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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 1699 ratings

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4 stars I honestly can't find another album in my collection that has such a weird mixture of material where the best songs are mixed with the worst. What makes it even weirder is the fact that it manages to come out on top in the end! The best comparison that I can think of would be that of Rush's 2112 album since it also features, what I consider to be, their best suite on side one while side two is a mixed bag. But unlike that release, Tarkus has an even worse side two and still manages to maintain its dignity when taken as a complete album experience.

I'm really not sure how much I should say about the album's title track outside of the fact that it's easily my favorite composition by ELP since it combines all of the collectives best qualities. By that, I'm not talking about the tight collaboration work between the band members, since that idea was lost even on this relatively early release. It's all about striking a balance between the erratic personalities within the collective and Tarkus is a perfect example of just that.

Even if the Tarkus suite wasn't the first progressive epic, Procol Harum's In Held Twas In I is the earliest really mature epic I've discovered so far, it is a definite milestone of progressive rock. So if you are a progressive rock fan you should probably have already acquired this album and shouldn't bother with my tedious review. As for you others I don't pity you since the album is a downhill slide from here on! Most of the remaining tracks are fillers. Keep in mind that almost anything feels like a filler when it's compared to the title track suite. Notable mentions go to The Only Way (Hymn) and its followup Infinite Space (Conclusion), but otherwise the rest of the tracks are not in the same league. On a side note, I do realize that Are You Ready Eddy? is supposed to be a joke, but it's not even close to some of the lesser Genesis/Zappa-jokes from the same era and that pretty much says it all.

With Tarkus you basically get 21 minute of solid music followed by 17 minutes of mostly filler but its that first part that weights up the album. In the end, this album is still an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection and a must have for all Symphonic Prog fans.

***** star songs: Tarkus (20:42)

**** star songs: The Only Way (Hymn) (3:49)

*** star songs: Jeremy Bender (1:51) Bitches Crystal (3:58) Infinite Space (Conclusion) (3:20) A Time And A Place (3:02)

* star songs: Are You Ready Eddy? (2:10)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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