald later became one of the founder members of the American New Yorker rock band, Foreigner, in 1976.

"In The Court Of The Crimson King" has five tracks. The first track "21st Century Schizoid Man" written by Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles and Sinfield is the heaviest song on the album and is very close to the hard rock style. Lyrically, it consists of a short metaphoric poem that makes references to the Vietnam War. Musically, it's a notable track with great musical improvisation and great jazz influence. The song is also accompanied by a Lake's notable distorted vocals. It must have been quite a shock for the listeners in those days, because it was unlike any of the music they had heard before. This was the track that became so important and influent to the future birth of the progressive metal style. The second track "I Talk To The Wind" written by McDonald and Sinfield is the most melodic song on the album and makes a complete musical contrast with the previous one. It's a serene, simple and peaceful song commanded by McDonald's flute, very well accompanied by Sinfield's lyrics and sung beautifully by Lake, in a very quiet mood. The third track "Epitaph" written by Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles and Sinfield is a notable and beautiful track, which would become one of the best and most beautiful symbols of progressive music. It's one of my favourite progressive songs, and the band also used its name as a live album's title. The fourth track "Moonchild" written by Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles and Sinfield is the lengthiest song on the album. It starts as a peaceful ballad, but after a few minutes, it changes completely to a free instrumental improvisation by the entire group, which lasts until the end of the song. It's probably the most progressive song on the album and it's also one the most difficult to listen to. This is a very experimental track. The fifth track is the title track "In The Court Of The Crimson King". It was written by McDonald and Sinfield and is the second lengthiest track on the album. It became, with "Epitaph", one of the best and most beautiful symbols of progressive rock. It represents a really hymn to the symphonic progressive music.

The art cover of the album was painted by Barry Godber, an artist and computer programmer. Unfortunately, it would become his only album cover. He died in February 1970 of a heart attack, shortly after the album's release.

Conclusion: "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is one of the most important and influential albums in the progressive music, contributing to the development of the psychedelic rock, symphonic rock and heavy metal. The album combines an exceptional musical quality with really great poetic lyrics. I want to say three more things about this masterpiece work. In the first place, I want to detach the beautiful and massive use of the mellotron orchestrations on the album, especially on two of their tracks, "Epitaph" and "In The Court Of The Crimson King". In the second place, we have the quality and the originality of Sinfield's visionary lyrics. He also contributed with some other future musical works of the group. Finally, the clear, beautiful and distinctive Lake's voice, which is, in my humble opinion, one of the best, most striking and unmistakable voices in progressive music. "In The Court Of The Crimson King" was universally very well received by critics and public, and it has also the respected compliments of Peter Townshend. The Who's guitarist, called the album "an uncanny masterpiece". Concluding, I must confess, that "In The Court Of The Crimson King" and "Red" are, for me, the two best studio musical albums from the group, and they are also two of the best and most important progressive albums ever made.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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