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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 2088 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Hector Enrique
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Less than a year after the successful and homonymous debut album, and, after some skirmishes between Keith Emerson and Greg Lake regarding the musical direction they should follow, Emerson, Lake & Palmer releases "Tarkus". Conceptually very disparate, "Tarkus" brings together the extensive and powerful suite that gives the album its title, with a handful of songs that have no visible connections between them.

The suite "Tarkus", which occupies the first half of the album, composed of seven intertwined segments, is a constant back and forth of intense instrumental developments and paused vocal parts, where Emerson's display of virtuosity with his arsenal of pianos, hammonds and moogs, at times giddy and anxious as in "Eruption" and "Manticore", constantly take the lead. With the super active and masterful Carl Palmer and his very jazzy percussion, and Lake's bass and deep voice, especially in "Mass" and in the hypnotic "Battlefield", where he surprises with a calm and deep electric guitar solo (a very rarely used resource), the British trio completes one of their best compositions, if not the best. The fantasy story of the heroic armadillo-tank victor over the mythological villain Manticore in the perennial struggle between good and evil, concludes after almost 21 minutes with the agonizing "Aquatarkus".

The second half fails to sustain the brilliance of the first, and except for the brief and fun tavern rock of "Jeremy Bender", and the celestial and imposing organ in "The Only Way (Hymn)", the rest of the songs do not add much to the album: "Infinite Space" is a bit monotonous, Lake is heard too vocally forced for the demands of "A Time and a Place", and finally the fifties rockabilly "Are You Ready Eddy? "a joke on the famous sound engineer Eddie Offord (also a former Yes engineer), is out of context.

While the "Tarkus" suite is one of the proud emblems of the genre, a slightly more elaborate second half would have made the album a masterpiece for sure. But that's pure speculation.

4 stars

Hector Enrique | 4/5 |


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