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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover

IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.60 | 3011 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
4 stars It is common opinion that this album is what started it all. Indeed this is certainly one of the earliest forms of prog. But its antecedence is not a good indicator of quality, as it is one of the most experimentally innovative albums ever, and is probably the group's best. It is vital to recognize the importance of this record. Not only has it been a major influence in the prog genre, but also metal and plain rock as well. Furthermore, Fripp is perhaps the most influential prog rock guitarist in the business.

'21st Century Schizoid Man' is an introduction to the first prog album that simply couldn't be better. The song is structurally diverse, there are a variety of instruments including sax and distorted vocals, and many of the sections are chaotic and dissonant. The melodies and harmonies are great, and the energy is surreal.

Perhaps another aspect I especially love about this album is the explicit mood changes throughout. The transition from the previous song to 'I Talk to the Wind' is a perfect example. What this song lacks in energy and chaos it makes up for in pure beauty. The song is largely dominated by flute, along with gentle vocals from Lake and subdued guitar and drum playing.

'Epitaph' is probably most notable for its heavy use of the mellotron, which has become a staple of the genre. Despite being mostly down-tempo and calm, there are a few buildups with mellotron and Lake's voice which add to the impressive dynamic range of the song. Unfortunately, experimenting usually comes at a price, and this is exemplified on

'Moonchild.' Much of the song is just annoying noodling with no real structure or ideas. I guess it creates a rather dark and dissonant atmosphere, but it is not a particularly enjoyable listen from me.

The album ends with the title track, which is even further drenched in the wonderful mellotron. The first section has the 'tron playing the main melody nonetheless, with some amazing dynamic sound changes. A short melody is played on flute before the song climaxes, and eventually ends with a reprise of the main theme.

I don't believe 'In the Court of the Crimson King' is a masterpiece (mainly because of the lackluster 12-minute Moonchild), but I would be na´ve to believe this album isn't a significant part of the prog canon. And for this reason I believe it is a must have for prog fans.

8/10

Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |

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