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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2209 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I have never hidden that KING CRIMSON, specially after "Larks Togues in Aspic" is not my cup of tea, I like experimentation as any Progressive Rock fan (If not, I would be listening Rap), but always believed that Fripp and Co. went too far in some occasions.

Albums as Thrak sound to me as if a group of workers from a moving company were throwing the instruments to the floor, but at the same time I can't stop recognizing the genius behind this cacophony, mainly in albums like "Red" which have a solid melodic structure and learned (not without effort) to enjoy.

Some people ask me: Why review an album from a band that you don't like? The answer is simple, only being free from the heavy burden of being a fan, a reviewer can give a totally impartial opinion, I try to do this with bands as GENESIS or ANGLAGARD, but you never leave the subjective component behind, so in the case of KING CRIMSON is easier, because I respect them, but I'm not remotely a fan.

The album starts with the title song "Red", after a short distorted intro, the warm and familiar voice of John Wetton receives the listener friendlier than usual, no elaborate arrangements or complex structures, just John's voice, Fripps extraordinaire guitar work and Bill drums with the guest creating a Jazzy background. Of course we would be talking about a different band if the song didn't got more elaborate as it advances, but this time I find coherence and logic, special mention for Bill Bruford's work in the drums, is simply outstanding. Sometimes less complexity is better and this is one of this cases, love this track from start to end.

"Fallen Angel" continues in the jazzy vein of the previous track, but this time Ian Mc' Donald's subtle sax adds extra beauty, while Fripp creates a solid sonic wall and John Wetton delights with a fantastic bass performance. It's interesting to see how the song goes in crescendo but in a determined point always gives a step back and starts all over again, magnificent work.

Having a strong case of aerophobia, "One More Red Nightmare" has a special meaning for me, Robert Fripp has to be a genius to musically demonstrate exactly what I feel when I climb to a plane, the conflictive sound with distorted vocals describes perfectly the terror I feel.

I believe that if an artist must be judged for something, is for his ability to transmit what he's playing, and "One More Red Nightmare" does it perfectly. The haunting and repetitive guitar section is simply breathtaking, leaves me extenuated each time I listen it as if I was leaving a plane.

And the lyrics are just perfect, I heard myself repeating similar words hundreds oof times at 10,000 feet, only a person who feels what they play and say can appreciate how accurate this track is. Call me masochist.maybe I am, but I love this song.

"Providence" is one of those tracks that make me dislike most KING CRIMSON, maybe I'm too close minded for this kind of experimentation, I don't know, but I always believed a song needs a melodic structure, some coherence and logic, for me "Providence" is just a collection of random sounds that say nothing, sorry, but I can't deal with this.

Now we go to the opposite side of the musical spectrum, from cacophony without sense (for me), to one of the most beautiful melodies in Progressive Rock history, so sweet and nostalgic that is hard to believe KING CRIMSON is responsible for such a masterpiece.

Doesn't matter the difficulty to catalogue it in any known genre, being that we have a lot of Jazz, elements of the Power Ballad, radical changes, aggressive guitar and bass collision with the most melancholic keys and winds and Bill Bruford keeping a low profile and allowing Fripp and Wetton to be the stars, everything conspires to make of "Starless" the best KING CRIMSON song ever (IMO of course).

Before "Providence" I was ready to rate "Red" with five stars, but after the same song my personal rating went down to three, only "Starless" is able to rise it to four solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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