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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1863 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars BRAIN SALAD SURGERY comes at a pivotal time in the history of ELP. Despite already succeeding with several hit albums under their belt, the band had actually been together for only 3 years at the time of this album's release. A virtual overnight success (literally) from their first live performance, here is a band that had released no less than 4 albums of original material within the first 19 months of their inception, three of which made the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic ! So it goes without saying that there was perhaps a lot riding on this one. As such, the band took a little more time than usual with BSS, taking time to re-think their game plan, now that financial success was for the most part well-established. It was also the first album released on their own record label, MANTICORE.

Rather than playing it safe with shorter songs, or potential hits, BRAIN SALAD SURGERY is particularly admirable in the ways in which it takes even more "risks" than its predecessors. It contains what is arguably their most experimental piece ("Toccata"), as well as their longest thematic composition to date ("Karn Evil 9"). The only place in which the album "follows formula" is in its inclusion of the token Greg Lake "hit-potential" solo piece ("Still....You Turn Me On"). As such, BRAIN SALAD SURGERY is a near-perfect exposition of everything that made Prog's Golden Era great - great solos, great arrangements, great song-writing.

Production-wise, however, it is a bit thin (especially on opener "Jerusalem"). Emerson had yet to get a very full piano sound on record, and BSS is no exception. Which is a shame, actually, because "Karn Evil 9 - 2nd Impression" is one of the best recorded expositions of Emerson's forte on piano.

It's just a shame that BRAIN SALAD SURGERY was released before the age of compact discs, as the length of Karn Evil 9 prevents it from fitting onto a single side of vinyl, a fact which diminished its impact somewhat in its original form.

Five stars......a true classic of Prog's Golden Age !

carlmarx38 | 5/5 |


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