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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2287 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

retrorocker
5 stars Here's a not-so-tough question for prog fans- If a music fan has never listened to King Crimson before, which album do you recommend?

The obvious answer of course, is either ItCOtCK or Red. Of course, if you don't think that they would actually like progressive rock, you could recommend one of the '80s trilogy, but that's a different discussion altogether.

It's no coincidence I think that King Crimson's finest albums came at the bookends of their progressive period. The frst album is a statement of the bands intent, an expession of what they're all about and the result of everything they've been doing up to that first explosion into the recorded music world. The debut often makes or breaks a bands reputation, and with KC it made such a huge impression they seemed unable to follow it up properly for many years.

Then as the band poised for its final breakup of its prog period, all bets are off and the band can return to the state of mind of that debut- lets put down the music we really want to make, pour what's in our minds and hearts onto the grooves of the vinyl and go out with a bang. And Red is one of the most well executed 'bangs' ever to be put into a record sleeve and sold!

The album stands apart from its forebears in constant sheer agression. In its first three tracks it barely lets up at all, from the dissonant rising whole tone scale of the title instrumental, through the highs of 'Fallen Angel' to the noisy, swirling improv outro of 'One More Red Nightmare', the King Crimson on display here is demonstrating its ability to make memorable, catchy tunes that do not sacrifice its artistic individuality in the slightest.

Side two is only a slightly different story, 'Providence' being easily the weakest point of the abum (as often is the case with King Crimson improv tracks, I find), as usual setting a mood well enough but failing to do anything worthwhile with its length. But despite the compositional lacking inevitable with improvisations, it is exceedingly effective in instilling the sublime terror that can only be acheived with King Crimson music.

And of course, there's the closing track Starless. It's all too easy to trot out the phrase "best King Crimson track ever" but unfortunatly it happens to be true! everything King Crimson had been trying to do in the previous five years seems to have been magically condensed into these frankly perfect 12 odd minutes. It remains to this day, despite god knows how many repeated listens, able to send shivers up my spine every single time! It wouldn't surprise me if people bought this album for this track alone.

Its a bit of a case of come for 'Starless' and 'Red', stay for 'Fallen Angel' & 'One More Red Nightmare'. And tolerate 'Providence', it'll grow on you. Probably.

So in closing, there is no real reason to be looking at this review, on this webite, and not own this album in some form (or at least are going to get it sometime soon).

Red and Godbluff have become my 'black duology' of albums that are heavy and agressive but still 100% 5 star progressive rock abums (and two CDs I'm always trying to push on people...)

retrorocker | 5/5 |

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