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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2254 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow, KING CRIMSON really knows how to open an album! The first thundering notes of "Red" put it right alongside "Lark's Tounges" (any part) and "Fracture" as a classic KC style sonic blast. The song, and the album overall, is a bit more focused than previous efforts; having pared down the lineup and the chaos a little works well for a closing statement to this version of the band. "Fallen Angel" is a lovely melodic composition, in the same realm as "The Night Watch" or "Book of Saturdays"; the refrain wears on me just a little but I'm always transfixed by Fripp's beautiful, restrained lead playing on this one. "One More Red Nightmare" is less appealing to me, but like "Providence" contains some memorable instrumental moments among the improvisation- largely from the guest players, who sound unexpectedly at home in the mix (Mel Collins...do I have to tell anyone where else to find him?). This pair of songs is where I sometimes lose a little bit of interest, though, as they do not rise to the standards of the rest of "Red". Forget about the complaints, though, because the album climaxes in "Starless", arguably one of the band's finest works; from an instantly lovely melancholy opening to the minimalist and funky/noisy sections (elements of the "Discipline" era can be heard in their prototypical form) and finally to a short but stirring conclusion, the band and guest musicians are nothing less than magnificent. It is simultaneously the culmination of everything the band has done before and also notably unique among the band's songs. If only the recording quality were a little better...but if you like "Starless and Bible Black" as much as I do, you'll find "Red" full of wonderful moments, a few surprises, and maybe the best KING CRIMSON song ever recorded.
James Lee | 4/5 |

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