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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 1919 ratings

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5 stars An irrelevant debut.

No, it's not the album that is irrelevant. The fact that it's a debut doesn't mean much. It could also be someone's last album, the only album or randomly generated sounds by some aliens, appearing on the Earth in 1970 by a coincidence. It's so unique. Where did these guys came from? Well, we know the story: THE NICE; ARTHUR BROWN; KING CRIMSON, but...where did the ideas originated? Obviously, Keith had a main role here. As a performer and as a composer. Now I know, not all the material is originally Emerson's, but back then I wasn't familiar with Bartók or Janáček. They were not credited, and I heard they had some problems because of that...and as a sidenote, Greg was absolutely unaware of that musical "borrowings". I won't comment legal and moral issues - however ELP popularised a contemporary classical music to a wider audience (remember, this was recorded in 1970, when sympho rock was POPular). The album consists of six songs; six different ideas. Hmm, that sounds stupid. Of course they have to be different ideas if they are different songs...but what I'm trying to say is....they were new, fresh band. The direction that band should follow was not clear yet - so they were lost in different paths, different concepts...different ideas. In a word, they lacked focus. From that point of view, this is so typical debut. Of course, what makes a difference is the music. There is no bad song here, they're just all too different. Okay, now we are crossing that tiny line from concept (or lack thereof) to the substance...and here we are, grinded, mutilated by piano keys, stabbed by a church organ, while arpeggios are bleeding and drums are enfilading us.

It's that powerful, and more. In the most furious moments (personally, my favourite moment from the album) we have a piano trio, with perverse chord progressions, evil rattlesnake percussion and 7/4 time measure that is vivisection of all things related to madness. On the weakest side, we have poppy folk balladry - which is not bad at all, with its clever usage of text (I dare say ironical). ELP were always touching the subject of battles, wars, madness...and that story started here. In "Tank" (sic!) we have detailed picture of a tank and his driver: scared little man, reluctant to go, drives a tank and slowly enters the battlefield as his madness is growing. Great clavinet and bass melodies here are making so plastic, tactile, humid picture of his brain. Drum solo is not a show-off for Mr. Palmer; it's a middle of the battlefield, showing as machine guns, cannons and enfilades. The final of the song utilises heavy layers of synths: madness is here. The tank proceeds, but not intact. Blood-red are the eyes of the driver. The tank is advancing and crushing everything in front of him without mercy. Those high-pitched synth solo, don't they sound like weepings and screams? The story has no conclusion, since it's faded. The destiny is to be imagined. The closing song is explicitly criticising the aforementioned topic, plus with the music, the solo at the very end...isn't that the sound of bullet hitting the body? All these pictures will be developed further on, on the albums to come (please see my reviews), but the big idea started here. The debut is inconsistent, innocent, at the moments naďve. The song themselves are filled with monstrosity. Young, raging brains struggling to explode in all possible directions. How could I dislike it?

clarke2001 | 5/5 |


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