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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2128 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 36

The three musicians that constitute the super-group Emerson, Lake & Palmer came from three established bands, before they have joined together. Keith Emerson (keyboards) came from The Nice, Greg Lake (vocals, guitars and bass guitar) came from King Crimson and Carl Palmer (drums and percussion) came from the Atomic Rooster. This is a super band that explores the maximum capabilities of their performers and of their music.

This is my third review of an album of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. However, this is only my second review of a studio album from the band. Their fourth studio album "Brain Salad Surgery" released in 1973 and their eponymous debut studio album "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" released in 1970, already reviewed by me, are, in my humble opinion, their two best studio albums and they are also both, my favourites studio works of the group.

"Brain Salad Surgery" became, without any kind of doubt, the most famous studio album from the band. The lyrics were co-written by Lake and Peter Sinfield, the ex-King Crimson band member. Sinfield was also the creator of the King Crimson's concept and he was also the only lyricist in their first four albums. Lake, of course had worked with Sinfield during his days with King Crimson. "Brain Salad Surgery" was also the first album imprinted by the band, under their new record label, the Manticore Records.

"Brain Salad Surgery" is an album with five themes divided into eight tracks. The first track "Jerusalem" is a classical British church hymn, with which the English people are much familiarized since their school days. It's the band's musical arrangement of the Charles Hubert Parry's hymn, based on the prologue of William's Blake's poem "Milton". It was the only single taken from the album, but it wasn't released in the UK because it was banned by the BBC for potential blasphemy. It might offend their listeners, and so, the BBC said they wouldn't play it on the air. It's really a great version of the original piece. The second track "Toccata" is an instrumental track based on the fourth movement of Alberto Ginastera's "1st Piano Concert", which is a modern classical piece of music created by a famed Argentinean composer, and rearranged by Keith Emerson. It's another great musical interpretation by the band. The third track "Still?You Turn Me On" is the album's obligatory acoustic number. It's another Lake's classic acoustic ballad in the vein of "Lucky Man" and "From The Beginning". It's one of the Lake's best ballads and proved to be a big radio hit in the USA. The fourth track "Benny The Bouncer" is another comedic rocker song on the same mould of "Are You Ready Eddie?" and "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff" and was written by Emerson, Lake and Sinfield. It's hardly considered a great song, but it indicates some of their musical influences and demonstrates that they aren't properly frightened to attempt something more vulgar. The fifth track "Karn Evil 9" closes the album with its magnum opus. It's divided into three movements or impressions, and the first is also divided into two parts. Despite the lyrics being co-written by Lake and Sinfield, "Karn Evil 9" is an epic created by Emerson. "Karn Evil 9" is definitely the piece that marked the highest point into their musical career and in the group's history. With it, they reached the peak of the fame. Their only piece that can be compared with it, it's the suite "Tarkus", from their second studio album "Tarkus" released in 1971.

The cover art of the album was created by Hans Rudolf "Ruedi" Giger. Giger's artwork integrates an industrial mechanism with a human skull and the new ELP's logo was also created by him. Giger's ELP logo, became a standard for the band and has been used extensively, since that moment. Giger is a Swiss surrealistic painter, sculptor and set designer, who is better known for his design work on the science fiction film "Alien" directed by Ridley Scott in 1979.

Conclusion: Despite "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" be considered by many as the best musical work of the group, "Brain Salad Surgery" is undoubtedly, in my humble opinion, the band's creative zenith. The sound quality of the album is absolutely stunning. The group employed the most advanced electronic technology available in that time, and the whole album represented the highest point that the trio would never achieved again. "Brain Salad Surgery" was the ELP's crowning artistic moment, and whether we like it or not, it remains one of the band's most important recordings and one of the best rock albums of all time, made by one of the greatest bands ever, but so often misunderstood. "Brain Salad Surgery" can probably be easily considered the best Emerson, Lake & Palmer album. Every song on it, has something enjoyable and sincerely, it doesn't seem that any track is really filler. However, as I wrote before, "Karn Evil 9" is definitely its real jewel. With "Brain Salad Surgery", the group achieved such high point into their musical career that only few have achieved. I strongly recommend it to whom that is a real fan of the progressive rock music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |


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