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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Black Moon  CD (album) cover

BLACK MOON

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

2.87 | 280 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars ELP plays ELP twenty years too late

When people in or outside the Progressive Rock universe discuss what was wrong with the genre, the name EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER always is mentioned, they are accused of pompous, self indulgent, arrogant, and many other things.......I always protest on such silly accusations, because Prog is a pompous genre and ELP played an important role in the definition of it.

ELP was one of the brightest stars of our beloved genre, but the price they paid for such brilliance is that they burned too fast, after a good debut and the respected "Tarkus", came "Trilogy" and Brain Salad Surgery", the peak of their glory enhanced by the fantastic live album "Welcome Back my Friends....", but it was only 1974 and while other bands kept growing, ELP started to progressively loose credibility, reaching the bottom of the pit with "Love Beach" an album that should had never been recorded.

After this disaster, they split and nobody believed we would hear more about them, but in 1994 the trio was back and releasing "Black Moon" in an attempt of recovering they well deserved place in Prog history, and honestly it was their best release since 1976, but this wasn't enough, the old formula was exhausted and what impressed us in the 70's, was only cliche in the 90's, specially after during the peak of the Swedish Renaissance.

The album is opened with Black Moon and it's promising opening of Synth and piano, but as soon as Carl Palmer hits the drums, the listener will discover it's only a pale echo of the past, very pompous and strong, with a Lake still in his peak, but lack of substance, as if they had lost the path and couldn't find the way back, the previously impressive keyboard solos, sound boring and unimaginative, not a good start.

"Paper Blood" is an improvement, the harmonica makes it sound fresher, and Keith selection of organ is impressive, but the problem subsists, a couple of good ideas,. but little substance, no matter how hard they try with the old formula, they are not able to cause the same impression as twenty years before.

What else can they do at this point?....I know, try with their ability to recreate classical musicians works, and they choose well, "Romeo and Juliet" by Serge Prokofiev is a pompous, explosive piece of music even when a bit repetitive, but instead of making what they know best, destroy the original work to create something new and radical, they follow the original composition with some effects but nothing more.

Until this point ELP has failed in the attempt of playing ELP music by following their old format, but there's still something to try....A Lake ballad in the vein of "Lucky Man", "Still yo Turn Me On" or at least "Ces't La Vie", but "Affairs of the Heart" is as simple and unimaginative as the name, and the same comment is valid for "Farewell to Arms"

I could continue with all the other tracks, but all of them sound like a pathetic attempt of playing ELP music following the old script, but except for the brilliant "Better Days", they keep falling miserably, turning in a tribute band of themselves, for God's sake, even the piano interlude"Close to Home" by the fantastic Emerson makes feel sleepy, they aren't able to do what they do best, maybe it was time to attempt something new.

The sad thing is that they are not doing anything wrong, they are following the frames they created, but what was imaginative in 1974, is less than average in 1994.

If it was almost any other band, the album would deserve at least 3.5 stars, but great bands are judged by their own standards and for EMERSON LAKE & PALMER, this album is worth 2 stars, maybe 2.5 to make it average.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 2/5 |

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