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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 1663 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
5 stars Sometimes the involution can be pretty awesome

Tarkus is one of Emerson, Lake and Palmer best-selling albums and their best-selling studio album. Tarkus was one of the key albums that made the band famous, along with Pictures at an Exhibition, and, in my sincere opinion, is the band's best album, being followed by the also excellent and all-time favorite of almost every ELP fan Brain Salad Surgery.

Despite the importance of Takus, the album is seen today with indifference by many and, dare I say, as a frugal and minor release by the band. All of those opinions, which, I might add, are mostly erroneous, tend to support, overall, that this album was not so important because the only relevant thing it had was the epic side-long song with the same name as the album. Indeed Tarkus is, by far, one of the best songs ever recorded by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but that does not outshines the other half of the album, which, I might add, is just as good as the said epic. The thing is that the second half of this very album is not as easy to listen or as catchy as the epic, so people tend to put the second part of the album aside and only value what they can get more easily, and as a result you have so many unfair reviews and ratings (to say the least) of the brilliant album.

Regarding the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings I would like to say

In Tarkus we have the debut of the classic Emerson, Lake and Palmer sound, as the music they presented in their debut was way too experimental, heavy and acid, when compared to their other albums. So it was in their 1971 album that the pace was set for their later albums such as Trilogy and Brans Salad Surgery. Blues and jazz influences, heavy classical music influences, moderate usage of dissonances and atonalism (though they were pretty common in their music), great deal of virtuoso playing, usually uplifting musical themes in major keys and western/country American musical themes.

The epic song Tarkus is a concept song that tells the story of a creature of some sort named Tarkus and its journey. It was born from an egg / stone erupted from a volcano. When the egg / stone hatches the armadillo tank starts its journey and fights and defeats a series of strange animals during it, including a manticore. At the end of its journey, Tarkus goes to the sea. This concept's main theme is the involution: life came from land (instead of coming from sea) and then went to the sea (instead of going to land), so its a reverse evolution, an involution.

In the second half of the album we have a series of small songs with varied themes, usually regarding small stories. The second half of the album also have a wide array of musical themes, going from traditionall rock and roll, like in Are You Ready Eddy?, to classical music, like in The Only Way (Hymn) and Infinite Space (Conclusion).

Grade and Final Thoughts

Tarkus is my favorite Emerson, Lake and Palmer album and one of my all-time favorite albums, so it shouldn't be hard for me to give a high grate to the album. Besides, Tarkus was a historical album for progressive rock whose importance MUST be noted at all times. For all those reasons, and many more, 5 stars to this fantastic and revolutionary album.

CCVP | 5/5 |


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