Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Keith Emerson - Keith Emerson Band - Feat. Marc Bonilla CD (album) cover


Keith Emerson


Crossover Prog

3.58 | 79 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars 3.5 stars. Just when nobody was expecting much from the old master anymore, here came Keith in 2008 with finally an album to please his old fans. This is probably the album which sounds closest to classic ELP since Works II.

This impression comes in big part from the fact that Keith recovers all his vintage trademark sounds, most notably his unmistakable Hammond but also the Moog leads, the pipe organ, some of the synth sounds from the Works period and of course the grand piano. On the other hand the drumming of Greg Bissonette is more conventional than the unique Carl Palmer, which gives the music a different feel (less interesting IMO), and the compositions themselves are less bold and, let's face it, less brilliant than Emerson's early 70's works.

The album is dominated by the 35 min theme "The House Of Ocean Born Mary", divided in 15 tracks most of them very short. The first 3 form an instrumental introduction conceived to evoque right away the classic ELP sound, the starter "Ignition" with effectist piano chops on a layer of background synths, the second "1st Presence" with the majestic pipe organ and the third "Last Horizon" with great Hammond sounding like in Tarkus.

"Miles away pt 1" tosses the turn to Bonilla, with a 7/8 clean guitar arpeggio and his vocals sounding very much like young John Wetton (which in turn means not too different from Greg Lake's), followed with "pt 2" where Bissonette joins with energic drumming, and "Crusader's Cross" which is its instrumental extension.

"Fugue" and "2nd Presence" are two very short interludes leading to the first relatively long part "Marche Train", a rocking headbanger with a beat similar to "Paper Blood" from the album Black Moon. Not my cup of tea although it features some really nice Hammond and I guess that in live shows it worked better.

"Blue inferno" is another short instrumental sounding similar to some fragments of "Pirates" from Works I, and "3rd Presence" as we have learnt by now is the 3rd interlude of pipe organ.

"Prelude to a hope" is a wonderful emotional piano solo with interesting chord combinations, followed by "A place to hide", a melodic slow-mid tempo song with vocals. "Miles away pt 3" retakes Bonilla's 7/8 guitar arpeggio and develops it to an electric guitar solo, and then we have the instrumental "Finale" which has a bit of everything in it, really nice yet not as grandiose and bombastic as you might expect to close an Emerson 35 min suite.

All in all the suite is a fine piece of music with early ELP flavour and my main reservation is that it may sound more as a collection of fragments glued together than a really consistent long symphonic theme.

Then we have 4 more tracks starting with "The art of falling down" which sounds as from the Works period. The 2 following tracks maintain the ELP tradition: first we have an adaptation of the last movement of Alberto Ginastera's Estancia Suite, quite good but where I suspect that some (if not all) of the drumming is a sequencer, and the unavoidable "honky-ragtime" song, in this case the swing-blues "Gametime", a bit similar to "Tiger in a spotlight" from Works II, which thankfully is quite short.

The album closes with "The parting" which wisely combines ballad softness with raw energy.

Those who despise looking back to the past should probably better avoid this album, but for those who like classic ELP or keyboard-based prog in general this is certainly recommendable. The compositions are more restrained than in ELP's classics, and while back then they were really bold, now it can be considered that Keith played safe, but it's still a pleasant surprise from him to release this in 2008. Do not expect a Tarkus or Karn Evil 9 though. 3.5 stars which my head tells me I should probably round down to 3, but my heart tells me to round up to 4.

Gerinski | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this KEITH EMERSON review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives