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King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 1852 ratings

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3 stars "The Great Deciver", another expression of The Crimson King (the prince of demons). And the opening track, powerstart megaspeed guitar riff, Bruford hammering on the drumset. Then a break to a bass riff with vocal verse, lot of tempo changes on this one. "Cigarettes, ice cream, figurines of the Virgin Mary", "Cadillacs, blue jeans, dixieland playing on the ferry" on a full speed rock break. Then a sudden cut of ending, Like sudden death ? Great track, wild and dangerous.

"Lament" starts of like a soft ballad, breaks into a bass/drum almost funky instrumental section.Vocals comes back, now on a rock style backing, again many breaks, the track growing wilder and wilder. Great band work here, Fripp soloing, great drum/bass rythm sections, Bruford dooing his craft amasingly. Not a bad track either.

"We'll Let You Know", A Piece of supreeme teamwork, the band plays together, making Prog. magic., Wettons bass very important in the texture here, good stuff.

"The Night Watch" a move back in time, lyrics now reflect times long gone past, and the music could well be from on of the early Crimson albums, Mellotron now making this sound a lot more symphonic than on the other track, a soft ballad, some very nice soloing, great singing, very melodic track.

"Trio". very very soft, starting out with allmost nothing, slowly violin and guitars start a duo, quiet bass moving in. Even though a "Trio", Bruford is still credited, with silence ! Beautifull moments, but its would easily work as well without the first minute.

"The Mincer". Live improvisation, as an improvisation, would be fine to watch live, but it dosent contain much interesting music, seen from a studio album view. I dont find any great moments here, only highlight is the short period where Wetton is singing, holds the piece together and lift it up. Ending is cut uncleanly , augth that hurts.

"Starless and Bible Black", another live improvisation, not to be confused with "Starless" from "Red".After the relative short "The Mincer" another 9 minute improvisation, "O no" may be the logic reaction, but quite the opposite in fact. On "Starless and Bible Black" it all gets a lot more interesting. Bruford in this mood is allways worth a listen, he is doing some supreem improvised drumming here. Especialy in the mid section Wetton and Bruford working together very well. Again the track is slowly build up, but in this case it makes more sence than on "Trio", the way it moves towards a first climax at around 4.40 is a blower. Cant' say how much i would give to actualy be there ! Then it slows down quite a bit, to start gaining momentum for a last and smaller Eruption near the end. Good track, but while Bruford/Wetton are at there best, Cross and Fripp dosent become that visible.

"Fracture", 11 minutes of classic Crimson, a monster, a dinosour of prog. rock ,the amount of skills involved just stunning. Related in style to "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" . A few diffrent and very complex offbeat Fripp guitar "figures" make up the base of the composion for the first 2/3 of the track, tempo constanty changing around those themes, gives a smooth varriation in the composition. All members contributing to the final texture. At the 6.40 mark, a Ambient like section, with very little happening, for a short period, breaks into an Explotion. Track moving into a very powerfull finish, controlled heavy Ragnarock."Fracture" is one of Classic Prog's most essential instrumentals. Demanding sure, but so rewarding when You get familiar with it.

"Starless and Bible Black" is not the best Crimson album, as shown above, lot of good is to be said about the individual tracks, but as an album, to me it does not work nearly as well as the best Crimson album does. "The Night Watch" and "Trio" seems to me a bit misplaced, though i dont know where i would have put them, maby not even on this album, "The Mincer" a filler, no need for it here, with that much better improvisation right behind it. The two long instrumentals finishing the album, great tracks, not still they are sometimes a bit to much right after each other.

3,5 star rounded down, sad in a way, because so much is done right on this album. The small errors ad together in the overall impression.

tamijo | 3/5 |


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