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King Crimson - The Power To Believe CD (album) cover

THE POWER TO BELIEVE

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 836 ratings

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Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Yet another album in support of the "less-is-more" phenomenon, King Crimson shed the double power trio structure and are reduced to four guys who really seem to be on the same page. When they decide to do grungy prog, they are quite good at it. When they attempt more traditional songs, as well as minimalist new-age music, they have considerably less success. The Power to Believe features some of all three, and as you might expect, the results are somewhat uneven.

How about that grungy, industrial prog? Well, I don't know much about the genre, but I know I like this: heavy, full of texture, and packed with Fripp's uniquely bizarre guitar licks. Tracks such as Level Five, Elektrik, and Dangerous Curves sound similar to things Crimson was trying to do on Starless and Bible Black, except these are more focused, have better production, and are overall more gripping and bizarre. Level Five hits you right away with crunching guitar and distorted bass, full of excellent guitar interplay, time changes, and syncopated riffs throughout. Elektrik and Dangerous Curves conversely use the build style, starting slow, with some light percussion, eerie guitar, and nice ambient effects before hitting you with the grand finale. Uniquely Crimson--all of it!

The rest of the album really does not do much for me. The four parts of the title track are ambient and skippable. The songs with vocals are not particularly enjoyable, though certainly worth listening for the guitar jams (particularly Happy... and Facts of Life). The one exception is Eyes Wide Open, which is a pleasant, thoughtful, and restrained piece that serves as a great counterbalance to the album's heavy parts.

I enjoy the heavy songs on this album just as much as those from Larks' Tongues and Starless. The kicker for me is that Crimson have nicely separated the heavy parts from the ambient (and to my ears, pointless) sections, which makes it very easy to find right what I'm looking for in the album. Is King Crimson back? I happen to think they never left, and I have to give them credit for persevering and still coming up with some great music, when they could easily rest on their laurels and revel (and profit from) past greatness. The Crimson spirit endures, and perhaps that's most important.

Flucktrot | 2/5 |

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