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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Black Moon CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.84 | 450 ratings

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Drachen Theaker
3 stars Nice to see some thought provoking discussion about ELP on here from Exitthelemming and TomOzric. Having said that I think a three-star rating for Black Moon is about right.

What made ELP so unique, great and exciting at their peak was the combination of brilliant musicianship and aggression/bombast - the older the band got the harder it became for them to re-create that. Black Moon sounds like a group of musically talented middle-aged men (as they were). Enjoyable enough, but mostly lacking the energy and excitement of the early 70s albums. Funnily enough my favourite track is Burning Bridges, written by producer Mark Mancina who seems to have more of a handle on what modern ELP should be doing than the band. It's almost ridiculously overblown and pompous with booming Hammond, wailing synth fanfares and portentous vocals and lyrics about God knows what (a pyromaniac?). Definite shiver down the spine classic ELP. Sadly the rest of the album doesn't quite measure up. Romeo and Juliet is too predictable a choice for a classical cover and sounds a bit corny (like Mars on the ELPowell album). ELP's best classical reworks were always the more off the wall less mainstream stuff like Knife Edge, The Barbarian and Toccata which all rocked furiously (something Romeo and Juliet emphatically doesn't). A band version of Ginastera's Creole Dance that Keith was performing live at the time might have been a more exciting, adventurous option. Better Days and Paper Blood are probably the other standouts on Black Moon, particularly the latter featuring some excellent bluesy harmonica from Greg and Keith's classic screaming Hammond chords. They are probably also the songs on here that best suit Greg's now 50-fags-a-day voice.

Carl Palmer does sound like a drum machine on a lot of this album which lends a rather cold, mechanical air to proceedings. His drumming is way better on Love Beach (superb in fact) and I tend to give that album more spins than BM. Despite the questionable material the band still retained a lot of their youthful energy on Love Beach.

In short I would put Black Moon above In the Hot Seat but below Love Beach, ELPowell and even the Three album which amidst all the AOR has the brilliant Desde La Vida - probably the best prog piece Emerson has produced since Pirates. Even as an ELP diehard three stars is the most I can give Black Moon.

Drachen Theaker | 3/5 |


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