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King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 2069 ratings

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3 stars Starless and Bible Black, the second album by the famous 73-75 King Crimson line-up, is divided into two distinct parts. Some songs are recorded from studio work and some are coming from live improvisations. The recording of five live improvisations for a studio album was meant to make a controversial work. Indeed, it became a controversial album.

Fist, I have to point out the incredible musicianship and musical talent that those guys display in this album. Fracture, which is a improv piece doesn't even sound like it was improvised. The bass and drums playing is basically perfect in every song. Fripp is in top shape and Cross's is fairly present. That said, let's move on to the actual review of the songs.

The album opener, The Great Deceiver is a superb rocking piece from King Crimson with an awesome riff and weird lyrics. It is one of my favorite King Crimson all-out rocking track. Then, we have Lament which is a good slow song that gets more interesting as it progresses. However, at the end, it gets really interesting (it turns out heavy) but then comes a really abrupt end which turns into an interesting but not very enjoyable jam they named We'll let you know. The Night Watch is next. This song is excellent I must say. It's a guitar-driven slow song with great vocals and a wonderful guitar solo. Yet another set of impovisations follows. This time, we get three of them. Trio and the Mincer are two improvs that doesn't get anywhere in my opinion. Soma parts of Trio are beautiful and mellow but as a whole, those tracks aren't really interesting. Plus, the Mincer's end happens so abruptly that it ruins the whole song. It looks like the tape ran out or something. Finally, we get an interesting atmospherical improvisation and that is Starless and Bible Black. This song creates an uneasy atmosphere and it succeeds very well. No matter how much I think that the improvisations kinda ruined the album in some parts, my favorite song on Starless and Bible Black is an improv. I'm talking about Fracture. This marvelous musical progression is fabulous and demonstrate Fripp's talent like a few other King Crimson songs. That song is essential.

What bugs me about this album is that it's partly an ambient album and partly a rock album. If it was meant to be an ambient album from start to finish, I wouldn't have been so hard on the improvs because they provide good atmospheres but, since there are also clearly not ambient tracks on there, I cannot overlook the fact that the album is uneven. Still, I recommend to have a listen to those live jams at great volume alone in the dark. It's a cool experience. 3 stars for this uneven but still good King Crimson effort.


Bern | 3/5 |


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