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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2251 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Red Alert

It's quite well known that over the years King Crimson has produced music that has been ahead of it's time. Indeed, the band gets credited for inventing genres decades away from when they started. The band has been influential to countless artists thanks to how fresh edgy their music has always been.

Of course, the band itself has also shifted and evolved. For the first decade of their existence no two albums had the same line up of musicians attending, with only Robert Fripp remaining by the time the band reached it's fourth album. Musically as well, by the time 1974 rolled around the band had shifted dramatically from the jazz-hard rock prog they started playing on albums like In The Court Of The Crimson King and In The Wake Of Poseidon. Since their reincarnation that started with Larks Tongues In Aspic the band had moved onto a much more ''improvisational'' approach, their albums ripe with long, drawn out instrumental bouts of musical wizardry which was somewhat abused by the following album Starless And Bible Black.

History lesson aside, Red is the end of this era of the band, after this album the band wouldn't release another album until 1981's Discipline. What this album represents is Crimson's creative zenith from that time. Somewhat unlike previous albums in that this one houses much less instrumental tracks than it's older brothers, this one finds Crimson hitting a niche. While Starless. felt loose and flexible, Red feels very tight in structure.

Still with a few instrumental tracks (something Krimson always excelled at), tracks like the explosive opener Red and the mellow yet intensely dramatic Providence provide the feeling that links this album to their last couple, with excellent musicianship close in tow.

The rest of the songs are somewhat different than the Crimson most people remember. The melancholic Fallen Angel shows that Wetton actually has a lot of emotion behind his voice while the beatarific One More Red Nightmare shows a heavy and rockish side of the band not seen since Cat Food (although much better played and less radio-friendly sounding than that song). Starless has to be the album's standout however, as a song that is seemingly brethren to Moonchild with it's opening emotional vocals leading into the long and drawn out jam session (this one noisier than the very very quiet Moonchild).

Likely the heaviest album by Crimson to this point in their career and one of the best, this one is recommended to all, especially those who like a little bombastic power behind their music. Being such a monumental landmark of an album that has many modern artists claiming influence by it (and for good reason) it would be hard to give this one any less than 5 stars. Not Crimson's easiest album to get into by any means, but certainly the best since their debut.

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |

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