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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover

TARKUS

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1264 ratings

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Passionist
2 stars The first side of this LP is really what makes it a classic among the prog albums. I've never been a big fan of ELP myself, but the Tarkus suite, as people call it made me do this review, even though there are more than few of these. First of all, it's obvious, that ELP has among them the three most creative players of all time. To be frank, I think, in late 60s a band called King Crimson lost the best thing that had happened to them, and that was a singer who could create an atmosphere to make each song great. I'm a huge fan of Greg Lake, as a singer especially. I think his singing is very pompous and influental and yet working.

About the first side of the LP, there's really good melodies and great tunes together with great singing. All this together makes it a masterpiece. There's really not one part that would bring the other one down. Ok, so I might be a bit biased here, but the way Mr. Lake goes about with his lyrics as astounding. I recall hearing a lot of praise on Keith Emerson, and it's clear he's the main man creatig the songs and the image of the band. The first suite needs to be heard to understand why this band is considered one of the big, groundbreaking prog bands.

Now the part that I don't like about ELP. The second starts with a Jeremy Bender which is a ragtime song, pretty boring and really out of place here. Of course, it brings you back down after the first track, but still. You'll soon find out what I mean with this being a sad affair.

Bitches chrystal is very hectic. Close to a Gentle Giant style. If the band is able to produce great melodic parts and songs, why should they try something of a cacophony like here? I think the reason is, that the band has not found their way or how/what they would really like to do. Basically have too many ideas. Again, the best part here is Lake's singing, and of course the playing is great, but...

I get the feeling, that these guys didn't just want to make prog, they wanted to leave their bands and set up something where they could do everything they want without restrictions. That's why we've got ragtime, mess, and the next one is a church-organ hymn.... huh? At least the lyrics are pretentious in The Only Way (Hymn). The message against the holocaust sound a bit lame after what we've heard on this album. However, if you ignore the lyric, the song gets a bit more interesting after half of it is played.

Infinite Space (Conclusion) sounds like it's made for the piano to have some freedom. The toc toc drumming gets a bit annoying after a while however... I'd love to hear an ongoing background rather than the toc toc. Of course, it's groundbreaking prog, but I never like the idea of making strange timings by adding extra breaks.

A Time And A Place however is again a song that I would include to the first side with the Tarkus suite. it's very powerful and ongoing with good singing. The drums are very groovy and the lyrics aren't as pretentious. This is exactly what ELP does best and why I want to review it. But...

ELP included songs like Are You Ready Eddie to most of their albums. This along the ragtime in the beginning of this side of the LP is really something I can't understand. Why? I think some people were ready to take them seriously already, and then they go do this... Horrible rock'n'roll with extremely stupid lyrics and background voices... No.

No, this album could be excellent if they'd take a lot of songs away. It's amazing how it can vary so much from utter greatness to awfulness... I'm going to have to give this one just the 2,5 stars. Because it's a good album, but only for ELP fans. If you were trying the band out, I'd recommend something like Trilogy or ELP. Sorry, it drops to 2, I'm disappointed.

Passionist | 2/5 |

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