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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3162 ratings

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5 stars In 1973, King Crimson found itself with it's first stable lineup since 1970. After a succession of vocalists, bassists, keyboardists, and drummers, with only guitarist Robert Fripp being the constant member, the band started anew with former Family bassist John Wetton on bass and vocal duties, violinist and keyboardist David Cross, percussionist Jamie Muir, and former Yes drummer, Bill Bruford.

This new lineup recorded one of King Crimson's most well regarded albums Lark's Tongues in Aspic. Muir left during the tour for that album and wasn't replaced. The next year, the band released Starless and Bible Black which was made up mostly of songs recorded live in concert. At the end of 1974 however, David Cross left the group reducing the quartet to a trio with only Wetton, Fripp, and Bruford remaining. This band recorded one of King Crimson's heaviest and darkest albums yet, "Red".

The album opens with the heavy face melting instrumental title track "Red". It is a great demonstration of Fripp's guitar techniques, Bruford's perfect timing, and Wetton's rythmic bass lines. The power of this opener is a cold hard slap in the face, but one that will make you want a punch next! "Fallen Angel" the second song on the album begins with a far eastern guitar riff before going into Wetton's fiery vocals accompanied by mellotron and acoustic guitar, eventually entering a heavier mode, this time paired with saxophone. The lyrics seem to be an observation of the futility of gang warfare and violence in general.

Song three is the explosive "One More Red Nightmare". After a crunching distored guitar intro from Fripp, machinelike drums kick in along with Wetton's paranoid rumblings on nightmares and dreaming.

The fourth song, "Providence" is an instrumental which was recorded at a concert in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a nod towards the previous album "Starless & Bible Black" which was mostly made up of live tracks. As it was recorded on tour before Red was released, David Cross is featured on the song. His soft violin playing starts the song before entering a more sinister sound joined by shaking percussion and guitar lines that sound like they would fit well with a gothic horror flick. Fripp's guitar sounds like it's being strangled and bent and the song itself could work quite well with any chase sequence in a suspense or thriller movie.

The final song "Starless" is the album's longest. Clocking in at 12 minutes, this song opens with another creepy mellotron intro along with Fripp's mournful guitar playing. The song gives the listener images of a wind tossed beach with shipwrecks lining the coastline. It is a great closer to the album and sticks in your mind.

After the release of this album, Robert Fripp disbanded the group, vowing to never return to King Crimson. The band would return anyway several years later with a completely different lineup (Bill Bruford would return to the drum stool) and sound.

Jozef | 5/5 |


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