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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Powell CD (album) cover

EMERSON LAKE & POWELL

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.15 | 282 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaardvark
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Keith Emerson and Greg Lake were apparently eager to reform ELP in 1985. For what reasons, considering their history of clashing egos, I cannot say without digging through a biography. Perhaps their solo careers just didn't amount to anything? Perhaps the ka-ching of dollars rolling in dried up by 1985? Whatever the case may be, Carl Palmer was having some success and couldn't join them due to contractual obligations with Asia (which was in a tailspin of its own at the time). So instead of abandoning the idea, they approached Emerson's longtime friend Cozy Powell. It apparently was just a coincidence that his surname began with the appropriate letter.

And so, what does this new incarnation of ELP bring us seven years after its dismal fall in 1978? If you guessed "more of the same," you nailed it on the head. The typical ELP formula was a number of longer pieces (sometimes suites or epics), a few Greg Lake ballads, some filler, and a lovely rendition of a classical music piece. Emerson Lake & Powell's self-titled album fits this description to a tee!

So, is this just like older ELP albums? Sort of, but not quite. On this album they upgraded their sound with the new synths of the day giving it that 1980s sound that most prog groups found themselves employing. The other notable difference is Powell, who doesn't try at all at being a Palmer-clone, but sticks with his metal drumming sensibilities. So, yes, that does add a new dimension, even if it sounds like a robot drumming for most of the album.

The Score and The Miracle are nicely done works of art, even though they sound kind of over-polished and lack the energy of earlier ELP epics. Learning to Fly and Touch and Go are nice songs too, but more in the AOR arena. Their rendition of Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War is probably the best song on the album, though sometimes that 1980s synth-sound is a bit too harsh of a treatment (i.e., too many keyboard stabs). The rest of the material is... well, rubbish.

Certainly the best album ELP had made since Brain Salad Surgery, and unfortunately the last decent one. If it weren't for the filler and dreadful Lake ballads, this could've been a nice four-star effort. This lineup of ELP never made a second album and I can't say if that was good or bad, but this would have been a nice finale because worse albums were to arrive in the 1990s. Three stars. Good, but not essential.

progaardvark | 3/5 |

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