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King Crimson - Beat CD (album) cover

BEAT

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

2.98 | 802 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is similar in style to Discipline, but it's significantly worse. The biggest difference between this and its predecessor is that the energy that was so key to the success of Discipline is pretty much gone - it's like somebody gave the whole band Xanax before this album. The playing isn't worse or anything like that, but the sense of controlled insanity that permeated the whole album and made it sooooo cool has been replaced with .. ehn ... normalcy. Yup, the band decided for this album to focus more on "real" compositions, with some of the stylistics of the last album, and decided to go for resonance and moodiness and all that stuff. Problem is, this album shows pretty convincingly that the band functions best as mad scientists, not normal world-beat musicians, and I have to struggle to enjoy the album in a way I almost never do on Discipline.

Admittedly, some of the tracks are pretty enjoyable. Though I'm not wild about Bruford's tone in the track, "Sartori in Tangier" distinguishes itself above the rest by being dancable, complex and meditative all in one, making itself an instrumental worthy of inclusion on Discipline, even if it might not have fit in perfectly. I'm also comfortable with "Heartbeat," a moody New Wave pop ballad with a tasteful, moody backwards guitar solo, and "Waiting Man," a decent upbeat percussion-driven moody world-beat-based track. The latter would get a LOT cooler in concert, but I'm not too bothered by what's here. And hey, "Two Hands" is an ultra-pretty ballad, with some lovely echoey guitar work over a nice bassline, albeit with some slightly sappy lyrics.

Two of the other tracks are okayish, but they still border on filler. The opening "Neal and Jack and Me" is somewhat annoying for having the exact same guitar interplay that ended Discipline, and the melody is too chaotic to be memorable but too ordinary to be impressive. "Neurotica" is slightly better, but not much more than a second-rate "Thela Hun Gingeet," with rants about life in a city over chaotic jamming.

The album also closes on a relatively low note - "The Howler" is a pretty complex composition, but complexity definitely doesn't necessarily mean quality, and it just screams out filler with every note. As for "Requiem," supposedly it's a tribute to John Coltrane (I don't know why, though - Coltrane had been dead a good long time before this album), but that seems to just be an excuse for unstructured atonal jamming with lots of noise and little purpose. I like the first minute or so, but the rest, ugh ...

As much as I've more or less dissed on the album, though, I wouldn't want to give it less than *** - it's not anywhere the level of Discipline, but some of its differences from that album can (in theory) be considered improvements (e.g. the presence of "real" songs), even if they're actually a regression in practice. Regardless, this should be your last purchase of the 80's KC-trilogy, and even then you should be looking for it cheap.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |

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