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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2211 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Red' - King Crimson (7/10)

Truthfully, I did not find 'Red' to be such an overall masterpiece as many people seem to think. None of the tracks work out to be horrible; the high level of musicianship and creativity found here can only be expected of a band like King Crimson. For an album that was done by a trio, there is an impressively wide range of sounds and timbres heard here. But a masterpiece needs to have a certain amount of 'high points' to warrant it's rating. The album is basically set up in the same format and flow as the band's debut was, but it doesn't pull it off nearly as well as 'In The Court...' did. While 'Red' has some great moments (the song 'Starless' in particular) it has low moments as well, which rob it of the masterpiece quality it could have had.

Did I mention there are pretentious lyrics aplenty here?

'Starless' as I've mentioned, is the true highlight of the album, and this is a track that demands respect and admiration for it's aesthetic and jazz-influenced beauty. Very slow, and brimming to the top with emotion; something I don't usually look to King Crimson for. Thoughtful vocals, gorgeous saxophone riffage, and the soulful signature guitar lick of the song really make it one of the classic Crimson songs. After a relatively laid-back but tense section, the music explodes into a virtuosic sax solo. Legendary.

'Red' starts things out nicely, with a very cool intro riff. It's not a song that really screams innovation, but it's definately one of the more memorable King Crimson tracks. It didn't hit me until I had a few listens under my belt. It's a powerful rock number that segues effectively into the next track; 'Fallen Angel.'

'Fallen Angel' mimics 'I Talk To The Wind' with it's woodwind instrumentation, but it doesn't have the same affect the later song does. The music itself is very warm and solid, but the way the lyrics are presented make it feel a bit hollow and overdramatic. 'Risk a life to make a dime...'

'Another Red Nightmare' is a song that I just don't like, and I think is the main reason I just can't treat 'Red' as a masterpiece it would be otherwise. The vocal melodies seem very underdeveloped, and I don't find there's much of a compelling nature to the instrumentation either. The verse section is irritating at best.

'Providence' is essentially a clone of 'Moonchild' without the proper song structure 'Moonchild' had for the first few minutes. It's a neat jazz improv, and it can be a very interesting listen if you're in the right mood for it. It gets very good towards the end as it builds up!

Without the beautiful closing track, I would probably give 'Red' a three star rating, as the other music on is decent but not compelling. However, such a phenomenal closing number warrants nothing less than a four star rating.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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