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King Crimson - Beat CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.08 | 1216 ratings

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Symphonic Team
1 stars Discipline, part 2

The early 80's is widely recognized as the darkest period in all of progressive Rock history. Most of the classic Prog and Prog-related bands released some of their worst albums ever around this time: Genesis with Abacab, Yes with 90125, Queen with Hot Space, Jethro Tull with Under Wraps, Camel with The Single Factor, Pink Floyd with The Final Cut, Rush with Power Windows, etc. King Crimson is by no means an exception to this horrific trend. After having broken up after the successful Red album in 1974, King Crimson returned seven years later with the mixed Discipline in 1981 and continued with the present one in 1982 and 1984's Three Of A Perfect Pair. The latter would be the last of three albums before the band would once again disappear from the music scene for another eleven years.

Discipline had showed us a radically different King Crimson compared to any of the earlier efforts and with new guy Adrian Belew (Talkning Heads) on lead vocals it really sounded like a completely new band. The album was indeed initially intended to be released under the Discipline moniker instead of as King Crimson, but the record label (understandably) wanted to release it as a King Crimson album. The core of the band was once again leader Robert Fripp, drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Tony Levin. Beat continued the trend set up by Discipline and in many ways it is based on the very same formula. The production is perhaps slightly more polished but there are no changes in their approach to music. The improvisational and experimental side of the band is very much alive here, but that is frankly a side of the band that I never liked very much. I am the kind of person who prefers melodies over sound-experiments and improvisation. And the present album is really dominated by the latter.

Waiting Man is the most harmonic track on Beat and it is also my favourite here. It is very much in the same vein as Frame By Frame and Matte Kudasai from the previous album. One aspect that I really cannot get into is Adrian Belew's "talking" vocal style on songs like Neurotica (and the previous album's Elephant Talk, Indiscipline and Thela Hun Ginjeet). I find his spoken musings terribly irritating and annoying and the lyrics are often silly and nonsensical. Belew can actually sing quite well when he puts his mind to it, but on this album he does not utilize this very much. While the uneven Discipline alternated between good moments and mediocre ones, Beat alternates between mediocre moments and awful ones.

A rather poor effort by a band long past its prime

SouthSideoftheSky | 1/5 |


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