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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2126 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Review #38!

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

This album is interesting, to say the least. From the cover art to the title (a euphemism for the same thing as "Staffordshire plate", for all you Genesis fans out there), this album will leave you confused, amazed, and mystified in the best ways possible. The album starts with 'Jerusalem', an adaptation of an old Christian hymn that was unfortunately banned from radio play by BBC because they took it as an offense to religion. I don't know what went up their asses, but I think this is ELP's way of honoring sacred songs like these after just straight-up shattering their significance with older tracks like 'The Only Way(Hymn)'. Then is 'Toccata', an Emersonified rendition of 'Toccata Concertata', a classical piece by Alberto Ginastera. This beautiful, overplayed (in the best way possible) masterpiece works well and sets the listener up for the epic soon to come. 'Still, You Turn Me On' is a pretty little song that honestly feels a little out of place on this album. I love the funky chorus, though. The band would not let this song get a single because they thought it did not represent the band; they wanted them to get fame from being who they were, not from songs that were not 'them'. 'Benny the Bouncer' was based on a true story (!). It's just a little modern ragtime tune that really shows how much ELP was having recording this album. It is quite ironic that it was placed in front of an epic like 'Karn Evil 9', and it does a terrible job of setting you up for what's to come. But that brings me joy and makes me laugh, so I don't mind. Ending side one is 'Karn Evil 9 1st Impression, Part 1', which introduces the (seemingly) utopian carnival world this epic depicts. Full of technically impressive instrumentation and solos, this has all the wonderful proggy things a proggy guy or girl needs. 'Karn Evil 9 1st Impression, Part 2' acts as a conclusion. Greg Lake enthusiastically lists off a number of exhibits in the carnival. One of these is "A Real Blade of Grass!", alluding to the absence of most organic life in this dystopian world. The song ends in classic bombastic ELP style (you know what I mean). 'Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression' is a wonderful seven-minute jazz piece, full of Keith Emerson solos (including my favorite ELP moment of all time, the fake steel drum noise) and crazy Carl Palmer drumming. It is instrumental and so there is little Lake flair, but it is still a great track. I honestly don't know what this song is trying to tell the listener. It could be the war that leaves one man and one machine still alive. That's my best guess. The album ends with 'Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression', a wonderful conclusion to this wonderful album. This concludes the Karn Evil 9 epic with the story of a man and a machine left as the last standing in a war against their kind. There is a dialog acted out between them, an argument over who really won. "I LET YOU LIVE!", shouts the computer. In a powerful part of the song and this album as a whole the man remarks: "But I gave you life!" The question is left unanswered as to who won. The songs ends on a great note, signifying the end to a prog masterpiece.

Boi_da_boi_124 | 5/5 |


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