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Eclectic Prog

4.12 | 575 ratings

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3 stars While writing my reviews of the '70s King Crimson albums I recalled that I had a copy of this album lying around, so let's give it another spin and see if my opinion of it will change this time.

The self-titled debut album from the supergroup called U.K. was released during a very turbulent time in prog rock history which makes it all the more unique, but is this uniqueness enough to uphold this record as one of the masterpieces of progressive music? The album opening suit consisting of In The Dead Of Night/By The Light Of Day/Presto Vivace And Reprise definitely starts the album on a high note of virtuosity from all the four members, but this is unfortunately as good as this release will ever get.

What follows the three first opening tracks can only be described as a fusion, or the lack of there-of, between Holdsworth's jazz-guitar soloing, Jobson's very '80s sounding keyboard sound while mixed with John Wetton, who sounds almost the same as he did during his years in King Crimson. Bruford rounds up the lineup, but I don't see his contribution as stand-alone such since he functions mainly as the glue that holds this collective together. Just listen to Thirty Years and you'll see what I mean!

Alaska is where the sound becomes atmospheric but without any real significant meaning to it, making me think that the first half of this track is deliberately wasting my time. The second part is a real blast and brings out all the best qualities of this collaboration, which in the end becomes a very awkward experience since I tend to skip the first 2 minutes out of this 5 minute song just to get to the good stuff. Time To Kill continues the groove that was achieved towards the end of Alaska and everything works nicely up until the very cheesy chorus section which ruins some of the momentum for me.

The final two tracks are dominated by Allan Holdsworth's jazz guitar style that has been absent from the music up to this point, but once it kicks in I get reminded exactly why I consider him to be one of the most overrated guitarists I know. He basically wails around in his soundscapes without ever trying to deviate from his tedious style which gives me shivers as soon as I think of it. Don't even get me started on the actual songs, since they aren't really even worth discussing here!

This is one of those popular albums that I guess is just beyond my comprehension. There are a few nice moments in the beginning of the release but there's really very little connection between how this album begins and ends, making me believe that the band weren't certain on which direction they wanted to take their music. In the end it's just a mixed bag that I only listen to whenever I want to show to my friends where Dream Theater got their soloing ambitions from.

***** star songs: In The Dead Of Night (5:39) Presto Vivace And Reprise (3:01)

**** star songs: By The Light Of Day (4:30) Thirty Years (8:08) Time To Kill (4:52)

*** star songs: Alaska (4:45) Nevermore (8:13) Mental Medication (7:22)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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