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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 917 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
4 stars This album gets undeserving little play in my household but let me change this tradition and turn on the record during this review!

Pictures At An Exhibition is a nice reworking of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky's classical pieces. I think that the main reason for my negligence of this album has to do with the Tarkus suite that was released only a few month earlier. That 20 minute composition is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of ELP's work since it perfectly depicts the trios loosely based collaboration where each member tried to get his individual ego in the spotlight. But what I love the most about that suite is its near perfect flow. This is unfortunately not the case with Pictures At An Exhibition, which merely provides us with glimpses, or pictures, and leaves out any feeling of a complete suite.

If only the band chose to make the Tarkus suite into a two part progressive-epic, by stretching it into a complete LP worth of music, then we probably wouldn't need Pictures At An Exhibition. But since it's not the case let's move away from the imaginary world and talk about the album at hand. The highlight of this live release are the reworked pieces such as the Promenade intro, The Gnome and The Sage where Greg Lake really shines. The rest of the tracks are mostly solid, but are too short for their own good and function merely as short highlights out of a complete experience that the actual concert might have sounded like. I just can't stop thinking of all the "what if?" possibilities and that slightly ruin this album experience for me.

In the end, it's still a great piece of progressive rock history that should not be overlooked by fans of Symphonic Prog music. It might seem weird that I criticize this album only to end up awarding it an excellent rating but I guess that it's easier to nitpick music that one has grown to love over all these years.

***** star songs: Promenade (1:58) The Sage (4:42)

**** star songs: The Gnome (4:18) Promenade (1:23) The Old Castle (2:33) Blues Variation (4:22) Promenade (1:29) The Hut Of Baba Yaga (1:12) The Hut Of Baba Yaga (1:06) The Great Gate Of Kiev/The End (6:37) Nutrocker (4:26)

*** star songs: The Curse Of Baba Yaga (4:10)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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