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King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.95 | 2109 ratings

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el böthy
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Probably Crimson's weakest album of the 72-74 era, but still, it's very good. I don't think Crimson could have made a bad album during this period, more than in any other at least. Quite varied, half studio half live album, it could have been a real testament of the Wetton era, but it falls short of it. maybe not because of the album itself, but because the other two (Lark's and Red) are such masterpieces; any album in the middle of this two giants will see quite weaker than what it really is, but taken on it's own it's pretty damn good!

The studio songs are some of the best they have produced ever. The powerful and fun The Great Deceiver, with it's astonishing riff and Bruford´s tornado percussion. What a shocking way to start off an album! Lament would become a live classic during these years, a small 4 minutes rollercoaster that goes from gentle singing and violin to groovy rhythms to weird atonal soloing to heavy riffing. A personal favorite of mine. And of course The Night Watch. beauty personified. What a. beautiful song, really, it´s so damn beautiful I fall short of another description but this one! Outstanding!

From the live tracks it´s important to remember that most of them are improvisations, so do not take them as a "song", but rather as a piece of music. As a matter of fact there is only one real composition in this part of the album: Fracture, but I will talk about this one in a while. From the improvs the absolute bests are We´ll let you know for it´s funky feeling, Wetton takes the cake here, and Trio, a sound collage of mellotron, violin and some others that achieves an unexpected calmness and beauty (again with this word, I need a dictionary) if we keep in mind that what we hear came out at the very moment with no preconceived idea. Extraordinary! Funny thing, although Bruford does not play in this one he still is credited for the song for the fact that he decided not to play, but he sat down during the 5 minutes doing nothing. jajajaja, got to love that! Now there are also some songs we could, or at least I could, live without. The Mincer goes absolutely no where, with Wettons vocals put over in the studio to give it some coherence and that sudden stop (they literally run out of tape during the live recording) makes this a forgettable number, while Starless and Bible Black also suffers from this "going no where" it's not that bad, but again, nothing really shocking either.

But if you want shocking. then get really for the last track. Of course I´m talking about Fracture. If you ever need prove of how original Fripp can be, just listen to this. The progression in the guitars, the dissonant bass, the grand final. probably the best song of the whole album, this one, although live recorded is no improv. Terribly good, Fripp you freakin´ genius!

el böthy | 4/5 |


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