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King Crimson - THRAK CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.68 | 1306 ratings

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5 stars This album is on par with discipline, Larks tongues in aspic, and in the court of the crimson king, in terms of quality and sheer inventiveness. It is a somewhat controversial album, which has kicked off a golden age of sorts for king crimson. Every album after this one is amazing as of January 2008.

One thing that seperates this era of king crimson from the earlier eras is the introduction of extremely convoluted instrumentals in hard to perform signatures. All of the songs are higher energy as well. Also, Robert fripp is playing soundscapes on a king crimson album finally. Many comparisons have been made between this album and Red, but quite frankly this album is only like red in the sense that some songs are heavy, any other comparisons are equally valid to any king crimson albums. This album was constructed around the concept of a double band, or more specifically a double trio. In other words, it isn't just one 6 piece band, it is two trios playing a duet. The intent was to create a full band version of the interlocking guitars on discipline. This can be heard somewhat, but it is also clear that the band strayed far from those intentions. There are several pop songs on here, several horribly convoluted instrumentals, and several short pieces. This album isn't for everyone, but it is tough to say whether you will like it or not.

The album starts off with Vroom, one of the aforementioned convoluted instrumentals. It is fast paced and has a very fun catchy main riff. I really enjoy a certain relaxing guitar part in the middle. The song sounds like a racecar's theme song. The coda is a conclusion to the song, which fits very well. Overall with the two parts combined, it is a fantastic song. The third track, Dinosaur, is one of the most infectious pop songs on the album, and it isn't all that poppy, but rather riff oriented. Adrian screams I'm a dinosaur, and he kind of sounds like it the way he does. Walking on air is a beautiful ballad, but a little cliche. The execution is flawless. B'boom is a song that any drum fanatics should enjoy. It is first soundscapes, then drum duet, then drum duet with soundscapes layered on top. The beat is amazing, to say the least, and it mirrors the next track, Thrak. As the title track, it is the most ambitious track on the album. The main riff is rather monstrous, and feels somewhat (inexplicably, I might add) nautical, like a sea monster. From there, it breaks into an improv, with a completly absurd guitar solo which sounds like the guitar is doubling as a lightsaber, and robert fripp is fighting the aforementioned sea monster. Then it picks up, and the solo gets even wierder, sounding like an bewildered computer modem. Then, after some more ruckus, a sort of calm overbears the song.Then the beautiful Inner garden begins, with part one. Adrian's singing and the guitar part go together to sound like some medieval romantic song. It is tragically short, but it will some again, so it's not so bad. Then, People is a sort of funky pop song, which has an awesome beginning guitar part, which sounds really hard to play in time. It is a very lighthearted happy song, until it all of a sudden becomes sad. The transition is priceless, and the sad part is a minor version of the happy part, with various embellishments to make it genuinly sad, despite how happy the first part was. It is a very cute experiment, and very well done. There is once again some of robert fripps wonderous soundscapes to drive home the sadness. Radio is yet another soundscape. It is too much to explain what a soundscape is in one review, but it is all one guitar. One time follows, and is one of the best ballads king crimson has ever recorded. It makes Walking on air seem fluffy and meaningless. One time is a clear highlight of the album, which is saying a lot considering the album in question. THen there is another radio song. These are like bookends to One time. Wonderful soundscapes, but too short. Then there is another Inner Garden track. I really enjoy these inner garden songs, even though people like to write them off as filler. That is absolutly absurd to me. Filler? How would the album sound without these trnsitional pieces? Like a collection of songs. This is a complete entity, and deserves to be treated as such. Theses songs aren't seperate from the album, just as a guitar solo isn't seperate from a song. Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream is a very fun and catchy song, and the part where it breaks into complete chaos is a wonder to behold, and sounds really freaking heavy. When it comes back around at the end of the song, however, it doesn't sound so heavy. The song is very punkish at parts, but is very tight. After this song, the closing piece is that Vroom Vroom tracks, which are similar to the vroom tracks at the beginning in feel, but are completly different in other ways. It features a lot of parts where one instrument goes up, and another goes down simultaneously. It isn't as straightforward as Vroom, and it is a bit heavier. The middle section is just like the one on the song Red. It is a fitting enging to yet another king crimson masterpiece.

This album is only an hour long, but it feels much longer because of all the complexities. It is hard to digest, but ultimatly is very well worth it.

Nuke | 5/5 |


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