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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover

TARKUS

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 1280 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Aranarth
5 stars Tarkus is one of the greatest masterpieces of prog music and ELP's best album, IMO. It opens with the 20-minute epic title track, which is divided into seven pieces, all equally awesome. The highlight is Lake's "Battlefield", which carries a poignant anti-war theme. "Aquatarkus" is a strong and interesting finisher by Emerson, who is the dominant force on the entire album, writing all the songs, more than half of them by himself. It is his greatest achievement as composer. Many put "Karn Evil 9" as high or even higher, but there is no doubt that Tarkus is the better piece of the two.

Side two, although hardly a match for the first, is still strong in it's own right and is a necessary slow down from the bombastic first part. "Jeremy Bender" is an amusing little song with a very melodic chorus and a nice vocal performance by Greg Lake. It is the album's humouristic piece and lightens up things after the dramatic and poignant "Battlefield". "Bitches Crystal" is a fast song with some great Emerson piano playing. The comes the second highlight of this record, the quite moody but still optimistic "Hymn (The Only Way)", which is in my opinion the best song ELP ever recorded. With it's classical feeling, the baroque church organ opening and Lake's gorgeous vocal, it gives the album another epic and poignant moment. It is followed by "Infinite Space (Conclusion)", a jazzy instrumental which serves as a conclusion to the previous song. It is the first track where Carl Palmer is credited. "A Time and Space" is a good closer, that is it should have been. But for some mysterious reason, ELP chose to add a terribly lame Jerry Lee Lewis ripoff called "Are you ready Eddy?", and dedicated to their engineer. This was really unnecessary and spoils the overall impression somewhat.

Still, Tarkus is an incredible album that showed how ELP matured in such a short time after their formation. For a sophomore album, it really is a wonder how good it is. It's probably the best sophomore album ever. So to sum it all up, "Tarkus" is the epitome of what a real ELP and prog album should sound like. Melodic and meaningful songs and a long and ambitious symphonic piece. That's the way to do it boys!

Aranarth | 5/5 |

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