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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2129 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Review: #14: Brain Salad Surgery

Welcome back my friends, to the show will never ends!

I want to start this review with a few words to this wonderful band, which is one of my favorites so far.

I think that no introduction is needed for, in my opinion, the best musical trio that humanity has been able to witness so far.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer (more commonly abbreviated "ELP") is the union of three of the best musicians of the 20th century, with bases in academic music and jazz, among other things. This band is enigmatic in the whole history of prog, since it is inexorable to listen to a song by them and not identify Palmer's hyper-planetary drums, Lake's figurative voice and Emerson's keyboards (here I want to make a small parenthesis to clarify the unnecessary fact that Emerson seems to me the best keyboard player that ever lived. It is impossible not to listen to him without being delighted by those extravagant melodies and his unique sounds full of grace and majesty).

But well, enough of the chitchat! Let's start with the review of this incredible work.

Brain Salad Surgery, ELP's fourth album is, in my opinion, the band's best album (mainly because of the perfect, and I stress PERFECT, composition of "Karn Evil 9", but that's for later).

This album conforms and ends with the golden stage (not to say, the best) of the trio. "ELP (eponymous album and debut)", "Tarkus", "Trilogy" and "Brain Salad Surgery" (something similar to the "Yes Golden Chain", which I already explained in my review to "Close to the Edge").

This time, I'm going to take the little trouble of analyzing it song by song, because, man.... This album is really worth it!

Jerusalem (4/5): This song offers us a harmonic and quilted introduction to the album, with Emerson's church organs in the background, while Lake's voice captivates us with his exciting and pure way of singing. There are some interesting rhythmic breaks in between.

Toccata (3.5/5): Probably the most atmospheric, percussive and messy track on the album. But all this doesn't take away from the smoothness and beauty of listening to Palmer show off with those tubular bells, steel drums and accompanying winds. There are some "funny" sounds in between, which accompany that desert atmosphere, but it's good because it offers us some catchy rhythms.

Still... You Turn Me On (5/5): This track is much calmer, peaceful, it's like a caress to the ear. Those beautiful keyboards of hope and the accompanying guitar that complements the prolific atmosphere of love and peace. The track has in the middle a sign to a lake or a dripping cavern, but returns to the peaceful rhythm I already mentioned. Too bad it lasts 3 minutes, but those 3 minutes are enjoyable!

Benny the Bouncer (3.5/5): This song, not that it's bad, but it leaves aside all the pragmatic atmosphere in which we were immersed, to put us in a western bar, or as if it were a song of "congratulations" for some reason that I didn't understand, heh. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to add these songs to these albums, it reminds me a lot of "Jeremy Bender" (Tarkus, Side B). Then, if you end up understanding the bar fight, due to the banging and glass breaking we hear in the background.

Karn Evil 9 (5/5): Well, what to say about this wonderful, spectacular, fantastic work of art. I think it goes without saying that it is the best part of the album, and one of the best compositions of all times. The first impression, as well as the second and the third, are impressive parts, full of passages, broken, changes of symphony and melody, perfect keyboards by the amazing Emerson, and the infallible and incomparable Palmer's drums... Please, somebody stop this man's madness! Those drums are not from this Palmer universe!

I always remember the first time I heard this masterpiece for the first time. I couldn't stop getting excited by the keyboards, or stop moving to the rhythm of Palmer's stratospheric percussion.

Maybe it sounds very monotonous of me to say most of the things I said throughout the review. Imagine that I'm not very good at explaining anything in depth, and imagine when I hear these things.... The first thing that comes to my mind is to go crazy because I've never really interpreted a work like this album!

In my top of favorite prog albums, this album comes in at position #29.

10/10. 5 stars for the best songwriting by one of the best bands ever, and the best musical trio I've ever heard. Yes, the album may not sound perfect to you, but it's close to the edge, wink ;)

Saimon | 5/5 |


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