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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Palmer CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.23 | 2080 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A monstrous achievement, so far above anything Emerson did with the Nice it can't come as anything but a revelation. The dated psychedelic predilections and silly joke songs of the Nice were long gone. Moog synthesizer was in and, for 1970, this must have sounded very fresh and modern. This was not the first rock album to use a Moog, but it was probably the first one to really integrate it as a rock & roll instrument, as opposed to a mere sound effect or gimmick. The fire it brings to "Knife-Edge" and "Tank" is undeniable, and the textures on "Lucky Man" are, of course, the stuff of legend.

But the Moog is not over-used. Emerson is still all about the Hammond, and applies what he learned in the Nice to stunning effect on "The Barbarian" and the aforementioned "Knife-Edge". He gets the opportunity to lavish some absolutely heavenly piano work on Lake's feature-length ballad "Take A Pebble".

Most of the album sounds as though it could have been recorded live; the exception being "The Three Fates", which opens with a pipe organ solo and closes with Emerson playing three pianos at once, thanks to the magic of multi-track recording. There's even some Hohner Clavinet on "Tank". In all, this is practically an aural reference book for prog-rock keyboard players.

Easily the peak of Emerson's career as a keyboardist and ELP's as a group simultaneously. For once in their life, the mating of rock and the classics seemed like a vital thing, rather than the campy kitsch it became on ensuing attempts. I think song selection (pieces by Bartók and Janacek) has a lot to do with that. Choosing pieces that work well as rock songs as opposed to, "Recognize this piece? Ha ha, aren't we clever!"

The most underrated ELP album for me, and also the best. Plays to all of the band's strengths and none of its weaknesses (I'll be kind this time and turn a blind eye to the drum solo in "Tank"). They'd never be so consistently inspired again.

Progbear | 5/5 |


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