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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

4.60 | 3018 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Brendan
3 stars This album is probably essential for any fan of progressive rock music. However, I have rated it three stars.

This is progressive rock's first true album. With it is a legacy that, to this day, runs through progressive rock bands that have followed. Brilliant instrumental music, meaningless lyrics, sometimes sloppy vocals (though, they are pretty good here), ethereal, generally long song times, not much emotion.

When listening to this album, there is an air of excitement, there's an air about it,, which convey's something like 'we're doing something wonderful that's never been done before.' There are obviously a lot of pent-up ideas that were waiting to be unleashed.

The opening cut, the rocking '21st century schizoid man', has a catchy chorus, but look at what the instrumental music is doing, from rock to jazz to classical, changing time signatures, changing chords, changing signatures, etc. no one had ever pushed rock this far before. No, no-one had ever done this before, not even anything like it, and the listener can sense the excitement in the studio as they lay this cut down. They know what's going down... Classic and Timeless.

'I talk to the wind' is a vintage progressive rock ballad. But, at that end, it is not much more than that, obtuse lyrics, pleasant and airy, melodious.

Unlike almost anything that had come before, the dramatic 'Epitaph' is a very prophetic- sounding song. The lyrics seem to envisage a world in the future where there is chaos and disasters happen (maybe they were prophesising the future of music?), the vocals are dark and dramatic. Most of all, however, is a dark 'air' or ;aura' surrounding the song. This feeling is probably makes the song so attractive to listeners out there seeking something different. Something BEYOND the norm, the mundane, the ordinary.

There is the controversial 'Moonchild' (named after the Aliester Crowley book?), which I think rewards a patient listener, and the main part is a nice ballad, a kind of ethereal love song. That said, it does require a lot of patience to sit through nine minute of music that is 'barely there'.

Then, the title track kind of goes back to 'Epitaph', prophetic, dark, symphonic. The chorus is catchy, and, unusually for the Crim, there are some eerie vocal harmonies that hearken a bit to The Moody Blues. The song is catchy, and the instrumental music is very good.

But somewhere in this album, there are faults that plague so many prog efforts that have followed in it's wake. I know prog is about expressing artistic merit, but would it kill them to make the music a bit heartfelt? I mean, this is an excellent piece of art, but with almost no emotional value. The lyrics are often poetic, but rarely mean anything. Or maybe only Peter Sinfield knows what they mean.

And the album isn't a 'ball of fun', so to speak, although, admittedly, they rectified this later and many of their later albums are just as much fun as any hard-rock band. Good examples of this are Thrak, Red, etc.

But this album opened up a whole new genre, a genre that allowed limitless exploration, innovation and creativity. There have been many classic that have followed in it's wake, including albums made by the same band.

Brendan | 3/5 |

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