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King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 1640 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Starless And Bible Black is the follow up to King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic, and it seemed kind of hard to make an album better and more experimental than that. So, King Crimson didn't do that. Starless And Bible Black is in the same experimental, powerful style as its precessor, but is slightly less good. Why? Larks' Tongues In Aspic had several King Crimson classics on it, some really memorable songs, this album only has a few of those, and most of them are not as great as songs like "Easy Money" or "Exiles" from Larks' Tongues In Aspic.

The album is very much alike Larks' Tongues but has some slight differences. First, there is no Jamie Muir anymore, so there is no more wacky percussion, although Bruford seems to have a more exotic drum kit. Second, the album has much more improvisation, songs like "Trio" and "We'll Let You Know" are not very structured, were the experimental bits od Larks' Tongues had some structure in them. Third, Starless and Bible Black is much less stiff than Larks' Tongues, a really great progress.

The album starts with "The Great Deciever", an up tempo heavy rocker. Though being only four minutes long, the song has quite a few different riffs and other changes. "The Great Deceiver" is not a very complicated song, and is pretty straight forward, it is a very nice song though.

The second song is "lament". "Lament" is much better than "The Great Deceiver" and is really one of the biggest highlights of this album. Just as the first track it's a pretty straight forward song, but I can enjoy it much more than the great deceiver.

"We'll Let You Know" is an improvisation. It's not very structured and seems to be a little bit pointless, also because it's pretty short, while King Crimsons improvisations mostly are pretty lengthy.

The fourth track, "The Night Watch", is one of the more popular King Crimson Songs. The song is about Rembrandt's famous painting, and really is in the same mood as the painting is, it's very beautiful and pretty epic, though not being to long. John Wetton also does a great vocal performance in this song, and Fripp plays a great guitar solo.

Next is "Trio", a very mellow song, without any drums. The song is very calm, and that's why I can't always enjoy it. This is a song I can only listen when I'm in the right mood, a calm mood.

"The Mincer" is another improv, though it has a couple vocal lines in it. The song start very dark and atmospheric, with some great guitar work from Robert Fripp. Just as "We'll Let You Know", "The Mincer" is pretty short for an improv, and it'll be over when you're getting into it. Though being a bit too short this is a really good King Crimson Improvisations, one of my favorite.

The title track is next, and once again, its an improvisation, and it's definitely not too short. In fact, it's 9 minutes long, but nothing really interesting happens. The song has a couple of good parts, but most of the times it's a pretty dull improvisation.

Starless And Bible Black closes with "Fracture", a fantastic composition that really shows Robert Fripp's amazing guitar playing abilities. The first half excists of Robert Fripp playing the guitar pretty calm, but the song has some uplifts, like a distorted riff that pops up several times. After having repeated this riff two times, Robert plays his guitar unbelievably fast, it really is incredible, and most of all good and emotional, it's not just basic shredding. In the second half of the song the song gets much heavier, and becomes a true epic. Violin comes in and Bill Bruford once again does a great job on the drums. Amazing song.

Starless and Bible Black is not as good as the other two albums of King Crimsons heavy era, but if you are a fan of King Crimson's not always very structured improvisations you should check this album out. If you're not a fan of the improvs this album probably is not something for you, though songs as "Lament" and "Fracture" are true King Crimson classics. I'm giving this album a three star rating cause it is good, but not as good as Larks' Tongues and Red, which I both rated four stars.

The Sleepwalker | 3/5 |


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