Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2126 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
5 stars I can't believe that I haven't reviewed an ELP album yet.

Let's start with their best, Brain Salad Surgery.

This is the album that epitomizes everything that ELP was about. The grandeur, the fantasy, the technical skill, the offbeat interest in other genres, the classical influence, the weird humor that doesn't quite work, Lake's sentimental guitar pieces... everything is packaged in Brain Salad Surgery. If you haven't heard it, get it. If you have heard it, revisit and take a pleasant stroll down memory lane.

Here's what you get on this great album.

Jerusalem (4/5): ELP is known for occasionally drifting into disparate genres, but who would have expected them to cover a hymn from the Church of England? That they can make even this appealing to hard core prog fans (albeit with help from the most brilliant poet of the English language, William Blake) should earn them some kind of award.

Tocatta (4.5/5): Take the award that they earned with Jerusalem and multiply it exponentially. These guys take a weird modern classical composition and crank up the weirdness to ELEVEN. (If you haven't seen This is Spinal Tap, then the allusion probably eludes you, but take my word that this is a compliment.) A difficult piece is made an even more difficult piece, but by God, it's rewarding if you listen to it more than once.

Still... You Turn Me On (3.5/5): One of the best compositions to feature Lake's guitar. Predictable and poppy, but Keith stir things up enough to reward your listening.

Benny the Bouncer (2/5): This is the odd track that doesn't measure up. It's got the same feel that Jeremy Bender has (even to the ragtime influence) but it isn't as attractive. Fortunately, it doesn't last long.

Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 1) (4/5): Introducing the epic that earns ELP favored status in the Valhalla of prog. This really could be cut into two parts. The parts that are introductory are just above average, but the parts that lead into part 2 are just as good as part 2. If you like part 2, you owe it to yourselves to listen to part 1.

Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 2) (4.5/5): This was split up into parts 1 & 2 in order to make part 2 the single. It was a wise commercial decision, as part 2 is the most likeable work on the album. It also is great at showcasing ELP's various talents. Enjoy.

Karn Evil 9 (2nd Impression) (5/5): If I had to choose one track that epitomized ELP's creativity and technical skill, this would be it. This thing has classical art written all over it. You don't get symphonic prog if you don't get this.

Karn Evil 9 (3rd Impression) (5/5): This gets 5 out of 5 too, but for very different reasons. This track is the sublimation of the ELP sound. Working together, they never reached heights like these again. We aren't talking technical skill, as in the last track, but we are talking about overpowering symphonic power, with decent lyrics to match. This is my favorite ELP track.

Anyhow, this is definitely a masterpiece of prog. 5 stars all the way.

ghost_of_morphy | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this EMERSON LAKE & PALMER review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.