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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover

BRAIN SALAD SURGERY

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1804 ratings

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Vibrationbaby
5 stars " Guaranteed to blow your head apart."

A heaping helping of fodder for critics of progressive rock to eat for breakfast. If ELP went off the deep end with their 1972 album Trilogy and it's subsequent world tour , then they were about to take the plunge with this firestorm embelished with everything that gave progressive rock labels like "pretentious", "bombastic" and "overblown". But the critics weren't clear on the concept. Wasn't this the whole raison d'etre of Emerson Lake & Palmer in 1974? And they didn't stop with the music. They had to have a cover that would blow everyone else's cover out of the water from Yes to Led Zeppelin. The Hans Rudolph Giger 5 module ccover art, which also introduced the ELP band logo. stirred up some controversy when an errect penis had to be airbrushed out on the original painting. ELP even had to change the name of the album because of overt sexual references to the less apparent final name which was taken from a lyric in a Dr. John song.

But for the connoisuer this was progrock in it's highest form : An extended showpiece in 4 movements featuring smatterings of jazz, classical and even hard rock with freakish sci-fi lyrics, a reworking of a modern classical piece with stamped approval from the composer himself as well as an ode to their homeland based on Hubert Parry's anthemic Jerusalem. Why not ? Emerson demolished Leonard Berstein's America in his previous band The Nice. Perhaps because of having Greg Lake's input this was more tastefully done and became a hit single even though the BBC banned it.

Although the record follows the configuration of their 1971 Tarkus album, Brain Salad Surgery is much more to form musically and includes the now compulsory Greg Lake acoustic ballad and light hearted R&B / ragtime rave up.

Overblown? Pretentious ? Bombastic ? OK. Brain Salad Surgery was a defining progrock album from the movement's glory years and certainly ELP's last great album as a band and arguably their masterwork, although some afficionados would argue in favour of Tarkus. Some leftover material from the Brain Salad Surgery sessions can be heard on 1978's Works Vol. 2 while most of the album can be heard in all it's progrock splendour on the Welcome Back My Friends Live blowout from 1974.

Vibrationbaby | 5/5 |

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