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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4184 ratings

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3 stars The most overrated album in the history of prog(whatever the hell prog is). Alright boys and girls, I'm going to turn this sacred cow into a Big Mac. Get some popcorn ready. I wonder how many people who give this album 5 stars actually listen to all 12 minutes of "Moonchild" every time they play the disc. Pointless noodling is just pointless noodling, it doesn't matter who's doing the pointless noodling. To call this the first prog album is nothing short of a complete slap in the face to artists like Zappa, Floyd, The Nice, Moody Blues, Procol Harum and East Of Eden and what they were doing before this album was released. Listen to Uncle Meat and Ummagumma(both released in 1969); those two albums make ITCOTCK sound like the Monkees! I bet some of the people who drool over this album are the same ones who refer to Trespass as Genesis' first album(ah, revisionist history, you gotta love it). This wasn't even the first symphonic prog album, that would be Days Of Future Passed. As much as I like what Crimson did from '69-'71, I really don't think they "found themselves" until LTIA(Oh that Bruford, he leaves Yes and they go to hell; he joins Crimson and they record their best album).

"21st Century Schizoid Man"-This sounds like a mix of Hendrix and Zappa. Seriously. There is nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking about this song. Is it heavy for 1969? Yep. But there were other songs that came out the same year that were just as heavy if not more so (check out Floyd's "The Nile Song" which came out in *early* 1969). The full-band writing credit on this song is misleading; Lake came up with the main riff, while Fripp and Giles came up with the jazzy middle section. If you took that middle section and added mallet percussion, it could have fit on Uncle Meat. If you removed that middle section from the rest of the song and got rid of the distorted vocals, it could have fit on Electric Ladyland. I don't think this song was very influential, however, there is a part on Soft Machine's "Facelift" that sounds very similar to a part in "Schizoid Man". ITCOTCK came out late '69, while Third was at least recorded early-mid 1970, so it may just be a coincidence.

"I Talk To The Wind"-pure Moodies except for the good drumwork, which is similar to the drumming of BJ Wilson of Procol. How influential was this song? I've heard a lot more songs from the '60s sound like this as compared to the 70s. "Epitaph"-pure Procol except for the Mellotron which sounds like the Moodies. In fact, if you want to hear a song from 1968 that sounds similar to this, listen to "In My First Mind" by Steve Miller(yes, *that* Steve Miller). Miller's song also has a slow tempo and is drenched in Mellotron. The lyrics on "Epitaph" are far superior of course. Lyric-wise this is my favourite Crimson song and Sinfield's finest hour as a lyricist. However, it is only slightly better than some of the lyrics Procol were coming up with at the time.

The first two minutes of "Moonchild" is a nice little ditty, nothing more. The rest is a perfect example of a band out of ideas. If you say you have listened to all 12 minutes of this song more than 10 times, then you: a)are lying, or b)have a greater tolerance for barely audible noodling than I do. Let's move on to the title track...more Moodies! Maybe a tad bit darker than the Moodies but wouldn't sound too out of place on In Search Of The Lost Chord. Of course the drumming is far superior to anything you'll find on a Moodies album, and maybe slightly more adventurous than what you would find on a Procol album.

So why the hype? The press loved it! People like Pete Townshend praised it to high heaven. It was Crimson's only gold album. It's considered the first prog album for no other reason than YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD SO! Compare this album to the Giles, Giles & Fripp album a year earlier. Worlds apart. Why? Because there are no Moodies, Procol, Hendrix and Zappa influences on that album...that's why. Keep in mind I am giving this 3 stars, not 1 or 2. Overrated as a all hell, but in general the music here is still pretty good. The drumming of Michael Giles in particular stands out. For an album recorded in the UK in 1969 on 8- track recording technology, this sounds incredible. In fact, the only other British release from 1969 that sounds better is Abbey Road. 3 stars it is.

zravkapt | 3/5 |


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