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King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4221 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Not just a pretty face...

This debut release from King Crimson was light-years ahead of its time and is widely considered to be a cornerstone for all progressive rock.

The Good: The opening track is just a mindblasting composition and arguably the strongest start to any album, ever. It's sometimes easy to forget that this was released in 1969, a year when Get Back, Honky Tonk Woman and I Heard it on the Grapevine were dominating the charts. The shear heaviness and down right audacity of this song was like nothing else that had come before it . Forget groundbreaking, 21st Century Schizoid Man split the Earth in two, sucked every living thing into oblivion, then welded it back together all in the space of seven mintutes and twenty seconds. It bears all the hallmarks of a true classic with countless artists having covered it including most recently, Shining and Von Hertzen Brothers, and was even sampled sampled on a Kanye West track as well as appearing on Guitar Hero. There are very few songs which remain just as musically relevant over 40 years after they changed the world.

Anyone expecting more of the same could be in for a shock as Talk to the Wind could not be more different with its dulcit tones and subtle drum and flute interplay, a far cry from the bombastic orgy which came before it. This incredibly peaceful composition perfectly compliments its predecessor whilst setting a more minimalistic tone for the two tracks which follow it.

The Bad: For me Epitaph is a bit of a waste of time. Whilst quite an interesting piece on its own, when listened to in the context of the album it pales in comparison to the majestic title track and feels like a shiny door knocker which is completely forgotten by the time you're feasting in the grand hall. In addition, the experimental meanderings of Moonchild are a bit hit and miss and far too drawn out for my liking, but that is just down to personal preference.

The Verdict: This album pretty much defines eclectic prog as there are countless facets to be discovered, yet it still clings to a continuous recognisable sound throughout. In terms of quality I would say: one masterpiece, two excellent additions and two good but non-essential... 3.8 rounded up to 4 for musical significance.

Starhammer | 4/5 |


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