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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Trilogy CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1587 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Like many people, I was first attracted to Emerson, Lake & Palmer early in my discovery of progressive rock. Their virtuosity is the stuff of legend. Having just seen a lot of what Yes had to offer I was craving something grandiose, so naturally the first ELP album I grabbed was love it/hate it masterwork Brain Salad Surgery. It's a complex and loud album with an emphasis on showmanship, but with the exception of maybe Toccata, it is also very approachable. Eventually, I decided to explore more of ELP's fairly limited catalogue and began where I probably should have originally, at the beginning.

Skipping ahead a few chapters, I have listened to both their eponymous debut and Tarkus. I found both to be technically proficient, but missing something. For lack of a better word, I'll call it soul. The music was obviously good, but I just couldn't connect with it. I began to think of ELP really only in terms of BSS and as a result, I held off from filling in the gap in my collection at Trilogy.

Boy was that a mistake. Having been coaxed by an episode of Top Gear in which the Stig was rocking out to Hoedown while racing, I had to go hunt it down. And, owing to my predilection towards completionism, I had to get the whole album. After, greedily spinning through Hoedown once or twice I decided to give the full album it's due and was repaid manifold. Simply put, Trilogy is superb. It has a wider variety than any of the other core albums which is doubly impressive when you consider that no track on the album is a throw away either.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that if you ask an addict he will tell you that his favourite thing is his drug of choice. So, take it with a bit of salt when I say Hoedown is the best track. It is bright, effervescent, musically impressive and plain old fun. Part of the credit has to go to Aaron Copeland for skillfully arranging a selection of American folk works into the central piece for his ballet Rodeo, but even more of the credit has to go to ELP for just hitting it right out of the ball park. It is an improbably enjoyable collision of rock, country, classical and electronic. Even more improbable however, Hoedown is not the only item of such quality on Trilogy.

The album begins with a short three piece suite which is generally more representative of the content on the album. As always, and the last time I mention it in this review, the musicianship is without equal and the track bares all the hallmarks having been produced by three monstrous egos. Classical influence also abounds on this track and through the remaining course of the album. What really sets Trilogy apart however, is that almost immediately it proves to be more subdued personal than their other work. I was already sold on the album, but the moment Greg Lake hit me with his reaching and plaintive call "Please!" it gave me chills.

I'm not going to bother boring you with a further recap. As of this moment there are already 788 reviews for this album, so anything I have to write will undoubted already have been. What I will do instead is urge anybody on the fence about this album to go give it a shot. It is an ideal compromise between the technical superiority of the first two albums and the crass "look at me" attitude of succeeding one. I'll also pass along a recommendation those who might have casually listened to and disregarded this album in passing to go back and give it another listen. It is an easy five for five, you won't be disappointed.

R-A-N-M-A | 5/5 |


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