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


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.96 | 1094 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars This King Crimson album gave me the power to believe that there was more to offer from these quintessential prog legends. The album is very different than other Crim releases but that makes it all the more endearing. It opens with a cappella and moves to some odd xylophone and percussion reminiscent to the opening of 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One'. There are Arabian flavours in the music and it is very off kilter on 'Level Five'. It is Part 5 in essence of the continuing Larks' saga, but way better than Parts III and IV.

This segues seamlessly into 'Eyes Wide Open', with Adrian Belew sounding clear and pleasant on vocals. The melody is catchy, Fripp's riff is complex, the harmonies are perfect, and it veers the album in a new direction; this is one of the Crim's more consistent albums and is accessible for the majority. 'Elektrik', follows with an intro of pseudo brass, and then Fripp's guitars burst with chiming polyphonics. There is a passage of competing rhythms as the guitarists execute unusual figures with eighth and sixteenth bars. These instrumentals are stunning, very irregular patterns over crunching off beat rhythms. The symphonic strings are drowned out by a cavalcade of guitars and drums that pound like sledgehammers. This is one of the greatest King Crimson instrumentals.

'Facts of Life' is one of my favourites on this release, with a separate intro sounding like the coming of a storm, then it is blitzkrieged by a tempestuous percussion outburst by Pat Mastelotto. There are returns to the trademark polyphonic or mixolydian style that have made the band unique, and the guitars ascend during the chorus in contrast to the monotone melody. I love the raspy vocals akin to the style of '21st Century Schizoid Man' in some respects; "six million ants crawling on a plate" and "it doesn't mean you should just because you can". The lead solo has the guitar fuzzed up to maximum distortion and it grinds along with powerful strokes over the quirky tempo. This is one of the best King Crimson songs, a wonderful dark blockbuster with an infectious melody and intricate playing.

The next track segues immediately to 'The Power To Believe II', that is a sparse instrumental with Arabian influences, Oriental and Eastern sounds. Trey Gunn on rubber bass is an incredible force here joined by the masterful drumming of Pat Mastelotto. The music is liquid like dripping over those course Arabian vocal intonations. The bassline over the Oriental guitars is effective.

'Dangerous Curves' is played in 12/8 signature, and is simply astonishing musicianship. It is more keyboard driven than others here, and has a chilling edge. It builds up then releases with some creepy sonic atmospherics.

'Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With' reminds me of the terrific 'The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum', with the humorous word play and uptempo melodic rhythms. The lyrics are sung through a distorted box, as the lyrics state; "Then I'm gonna have to write a chorus, We're gonna need to have a chorus, And this seems to be as good as any other place to sing it till I'm blue in the face".

'The Power to Believe III' is more processed vocals, and a soundtrack fractured into industrial noises, clanging and banging. Fripp's guitar work is out of the box, he is really vibrant throughout this recording, the band seem inspired and it is a pleasure to listen to when they are in this mood. The monochromatic basslines and sporadic drumming are complimented by the screaming axe of Fripp.

It is followed by 'The Power to Believe IV: Coda' which is an instrumental bookending the opening of the album with the same style, and it reminds me of the sweeping synth style of Vangelis, with elongated synth pads and high string sounds, decidedly spacey and celestial.

Overall, this is a powerhouse album from King Crimson and surprised me somewhat as I had been a bit disillusioned by the efforts of the last three albums such as "The ConstruKction of Light" that were not easy to digest. King Crimson are always a challenge but if it is not compelling and entrancing my ears soon give up. On "The Power to Believe" everything strikes the right chord and it has a style all of its own, unique to the band and a musical journey that will give you the power to believe.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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