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King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 1687 ratings

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5 stars I've been trying to write this review for the last three days without much luck. This is definitely not a good way to start my homage to Starless And Bible Black, an album that began like a pretty average King Crimson release in my collection and has now blossomed into a full-fledged masterpiece!

The biggest difference that had occurred since Larks' Tongues In Aspic was the notable level of maturity in the band's sound and direction. The compositions fit the lineup like a glove and the improvisations are as tight as they would ever be! Of course this album is not really a studio release since less than half of this material was actually recorded in a studio setting. Instead, it captures the lineups essence better than its predecessor and depicts the work in progress approach that Robert Fripp would become notorious for later on in his work with King Crimson.

The Great Deceiver is a great album-opener that kicks off the record very sharply and doesn't give us a moment of rest until the first moments of Lament. This second track starts off as a very smooth ballad with clear guitar/bass undertones of the style that the band would later develop on Red. Still, Lament is probably most remembered for its very tight jam session towards the middle of the composition and especially the abrupt ending that features one of the coolest guitar riffs in existence! The Night Watch adds another layer of depth to the band's style with prominent violin work by David Cross and Fripp's magnificent guitar. Even though I actually prefer the live version of the piece taken from the live album with the same name, this version isn't that far behind.

The best part of the album comes right towards the end with a composition that I can safely describe as my favorite song of all time! Yes, Fracture deserves nothing less that this status and listening to it will hopefully make you see things my way. It's not really a piece that I would like to break down into separate sections, even if that wouldn't be that hard to do, since its that feeling of a complete experience that makes me feel satisfied every time I hear it. It also features some of the most extreme guitar work that Robert Fripp has ever put on tape and the idea of him playing all this without overdubs completely blows my mind!

I rarely like albums that feature too much improv music, but since King Crimson were highly active in that department at that time of their career, it does make sense to hear a lot of this material on Starless And Bible Black. This album is not the easiest first listen and I would actually recommend experiencing it at least 10-20 times before making your final judgment of its material. Just remember that this is one of those albums that rewards the listener for taking the time uncovering all of its layers, be patient and it will grow on you!

***** star songs: The Great Deceiver (4:02) Lament (4:00) The Night Watch (4:37) Fracture (11:14)

**** star songs: We'll Let You Know (3:46) Trio (5:41) The Mincer (4:10) Starless And Bible Black (9:11)

Rune2000 | 5/5 |


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