Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 1639 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Strident, angular, dark and chilling as its title suggests, "Starless and Bible Black" is a hard ride, but ultimately quite a rewarding one. It takes repeated, careful listens to get into it, and even then chances are it will never become your favourite KC album. When I first heard it, my reaction was one of perplexity, something like "well, OK, it's not bad at all, but is it that good either?". Even now, I only tend to put it on when I know I will be able to sit for a while without being interrupted by other tasks. There's no way out of it: you MUST listen to "Starless..." in order to really appreciate it, otherwise it will just seem to you like a bunch of weird, disjointed sounds with some quieter moments thrown in for good measure. I would say that the title of the closing track, "Fracture", is in a way the album's statement of intent.

John Wetton's performance is one of the best features here. In fact, his vocals are vastly superior to "Larks' Tongues in Aspic", even though he still sounds rather weak in the upper ranges, as in the second part of "Lament", which would be more suitable for a hard-rock singing style. In the opening "The Great Deceiver", he snarls and spits out the biting, acerbic words in a way that complements the music perfectly. Moreover, his powerful, aggressive bass playing really comes to the fore on this record, especially on "We'll Let You Know".

"Starless..." offers fewer vocals and far less melody than most KC albums, the wistful "The Night Watch" and the instrumental "Trio" being the only moments of respite in the frantic, tense feel of the whole. Fripp's guitar is at its most experimental, as in the eerie, disturbing "The Mincer"; while Bruford's crisp, complex drumming patterns provide a perfect foil for both Wetton's booming, muscular bass lines and Fripp's wild guitar excursions. David Cross's violin, though, is somewhat under-employed here in comparison to "Larks'..." and "Red".

"Starless and Bible Black" may not be a masterpiece like its follow-up, the monumental "Red", but it's an album no self-respecting prog fan can afford to ignore. This is KC at its darkest and most intellectual - not for the faint-hearted maybe, but progressive in the true sense of the word.

Raff | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this KING CRIMSON review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives