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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.62 | 3840 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Proof that often the best place to start is at the beginning!

In The Court of the Crimson King has been called a great deal of hyperbolic things, a masterpeice, a birth of an entire genre, sublime, agressive, timeless, chaotic, you name it. But even though I've given this album five stars, it isn't quite perfect- but this is part of it's brilliance.

For a start, the album only has one agressive, chaotic track, the opener, which of course everyone here has heard an praised over and over. It combines rock sensibility and jazz ablilty in a fantastic statement that echoes out throughout the seventies, progressive rock and beyond. It is a great track, but it largely misrepresents the album- the album never again reaches this level or type of instensity, after all these years listening to it, it always seems to me to be very much out of place. How odd. But no matter. It's followed up by a flute-driven ditty that is ridiculously simple and benign in comparison, with some laid back lyrics and quiet sensibility. What a contrast. But of course, contrast and dynamic shifts is what prog is all about! So this switch is actually a stroke of genious, and the track actually is pretty brilliant. But then the flutes are ditched, just like the saxophone was ditched before that, replaced by that famous sample-playback machine, the mellotron, with those famous wide doom-laden strings. King Crimson seem to have oddly followed up a ballady peice with another ballady peice, how odd. This one in itself contains the musical dynamics which are now a hallmark of prog, and takes the emotional intensity back up again, but in a totally different way to the opener- instaead of tortured animalism, we have tempered intellectualism. Another stroke of genious. Another brilliant track. But oh dear. Moonchild. Easily the worst track on the album. Quite a nice song turns into ten minutes of what feels like mucking about in the dark. Dissapointing. Only once can i remember listening to this track all the way through without skipping. But improvisation! on a 'rock' album? Genious, once again. Not to my taste but to plenty of others' it seems. And then it ends with the title track (kind of), rather a rehash of the dynamics and mellotron of Epitaph, the first and only time the album repeats itself stylistically, with an anthemic sound that is magnificent and grandiose, a genious track also- with only one track that has something in common with those before it, it manages to make the album feel like a whole- uncanny.

So in closing, it shouldn't make sense that this is one of the two best and cohesive albums King Crimson has ever done (the other being Red), but it is. Essential prog in the strictest sense- even if this isn't where it really all started, its certainly the first one chronologically most worthy of paying attention to. In the Court of the Crimson Kiiiing.... aaaaahhhhhh....

retrorocker | 5/5 |


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