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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2290 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
5 stars King Crimson - Red (1974)

The birth of modern progressive metal.

The second period King Crimson had already released two good albums in the heavy metal King Crimson style, opposing to their symphonic/avant style of the first four albums. By now King Crimson was reduces to a trio, Fripp, Wetton and Bruford. With Collins, Cross and McDonald on board during the recording sessions this team can be rightfully called a super-group.

This record has a few elements that make it almost perfect. First of all, the modern heavy metal guitar sound of Fripp. It would take others (and perhaps even KC themselves) a decade before they could recreate this amazing dissonant distorted metal sound, which is actually pretty accessible. The bass-lines of Wetton are amazing and I even like Bruford's drumming on this album, normally I dislike his sound/style.

The element that makes this a masterpiece is the perfect balance between innovative/progressive/avant factors and accessibility. There are little disturbing moments and the experimental parts are all very good. The form of the album is also amazing. Three great heavy metal prog styles tracks on side one, an extended improvisation and a long epical track on side two.

Opening track 'Red' stands out as THE prog-metal track, a blueprint for the genre. Fallen Angel is a very strong metal track with great vocals and wide variety of emotions. The instrumental parts still sound very modern. This is also the case with One more Red Nightmare, which also has some first period KC influences with a wind-section etc. Providence is an improvisational styled track with much dissonance and little logic for the common listener. This is perhaps the hardest moment of the album. I myself like it, because is almost fires us into the last track: Starless. Starless is an epic with such an emotional value it can stand on it's own as being a farewell to King Crimson's second period. This twelve minute track has a sound and feel that reminds me of the epics of the first two King Crimson albums. The mellotrons are back, the wind-sections are strong and the guitars are pleasant. An essential track for the progressive genre and a favorite for many fans of the band.

Conclusion. It's hard for me to believe this album was recorded in the same year as Camel's Mirage, Genesis' Lamb and Yes' Relayer. This albums sounds way more modern and it's sound hasn't aged at all. This album is a breakthrough and it's a pity the band had fallen apart before the recording sessions were finished. There was no tour and the album became a commercial flop. Still it is rightfully regarded as one of the most important albums of the genre. Five stars. A masterpiece.

friso | 5/5 |

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