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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2306 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Hangedman
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I'm not lying when I say that "Red" by King Crimson is my all time favorite album of any genre. This piece was originally intended to be the final King Crimson album, and what a finale it would have been. Hard, emotional, almost grunge like even. The simple black cover, with the trio (Fripp, Bruford, Wetton) and a speedometer on the back seems to fit the album perfectly. These songs are essentially the last words of the Bruford- Wetton era Crimson and a testament to everything the band had achieved before this release. I warn however, do not purchase this album expecting what you heard on "In The Court Of The Crimson King", because it is completely different. Try to accept that a band can change styles to avoid stagnation, and why would you buy something new if you wanted it to be exactly the same as something else?

What happens if you take King Crimson and put them on the streets for a year? You get "Red". The songs are much more rhythm based than they ever have before, and have a much more violent and angry tone to them. The drumming and bass together are viscous enough to break your nose, and Fripp plays appropriate riff like guitar to go along for the most part. There is of course still the horn sections, mellotron, violin and a couple of other instruments so as to retain the "symphonic" rock feel. Crimson proves they can rock as hard as any mid seventies metal band, and still retain a respectable level of writing and fusion on this one.

The level Muscianmanship on this album is excellent, and easily puts Bill Bruford into the contenders for best rock drummers of all time. The lyrics are all powerful and fit perfectly with the music and Wetton's style of singing. The most astounding part of the album though is that it manages to break the barrier that makes prog unacceptable with normal music fans. Its catchy, its concise, its easy to swallow, and it is instantly memorable (all with the exception of "Providence"). All that and it still manages to be full out progressive rock.

There are a few problems with the editing, sometimes its hard to make out some of the drumming intricacies. Other times the vocals don't sound 100% clear. Generally though its well done.

All of the songs but "Providence" are exceptionally strong. "Red" opens the album with a bang, with some impressive trio oriented patterns. Sets the mood for the rest of the album perfectly. "Fallen Angel" begins comparatively gentle, and becomes heart wrenching as Wetton cries "Fallen Angel" while what's probably my favorite guitar riff of all time plays and the horns come in, culminating into a scream to the heavens for revenge. "One More Red Nightmare" gains points for the only prog song I can think of effectively using clapping as part of the percussion. Its upbeat, and has a great chorus. Sounding nothing like King Crimson ever has. "Starless" is the best song on the album, and is an alternate to an older King Crimson track. Its more similar to old Crimson, yet at the same time translates to the style of this album flawlessly. Has incredible buildup, and one of the most impressive instrumental rock sections of all time. The different movements of this song mold together seamlessly, and is the best possible way to send off the band. "Providence" is weak in comparison to the rest of the album, and it reminds me very much of the King Crimson song "Moonchild". It begins with a jam like section, with some interesting violin and comes into a beat nearing the end that's quite good. Unfortunately it doesn't hold together all that well as a song, and is mostly used as a buffer to let one relax before starless.

This album is truly worthy of a 5 star rating, if you like any music at all you'll find at least one thing you like on it. I can honestly say its the most essential piece of music in my collection, and would be the first thing to save in a fire after living creatures.

Hangedman | 5/5 |

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