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King Crimson - The Power To Believe CD (album) cover

THE POWER TO BELIEVE

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 836 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After King Crimson released the ConstruKction of Light in 2000, many fans were sceptical on whether they could create a great studio record after the mess that the ConstruKction of Light was (it was a good album, but by no means great). This album, released in 2003, is the most recent King Crimson offering and it takes the listener to a completely different avenue from older King Crimson. Gone are the mellotron washed symphonic tunes, gone are the poppish sounds of the 80s, and in comes ambient and hard rock mixed into a recipe that can only spell success. Robert Fripp and his band of cohorts, Adrian Belew, Pat Mastelloto, and Trey Gunn create stellar environments using the mastery of their respective instruments, but never do they get over indulgent and meander on and on with useless filler. This mostly instrumental album shows that statement in full effect, and it is a wonderful ride from beginning to end.

The Power to Believe I: A Cappella is an ambient work, with a minimalistic synth voice coming through for the entire track. It goes right into one of the heavier tracks on the album, the stunning Level Five. The interplay between Fripp and Belew, who have two completely different styles and approaches to guitar, is utterly stunning, as they exchange powerful riffs that bring up memories of Easy Money on Larks' Tongue in Aspic. Eyes Wide Open is a more mellow tune, with some (as expected) great vocals from Adrian Belew. The melody and guitar line to the song are great and they go well together. Stand out performance from Trey Gunn on this track. Elektrik is the second instrumental on the album. It brings up memories of FraKctured on The ConstruKction of Light, with Fripp and Belew playing simultaneous riffing patterns that have an undeniably sharp sound to them. Pat Mastelloto's electronic percussion on this track really fits with the undeniably jaw-dropping playing from the two guitar maestros. Facts of Life is another vocal laden tune. The intro is a powerful drum spectacular, with Mastelloto essentially going off on a tangent during the 1:38 introduction. Belew's searing and sharp vocals are accompanied by a great heavy guitar line that can only fit in a King Crimson song.

The Power to Believe II is another instrumental on the album. It has an ambient feel, with very minimalistic playing. The band was going for an ethereal work and it comes off great, with a spectacular spacey feel. The brief snippets of vocal (from The Power to Believe I) also give it a more ambient feel. Dangerous Curves is another quasi-ambient work. Trey Gunn leads the way with a stunning walking bass line and is gently added with more depth and sound from the rest of the group. The build up on this song is stunning to say the least. Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With is the final song to feature a legitimate vocal track. The cynical hard rock tune about how to write a hard rock song features dissonant THRAK type chords and some more searing and jagged vocal from Belew. The Power to Believe III and IV close the album. Both continue the trend of minimalistic ambient instrumental works, with the vocal line from The Power to Believe I being put in at key tracks of the songs. They close the album brilliantly and give the jagged album a smooth ending.

Overall, this King Crimson album is easily the best album the group has recorded in the past 15 years. It takes all the conventional rules of music and throws them out the window, giving us a dissonant, and yet strangely melodic work that can only be truly taken in from beginning to end. If you're looking for In The Court of the Crimson King Part II, you're going to be strangely misguided by the album. But if you are looking for something truly original, then this is the album for you. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |

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