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King Crimson - The Power To Believe CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 1241 ratings

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Tylosand Ektorp
5 stars This is the album that gave me back the power to believe in KC. Much heavier, more emotional and fun than their previous album Construction of Light, The Power to Believe is the hardest hitting album from Crimson since Red and their best studio album since Discipline from 1981. The album starts with a beautiful processed accapella version of "The Power to Believe." Reiterated in different forms throughout the album, TPTB acts as a unifying theme not unlike "Peace" on In the Wake of Posiedon, KC's second album. Then CRUNCH! The instrumental "Level Five" pastes your ears back with blasts of avant-math-metal. The third number "Eyes Wide Open" is a bitterweet "pop" song about missed oportunities by Adrian Belew and is one of the best songs on the CD. The ending coda is especially emotionaly charged and uplifting. If radio weren't so market researched/preprogrammed these days I'd say it could be a hit.

Heavy and dark, Level Five recalls the album Red, but thats not the only nod to the past on this album. Others songs bring to mind Starless and Bible Black or Discipline era material. "Dangerous Curves" sounds like an electronica influenced conflation of "The Talking Drum" from Larks Tongue in Aspic and "Mars" also from In The Wake of Posiedon. Robert Fripps guitar playing recalls and updates styles he's used throughout his history in Crimson: from fast unison lines, avant-metal, to soundscape electronica, etc... But rather than merely aping the past, Fripp and company have made "The Power To Believe" both a culmination of everything that made past Crimson great, and a step forward.

The playing on TPTB is confident and adventurous. Certainly the band benefited from doing the improvisation oriented Projects. A "fractalization," in Fripp's words, of the double trio, ie different arrangements of the then six members of K.C. playing live improvised music. (Check out the Projects boxed set) That they've been a quartet for two albums has also strengthened Crimson. Every persons role in the band is more clearly deliniated, its easier for four guys to listen to one another. Not to mention that its much easier to write for four people than six. There are tight composed songs, spacey soundscapes and improvised, almost electronica sounding pieces. Crimson easily pull off disciplined circular rhythm patterns, and odd "Indicipline"-like time signatures. Amazing all around playing from every member.

Most notatable is the incredible acoustic and electronic drumming of Pat Mastelloto. In fact Fripp has been quoted as saying that Pat is a rock drummer, so Crimson wanted to make a rock, more riff based album so that he could really shine. Well they did and he does. Trey Gunn on Warr guitar is also an absolute monster. He's by far a better player than Tony Levin but not as funky or groove oriented. His solo on "The Power To Believe II" is wonderful, though you have to see Trey live to truly appreciate how really good he is. Adrian Belew as usual is an absolutely smoking lead guitarist. But his vocals on TPTB really shine and have an unusually emotional resonance. They're just great, ranging from hopefull, to critical, to humorous (not something you'd usually think of when discussing King Crimson)

The "Power to Believe" is an album that looks to the past but resolutely, and with hope, marches forward. Its heavy, playful, serious, emotionally touching and has a wide variety of sounds and dynamics. A friend of mine who has given up on rock as an artform gave what I think is the perfect review: "This album makes me believe that its still possible to make interesting rock music."

Tylosand Ektorp | 5/5 |


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