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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4184 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Of course I felt nervous while playing In The Court Of The Crimson King for the first time. So many glowing reviews, such a milestone in progressive music. What if I don't like it?

But I did. I really did, and it's been a real pleasure listening to ITCOTCK next to Lizard for a while now. A diverse and rewarding album which has a unique characteristic in that it is so utterly fresh (for its time) and still feels very rooted in an older tradition of music, whatever that one might be. Stunning from beginning to end, its freshness hasn't faded, even though I'm listening to it almost forty years after its release. It's quite a warm album, mixed with enchanting melancholia and fantastic surrealistic musical landscapes, painted both by the instrumental and vocal performances and the madness of Peter Sinfield's vision. The album is so strong in imagery. Few other efforts match it, especially with the highly expressive and omnipresent Mellotron, enriching the album with an atmosphere only that instrument can create. There isn't a single weak spot to be found. I've tried to find them, for a while I even wanted to find them, just so I could say that ITCOTCK is flawed. It's not. There are dips in the quality though, I admit that. But as with any other masterpiece album, they are never below 'really good'.

21st Century Schizoid Man is a musical slap in the face, from start to finish, and just as its title suggest it's an exposť of a twisted mind. Distorted, disturbing vocals from Greg Lake and powerful drumming together with a crushingly loud riff before everything falls apart in a wild, frantic jazzy section with saxophone all over the place. Raging along together in a paranoid fashion with Fripp's evil guitar soloing on top of everything, it eventually returns to the main theme of the song, only to fall into chaos again by the finishing cacophony.

Quite a jump then to the beauty of I Talk To The Wind. Nice ballad with a soothing performance from both Lake and Fripp, hovering on delicate flute. Weakest song on the album according to me, as it isn't as instantly commanding as the others. Strangely accessible for Crimson as well. Still has its function here though, and wonderfully relaxing. Epitaph on the other hand, is just stunning. One of those songs that really can't be described by words alone. Trapped emotion, perhaps? And the soaring Mellotron together with all of that makes it one of the best tracks here.

It's perfectly reasonable that Moonchild is loathed by many, with a drawn-out improvised section. Uncertain, meandering and yet very delicate and beautiful, I just like it. Some music has the power to take you to unexpected places and Moonchild is made of such material.

What finally concludes the album, is also the best of the best. The title track, a powerful, abstract story riddled with mystery and imagination unleashes the mellotron in all its glory and has one of the best refrains I've heard so far in rock music. A choir effect, be it from the assembled vocals of the band or from the mellotron, always makes me smile. Perfection. Enter the flute for a great interlude with careful percussion until Lake returns for the main theme once again. And just as you think the song is over, you're served another interlude with a delicately careful organ until a spiced-up, last reprisal of the main riff is played once again and then.just a touch of the initial madness found on 21st Century Schizoid Man. And there it is: a full circle!



LinusW | 4/5 |


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