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King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black CD (album) cover

STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.89 | 1209 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Brendan
4 stars ECCENTRIC, COMPLEX PROG, BUT IT'S FUN, ACTUALLY

BACKGROUND: King Crimson had established themselves as fore-runners of progressive rock in 1969 with the landmark recording 'In the court of the Crimson King'. They struggled to follow this up, however, with an album that would make the same impact. They re-established themselves in 1973, however with the powerful 'Larks Tongues in Aspic', with a new, fresh lineup.

The new sound was full of heavy, dissonant guitars, a juxtaposition of loud sections against soft sections, an archaic feeling with violins and John Wetton's voice, and was very dark but donw-to-earth; didn't have that big symphonic backdrop that peers had, especially Genesis with Tony Banks. The playing was profession, with unusual melodies and rhythms. This was the follow up in 1974, how does it compare?

ANALYSIS: Well, compared to 'Larks ...' 'Starless and Bible Black' is more fun. The songs are quirky and bizzare, but mostly are very good. The vocals are a weakness, not to say John Wetton is a bad vocalist, but the vocals usually take a back seat to the instruments. The song 'Lament' is a mess, however, 'Night-Watch' is a fine English traditional song and 'Great Deceiver' is an excellent rock song. 'We'll let you know' is a funky instrumental that slowly builds up to a climax and 'Trio' is a pretty instrumental that might just move you to tears, something of a rarity for KC. The final short track for this album is 'The Mincer', a very eerie song that, unfortunately, has some mumbled vocals towards the end.

There are tow long instrumental on the second side, the title track and fractured. The title track is a collage of soft sounds that try to convey a feeling, more than anything, but for nine minutes this song is actually quite a non-event. Fractured, however... what a masterpiece! It's an excellent piece, that slowly builds up to a dramatic crescendo of heavy guitars, violin and feeling. The song is very well-written and is actually a lot of fun to listen to. Only a genius could write and pull-off something like this. Fripp, who wrote the song, knew how to build tension, hold the listener's interest, create an air of excitement, and he plays guitar very professionally.

CONCLUSION: My rating is more like three and a half, as opposed to four, sometimes the album is very sloppy, and the title track is somewhat of a miss-step, though not totally worth dismissing. In the end, King Crimson are very original, a strong, eccentric genius personality is in their music and their music, especially on this album, is quite fun.

Brendan | 4/5 |

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