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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.52 | 2246 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Publius
5 stars I've just realised. I've never reviewed this album before. Strange, as it's one of my favourites. Firstly, this album should be praised by metal fans over the world. King Crimson played an integral part in creating such music styles, and this album is perhaps the obelisk at the centre of it. We've had 21st Century Schizoid Man, Larks Tongues In Aspic 1 and 2, The Great Deceiver, and Fracture. Now we have this. The opening track, Red, is one of Crimson's most famous, and with good reason. The album explodes into your bedroom just as it did back in 1974. You're thinking "woah...this is heavy" Heavier in fact than anything else made in 1974. A remarkably simple, yet effective rock song, Red only uses a standard rock line-up of guitar, bass and drums, written in a very common and easy time meter. This track has Nine Inch Nails written all over it, especially some of the middle sections which have very creepy disjointed staccato melodies which I think is played on the low strings of a violin. This track pretty much carries on where Fracture left off, with John Wetton's superb distorted bass and Robert Fripp's grungy guitar tone. Kurt Cobain, after all, cited this as the greatest album of all time. The following track, "Fallen Angel" reminds one of Epitaph or Exiles...with balladeering lyrics and unsettling, dreamy music. Quite poppy in places, but a lot of people's favourite song from this album. Robert Fripp plays some of those beautiful harmonics only he can pull off. Quite melancholy. Mellotron in there somewhere too! One More Red Nightmare. Now here's a track that's worth a listen. It rocks, hard as its namesake predecessor (the title track) yet...if I asked you what type of music it was, what would you answer? It sounds like King Crimson for the first few seconds, but once the vocals take over...wait for it...this track sounds like...early hip-hop! The vocals are excellent, shaky and terrifying, but there is an underlying funk in the music with the Santana-esque notes form Robert Fripp and the oh-so-hip-hop sounding percussive sounds. Wetton's bass work is once again steady and perfect in every way. Providence. Why, Why, Why? They do this on every album; they throw in a worthless song of noises. Moonchild, The Taking Drum, Starless and Bible Black...why do they do it? It's a waste of time. I suppose every album has its folly, and this is it. Here we go. The best Crimson song of all time. Starless. Whether or not this was written as an "apology" or "replacement" for the boring title track on Starless and Bible Black I don't know, but it sure as hell is amazing. The track starts out as a mellotron based ballad, Epitaph style. There are beautiful interjections of soprano sax which give the song a melancholy, almost gritty feel. The band plays as tight as a blues band here, Bruford's steady jazz drumming matches perfectly with Wetton's unusually clean bass. Fripp provides some coherent melody interjections in counterpoint to the sax, which sound beautiful and oh-so heartfelt. Then the vocals come in. Wetton's gritty, Bowie-esque voice comes in and sings the most beautiful set of heartfelt lyrics Crimson ever produced. The way Wetton sings the line "Starless and Bible Black" is quite frankly sublime and cannot be appreciated until you have heard it. After three verses, there is a long, minimalist jam in 13/8. Superbly enjoyable but only after a few listens, this part of the song is fascinating as Robert Fripp picks out a single note over and over again in perfect rhythm, almost as if he were playing bass, and Bruford plays his quirky percussion instruments only on the 3rd, 8th and 11th beat. Eventually he pitch goes up until finally the drums stop, Fripp plays some higher, screeching notes to some steady bass notes from Wetton until all hell breaks loose into an incredible, jazz style jam, still in 13/8 but at about twice the speed, with an incredible sax solo! This then slowly turns back into the opening riff, with all original instrumentation returned (the sax taking lead) whcih erupts into my favourite Crimson moment ever...the final two chords which opened the song, but this time with Wetton's bass note held tremblingly on the D as if slowly bursting into tears...this moment, between around 11:35 and 11:50...can only be described as heart rending. It honestly will make you well up and stop your heart on the spot. A remarkable end to a remarkable album...which gives one a strange nostalgic feel that this is the end of the original Crimson era. A truly heartbreaking moment. Needless to say, this album is beyond words. I've done my best to describe it but you just can't do music justice with words. Buy it and let it blow you away.

Publius

Publius | 5/5 |

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