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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King CD (album) cover

IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4424 ratings

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Cheesehoven
5 stars The album that put the pomp into pomp rock!

Badly dated, with overblown arrangements and embarrassing lyrics, yet this remains the most important Prog album ever. It is certainly an essential album for those interested in the history of progressive music. But taken on its own merits, it perhaps lacks the timeless qualities that bear repeated listens. It is no doubt because this record was so pioneering that it has aged less well than others afterwards. They were able to learn from and improve on it.

The album starts off with the innovative "21st century schizoid man" which has been claimed as the progenitor of heavy metal and grunge among other things. I cannot fault it, especially in the instrumental section, but it has never been a favourite of mine. It also provides the sole example of an up-tempo song on this album; from now on, the mood will be slow, serene and funereal.

"I talk to the wind" is the subtlest piece on the album and thus often overlooked. A beguiling flute part adds a lot to the ethereal atmosphere. Were it not for the awful lyrics this might be better appreciated.

The overblown nature of this work really kicks off with Epitaph, a rather drawn out and dirge-like number with huge mellotron accompaniment. The lyrics, although not the greatest, do at least match the mood of the music.

"Moonchild" is perhaps the most prophetic piece here, in terms of King Crimson's subsequent development. After another slow and wistful sung section is a long ambling instrumental. Completely free form and dissonant, it rambles aimlessly for 9 minutes and is the major disappointment of this album.

"In the court of the Crimson King" is the mother of all bombastic prog tracks. In particular the chorus has massive mellotron strings and harmonies to match. The lyrics again are terrible and easily parodied.

Although I personally prefer many other prog albums (including some by King Crimson) I cannot see how this cannot be given 5 stars.

Cheesehoven | 5/5 |

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