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


King Crimson

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Founding Moderator
5 stars Almost unarguably the first, most quintessential prog-rock album ever, Court virtually came out of nowhere, and almost single-handedly defined "prog-rock" at its infancy. Taking "metal" and "experimental" to their extremes, and making use of some of the first truly textured "atmospheres" (fuzz paranoia in Schizoid Man, dreamy surreality in Wind, etc.), Fripp & Co. put prog-rock on the map with this flawless, in-your-face album. In addition to introducing us to Fripp's schizo-paranoid madness, you can hear how much Bruford learned from Michael Giles. Court belongs to a small pantheon of albums that includes Sgt. Pepper, Dark Side, The Lamb, The Wall and maybe half a dozen other absolutely must-have albums.
Report this review (#14673)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent album except for the silly second nine minutes of Moonchild: almost a quarter of the total length of the record. But now you can just press a button and avoid that. That was impossible in the of vynils. The rest is very very good stuff though dark, and quite accesible material. Almost a masterpiece. I still wonder if it deserves 5 stars despite everything.
Report this review (#14683)
Posted Tuesday, March 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the all time greatest progressive rock recordings and a highly influential- seminal piece of prog rock! This was the classic CRIMSON line up which provided a 70's warm-up with this release. Moods and atmospheres range from the serene moments of Mirrors to the Loud crashing of "21st Century Schzoid Man". This is a very thorough album and remains today one of my favorites.
Report this review (#14684)
Posted Saturday, March 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got this album a month ago (yeah, I know....(n_ñ)U) looking for the roots of progressive rock, the base for all the groups I like (Dream Theater, Rush, etc...), I did not expect the magnitud of this record, every song is great, and different, many music styles can be found; the sound is great, I don't get bored of listening: 1- 21st Century Shizoid Man (Including Mirrors) has a very spacey/futuristic sound, lots of cool brakes, the voice is really great, kinda bluesy.

2- I Talked to the wind is a GREAT follow-up to the shizoid man, completley different, more acoustic, the keyboard is great as well as the flute and the voice. It's really soothing to hear it. My favorite one.

3- Epitaph (Including March For No Reason And Tomorrow And Tomorrow) is also a great song (note that i'm getting bored of writing (n_n) ).

4- Moonchild (Including The Dream And The Illusion) has a vey powerfull start, many may think that it's like a movie that has nothing much to say but still lasts 4 hours, but every note is vital for the illusion created by this song. Really great.

5-The Court Of The Crimson King (The Return Of The Fire Witch And The Dance) turn the mood very medieval, great lyrics and music; it's my second favorite one.

In conclusion this album is must to all prog lovers. GET IT. /) /) (^:^) (")(")

P.D: Don't mind the bunny... ""(·o·)""

Report this review (#14686)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I won't say much, because everything's been said. A thing I don't get is so much people raging after the instrumental part of Moonchild. Being a prog fan is sometimes hard, but this is not harder (well, less hard) to listen than contemporary music or most electro-acoustic music. It's barely experiemental. A trick, picture yourself what you hear. Most of ELP fans knows what I'm talking about. Let go your imagination, the jam will be more appreciable. This is a soothing jam, made to dream of what you want; even King Crimson rehearsing in front of you....(that's my trick...actually, I imagine myself on bass and let Lake sing alone..hee hee).

Also, Bad Religion (skilled pop-punk band) inspired themselves from this album. In fact, their guitarist Brett Gurewitz (owner and founder of Epitaph record!) wrote a song called ' 21st Century Digital Boy' (from the Stranger than Fiction album). It's actually a very good song.

Also, try the Moonchild reprise by The Doves on 'The Last Broadcast'. It's neat. If you have some more time, check out the cover done by Steve Hackett on the Tokyo Tapes DVD. Wetton on bass/vocals, McDonald on flute and keys, Hackett on guitar and Thompson on drums. A real moment.

Report this review (#14690)
Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Well this album represents the birth of Progressive Rock, even though actually these KING CRIMSON were a "Proto-progressive" band and a bit ingenuous at that time, with a Romantic orientation and such seminal ideas for the "Art-Rock" genre as well (nowadays under this label you find for instance bands such as Don CABARELLO, DJAM KARET and in some circumstances also the most known band from Island SIGUR ROS. But - apart from these considerations - this surprising debut album contains a couple of stunning jewels such as "In the Court of the Crimson King" and "21st Century Schizoid Man", and also a couple of tepid songs (an exception is represented by the mythical "Epitaph"): for this reason the actual score of this work should be "3 stars and an half"; nevertheless its importance is worth the maximum score. Highly recommended in every kind of discography as an historical document, but from the artistic point of view is not completely essential, as well as the repetitive ballads inside!!
Report this review (#14692)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Many say this is the very first progressive rock album. At least, it is certainly reasonable to believe it is among the first ones! For 1969, this record is outstanding and original.

Greg Lake (from Emerson Lake & Palmer) is the lead singer: his voice is absolutely legendary! There are some mellow & delicate tracks like "I talk to the wind": it has relaxing flutes, placid vocals and gentle drums.

"21st century schizoid man" has jazzy sax parts, OUTSTANDING fast and complex drums, and a very melodic, present and complex bass. Fripp's electric guitar is mind troubling, already being bizarre and experimental. The unbelievably fast and loaded end of the track sounds a bit like the fast and free jazz album "Song X" by Pat Metheny.

"Epitaph" has very poignant floating mellotron streams a la Genesis (Nursery cryme). Greg's lead vocals are emotional and passionate. Fripp uses peaceful guitars, mostly acoustic.

"Moonchild" is catchy and addictive, particularly Greg's voice. Fripp's guitar follows more the rhythm and the melody of this track, despite his electric guitar solos in the background are a bit irritating.

One of the best tracks is definitely the last one, "The court of the crimson king", which has full of intensely floating mellotron, heroic backing vocals, soothing flutes, accessible guitar sounds and varied drums. Near the end, there is an excellent childish part of woodwind instruments: very charming!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#14757)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very good album, very satisfying for the lovers of mellotron, such as me. It has plenty of this instrument particulary in Epitaph and The Court Of The Crimson King, the most spectacular of the tracks. 21st Century Schizoid Man is completely different - a fast tune oscillating betwen raging vocal passages and jazz-rock fusion. However, my favourite track would be I Talk To The Wind - haunting and gorgeous.
Report this review (#14694)
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
Carl floyd fan
4 stars This is one of the most amazing debuts by any band of any time. The first track blew my mind and sounds years ahead of its time. moonchild is kind of a boring song, hence the four stars, but the rest of the album is awesome and Greg Lakes voice is great! Pick this album up any way you can, its a prog rock essential!
Report this review (#14695)
Posted Monday, April 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars An eye-opening debut if ever there was, there was, there was. That bespectacled musical mage, ROBERT FRIPP, indeed assembled a court of kings for this adventure: MICHAEL GILES, GREG LAKE, IAN MCDONALD, PETER SINFIELD. Most would remain for Crimson's next voyage, but already the band was writing their epitaph. With such a sense of urgency, the band takes pains to get it right the first time, and they do. In fact, beyond peradventure, no band had sallied forth into the forest for the first time and achieved this measure of fame on their return. When the dust had settled, KING CRIMSON was crowned rock's new champion, ushering in a golden age of music where brute force and beauty commingle with the sounds of distant worlds. That such powerful songs could be rendered with as deft a touch was a revelation. Cream had aspired to this place with "Tales of Brave Ulysses", the Moodies had sought to soar so high on their mellotron one "Tuesday Afternoon", but both were revealed as pretenders to the crown by "The Court of the Crimson King". The album also set the stage for the further adventures of ELP and the progressive paladins who followed. Though perhaps inspired by the psychedelic spelunkering of THE BEATLES, PINK FLOYD and CREAM, KING CRIMSON was birthed a titan, fully formed in body and in vision. Everyone has their appointed post, and all perform their duties with skill and imagination. They were in some sense the original sonic sculptors; with the exception of the instrumental experimentation of "Moonchild", the outcome is pre-arranged and the players have but to execute their parts to bring their work of art to life. No other flower in the prog garden has bloomed so brightly in its first season. Subsequent albums may have exceeded their first in execution, but never in artistry.

"In The Court of the Crimson King" remains the cornerstone of the temple, and thus a cornerstone of any progressive rock collection.

Report this review (#14699)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can't really add anything to what has been said before but any prog collection that doesn't have this is not complete.'21st Century Schizoid Man' has intricate rythyms that would baffle all but the most acomplished of musicians.'Epitaph' features a beautifull vocal performance from Greg Lake and is one of the most poignant of all prog songs.The title track is magnificient epic prog that has rarely been equalled.Ok there are a couple of not so great offerings 'I Talk To The Wind' is merely pleasant while 'Moonchild' screams FILLER but it matters not ,this is a ground breaking album that is an essential part of any prog collection.
Report this review (#14697)
Posted Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars All the Crimson you'll ever need

For me, this is the only really good album King Crimson have ever done. Unlike much of their subsequent output, most of the music here is pure prog rock. "Epitaph" is the best of the bunch, with Greg Lake in excellent form vocally, backed by swirling mellotron. The track is preceded by "I talk to the wind", a beautiful soft ballad with lilting flute. This provides the perfect lead in to "Epitaph" which crashes in majestically as "I talk to the wind" fades.

The title track is a lengthy, but essentially simple song, with various instrumental breaks interrupting what would otherwise be a pretty commercial piece.

In total there are five tracks on the album, the other two being the heavy rock of "21st Century schizoid man", and the fragile but all too dull "Moonchild".

The band started to disintegrate as soon as this album was put together, and they never regained the form which led to the creation of this classic. For this who appreciate the vast output which has come from the band since, this album may seem somewhat out of place, for those looking for prog rock (as opposed to jazz rock) this is the only King Crimson album you need.

Report this review (#14707)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars God listened "In the Court of the Crimson King" and saw that it was good. God divided Progressive Rock from the rest of the music.

I can't find other words to describe the first 100% progressive Rock album and the one that defined the genre, perfect album from start to end, goes from frenetic to symphonic in a matter of seconds, sadly King Crimson (In my humble opinion of course) never released any album that could even be near in quality or imagination to "In The Court of the Crimson King", but in their defense it was not an easy task.

"21st Century Schizoid Man (Including Mirrors)" is an absolutely frantic song, seems chaotic but it's perfect, the band expresses a sensation of frustration and anger that is transmitted to the listener, has abrupt changes, complex instrumentation and innovative sound, just what Progressive Rock means, brilliant.

"Talk to the Wind" is precisely the other side of the coin, starts with a soft flute by Ian Mc Donald and soon melts with Greg Lake's beautiful voice, seems simple, only a soft ballad, but it's more than that, mostly because of the way they combine the instruments, in a way that only some jazz virtuoso musicians did before.

"Epitaph" is a darker song with very obscure pessimistic lyrics, Lake's voice adapts perfectly to Fripp's guitar and the melancholic mellotron, a very atmospheric style that would be developed later by Gabriel's Genesis. Some people believe it's a sad ballad, but really is a very complex track that combines different rhythms and timing, also must say percussion is brilliant.

"Moonchild" is the more jazz oriented track despite it keeps the Symphonic structure, starts calm and mellow with a very defined rhythm and an a unique guitar work, in the first listen you can get the impression that we are before another tune in the vein of "I Talk to the Wind", but around the 3 minutes the fusion begins, nothing so complex and lack of logical structure had been done before, almost as if the band was in a jam session McDonald and Fripp are outstanding in this song.

"In the Court of the Crimson King, including The Return of the Fire Witch and the Dance of the Puppets" is an absolute masterpiece, lyrics are incredibly descriptive and combine perfectly with the music creating the medieval atmosphere, this song has everything, beauty, rhythm, complexity and lots of imagination, words are not capable of describing it, the perfect closer for a perfect album.

The great achievement of KING CRIMSON is that in their debut release they managed to create an album that has 5 absolutely different songs that show 5 different aspects of prog rock: aggression, calm, darkness, fusion and the closer that blends all this aspects and more in an 9:22 minutes track.

Many bands released progressive or semi-progressive albums before, some of them are outstanding, but no other work can define the genre and set the status so high as" In the Court of the Crimson King", the path is ready for other bands to follow, but what a job to reach the level of this masterpiece.

5 Stars seem poor for such an album, if you don't own it, your prog' collection is not complete.

Report this review (#14708)
Posted Monday, May 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Album that started it all. Very good, strong debut album. The only thing I have a problem with on this is on Moonchild, which is actually one of the nicest songs on the album, but there's one problem, The Mindless noodling that is planted right in the middle of it! I mean, I can imagine it's fun to play, but have they really considered it from the listener's point of view? It's boring to listen to, but just skip past it and you have the rest of this beautiful album. 4 1/2 stars! Excellent Debut, and a pioneer in Progressive Rock.
Report this review (#14711)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would have to say that "In the Court of the Crimson King" is one of the best debut albums since Pink Floyd's "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". This is one of the starting points of progressive rock and "art rock". In the Court of the Crimson King delivered a more obvious and exciting approach to the genre with its epic scale that ranges between grungy guitar based "21st Century Schizoid Man" to the heartfilled "Epitaph". The opening track is very explosive and shows off some of the bands best guitar work from robert fripp and the distorted vocals add the dark edge to the album. The rest of the songs are more mellow and can be moving and emotional, but may seem a bit more difficult to get into as they totally contradict the opening track.

Throughout the album the musicianship is perfect, with Greg Lake's dreamlike vocals often serving as the centrepiece of the album. The lyrics can be dark at times but exceed throughout the record. The guitar and percussion work show similarities to a sound that Yes would also develop. The wind instuments on this album are exquisite and one of the most original ideas that allows the band to compete easily with bands like Yes, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Genesis. The wind instruments fit in so well with songs like "I Talk to the Wind" and "Epitaph". Every track on this album shows off the glory and skill of king crimson. "Epitaph" and "I Talk to the Wind" are beautiful yet sad pieces and balance out the album well from the opening track. These three songs are masterpieces in their own right. "Moonchild" is perhaps too long and winding. This song contains lots of experimental guitar effects and although it plays well it can end up getting drowned out on the album. Perhaps too long even though it can be heaven to listen to at times. This technique of using stretchy effects of percussion and guitar was later reused in Pink Floyd's "More" and "Ummagumma" albums, as well as The Mars Volta's works. This is daring yet inspirational, just it can be very awkward to listen to at times. The title track is a brilliant send of and gives the album a concept feel to it. King Crimson may not have been able to better this but they certainly evolved from it in a great way. This is a masterpiece and really is one of the best examples of progressive rock you may ever find.

Report this review (#14713)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece. Crimson's first & greatest. While in college, 21st Century Schizoid Man was my personal theme song; whereas today, it may be Epitaph (Confusion is my epitaph, as I walk a cracked and beaten path). The album goes from the very hard and disonant 21st Century Schizoid Man, to the jazzy feel of Moonchild, to the beautifyl melody of I Talk to the Wind. I love atmosphere and layers of sound in music, and between Fripp's guitar and McDonald's woodwinds, there is atmosphere and depth throughout. Epitaph is one of the altime great songs, almost on a level with Genesis's Firth of Fifth. Greg Lake has always been one of my favorite prog vocalists, because he enunciates so well, you don't need liner notes to learn the lyrics. The Court of the Crimson King is another all time great song. This is a must have for any serious listener.
Report this review (#14714)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'd fallen in love with the band the first time I heard the just-released "Discipline", and soon rushed out to fill in the missing decade or so of their history. That was, in hindsight, probably a bad idea; not only did I have no guide like this website to help me sift through the prodigious discography, I didn't have anyone to tell me how different they sounded from album to album. Luckily, I immediately took to the raw power and delicate beauty of "Starless" and "Red" and "Lark's Tongues"...but their initial releases, even the almost universally lauded debut album, has always been in the second tier for me.

Each song on this album has impressive strengths but also some regrettable low points. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is a great way to start the album, and their career, with huge distorted riffs and caustic vocals. When the song speeds up, the musicianship becomes more apparent, even if the latter half of the song ("Mirrors"?) seems a bit unfocused and even unnecessary. "I Talk to the Wind" shows that the band has no fear of mellow sounds, and Giles' drums are quietly excellent. While the flute is nice, the extended improvisation over the same repeated chord structure seems a just a little too much, adding nothing important to the song's simple beauty. "Epitaph" demonstrates Lake's emotive power, with a moody backdrop saturated by dramatic washes of sound (including the relatively rare Fripp acoustic). McDonald isn't as creative a manipulator of the mellotron as some (Mike Pinder, for instance), and its slightly harsh presence can get a bit overbearing on this song, and the album as a whole. "Moonchild" is a different kind of drama, a dark pastoral mystery of a song that suffers from some strange instrumental decisions- why that banal cymbal rhythm is repeated, and so high in the mix during the verses, for instance. I won't criticize the extended, amorphous second part, as the band members have openly admitted that the album was too short and they had to fill space. Finally, the grand and immediately recognizable title track is a progger's dream; archaic flavors and instrumental exploration in balance, and truly evocative of the Frederick II (et cetera) courtly mood.

As my relationship with this album (and the band) matures, I have to come to the sad conclusion that Peter Sinfield and Ian McDonald are two of my least favorite major players; Sinfield has a pretentious, academic writing style that emphasizes Lake's latent pomposity instead of his singular pathos, and McDonald adds plenty of texture but little character- his parts are suitable, at best, but more often overbearing. My impression of KING CRIMSON is that of a band that combines raw, hard-hitting sonics with unconventional beauty via evocative, virtuoso musical exploration, and there isn't enough of any of those elements on this album. I think the main problem is that there's just not enough Fripp in the equation; sometimes the band of "In the Court of the Crimson King" sounds like one he was in before he found his musical calling, rather than the first chapter of a magnificent legacy. Don't get me wrong- it's a classic and you really should have it. Parts of it are magnificent and's just not the flawless masterpiece some would have you believe.

Report this review (#14715)
Posted Friday, July 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This must be up there in the top five prog rock albums of all time. Art rock is the perfect category for ' In the court...' It is almost theatre just listening to it, like SEBTP by Genesis it has such an awesome prescence that it leaves a visual imprint conceptually in your mind forever. That is what defines what is masterpiece and what isn't. I love Michael Gile's drumming also at it comes across simple but at the same time almost hypnotic in songs like the title track and ' Epitaph' ' I talk to the wind' is a great reminder that when things really get tough, get back in touch with nature, the wind and let the flute carry you away. I don't think prog rock would be quite the same without this important contribution.
Report this review (#14717)
Posted Saturday, August 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Its not the best album i ever heard but its the debut album from the pioneers of prog rock. Epitaph is the most brilliant and most beautiful song that i ever heard,now i'm just searching for similar songs from other prog bands.Its very inspirative with dreamy mellodies and great lyrics.Other songs are also very good,i can mention the first one : 21th century schizoid man which is agressive ,speedy and mellancolic .Moonchild and I talk to the wind are pretty calm and dreamy,but are maybe too bit slow.In the court of Crimson King is more difficult and mellodies are not simplified,but its a true prog rock song. Finally,i would like to say that Epitaph is worth the entire album only!
Report this review (#14718)
Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I see some of the people making comments saying they got progressive albums " three months ago '" or being new in prog rock .... I have this album in LP, in CD , the 30 anniversary edition -made in Holland- why? because this is a classic ! if you are new into art rock, this is the album you gotta take like example of what is prog rock .. I actually didn't listen this album very often .. I mean, I need to be in a special mood, in a very special relaxation, concentration, focused 100% in listening the whole album .. it deserves all of your concentration .. everyone knows Robert Fripp is a genius, eveyone who's Greg Lake, everyone knows this is the best line-up ever .. it's 1969 ..beatles have already recorded " a day in the life" is in shock .. the marvelous Sgt Pepper lonely club hearts LP .. the experimental time has born it's 1969 .. and well, this album it's ahead of time ! ... of course, there's ELP,VDGG,floyd,Genesis,focus, but like in life itself, not always the best have the credit... psychedelia,art rock, great lyrics,drama, emotion,sadness,joy,peace,you say ... all of these you will find in this album .. that's what prog rock is about. just 5 songs, a whole concept ... this album is one of the top 10 albums of all time in every genre .. obviously you will never see it in many polls or magazines' list ... but that's much better ... prog rock is not for common people ... I don't want to give my opinion about each song, because everyone has a way to see this album .. I only can say , it's PERFECT , the cover, lyrics... everything considering the year (1969).. that's very important to point there's Sgt Pepper , there's never mind the bollocks, there's dark side , there's ok computer, there's nirvana ... and THERE'S IN THE COURT OF THE KING CRIMSON ... ONE OF THE BEST ALBUMS EVER ....
Report this review (#14721)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The definitive progressive rock album. It celebrates everything that was great about the genre with non of the overblown flab that many contemporaries came up with. The sleeve artwork is awesome, the playing ranges from beautiful to stark. It's an emotive record that fills you with hope and despair within minutes. One of the greatest LP records of all time.
Report this review (#14722)
Posted Tuesday, September 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is where it all started for me. My love of progressive music and my love for Greg Lake's voice. I've always considered Greg's voice my favorite instrument in this band (and ELP for that matter). It gives you a sense of majesty and ecstasy all rolled up in one beautiful sound and lulls you into a magical sense of fantasy.

I even have the 45 of "The Court of the Crimson King". I remember buying that with my allowance. That poor little record was played so often, I'm surprised its still in such great shape. When I finally bought the album some time later, it was gladly regulated to plastic.. where its still at to this day.

Even though "Epitaph" is probably my favorite track on this mentally, I've always been particularly fond of "Moonchild", even with Mike Giles' intermittent use of percussion sounds. It's a perfect vehicle for Greg's romantic voice and it congers up a wonderful imagery for a young mind. Which is also the case with "I Talk to the Wind". Epitaph on the other hand, is musically perfect, a beautiful eerie piece with a deep and emotional meaning, but a little on the depressing side. It however, is another perfect vocal interpretation from Greg.

The most complicated and the proof that this band was extremely talented musicians, was "21st Century Schizoid Man". The playing on this track by all members of the band is absolutely inspiring. Bob Fripp, Greg Lake, Michael Giles and Ian McDonald show what it means to be a tight, together "band". team mentality was created on the making of this record! A definition of what "timing" is all about. Its too bad they couldn't keep that team together a little longer.However, its amazing to think that Greg Lake had only been playing bass a few months when they recorded this. Its incredible.

Its also not surprising that this album has survived the years so successfully. There's a reason why this album is generally always at the top of the best prog album lists. It's a testament to all the best prog that came afterwards. And I agree with all those who said this was King Crimson's best lineup and best record they ever did.

Report this review (#14723)
Posted Saturday, October 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
el böthy
5 stars There are times in life where certain events change one for ever, be it a great love, the birth of a child .etc. While my turning point was not as epic as the birth of ones child, I hold it just as important in this moment in time. That turning point, that great event was listening to "In the court of the Crimson King" for the first time. I knew right then and there it was the single greatest piece of music I had yet heard (even if I didn't realize it that much at the time, looking back I know I knew it right away). It was truly love at first sight. It literally opened up the doors of my personal perception, I knew there had to be music that pushed the boundaries further than that of the Beatles (or at least continuo pushing them like they did), Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple or such, I knew it, I just didn't knew "them". Of course I already had "The dark side of the moon" as any normal person on the face of the earth, yet, although I liked it quite a bit, I never thought of Pink Floyd in that way. I knew there had to be music more adventurous, with more arrangements and not just soloing, with a more intelligent approach, I just could not put my finger on it and say "this is it". not until "In the court of the Crimson King".

This is not so much of a review as it is a love letter to this album, where everything, every last note, tone, word, beat changed me. If it would be possible, from a totally subjective point of view, I would give this album 6 star, 7, as many as possible. I make this explanation because I don't think albums should be reviewed purely from a subjective point of view; objectivity (no matter how hard and even down right impossible) must be kept as a rule in a review. Having said that, this album deserves nothing less than 5 star.

I won't talk about the music itself, it has been done too many times and we all know this album by heart, or at least we all should, but I will say this: This album changed popular music like few did, and rarely does it get the credit it deserves. Only in sites like this it does, and it's a shame, just ask Pete Townsend or Jimi Hendrix (good look with that) or any Genesis, Yes, ELP, Renaissance, Anglagard, The Mars Volta. member, I doubt they will tell you any different.

Report this review (#14725)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I just bought the 30th anniversary edition for the nice coverart (I would have preferred a nice article instead of the paper cut outs, which are not even complete) and by looking on the credits I realized for the first time that 3 of the 5 tracks were cowritten by the group and 2 by Ian Mc Donald.I always found that ITCOTCK is quiet atypical in the KC discography and now I think it is mainly due to the influence of Mc Donalds compositions and Greg Lake's voice. I believe that Robert Fripp always wanted to go into more improvisation, which he does on his later records.The track which reflects the most R.Fripp is TMHO Moonchild and especially the second half which would much easier fit into Lizard where Fripp's Jazz/improvisation influences are much stronger.Nevertheless it's still one of my all time favourite records.
Report this review (#14726)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars I9n The Court Of The Giants!!

What can be said of this seminal album that hasn't been said 1000 times before and maybe 10 000 better than I ever could? A classic on which a genre was built, even if this is subject to discussion, very few others could really pretend to it. This unusual quintet, including a separate lyricist/light & sounds man in the person of Sinfield and the extraordinary Schizoid artwork to go with the album, all of this made for an outstanding and spectacular album that could only strike the public strongly enough for it to epitomize the "prog" genre.

Outside the soft-improvisation part (not nearly as much a turn-off as most would have you believe) of Moonchild, every track has been played hundreds if not thousands of times to these ears in every conceivable possibility or situation in my life, including mating. But for that particular occasion I made a Cd-r version that skips the opening Schizoid Man (really not suited for that use) and the long improvised section of Moonchild, meaning I'm left with a fairly romantic album that most women should appreciate enough to let themselves go.

Now in recent times, a 5.1 reissue has been released (as with all KC albums), but it's also a tad more than a remaster, but a remix as well. So the new "thing" is now a two-disc affair that includes the 2003 remaster plus a few bonus alternate tracks, and a DVD that contains two different configurations to listen to the new version as well as a five minutes poor-quality film footage of their legendary Hyde Park concert. If in other albums (LTIA and Red), the video material is absolutely essential, in this case, you won't watch it much and therefore is nothing worth acquiring the 5.1 reissue. As for the bonus tracks, the full version of Moonchild is included, but it doesn't change much the overall feel of the album if it had been included, instead of the abridged (of roughly 4-mins) version. As for the two Wind alternate takes, their rather interesting (especially the acoustic version) but not worth the price of admission (listen to GG&F's Brondesbury Tapes release instead), and to be honest, neither is the Epitaph backing track? as for the last "wind noise" bonus, it's a complete scam, IMHO. So overall, the bonus tracks are interesting for the major KC fan, but not really for the casual fan.

As for the 5.1 versions, I can't tell you much about it, since I don't have the proper equipment to test it. Nuff'said, I think!! Should you really want to know or read more, there are plenty of excellent reviews above and below mine.

Report this review (#14728)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I listened to this album for the first time in 1975 or 1976, and I liked it a lot, and I still like this album a lot. The cover art is fantastic, and the music is fantastic, too. In my opinion, this album represents maybe the only line-up of this band which had a better balance between the members, all very good musicians. This is really a band`s abum. K.C. was a "real 5 member band" then, in my opinion. Robert Fripp wasn`t the leader then, I think. Ian McDonald`s work in this album is very good, and maybe he is the most "dominant" musician in this album, being a musician who plays several different instruments. In fact, he appears as composer in all the songs in this album, with lyricist Peter Sinfield too. The rest of the songs are credited to the five members of the band. Michael Giles is a very good drummer, and I don`t know why he and McDonald didn`t work in other bands for a long time after being in K.C. After leaving K.C., McDonald and Giles recorded a very good duet album called "McDONALD AND GILES" (with Peter Giles on bass guitar, and guests like Steve Winwood in one song, plus Sinfield`s lyrics in one song). The "dominant" instrument in this "In the Court..." album is the Mellotron, played by McDonald. This instrument gives the music a lot of "fantasy" to the sound of the songs (I don`t know why McDonald didn`t use it in the "McDonald and Giles" album). The Mellotron became a very important instrument in the Progressive Rock Music bands. "Schizoid Man" is the "heaviest " song in this album, with Fripp still developing his very original style of playing. In this song, Greg Lake and Michael Giles play very good jazz-rock sections, with McDonald`s saxes. "I Talk to the Wind" has very good flutes by McDonald. "Epitaph" is a sad song, but very powerful, with very good arrangements, and Lake`s sensitive vocals. "Moonchild" is maybe the first example of improvisation from this band, being a compostion with verses in the beginning, and later, this song has a "jam" section, with interesting parts. The song "In the Court of the Crimson King" has the Melloton as the main instrument, and it is maybe the best song in this album.Unfortunately, after the tour for this album, this line-up split, with Lake and Giles appearing in the next album almost as "guests" with other "guests" or "session" musicians. Fripp was almost left "alone" with Sinfield, and their next albums show mainly Fripp`s musical ideas. By late 1971, Sinfield also left K.C. This first K.C. line-up was maybe the best. I think that Fripp`s ego spoiled this line-up. Maybe he didn`t like other musicians who also "shone" like him. McDonald was one of these musicians, and years later he appeared as member of FOREIGNER between 1976 and 1980, and he also had problems in that band too, as guitarist Mick Jones wanted to be the only ""musical director" in the band (which led to their most commercial and successful album called "4", but that`s another history!). After being a very important member in K.C. and Foreigner, McDonald had to leave both bands due to "different musical ideas" with the guitarists.It is a shame that some good line-ups are spoiled by egos.
Report this review (#14729)
Posted Thursday, November 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The album that started it all for me, introducing my fragile little mind to progressive rock and complex music in general. It took me ten listens to get past the menacing jazziness of the opening mayhem "Schizoid Man", probably the heaviest track ever written back in 1969, and if that's not enough the beauty of "I Talk to the Wind" caught me completely by surprise. Still two of my favorite songs ever, though the majestic quality of the title track is hard to pass by and pretty much defined progressive rock for years to come. The musicianship is brilliant and being a drummer myself I can't praise Michael Giles good enough as he provides some of the most melodic and creative rock drumming I've ever heard, being essentialy a jazz drummer but using the kit for the best effect possible. The last ten minutes of "Moonchild" might put people off but they can still enjoy the brilliant first part which is one of KC's most beautiful moments on tape. Not much else to say, this was and still is one of the most essential prog rock albums ever made and essential in every way possible. Not only for prog fans!

PS - The reason I ever got this album was because of the hilarious cover art. Best choice I ever did!

Report this review (#14730)
Posted Tuesday, November 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Genre defining. THE seminal prog album. I actually talked my mum into buying me this on vinyl for my seventeenth birthday (ta, mum) and I was dumbstruck from the first chord onwards. That was twenty years ago and it still has the same effect on me now as it did then. In between, I have introduced this wonderful LP to so many people and heard it with so many friends in so many different (and often psychedelic) situations that it is truly a part of my life. This is where it all began, for prog and for me.
Report this review (#14732)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Is this a MASTERPIECE? Of course!!!! Some persons think this record is overestimated. I can't understand...All types of progressive rock are represented (or created) here : Canterbury, psychedelic, symphonic...Maybe one of the most important record of progressive's history - without that...YES and GENENIS would not be the same... I prefer songs like "In the court of the crimson King" or (above all) "Epitaph". But globaly, this album is very, very good... As good and important as "Dark side of the moon".
Report this review (#14734)
Posted Sunday, November 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars My God... King Crimson is God with Gentle Giant This is the 3rd best album from King Crimson.. 1- Starless in Bible Black - Night Watch 2- Lark`s Tongues in Aspic - Easy Money 3- In the Court of Crimson King - Moonchild

If you like prog you must have this album...You will travel if hear Moonchild, Greg Lake sings like no one in this music,the flute and the oboe(i don`t know what it is) in I Talk To The Wind is so beautiful, the first flute solo ends with the beggining of a Fripp Guitar...WONDERFUL!!!

I really have to go... I have to hurry!


Report this review (#14735)
Posted Monday, December 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars By the time I post this review there had been 75 entries that talked about this seminal album (and some people called it as the first prog rock album on earth) of legendary band: King Crimson. I am not going to raise an issue whether or not this was the first or not; as for me personally, the first prog album was Yes "Fragile". Full stop. It does not matter if in fact the other album(s) came first. Well, .. it matters only when you try to review an album on the basis of "influence" of other bands. Let's put aside that.

So, why should I give the 76th entry then? As a matter of statistical vote to prove that this is a masterpiece? Or, to counter review for those reviewers who have given less than 4 stars? (Ahem . I always view that people have different views based on taste and background. So I have no problem with it at all). No no no no ..Not all of that things, my friends ..My reason is simple. I've just read a great story about the band from its inception (embryo stage) until "The Construction of Light" album through a well- researched book by Sid Smith (got nothing to do with Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd) titled In The Court of King Crimson (Helter Skelter Publishing, 2001 - reprinted 2003). It's a great book as it was written by a die-hard fan of the band. As Mr. Fripp put at book cover: "Sid Smith's opinion is worthy of respect".

Of course I won't tell you about the book in detail because it's 346 pages and also what would be "my view" if I take everything from the book? I don't want to be in the circle of plagiarism. But, the book has given me a powerful nuance and reference to review any album of King Crimson. (If you notice, this is my first review about the band and I want to do it right, with the best available references).

It's gonna be boring if I review track by track as I used to do it with other prog albums. This time I would do it at album level because you know it well track by track. Let's do it this way .

The result of a struggling band. This album was a culmination of concerted effort by the band members from the embryonic Giles, Giles & Fripp until it was formalized under the name of KC. It's important to notice how the band members were not aware at all that they did a great job. In the a.m. book it was mentioned that the making of "21st Century Schizoid Man" albeit it's the first track but was recorded the last. The song was made through collective efforts by its members and they did not feel that they accomplished something great that rocked the music industry later on. Each member did not pat others for example "Hey great, we did it one". No, not at all. They just said "OK, that's it". (page 59).

The Change master that inpires ... Yeah .. We know it that this album had created major change in music industry. At that time people never thought a music with powerful riffs and "very" distorted vocal as in the opening track "21st Century .". Even the first time I listened to this song (sometime in 1976) I thought that my cassette was in trouble. Couple months ago, our local newspaper in my country featured this album in a great details (reviewed by my colleague Tom Malik). What interesting was the prog discussion that followed after the article. It was discussed that the riffs have inspired many heavy metal bands. You may or may not agree with it.

The Music. Now, let's talk about the music. The overall album has a strong structure offering a variety of styles: progressive rock, ballad with classical touch and avant garde- and overall album offers dark nuance. The music demonstrates catchy and memorable melodies that still valid thru the passage of time. Having listened to "Epitaph" or "I Talk To The Wind" in decades I'm still touched by their melodies. Wonderfully crafted!

If I may advise, it's not a matter of recommendation. But, if you want to explore prog music, this album is must in your prog collection. Don't step into prog wagon if you do not own this album yet. Keep on progging! GW, Indonesia.

Note: With an earthquake disaster happening in my country and neighborhood, "Epitaph" might be best to play as condolences for twenty three thousand brothers and sisters who have lost their lives tragically ."Confusion will be my epitaph ." ..South East Asian countries are crying now .(Jakarta, 28 Dec 04)

Report this review (#14737)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ladies and Gentleman, I do not want to fall in disgrace, but I am convict you are in the presence of the first majestic symphonic progressive rock album of the History. Of course we can say some other bands explored progressive motives before like, for example, the MOODY BLUES. In fact, King Crimson were not the first with progressive ideas, don't expect from a band to make a sudden total transition, that's absurd! But the tendencies, showed around by several bands, were fused by King Crimson creating this majestic album of pure symphonic progressive rock suites!

The instrumental architecture is defined by the symphonic mellotron, the jazz of the saxophone and the rock of the guitars and drums. Overall, dark suites full of nostalgia. The first track is a fine introduction, with some good saxo and mellotron arrangements, nice transition parts and a middle psychedelic guitar solo part. I Talk to The Wind cuts the strength of the first track with a very nice flute and mellow song, with dual vocals quite usual at that time. Epitah is another very sad song, full of nostalgia, one by one all instruments (acoustic guitars, mellotron, bass) show deep emotion! Moonchild is in the same line with the two predecessors, but with a quite long obscuring, imaginative, calm psychedelic mellotron solo. The last track is also sad but with the energy of the first track added by emotional chorus at refrains followed by a memorable classical mellotron.

This is an EXCELLENT album, not only for its history but for the music itself. Songs like Epitah or The Court of Crimson King are very deep, can make the most emotional of you cry. Surely one of the best progressive albums of ever, a MUST to every prog collector!

My rate: 9/10

Report this review (#14738)
Posted Wednesday, December 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Masterpiece! From the depths of Sixties' experimental rock-pop came, quite without warning, an unforgettable music that set the standards for the future. From the great, brilliant drumming of giles (of Giles, Giles and Fripp fame) and the crystal voice of Greg Lake to the astonishing guitarwork of Robert fripp to Pete Sinfield's essential lyrics, this album is still one of 20th century most important discs. Its groundbreaking sound (as, we may say, in other genres, "Sgt. Pepper's", "My Life In The Bush of Ghosts", "Bitches Brew" or "Nevermind") was and still represents the dawning of an entire music movement. Maybe it isn't the best rock album of all times, but is the birth of prog-rock in the actual form. Medieval athmospheres are mixed with hardrock clichés transformed in a perfect blend, in a symphonic and opulent conception 5 years ahead of its time. In fact, 5 years later, KC was still finding new directions in music while others tempted to rebuyild the magic of that eponymous start.
Report this review (#14739)
Posted Saturday, January 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the one I would take to the isolated island with me. It is the best prog rock album I've heard by now (and I've heard a lot of great records by other bands in that genre including Yes, ELP, Genesis, Pink Floyd...). King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King" is one of the best records of all time and it is the one everyone should have at his home, despite their music taste or knowledge. The more I listen to it, the more I like it and by each listening I find something new on this amazing album. King Crimson were a band ahead of their time, that's certain. They had (and still have) a combination of great musicians, always full of great ideas and not afraid of discovering new horizons in rock music and beyond. One of the most inovative classic rock guitarists, legendary Robert Fripp, that became the only remaining founding member and de facto band leader, contributed equally with other members. That were excelent singer and basist Greg Lake, perfect multiinstrumentalist Ian McDonald, decent jazz drummer Michael Giles and genius poet (lyricist) Peter Sinfield. Clever and crafty use of then new instrument, mellotron, pawned the way for the original sound of the band. There are prophetic songs like "21 Century Schizoid Man" and "Epitaph", calm, relaxing ballads such as "I talk To The Wind and "Moonchild" and epic title track "Court Of The Crimson King". One for every human emotion or state of mind. "21 Century Schizoid Man" will shock everyone with its proto metal beat, speed and fury of Lake's digitalized voice. Sinfield certainly had a clear vision of present world when he was writting lyrics for this one, while Fripp made an astonishing solo in the mid- part of the song. It is actually a fusion of jazz and hard rock and is the best track to represent this great band. Very relaxing but also moving combination of McDonald's flute and Lake's gentle singing on beautiful ballad "I Talk To The Wind" makes a great contrast after apocalyptic paranoia of the first track. Light is shining through the whole track and everytime I get depressed or I am under pressure I put this one on my recorder. Such a great relief! For me it is the most beautiful song in band's history. On "Epitaph" we can hear just how great singer Lake was. This song is the main reason why he is my favourite singer in band history and one of the best in that genre. A very sad and dramatic song about futility of modern man's path that should us as the warning for future generations. " Moonchild" is a dreamy and magical song, full of innocence and is a perfect to listen in the dark. It will take you to the world of dreams and fairytales in the moment. Touching singing and nice mellotron arangements in the first part of the song. Second part, an improvisation, is a great meditative moment and it even brings some eastern mood to the end of the song. Now as we reach the last song, mysterious and mellotron driven " Court Of The Crimson King", that brings all the musical elements of the previous songs together, reality and imagination are finally united. We can imagine the crimson king himself sitting on his throne and watching all his jesters, jugglers, gardeners, witches, queens, all of his dancing puppets....performing for him. A most epic song on the album with another combination of great and inteligent (band's signature) musical skill. Thus ends this masterpiece.

In many aspects, not only musical, King Crimson were a band ahead of their time and so is this record. A breathtaking cover of "Schizoid Man" (I recommend 30th Anniversary Edition as it is designed as vinyl replica and has a better view of this great artwork on it). I must add that this was the one that brought my atention to the long forgotten masterpiece, after I heard some albums from their later periods. I still think that they are all great in their own aspects but this debut just conquers them all. As I said at the beginning of my review, not only a cornerstone of progressive rock but also one of the best records ever!

Report this review (#14740)
Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In spite of it's flaws (the long jam on "Moonchild", that the some of the other songs aren't perfect), I'm giving this album 5 stars because of it's importance and because "21st Century Schizoid Man" is an amazing jazzy song which has a great riff and a brilliant performance (the best song here of course, and a classic), "Epitaph" is a will blow your mind with it's "drama" (yeah, maybe it's a bit "fake", but it's still impressive), "I Talk To The Wind" has a great melody and some nice flutes, and "The Court..." features many gorgeous parts that make it a great listen. Oh, Moonchild is on about the same level until it changes around 2:30 into a long jam, that while it might be boring, it's still "relaxing", so you must be in the mood to enjoy it.
Report this review (#14741)
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Brilliant!!! This is probably the best debut album ever!! All of the songs are just perfect and flawless! From the brutality of "21st Century Schizoid Man", to the majestic and powerful title track! The only weak moment is the improv section on "Moonchild", but as i said: The rest is brilliant! Go and buy this wil not regret!!! I promise! :)!!! Highly, HIGHLY recommended!
Report this review (#14742)
Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The importance of this album and its impact on the other bands is undeniable! On the basis of this criteria I could give it 5 stars. Nevertheless, I think the music is a little overrated. The album is good but this is not prog at its peak. The style is proto-progressive but already giving some hints of more sophisticated songwriting (the last track especially). KING CRIMSON'S "In the Court of the Crimson King" could be in the same league as early MOODY BLUES or PROCOL HARUM. Overall atmosphere is a little dark but beautiful. The most coherent track is "The Court Of the Crimson King" - a prog rock masterpiece. First three tracks are also good with some jazz-rock and symphonic breaks. The only drop in quality is "Moonchild" which starts promising but soon proceeds in a long and pointless experimental jam session... With this album KING CRIMSON set the path for groups like YES, GENESIS and ELP!
Report this review (#14743)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is a seminal Progressive Rock album, but not the first of the genre as some people claim. A search through the albums on ProgArchives will turn up earlier examples, and earlier albums of the genre also appear on Progressive Rock timelines on other Web sites. But certainly "In the Court Of The Crimson King" is a very early example of the genre.

'21st Century Schizoid Man', 'Epitaph' and 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' must be the most covered Progressive Rock tracks of all time, I would think. The music on the album is excellent, with only the extended noodling on 'Moonchild' being open to criticism. The first fifth of the track is a pleasant, laid-back song but the rest of the track is very subdued noodling. The latter does not bother me and could be claimed to be mood music, evocative of a moonlit garden or landscape. or, alternatively, it could just be noodling! I don't know whether the band was really trying to convey a mood (moonbeams flitting through the trees, that kind of thing), or were just at a loss for something better to do.

I had not thought of this until recently, but this album might have directly influenced some of PFM's early music.

Apart from the first track, which, as the name suggests, is hard-hitting, the music is symphonic and often subdued. So, if you've never heard the album before, don't expect very bombastic Progressive Rock (although 'Epitaph' and 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' are pompous, I suppose). The use of sax and vibes give the music a jazzy feel in places. Lake's voice is crystal clear and his singing is really on top form, as are Sinfield's poetic lyrics.

Just a note about the CD release I have: it's the Japanese company Universal Records' album UICE-9051 using the Microsoft HDCD (High Definition CD) system so, if your HI-FI supports HDCD, you will hear 20-bit digitised sound instead of the usual 16-bit Audio CD sound. However you don't need a HDCD-compatible HI-FI to play this CD - it will work on any CD player, although the HDCD Web site says that HDCD CDs sound better than normal Audio CDs on conventional CD players. I have to say that this CD does indeed sound very warm and less tinny than a conventional 16-bit Audio CD on my conventional HI-FI. The CD sleeve is of the mini-LP format and comes with a booklet with cuttings from Melody Maker, Rolling Stone etc. which is a nice touch.

As to the rating, such an important work could only merit 5 stars, and it should be in every Prog fan's collection.

Report this review (#14746)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars this album is a milestone of the prog and not only. "In the court" is one of the most important album of the story of the music... "21st century schizoid man" is the unquiet track which opens the album...between prog and jazz rock. In the rest of the album we can listen to amazing "mellotrons", flutes and every instrument creating an incredible atmosphere. If a person miss this album is not a progster!
Report this review (#14748)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars a very difficult listen for some, but Prog heaven for the fans of tha genre. One of the strongest tracks on the albums is 20th Century Schizoid man. A powerful combo of hard rock and Jazz!! Now who would have thought of than?! The one song that kind of irritated me was MoonChild. It has a few lyrics in the begining then for 10 minutes, tapping on keyboards! It is as if they were gelling and jamming with no direction. I like the title tune of course and another song i like is Epitaph(Kind of brings a tear to your eye) I talk to the wind is a nice little song. This album is defintiley the album to get if your into heavy Prog. For others, it might be a little demanding
Report this review (#14751)
Posted Saturday, February 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars So much already said. I will just add that Epitaph is sublime. A wonderful anti-war song, and the greatest ever performance by Greg Lake. I listened to this first in 1971 and when he reprises the first verse with the words "the wall.." it still sends a great shiver down my spine in 2005. For me simply the greatest piece of rock music of all time.
Report this review (#14752)
Posted Saturday, February 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I have to say, considering this album's legacy, ie: practically inventing prog rock all on its own, I have always found it quite disappointing. A friend bought it years ago, until which time I had only heard snippets of it. I borrowed it from my friend and taped it.I have to say I am glad I never purchased the cd. Nor have I any intention of doing! Of course, it is an old album, but it really sounds dated, compared to some contemporary releases. Floyd's first two albums, and the debut album from Yes, all come across as far fresher, even if they are more pyschedelic than this. I think what put me off in the first place is the opener, "21st Century Schizoid Man". It stands out like a sore thumb compared to the mellowness that dominates the rest of the album. Greg Lake has always had one of those voices that irritate me. He has ruined more than one ELP song, as he just can't cut the mustard as a singer, not IMO anyway. His voice is too choral. "21st" is a mismatch of sounds that could have been the title song for some awful TV programme for children, or teenagers, aptly titled "Here comes 21st Century Schizoid Man!" Captain Scarlet comes to mind here. Anyway, moving on, the second track is far better. "I Talk To The Wind" has melody, nice flute work, and interesting guitar. We can see here why this album influenced the early Genesis line up. Also, the presence of the mellotron all over the album shows why Tony Banks in particular would enjoy this. After this we have "Epitaph", split into two sections. This isn't too bad either, and I, at this point, upon first hearing this, began to settle down and enjoy the thing. Unfortunately, the next piece, "Moonchild", again split into two parts, lets the whole thing down again. There is some very quiet, and quite pointless guitar doodling. I am all for improvisation, but this takes the biscuit. Then comes the finale, "The Court Of The Crimson King". This is somewhat better, although to me, it sounds very influenced by The Moody Blues. (Not that I dislike that group at all.) Anyway, the album is thoroughly harmless, quite innovative, boring and repetitive in parts, and very, very dated sounding. As an album that influenced a whole genre, and turned other groups into progressive giants, I would give it 4 stars. But as an album that I could listen to again and again, I would only give it 2 stars. Therefore, I take the difference and give it 3 stars. Fripp is undoubtedly talented though, and lucky to be married to a girl I used to like a lot, the amazing Toyah! For those who have never heard this, yes, it is a seminal album, but if you can, borrow it off a friend first, or try to buy it at a bargain price.
Report this review (#14753)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is certainly an impressive debut effort from a band that continues to evolve and progress, and remains one of their defining moments. The only real fault in the album is the drawn out improvisation following Moonchild, which doesn't really achieve anything other than postpone the arrival of the title track and album closer. Fortunately it can be easily skipped, leaving the album on a level of perfection rarely achieved.

The opening track, 21st Century schizoid man is a heavy start to the album and the only such track. Its bass heavy sound and use of distortion are employed to great effect and sit in stark contrast to the gentle wind instruments used in I talk to the wind, a beautiful dreamy piece. Epitaph is the standout track on the album; both powerful and poetic, it never fails to impress. Moonchild is perhaps more traditional, and the weaker track of the five, but up until the improv it still sits nicely before the full synthesized might of In the court kicks in. While criticized by some for being overly repetitive, I think that this is unlikely to become an issue unless the album is overplayed. There is also a much busier sound to the last repetition, with many instruments sounding slightly off key but somehow complimenting it beautifully.

Overall, I can only recommend this album. For anyone who is a fan of KC it is a must-have, while it is also a good place to start for beginners. While I would hesitate to rate it as KC's best album, it is certainly up there with Red, Lizard, and Larks' Tongues in Aspic. If you're looking for a more modern sound, then Power to Believe is a remarkable return to form for the band and rated almost as highly as those previously mentioned.

Report this review (#14754)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this isn't the first prog album, but I think it's still a terrific prog album. I'm just a 15 year old Dutch boy but I see this album as real art. Of course the cover is great, it's my favourite album cover. But it's not only the cover that makes this a real great album. It starts already with the fantastic "21th Century Schizoid Man", a great rocking song with strong lyrics with a strong distortion voice and a wonderful chaotic jam in the middle. The follow-up is "I Talk to the Wind", my least favourite album track, but still a great song. It fits in very good after the heavy opening track. Then the powerful ballad "Epitaph", a great song in my opinion, followed by Moonchild, that is dismissed by a lot of reviewers. I think not only the first 2 minutes are great, but also the strange atmospheric mellotronsolo is worth the wait. Than the great finale: In the Court of the Crimson King. With medieval aspects and great drums and flutes, I think it's the ultimate close for a great album like this. Also the "reprise" after the song is great.

All by all I think this is a progressive masterpiece. My favourites are 21th Century Schizoid Man and In the Court of the Crimson King, but the 3 other tracks are great to. In my opinion there's no doubt that this is worth 5 stars out of 5, maybe even more.

Report this review (#14755)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Apparently regarded as the first full-progressive rock album, and a classic of the genre I bought it with huge expectations. At first I didn't know what to make of it, somethimes frantic and weird, other times accesible and sweet. But after repeated listenings the album started to appeal to me more and more. And now I'm convinced it's one of those all time classics, any prog-lover should have, or at least have listened to it more than once.

21th centurie schizoid man, is a frantic weird song with great structures and a driving force behind it, the vocals are more restrained screaming than being sung, absolutely great. I talk to the wind, is a soft ballad, with a soothing flow, and some great singing by Greg. Epitaph, is a very melodic atmospheric track, with dark, sad lyrics and symphonised mellow passages. Again beautifull sung. a great song for a dark winter's day.

Moonchild, I could have done without it. you really must be in the mood for this. Again a ballad. the beginning of the song is good, a very sad slow piece, with an improvised end section. This end section makes it a dull, boring uninteresting song. In the court of the crimson king. The albums closes as it began, with a more heavy song. Again with a dark symphonised sound, great drums, great vocals, great mellotron. Absolutely the best track on this album.

Overall this album has a consistent sound. Dramatic, with a strong fluid flow all through it. Greg Lake's vocals are very good, so are the instrumentalist, especially those mellotrons. With the exception of Moonchild this is an absolute masterpiece, worthy of six stars, but I may only give 5. RECOMMENDED. an absolute must for all prog lovers!

Report this review (#14769)
Posted Tuesday, February 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
con safo
5 stars The albums opens with the heavy, distorted song "21st Century Schizoid Man", which is accompanied by jazzy horns throughout. A great opener, and it really sets the stage for the soft ballad "I talk to the wind." The track is one of my favourites, with great vocals and very atmospheric feel. Moonchild has to be listened to to be appreciated. It's been the subject of alot of dislike when it comes to reviewers, but i myself enjoyed to song. I find if you commit yourself to sitting in a quiet place, close your eyes and listen to the soft interlude, its rather hypnotic. Very calming with some great guitarwork. The final track, and my favourite on the album, is reminiscent of the first track. A very good rock track with some ace backing vocals. The chorus is exceptionally well done. In my opinion, the best debut album aside from Pink Floyd - Piper at the gates.

You wont be dissapointed.

Report this review (#14756)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is my favorite album of KC and I have to admit that the only one. I do not like the later works of them because it seems to me very academic, cold and dark. But not this one. Here I find a cluster of warm songs. Perhaps it is because I prefere the warm voice of Greg Lake. Yes, I like the ELP much more than the later KC. Or, perhaps the simple reason is that this one I heard as the first and every other one I compared with no success to this one. (The same case as with Abey road of Beatles). I find in this album the whole spectre of musical expressions: from a hard and agressive (21st...), through a very calm and peaceful (I talk...), through a deep and dark (epithap), through an experimental one (moon..), finally to a complex esthetic and arthistic experience in the last track.
Report this review (#14762)
Posted Thursday, March 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What more can one say about this album that hasn't been said in the many reviews of this album that already exist? As many erudite members have pointed out (and they are not always official Prog Reviewers or Collaborators, mind you), this album almost single- handedly defined the genre of progressive rock when it was released in 1969, and to this day it remains an undisputed masterpiece of the genre.[br] [br] Having closely listened this album many, many times, all I want to emphasize in this review is that the contribution of each member is singulary fantastic (including Sinfield's) and taken together, the result is a jaw-dropping sensory overload of crafted (and, in some parts, improvised) magnificence.[br] [br] Does anyone really need to hear it explained again in detail--song by song--why this album is absolutely essential and a masterpiece of progressive music? I don't think so. Does it deserve another 5 star rating. Yes, it does.
Report this review (#14763)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very important work for progressive world. I think it's by far the best cd King Crimson ever made, and epitaph represent the best effort of them. Greg voice on this cd is absolutly magnificient, and the guitar by Mr. Fripp is amazing. What can I say about 21st century, the trademark song of the band. I talk to the wind and he title track are really good song despite their simplicity. The reason I put four star is like many of the reviewers for the middle part of moonchild ! Sorry, I really can't understand what they were thinking about. I skip this track every time I listen to the cd.

It's incredible! We can't be bore of the melody of this cd. Each time I put it on my cd player, I rediscovered it and say, wow, these guys wrote it in 1969...crazy!

But for its impact to the world of music, and the great melody, I recommended this cd for every open-minded listener who loves good music, especially prog music.

Report this review (#14765)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I don't doubt the historical value of this album, but though I love King Crimson, I seldom listen to this record. The album highlight for me is "Epitaph", the song which introduced me to this marvelous band. "I Talk to The Wind" is also a nice little ballad, both softening the A-side's hard opener "21st Century Schizoid Man". I like that song as a composition, but I don't think that the version presented here shows its full potential. The early band did much better version of it on BBC studios, a track that can be heard on "Epitaph" CD box. Also the upcoming Wetton-Cross line-up smashed great versions of this song on stage. I guess what makes it better as live is the actual co-playing of a concert performance. The studio versions sound often a bit powerless and sterile to me - a symptom which follows the most of the material of this band's releases during the 1960's and 1970's. The B-side of this album is yet still weaker. Though the beginning of "Moonchild" is pretty, the long drones following it are then very boring. Also the title song doesn't please me much, though the melody and its sounds are beautiful, it has been extended as composition too much for my taste. As an anecdote, British hard-rock group Saxon did a funny cover version of this song. Despite my criticism "In Court of The Crimson King" is an interesting album still, and it might please you much more than it did me.
Report this review (#14768)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
5 stars What should I write about this record, which wasn't be written from a previous reviewer, who also gave this quintessential milestone in prog history the absolutely earned 5-star rating? Well, all that I can say is, that I agree with the many people who think "ITCOTCK" is the most important prog album of all time. Overnight they created a whole new genre with this debut-jewel (it was the very first pure prog record!). It influenced another (better be said the BIGGEST and BEST art rock band beside YES) great old band like Genesis, or later appearing prog heroes like Porcupine Tree or Psychotic Waltz, what you can hear for sure, when you listen to the albums from these bands. What I nearly had forgotten: A band like Tool never could exist without this record from KC. The opening track "21st Century Schizoid Man" is like (and for sure is, too) a revolution: A volcanic guitar sound by Robert Fripp, jazzy trumpets, pounding drums and the unforgettable voice of Greg Lake (the only REAL King Crimson-singer) make this song to one of the most memorable opening tracks in rock history. The next one is a beautiful chilling ballad "I Talk To The Wind", where you can relax after this hard rockin' monster-opener! But that's nothing in comparison which will come after: "Epitaph" is one of my absolutely favourite tracks in prog, it's so dramatical and got these genius lyrics that create an atmosphere, which will search itself. It reminds me very on some work that Genesis did 2 - 4 years later (listen to these keys!). You really can hear that Peter Gebriel & Co. often listened to KC and specially this track. "Moonchild" starts as a ballad, but throughout the track it turns to a very experimental sound building. The track flues into the mighty, monumental title track, definitely one of the most legendary title tracks ever created. Any rating less than the highest possible would be a bad joke for this undestroyable classic, it always deserves the perfect one. Because it's so important for the whole rock genre (right, not only prog!) with all it's differneces, this web page for example and holds fantastic, memoriable music behind the legendary Crimson King face-cover artwork, that will for sure stand the test of time, even when we are in year 2040. One word: TIMELESS! Second word: GENIUS!
Report this review (#14771)
Posted Saturday, April 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Only one reason why four stars: moonchild, too much jazz fusion...

I am not suprised one reviewer above is influenced to write about disaster in his location. Epitath certainly is an epic in the tradition of Gustav Mahler's second 'Resurrection' symphony. That the song evokes the same passionate questioning of the end time and it's turmoil as a symphony well over thirty minutes long in only a few minutes is an incredible acheivement. The cry of "but I fear we'll all be crying", along with a crescendo of sound and ending in a long emotional fade out is one of the first epics rock had to offer. I first hear it around the time it came out in the sixties, in my grade school years. It was the first time I noticed something that different and powerful in rock. Something that gives us pause. To reflect on the end of life, complete with a funeral dirge in the middle, starting with a massive explosion in the beginning is certainly something that disturbs. We need more music like this rather than the multitude of pop songs that convey no meaning whatsoever.

Report this review (#14772)
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is as "essential" as prog albums get. In most people's minds (including mine), this is the very first prog album, and it is a damn good one. Greg Lake is, in my opinion, the best King Crimson vocalist ever. Robert Fripp is phenomenal in Schizoid Man, though not as phenomenal as he will be in future albums. The production is very good for a 30+ year old album. However, with all that said, if this album were to be released today, it would only get a 4-star rating (Moonchild and I Talk to the Wind aren't as extraordinary as the rest). But this album did create the prog-rock genre, so it gets 5 stars.
Report this review (#14773)
Posted Friday, April 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Began prog? Possibly. The album, as a whole, is a surreal experience. It transports you to an entirely different world. It is, arguably, the greatest album of all time, and it is fully and completely appreciated when listened to beginning to end.

21st Century Schizoid Man is an extremely famous progressive track, and for good reason. The blasting riff in this song is probably the greatest I have ever heard. As for the middle section, I have never heard a better fusion of jazz and rock, if you can even call it jazz. It really has to be heard to be believed.

I Talk to the Wind: The first time I heard this song, my attention drifted away. After that blasting opener, this quiet little song made me lose interest in a way. HOWEVER, this song is one of the most beautiful songs of all time. Listen to the song 4 times, and you will have a slight inkling as to what this song accomplishes. It takes the album down from the insane intro, and keeps the album on that level.

Epitaph: There is no conceivable way to convey to anyone the power of this song. It could very well be the greatest song of all time. It is so emotional, so incredible, that it is impossible to explain it.

Moonchild is the one song that is picked on in this album. Everyone (including me) agrees that the first 2 and a half minutes are incredible. Such a beautiful melody. Then, the song enters 10 minutes of improvisation. This is where fans separate themselves. Most people believe that this 10 minutes is garbage, pure nothingness. This is what I thought for a little while. However, sit down, close your eyes, open your mind, put this song on, and listen. You will find that it is very, very good. One review I read once described it as a bunch of little kids going into the studio and playing with the instruments. But I disagree. Listen, and form your own opinion.

The Court of the Crimson King: Could easily be the most moving, haunting piece of music ever made. The opening mellotron riff could be the most memorable riff ever. Then, when you think it's over, it goes into a small little flute section, then blasts back into the mellotron section. It makes one of the all-time greatest album closers ever.

Robert Fripp is, in every way, a genius. I have always loved Greg Lake as a vocalist, and on this album, he does an amazing job. Also, who knew Lake could play bass like this? Listen to the bass in the middle section of Schizoid Man. It will blow your mind. Also, Michael Giles has always been a favorite drummer of mine. His style is very memorable, and it fits King Crimson perfectly.

This album surpasses 5 stars. It is an experience unlike any other. 5/5 stars.

Report this review (#14776)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album was arguably the first progressive record released. Many consider it to be a gem, and that there are no flaws within it's snazzy cover. I like to think that this is a good album, but it shows that there were a lot more good things to come. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy this album, there are many songs that are quite good. But there are a few that go from tedious to even boring.

The highlights of this album to meare 21st Century Schizoid Man, In the Court of the Crimson King, and Epitaph. I truly enjoy the agressive guitar work on 21st Century Schizoid Man, and Ian McDonald adds many textures with his woodwinds throughout the album, and Mike Giles drum work is one of the finest performances I've ever heard, and a good performance by Greg Lake as well throughout. The title track is a mellotron led tune with a more laid back sound. I really find the way Lake says, "The cracked brass bells will ring", it gets me every time. Epitaph is a really melancolic tune with some very beautiful guitar on Robert Fripp's part, and some very emotional vocals from Greg Lake.

In between those 2 gems are what I call filler. They are good tracks, but they aren't as complete as the 2 mentioned above. I Talk to the Wind has very beautiful flute work. And Moonchild to me is completely worthless, just a lot of quietness that leads into the madness of In the Court of the Crimson King.

Overall, I give this album a 3 out of 5 for those stellar tracks in the beginning, middle, and end. I recommend it to any fan of King Crimson, and to any fan of Progressive Rock, but it just doesn't satisfy me.

Report this review (#14777)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars There , is no doubt that this recording is a classic,the simple reason being there was nothing like at that time,that had ever been recorded like this.The main problem with this album is its recording ,it sounds so incrediably dated ,i feel that the mellotron always has this effect on a lot of rock albums.You have to remember also that when this album was released in 1969 recording technique's had improved hugely but it really doesnt show through hear.This recording is more important for what it achieved ,in the fact it is the premier ,progressive rock recording a flawed classic but no way a masterpiece, (beyond a masterpiece is like saying its on a level of, Wagner or Beethoven,absolutely ridiculous). King Crimsons latter work ,Lizards ,Islands ,i find far more refreshing and interesting,even though they are way more less complex works.King Crimsons real masterpiece came latter.
Report this review (#14778)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't beleive there is anything I can say about this album that has not been said already, so I will be brief: Long live the King! "Court" is definitely the genesis (no pun intended) of prog rock. Fripp's guitar playing defines that of the genre, and the rest of the instrumentation is superb. There is great playing from all of the musicians involved: Giles' drumming is insane, Sinfields lyrics are enchanting, McDonald's sax and flute pour out like a waterfall of divine sound, and Lake's bass pounds the skull into submission whilst his sublime vocals--the best of any Crimson singer's--melt the heart. A true masterpiece, not only of prog, but of music in any idiom.
Report this review (#14779)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, everything have been said above. I just want to add two things about this exceptional record :

- The LP sleeve design impressed me a lot when i was a teenager, it was so different, so amazing. In the early 70's that was truly a great experience, a kind of mystic one.

- I was used to watch the music while listening at it : I wired the left & right speakers to the x-y input of an oscilloscope to draw Lissajous figures on the screen. I must say that "In the Court of the Crimson King" record was one of those which makes the best ones, especially at the end (with the organ playing). This is mainly because this LP was very well recorded, with a large stereo field depth and incredible sound recording quality - one of the first recording to use sound limiters. This way to listen & watch music at the same time is really mind-blowing. The only weakness in this record is the poor noise gate used, mainly in "21'st..." : too much noise when silence should be heard.

Report this review (#14787)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is where it all kinda began for King Crimson. They recorded another album before called Gills, Gills & Fripp under that name, but this album has a different line-up (which will happen a lot in the future because Fripp is difficult to work with). It starts with one of the all-time classic prog-rock songs, 21st Century Schizoid Man, which is an aggressive blend of jazz and rock with surrealistic lyrics. But a large part of the album is ruled by the mellotron, giving it a bit of a bombastic feel. I Talk To The Wind is a quiet ballad with a gorgeous theme, Epitaph includes very dramatic vocals by Greg Lake (who left after this album to join Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and a nice build-up. Moonchild is kinda creepy with some weird sound effects thrown in and the title track is another classic prog song with a classical-sounding mellotron 'riff'. It's also the song which most people probably heard before. I instantly recognized it but didn't know it was King Crimson. It has a dark, gothic and creepy feel, perfectly in synch with the scary album cover. A great start!
Report this review (#14790)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is it. This is THE album of the ages. I don't need to say it was the beginning of progressive rock, so I don't know why I wasted my time typing that. What I do need to say, though, is that it is the closest to perfection any music has achieved, without being "The Musical Box" by Genesis, IMO. This was the album that got me into progressive rock, and still remains my favorite. I first rented it at the library and walked home listening to it on a beautiful rainy night. When I returned it to the library, I wanted to buy it, but I couldn't find it in any stores. It was enough to drive a man INSANE!!! And it nearly did, until I resorted to buying it for 25 American bucks from an English website. Later on in my life (perhaps a month), I saw it in EVERY BLOODY STORE I WENT INTO FOR 15 BUCKS!!! (Excuse the word bloody; I wish I was English) Whatever, the earlier the better, I say (although it was 10 bucks down the drain, so maybe I don't say that). Now, onto my review, which is what I know you came here for. All I need to say is that IMO Epitaph is the best song and liking Moonchild takes a bit of imagination. I always imagine I'm in a weird greenhouse with extremely white light covering the windows and a bunch of strange invention from perhaps a mad scientist, an artist, or a combination of the two. The rest of the album evokes dark, foggy catacombs with a navy blue tint in my mind. It reminds me of E.A. Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" for some reason. It may be the cover, which is the greatest cover I've ever seen. Michael Giles is definitely the best drummer I've ever heard. No other drumming gives me as much feeling as his does. In a word, this album is a masterpiece, although I don't like "21st Century Schizoid Man" as much as the others. Greatest album of all-time.
Report this review (#35196)
Posted Friday, June 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yepp this is it, i think this was the first prog album i ever bought it was one of the first thats for sure and it remains one of my favorites problobly forever. For me it yust cant get much beter then this, all the songs are classic masterworks, from the hard rocking Intro of "schizoid man" to the powerfull ending of "court of the crimson king" everything in bettwen is fantastic even the much hated moon child wich i love very much and dont think the album whuld be as good as it is without it, it gives me some brething time betwen all the heavy tracks. Well if i hade to say my top 10 albums ever this whuld surely bee some where high in the top meby not number one but close. This is very easy realy if you dont got this Monster album run and get it NOW!!!
Report this review (#35202)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars there are some albums that changed my life, my way of thinking and my way of listening to music. king crimson's in the court of the crimson king was the first prog rock album i bought 5 years ago. this was the album that introduced me the strange but beatiful world of progressive rock. how can someone rate feelings? i know that i am quite subjective....but i really don't care. marks have no point for albums like that.
Report this review (#35926)
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Defined by Pete Townshend as "a mysterious masterpiece", "In the court of King Crimson" is one of great jewels and pieces key of the progressive rock. Of downcast beautiful tonality and imaginería lírica, their basic emulsion between rock and jazz, psicodélicas keys and eclectic rates, some of the best sections would deparan than it has known the style, in a demonstration of how using without jactanciosa pomposidad mellotron, the guitar, the battery, low or the wind instruments. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is one of the most important subjects in the race of King Crimson, perhaps the one that better defines its capacity to conjugate the hard-rock with the jazz, in a transit distorted and full of acid might, acérbico spirit and pessimistic approach on the human nature, marked by the violence and the avarice. The counterpoint to the piece that opens the Lp is "I talk to the wind", a gorgeous ballad imbuida by Pete Senfield of sensible melancholy, that Greg Lake transmits vocal of very effective way, ornamented by sad and wonderful flauta. "Epitaph" is a sublime cut of melodía that presents/displays a great poetic work of Senfield and one afflicted atmosphere, enaltecida by its épica projection. "Moonchild" begins like a precious ballad marked by a bucólica subyugante imaginería to transform into an extensive sample book jazz of psicodélica infusion and key minimalista, that will be hopeless to some by its possible experimental indulgence and will hypnotize to others by its quiet lethargic capacity. The Lp, that left agape to many of its contemporary ones, closes with the title homónimo, an unforgettable cut, brilliant as much in its instrumental work as vocal, with special meaning of mellotron of Ian McDonald, that us retrotrae to a fascinating medieval scene.
Report this review (#36527)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars People say this is what started prog, this album planted the roots for the prog scene for other major names like YES, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, all of them. It's the pinnacle of prog music, they say. An absolute masterpiece; a must-have. Well, I'd agree with the creation of prog part: this album was entirely new, everything about it. A brand new band with no experience, turmoil within their ranks already, made an album that changed everything. Prog before prog really came to be, that's what this was. It was a landmark.

But honestly, while I can give it credit for being the original, the creator of it all (although that too can be contested), is it honestly the pinnacle? The best? Well, not everyone says that. But many do, and to those of you who do, I say no. People seem to prop this album just because it is the original. It's certainly not the best, though. Krimson themselves have done about four better albums, honestly, and don't even let me go into other bands. On a list of favorite albums, this might barely make the top 15. Don't get me wrong; it's an excellent album. There's just better out there.

21st Century Schizoid Man: Well, I do like this song a lot. It's heavy metal before heavy metal existed. Brutal, rough, great lyrics (even though they are against Vietnam, which I don't like, I still know they are good and creative), and a great...well, I'd call it a jam session halfway through where the whole band goes nuts. Besides Fripps' screeching guitar which is a bit painful on the ears, not because it's bad but because it honestly SCREECHES, this song is GREAT. 9.5/10

I Talk To The Wind: Good song, some beautiful memorable sections and great singing that adds to the gentle mood of the song. Onthe upside, it's very pretty, with great flute all around and memorable melodies. On the downside, it seems uninspired at points, kind of just noodling along with no real aim. Still, I like it. Tends to get stale after repeated listens. 8/10

Epitaph: An emotional song here. I'll be honest, people love this song but it just doesn't do it for me. Sure, it's got a good chorus section, but other than that, it's eight minutes of semi-powerful musicianship. It repeats itself a lot. Some sections are absolutely amazing, but most of it is just pretty good. 8/10

Moonchild: Blegh. First three minutes are actually really good, some of my favorite passages in the whole album. The first three minutes are better than I Talk To The Wind and just as good as the titletrackwhich is great. But...the last nine minutes...well, it's basically a jam session. But not a formulated jam session. This is honestly guys screwing around on their instruments for nine minutes, practicing whatever they want with no sense of structure or melody. It's...crap. For this song ,just because of the last nine minutes, 6/10

The Court of the Crimson King: Good song. Memorable opening mellotronbit in the beginning that kicks into the lyrical part. The lyrics are descriptive and colorful and work well. The flute is back and sounds great. It drags on a bit longer than it should, but most of the itme it's great music. 8.5/10 because I like it, but don't love it.

So yes, it created prog. But no, it's not the best of prog.

Report this review (#36608)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Just what the world needs, another review of ITCOTKC. Oh well, I'll put in my 2 cents. Well, put simply, this is easy to listen to, you don't need a long attention span to sit through a long reprtitive piece and here you don't need to worry. Greg Lake is before his prime (ELP's trilogy) but great overall. I heard this album before any other King Crimson and i didn't know what to expect. But for what it's worth, I think this is one of the few prog albums every prog fan should own (Put with Selling England by the Pound, Fragile, Brain Salad Surgery, Thick as a Brick and Days of Future Passed). I think I've said enough, you can always read the other million revies for this album.
Report this review (#36624)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
5 stars The CD release of King Crimson's masterpiece "In the court of the crimson king" was the ultimate confrontation with the visual limitations of this invention. You almost need a looking glass to watch that mindblowing cover from the late Barry Godber, the Hobbits must have thought this was a special edition for them! But on the other hand: no more scratches and I got the opportunity to delete that weird track "Moonchild". The other four compositions are very innovative and pivotal progrock. The jazzy inspired opener "21st century schizoid man" features fiery brass work and agressive guitar, the lyrics and vocals evokes an ominous climate. "I talk to the wind" sounds pleasant with the warm vocals and fine flute and "Epitaph" and "The court of the crimson king" (I can listen to it every moment of the day) are timeless beauties delivering wonderful waves of the Mellotron. This unique instrument was cherished by all great rock groups at that time and now seems embraced again by both prog and a whole bunch of new pop and rock band. Radiohead was one of the first and they named King Crimson as an inspiration, say no more!
Report this review (#36635)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This must have sounded truly progressive in 1969 and it's still not half bad now. However being pickey, for me some of the production sounds a little dated now; and I prefer John Wetton's style - both bass & vocals - to Greg Lake's; and I've never got into "Moonchild"! For a great live version of "21st CSM", try "The Night Watch".

Report this review (#36742)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is fruitless to start a discussion regarding if this was the first progressive rock recording. It doent matter at all. What matters is the incredible music that is within. From the opener "21st Century Schizoid Man" you know you are far away from the path the former groups traded. My absolute favourite it is of course the title track but it doesn´t matter this is an instant classic. Masterpiece.
Report this review (#37135)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson's 1969 debut, IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING, stands as one of the cornerstones of the progressive rock genre. Many consider this the album that started Prog rock. King Crimson was comprised of Greg Lake (later of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) playing bass and handling vocals, Robert Fripp playing the guitars and Michael Giles handling the Drums (formerly of Giles, Giles & Fripp). Ian McDonald rounded out the lineup by playing saxophone, flute, and keyboards, as well as the new Mellotron, the instrument besides synths most associated with progressive rock. Robert Fripp was the driving force behind this innovative new band, and had the most creative control. Peter Sinfield wrote the poetic, though overblown lyrics. Sinfield later rose to greater fame as he also wrote ELP's lyrics after 1973. This is an exceptional album, with historic qualities. It opens with the near-metal of 21st Century Schizoid Man, an amazing song featuring jazz-metal instrumentation mixed with Lake's distorted vocals. This song became an instant Crimson classic, and a concert stalwart. Sinfield's lyrics are particularly good here. The paranoia and fear of this track is displayed in the album cover artwork, a painting of a screaming man. This hectic, frightening track segues instantly into the beautiful I Talk to the Wind, which features very pleasant flute from McDonald. This was the first in a long string of similar, acoustic pieces by King Crimson, like Cadence and Cascade on the next album. Epitaph is the most powerful piece on the album, due in large part to Sinfield's striking chorus: "Confusion will be my Epitaph/As I crawl, a cracked and broken path/If we make it, we can all, sit down and laugh/but I fear tomorrow I'll be crying...". This song is a singing critique of society's use of science for military purposes, and is quite effective. It also features Lake's strongest vocals on the album. This song is probably the first symphonic rock piece as we know it today, and has complex and bold arrangements to augment the lyrics. It has a slow build up, but when it climaxes, it is flawless. Moonchild is the only weak point on this album. The first two minutes are great, featuring incredibly haunting music and lyrics. It can creep out the listener. The next ten minutes, however, has the band "experimenting" on their instruments. This is pointless, boring noodling, and is reminiscent of some of Pink Floyd's druggier work. This hints at the rampant experimentation of King Crimson's later work, like LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC. Making up for this waste of time, the albums closer and title track are amazing. In the Court of the Crimson King is a multi part mini-suite, and has the strongest playing on the album, as well excellent lyrics again from Sinfield. This is the most bombastic track, hinting at the extravagances of ELP. This is also Robert Fripp's first experimentation with musical 'suites', and this song has a couple of distinct and brilliantly interwoven sections. Fripp's guitar is also flawless throughout the course of this album. This is the most popular and most symphonic King Crimson album, and is also their best (climbing to #4 on the British charts). Soon, they would be ravaged by personnel changes and would drift towards jazzier improvisation. This lineup would barely survive its first album, as Michael Giles and Ian McDonald leave over creative differences in 1970, with Lake exiting to form ELP soon after. IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING is still a monument in the world of Prog, and hinted at the progressive rock to come. IN THE COURT... is King Crimson's most symphonic, and many consider, their best easily earns it's five star rating, and contains some of the best progressive rock to be found.
Report this review (#37245)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has to be one of the greatest prog albums ever. This review will be short for the simple reason that too much has been said already about this magnificent album. Just one thing: I really cannot understand all those who complain about Moonchild. The jam part is just wonderful and trance-like, perfectly fitting the ' Dream' and 'Illusion' parts. Somewhat hypnotic I must say...

Final Verdict: A definite MUST in any music library.

Report this review (#37438)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Debut album in 1969 that pulls out last album substantial 'Abbey Road' of The Beatles and acquires No.1 hit. King Crimson go up to existence that keeps having a large influence on the Rock scene after this work.

Actually, all factors of the Prog Rock that we image are put in this work(rock'n'roll, country, folk, jazz, and classics). Stoic imagination that invents philosophical lyrics to which sense of beauty close for performance ability to control knowledge, complication that skillfully combines wide materials, and music made difficult perfectly and frenzy explodes and novel sound image. It is easy to imagine the impact that this work to which the balance that can be called these elements miraculous is kept brings to a music scene at that time. It must be a work that includes the impact of the cover jacket that remains on the lock history, listens to future generations, and is succeeded.

Report this review (#37696)
Posted Sunday, June 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This fantastic album has almost zero flaws. It starts off with the heavy metal-ish '21st Century Schizoid Man,' which has some great heavy-metal saxophone. Normally I don't care much for the sax, but this is an exception. The middle of the song in which everyone starts jamming is called Mirrors, and I love how they give names for all the little interludes in their songs.

The next song, I Talk to the Wind, is nice and mellow and relxaing. Great lyrics and great vocals. I also think that Crimson were the first 'rock' band to include flutes in their music.

The next track, Epitaph, is tied for my favorite song on the album with the title track. The way it starts out with that great little lead-lick from Fripp, then it goes into the super quiet moving verse, then the powerfully emotional chorus. There are also a few interludes in this one too, like March for No Reason. This song features some great mellotron.

What I am about to say about the next track, Moonchild, has been said before. The first two and a half minutes are excellent, with great vocals and melody, and imaginative and colorful lyrics. But then it comes nine minutes of just messing around on their instruments for some truly boring stuff.

The title track is so unbelievably awesome, with its great classic mellotron riff, great guitar riffs from Fripp, great, medieval style lyrics, and then when you think its over, but the drums kick the mellotron riff back in and its just fantastic.

So this is a great album. Almost perfect. However, since the greatness of the other songs can make up for the junk on Moonchild,I'm giving it five.

Report this review (#37985)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This CD is an incredible piece of art that has founded (as a full album) progressive rock music. So many prog and alternative rock bands have been influenced by this band (just some examples: ANEKDOTEN, AFTER CRYING, IN THE WOODS, TOOL, etc). The album presents us with proto metal to fusion to jazz! Greg Lake voice is powerful and emotional and his bass is fine. There are heavy and mellow songs, long instrumental parts, tempo changes, variable drums, and beautiful atmospheric mellotron. In short, ALL instruments and musicians are important, not only guitar or keys - this is progressive music! Even 'Moonchild', for many reviewers a boring track, is a legitimate expression of experimental work. Isn't this one of the prog music characteristics? Indisputably this album is an essential purchase to any ROCK´N ROLL collection, not only a prog collection. Highly recommended!!!
Report this review (#38577)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
3 stars I appreciate that many reviewers are extremely attached to this album. I also appreciate the importance of this album as (perhaps) the first truly prog album. However, I do not really think that this album deserves its reputation; in absolute terms, it is an extremely mixed bag. I sold my vinyl copy recently and taped only two tracks for posterity; Epitaph (a masterpiece) and the title track which is also very good. I am pretty indifferent to I Talk to the Wind, Schizoid Man is fairly bad and Moonchild is actually pretty abysmal towards the end. Sure, there's some lovely flute and mellotron work, usually excellent lyrics and Greg Lake does a fine job on vocals but it has not stood the test of time well and sounds oh so dated now. And this is the King Crimson album I like best, which doesn't say a lot for the rest. I shall now duck as the flak flies my way!!!
Report this review (#38589)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you only get one King Crimson album, this is the one to get. They never topped their debut album, although they certainly covered a lot of new ground after this album. This is a perfect album. Every song is fantastic. I can't help but sing along to Epitaph, which is quite possibly the best song King Crimson ever came up with. The only complaint I have is that Moonchild went a bit overlong. I like hearing experimental improvisation as much as the next guy, but 10 minutes of keyboard noodling is a little bit too much for a 45 minute studio album. Still, this album is essential and gets 5 stars simply because of it's importance in progressive rock history, as well as its overall excellence.
Report this review (#38746)
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars King Crimsons original (Diabolical Prog Monster Unleashed).In the Court of the Crimson King is a Dreadful album,absolutely Horrendous,one of the most popular half baked albums in all rock history.The actual production of this thing sounds like a 78rpm,Gramophone Shellac recording of the 1930"S,which renders the complete album for what its worth today and will be in the future, Historical Interest Only being,(the birth of prog).Most similar albums of this era,of the 60'S,had high production value and as such sound like masterpieces and stand like monuments to rock history,but this classic piece of crimson is now about as appetising as last nites pizza.I actually feel the album should be not only re-recorded but completly re-performed,but not by Fripp but given too one of the new Scandinavian Death Metal acts to give it what it truly needs, that being (life),because all the songs are basically there and can be salvaged.The entire album should be re- worked in a fashion that brings the necessary weight and depth that all these songs should have recieved ,and given modern production.
Report this review (#39288)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Why am I only giving this 4 stars? I have no strong feelings over whether this was the start of Prog Rock or not. But you must remember that back in the late 60s, rock as such did not really exist, it was still rock and roll. Progressive Rock was the name given to all music of the type that was to be later known as rock and, later, as heavy rock, so it included all manner of bands from Deep Purple and Black Sabbath to Alice Cooper and Wishbone Ash, with bands like The Sweet, and T Rex, even Slade, on the borderline. I bought this LP (yes, I'm that old) while still at school over 30 years ago. At the time I wasn't into the pretentious meanderings of 21st Century Schizoid Man or Moonchild and usually lifted the needle onto the next track. Having recorded my album onto minidisk I can now do this much easier, but as I have got older I now appreciate 21st Century... - still find Moonchild difficult though. 21st Century did at least get played in the "Progressive Discotheques" of those halcyon days, though no- one knew quite what to do during the middle bit. I'm not sure how you can describe I Talk To The Trees and Epitath as Prog tracks, though they are excellent tracks in their own right. Moonchild is not really either - its constant use in "Heartbeat" on the telly proves that! But what gets me is that hardly any-one has actually said anything real about the title track. This is just mindblowing, the one track that I have played and played over the years; the track that sits on the tape compilation of Pink Floyd's Relics (guess which 2 tracks aren't on the tape), Led Zep 2, a few Cream tracks and Green Manalishi by Fleetwood Mac. It starts off as it means to go on, heavy and atmospheric. All the instruments gel together, the singing included. The sound is spot on, just listen to the clear sweetness of the cymbals as The Dance Of The Puppets begins. The ending is climatic, until those cymbals start and you realise that it isn't the end at all. But then, the only disappointment on the track, the real ending. A discordant row, especially given the superb false ending. I don't know what the CD is like, whether the cover has the inner sleeve picture as well as the outer or not, if the sound is better or worse than the vinyl album. But get a copy if you like this sort of music. It is worth it for the title track alone.
Report this review (#39992)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't mean to downplay the significance of this album (I've enjoyed listening to it myself for many years) but it's not quite as revolutionary as people seem to indicate in the reviews.

By the time this album came out in 1969, The Moody Blues had already been putting out several albums of creative, colorful, mellotron-based prog. music. Just listen to "Days of Future Passed" (1967) and "In Search of the Lost Chord" (1968) and you can find much of the early influences for "In the Court of the Crimson King". The title track "The Court of the Crimson King" especially is very heavy on the Moody Blues sound (lots of mellotron, reflective vocals, acoustic guitar, flute, early prog drums - sort of jazzy).

It's not surprising that ITCOTCK borrows a lot from the Moody Blues. Members of both bands were good friends and hung around each other. While King Crimson was just getting off the ground, the Moodies were already a well-established band, and were obviously very influencial. Surreal cover art was also already in full swing by the time ITCOTCK came out, although KC's certainly stood out with that twisted maniacal face.

Of course, the members of King Crimson put their own touch on the style of music. Fripp added harshness and dissonance, and lyricist Pete Sinfield added his own weird imagery.

This is still a classic though!

Report this review (#40308)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars hello, this is my first review on prog archives, and for that I review the amazing and truly masterpiece of prog music in the court of the crimson king. First of all the cover, wow, at the moment that I saw this beautiful picture I thought that my heath would stop, after that I take a look at the first title of the album , 21 century skyzoide man mirror, wow. my hearth is difinitly stopped.

21st Century schizoid man Mirrors : the song open with a riff, and what a riff this is, the kind of riff with stange sound, the kind of riff very simple but truly amazing, after that a strange voice take the place and disturb a lot my mind and I just love it. after that the instrumentale part of the song and this is very to enjoy. do you know that robert fripp is a crazy player. so now you know.

all song in this album bring my mind in a perfect dream of progresive music do you like flute in prog music ,what a stupid question i ask, if you like prog music your also like flute. so you will really enjoy this album because king crimson use flute in the perfect mood like jethro tull, genesis and camel.

this is the kind of album that I will listen in ten years like the first listening. this album is a masterpiece because each melody are perfect and the songwriting is at is best quality. hardly recommended for those who like experimentale prog music or symphonique prog music.

Report this review (#41261)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is historical and is probably the first real Prog album ... but ... It is very flawed, and some parts are horrible (moonchild)

1. 21st Century schizoid man Mirrors 10/10 : This track is a classic, the riffs are legendary, and everything you hear in this has influenced many future artists. A heavy Jazz-rock epic with plenty of memorable moments.

2. I talk to the wind 6/10 : This is a very pretty and melodic song with nice flute melodies. Nothing too extraordinary.

3. Epitaph 9/10 : One of the best Songs from the band. The mellotron usage is at its best here, and the vocals are some of the best you would ever hear from Greg Lake. It is a long ballad.

Moonchild Dream 8/10 : It starts promising and it is a gorgeous soft song. Moonchild Illusion 0/10 : 10 minutes of pointless music ... trust me, I know what I am talking about.

5. The court of the crimson king 6/10 : This is an ok track with good mellotron and a memorable chorus, yet ... it drags a lot!

I am not a big fan of King Crimson, so I probably should not have reviewed this album, but I believe they got better in 'Red'

My Grade : C

Report this review (#41749)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the seminal moment when prog was launched but other bands would do things much better. Every KC record has extenside drivel and in this album it is the last ten minutes of Moonchild. I wish Fripp had put all his avant garde work in one multi disk production rather than spacing them out over every album and frauding the buyer . There are great moments in all five tracks but in the end it is too extended with too little quality material. High marks for innovation but it is way out of it's leage in the top 10 of prog or even the top 100.
Report this review (#41803)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
Bob Greece
2 stars A 2-star review for this seminal prog album?! I will duck and wait for the s**t to hit the fan. 2 stars is what I honestly feel about this album though. It has 5 songs and only 2 are any good. It starts off with the great 21st Century Schizoid Man which is a heavy rocking track with some great jamming. A good start but the momentum is not maintained. We then head off into 2 ballads. I hate ballads and Greg Lake's vocals are particularly annoying. Then we get Moonchild. It starts off as another another disappointing ballad and then ... it gets worse! It heads off into nonsense. The album redeems itself slightly with the final title track but it's not that great. It's very repetitive. Obviously the album was something special at the time it was released but I think now we have so many more prog albums that are better.
Report this review (#41988)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars How can I rate this album anything other than five stars?

Sometimes you listen to an album and the top of you head floats away and everything changes. Forever.

I class 21st Centrury Schizoid Man as one of the finest tracks ever cut. This is what "far out" really meant.

Sorry, but I like Epitaph and Moonchild. I even sing them to myself sometimes. Those who comaplin about Moonchild forget that this is, after all, a progressive album. Mimicking the structure of a classical symphony, the quiet and reflective pieces are essential to achieving the maximum impact of the frenzy of 21st Century Schizoid Man and the huge grandeur of the title track.

Report this review (#42325)
Posted Wednesday, August 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is probably one of the most defining moments in rock, period. I'll begin with that. In 1969, a band came out with a uniquely dark sound that had musical complexity like no other band had before. It had talent like Greg Lake (THE Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, and Michael Giles. The music made was like no other band I have been able to listen to from this early in rock's history. Maybe there is a band out there that did this kind of music but I haven't heard them.

'21st Century Schizoid Man' comes out very powerfully and continues it's power all the way to the end of the song. It's as if they combined the heaviest sounds from different periods. Distorted guitar and voice from the modern age, swing like raspy jazz from the early 20th century, and a snappy rhythm and disjointed syncopation that would have been used by composers of old to exemplify ire. The slow brooding guitar which clashes with the speedy jazz ensemble provide a genuine 'Schizoid' experience. This is a good strong opening for the album.

Next comes in 'I Talk to the Wind' which is a very, very mellow song and completely switches the mood in a shocking, but well executed fashion. The lyrics and the melody for the vocals are (if you are familiar with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), very much dominated by Greg Lake's influence in retrospect. You can kind of see how his presence shapes the band in this song. Note the end of the song, there is some beautiful woodwind work here with the flute.

'Epitaph' is next and again, Lake's singing is excellent. His vocals rip though the music like a bullet directing the song in it's ebbs and flows. The string sounds from the mellotron make this song sound epic as they course though the music. The music brings you in and out of the throes of depression. You can imagine a man ripped apart by confusion and frustration. In fact, the song is so sad, if you get too much into it (which is easy to do) you'll go down with it. As a sidenote, after listening to 'Epitaph' and 'I Talk to the Wind', one wonders if Lake took a little bit of King Crimson with him when he began with ELP. 'Take a Pebble' which is from ELP's first album, is reminiscent of this sound.

'Moonchild' is a very dreamy song and is quite psychedelic in nature. Especially 'The Dream' which is a subpart of the song. When Radiohead names this band as an influence you can see it distinctly from this song here. This song is very spatial and trippy, Fripp's guitar work and McDonald's keyboard work are awesome in this song and you have to listen hard to tell that there are 2 different instruments being played for awhile. The two musicians are so together and so in sync that they make the experiments in this song sound as if they are being played by the same person. The drumming, which comes in later is very well done and never overpowering. This is an experimental song, which is not everyone's cup of tea. It's mine, however, so I pretty much would rave all day about this track if I don't cut it short here.

Then, immediately after all of the quietus of 'Moonchild' comes the very powerful and majestic 'In the Court of the Crimson King'. Like a king's army marching through your quiet village, unannounced, it makes it's appearance. The lyrics and music bring you into a fantasy world while the chorus of powerful singing and chords ring with the majesty and power you would expect from a king. There are no real intricate instrumentals or complicated guitar solos to speak of, which is good because it would actually pull away from the song too much if there were. There are a couple of good segues from the song though that, like the rest of this album, are masterfully constructed.

This whole album is an emotional roller coaster. It goes from frustrated, crazy, and angry to content and happy. From happy, to tormented and sad, and from that, to dreams and awe. This album has everything you need to make this a good album. You have all of the base human emotions, good music composition, talented musicians, and creative lyrics and structure. This is one of the best prog albums ever made and you most definately should have this album in your collection, no question. If you like prog, you'll love this album! I give it a well deserved 5 because there are only 5 stars to give.

Report this review (#42536)
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars In the Court,is not really a very good album for a number of reasons.The first being its totally incoherent,none of the tracks flow into each other they are all very disjointed,you have extremes of music which dont fit nicely with each other,its either very loud and ugly or plane dull and tedious.The second being obviously the sound production its archaic,it sounds so old,even when i heard it back in 1980 it was just the same a, Relic Recording.Just compare it to the sound the Decca engineers were able to get with bands like the Stones at the same period.I also believe the Stones album Their Satanic Majesties Request would challenge this in a debate about the first Prog recording,mellotrons ,tape looms,early sythesizers were used on both,and Jaggers voice was distorted on many tracks.King Crimson went on to record music soon after of much higher calibre than In the Court.
Report this review (#42551)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the greatest albums I have ever listened to, I may be biased considering I love jazz. Greg Lake's vocals and basslines make me want to die. Everything has already been said about this album. Epitaph is substantial proof that talent does not drown emotion, and anyone who disagrees is confused.
Report this review (#43057)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars ''In the court of the crimson king" is a masterpiece of rock music.It's one of the best debut albums ever made.The musician's made a perfect result and the lyrics are great.This album changed my music horizons!21st century schizoid man is one of the most powerfull tracks I ever heard with an unbelievable solo by fripp and with palmer playing like a drum machine.I talk to the wind is a great journey with wonderfull lyrics and vocals.Epitaph is the best ballad ever written.Moonchild is a trip to another world and the powerfull introduction of the title track and the great vocals of Lake brings you to the end of this wonderfull album'

I think it's the finest album ever made and it is a ''must'' for every collector.

Report this review (#43144)
Posted Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the most enjoyable KING CRIMSON album for me of all that I've heard, and those include "Island", "Red" and "Lark's Tongues In Aspic". Great album. Really wonderfull. This is the album that got me into Progressive Rock. I was sixteen, thirty years ago. I don't think that KC have done better records except "Red" or "Lark's Tongues In Aspic". I have never been convicted by the eighty and the ninety years of KC. It's one of the ten masterpieces of the progressive music and remains today one of my favorites.
Report this review (#43782)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best prog rock band of all time.For me, better than Pink Floyd.This album has the eternal hit "21st Century Schizoid Man".This song is outstanding.This song is actually the base of the mixture:Hard Music and Progressive.This song is history.."I Talk To The Wind" has a perfect atmosphere because it's so smooth.Try listening this album with headphones.You will NEVER discover everthing!Epitaph is cannot be reviewed by anyone.One day I was listening to it and my mother said:"I used to dance with my boyfriend on this song"...This song is just one of the best in music history..Moonchild is more experimental..You might be bored of it, so try thinking that you 're watching a horror movie of the 60's!Finally "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is the epic song of the album.This album is a must whoever says he listens to prog.It has melodies that will stick into your mind and others that are used for just once and are thrown away.Robert Fripp is a real artist and a colossal brain.
Report this review (#44796)
Posted Tuesday, August 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think it's one of the best albums in Progressive Rock and best first album for a band for sure.In the court of the crimson king is really sad.and Epitaph is very very sad too and I like them...all of songs are masterpiece and I think there is no bad second in this album. Greg Lake had agreat job really and Keyboard player,Ian,too. Highly Recommended for Pink Floyd Lovers!!
Report this review (#45027)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Very good album. That's my first Crimson's album, and it introduces me very well into this band of intelligence and virtuosity. I discovered it when I was looking at the top 100 guitar solos, where you can find, after Clapton, Hendrix and Hammet, a less popular... Robert Fripp...

Let's jump into 21st century schizoid man... Oh, man, 25 seconds and only train sounds? I don't hear anything, put it higher! And... KABOUM! Amazing guitar sound, and Lake's vocals (from far into him...), are very hard and strict... Good song with jazz inspirations and for the sixties, a new type of guitar solo... The prog one...

I talk to the wind isa the less strong song on this album, personaly... (I precise personaly, because when I read a reiew saying that Shine On you crazy Diamond is the less good piece on the album, it gets me on my but). Very low ballad, contrary to Schizoid, helping us to jump in the contracts of the album...

Epitaph is a very good piece of music. Greg' the one that impresses me the most, there. Excellent vocals and lyrics of graveyard... Amazing, considering the keyboard stuff there was in the sixties...

Moonchild is great, very low, too. Nice ambiance there and combiantions of Fripp and McDonald.

Then, the title track,a s big as the nose of the pink man n the cover. When the chorus goes on, it almost flies into the sky, it's so high! I personaly love when the guy says the words of the title before to jump and touch the stars with his head... Nice intensity just there...

I don't think that anyone could say that this album is overrated... Maybe it ain't Crimson's best one, but no one was as much innovative... Thank you, Fripp.

Report this review (#45669)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars What a way to arrive on the world of music!

KING CRIMSON is one of those rare bands that have made a debut album which deserves a lot of praising by people, but i think that all the praising go a bit too far sometimes. Of course, it is a very good work, but come on, there's albums of better quality like Lizard and Lark's Tongues in Aspic that don't receive the same attention as this one. I love Court, but i think that it is slightly overrated. Of course, it has masterpieces like "I Talk to the Wind" and "Epitaph", but it also has weaker parts like the unnecessary 10-minute non-sense on "Moonchild" and a very repetitive sounding title track, as well as an out-of-place, but not bad, opening song - "21st Century Schizoid Man", that shows some of the best jamming by the FRIPP boys. I can't give this five stars due to the reasons i mentioned above, so this gets a proper "excellent, but not a masterpiece" rating.

Their next album is the one of those rare occasions KC maintained the formula, and it is a bit inferior than this one, but still good.

4 stars - beautiful but a bit inconsistent album.

Report this review (#47375)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, excuse my english. I´ll try to make miself clear though. ....Whenever I think of prog rock and ever need to discuss about it with a friend, "21st century" is the first and best reference I can come up with. Thinking of the music around, back in ´69 and listening to this song is something beyond my inteligence. This song was really a groundbreaking moment in rock history. The sounds, the overwelming complexity, the impressive playing and the fresh and original concept and style was something no one could have ever imagined. It really was. There was not even anything like this among prog rockers (If there were any by then). Regardless of the year when this song was written, it is as a song, a wonderfully addictive piece of music. Those sudden stop-and- go, perfectly coordinated moments and the implicit energy throughout, is what makes of this song something we all prog fans make us feel proud for liking this genre. I could really not tell if this should be considered the best prog rock song ever. In the end, what is prog, really?. One thing I know for sure though; This song will impress anyone who can tell good music from the rest.

About the album as a whole, I wont and couldn´t say it´s a 5 star album. I´ve read some comments in this site and most people seem to feel uncomfortable about the evident inconsistency of this album. Yet, most of them seem to disregard "moonchild" and the excesive minutes on "Epitaph", "In the court" and "I talk to the wind" in order to be able to rate this album with 5 stars. This may be or may be not be the start of progressive rock. It is very exciting to create idols, wonders and dogmas. Calling "In the court" the first, essential, masterpiece of progressive music and most quintessential prog-rock album ever may be a statement a little bit too extreme. After 35 years of repeated opinions like that, any album may get to be all that, and more ¡¡.

This album is 16:40 minutes of prog rock ("21st" and "In the court"), 6:00 minutes of Pop ballad with "I talk to the wind", "Epitaph" could be called .what?, power ballad? And is a 8:47 minutes song. And the remaining 12:11 minutes is crap. It is¡. 3 decent minutes, out of a total of 12:11 don´t make this song a good song. There really is not much prog in this album. And that fact alone doesn´t make it any less worse. But wouldn´t that jeopardise this album´s status?.

"I talk to the wind" and "Epitaph" are very enjoyable to listen too. Whatsmore, they may be heard with more enthusiasm after the 30th time than "21st". Because of the large amount of "feeling" within their lines and textures. But that same thing could happen with any song, prog or not. These ones are not prog. And I insist, that doesn´t make them any less enjoyable, but the fact that they are so highly regarded may be an indication of people overrating them. It seems like the amount of real artistic ideas in this album was so little, and the ghost of that crappy "Moonchild" so overwhelming, that King Crimson´s fans felt the need of creating a dogma around this album, so big that no one ever questioned the real quality within.

Now, "In the court of the crimson king" (The song) is an interesting song, with catchy moods all around. The sounds are definitely something that catches your senses and attention. But in my opinion, the song lacks of diversity, mainly due to the poor songwriting abilities King Crimson had at the time and kept showing onwards. ..This may look like a very absurd thing to say, but it was true. This song was made out of no more than 3 musical ideas (chorus, tones, sounds). It´s way too long for the amount of diferent passages and atomospheres shown here. I do like like it and can listen to it from the very beginning till the very last second with no harm. But in the end, it´s not a song that would make any difference in a better album. It would even be a low point.

Making a critic on this album as a fan, I adore it, I may even find the funny side in "moonchild". As a serious (And maybe a fool one, why not?) listener, I can´t grant this album the provilege of receiving all the very best considerations when the only real great song here is "21st". And it´s wonderful and amazing but it cannot handle the weight of a whole album by itself alone. I would rate this albut with 3 stars. I´m giving it 4 only because of what the rating stands for: "Excellent addition to any ....". In my opinion, it is "good and essential", like a 3.5 rating. It could not be otherwise. But it definitely is not a masterpiece.

Report this review (#48539)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, task that this is the cd for excellence... It does not have need of comments... From the large one is born here prog... Five songs... one beautiful of the other 21st Century Schizoid Man is, to little say, transcendental a mix of new sounds that music of the King Crimson for all the rest of the times will influence. I Talk To The Wind is one romantic danced that rise to masterpiece. Epitaph is the Masterpiece of the album. Perhaps their beautiful song. Moonchild is more experiences them, perhaps, the moment of minimal inclination of the album. In The Court Of The Crimson King most valid closing of the album is one. To buy, to listen and to relisten. The base of music. 5 stars.
Report this review (#48990)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I agree with many that although this is a groundbreaking recording it si outdated and definitely does not deserve the place in the standings where it is. Much of this album is just boring jams from the musicians. That said it also has two of my all time favorites on it. 21st Century Scizoid man is a great bluesy based jam, not too proggy though I feel. Same with Elp's knife edge by the way which is a very awesome tune, but still not prog to me. Anyway thje other is I talk to the Wind. Something has always kind of drawn me to that one. It getsin my headand stays there... Anyway a good album but not really prog to me.
Report this review (#49704)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Some people don't seem to get that music generally goes through a process known as "development". In 1969, there was no existing category of "Progressive Rock". It had to be invented first. Thankfully, there was a handful of musicians who were daring and inventive enough to take the time and the enormous risks involved to do so. At the forefront of these innovators were Robert Fripp, Ian MacDonald, et al. These artists had a great influence on the musicians who would continue this line of development. The impact of this album is exemplified by the fact that Genesis had this album cover hanging on their studio wall at the time they recorded "Trespass", and then they went on to influence all of the later progressive music. While partly still in an experimental phase, all the elements are fully there in this album of what defines prog rock as we know it. But innovative artists are not thinking in such limiting categories, or else new things would never come into existence(for instance Miles Davis never called what he did jazz). Bill Bruford once said something to the effect of, "What is 'progressive music' anyway? If you're not progressing as a musician, you might as well hang it up!"
Report this review (#49723)
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the Court can only be described as incredible and is nothing short of a masterpiece. 21st Century Schizoid Man may have annoying vocals but it is easily made up for with the instrumental passages in it. I Talk to the Wind has astounding vocals by Lake along with thoughtful lyrics. Moonchild has even better singing and it captivates me every time I hear it. Epitaph and In the Court of the Crimson King are unbeliavable. With great lyrics sung by one of the best voices of all time, as well as incredible instrumetns they rank among Comfortably Numb and Bohemian Rhapsody as my favorite songs of all time.
Report this review (#51681)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow. This is the album that really introduced me to prog. Sure I had heard some pink floyd/yes/genesis etc. but only their watered down for radio singles. It didn't matter who I asked, when I asked for a good intro to progressive music it was 'Wish You Were Here' and 'In the Court...' This is where prog started, and there's no better place to start than the beginning. I highly recommend this album to anyone who's interested in the genre. The music is experimental and hits you hard with the first song, '21st Century...' is completly chaotic but still keeps a sense of order, the vocals are distorted and heavy which gives the song a dark feel. The highlight of the masterpiece is the title track which is haunting with layered mellotron and beautiful guitar work. The only thing i dislike about the album is the middle section of Moonchild the guitar is very faint, but still sounds great if you turn up the volume. I could go on but I'll let you decide what you think, this is a must own!
Report this review (#52512)
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars For my very first review, I've chosen the very first prog album I listened to in its entirety, some thirty years ago. At the time, as a teenager, I was deeply intrigued by the record's frightening cover, so I borrowed it from a prog-loving friend of mine. I will always remember when "21st Century Schizoid Man" came crashing out of the amps... It was my first encounter with unadulterated, fully-fledged heavy metal! After that, my love affair with prog rock has been through several ups and downs (just like every other relationship), but now that I'm older and wiser I can say prog will always be my favourite kind of music.

"In the Court of the Crimson King" is said by many to have been the first prog album. To me, however, it is just a practically perfect record which contains all the defining elements of progressive rock music: suitably esoteric, vaguely disturbing lyrics, a lead vocalist to die for, accomplished musicianship, and no fear at all of crossing any boundaries between musical genres. Though King Crimson's unique brand of prog may not be easy on the ear (far from that!), they've never sold out as others have done.

The album strikes the right balance between melody and aggression, from the initial wallop delivered by "21st Century Schizoid Man" to the idyllic, pastoral atmosphere of "I Talk to the Wind", reaching a climax in what is perhaps the ultimate prog track, the wonderful "Epitaph". "Moonchild" exemplifies the nature of the album itself, split as it is between the ethereal feel of the vocal parts and the jazzy improvisation of the instrumental section; then "The Court of the Crimson King" brings everything majestically to a close.

On this record Greg Lake proves himself to be THE voice of prog: his performance in "Epitaph" is absolutely stunning, especially when, at the end of the song, his vocals merge with the waves of sound produced by the Mellotron. Fripp is... well, Fripp: perhaps an acquired taste to some, but without any doubt an extremely innovative and daring musician. Michael Giles' drumming stands on a par with Bruford's, and Ian McDonald's performance on both keyboards and woodwind instrument is superlative. The chemistry between the four musicians is nothing short of incredible, and Sinfield's lyrics - even though not to everyone's taste - blend perfectly with the music created by the fantastic foursome.

"In the Court..." is 36 years old now, but it hasn't aged one day. Like all masterpieces, it has that timeless quality so many strive for without ever hoping to attain it. You can hate it (and some unfortunately do), but you will never be able to ignore it.

Report this review (#53273)
Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars KING CRIMSON was one of the first bands that introduced to me the great thing called Progressive Music. It was ca one year ago. Before that, the only prog band I listened was Pink Floyd. But this is pretty common, that even a nonprog music fan listenes PF. Somehow I reached this site and discovered such great bands as ELP, Yes, early Genesis, Jethro Tull. After that, I have almost completely discarded mainstream music. About this album: I liked it from the first time I listened to it. "21st Century schizoid man" is a great rocker and one of my favourite KC songs. If you like this song, you will like other CK songs as well. "I talk to the wind" - very melodic and has great atmosphere. "Epitaph" - haunting and powerful, maybe even the highlight of the album. Next one is "Moonchild". What to say about it? It starts great, but then collapses completely. There is a ten minute section, where fripp just makes some quiet voices with his guitar. It seems quite pointless. I always skip this "song". Last song - "The court of the crimson king" - is just great. This album would definately be a 5 star album, if there weren't the song "Moonchild", which just brings the rating down.
Report this review (#56313)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think that this is one of King Crimsons best Albums, and therefor one of the best Albums in this Genre. If you like this, then I would recommend "LIZARD". I think that any prog listener would like this.

The first song, "21st century schitzoid man", was, I believe, the most popular song on this album. It doesn't have verry much singing and has alot of improvised (I think by the sound of them) instrumentals. It has a Jazz sound during the instrumental parts. It is probably the fastest tempo song on this CD.

"I talk to the wind" is a very beautifull song. My favorite parts of this song are the lyrics, vocals, and the guitar.

"Epitaph" is more bombastic, but still very beautifull. It has a darker sound.

"Moonchild" is another slower song. There is a long instrumental part for the last 10 or so minutes. I think that that part (The Dream and the Illusion) is the weakest part of the Album. It's all broken up and sounds whimsical and it's boring.

The Court of the Crimson King is, in my opinion, the best song on this album and also one of my favorite songs. The lyrics are great, and the vocals are also very good. I think that this song has the best drumming on the album. I also think that the mellotrons are the best on this song, and there is some really cool guitar.

Report this review (#58349)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is how DEATH METAL was born. Essential! Just when pop music became pop, KING CRIMSON showed the world the true, brutal side of music. Many parents were afraid to bring their kids to rock concerts, as the moshing was the new fashion in the late 60's, and many who went to concerts never returned home. ROBERT FRUUP AND FRIENDS showed the stupid, filthy hippies how real MUSIC should be played. When it was trendy to sing like you are a pedophile, Greg Lake's tortured, distorted vocals full of teenage angst exploded on the late 60's music scene.

The first track, 21st Century Schizoid Man, kicks a lot of ass. Decades after true metalheads will discover this masterpiece and play even faster and heavier. Without this track, no DEATH METAL would exist today, in the same shape we know it. Forget BLACK SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN, now this is HEAVY! This song is really cool, it has some really funny jazzy moments, I always laugh at them wehn I am stowned or drunk(like right nwo!).

The second track shows what every METAL band should sound like: diverse and unpredictival. First they explode DEATH METAL bands, and then they play the FLUTE or maybe MELLOTRON(it's the same thing, right?). OPETH and FANTOMAS would later adapt this innovative iddea by fusing the brutal and the beautiful side of musi together. This isn'y rrally DEATH METAL, but without this song, the HEACY genre wuld be boring and every song wouls doiung the same.

The third song makes the listener fall asleep. I think it was FRUUP's intention to fall asleep the listeenr. If it is your bad time, then go to bad and turn it on, but if it isn't, skip the tracxk and listen to Epitaph.

Epitaph is very emotional and depressing. Without it, OPETH and AGALLOCH would never exist, if they did, it would be in some boring METAL shape, properly. I try not to listen to this song too much, it makes me cry, so I usually just skip ot track number 5 straight after I Talk To The Wung.

The last song is a masterfecei!!!!!! It combines ROCK and maybe METAL with SYMPHONIC elements(like BACH and STUFF). This is cool and innovative! While Beatles(tupid hippys)were wasting heir time doing dtugs and Yes were wanking their instruments, KING CRMSON and ROBERT FRUUP fused HEAVINESS and SUMPHONICNESS. EMPEROR, THERION and ETC. would later adapt this idea.


Report this review (#58366)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars As said "below", this album is the one where everything started. I'm not a big Crimson fan and I consider this as their only masterpiece (Larks almost makes it!) Every song is controlling and lets you float in the world of KC! I usually don't fancy "depressive music" much, but this is really something unusual for me, who consider these "fairytale-bands" as Genesis, Yes (and also Utopia) as the best ones. Oh btw. Gabriel is a genius!
Report this review (#58526)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson; the first band that really got me into progressive rock. Sure, I listened to Pink Floyd before, but who didn't? In The Court Of The Crimson King is, besides being quite acessable, a work of genius.

21st Century Schizoid Man is a fast and hard experimental song to get everybody excited. The solo's are, at first 'glance', just someone hitting a random note here and there, but when you listen to it well you soon will notice that it is quite the opposite. The riffs are excellent and used exactly in the right measure. The drums aren't always as audible, but right at the moments that they produce something that makes it all even better, it seems like they are put to the front. (5/5)

I Talk To The Wind immediately changes to pace from fast to a more mellow song. The flute solo is great, and even though I Talk To The Wind is more of a interlude between 21st and Epitaph, it definetly is not an album filler. (4/5)

Epitaph - the song that really got me excited about the whole genre. With a healthy over eight minutes, this song does not have any boring parts, and the climax at the end is sublime. It's easy to lure newcomes into prog, and a true gem. (5/5)

Moonchild, being the weakest song of the album, is a bit too far-fetched for King Crimson,but still I find it very enjoyable. It's a good song to listen to while you're busy with something else. (3.5/5)

The title track, In The Court Of The Crimson King, is a song that seems to repeat itself, but is full of interludes and variations of certain parts. However, it is quite similar to Epitaph, using the same technique to end it with a buildup, and I feel it has not completely been developed by King Crimson. (4.5/5)

Overall: 23/25

A must-have.

Report this review (#59646)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is truly one of the greatest examples of this style. Their music impresses the llistener, being always ready to burst into improvisation. The powerful beginning is followed by the peaceful "I talk to the wind', thoughtful "Epitaph", romantic "Moonchild". This fairy tale finishes with "In the court of the Crimson king", a really wonderful one, leaving us to wait for some continuation...A real masterpiece.
Report this review (#59647)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I actually found this CD in the bargain bin at Walmart for $4.99 just today, so I listened to it on my way home, and I'll tell you had me buy Yes' "Close to the Edge" and I loved it, however, this CD I thought was a bust. 21st Century is a good tune, but the rest of the album was listening to a guy playing the triangle for 30 min. I just do not get this album, way too slow and not much going on.........oh, well, 4.99 is not alot to complain about. Maybe some other albums I should check out before sending the King to the bottom of my CD stack.
Report this review (#59669)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album has been reviewed so many times lately, that I had to listen to it. I had the opportunity to do so and have to admit that is's an album with surprises. I couln't appreciate '1. 21st Century schizoid man Mirrors' and '4. Moonchild' , but the other 3 were not unpleasant to listen to. Nevertheless it's an old album and that's what you can hear too in it's recording and style. If you're an old (really old) progger, you should buy it in case you haven't. If you're somewhat younger spend your money elsewhere.
Report this review (#59860)
Posted Friday, December 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is perfection. From the hard rocking opener 21st Century Schizoid Man to the astounding closer In the Court of the Crimson King, this album has not a single weak moment. I Talk to the Wind is a great, light song with beautiful flute passages, Epitaph is just amazing with thought-provoking lyrics and great vocals, and Moonchild has amazing singing and a long closing instrumental passage. Never once in this entire album is there even a hint of a bad spot, and I can't say that for very many albums.
Report this review (#60096)
Posted Sunday, December 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first heard this album just under a year ago & after I finished listening to it for the 1st time I thought it was the greatest thing i had ever heard.

Epitaph takes the crown as the best on te album, with its thunderous entrance wonderful lyrics & gentle but very effective picked minor guitar chords.

21st century schizoid Man is a rocking start, with an awsome guitar riff and changes throughout the whole track. It has a very strange guitar solo in it given by Robert Fripp.

I Talk To The Wind is a beutiful track which carries some of Greg Lake's finest ever vocals and soothing Jazz flute playing from Ian McDonald.

The title track is very powerful which is an example of band members supporting each others parts on their instruments with another.

Moonchild however is the weakest of the lot. It starts off fine brilliant words sung by Lake but it all becomes very tedious & boring when the symbol plinking goes on for far too long. The rest of the album however makes up for it.

This is an album that I urge you to hear if you have not already done so. It is one of the best albums ever made. A MUST HEAR!!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#60404)
Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Apparently, this is one of the very first Progressive Rock albums. As usual (given the fact this is another one of those things where it all boils down to opinion) there's controversy surrounding this idea. I'm quite happy either way. I could moan and say "What about the Moody Blues?" or I could say "This King Crimson album sounds way better than anything before it's time therefore it IS the first Prog album!" Or I could be extremely wise: I don't give a toss whether or not an album can even be considered 'Progressive' or not; it's on this website, it sounds fantastic and I'm reviewing it!! Again- the lovely Greg Lake thrills me with his voice but I'm keeping in mind the fact that he's younger than he was the last time I heard him (on various ELP songs) and I'm also keeping in mind that (unlike in ELP) he didn't write the lyrics for the songs on this album. Not all by himself anyway. For example- we've got Ian McDonald and Peter Sinfield to thank for the bizarre lyrics of the legendary In the Court of the Crimson King that the whole album takes its' name from. The lyrics of some of the songs have a streak of melodrama in them (eg: Epitaph) but there's also some GREAT poetry there. The first ever King Crimson song I heard was 21st Century Schizoid Man and I have to admit that I was not thrilled. But the first ever time I heard the beautiful In the Court of the Crimson King was on a friends mp3- player at university. There were people talking all around and my ex-boyfriend was comically miming the words as I was listening to them- but neither of these distractions stopped me from getting the full blast of the songs' beauty and realising how much I needed the album..if not just the song! As for the album cover, that put me off a bit when I first saw it, but I suppose we all have to look down the throat and nostrils of a hideous, red-faced, insanely paranoid-looking man at some point in our lives..don't we? Enough of my babbling! On to the album.

21st Century Schizoid Man: Is this what one could call Jazz Fusion? I've never heard any real Jazz Fusion before, not that I know of anyway, but I consider this particular song very 'jazzy' indeed- what with the saxophones and various brass instruments that feature on this track, not to mention the way in which they're backed up by Michael Giles drums. At first we hear a rather large audience in the distance- they're cheering or revelling, or so it sounds like anyway. On top of this, we hear the tuning of instruments (eg: a blatant electric-guitar pluck is heard) and then BANG! We're into the song which jumps out at us unexpected. The brass instruments play a very cool tune and the drum-work is doubly impressive. Then Lake comes in, singing into a microphone that distorts him voice. The lyrics consist of three separate verses, all with the same melody and all ending in "21st Century Schizoid Man!" For the record, someone who can be described as 'schizoid' has a long-term mental disorder in which they suffer fantasy mixing with reality and enjoy their solitude more than they should. There's your random fact for the day! To be honest, the melody and singing-style reminds me of old Rock 'n Roll. The Saxophones tend to take-over throughout the song. Two minutes into the song, we have a funky instrumental break in which the brass and bass dance around to ever- changing beats. Then Robert Fripp's electric guitar improvises for a while. This is also my first taste of Robert Fripp and I see why everyone says he's such a great guitarist- however he's not so much showing off his powers as a musician as much as he is just toodling around for this part of the song. Still sounds great though. After this, Ian McDonald's reed-instruments fool around. I have to say though, if it wasn't for Greg Lake's bass playing which holds everything together, then this bit would be crap. The saxophones *squeal* for goodness sake! Then the drums and brass work together, playing a little ditty- very funky. And now we're back to the riff he heard at the beginning and Greg Lake sings the last verse. The lyrics for this song are all depressing descriptions. Eg: "Death seed, blind man's greed! Poets' starving children bleed!" Bizarre but good for trying to jump into the mind of a very disturbed 'schizoid-man'. The end is nothing short of bizarre as well: after you think the song's already ended, the saxophones and guitar act like a bunch of frightened animals and squeal/scream/moan, all on different notes, once more.

I Talk to the Wind: And now for something completely different! This is a very sweet and gentle song. Ian McDonald and his two flutes play a pretty introduction. "Said the straight man, to the late man, 'where have you been?' " There is nothing more pretty than the way the snare-friendly drums work with the flutes in this piece, also with Greg Lake's choir-boy voice over the top of that. "I talk to the wind..the wind does not hear. The wind cannot hear." This melody is repetitive but the flute improvises on it all the way. Watch out for the very 60s 'cool-cat' flute solo with the sliding-up-and-down electric guitar. It may be short but what I like about it is the fact that it's basically another back-up for the main melody but this is hard to tell as it's so innovative and beautiful in itself. Then Greg Lake sings the first verse again: "I've been here and I've been there and.I've been inbetween." This is a song about a more optimistic view on solitude: how comforting it can be. However- that's only MY interpretation. The flutes play the introduction again, then one flute plays another improvisation- very gorgeous. Eventually an oboe joins it and it fades out. But not before the drum-roll comes in to lead us up to Epitaph.

Epitaph: The drum-rolling and crashing repeats a number of times at the start, backed up by the mellotron. The string-sounds and guitar stay together while Greg Lake sings at his most 'sultry' (if that's the word). When I think about it, this is a very dark song. "But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying." Here- the mellotron picks up. Part of me believes that King Crimson (all band members contributed to the lyrics for this song) knew how overly-romantic some of these lyrics are so the passionate music was a play of how cheesy they could be- making it sound somewhat melodramatic. On the other hand some of the lyrics seem to have a deep meaningful side: "Knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules. The fate of all mankind I see is in the hands of fools." After this, there's a slow climax of the strings and a gentle guitar plays. Reed-instruments sound over the top of that. Then we're back to Greg Lake singing the chorus for the last time and that wonderful mellotron. "Confusion will be my Epitaph." He gets a lot more passionate for the last few "Cryyyyying!" s- it's great! The mellotron 'baps' towards the end and a piano is heard playing along in the distance as the track fades out.

Moonchild: The start of this is very 60s indeed. A whining electric guitar plays with an acoustic while the mellotron controls the background. Pulsing, echoing vibes are heard in the distance and they 'water-down' everything in contrast with the very vivid percussion. (The drum-set focuses on the hi-hat for this track) The lyrics are cute: "She's a moonchild, gathering the flowers in a garden. Lovely moonchild, drifting on the echoes of the hours." They remind me of my cat- Artemis- as she plays in my backyard. This is very much like a ballad. The lyrics are also slightly sad and melancholy: ".waiting for a smile from a sunchild." Dream: This is the transition to 'fooling around'. The gentle pulsing vibes in the background are brought to the front and the guitar starts a slow improvisation. Every now and then Giles decides to hit part of his drum-kit. This is beautiful at first but it soon becomes tedious. Then it becomes frustrating due to the constant feeling that it's actually leading up to something! After the distorted guitar and drums make a few clanking sounds, the vibes go crazy. We *know* they're just fooling around. Some riffs are pretty good: one example being when the snare picks up with the guitar. Finally, when the guitar resorts to a slow strumming- the piece ends on a major chord.

In the Court of the Crimson King: The best! This is also a personal favourite of one of my best mates who was brought-up listening to Prog as a result of having parents with a decent music-taste and a large selection of King Crimson records..the lucky girl. The drums are the first thing heard but the singing mellotron is the main fruit of this song. When you think about it- the lyrics of Uriah Heeps' 'Magician's Birthday' are like this song: descriptions of a fantasy land. However, while Uriah Heep is all happy-clappy, this song has a much darker tone. "The choir softly sings.three lullabies in an ancient tongue For the COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING..Aah!" (No,no- you *can't* deny the "Aah!"s.) Everyone sings at this point. For the verse, a sad guitar and drums accompany Lake but it's the title of the song/album that takes the full blast of the whole band. Later, Robert Fripp picks up on the guitar and the keyboard is tapped faster as the mellotron does its' own beautiful solo. Then, of course, back to those wonderful "Aah!"s. This may be a repeated melody but sometimes repeated is better- this is a good tune to get stuck in your head. A verse starts where the guitar is slightly more distorted and you can tell from Greg Lake's voice how much he's loving this. "The gardener plants an evergreen, whilst trampling on a flower." This is what I mean by the dark- undertone. This song is filled with conventionally cute but cruel fantasy-characters! After yet another "Aah!" we have a lovely flute. King Crimson love their flutes on this album. This flute starts off slow and improvising then gets frantic and trills into the last verse. "The yellow jester does not play but gently pulls the strings and smiles as the puppets dance in the COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING." By now we should be closing our eyes and lying back in bliss to the sound of this chorus. Just when we think it's ended, The Puppet's Dance begins! Ian McDonald plays clown-like flutes and recorders to find the right sound for this part. They do a duet version of the chorus' melody- Lets go to the Circus! Then the drums make a slow grand-entrance and we hear the *real* chorus music with the mellotron again. Except it's made somewhat amusing this time with the brass instruments in the background. The ending is crazy- it ends on one chord but it's not unlike that of the ending to 21st Century Schizoid man.

Overall- this is the King Crimson album to start with if you don't know where to begin. It's the very first one anyway, so why not? They're beautiful sounding- that's what they are. Beautiful but bizarre= two forces that should always be together when it comes to good music (in my opinion anyway). As for the lyrics of the album, they're indirectly dark- not depressing but melancholy. It's slightly sad poetry but not overly tragic (except maybe Epitaph). Personally, I don't think Greg Lake's vocal-techniques changed one bit between his King Crimson and ELP days. I would give this a 5-star rating but some of the songs can be quite repetitive (you know the ones I mean) and Moonchild just got silly in the end. But the truth is that this album IS fantastic. Listen to the last track and see what I mean.

Report this review (#60546)
Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the first and greatest and greatest masterpieces of progressive rock. This album was my first prog exposure, and as such, I could not have picked a better album to start with. The album provides a variety of styles that could appear daunting to a prog newb, but the music is so sublime and accessible that anyone could listen to this and appreciate it. This is KC at their most melodic, yet still experimenting on every aspect of the album, from the jazzy sax of Schizoid Man to the heavy mellotron of In the Court. This may very well be the best line-up KC ever had. The instrumentals, vocals, and composition on this album is so consistently good that I was initially disappointed at my second sampling of prog. One of the few albums that deserves a full five star count. Timeless
Report this review (#61792)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nothing can be said that hasnt been said before, this album is a masterpeice, with the hard rocking '21st Century Schizoid Man' the soft and beautiful 'I Talk To The Wind' the song that shows lyrics Definetely make a song 'Epitaph' the masterpeice 'In The Court Of The Crimson King'.The only thing that drags this album down is Moonchild, it gets very boring after a while, the first few minutes are great but the song drags on a little too much.

The style of Robert Fripp was new at the time of this album being released, he created a new way of playing the guitar, the fast fingering on 21st Century Schizoid Man is an amazing acomplishment.

All in all, this is an amazing ablum, but is brought down by the dragged on Moonchild.

Report this review (#62363)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great album. One of the finest albums of King Crimson. 21st Century Schizoid Man is an anthem of progressive rock and a must for every prog rock fan.

I love the fantastic cover that suggests despair, loneless and madness...

I Talk to the Wind is so delicate and bucolic that fits perfectly the listener´s imagination. With flutes and a jazzy feeling all around.

Moonchild never attracted me so much because the experimental and minimalist section is sometimes boring.

Epitaph and the title track are so beautifully symphonic that became a reference to other bands that came later with powerful Mellotron sound layers carring the songs with a wonderful presence.


Report this review (#63226)
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Quite simply the finest Progressive Rock album ever produced, maybe rock in general. Artistic, historic, symphonic, dynamic, enigmatic, melodic, poetic, romantic, anthemic, seismic... and what's more a classic in every sense.

If Prog was a religion, effigies of this album would be burnt by non following extremists. You need not even consider what else was going on at the time in music, but only to listen to the album start to finish to realise how well every element slots together, and just how easily each song 'fits' in it's place on the album. I think enough has been written about the musicality of In The Court... in previous reviews so I will end by saying that if you haven't heard it yet... why ? And if you have, then you knew all this already didn't you...

Report this review (#63351)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very good record, it would be the quintessential prog album if it wasn't for moonchild and part of the title track. Still a completely essential addition but the album is not perfect so I can't give it five stars.

21st century schizoid man- 10/10: This is easily one of my favorite crimson tracks from any lineup. It has such a hard sound but it still remains incredibly jazzy and progressive feeling. The highlights of this track are the distorted lake vocals and the massive unison soloing with fripp taking a beefy lead over all of it, such an awesome composition.

I Talk to the Wind- 10/10: What a shift from the first song, beautiful clean vocals, simple drum line, beautiful guitar tone, and the lovely flute by Macdonald. The flute is what makes this track great in my opinion, the solo in particular gives me chills every time i hear it.

Epitaph- 10/10: This is the fIrst song where the mellotron is really screaming away. The vocals and lyrics in this song are both superb. Fripps guitar work in this song is acoustic and it goes quite well with the feel of the song, I wish fripp would use acoustic more! I enjoy the basswork in this song as well especially when it takes the lead every now and then with the higher bassy notes. The woodwind solo in the middle of the song is also superb, this song is excellent.

Moonchild- intro 10/10, random improv 4/10: Ugh, the song that most proggers love to hate, the beginning of this song is beautiful, the tone of the guitar, the simple yet quite progressive sounding drumming, the very fantasy oriented lyrics. This song sounds like its going to be great then it becomes a choatic and random improv. Now don't get me wrong, I love improvs especially from crimsons 70s lineup but this improv goes nowhere. It sounds more like random noise, there isn't really a rhythm to the improv.

In the Court of the Crimson King-8/10: The other mellotron dominated track on the record. The section around 2:30- 2:50 is just pure prog in my opinion, awesome part of the song. The beginning of the song gets a bit repetitive but this broken by the superb macdonald solo right in the middle of the song. The second half begins much in the style of the first, mellotron, acoustic guitar etc. Then theres the odd organ solo at around 7:15, Ive never been a fan of this, I would have much rather seen the song end after the section past the flute solo. Good song but a bit repetitive and contains some pointless sections.

Report this review (#63582)
Posted Saturday, January 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars This fantastic album reminds me of my teenage years, back in the 70s when being a mere high-school student I had to rely, in terms of economics, on dad's monthly wages or some savings from different sources - and the money received or saved had many uses, not only to purchase my dear prog albums! By chance other friends liked the genre and we relayed on acquisitions and we also provided the natural exchanges in order to better appreciate the works we bought. The case is that ITCotCK vinyl that I listened to was a borrow that remained time enough with me to respond when I called and to hide when the real owner appeared. Years later after returning the vinyl to its legitimate master I bought my own copy which I keep until today even not counting with the turntable facility at home.

And what to say about the band and the album? The line-up, well, this is probably the best King Crimson have shown and some names are real legends in the contemporary music scene, beginning with leader Bob Fripp, a great guitar player and composer, continuing with Greg Lake, the bass player and vocalist, listed among the best for both acts and the underlooked ones: Ian McDonald, responsible for some memorable moments in this album and drummer Michael Giles with his outstanding performance in "21st century..." made my eldest son forget the drums and take the acoustic guitar. There's also poet Pete Sinfield and it was the first time I saw the lyricist and illuminator being lined-up - maybe it is the reason why they say that George Martin is the 5th Beatle; but Sinfield's lyrics are great indeed. The cover art is a kind of registered mark not only for the band but for the prog-rock as a whole. One friend used to frighten his little sister showing her that desperate face stamped in the front cover; when she was older and wise she decided to investigate the content and became a great KC fan - a rare deed for a woman.

The songs: '21st century schizoid man', still the most astonishing opening for a debut album ever, the first hearing is always nervous with those 28 seconds of strange sounds until the band really start and carry us to a distant and marvelous musical world, then appears the distorted Lake's voice shouting in angry, disturbing us, introducing the magnificent instrumental part: the several changes in times and tunes, the stops, the sax and guitar solos - the almost perfect song.

'I talk to the wind' is a beautiful song that refreshes us after the impact of opening track; now the vocal is soft, lazy, loose - another voyage, another dream; followed by 'Epitaph', a great song, an epic, another piece to be placed in the pantheon of the great modern works. The moment guitar enters being fingerstyled is one of the greatest in the history of prog-rock. Magnificent!

Then comes 'Moonchild', a real divisory song, some hate while some love and sides are always prepared to war. When I was a teenager I generally skipped that one, until the day I got courage and solved to go till the end - there are 2 songs (as observed in the track list), being the first one, a lovely ballad and the second, an experimental work, instigating once you bite the bait.

The ending, the title-song is another awesome epic, where mediaeval and future themes collide to shape an incredible piece; mellotron and flute sounds are unforgetable as well as the splendid vocal solo and supporting choir - a sensation of emptiness embraces us when it finishes; it's like to know that the world will never be the same.

When a single output is able to change completely your concepts about music, about art, about life we are truly facing a magnum opus, 'uma obra-prima', a MASTERPIECE. Total: 5 plus!

Report this review (#64874)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I will say that this is my favorite album of all time, one of the most important albums of prog rock, one of the best albums of prog rock, the best album form 1969 and finally the best debut album of any band ever! No other album or band has reached perfection with their first releas...just ask pete Townsend from the Who, who discribed it as and "uncanny masterpiece", or maybe Jimi Hendrix (good luck with that!) who said King Crimson was his new favorite band! But dont listen to them...listen to the album! its so good...that it makes other bands and album from that time look bad (just like the Beatles did with Sgt Peppers)...yes, this is Progs Sgt Peppers!!!

Enought said if you dont own this album buy it dont know what you are missing!!!

Report this review (#65114)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars What can be said about this album that the has not already been said in the mass of reviews above? Well, for one, I love Moonchild. All 12 minutes of it. If you think the improv section is aimless, you are not paying attention (which is understandable since much of it is very quiet). I think it is a beautiful and spontainious jam that fits into the album very well. It's not as good as the improvs on the Epitaph box, but still a good "in studio" improv. I first heard this album in 1991 on LP, and was not impressed initially. A friend of mine thought it was the best album ever, so I gave it more listens. While I still don't agree with his assessment, it is a classic and not to be missed by any prog fan. I don't consider it a masterpiece, but it is damn close. Anyway, as far as I'm concerned progressive rock began here. 4 1/2 stars for sure.
Report this review (#65356)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Can I give 6 star to this album? ...I have this record in the vinyl version...great and famous cover...and ...just a few words: This could be seen as THE SYMBOL OF PROGRESSIVE MUSIC! ....I mean it could be considered as the first progressive album. King Crimson are the creature invented by Fripp, an innovative and inetresting gutiar player (very skilled!!! and one of my favourite..). In fact the whole album is based on the techniques of the musicians: also Giles and Lake are able to play their instruments...eheh ;-) ...And the songs?!Who have never listened to 21st century schizoid man?!and also the sweet 'talk to the wind', or the majestic 'in the court of the crimson king'...This album is still theaching now the way to play prog and to mingles Jazz, classical music and rock in a perfect work...
Report this review (#65648)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Back in the early 8o's i started my Crimson collection,and was totally impressed by all of their albums,some more progressive than other's,but then it came time to listen to the much praised In the court.I read comments about In the court by Pete Townsend,and thought this has got to be it,save the best to last,to complete my Crimson Collection. Well my first impression was the sound,this sounds so very old,and its not progressive music,it did nothing for me,much of it like Moonchild was meandering and aimless just a jam,totally incoherent.21st century schitziod man,is a great track which is heavly influenced by the music of Hendrix and The Who,unfortunatley much of the rest is mediocre.The one thing In the Court did for me was appreciate the Crimson albums that followed,and also learn never to believe all that is written about reviews of rock albums,especially when they are they are called masterpieces.Its intersting to note that Hendrix called ZZtop guitarist billy gibbons,the next great rock guitarist,so Pete Townsends comments of In the Court could be seen in the same light. Rarely do rock acts or even the great classical composes,of symphony or opera,produce their best on debut,ie Beethoven 1st,Wagners early opera's.King Crimson's In the court is no exception either,it's just interesting but also very dated,unlike many other recordings of different genre's from this period of the 60's,In the Court has not aged well,definately for collector's only.
Report this review (#65676)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the Court of the Crimson King is a fun album, a must for prog fans but marred by limitations in the lyric writing. The ensemble playing is flawless. The strength of the album lay in the orchestrations, for which Ian McDonald, later of Foreigner fame, is largely responsible. He uses multiple reeds including a bass clarinet, which seems to reference Miles Davis Bitches Brew. The reeds accent the mellotron beatifully. 21st Cent. Schizoid Man is a prog classic and in live performances became a ten - twleve minute improvisation. Epitaph and the title track are beautiful and the use of mellotron esquisite. The lyrics in general are a bit amateurish and mar the album with such ear sores as rhyming 'been' and 'in between' and alliterations like 'purple piper played.' The track "I Talk to the Wind" is a silly response to the Dylan classic. Many people see this album (and the later Red) as an early expressions of hard rock. I don't hear it. Most of the album is actually quite quiet; the use of dynamics to paint mood is the one of the album's strong points. I do not believe that this is the first prog album. I would argue that the roots of prog go back to Nutrocker, (1961) Phil Spector (1962) and George Martin (1966-7). By 1969 acts like The Moody Blues and esp. The Nice and Procol Harum had already defined the genre. But the album is a classic and no doubt a must for any prog enthusiast.
Report this review (#66979)
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the Cour Of The Crimson King by King Crimson. One of the very first fully progressive album ever and one of my first introduction to progressive rock. Every track on this album is excellent. 21st Century Schizoid Man dark fusion-industrial song with superb bass, wind instruments section and dark-heavy guitar. Very dynamic. I Talk To The Wind is a beautyful ballad. Very peaceful and moody wuth very nice flute part. Epitaph - masterpirce. A song that define genre. Excellent. Everything in this song is perfect. Beauty sad melodies, elancholic lyrics, acoustic guitar parts and mellotron. Moonchild is next beautyful peacefull song. And finally the tittle track. Next one that define the whole genre. Beautyful.


Report this review (#67277)
Posted Sunday, January 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I suppose I am the only person who doesn't even take a liking to King Crimson's first effort, as well as the foundation for Prog. I find the music lacking, and not just from production. The opening track, "21st Century Schizoid Man," is one that I've always loathed, and yet, it probably receives the most acclaim from the Prog community. The whole album is really a total blur, except for perhaps the only song I enjoy off of it, "The Court of the Crimson King," and even that is not worthy of any high regard. To me, King Crimson is one of the most overrated Prog acts ever spawned, even if they were the founders of the genre. ITCOTCK is mundane, and tires out rather quickly. I only suggest it to those of you who are fans of their work, which seems to be every other Prog fan on earth except me.
Report this review (#67913)
Posted Wednesday, February 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It is hard to simply overlook this album in regard to any deliberation on "prog rock" and it can't be easily overestimated. It might not have been the very first "progressive" rock album or it might had some inconsistencies in its production. But, the matallic frenzy of "Schizoid", the "symphonic" epics of "Epitaph" and the title track, the pastoral ease of "Wind" and the ambient experiment of "Moonchild" helped made an authoritative blueprint of all the "ambitious" rock works to come, up until now. If an alien comes asking "what's that so-called progressive rock music?" - you can hardly give 'em a better testimony than this one.
Report this review (#67927)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Arguably the album that brought progressive rock to the masses, 'In the Court of the Crimson King' is a landmark album. Though I do believe that the album is somewhat overrated in regards to the overall quality of the music, it is still a very strong album. If you look up Progressive Rock in the dictionary, the first thing you are most likely to see is an illustration of a screaming man. The cover of this album is striking and instantly recognisable, it also took drummer Michael Giles twenty or thirty odd years to admit it was good! So how is the music?

The album begins with thirty seconds of low noises (of which always reminds me of a washing machine) and without any warning, explodes! Ian Mcdonalds powerful saxophone doubling Fripp's heavily distorted guitar riff all backed by Michael Giles elaborate drumming, and lead by Greg Lakes distorted vocals. A full on collision of Jazz, Metal, and mayhem, '21st Century Schizoid Man', excellent opener to an album. Furiosly exciting and an instant classic. 'I Talk to the Wind' follows, and shows a much lighter, more melodic side to the band, featuring beautiful vocals and flute from Mcdonald. The song does last a little longer than it should but is still delightful, and something to calm you down after the tour de force of the first track. 'Epitaph' is another strong track, the Mellotron plays a key role in delivering the atmosphere and tension that makes it so enjoyable, a key performance from Greg Lake and excellent lyrics from Pete Sinfield, "The wall on which the prophets wrote, is cracking, at the seams". Wondeful textures and purely symphonic, it was the blue print of the sound that made King Crimson so stunning.

'Moonchild' is easily the weakest track on the album, after two minutes of delicate singing and beautiful melodies the song noodles silently for a full ten minutes before finishing, though the track picks up a slight bit towards the end it does not excuse the pointless 'jamming' that makes the bulk of the track, and was only included due to lack of original material. The title track closes the album and again features excellent Mellotron and nice acoustic guitar, the haunting vocals are also stunning. Though the song does drag a bit and may have been stretched to fill out the album, it is still a great track.

A great place to start your King Crimson collection, but don't be surprised if you find later albums far more enjoyable and worthwhile. Groundbreaking and innovative, just not perfect.

Report this review (#68327)
Posted Saturday, February 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I concede it's importance to prog by defering to more technical experts. On that rating I'd probably rate it a lot higher. Otherwise I'm less impressed. First track is pretty insipid. And that certainly isn't prog, it's blues. That could've ended up on a slightly adventurous Sabbath album.

Next two tracks I enjoy alright. Neither are superb. You do start to get that proggy feel when you listen to those. The sound was later improved and perfected by other bands.

Moonchild begins well, but man the next nine minutes seems to be isochronal with all the other material. We finally get to a rocking finish with 'In the Court...'. I'll hand that song. Broken off into segments all prog-style. I dig that.

Report this review (#68725)
Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars There have been a lot of reviews for this album and basically the most people have said: you either like it or you don't like it. I say: how you can not like it you own this album it is not only one of the first prog albums but also it is one of the first Metal/hard rock albums ever made. The best song on the album is 21st Century schizoid man Mirrors which is a ground braking song for many genres and it also features a famous riff used by many bands, including Yes on Heart of the Sunrise. The guitar solo by Robert Fripp is pretty cool and strange.

Epitaph comes in second and it is memorable for its emotional vocals sung by bassist Greg Lake. Moonchild drags the album down for some people but I like it the. Ending 9 minutes after the vocals is better than most think. It is similar to stuff they did later in Lark's Tongues in Aspic and Starless and Bible Black. I wonder what King Crimson would have been able to achieve if the band had decided to stay together. It would have been good but if the band had stayed together but on the down side there would have been no Emerson, Lake and Palmer.Whether you like it or not in the Court of the Crimson King is one of the key albums in the development of prog and metal and it is very good. Red, Larks Tounges in Aspic and Islands are on the same par as In the Court of the Crimson King so they are also worth having.

Report this review (#68835)
Posted Thursday, February 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Considering this album marks the beginning of the prog-rock era and that this was a production of 1969-- I would certainly mark it with five stars. the court is a majestic piece that founded a style followed by many in the early seventies. I talk to the wind and epitaph are also great pieces-- if not very unusually structured. Moonchild represents the early KC album structure in which creating a soundscape will represent a song. Overall this album is full of challenges and new ideas as a starter of a new genre and nobody can ignore it. However the biggest plus point of this album, to me, is not its music-- but its poetry. Every piece contains unusually well-written lyrics. KC had been good with lyrics and its anti-war theme spoke of the time very well.
Report this review (#69151)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was my first introduction to progressive rock, and Wow, what an introduction. At first listen, this album was extremely slow and quite boring, and the only song I truely enjoyed was 21st Century Schizoid Man. However, after a few times of listening to the album from start to finish, I started to like it more and more. I think the biggest reason I could not "get into" this album was that I used to only listen to Heavy Metal. Eventually, the amazing amount of talent and feelings made me enjoy this album more and more. Every time I listen to this album, I like it more and more. 1. 21st Century Schizoid Man - 5/5 The heaviest song to come out of the late 60's by far. The fantasticly poetic, and oft time prophetic lyrics from Pete Sinfield make this song what it is. Coupled with great drumming, and of course, one of the best guitarists of all time, Robert Fripp. While this song is preformed live at almost every King Crimson concert, none of those versions can compare to the original version on this album. The jazz and rock influences on this album blend together very well. 2. I Talk to the Wind- 4/5 This song is saved from boredom only by the fact that Greg Lake has such a fantastic voice. This track stands on the edge of beauty and boring, and sometimes the repitition can be quite tedious. This is my least favorite song on the album 3. Epitaph- 5/5 Epitaph is my favorite song. The simple acoustic guitar line sets the somber tone for the song, and the mellotron and flutes flutter about the soundscape bringing a sad, etheral beauty to the piece. The lyrics, again are very poetic and the vocals are an example of Greg Lake at his best form. The only song that I can think of that could possibly compare to the gentle beauty of this song is Take a Pebble off of Emerson Lake and Palmer's debut album 4. Moonchild- 4.5/5 One thing that never ceases to amaze me about this album is how each track follows up so well with the one prior. The album to me sounds like one entire song. When ever I put this into my cd player, I can never stop after one song, or skip a track because it disrupts the flow of the album. Many people seem to think that this song drags the album down, but in my opinion its really a great song. Its speaks of future songs such as Lark's Toungue's In Aspic. 5. In the Court of the Crimson King 5/5 this song to me seems like a more energetic "I talk to the Wind" the repitition that drags I Talk to the Wind down, lifts this track up. Ian McDonald really shines in this song. His flute is amazing, as is the Mellotron.

If you dont get any other albums by King Crimson, get this one. 9.75/10 This is as close to a perfect album as you can get.

Report this review (#69157)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Like on 'Lizard' and 'Islands', I don't like how the drums were recorded on this album; featuring the same drummer, they sound quite clearer on the next one, only one year later.

Despiting this, it contains really great moments, like 'Schizoid man' solos and 'Moonchild' improvisation. This was my first KC album, and after the first listen, I didn't understand why did they put a 10-minute improv after 'Moonchild' beauty, but when I get used to KC, this became my favourite part. I hope they would have recorded 20 more improv minutes.

Unlike this, 'Epitaph' and 'In the court of the Crimson King' sound quite simple, based in only a few chords (E minor, D, A minor, B and C); for me, lyrics are a lot more interesting than music, which souds very repetitive (why did they add the last 2 minutes of 'In the court...'?).

To justify my 3-star rating (at the moment, only a 7% of reviewers have rated like me), I think Robert was in process of improoving his composer abilities through the years and the albums, and the result can be listened on every new album (compared to the previous one), and especially on the second KC "generation" ("Larks", "Starless" and "Red" albums). They reached a high level of abstraction, and for me this is their best quality, the one that has always made KC a respected band, unlike many other 70's ones. For all of this, lots of thanks Robert.

Report this review (#69169)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "THE" progressive rock album.. this is the best fushion of prog rock, jazz rock, experimentation ever published.. robert fripp is a genius in creating simphonies like "in the court.." or "epitaph" and, together, acid and psichotic lines like "21st century.."

the genesis of the progressive rock is here..

Report this review (#69483)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Nothing much to say after 303 reviews. The album that started it all...

There is something for any prog lover here: frenzy ("21st Century Schizoid Man"), beautiful ballads ("I Talk To The Wind", "Epitaph" and "Moonchild" part I), improv ("Moonchild" part II) and dark rock ("The Court Of The Crimson King"). A very enjoyable album that would have gotten 5 stars if there weren't those 9 minutes of boring improv after the beautiful "Moonchild".

Rating: 86/100

Report this review (#70460)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.4/5.0

Usually I agree with most of the prog 'experts' here with the vast majority of the classics. This is not the case here. As much as I enjoy this album, I don't believe this is a masterpiece. I enjoy "21st Century Schizoid Man", "Epitaph" and "The Court of the Crimson King" very much. "I talk to the wind" is a great song too, even if not was good. However, I don't consider that an album overall rating should be based on the sum of its part, and the big problem on this album has a name: "Moonchild". I am deeply sorry, but Moonchild is actually boring me to death. I think I would prefer silence to the 9 minutes deeply boring improvisation.

This is not something 100% rational. I just don't like that song, so each time I listen to this album I have to jump over this song, and whatever the reason I never have to jump any song on albums to which I give 5 or even 4 stars. This is why I think 3.4/5.0 is the highest rating I can give.

This is still worth a listening if you like proto-prog or rock. This album is a milestone this is for sure. But I am not rating albums on their importance for future, but for their own merit. This is a good album, but if I was on a desert Island I would take with me at least 30-40 albums before this one.

Report this review (#70496)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I bought this album because I wanted to know what Greg Lake was doing before the time of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. It was described as a fantastic album. Well. a fantastic album it is.

The classic '21st Century Schizoid' is a heavy rock song, which starts with strange noises, that looks like you're in an elevator. After that, a powerful C-minor chord is crashing out of your speakers accompanied with a great guitar/saxophone riff. After two verses of distorted vocals by Greg Lake, we're in an instrumental jam. Then after another distorted verse, everything is going mad. And just when you're becoming a 21st Century Schizoid Man, everything stops and.

We're in the next song: 'I Talk To The Wind'. This is a totally different song. This is very relaxed and a good rest moment when you've finished the opening track. The song has nice flute work by Ian McDonald, joined by complex drum patterns by Michael Giles. At the end, a cross fade is taking place, a ruffle is heard.

And we're transported in a landscape of beautiful, floating mellotron, acoustic guitar, emotional bass play and cymbal crashing: 'Epitaph'. The lyrics are emotionally and beautifully song by Greg Lake. A very heavy complex, mellotron-driven symphony that, unfortunately, never returns in the musical timeline. Such a shame, for this is truly perfection. After this poignant ballad, we enter the next song.

'Moonchild', because of the title and the cover of the album, gives me the idea of being on a journey to other planets. This is a very quiet piece that's interesting for about 3 minutes. Then we're in an experimental piece, which is very long and can be bored after a few minutes. But it should be listened, because it punctuates the brilliance and beauty of the final track.

'The Court Of The Crimson King'. The best is saved for last. It has a beautiful melody with a marvellous chorus. Just as 'Epitaph', it is a mellotron-driven symphony and it has an extraordinary mellotron-solo after the second verse, later done again with a flute. When the final chord is played and everything is over, there are childish notes in the distance, which prepares you for an encore, which sounds heavier because of a distorted guitar. It seems to go on for hours and hours until a haunting crescendo comes up and everything's stopped.

When al is over you'll realise that you're back again in you're house, left with an extraordinary experience. Hope you'll like it. I know I have.

A fantastic album that everyone should have in his collection.

Report this review (#71963)
Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Still one of the finest prog albums around.

Although I find that the end of Moonchild drags, I still give this album a 5. Epitaph is one of the most emotional songs I know of and the use of the Mellotron is fantastic. Greg Lakes voice is perfectly suited to this style of music.

On a side note, Saxon have a great cover of the title song on their Killing Ground album, just going to show how timeless god music is.

Report this review (#72647)
Posted Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
The Wizard
5 stars Deciding what rating I should give "In the Court of the Crimson King" was difficult. The album, while in my opinion not the first prog album (The Mothers of Invention get that honor), it was certainly the album established the genre of symphonic prog, thus making it essential to any collection of progressive music. But the actual quality of the album can be questioned, but I'll get to that later. Lets look at this this track by track:

1) The album opens with the demonic madness of 21st Century Schizoid man, which was without a dought the darkest and heaviest song of it's time. Exploding into a riff combining sax and distorted guitar, this certainly did scare The Moody Blues! The lyrics are just as dark, distorted into what sounds like a demented android on killing spree, lamenting the innocents raped by napalm fire and poets who starve as children bleed. It is little recognized as a protest song, but it certainly is. After the main riff it explodes into a jazz-fusion instrumental that could be compared to being mugged by brain surgeons. The guitar and sax interplay screams away while Giles pounds away at the drums and Lake provides an excellent jazzy bassline. Another great thing about this song is that it hasn't dated at all since it was released and sounds quite contemporary. This, my friend, is what apocalyptic madness sounds like.

2) The song I talk to the wind dosn't really work well after having your brains blown out by Schizoid man. The dreamy flutes and lyrics show the lighter side of symphonic prog. There is a wonderful flute solo and Giles proves no slouch on drums, but it's unlikey that the listener would be in the mood for such a song after the apocalytic madness of Shizoid man. Don't get me wrong; it's wonderful song, and while it hasn't dated as well as some other tracks (It is obvious it was made in the sixties), it still sounds good today.

3) Epitaph is a wonder song, drenched in mellotrons and jazzy drumming. Fripp provides some amazing acoustic guitar and Greg Lake soulfully sings the dark lyrics "Confusion; wil be my epitah!". The mellotron cresndos are very dark and suspenseful and are absolutely perfect for the song. There are also some wonderful woodwinds that and to the symphonic scope of the song. Sadly, this song hasn't dated as well becasue of the use of mellotrons and such, but that dosn't detract from it's quality.

4) Moonchild is wonderful at the start. The most psychedelic song on the album, with strange guitar effects and cosmic lyrics. This only goes on for two minutes, and the song is twleve minutes long. So instead of epic King Crimson rock, we get pointless and boring noodling. This isn't the good kind of noodling that you hear on Starless and Bible Black that evolves into song at the end. This noodling leads to nowhere but boredom. While it may serve as an effective lead in to the epic 'In the Court of the Crimson King', why make it 10 minutes long? It's just filler and is the achilles heel to this monolithic release.

5) Another mellotron drenched epic with effective acoustic guitar, this is what must have been what most symphonic prog referenced to. Sinfield's imagery lyrics are at there best and most effective here drawing an image of an Evil King in his court, with Fire witches and funeral marches. Intreseting sound effects are all about, and midway it breaks into a flute solo accompanied by cymbal drumming that speeds up, leading back to the song. Very Effective, as is Fripps lovely acoustic guitar. The mellotrons are also amazing, adding to the imagrey of the song. Wonderful woodwinds also are present at the end, with Fripp stacatto electric guitar. Some of the sound effects are somewhat annoying, and the use of mellotron hasn't dated well, but it's still an amazing an epic song to close (for the most) an amazing and epic album.

While the qaulity of Moonchild would normally hurt the rating, I make an exception here because of historical importance. This album established symphonic prog and should therefore be in every proggers collection. 5 stars and an essential part of any serious prog collection.

Report this review (#73655)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Mighty album. The opener '21st Century Schizoid Man' must have been really heavy for the late 60's. The musicianship is magnificent on this recording. Multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald and guitarist Robert Fripp are leading this crafty band, as they are followed by superb drummer/percussionist Michael Giles and singer/bass- player Greg Lake. The excellent lyrics are from Peter Sinfield. Note the haunting, almost scary, but powerful usage of the Mellotron on most of the tracks. It fits great with the melodies. Ballad 'I Talk To The Wind' is one of the most beautiful songs I ever heard. McDonald's flute-solo is so melodic, just wonderful. Epitaph is truly the best track on this album. Very dramatic Mellotron, with pounding drums by Giles and very strong vocals by Lake. Moonchild is a genius-song. Split the song in two parts: Vocal and instrumental. The vocal part is a tiny little song of 2,5 minutes, very fairy-tale-que and melodic. The second part is an AMAZING (and very underrated) instrumental jam by the complete band. Just close your eyes and do this trip. Those guys really had guts by recording this for more than 9 minutes. The closer of the album is the title track. Maybe it's a little too long, but again, just like Epitaph and Schizoid, it's a powerful track. I recommend this album to everyone who loves timeless, good melodic music. One of Crimso's finest work!
Report this review (#74238)
Posted Thursday, April 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok! This is the beginning of the incredible prog sub-genre Symphonic progressive rock. This 1969 album by King Crimson is a really essential recording for every prog rock collection.

1-21st century schizoid man: One of my fauvorites. This song introduced me to this band, it's amazing. It's a hard, dark rocker with a very agressive distortioned voice by Greg Lake. It has a lot of tempo changes and complex rock sections. I especially like the way the overdriven guitar and the sax are combined. Probably, my fauvorite KC song (...for the moment, 'cos I'm not a really huge fan yet. I've got to get more of their records, I've only got USA, a part from this one).

2-I talk to the wind: The softer side of symphonic prog: A lot of woodwind instruments by Mr. McDonald, soft background guitar and nice vocals. The way they combine the instruments makes the song interesting. For some reason, it reminds me of Genesis' Tresspass.

3- Epitaph: An 8-minute+ epic with powerful acustic guitars, nice drum beat, amazing vocals, and the bass and mellotron making the sound of the piece richer. There are complex sections of chords and changes of mood. I like the part in which the mellotron goes in crescendo, till it reaches its peak and goes back to softness.

4-Moonchild: A song divided into two sections: a.The dream: a soft 2:30 minute (approx) song with soft mellotron, calm vocals, soft cymbal sounds and background guitar. b.The illusion: 10-minutes of quiet jam: featuring soft and weird guitar sounds, rare percussion and vibes, mostly. Some say this is pointless, but I think it's a way to leave the listener quiet and resting his/her ears, to get prepared for the " gran finale".

5-In the court of the Crimson King: The closing epic. Another mellotron-oriented track, with acustic and electric guitars, majestic drum-work, flutes and other woodwinds, and, of course, tremendous vocals and bass by Lake. There's also a sublime background chorus.

Not to be missed!!! If you're looking for an essential prog album, and you haven't got this one, don't think it twice, just get it! This is the start of Symphonic prog, so it's essential for everyone's prog collection. Tremendous!!

Report this review (#75163)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Just about everything has been said from the previous reviews. This is no doubt King Crimson's magnum opus. It deserves its place in the top ten prog albums. A lot of people don't care for Moonchild and call it "filler" but I personally find it quite pleasant and enjoyable. Make sure you buy the most recent 2004 release which is the original master edition. Turn the volume up and enjoy.
Report this review (#75654)
Posted Thursday, April 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am going to give this "Classic of Classics" four-out-of-five stars for having four great songs out of the five tracks contained therein.

One big STAR for Track 1: 21st Century Schizoid Man

If I ever get my hands on a time machine (that works), I'm going back to 1969 to see the look on people's faces when they first put the needle to this vinyl. Growing up in the metal era has de-sensitized me, but for those folks who were accustomed to the music of the 60s, this had to be one of the most shocking beginnings of a record. Blaring guitars, distorted vocals/screams along with crushing drums and bass licks are how King Crimson introduced itself to the world and the world has never been the same. This song is a treat to listen to especially when you consider the historical context of this album's release. I might actually prefer this song without the distorted vocals, but I do acknowledge that the distortion does give this song more of an edge. Everything else about this frenetic piece of music is great, in my opinion. Interestingly enough, I did not care much for this song the first twenty times I listened to it. It took a while for me to digest it and really enjoy all that it has to offer.

One big STAR for Track 2: I Talk To The Wind

Unlike the first track, I had no trouble instantly liking this beautiful song. As edgy as "Schizoid Man" was, this song is soft and soothing and will instantly relax you as this song gently grabs you by the hand to draw you into the King's Court. The one- two punch that these first two songs provide is similar to the effect of Good Cop/Bad Cop. And now King Crimson has you right where they want you.

One big STAR for Track 3: Epitaph

This is my favorite song on the album. Whatever fears you may have had about the Red King are gone and you are overcome by a powerful force that is leading you deeper into the Court. "Epitaph" swirls and penetrates the mind with a wonderful combination of music led by Fripp, McDonald, Giles and Lake as Peter Sinfield's biting lyrics subtly probe your conscience. "Confusion...will be my epitaph!"

No stars for Track 4: Moonchild

Why ruin the magic? Why? Like so many others who have reviewed this album before me, I fall into the category of complete and utter bafflement at the direction that this song takes. I know many appreciate the extended jam that seems to go nowhere, but I'm not one of them. If this song would have been cut short, I would have enthusiastically given this album five stars. But as it is, I just don't care for this song and find it to be a significant blemish on an otherwise outstanding album. I guess there are some very weird things going on there in the Crimson King's Court.

One big STAR for Track 5: The Court of the Crimson King

As is fitting, the journey that this album takes you on ends up in the Court and this song is a great conclusion to the album. This track is buffeted by a great melody and haunting singing by Greg Lake.

For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of giving this album a taste, I must caution you-there is a heavy dose of mellotron used throughout this album. If you don't care for the 'tron, you may have trouble liking this. On the other hand, if you find the mellotron pleasing, you will love this record!

Report this review (#75804)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The groundbreaking debut record of progressive rock continues to be of interest to music historians. 1969 was the year of the first moon landings, the first gay rights, the final Beatles performance, Woodstock, continuing conflict in Vietnam and Northern Ireland, the first ATM machine and, of course, the withdrawal of the halfpenny as legal tender in the UK. What influence, if any, did this incredible year have on guitarist Robert Fripp and the musicians he assembled under the provisional name of Giles, Giles and Fripp?

None at all, evidently. 'In the Court of the Crimson King,' a surprising success, seems to have come out of nowhere. While the Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' is rightly acclaimed for its experimentation and the young Pink Floyd's albums were becoming increasingly complex, King Crimson were the first to produce, however unintentionally, the record that defined and kick-started the prog movement, with its textured atmospheres, crazy structures and darkly poetic lyrics from non-musician Peter Sinfield.

ITCOTCK, to use its even more confusing abbreviation, is lauded by many as one of the greatest and most important albums of all time, but it isn't without its weaknesses. Some of the experiments aren't entirely successful, and there's a tendency for songs to outstay their welcome, but on the whole this is an amazing independent work by some excellent musicians:

Robert Fripp, the band's founder, guitarist and a man who has repeatedly found himself the only remaining band member over King Crimson's long and turbulent existence, alternates between the loud and distorted heavy-metal-inspiring riffs that would dominate the band's seventies output, and calmer, subdued acoustics for the softer songs.

Greg Lake, departing after this album to form Emerson, Lake and Palmer, is responsible for the great melodic driving bass line that holds the insanity of the famous first track together, and handles vocal duties competently and clearly on all tracks, achieving his best performance on the haunting 'Epitaph.'

Drummer Michael Giles, like Fripp, adapts seamlessly between manic and peaceful songs, but his greatest feat here is the wild jazzy drumming of '21st Schizoid Man.' Ian McDonald handles all keyboard duties, including the roaring mellotron that dominates the title track. He also adds the exotic woodwind and flute sounds that enchance the album's distinctive and much-imitated atmosphere.

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man . (including Mirrors)

2. I Talk to the Wind

3. Epitaph . a) March for No Reason . b) Tomorrow and Tomorrow

4. Moonchild . a) The Dream . b) The Illusion

5. The Court of the Crimson King . a) The Return of the Fire Witch . b) The Dance of the Puppets

The five songs on this album have become legendary in prog rock, and are superbly varied in style. After thirty seconds of quiet, distant background noise, '21st Century Schizoid Man' explodes with its sax-and-guitar combo riff and leads into Lake's distorted, angry, staccato screams. The song speeds all over the place during its seven minutes, but stays coherent and impressive, building up anticipation for the final reprise. Surely the most covered prog rock song outside of Pink Floyd, I've even heard an Ozzy Osbourne cover that is predictably irritating and rubbish.

It would be hard to top the madness and volume of the first track, and the music becomes far more subdued for most of the album as a result. This may disappoint some listeners, but the songs work so well (on the whole) that the album remains consistent and impressive. 'I Talk to the Wind' is the yin to Schizoid Man's yang (or whichever one is the good, friendly half of the balance), dreamy and ethereal. McDonald's flutes combine perfectly with the other instruments, this focus on coherence marking the song out from most other ballads.

'Epitaph' is an incredible song, another led by acoustic guitar but enhanced with the ever-popular mellotron, making this disillusioned epitaph sound like a bleaker equivalent of something like 'Trespass' by Genesis (released the following year). As mentioned earlier, Lake's vocals are at their most powerful and effective here, especially in the chorus, blending perfectly against the backdrop, whether that's a mellotron overload or simply a muted drum beat.

'Moonchild' is undoubtedly the weak point of the album, an overlong and frankly boring song. It's pleasant enough for the first three minutes, if a little too quiet and similar to 'I Talk to the Wind,' but then tails off for ten minutes of more or less nothingness. Fans of soundscapes may find something to like in this sparse instrumental, but it's even been admitted since that this section was created (probably improvised) because the album was too short. Moonchild serves only to lead into the epic conclusion.

With 'The Court of the Crimson King,' the band arguably saved the best song till last. Not as immediately impressive as 'Schizoid Man,' and lacking the depth of 'Epitaph,' the simple melodies and exaggerated chorus point this song in a hit single direction, perhaps hindered by the changes in instruments and the breaks taken in-between sections. The dominating mellotron somehow bridges the gap between the classical past and (at the time) ultra-modern period in creating a real courtly mood, aided greatly by Sinfield's fantastical and memorable lyrics. The woodwind interlude and final reprise are a little unnecessary, but it's a brilliant conclusion to the album that combines most of the best elements from the earlier songs and creates one of the earliest prog classics.

ITCOTCK is a necessary album for all prog rock fans, and despite its reliance on some distinctly 1969 traits, its lack of clear influences and contemporaries means it will never really sound dated. The studio production is crystal clear, as are the vocals, and there's enough diversity in the song structures to keep fans listening to the album throughout their lives. It's debatable whether the band succeeded in their goal to Anglicise rock, especially considering the obvious jazz influence, but their efforts are far more exciting and commendable than the romanticised pastoral sound of their far more successful contemporaries like Genesis and Yes.

A sixth song would have benefited this album greatly, avoiding the waste of time that is 'Moonchild.' Other tracks can seem too drawn-out sometimes, depending on the listener's mood, especially 'Schizoid Man' and the final track, but based on the next album, the King Crimson of this era had used up their four brilliant song ideas already.

The song formula of aggression, calm, darkness, fusion and epic is completely successful. So successful, in fact, that King Crimson would accidentally repeat it entirely on 1970's 'In the Wake of Poseidon,' at the same time forgetting to come up with another amazing and iconic album cover.

Report this review (#78261)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars In The Court Of The Crimson King - the album that is widely accepted as that which started the whole progressive rock era - is as great as the reputation that precedes it, but it is not without fault. On the entire album, the band indulges themselves in their own brand of sonic doodling, most of which is satisfying: The airy flutes "I Talk To The Wind", the heavy riffs on "21st Century Schizoid Man", a little bit more here, a little bit more there and a little bit more in between - basically doodlings scattered around the entire album as King Crimson likes it to be.

The only problem for me though is when the sonic dabbling becomes excessive, as one point in the album proves. For the last 9 to 10 minutes of track #4 - Moonchild - the band engages in what I'd like to describe as "a weak and uninspired jam, which just happened to be recorded." It's a little bit of this and that, which really amounts to not much. What makes it stand out even, is that it's sandwiched between what are arguably the best moments on the album: The first 2 and a half minutes of that same song (a somberly beautiful piece of work), and the fifth and last song: The grand, majestic, eponymous finale.

However, with the exception of that questionable 9 minutes or so, the album is a five star album, which lives up to its reputation. ITCOTKC, as it is fondly abbreviated, is an essential album, which is able to condense a multitude of genres and styles: the intensity of heavy metal, the complexity of math rock, and the improvisational jazzy manner in which the music just grabs you and takes control. As the title tracks says "the yellow jester does not play, but gently pulls the strings" and I say we all become puppets once this record hits our ears.

The music never stops, never bores and will not let you go. It varies in emotion with confusion, sadness, fright and eventual majesty. You can bet that there is a surprise waiting at every corner In The Court of the Crimson King.

Report this review (#79005)
Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was (exept from dark side of the moon) the first progressive rock album i've ever heard. "21 Century Scizoid Man", the opener of the album is overall good. Nice brass instruments in it and lovely instrumental passages. This, together with "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is the only 2 songs i've heard and remember from this album (i borrowed it from the library), so my review could be both longer and better if i heard the whole one. "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is also a good song, a bit darker and warmer than the heavy, agressive opener. I don't dislike this song, but it's not really my style of song. I love the opener and i always will, i hope. I will update this when i buy the album. Until then, 5/5!
Report this review (#79106)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink

that's the way Peter Townsend described this album, and i cant argue much with him.

it was the year 68, and the progressive album that had been released until that date were Ars Longa... Days of future.... and White Album.... (only some of them! I knew there were plenty, but those ar the ones i know better-i'm just 17-). and then i heard this one, and iy is really groundbreaking! i think it brojke almost any scheme of what was meant to be rock music.

From the first seconds of "21st Century..." this is different from all these proto prog bands. jazzy-rocky-schizoid.... not easy to define.

In the court.... is arguably KC's finest song, dark, eerie, with beatufil Lyrics thanks to golden-penciled P. Seinfield.

the only flaw i feel in it is the long improvisation in Moonchild, that, tough beautiful, it is too long.

I think this album marks the end of proto prog and starts the golden-era!

*PD* Greg's Lake vocals fits so well with KC's music! He is the best vocalist this band has ever had.

Report this review (#79183)
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although most people adore 21st Century Schizoid man, I don't agree it should have been here. It's a hard song, amazing, I love it, it just doesn't add to the mood of the rest of the album, it actually takes away from it. I actually think the album should have started with Epitaph and ended with At the Court, and 21st Century should have been included into another album because it just takes away from the haunting mood of the album.

Even though that's my major complain with this album (and it's a big one, enough for me to give this 4 stars instead of 5). I still enjoy it loads, it's very satisfying, and it definetely gets through to the listener that this isn't happy music, that this is intelligent, oblique sounding music. Fripp is incredible, I can't believe he started his carreer with KC with such an astounding album, must have taken a lot of we have a man that won't listen to record companies...not even on his debut!

My advice here is that you go out and buy this if you haven't already, this might be your introduction to your future favorite band, trust me, they're that good!

Report this review (#79788)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Considered by many to be the record that defined Prog Rock, this was also the record that got me into the genre. It is truly a masterpiece and unlike anything that came before it (or since for that matter.)

21st Century Schizoid Man opens the album with a fiery ferocity hitherto unknown in rock. The distorted vocals, and the blindingly fast horn and guitar lines in unison are light years ahead of their time. This is before Robert Fripp became overly self- indulgent in his playing and there is no fat on the track at all. I Talk To The Wind takes things down a notch and adds flute and classical influence. In fact, the overall Medieval feel of the album is one of the things that makes it endure as one of my favorites. I regret that Greg Lake didn't stay with the band longer, as his voice is perfect for it. What I regret even more is that Michael Giles left after this album. I'm no percussion expert, but his drumming sounds like nothing I've ever heard. He blows Bruford out of the park. Epitaph, although at first glance seems pretty straightforward, has become my favorite track on the album. It's incredibly dark and intense while holding up the pretense of being mellow.

And of course the infamous Moonchild, which so many people complain about. The beginning is gorgeous, and while it does go on a tad long, I feel that it lends the album some much needed breathing space, after the intensity of the preceding songs. Finally, In The Court of the Crimson King closes the record appropriately. It is an epic in the truest sense of the word, with sweeping guitars and keyboards and pounding drums. The sound of this piece is absolutely HUGE.

In short, this is an album that no Prog fan should be without. It paved the way for things to come and still holds up wonderfully after all these years. Buy it!

Report this review (#80132)
Posted Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The revolutionary album that started it all.

This first album by the almighty Crimson King reflects the expression of the character represented on the cover. The album is marvelous from the beginning to the end and was, and still is today for the new prog listener, a perfect introduction to the wonderful world of prog rock.

The album contains in my opinion two excellent and more ambient song filling in the spaces between three breathtaking song. This album format is perfect because it grants the listener a bone chilling experience every time one of the two middle tracks ends (I talk to the wind and Moonchild) and one of the epic songs begins. The three breathtaking songs I'm talking about here are : 21st Century Schizoid Man, Epitaph and In the Court of the Crimson King.

When you put on the album, from the first approximate thirty seconds, you hear nothing but little noises, fooling you into believing this is going to start slowly. Then, BANG! The main riff enters and you're amazed for the next seven minutes. The beautiful and really smooth I talk to the wind follows to let you breath a little bit. Those moments of pure musical delight fastly fade into the dramatic intoduction to Epitaph. Here, you have one of the most dramatically intense prog song ever made. By the end of the song, you have to wipe the tears from your eyes while enjoying the early moments of Moonchild. After the beautiful refrain, the whole band enter the most dreaded moment of the album, the last nine minutes of Moonchild. Those are made of mostly noises and little drum beats. It creates a wonderful atmosphere and has a great effect on your mind, slowly drawing your thoughts away from the music only to hear another BANG! The epic Mellotron melody that follows grabs you. You're in for another nine minutes of pure musical perfection along with the Crimson King and his friends.

This album played this really talented lineup of King Crimson and sung by the wonderful voice of Greg Lake, is a masterpiece. It's an important piece of any prog rock collection if only for his historical importance.


Report this review (#81748)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's hard to say, aspecially in a review, but i just don't have nothing real to say. I guess that that the other reviewers that wrote their 2 pennies about the album, pretty said everything possible about "In The Court Of The Crimson King" - but still, i've managed to write at least SOMETHING about this album...

One thing i was impressed of in this album, was the incredible writing by Peter Sinfield. What i loved most about his writing is his changes of feelings: from hard satire to sad & touching ballads, from love songs to hate & anger. that's a privelige of a writer to be so exact when he writes about different moods & feelings.

But the main part is of course, the music, and this King Crimson is proabably one of the best albums of the band, if not the best of them. It is a revolutionary and gives King Crimson's prophecy about the music, later.

It's hard to pick one (or few) favorite song(s) from "In The Court Of The Crimson King", but i do everytime, so i guess i have to do it now :) The first song i like to bring up is "Epitaph", because it's a sad song that really reminds me of winter days - a great winter song, by the way. The use of the melotron provides the perfect atmosphere to this song. The second one, is the final track & the title song - "The Court Of The Crimson King". A really fantastic piece of music, when the song itself characterized with a striking melody, great vocal harmony & the finale of this song, which is one of the greatest prog songs of all time.

To sum up, i must say that "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is truly a masterpiece of prog music. That's way there's no choice but to give no less than 5 stars.

Report this review (#82319)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars A great album, had a huge influence on Symphonic prog, extremely innovative at the time and help open the door to the possibilties of progressive music, but a little dated now. I don't need to go in too great detail with the music many already have done that, but overall, with the exception of 21st Century Schzoid Man, the album has meloncholis feel to it. Peter Seinfield is an excellent lyricist that can't create vivid images in your mind with his words, this is especially true with the song In the Court of the Crimson King. Both Epitaph and In the Court are a bitoverlong without much diversity, they have great melodys whivch may help you overlook this, but looking back they lack instrumentals a later albums. Although the instrumental to 21st Century is both humourusand brilliant, fantastic muscianship on that song. I Talk to the Wind is a great meloncholic piece and has some fine textures to it and like In the Court, the lyrics really stand out on this song. As many have said before Moonchild starts of promising but then declines in aimless noise, but even that has its place in help shaping prog, I think Larks Tongue in Aspic (KC's later album) is indebt to that piece but developed it more. I think there is a real sense of pessimism on this album, probably because of the lyrics. There is humour, darkness, beauty, fantastic muscianship and great harmonies and melodies, which pretty much sums up al ot of prog. I don't think this was the first prog album though, Frank Zappa's Hot Rata to me is every bit as influential on prog as this album, also Krautrock was already about, but this album did ignite the romanticism in prog. And so although dated an not perfect still a good listen and does have a sentimental place in every prog fans collection.
Report this review (#83302)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars You know the story by now. One of the first prog albums (if not the first), top ten on the site, favourite album of numerous people, etc. It's quite the album and I'm not here to debate that.

What I am here to debate is the five star album given to this. Due to the fact that much of Moonchild is close to worthless and that 9 minute or so section takes up something like 20% of the album, I just can't give the masterpiece rating to this. However, by virtue of its innovation at the time (I'm not saying it's dated), it is essential in all collections.

Another of the reasons it's essential, aside from the innovation, is the fantastic use of the mellotron. While Genesis remains the ultimate in mellotron use, KC is right up there at second, with a good deal of that renown coming from this album.

Despite not being a five, it is still an easy four star rating in my view. Still, not having a copy of it pretty much invalidates you as a symphonic prog (possibly even prog in general!) fan.

Report this review (#84502)
Posted Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'In The Court Of The Crimson King', even from todays perspective, a milestone of the genre.Back in 1969 it was something totally new, original and so different from everything else. At the time, within our small group of prog followers we were discussing, and sharing impressions this album generated.I remember how excited I have been every time I was listening to this album and it was quite often in those days.In my opinion, among all tracks 'Epitaph' is a shining diamond and all the others seem to be in its shadow.My four star rating of this album is only due to the feeling I had at the time, namely that hopefully from King Crimson would be more to come. And it did come.
Report this review (#85195)
Posted Sunday, July 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Precisely a surreal phenomenon in the end of the 60s...The Court Of The Crimson King is definitely a wind of change in the world of Music,This Primordial Prog has already attained attributes that were not Primordial after all...

21st Century Schizoid Man is a perfect example...Starting from the sound of train locomotive in the background where suddenly a BANG was PINNED to your senses in the early duration, thus forcing us to plunge and also dragging us to a scene of sheer Power and sound far ahead of its' time,a demonstration of extremity the musical instruments could if we're having sonicbooms delivered straight to our eyes,but leaves our ears addicted to it nevertheless.And Yes,none could forget Grandpa Fripp's screeching solo here... This adds to Layers of sounds that is hard to decipher,yet each layers played in every sectors inside our ear,Resonating and Dissonating at the same time,delivering subliminal and addictive pleasure that locks itself on your memory.A Highly Suggestive,powerful track that was like Big Bang,blasting mass of enormous energy that gave birth to our beloved genre Progressive Rock.

I Talk To The Wind is a very special track i'd consider.Among all the tracks,this delivers a charming set of combination,both the melody and the vocals were great,perfectly fusing into a soft song that would make your nerves relax.This is a brilliant song which i truly acknowledge as a work of geniuses.

Epitaph-Ah,the engine of sadness and emotional drowning.Sadness,Pain,even the drums here suggests ourselves a feeling of our ends.Mortality.This song brilliantly conveys that particular issue,making it a contemplation song that would carry our heart through an endless tunnel of thinking,where even the slightest concern of our ends could also appear there in this eternal journey that was compressed in only eight minutes...

Moonchild-Alas,readers.Forgive these lines below if you considered it an insult,but this song should be cut to only two minutes.Why don't they create two or three songs for the remaining ten minutes? A Subject beyond debate or whether this is due to the genius of Grandpa Fripp himself that probably could evoke a "vision" or something the older,pro reviewers here were talking about.The cause of the statement was the ten minutes of void,weird sounds without any hint or guide to comprehension... Well,it is very subjective for people to judge this part,and subjugations were everybody's right...

But Logically,i'd call it a waste of time.Creating two or three good songs for the ten minutes would make this album scratchless,and beyond any other comparison in progressive rock.And none would give this album a One Star...This was the song that i really loved in the first two minutes,and ironically the song that i deeply regretted to exist. This is a double edged sword for KC's first album.

In The Court-This song was strategically put in the end,to open all of the senses to the majestic display of skill and ambience crafting KC has. Being repetitive is a point,but being powerful answered your need for a quality track. ITC significantly builds the atmosphere over minutes,with the mellotron and the repetition being the key.

Overall,The First KC album could have done so much better without this flaw in the fourth track moonchild,but didn't my description described the creativity,power and influence it brought? And let the relativity of taste be justice in enjoying prog,fellow prog fans....

Report this review (#86150)
Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now this was the first album King Crimson put out and I still find that this album is still the best work they ever did. Some songs off future albums may be better than some on ITCOTCK but as a whole this album is about as good as it gets. 21st Century Schiziod Man was the commercial hit along with the song In the Court of the Crimson King on this album. Schizoid man is a face paced song which shows off Fripp's insane guitar compositional skills. The unsison runs with guitar and saxophone have always put me in a state of awe. Being a guitar player I know just how good Fripp is, he's a bloody genious. Epitaph is my favourite song on the album. Moonchild is a long song that also laid the foundations for King Crimson's early work. Although King Crimson was famous for having an ever evolving sound, Moonchild was the blueprint for many songs on the albums that followed.

Thats enough with the song reviews. People before me know much better than I at song breakdowns on In the Court of the Crimson King. This was one of the first prog rock albums and is still largely unrivaled. This album was the one that hooked me onto this band and every time I listen to it I am reminded of why. The music is fast paced or slow and mellow. The album expresses emotion and you feel something when you listen to it. I know that sounds frighteningly fruity but its true. ITCOTCK = 5 stars.

Report this review (#86563)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
King of Loss
3 stars I'm going to hit it straight with you that this album is in my humble opinion one of the most hyped, overrated albums in all of Prog? Why is it, there are a lot of details that I will provide, but I'm reviewing the album, not listing reasons why this album is no better than 3 stars in my mind.

The album starts off with a rocker, reminds me heavily of earlier heavy metal, with great vocals, a great start to the album, but not one of the better starts to an album. This track is probably the only track I listen on ITCHYCOCK as of recently, because of the "locomotive-like start" and the "intense vocals".

I talk to the Wind is a very interesting song I'd say, but that's all I'm going to say. Many people above me have called this a very beautiful music, but I can't really hear the passion or the beauty that these people say. This song is basically in my opinion a mediocre King Crimson song without much conviction, even though it is there. Definitely a downer after the very good album beginner.

Then the songs after that really go downhill, I talk to the Wind was the beginning of the end for me on this album. Epitaph is a great tune for showing off Prog vocals but nothing more, as it does nothing for me. Moonchild starts beautifully, but then I don't understand how it drags on and on and on and on and on, really not that great, a lot of it is filler IMO. And the last track... Well it makes a lot of ELP seem like it wasn't filler, as much as I enjoy Lake's voice and Fripp's sense of instrumentation, I just can't comprehend the filler and the waste of my time. I probably last listened to this track a full year ago.


21st Century- 90% I Talk to the Wind- 80% Epitaph- 75% Moonchild- 70% ITCHYCOCK (Title track)- 65%

As you see, the tracks all go downhill for me, but overall I don't think of this album as that bad. Its a worth listen once in a while and is a pretty good debut album, much better than the Rush or Genesis albums respectively, but it is not the best first album I've heard.

Instead I'd recommend Red, Lizard, Discipline or Larks for the first time listener.

Overall I'd rank it about a


Report this review (#89133)
Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the greatest albums of all time by one of the greatest bands of all time.

1) 21st Century Schizoid Man including Mirrors: A work of art.The powerful guitar pulls you in. The distorted voice keeps you locked in, and the Mirrors section leaves you mesmerized. A true hard prog song. The opening is great, and if you get a friend to listen to the CD, I always tell them it's really quiet so they have to turn it way up, and they always fall for it. The simple guitar part is brilliant. One of those great pieces up there with Seven Nation army and Smoke On the Water. The mirrors solo is spectacular and a total gear shift from the main part. Love the transition back and forth.

2) I Talk To The Wind: A real relaxing piece. I don't know whether it's the flute part or the soothing vocals, but it's the kind of song you never get tired of. Simple, but strongl lyrics. Great integration of the flute into a prog song. It's soft, but powerful at the same time. The drums are spectacular in this song. Great job mixing it. This song could have been a disaster if done wrong. Great transition into Epitaph with the drumroll.

3) Epitaph including March For No Reason and Tomorrow Another softer song, with the best lyrics on the album. I love the quiet voice in the beginning that slowly gets louder. Great effect. One that makes you drowzy, but won't let you fall asleep.

4) Moonchild including The Dream and The Illusion Great first few minutes, which leave you very tired, but the problem is those last 5 or 6 minutes. I always fall asleep and miss the final song. The voice is angelic, and the percussion is spectacular.

5) The Court Of The Crimson King Including The Return Of The Fire Witch And The Dance Of The Puppets Good song, but the only one that doesn't have a part I absolutely love. I like how they go back to power at the end.

I like the CD format which they continued to use throughout their careers. They started hard, softened up in the middle then go back to the power vocals again at the end. Also, one of the greatest album covers of all time.


Report this review (#89519)
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Enough has been said about this disc, that I need not reiterate much. I will say, however, that to me, this disc has three phenomenal tunes: Schizoid Man, Epitaph, and the title track. These rank amongst the very best in prog, but the other two, that I will not name, are not up to par. That said, my main point is this, and it is something that has not oft been mentioned in any of these reviews:

Greg Lake's bass part in the Mirrors section of Schizoid ranks right up there in the history of rock as one of the greatest contributions to the genre. Many people consider this a "jam," but it's my bet that Fripp had this section carefully thought out and executed. I've heard some of the more recently-released live material from this era, and it is a bit more jammy, but somewhat surprisingly, Lake does not do much at all of the crazy, nutty stuff he does on this. Methinks Fripp may have grabbed a bass in the studio???

Get this one, just keep a finger on the track forward button.

Report this review (#92023)
Posted Monday, September 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In many ways I believe this to be the best album ever recorded. There are albums I like more, but when it comes to King Crimson's first I have trouble even grasping how somebody could not like, or at least respect the album. When I heard this album in 2004 I could hardly believe what was unfolding before my ears. Then why I tried to imagine myself hearing "21st Century Schizoid" man in 1969 I was completely blown away. More than any album this epitomizes prog. It's influence cannot be understated; it sounds so radically different than anything else released at the time.

In The Court Of The Crimson King lays down everything progressive rock is throughout the album. Quirky, inventive, a myriad of styles, the album introduces the jazz/rock combination, the symphonic atmospheres, and the free-form jamming that would all become staples of the genre which this album created. Epic is the best word to describe this album. It seems to contain a quality that transcends music itself.

I believe this album contains the most beautiful display of the mellotron in history of progressive rock. It can push you to the verge of tears. It combines beautifully with Lake's vocals throughout the album to form a welling symphonic sound. All songs are symphonic masterpieces except "21st Century Schizoid Man" which is a frantic cacophony of guitar, sax, and distorted vocals. Drastically different from the rest of the album, yet every bit as good.

I always find it unfortunate when a band starts their career with their best album. However, in this case I don't think it could be any other way. I'm not sure King Crimson could top this, or any band for that matter.

Report this review (#92026)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is both an excellent and historically valuable album. It is considered by many to be the first true progressive rock album, and it contains wonderful songs done by a lineup of incredible musicians.

21st Century Schizoid Man is a great song. It's so musically unique and it has great lyrics as well. The drumming by Michael Giles is excellent, and the saxophone by Ian McDonald adds a lot. I Talk to the Wind is a beautiful song, and Greg Lake has an amazing voice. The lyrics are among the best Peter Sinfeld ever wrote for King Crimson. In fact, two of my friends did an English project junior year in high school relating the lyrics to the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. I think I was the only person in the class who appreciated it, though. Epitaph is a wonderful song; it's very dark and brooding. Once again, Peter Sinfeld demonstrates his talent as a lyricist. The mellotron is used very effectively toward the end of the song, and it adds to the dark and heavy atmosphere. Moonchild takes a lot of abuse for being overlong and pointless, but I do not believe that is the case. The melody at the beginning of the song is beautiful and haunting, but the extended improvisational section is very good as well and I think it demonstrates the collective creativity of the group. Of course, the best song on the album and my favorite King Crimson song of all time is In the Court of the Crimson King. Flute is used to great effect at the beginning and during an instrumental section in the middle of the song. The chorus is simply mind-blowing; it's so dark and beautiful at the same time.

In the Court of the Crimson King is undeniably a prog masterpiece. It is my personal favorite from King Crimson's discography, and I recommend it highly to any prog fan. If you don't already own this, run immediately to your nearest CD store!

Report this review (#92122)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2006 | Review Permalink


Robert Fripp plays like some one who has arrived on earth from some other planet a one of a kind player who plays with such precision and power ! Fripps' unbelieve control and individualistic sound and ingenious creative ability are unequaled ! each musician plays extremely well what can i say from the vocal perfection of

Greg Lake who sings like an angel from heaven

Ian Mcdonalds unbelievable on sax and woodwinds mellotron keyboards

Greg lakes amazing riffage on bass especially on schitzoid man no wonder this had an impact on black sabbath ,

Michael Giles a great under rated genious on the skins ! influencing Niel pert, Carl Palmer Bill Bruford and many others

Peter Sinfield that genious poet and artist i can't say enough good things about him

From the explosive schitzoid man to the epic in the court of the crimson king to the abrupt ending as a truly great finish ! its the one album i could listen to and still find something new and fresh about it lots of intriquite details a trademark of robert fripp 1 Schitzoid man a model for hard rock prog rock and heavy metal for years to come with explosive playing ,complex passages, stops, starts, and an ending complete with avante garde mayhem I talk to the wind a very baroque folk march hybrid work with 60's sensibility

Epitaph a very dramatic artistic masterpiece topped off by mcdonald and lake vocal hybriding an ingenious production move

Moon child very pre ambient , artsy, dreamy , avant garde, jazzy leading into a classic drum fill intro to

In the court of the Crimson King a epic/mini symphony of strung together movements worthy of the classic masters !

No one should be without a copy of this album Orginal vinyl mixes do exist This album truly changed my life ! amazing artwork by Barry Godber, the original painting i understand was water color and is owned by robert fripp. This was the only album cover Barry ever painted. Barry died in February 1970 at the age of 24!

i never get tired of listening to this masterful work i trust you wont either

yours truly A Pleasant Symmetry

Report this review (#92551)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In The Court Of The Crimson King came out of nowhere and still stands as a favorite among both new and old fans of progressive rock. This brilliant debut defined a new genre and set the standard so high that it has rarely been surpassed in the decades that have followed.

The songs have a timeless quality to them and they still hold up to this day. That doesn't mean it is always an easy album to listen to. Moonchild feels too drawn out and except for the rocking 21st Century Schizoid Man, the tone is often deeply somber with very little relief.

In spite of those minor flaws, it still stands as a masterpiece of progressive music and is an essential addition to any progressive rock collection.

Report this review (#93459)
Posted Thursday, October 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you're planning on getting an album by King Crimson, please make sure that it is "In the court of the crimson king". I promise you (even though I haven't heard all that much from the band), that it's probably the best material they ever wrote.

The songs, with great musical variations - from heavy & complicated "21st Cenutry Schizoid man" to the more mainstream, easy listened title song "In the court of the crimson king", still bind together pefectly into a masterpiece. And if you imagine this album as a piece of a lovely cake, the lyrics are just that puts much more colour to everything - in fact, the lyrics are really good! King Crimson had, just like Procol Harum, a band member who wrote the lyrics - Peter Sinfield. Sinfields lyrics are sometimes about absolutly nothing (still great though), or if they're about something it's often difficult to figure out what. And sometimes, the lyrics turn out to be simple beautiful poems like "Moonchild". The two, still unmentioned songs "I talk to the wind" and the emotional "Epitaph", both of them with rather metaphoric lyrics, give Greg Lake a chance to show what a great vocalist he really is.

The reason why King Crimson never succeded as well as with "In the court of the crimson king" is a question that is hard to answer. But I believe that since King Crimson changed band members all the time (often from one album to another) there was never really a structur. Keyboardist Ian McDonald departed from the band already after this album and bassist and lead vocalist Greg Lake departured after their second album. Drummer Michael Giles was also replaced after a few years by Bill Bruford form Yes (excellent drummer indeed!!!). The only remaining original band member is guitarist Robert Fripp, who also could be considered as the band leader. Even though he orginized new band members, the first line up from 1969 could never be replaced.

Anyhow, I really recomend this album to all who like progressive rock - and even those who would like to discover something new! Enjoy!

Report this review (#93748)
Posted Sunday, October 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars How is one to begin a criticism to this plate? A criticism to the plate, of which one can probably say that it is first, which the designation "progressive skirt" - plate really earns, the plate, of which some state that them justified this category at all only as such. That "in The Court OF The Crimson King" volume had an unbelievable influence on the development many, from "genesis" over "Van of the Graaf generator" is unquestionable to "Yes". If a Prog plate earned the designation "classical author", then these: Vision, talent, perfection relating to crafts, outstanding sound, innovation. Also today it is still simply amazingly, like far "Court" sound moderate and kompositorisch ahead its time was - finally one wrote the year 1969 with its appearance only. And with a produced debut the volume from loud Nobodies, which did not have to exhibit a considerable prehistory in the skirt circus. So many category characteristics are here already in front taken: the notorious Mellotron, virtuose instrument old hurry, vielteilige long pieces, fantastic surreale texts, prätentiöse sub-titles, expanded improvisations, contrast of cracking electrical and gently pastoralen places, combination of classical and jazz influences with skirt mode of expression. And too all a mysterious, equally disturbing as fascinating Cover. And disturbing the plate begins: after some seconds more quietly, hardly audible noises breaks the thunderstorm in the form of "21st Century Schizoid one" over the listener inside: cracking a sluggish violent reef with distorted Vocals, then suddenly drive instrument-oldhurry with to date never belonged accurate Unisono Riffing the entire volume, diagonal Soli by guitar and honking Sax, those to be back led to the hard initial part. The "King Crimson" - Song at all, which was identified in such a way with that volume that guitarist swore Robert Fripp sometime to never play him again which it did not keep naturally. And the contrast to the following "I talc ton of The wind" could be hardly larger: gentle flutes, calm singing, dabbing guitar, clarinet company, flowing Schlagzeug, beautiful flute-solo. Afterwards the tendencyful, unbelievably melancholische, nevertheless strong, hymnische "Epitaph" with swelling Mellotron, orchestraler Percussion and mad singing of Greg Lake, which perhaps already delivered the best singing achievement of its long career on this plate. An individual participant out these volumes to lift out is not possible. This plate is thoroughly a "Group Effort". Naturally: the whole plate over inspires Michael Giles' imaginative, playful, but never importunate, always accurate impact things play. Ian McDonalds of Holzbläser arts function in the tasteful company just like in strong and marvelously melodischen Solos and at the Mellotron build it the sound foundation for the majestic compositions. Greg Lake are alike strong and sensitively. Fripp accompanies gentle and rifft violently. But all this happens always embedded and perfectly integrated into the individual pieces. "Moonchild" mutates a spontaneous improvisation in the Studio between McDonald, Fripp and Giles, one of those moments after gentle, like out far far working beginning to a calm, free psychedelischen sound painting, in which - with Fripps words - which music the players took at hand. One moment, which requires of listeners concentration and readiness, but absolutely be worth-worth. The Intimität of the situation, the astonishment of the musicians over own doing provides for it (and that me now nobody which of because of "Genudel in love and indulgentes" walk!). And then the sudden transition to the majestic "to The Court OF The Crimson King", again with strong singing, mad impact things work and absolute goose skin effect in the hymnenartigen Refrain, which at the conclusion with honking key boards and distorted guitar is shifted and just as great as disturbing conclusion forms. Irgendwer said times: "Everyone does not like this plate, but everyone is impressed." That is probably correct. And after this milestone broke also promptly the first, for some only true "King Crimson" - formation, perhaps exhausted by the own creation. Indeed indicated Ian McDonald and Michael Giles as reason for their door the fact that them "King Crimsons" music was too dark too paranoid and that they wanted to make merrier and less dangerous and deflected Fripps offer that he instead of them the volume leave. Thus Fripp resumed the volume over verworrene ways and unsteady years. But as far the influence of this first formation handed, became with appearance of the "Epitaph" - box sets only really clear. It remains saying only one sentence: this plate belongs under all circumstances into a Prog collection, which is to earn this name. 14,95 DM, which one must lay out in good Plattenladen for it, are well invested. And at the latest, since that appeared 24 bit rem aster in the miniature LP Cover, one has really no more excuse not to call it its own. It is not my favourite plate, not even my favourite "King Crimson" - plate, but in all its majesty and innovation also today still another irreplaceable experience.
Report this review (#94438)
Posted Friday, October 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Note: I am judging this on the quality of the art and not the fact that I believe everyone should have this record.

First does not equal best. We learn from our mistakes and build upon our successes, and the same can be said here. An outstanding debut into a genre that did not exist yet, King Crimson laid the groundwork for others to follow. Although arguably there was bound to be a breakthrough, with many other bands following similar trends at the time.

The album starts with one of my favorites and a KC classic, 21st Century Schizoid Man, with one of the most powerful choruses of any genre. Unfortunately, the following several tracks really have little to them, with some nice creative ideas that really need to be expounded upon, yet perhaps the songwriting is a bit lacking at this point. Moonchild especially can become a bit boresome. The closer however recovers the album, a nice, almost ambient finish that really polishes the record off.

If you really want to get into Crimson aside from this almost necessary part of a prog collection, I would pick up Red, which is the most accessible point. This is a wonderful foray into the world of progressive music, and a must have for your collection if you call yourself a lover of all things prog, but it's not the best, and not even KC's best!

Report this review (#94677)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Many say this started it all. Obviously it was one of the first prog album, and probably the most important, and King Crimson's most prolific, but didn't single handedly come up with this genre. The Nice, along with many proto-prog bands had been developing the genre for some time before this album. However, many bands (namely Genesis and Yes) who started their careers before this album changed their musical direction to prog after this was released.

Something about this album is wholly balanced. It is truly among the very few albums to be, in a very literal and profound sense, perfect, but in another way, very flawed. I often skip Moonchild, but regardless, that imperfection makes up the overall perfection of the finished project. Moonchild is present to show that King Crimson is not afraid to experiment. It's sort of a theoretical song. In theory, it should be fantastic, the idea is genius to disregard the rules of music, and experiment, and that's great. The song isn't practically; it isn't overly enjoyable. The writing of the rest of the album is magnificently inspired. Most collections can't truly be dubbed a 'prog' collection until this album is in it. I only wish it were a longer album, and Moonchild was much shorter.

Report this review (#94745)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The album which arguably marks the birth of progressive rock. For historical reasons it should be a must have for everyone. However, from musical viewpoint it contains only two mindblowing tracks: "Schizoid man" and "Epitaph", and two good tracks "I talk to the wind" and "In the court of Crimson King". Musically it is an album of 3.75 stars. People interested in KC music should rather listen to "Red" and "Lizard".
Report this review (#95054)
Posted Thursday, October 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is simply as great as everyone says it is. What a line-up. It's a shame they didn't get more out of them then "In the Court". My favorite track on here is probably the title track or 21st Century Schizoid Man, but every track is great. "Moonchild" is one of the most underrated songs. I don't understand how people that are supposed to be fans of progressive rock can say it's ten pointless minutes of boring music. I mean, it's called avant-garde for a reason. "Epitaph" and "I talk to the Wind" are both great too. Ian's great on sax and flute. There;s not much left unsaid but, this is truly a masterpiece. I disagree that it's the first prog album, but it definately shattered whatever was left of the mold.
Report this review (#95455)
Posted Sunday, October 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars We can do music that way now!

That's probably the reaction of so many rock bands in that time.

I don't care if this record give the name of prog music!

I care about all the power of this FABULOUS and IMAGINATIVE MUSIC. I remember my reaction in my first listening: WOW! It opened my mind.

Thanks to Fripp and his friends to make it possible & to invent this brained and hearted music!

Report this review (#95465)
Posted Sunday, October 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just got this album a few weeks ago, and I was impressed from the first blaring moments of 21st Century Schizoid Man to the final thundering mellotron on In The Court Of The Crimson King. While many albums seem to work on energy, this one seems to thrive on magnificence and style. Every track is inspiring and moving.

21st Century Schizoid Man is the only really energetic track on here; the others are mellow. Flute is scattered throughtout and is used brilliantly, particularly on the beautiful I Talk To The Wind. Eptiaph is deep and moving with light guitar, mellotron and rolling drums. The universal complaint for this album seems to be Moonchild. The first two and half minutes are dreamy and mezmirizing; after that is goes into an extremely quiet section with bass and, toward the end, light drums. It is reminiscent of the guitar part from Take A Pebble by ELP in its pace and its near randomness. It is rather slow, but I have grown to enjoy it. In The Court Of The Crimson King closes it out very well, with a sound to match its eerie lyrics: "[I]The black queen chants the funeral march, The cracked brass bells will ring; To summon back the fire witch To the court of the crimson king.[/I]" All of the lyrics, by the way, are spectacular; easily some of the best I've ever heard and as consistently brilliant as the music itself throughout the album. This is prog rock at its beginning and its best.

Report this review (#95536)
Posted Monday, October 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars It's difficult to put into words how significant this album is in the realm of Progressive Rock. It is masterful at creating a mood, and there's never been an album cover like this one.

The first time I heard "21st Century Schizoid Man" was a cover by the Canadian band APRIL WINE. I like when it picks up 2 minutes in with some nice bass by Lake and Fripp's angular guitar (not worthy !). Check out Giles before 5 1/2 minutes. "I Talk To The Wind" is a pastoral song, laden with flute that sounds like a hippy, sixties song. Fragile vocals from Lake. Flute and a brighter sound before 5 minutes. Great tune. "Epitaph" and the next two tracks are truly a mellotron lovers delight. "Epitaph" is so utterly majestic. Gulp. A mellotron storm after 2 minutes. A calm with acoustic guitar after 4 minutes. Vocals and mellotron return before 5 1/2 minutes. A classic !

"Moonchild" is very special to me, and i'm not sure why, I just get pulled into this song and go for a dreamy ride, one of my favourites, although I could get along without the 10 minute improv to end it. "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is all about the mellotron, and again there is something otherworldly about this song that transports me in my mind, it's incredibly uplifting ! Nice contrasts too. And the vocal harmonies are a nice touch.

Five awesome songs ! One majestic and influential album ! 5 stars!

Report this review (#95605)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is really a remarkable album! The birth of a giant! This is Crimson at their creative and imaginative peak. 21st century schizoid man is a heavy, jazzy masterpiece. Superb! I talk to the wind is beautifull and skillfully executed. Epitaph is the most dramatic song you'll ever hear and shows off greg lake at his finest vocal hour. Moonchild is mysterious and includes a long jam that really takes you to another place. I think it adds to the album, although most think otherwise. And finally the closer, the title track! Some of the best lyrics i've ever heard (thanks to peter sinfield of course) and the mellotron is excellent. Also includes a quirky little 'puppet dance' section which is full of character! This album is simply essential to any prog collection. You cannot overlook this masterpiece. From the strange intro to the abrupt ending, an entire dream of music awaits you who are fortunate enough to get your sweaty prog hands on this! A perfect balance of imagination and sheer musical excellence. Highly recomended!
Report this review (#96013)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The definitive progressive rock album. It celebrates everything that was great about the genre with non of the overblown flab that many contemporaries came up with. The sleeve artwork is awesome, the playing ranges from beautiful to stark. It's an emotive record that fills you with hope and despair within minutes. One of the greatest LP records of all time.
Report this review (#96019)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I feel that, while this remains essential, for reasons I will cover in a second, it is one of King Crimson's worst pre-90s albums. It feels very underwhelming, crashing in with ferocious metal and petering out with 4 soft numbers in succession. While I enjoy all of the tracks on this album, It feels incomplete.

That said, this remains an essential progressive rock release, for 3 main reasons: 1) King Crimson were one of the all-time greats of the genre, 2) This includes 21st Century Schizoid Man, for chrissake, 3) This truly is, inarguably, a landmark recording as one of the first all-out prog albums without all of the psychedelic trappings common among most proto- prog releases.

Report this review (#96298)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The time was 1993 and I was 17 years old. I had never really bothered to listen to King Crimson or much progressive rock and we were over at a friend's house on a nightmarish "vacation." Their son, Victor, had this album and we listened to it together. It was one of those rare moments of an album that changed my life, but my life was changed even more so when I got a copy a year later at a garage sale, which remains and will always remain in my collection. To be blunt, progressive rock would not have happened without this album to the extent that it took over in the 1969-1974 period, and this along with Lizard is a monumental work. A group effort from start to finish, things start of heavily with "21st Century Schizoid Man-" Crimson's most psychedelic offering and along with Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin, The Jeff Beck Group, and Deep Purple perhaps the birth of heavy metal. The savage, violent, menacing lyrics and Greg Lake's awesome distorted voice are unsettling enough, but then it goes into the manic solo section that is more of controlled mania than a jam. You can't see the song coming back down to earth after Fripp, Giles, Macdonald and Lake take it into the stratosphere in the solo, but it goes back to the song and blasts out of the speakers. Amazing! "I Talk To The Wind" has always been one of my all time favourite tracks off any album, a total change of mood to the pastoral, serene, haunting soft melodic art rock that Crimson could play with emotion and grace. Still, there is something unsettling about the track and about every track on this album. "Epitaph" closes side one with waves and waves of lush mellotron, disturbed and disturbing lyrics, melodramatic percussion, and some of Fripp's best guitar and best writing. The lyrics are about Armaggeddon and the downfall and death of the human race, a subject that was much written about at the time, particularly in England. However, while most bands tried to bash the point (mainly the anti-war point) in, King Crimson are almost elegant, almost beautiful, almost Moody Blues like. In 1969 this music was revolutionary. It was breaking every rule that had been made up to that point, and this revolution had been a threat since The Beatles recorded SGT. Pepper and psychedelia took on a new form around 1968. With IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING the threat became a promise, a reality. Music would never be the same again, it was taking a turn towards something otherworldly and the line between "rock" and "art" was crossed. "Moonchild," truth be told, may have sounded great at the time, but now it is an interesting experiment that doesn't quite work. Another one of the softer tracks on the album, the beginning of the track with Greg Lake's vocal is beautiful and captivating, but the song turns into mindless avant garde sillyness, perhaps foreshadowing the 80s King Crimson, but not that awful yet. Still, I have to give full marks to this track, here jazz and modern classical become part of the rock idiom. "In The Court Of The Crimson King," title track and the most brilliant progressive track before Genesis, one of the most stunning songs ever created, rock as art and art as rock. Soaring mellotrons, dreamlike haunting vocals, sinister lyric imagery, dazzling time changes, it's all in this track and as I said with the release of this song and this album rock was changed forevermore. Could Queen have happened? Could Genesis have happened? Could ELP or Yes have happened and all the obscurer bands too? No. King Crimson were an epiphany, and the epiphany took solid form on this record. The epiphany was "Progressive Rock-" created here by Fripp and cohorts. The title track is amazing, a song that is both chilling and enigmatic- words to some up this whole record. An album that belongs in every collection and no rating under 5 stars is sufficient. Essential.
Report this review (#97737)
Posted Wednesday, November 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the Court of The Crimson King is a historically important album in that it was probably the first full-fledged progressive rock album by a 100% progressive rock band. That being said, it should get five stars because of its historical importance. If you enjoy progressive rock you should definitely have this album. While I am going to give this album five stars, it is not a perfect album (if there is such a thing). The first song 21st Century Schizoid Man is probably one of the best album openers ever. The song really grabs the listeners attention and holds it for the whole song. There are multiple solos through out the song and all are very good. Basically, the song sounds heavy and somewhat frightening, but in a good way. The next song, I Talk to the Wind, is very mellow and peaceful; this is a nice contrast to the first song. This song reminds me of The Moody Blues, but the playing sounds much more confident.

To sum up the rest of the album, you have Epitaph and The Court of the Crimson King, which are both great songs but both sound very similar in style. Both have lots of melletron, and are slower paced with a sort of regal feeling. In my opinion, The Court of the Crimson King is the better of the two songs. Epitaph is good, but it sort of plods along, never really changing. I find my mind wanders easily during this song, but it is a good song. The other song Moonchild is good for about 2 minutes, and then it turns into a strange improvosational exercise with no real structure of any kind. This part is very quiet and goes on for about 9 minutes. That's probably the biggest downfall of the album.

In closing, this is a great album, probably not the best and definitely not my favorite. The album is worth the price of admission for the first two tracks and the last. If you enjoy progressive rock, then you should probably invest in this album.

Report this review (#98337)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars one of the most important album of the progressive music. in 1969 this five youngs wrote a great masterpiece that sounds still actual and modern!!! for me the best song is epitaph, where the wonderful voice of greg lake is at the top!! 21st schizoid is a great opener, and for me there are the first outline of heavy metal. also the rest of the album is remarkable!!! this is a must for all music's lovers, not for only the progressive fans!!!
Report this review (#98528)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I mean, this is where everything started, probably. The first truly progressive rock album in the history of this beautiful and mysterious musical genre, and one of the more seminal. It contains a range of almost everything we'll hear in progressive since 1970 until now, and let me admit that this is quite incredible, isn't it?

Schizoid Man is, like almost everyone one had already point out, one of the best opener ever. Ever. No way. It will blow your mind away. Powerful, epic, aggressive, almost a proto-prog metal example, and a quite outstanding preview of what progressive will become when mixed with more aggressive atmospheres. It makes you wanna scream "Robert Fripp is a genius!" everytime you listen to it.

After the initial maelstrom we continue with the other side, emotionally speaking, of this record. I Talk To The Wind is a mellow, soft, kind of folk-ish jewel that stands out as one of the finest ballad Fripp has ever composed. Simple and beautiful, the essence of the soft and dreamy side of progressive, together with the next marvellous song in the record.

Epitaph is another outstanding ballad, with a touching performance from Greg Lake and a beautiful chord progression that will stuck in your head forever. Outstanding, and you've already started asking yourself how can this album get any better.

But after the interlocutory Moonchild, which is a tough to digest but extremely important example of how noisy improvisation and experimental approaches will have an important part in the progressive evolution, let's welcome In The Court Of The Crimson King, and let's face the fact that this one is probably the best song in the history of King Crimson together with Starless and an outrageously important step in contemporary music. No other words to describe it.

As you can see, "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is there in the olympus where all THE most important progressive albums stay, historically and musically. More than essential!

Report this review (#99542)
Posted Sunday, November 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is THE seminal Progressive Rock album.

Before, others had dabbled with it, but nobody had come to this stage of purity and full blown progressive music.

The maniac Fripp had gathered a band, Greg Lake (later of ELP) on vocals, Ian MacDonald on the atmospheric wind instruments, Mike Giles on tight drums, and Peter Sinfield helped with the lyrics.

The first three tracks are essential peices, Schizoid man, the relentless rocker, I Talk to the Wind, the soft and deep vocal peice, Epitaph, in all its depressing glory.

Moonchild, 9 minutes longer than it should be, sets back the album from being a five star. The title track is a mystical epic, well worth the listen.

This is one of the albums you should grab if you're just starting out.

Report this review (#101416)
Posted Saturday, December 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the album which started everything... At least to me! In the late 80's I've bought a vinyl reissue of "In the Court...", and KC got me forever. Before Crimson, my favorite prog bands were Pink Floyd, Yes and ELP, but this album made me a Crimhead who fought hardly to get other KC albums (a hard task in Brazil - few CDs were officially released here and their LPs were out of print in the mid 80's - and this includes "Discipline", "Beat" and "Three of a Perfect Pair"). Back to "In the Court...": this album begins with an outburst of energy called "21st. Century Schizoid Man", still KC's signature tune and IMHO one of the first songs which may be called prog-metal. The next tune, "I Talk to the Wind" is a beautiful ballad, highlighted by Lake's sensitive vocals and MacDonalds reeds and flute. "Epitaph" is a majestic tune, featuring Fripp's acoustic guitar. "Moonchild" begins as a ballad, then segues into a free- form sonic experiment - most progheads hate this last segment, but I find it interesting. Another majestic tune, "The Court of the Crimson King", ends this wonderful album, but sounds a bit dated in my opinion - maybe this is the song which haven't aged very well, but it's still interesting. If you don't have this album, buy it now - and if you have some spare money, buy "Larks Tongues in Aspic" - this one is even better.
Report this review (#101530)
Posted Monday, December 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although I'm fairly sure this album has recieved it's fair share of reviews and is already considered one of and if not THE greatest prog album ever to be released, but I feel I need to voice my own opinion on why this album and how it could have achieved such a state.

Robert Fripp had been playing along with friends Pete and Mike Giles for a while in the band called Giles, Giles & Fripp. Without Pete Giles on this new collaboration Robert Fripp took control with Pete Sinfield (song writer/lyracist) and created this album "In the Court of the Crimson King". With new guy Greg Lake at vocals and bass, Ian McDonald on woodwind mainly, but also keyboards, mellotrons, etc. who had previously played along with GG&F, and we got Michael Giles on drums. The band chemistry seemed to work flawlessly and it's sad that this would be the only album they all released together.

They start of the album with a strong hard jazz fusion track labeled "21st Century Schizoid Man" perhaps the biggest buidling block song on what prog would become eventually over the years. This was there most popular song of the album and it no doubt deserved it the musician ship on this song is excellent and the vocals flowed well along with Sinfield's lyrics.

Next we have "I Talk to the Wind" a song which had been previously recorded with GG&F, but was abit more poppy and was acoustic guitar oriented and focused less on McDonalds flute. This version was much better and alot prettier sounding too, Lake did an excellent job not over-taking the soft sound yet not sounding to soft himself, very large change from Schizoid Man, but it still works well here.

Sinfield's masterpiece comes next with "Epitaph" this is my personal favorite lyrical work that he has ever written. So strong and emotional the words and Greg Lake couldn't have done much better, the song is directed as well, but the instrumentation isn't exactly there best, but the dark tone that is set fits well with the lyrics which are the main focus on this song in my opinion at least.

The next song "Moonchild" starts off with beautiful harmonics covered over by Greg Lake I believe singing in his falsetto, and turns into after the last words sung turns into an improv which at first listen sounds completely random, but what people don't know is that Sinfield would shine a light representing an emotion on each member of the band and the member would try to reflect that emotion with there instrument, quite an interesting concept, but isn't the greatest sound to the ears, but still a fun piece.

Last they finish with the title track "In the Court of the Crimson King" which has Fripp's classical guitar sound flowing throughout and a choir-esque chorus full of aw's. It's matched into pieces like every grand prog epic should and sets the bar for what they could be. Overall one of the most balanced songs on the album full of good lyrics, singing, and instrumentation and gets a little bit louder then the previous three songs, but no where near as hard as the first.

I'm not sure what would have happened if this album never existed, but I am sure they would be different. Prog was still have came to be, but this is what coined turn and has earned every part of the way to become what we claim the greatest prog album of all time. Whether you love or not there is no denying it's greatness. I'm fairly sure everyone can find something they like in this due to it's variety and depth. Happy progging!

Report this review (#101751)
Posted Tuesday, December 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In The Court of the Crimson King is without question the first fully prog album and is arguably the finest album in the genre. In 1969, the failed trio of Giles, Giles and Fripp split up, but guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Michael Giles weren't ready to throw in the towel. They found multi-instrumentalist Ian Macdonald, future legend bassist/vocalist Greg Lake, and the gifted songwriter Peter Sinfield to complete their lineup. The group immedaitely caused a buzz in Europe and played nearly every major rock concert at ta time when it seems all rock concerts were major.

A&R reps at Atlantic were salivating over the potential this band had and were waiting to milk the band for all it was worth. When this album finally hit stores, it climbed to the upper crust of Europe's album charts. Never before had an album had so much experimentation.

The albums opens with near silence, as a faint noise is heard in the background. Suddenly, about thirty seconds in, the band crashes in with KC's most recognizable song, 21st Century Schizoid Man. This song manages to highlight each member's instrumental prowess. Fripp's solo is one of, if not, his best, solos ever. Giles' drumming is one of the finest drum performance by any person. Lake's bass hints at his future triumphs with ELP, and Ian's mellotron has much of the spotlight. This song launched a movement that had been slowly forming since the advent of psychedelia.

I Talk to the Wind reworks a GGF tune with Ian's flute in the forefront. His playing is simply beautiful. It's a soft song and a good contrast to the hard edge of the opener.

Epitaph show Sinfield stepping up his game for some of his finest lyrics. It's dark tone hints at later heaviness on albums like Red, and Lake's vox are fantastic.

Moonchild starts with harmony before entering King Crimson's first proper improv in the studio number. It sounds out of place on the first few listens, but the more you listen to KC, the more you "get it." This track is the only one on the album I did not immediately enjoy, but now I revere it as essential Crimson.

The grandiose title track closes the album with classical guitar and Lake's grewat vocals, especially on the chorus. It doesn't match the bleakness of Epitaph, but it's probably the second darkest and heaviest song on the album.

This album kickstarted symphonic prg, considered to be the first true progressive sub- genre. People argue over which album is the greatest, but ITOTCK is really without a doubt the most important album in prog. If this hadn't come along, Zappa might not have broken through to his progressive masterpieces when he did. Like Eric Larson said, prog would have started, just not when it did. This is my favorite progressive album of all time and it stands the test of time as an absolute masterpiece. Long live the King.

Report this review (#102198)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Incredible piece of music here, In the Court of the Crimson King really opened the doors to the world of Progressive Rock for me, just like it has done for so many others. Fripp's demented guitar playing on "21st Century Schizoid Man" has almost brought a tear to my eye on a few occasions, because it really is brilliant. "I Talk to the Wind" is a complete opposite of the opening track, and just soars with beauty. "Epitaph" is one of the King's most powerful songs. One cannot deny Greg Lake's vocal abilities here. "Moonchild" is an interesting tune that's filled with a few surprises. The song is not as bad as some claim it to be. The finale, "The Court of the Crimson King" is an absolute powerhouse, and a great way to end this fine milestone in the world of Progressive rock.
Report this review (#102661)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars So, now it's the time for my to review maybe the most important album in the progressive history. This album is total. No down points on this one. Great lyrics, Fripp's guitar, Lake's voice, mellotrones, flutes - everything is in the right place. And the cover of the lp - WOW! One of the best I saw in my whole life. 21st Century Schizoid Man - a genious track with heavy guitar, distorted vocals, and that kind of madness that only Crimson had. I Talk To The Wind - a very nice tune with flute. Gentle, soft and relaxing. Epitaph is one of the evergreen's of rock music. Beautiful ballad played with passiom and power. Moonchild is a suprising song. Starts like a ballad with a very good melody, then there are only musical experiments for 10 minutes. And In The Court Of The Crimson King, the title track. Power, madness, lyricism everything is in it. A true masterpiece. You can't miss with that one.
Report this review (#105008)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson is another awesome album. This is a must have album. here's how I rate each individual song.

21st Century Schizoid Man - ***** It's an awesome song, especially the instrumentall passage and the ending where it all builds up.

I Talk to the Wind - ***** After a really excellent and loud song, this pacifying music with flute comes.

Epitaph - ***** It's definitely a neat song. It's similar to I Talk to the Wind, but it's a little bit heavier.

Moonchild - **** It's the longest song on the album, and I love the song. The last 10 minutes could be louder, though.

The Court of the Crimson King - ***** This is the first song I heard that was off this album. This song has more great flute playing.

If I had to choose my favorite songs, I'd choose 21st Century Schizoid Man and THe Court of the Crimson King.

Eveeeryone needs this album!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#105585)
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When i first heard King Crimson, I had downloaded a couple songs, most notable "starless" off of the red album. They were influnces of primus so i checked them out, thought they were pretty good and listened occasionally. Then i started to really explore, and In the court is an epic album and tale that is timeless. 21st century schizoid man, predicted the future, and is an amazing song with some great guitar slamming in after the brief mellotron noodling. Explodes from there into a jazz like jam that sweeps the rest of the song, a strong beginning indeed. The second song is a sharp contrast to the rocking tune of "21st" where "I talk to the wind" paints a more serene beautiful picture. Great singing by greg lake, and a mezmorizing flute score that is extremely influential especially during the beginning of prog. After a drifting away flute a drumroll erupts into what is "Epitaph", possibly the strongest track on the album and easily the most emotional. Is a very up and down song from verse to chorus is perfectly executed, definetly giving it a "classic" feel. Moonchild follows, a very beautiful song for the inital 2 minutes or so with great singing from Greg and a minimum but powerful use of guitar and other effects. The songs leads into an extended noodling session, which is very disjointed and the only low point on this album. But the album picks up with the best song to close out this album. I have never heard in my life a better outro, and is simply named after the album. In the court is a very dark song,the lyrcis describe a society with an evil crimson king and there seems to be a setup against him. Absolutely phenomenal bridges with a haunting mellotron tune that sets the mood for the closer. And even a joyous almost youthful flute section intersecting that transfers back to the haunting mellotron to close out the album. When i first heard this in its entirety, i was absolutely stunned. I couldnt believe a band could make something this amazing. Their musicianship is unparalled, the definition of prog and a whole sweeping musical movement this is where it truly started. You owe it to yourself to listen to this album, a revolution into itself.
Report this review (#106088)
Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you don't have this one yet, you'd better get it right away! The first defining album of progressive music, if it weren't for this album who knows what would've happened to prog! I can discuss why this album is so great, but that has been done many many times before so I will not bother doing so.

I must note though that a lot of people to dislike the song "moonchild", and I must say I don't like it that much either. It's very experimental, but mostly boring with a very minimalistic sound.

Still, even considering moonchild this album is worth those 5 stars without any doubt.

Report this review (#106641)
Posted Monday, January 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Is "In The Court Of The Crimson King" an essential album? To progressive rock music in itself I'm sure it was! But is it essential to have it stored on your CD-shelf? Well, actually I don't really think so. It's probably just a nice complementation of your progressive rock music collection.

As I really like "newer" progressive rock bands like ARENA, BLACKFIELD, IQ, MARILLION, PENDRAGON, PORCUPINE TREE, RADIOHEAD, RIVERSIDE and SYLVAN, I decided to go all the way back to their "progressive roots" to find out what KING CRIMSON was all about. I started with their supposedly best album: In The Court.

I did not dare burning my hands on this one for a long time, because it is supposed to be so good! I had the same problem submitting a review on ELP's Brain Salad Surgery. Another highly praised album, that I particular don't really like. Sorry guys!

Well, about the album, what can I really add? I must say the first two tracks start quite promising and track three "EPITAPH" sung by Greg Lake is simply beautiful! This track is definitely the highlight of this album! But right after this comes the big problem of this album called MOONCHILD. The first two minutes start quite promising again, but after that. Boy oh boy, some experimental jamming session that lasts over 10 minutes! Why did those guys deteriorate this album like this? Maybe because 33 minutes is a bit short for a progressive rock album? So at least now the album lasts almost 45 minutes which was considered to be "standard" for an LP? I would have liked the album a lot more if this track simply would have been deleted! I would not give one single star for this track: 0 stars for MOONCHILD!For this track alone I would never consider this album a masterpiece. IMHO each track from a 5 track album should be a highlight in that case!

The last track "The Court Of The Crimson King" is actually the 2nd best track on this album, just after EPITAPH. Nice one, but unfortunately most of the time I have already fallen asleep during MOONCHILD.

All and all 1 firm star for each track, except for MOONCHILD. As a matter of fact; for MOONCHILD I subtract half a star. 3.5 stars total: good, but non-essential.

Report this review (#107386)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In The Court of The Crimson King was, very cliché, my first progressive rock album. Now these days, I can tell you that I listen to nothing but progressive rock (and electronic of course) but many years ago I was still a classic rock head, banging out to more linear songs. Seeing how this album came when I was listening to completely other things, such a radical change of music for me left me absolutely stunned. I had never heard anything like it before. This album used so many different styles of music, from the atonality of the dual saxophone ''solo'' in the furious Proto-Progressive Metal opener 21st Century Schizoid Man, the heavy stomp-chord like intersection of Epitaph to the abrupt free form jazz jamming of Moonchild. None of those ever make it into the ''usual'' set of music, but luckily, us progheads are able to enjoy this little oasis of our own. And will we ever!

Now, enough about me and my stupid nonsensical talk. Lets get on with the music, shall we?

'21st Century Schizoid Man' was the first progressive rock song ever to grace my ears. But... What's this!?!? It opens up with AMBIENT NOISE. A 'rock' song had never been mixed with that before, blending musique concréte with powerchords was just... Out of the line. But these guys dared. Anyway, it sounds like the recording of a truck stopping, and a man walks by. At 00:28, the furious guitar chords blending with the psychedelic saxophones jumps into gear, with Michael Giles' incredible drumming immediately setting us into action. The madman riff repeats not once, not twice, but thrice, before leading into the awesome verse with Fripp's usual disillusioned chords and Greg Lake screaming out the paranoid lyrics, through a distorted amplifier which celebrates the songs purpose incredibly! This goes on into the second verse, as powerful as the first ever was, and of course, here comes the middle part... Mirrors.

'Mirrors' is the midle part of 21st Century Schizoid Man, starting out with a spiraling riff from nowhere, with Michaels stressed drumming ringing out of the speakers. An LSD-influenced guitar solo comes out of Robert Fripp's masterful hands, with bends, vibratos, feedback and of course, the usual cutting of notes which Fripp is known for. Michaels powerful tom fills in the background helps us no less to get absolutely obsessed with this part, and now...

The extremely avant garde saxophone solo comes in. Incredibly loud, two tracks of noodling nonsense blasts out, it literally sounds like a tank grinding on train tracks! It's truly crazy, and after it, the last furious notes ring out before the section that led us into Mirrors reappears in front of is, and now...

The arpeggios from hell. This section is amongst the fastest you'll ever hear in prog. How one can play the guitar so fast is beyond me, and the saxophone helps it out as well. A softer intersection leads us with the intro of the Arpeggios from Hell, with an amazing drum fill leading us out again...

The songs introduction is reminiscent again, with Fripp leading us into the riff with a notorious slide from the twelth fret, dwelling into Lake's paranoia-soaked lyrics. Of course, the song has to end remarkably? In a strange way, yes. Intense, loud, freefrom distorted jazz noodling grasps us by the throat, chokes us, and lets us go just before we give up!

'I Talk To The Wind' is a whole nother deal. Opening up with soothing horn instruments, Lake's tired voice comes at us with great lyrics. The chorus comes up after a short while, and I have to say that Lake's voice is very beautiful. The drumming again is extraordinary, I myself say that Michael Giles may be the best drummer of all time. The second verse has very powerful lyrics by Peter Sinfield of course, the masterful poet. Another chorus briefly plays, with the exhausted vocals really setting the mood, yet keeps our attention throughout. A third verse opens up, with a little more sting in the vocals, but it's barely noticable. Of course, the chorus is as soothing as it ever will be, and at almost 3 minutes into the song, it's almost ever. A beautiful flute solo comes into by play by Ian McDonald, my favourite out of King Crimson's various horn sectino performers. The guy is amazing! Fripp's beautiful guitar solo takes off where McDonald left.

The chorus reappears again, and the first verse follows shortly afterwards. The intro notes of the song are heard again, and when you think it ends, the last 1 and a half minute of the song is a wonderful flute solo by Ian, but we can only wait for the next song. This flute solo topples the first in the song by a miles range, and is really catchy. Again, Giles' drumming is uncompared. The ending leads into...

'Epitaph'. This song grasps me by the heart. It's so sad, yet so mysterious. It opens up with majestic percussion, the medeival guitar lines and an overwhelming guitar arpeggio section. Greg Lake's vocals are his best here, so powerful even though they are ever so quiet. Michael's drumming is rather upbeat, but somehow it works so greatly. The mellotron makes it's brilliant introdution here, Fripp himself playing it. The mellotron mimics a string section, adding to the beauty that is this song.

The chorus is is a jazzy, emotional macabre of a section, and when Lake sings 'And I fear tomorrow I'll be crying' the mellotron is louder than before, which adds so much to it that it's unbelivable. A short instrumental section (the intro appearing again) it leads into the second verse, where Lake sings much louder, and Giles masterfully works the ride cymbal. After the second verse, we are led into a mysterious section where the mellotron dazzles, increibly loud. It leads out into the medeival guitar lines again, and here comes the best section of this song...

The stom chord section. The horns play very low notes, and after a while, Giles bangs the percussion as hard as possible, when Fripp plays the chords out of nowhere! It carries on for a while, and while it may not sound as brilliant as it ultimately is, this is incredibly powerful. A slow drum fill gives us the chorus again, which repeats a very long time, with the mellotron taking it's time to become louder and louder, and percussion added on top. It's intense, and beautiful. It slowly fades out.

'Moonchild' is to many the downside of the album, since the latter seven minutes of it is freeform jamming. Growing up with several free jazz album (My dad's an enthusiast) I can only love this section even more than the introduction, however it will certainly vary.

It opens up with the most beautiful riff I've ever heard. A loud guitar note which slides back and forth takes us by the heart. Eventually Lake's soothing vocals (In a very bright tone) sings the optimistical lyrics. The mellotron is added in the second verse, adding more to the atmosphere than Epitaph's ever did. Michael plays around on the cymbals and the toms, and at 02.14 the last words are heard, before seguing into a heavy mellotron intersection. A wall of sound surrounds us, and playful percussion is played. Jazzy guitar textures fade in soon, and adds up to the atmosphere. After a while, the mellotron fades out.

Here begins, at ca. 03:30 the free jazz jamming comes in. At the beginning is has a certain structure, following the A minor chord of the song. At 04.30 is sort of loses it, which I love myself. An atonal horn chord pops in, and Fripp noodles around on the guitar. The same goes for Michael, bashing on the toms for his life. This is certainly avant garde, and I love the abrupt drumming of Michael. It's so random, which leaves me suprised everytime. The treble turns up on the guitar, which strange chords never heard before dazzles our ears. Fripp plays around with a little arpeggio notes, and lets the other play whatever they feel like. This goes on until 09:00 where the song takes the A minor theme again, and Fripp improvises around it. But there is still atonality inbetween, but Michael's marchy drumming helps it keep a beat. Soon it goes back to the free form jamming again.

At 11:00 a beautiful heart grasping theme comes into play, with the stunning percussion leaving me to love it. Fripp's playing soothes me as always during this particular section. It soon ends this long song.

'The Court Of The Crimson King' rips up with a loud drum fill, and the incredible, incredible... INCREDIBLE mellotron notes blend with the guitar. Medeival guitar lines leaves us with the best lyrics ever written in the history of music, with mad flute notes coming all over the place. The choir-esqué loud chorus dazzles my mind like few songs have ever done and is incredibly fitting for the songs mood. A second verse interplays, but not without Michael's standard drumming. Leaving us with one more incredible chorus! This segues into the third verse which is as masterful as all the others, this time with a different guitar pattern which is stunning. Of course no need to talk about the chorus, you all know it, and love it. Then comes...

'The Return of The Firewitch' which is a cover name for the beautiful, amazing flute solo that Ian delivers to us, with Michael playing away on the ride cymbal. It's very good. Quite long in length, afterwards we segue into...

The fourth, and last verse of this 9 minute progfest that closes of this magnificent album! With new guitar patterns, there is no repetitiveness at all. 2 choruses in a row close of the album. Or do they? On the loudest mellotron note you'll ever hear the song ''ends''. But what's this?...

'The Dance of The Puppets' is a funny little horn section of the song which is unaccompanied. Opening up with optimistical flute notes, lower key instruments soon join of course, and after a while, all goes quiet...

...until Michael's loudest drum fill ever blasts out through the speakers, Fripp's guitar has been changed for an electric one (distorted as well) while everybody replays the chorus main theme. Intense and heavy, this powerful section delivers us the most well known riff in prog. At 09 minutes in, one of the fastest drum fills by Michael segues into the ending, which sounds an awful lot like the intense ending of 21st Century Schizoid Man. It fades out very abruptly, whithin a second or two it all goes *POOF* and we have just been through one of the best, if not the best, albums of all time.

Of course, King Crimson would soon leave most of the ballads we've seen on here, for the very dark melodies and overall, dark atmospheres of later albums such as Larks' Tongues In Aspic and Red, something they shared in common with Van der Graaf Generator at the time. These later albums made the metal bands of the time sound like bubble-gum pop, and thus this first album is a bit of an odd one when compared to them. King Crimson were, like Yes, a more optimistic symphonic band at first, however if you dare to buy In The Wake of Poseidon after this amazing album, one can only dare to wonder how dark they will become in sound and atmosphere later on...

Thank you very much for reading this long review! //Axel Dyberg

Report this review (#108104)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars Another review will have no effect but here goes.

First of all i have to say that for me , king crimson is the best progressive band ever walked the face of the earth!!!. there ...i said it. i can explain too. getting started like this is phenomenal, there are a lot of great debuts but this one is ground breaking , revolutionary and the most influential of them all. the fact that this band never managed to get a proper consistant band playing for more than 2 or 3 years but did manage to record an album every year , never having a real crapy album , like a lot of giant prog bands did shows that this is a force!

Is it the first prog album or not?? a question that the leaders of the world couldn't answer! , well i'll tell you what i think... i heard some albums that started fusing rock with jazz or classical or whatever prior to 1969 for ex. the moody blues , touch and more , BUT this one is the most complete and to the point , never trying to be nice , just a 100% progressive rock album , leaving anything you knew behind and presenting you with something completely new, every second is essential you can not change anything it is complete!! it's the MATERPIECE!! the sound is also never heard before and deserves 5 stars too - 1969 REALLY?? , it doesn't have that clear sound where everything shines , it has it's own sound , drums are from another planet - giles is not just backing the band , he is as vital as everybody creating this magnificent sound. he's drum sentences are masterful! another thing that i like about KC and this album is that they can really kick your ass but the next they are as gentle as a baby ( you can play it to a baby trying to get him to sleep , i'm not kidding ).

No need to get through the songs but i will comment on one song the one that everybody seems to be so partial about - "moonchild" everybody likes the first part , but i definitely like the rest too, it calmes me down and doesn't feel like noodling to me, it goes from one idea to the next quickly but still sounds constructed to me, it is just beautiful simple as that.

Making it short i'll say this one is a one of a kind , i heard a lot of 5 stars albums or masterpieces but the height of this album had been reached not by many ( KC did it again with "RED" ). there should be a 5+ rating that belongs to masterpieces. this one is one of them!!

Report this review (#108129)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Absolutely amazing! Probably one of the best albums. Ever. Produced. An absolute gem of progressive rock that no one has nay excuse not to own. It arguably started the whole prog music genre as a genre in and of itself, and besides its historical significance and cult-status following, it is also one of the best albums ever to grace my ears. With this debut album, King Crimson changed the face of the music world forever.

"21st Century Schizoid Man" is not only a prog cornerstone, but a very well-known and beloved rock song in general. It has impressive guitar, but the first thing you will notice when you turn this song on is the stunning and heavy saxophone, fusing jazz with rock flawlessly.

After the heavy start to the album, King Crimson surprises the listener with the mellow, calm "I Talk To The Wind". The heavy sax is replaced by sweet, light flute work, and lyrics simply sung as beautifully as possible.

The next song, "Epitaph" trades the wind emphasis in favor of more percussion, mellotron, and guitar. The well-done emotional vocals round it off, adding another song of legend to the already growing list of amazing music on the album.

"Moonchild" is even more passionately sung, and the mysterious lyrics and the way they are sung give an impression of relaxation with apprehension lurking around every corner, the mood is perfectly set, with bells and percussion marking points of interest.

The last song on the album is also the title track, and one of the best epics in progressive rock. The mellotron shines in this one, and the whole song fits so perfectly together that there has been an orchestral version arranged from it. It has epic vocals, going from calm to awestruck all the time, one of the best masterpieces ever produced!

I can't emphasize enough-this album is an essential masterpiece. It set the stage for everything to come after it, and the music world rejoiceth.

Report this review (#108890)
Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Before I knew of this group I read in a music magazine that Pete Townsend of The Who had pronounced the first King Crimson album as being "an uncanny masterpiece." Coming from one of my heroes I considered this an overwhelming endorsement and looked forward to hearing it. In late 1969 many of us young rock music aficionados felt that we had "heard it all" and there was nothing new under the sun but we were dead wrong. Once this album was unleashed we knew there were still vast, uncharted territories out there to explore as we entered the next decade.

"21st Century Schizoid Man including Mirrors" (no one, absolutely no one had song titles like these guys!) hit the still free and unsanitized FM airwaves like an aural sledgehammer with its stunning combination of saxophone and distorted guitar blasting through the speakers. Greg Lake's electronically altered vocal was additionally effective in creating what could only be considered "new music." As the song progressed into passages featuring Michael Giles' maniacal drum patterns and Robert Fripp's bizarre guitar riffs we knew that this band was unlike any other on the face of the planet and it was exciting beyond description. The stark contrast they presented with the next cut was definitely straight out of left field. "I Talk to the Wind" is a quiet, peaceful tune that features a gorgeous flute solo from Ian McDonald and a subtle guitar lead. Giles, instead of laying down a normal beat for a ballad, doesn't stay still and plays deftly all around the song but never interferes with the cool ambiance. Huge Mellotron chords draw us into "Epitaph including March for No Reason & Tomorrow and Tomorrow." This is Lake's finest vocal on the album and the lyrics supplied by Pete Sinfield on this tune were the easiest to relate to. It was a turbulent year for the planet and words like "The fate of all mankind, I fear, is in the hands of fools" rang disturbingly true for most of us. After a brooding dirge from the woodwinds we hear Lake's mournful "I feel tomorrow I'll be crying" repeated over and over. Giles' drum work is extraordinarily unconventional throughout the record but especially toward the end of this song. By now we thought we had a bead on this group but not so. "Moonchild including The Dream and The Illusion" is yet another sharp curve in the road. Starting out as another peaceful ballad, Fripp then surprises us all with a delicate jazz guitar passage, then a long give-and-take sequence with the drums and vibes. It's totally unexpected and brilliantly performed. "The Court of the Crimson King including The Return of the Fire Witch and The Dance of the Puppets" is the fifth and final tune and what a monster it is! McDonald's massive Mellotron sound creates a cavernous atmosphere, Giles continues to fly all over the skins, and Lake provides an ominous vocal as this signature song moves in like a swirling, hot sand storm. It has everything that makes this album unique yet accessible. A Mellotron lead, another fantastic flute performance, a false ending and a calliope precedes the return to the memorable chorus melody featuring Giles' most energetic moments on the drums. Spectacular.

To call this a landmark album is an enormous understatement. It influenced countless musicians and opened up minds to a myriad of possibilities. Unfortunately, this particular lineup would not survive their tour of the USA and one can only wonder what they might have created beyond this. As we now know, King Crimson was to become a temporary harbor for many talented musicians in the years to come and we learned to always anticipate the unexpected from Mr. Fripp & company for better and for worse. However, only a handful of albums can claim to have shocked the music world as much as this one did.

Report this review (#110742)
Posted Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my very first review on this site. So, it's an easy choice which album to review first. The first review must be the first real prog album. In the court of the crimson king. Well, I don't have to talk about each song. I think everyone on this site knows all about them. I will just explain my vote.

The only weakness in this album is the 4th song: Moonchild. It's starts quite good. But the middle section is just boring. Serveral minutes of a useless jam session. That's really the only bad thing I can tell about this album. The first and the last song on this album are absolutely wonderfull. The 2 remaining songs aren't masterpieces, but still very enjoyable.

So, this makes me decide to give Crimson King's first album 4 stars. When you really want to get to know this band (for the few people on this sites that doesn't know them yet), start with the albums: Red and Larks' tongues in aspic, less historical significance but better music.

Report this review (#110759)
Posted Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say about this album? I think it's a giant leap for rock music. This release pushed rock to the another, higher intelectual level. All I wanna say is that before ITCOTCK it wasn't all too serious. Music was either inspired by freaky state induced by drugs or was in the limits of several cliches. "In The Court..." showed that not only drugs and freakout lead to something valuable in music but it first requiers the head on the shoulders to write and to get into. Just compare the lyrics of Arnold Layne, Jugband Blues and Epitaph. Huge difference, ha?

Musically there are even greater innovations. In 21st Century Schizoid Man the band creates the paranoia 25th century men would fear. But other ones are ballads, one might say. Alright, then compare them to Nights In White Satin or to the Whiter Shade Of Pale or even with the most "depressive" song of that time. You'll feel like listening to ABBA When you listen The End after In The Court Of The Crimson King.

I must not forget also the remaining two tracks, I Talk To The Wind and Moonchild. These songs contain harmonies that many bands (before and after KC) where unsuccessfully trying to achieve.

I think this album is a must for not only progheads but for all who want to understand why rock music has claimed such heights.

An absolute masterpiece - a quintessence of modern music.

Report this review (#110766)
Posted Monday, February 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Al Right, my first review!

When I told the guy who runs the only used records shop in my town I did not know King Crimson, he urged me toward this album and I can thank God he did.

To me, this album should be the first one to be listened by someone who wants to go further Floyd's mainstream album. It should be the gates leading to the realm of prog music. For me, In The Court of the King Crimson is a concept album going through five different moods. You must listen from the first to the last one without skipping any of them.

First, you get the incredibly super-fast with a kind of grunge and trash feeling, yet so well executed, 21st Century Schizoid Man. Really, I wonder how the band manage to play so well on this one. It looks like they took a normal song and played it a hundred times faster than it should, but it sounds really well. I shall call it the «Amphetamine Song».

Then, you get the surreal I Talk to the Wind. This is the kind of song you can't help but listen to the lyrics, whatever you are doing. Everything in this song is incredibly clear, polished. Each instrument can be easily heard form the others and each instrument and they form something incredible when they are placed altogether. I shall call this one the «Crystal-Clear Song».

Third one, and certainly the darkest one, is, of course (!), Epitath. When the singer (I dont know who sings on this one, shame on me!) sings "The Wall on which the prophet wrote...", it's got a kind of very deep and dark feeling. The electronic instrument, which I guess is a mellotron, plays a superb part here giving all the song. And the song ends on a big crescendo with the unknown singer saying "And I fear tomorrow I'll be crying". This is the «Depressive Song». Almost reminds me f#a# infinity.

Ok flip your record, you're good for 2nd side.

Moonchild is already much more light. You could almost associate it with I Talk to the Wind. But after a few minutes, the song gets almost perfectly quiet for some time, with some noises disturbing the silence. You could compare it to someone having a big accident; he was well alive until a certain point and then he hits something. For some time, he struggles to live. He does not want to die yet. But he will come back much more stronger (weird analogy isnt it?). Sure, it seems very boring, but I think it is essential for the album. Without this almost silent part, this album really would not have been the same. This one is the «Accident Song».

I was told the end is always the most important. King Crimson respects this guideline. After a silent part, The Court of the King Crimson resurrects and is very powerful. This song manages to incorporate almost every mood seen so far. Energic, druggy, ethereal and dark might be good adjectives for this one. And I really like the way it really ends. Just when everybody thought it was over, it goes on one last time, before finally fading. And you stare at your turntable with trembling hands. «The Ultimate Song» (Cheesy nickname, but it's representative)

Really I cannot really see bad points with this record; I picked an easy choice since it's my first review ever. 5 stars!

Report this review (#110982)
Posted Wednesday, February 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ok, this may seem a bit odd but I do not find too much innovation in this album. With possible exception of "21st Century Schizoid man" I thought this to be good takes on the styles that The Moody Blues and The Beatles had pioneered. Now, not to say this isn't good music, its enjoyable listening, Greg Lake has a great voice, Fripp has some good guitar work, I enjoy the mellotron. The snare doesnt sound too good but that was early studios for you. I geuss in referance to early prog this would be a good buy to obtain, but don't expect it to send you out of your chair.

Now that I have kind of put it in a bad light, I do really like the instrumental "hard jazz" of "Schizoid man" and the Beatles influence on "I talk to the wind" is very beautiful. "Epitaph" is very reminiscent of "Knights in White Satin" and is pretty good but the vocals are mixed too low and the snare sounds terrible at the start. "Moonchild" doesnt really do it for me, lyrics that sound pretty worthless. The ambience...well is a bit of filler. "Court of The Crimson King" is a nice majestic song with great choir and mellotron. The lyrics aren't the greatest but it has a good tune.

Greg Lake and Pete Sinfield do not appear to have as good of lyric and vocal work as they would later do with ELP, however, as far as early style lyrics that would inspire prog artists, they did well.

Good album but I cannot see what inspires people to lable it a masterpiece. Get it, for progs sake. It is one of the cornerstones.

Report this review (#111121)
Posted Thursday, February 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Back to those glory days of the late sixties, very few bands will produce a great album such as this one. I refer to most of the giants on this site.

Is this the first prog album ? I do not know. What I know, is that it is my preferred KC one (by far as you will read in further reviews).

In The Court was my entry album to KC (in 1974). At first sight, I really loved three songs, and half appreciated one. KC has never been a favorite of mine, but I have to humbly admit that this album set the pace for a whole lot of things to come in our beloved progressive music history.

"21st Century Schizoid Man" is a typical Crimson song but I never liked the vocal part of it. The instrumental portion will definitely inspire bands like VDGG. This frenetic jazz improv features a wild bass playing by Gregg (this guy is really incredible, but we all know this, right) ? It's quite a difficult song to approach. I do not listen to it frequently, but I reckon that it is an influent track. The end sounds completely disjointed.

When you listen to "I Talk to the Wind", it is rather difficult to imagine that it is the same band that is playing this wonderful, subtle, melodious, marvelous track. It features beautiful and deeply inspired vocals from Greg and superb flute. My first KC love. It's obvious to me, that "Trespass" will be very much inspired by the mood of this track. Some might find it mellowish and naive, but this is KC as like. But such effort won't be repeated too much in their repertoire, alas. It is the most emotional KC song to my ears. A great, great moment.

"Epitaph". Almost nine minutes of pure glory. A mellotron orgy combined to a fantastic melodic tune. Again, IMO, some early Genesis inspiration came from here (Salmacis, here am I). Confusion, will be my epitaph (maybe, I will like to have this written on mine...). It is a fantastic number and probably one of my KC all time fave. The grandeur of the intro makes this song one of the best symphonic I know. Gregg is again very convincing in his lead vocal role.

Next comes the lenghty "Moonchild". Twelve minutes thirteen seconds that should have been reduced to three minutes to make it a good track. Instead, we get a good and veeeeeery quiet intro and then a loooooong and boooooooooring improv which is really a P.I.T.A. It lasts unfortunately for about nine minutes. Pure "avant-garde" and experimental "music".

The title track closes the album in a brilliant manner : Greg at his best, great melody again, fantastic mellotron, some flute work of the best vein. This is a marvelous voyage to the court of KC or CK. Once one believes the tracks ends, we get an incredible good news : another two minutes of the best KC music. This is the third masterpiece of this great album.

It is remarkable to know that two of the best songs of this album "I Talk To The Wind" and "The Court ..." are co-written by Mc Donald and Sinfield (who will be credited on the liner notes for "words and illuminatons"). I bet you ! He was damned well illuminated !

I will rate this one four stars (only). This is due of course to the rather poor "Moonchild".

Report this review (#112380)
Posted Friday, February 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars

Ah the disputed first progressive rock album. Even though Robert Fripp dislikes the term progressive rock he is it, on this album, in every sense. Taking rock to new heights and expanding the horizons of artists to come.

The first track (21st Century Schizoid Man including Mirrors) shocked and surprised me. It is quiet for the first 30 seconds. I wondered at this and subsequently tuned it up really loud. Then the music hit me like a brick wall. I screamed in terror and turned it off, for good or so I thought. I came back to it a few months later. But not forgetting the previous experience, I made sure I kept it at the same volume no matter how quiet it got. I listened intently and heard something amazing, brilliance in its purest form. Jazzy influences can be heard everywhere. I love the wind instruments. Pure bliss. The bass playing struck me as odd. I wondered how such a fine instrument (I play bass so it is a fine instrument) could be so groovy and yet keep such a tight rhythm. I eventually roped this together with Greg Lake's bass playing.

Next is "I Talk To The Wind". It is very different to 21st Century Schizoid Man. A softer mood. Delightful woodwind instruments. A brilliant contrast to the previous song. Greg Lake's singing fits the mood perfectly. "Epitaph including March For No Reason and Tomorrow & Tomorrow" comes on next. The mellotron is beautiful. One of the best keyboard instruments I have ever heard. Thanks to Erik Neuteboom for bringing this instrument to my attention. This song has a different mood to the previous ones. It is dark and moody. Also the musicianship on this song is brilliant. I already mentioned the mellotron, but I will mention it again! It is just simply amazing. Robert Fripp's acoustic work here is brilliant. It adds to the atmosphere the album creates. Michael Giles drumming is brilliant, jazzy and creates a wonderful groove.

The fourth song is the much despised "Moonchild". I do not get people's approach on this song. They feel it is unnecessary improvisations that only detract from the brilliance of the album. They cannot see how important this is! Bands are known to jam in a studio and come out with a song written then and there, after a few takes. But this is it in its rawest form! They bring the improvisations to the listeners. It shows the ability of these musicians, able to keep create some majestical music. It is my favourite track on this album because of the noodling. The song portion of it is also good but nothing compared to the improvisations that adds to my love of King Crimson.

The title track "In The Court Of The Crimson King including The Return Of The Fire Witch and The Dance of The Puppets" (such cool song titles by the way) sums up all the atmospheres of the first four songs into one great one. The power this song conveys is amazing! Such brilliance!

This is one of the best albums to come out of the 60's. The brilliance and pure bliss I get out of listening to this ensures that it will get a 5/5 star for me. One final statement: mellotrons are the best!

Report this review (#113700)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a fantastic album. Everything in it with the exception of the middle of Moonchild is great. The lyrics are generally more deep and powerful than the normal stuff. Epitaph is the best song on the album. I bought this CD off the internet because I had listened to my Dad's copy of Beat and I was very pleasantly surprised by how eclectic and interesting this album was. My Dad is unaware of In the Court of the Crimson King and thinks that King Crimson was an 80's new wave band. I really need to let him listen to it.
Report this review (#114161)
Posted Sunday, March 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was probably my first exposure to truly progressive music. I remember hearing 21stCSM for the first time and thinking it was the most amazing music I had ever heard. On to the review, though!

1. 21st Century Schizoid Man: For me this is probably the most definitive prog song ever. The frantic brass and guitar pair with Lake's distorted vocals for an absolutely fightening effect. (10/10)

2. I Talk to the Wind: This is my least favorite song on the album. The beginning reminds me of cheap lounge jazz, and I can somehow never get past that. (5/10)

3. Epitaph: An extremely emotional song with excellent use of woodwinds. Possibly my favorite KC song ever. (10/10)

4. Moonchild: This is an oft criticized song that is actually pretty good. The noodling at the end doesn't bother me one bit and the melody is nice. (7/10)

5. The Court of the Crimson King: There's some great lyrical imagery in this song pair with pretty big sound. Maybe a little repetitive, but it's the good kind of repitition. (8/10)

Report this review (#114583)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The album here is really "Something like a monument!" to say it in Crimson own words (Dinosaur from THRAK), in fact progressive music was born along with this album. The music is IMPRESSIVE and really ahead of its time. 21st Century Schizoid Man is the sound of apocalypse right trough your cd player, with an incredible instrumental part in the middle, screaming guitar solos, and CRAZY lyrics. The album moreover is various in dynamics, high peaks alternate with more quiet moments; some of the tracks are epic, symphonic prog (In The Court Of The Crimson King, Epitaph); very good the quiet track "I Talk To The Wind"; the weakest point of the album remains Moonchild, but apart from this, the album is fantastic, and it defines prog music characteristics and standards, anyway the music contained is simply genius, totally redefining the approach to rock music, before everyone else (Genesis, Yes, VDGG, and so on). This album is the main pillar of progressive music, and could be an optimal point to begin listening to progressive and of course to begin knowing King Crimson.

5 stars.

Report this review (#114692)
Posted Friday, March 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the Court of the Crimson King, along with Red and Yes' Fragile, were two albums that had and thoroughly enjoyed in my collection before I knew what progressive rock was. When I finally did research "progressive rock" and found these two great bands categorized there, it inspired me to check out so much more. Because this album essentially exposed me to prog, I'll always feel a special connection to it.

This is very arguably KC's most accessible release, most of the album is both an easy and a very unique and progressive listen. To combine these facets so well is a great feat, and makes this album a very significant and special one. Lizard and Larks' Tounges in Aspic represent some of the more challenging (but still very good) albums in KC's catalog.

However my favorite facet of this album is its ability to create a dark yet beautiful atmosphere within each of its 5 tracks. The unique atmosphere that this album creates for me has yet to be recreated by any other album I can currently think of.

21st Century Schizoid Man is a fast, manic, and very aggressive opener. It starts off mellow, then suddenly turns into a heavy fusion of guitar and saxophone. These instruments alternate between riffs and excellent solos, creating a very intoxicating listen.

I Talk to the Wind has a great flute melody throughout the song, over equally great keys. I often call it one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. This tune creates the more laid back atmosphere that the rest of the album carries out.

Epitaph is when the album shifts to a darker mood. The mellotron really stands out in this track, and the haunting lyrics are conveyed very well by Lake's passionate singing. As I've heard many people say, I always find this song chilling every time I listen to it.

Moonchild starts out very well, a great transition from the previous track. The first few minutes of the longest song of the album are a beautiful ballad. However this ends quickly, and the rest of the song I feel is the weakest point of the album. It seems to me just like pointless noodling that really doesn't lead anywhere musically. However generally when I listen to this album from start to finish, I'm so far into the unique atmosphere of it that I can listen to all 12 minutes of the song with unabridged interest.

In the Court of the Crimson King combines some of the great aspects of the other songs into one epic song. Again the mellotron and flute are both great. Giles' drumming, while very different, suits the music here exceptionally well just as it does with all of the other tracks on the album. All in all, just as great a closer as 21st Century Schizoid man is an opener.

This is one of my favorite albums of all time, even outside the scope of prog. In my opinion it is simply a timeless release. A historically important and cutting-edge masterpiece with clever tunes that never get boring or old.

Report this review (#115177)
Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hadn't listened to this one in a while, so I just put it on. I must say it's better than I remembered it being. Then it hit me as Moonchild finished playing. When I burnt my original copy (in the process of anthologising my KC collection) , I "edited" the song & cut it off at 2 minutes & 23 seconds. I must say, it does make for a better album. The "missing" moonchild part was part of the reason why I couldn't & can't see the album as the "perfect" album many will claim it to be. It's great, it's easy to state that prog really started here. But that one glaring & boring overextension of what starts out as a good tune makes the difference for me calling it a 4 star from a 5 star album. . Oh, well; it's not like KC were the only ones who would occasionally let a song drag on a bit too long.
Report this review (#115359)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album would get 4 stars just for being the original prog album but the amazing music bumps it up to a five.

21st century... is a fantastic rocking prog anthem that is incredible from from Greg Lake's distorted vocals strait to the end. The middle segemnt with the duet of guitar and sax is really great and acts as a creacendo up where the vocals scream back in

I Talk to the Wind is still the most beautiful prog song that i have ever heard. the delicate flute work is simply astounding in this song, and the not so special vocals of Greg Lake some how seem very beautiful in this song

Epitaph has magnificent use of the mellotron on this song make it great. Lake's vocals come in quiet in the beginning but the y get louder over the course of the song.

Moonchild starts off as another great song with Fripp's fantastic guitar tone, but why did they need to add the stupid period of random noises. This song is the only problem with the whole album.

In the court closes things off with a bang. this song is so amazing. whenever the chorus breaks in its like getting smacked in the face, in a good way. every one who likes prog should buy this album.

Report this review (#117040)
Posted Sunday, April 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 1969. What a year! You can find then most of the best albums ever made. In the Court of the Crimson King is one of them. All a world of imagination, the creation of a new music, a new sound of guitar in chargo of Robert Fripp. All a field of experimentation, seeking new horizons. It seems that musicians smell the disolution of The Beatles, that signed this ending decade. A new generation of rock groups is born in 1969. In the Court Of The Crimson King has the magic enough to open a new kind of rock and a new time of music. Great themes, like Epitaph, In the Court of the Crimson King, I Talk To The Wind, an of course, that hymn of the Prog Rock like 21th Century Schizoid Man is. As debut album, is a very high level, hardly overpassed after by the same King Crimson. Maybe only the album Red reaches the same level. A real masterpiece. Really essential. Five stars.
Report this review (#117237)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Upon first listen only "21st Century Schizoid Man" jumped out at me from this great album and beside the killer riff that is central to the song are the fantastic lyrics written by Peter Sinfeld. A legendary song that still sounds fresh today. After "Schizoid" each song that followed took a little longer for me to get into. "I Talk to the Wind" is a beautiful song and expertly arranged(is this really the same Ian McDonald of early Foreigner fame?) "Epitaph" brings Greg Lake's vocals to the forefront with plenty of emotion and the song as a whole has a forboding darkness especially with the verse "The fate of all mankind is in the hand of fools" Not a lot has changed in forty years. I like "Moonchild" with it's almost childlike imagery that paints a ghostly supernatural picture, again great lyrics from Sinfeld and finally the album ends with the epic title track. The song while somewhat dated in it's arrangement seems like a lost treasure by todays standards with some interesting drumming from Michael Giles. This album is very much a product of it's time however the musicianship is excellent and todays modern bands are hard pressed to come up with anything as unique and inspiring as this. I give it five stars as an essential to any prog collection.
Report this review (#118612)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars At this point, this one review is absolutely useless. But I just wanted to say me too that I love this album a lot; this is a monstrous step for music history. This album is HUGE, even if I wasn't born when it came out I know this is a turning point in the history of music. The music is pretty much perfect from start to finish and it's always a pleasure to go back to listen to it. Absolutely essential, you can't die happy if you didn't listen to this album, it's too important.
Report this review (#118658)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

What is there to add a comment on this awesome album! There have been over 460 reviews already written about this album. So i am not going to descibe the album, which song comes after this one, etc... You are on PA, i would assume that everyone of you has the album or CD at home.

This album is considered the first prog album, the one that started it all! We are in 1969, but at this time the MOODY BLUES have already 2 or 3 albums under the belt and ''Days Of Future Passed'' has a shot at being viewed as the first ''prog'' album. The same goes for PINK FLOYD with ''A Saucerful Of Secrets'' or SOFT MACHINE first album that came out in 1968. If those 2 albums are not prog, what is it then?

But what is certain about ITCOTKC, it is the album that opened the door for hundreds of bands, the album that put prog on the map, a musical movement which will rule until 1977. King crimson came with a new sound, beautiful symphonies as in the title track or ''Epitath'' noisy and disjointed as in ''Schizoid Man'' A mixture of beauty and raw energy. This album can be seen like the bible of prog music where all other prog bands got their inspiration and found the strength to go further and break (musical) boundaries.

A big thank to all those superstars playing on this album, the biggest one to IAN MCDONALD as he was then the main songwriter, being part of the 5 tunes of the album.And he is responsible for the incredible sound too using the mellotron and wood winds.(R.Fripp only 3). Too bad I, MC DONALD left just after the release of this album.

Now should we give 4 or 5 stars to this album? (you know , the ''Moonchild'' part 2!) Because of its importance and the beauty of all the tracks ( yes, Moonchild part 1 is magnificent) i will give the total of 5 stars as, anyway, experimentation is a trademark of prog.

Report this review (#119091)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink

I wonder what would these musicians were thinking while doing this piece that finally gave light to our beloved genre, which has seen rise and grow so many great bands such as this one. The only answer that comes to my mind is the picture of Robert Fripp holding his guitar and saying: "Let's kick some asses today" (I know he won't express it that way, but anyway). This is one of my favorite albums ever; this one also urged me to listen more and more to this kind of music. From its beginning to its end, this is one of the most complete albums; which cover so many moods and feelings such as the madness, peace, stillness, depression until the tragic but inevitable ending arrives.

21st Century Schizoid Man" is definitely a whole avalanche of musical power headed by Mr. Fripp; who leads the war melody with his thundering electric guitar to start with this masterpiece. The song grows little by little as a distorted voice by Greg Lake unchains the frenzy that guides us to the next rest step located on the next track.

"I Talk to the Wind" was the very first song I've heard from King Crimson in my whole life. I remember myself listening to an internet radio station trying to find some Pink Floyd stuff, but the only thing I found was the sweet flute melody that drew the delicate figure of the wind as its sound escaped from the speakers to my ears, I instantly loved it and I quickly got the rest of the record.

"Epitaph" is my favorite track of the album, from the arpeggio that opens this marvelous theme passing through one of the most intelligent and deep lyrics ever written by Peter Sinfield, the feeling in the voice of Greg Lake to the symphonic passages, everything makes of this song simply hypnotic.

"Moonchild" has this awesome start with the guitar emulating the melodic line of the main verse and in some moment it looks like its going to be a bang, but those sound experiments in some point it turns into senseless noise and declines a little bit this effort. Even though, the album marches on and takes us to its own closing scene.

"The Court of The Crimson King" warns the ending practically since it starts, for its own glory, this album concludes with the track that established the bases for the development of Symphonic Prog. The melodies are very clear, the arrangements are perfect, the drums add power to every single bar and the wind instruments that have the main role are just a few typical elements of this song

This was one of the most important moments in contemporary music was recorded in this album. It's almost 40 years and the influence in progressive rock is still fresh. A must have on any kind of collection.

Report this review (#119405)
Posted Monday, April 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The fate of all mankind I see.Is in the hands of fools"

This is one of those classics that I put in the "tad overrated" category (although the way some people throw 5 star ratings around lately, sadly, I'm not sure why I worry about it.)

In my view we have three outstanding tracks here, one that is OK and one clunker. The clunker would be Moonchild with its unforgivably long section where they apparently gave their instruments to local school children and went outside for a joint.

The OK track would be 21st Century Schizoid Man. The other three songs are all elegant early progressive gems with the strangest mood to them. I've never been able to put my finger on exactly what this feeling is, sometimes like dread, sometimes longing. The playfulness and mix of fantasy/reality themes provide quite a strange trip which although it hasn't aged particularly well, is still very pleasant to take on occasion.

It goes without saying that the playing would be outstanding given the individuals involved here and the sound on the 30th anniversary CD that I have is superb. The gatefold artwork is also classic.

I don't mean to take anything away from an album so many consider a masterpiece, but I honestly can't go that far myself. 4 stars.

Report this review (#121998)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Mr. Fripp, in one word, how would you describe your music."

"Progressive. Yes, that's it. Progressive."

And thus was born the genre we all love as we know it now. The mastermind behind King Crimson, Robert Fripp, introduced the world to a strange new sound with the band's 1969 debut, IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING. The album is completely flawless. It does more invention and reinvention for the genre of prog rock than any album before or since, with the erratic time signatures and distorted vocals of "21st Century Schizoid Man", the free jazz diversions of "Moonchild", and the epic poetry of "The Court of the Crimson King".

Everything about COURT is brilliant, and it remains so nearly forty years after its release. It also happens to have the greatest cover and concept art of any album of all time. That classic schizoid man on the cover and crimson king in the layout (incidentally the artist's only works) leave an eerie afterimage in the viewer's mind every time they are seen.

However, this review is about the music, and it couldn't be more perfect. Fripp's guitar arrangements are unique and potent, showing the farthest reaches of what a guitar can do. Vocalist Greg Lake (later of ELP) does a brilliant job, and the rest of the band show an implacable virtuosity.

Best song? All of 'em. Buy it now.

Report this review (#122653)
Posted Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
5 stars This album provides the blueprint for probably a half dozen forms of progressive rock - prog metal (Schizoid), prog pysch (I Talk to the Wind), symphonic prog (Epitaph), prog jazz (Moonchild), and space prog (In the Court). I'm sure you could add your own to this. While the album is not totally original - there are echoes of Moody Blues in the more symphonic parts - it is as close to pioneering status as you are likely to get.

As a fan of the mellower side, I nonetheless find the opener to be very appealing thanks to the monster riff, imaginative vocal parts, well developed and structured middle section, and use of brass. As in the other tracks, Michael Giles trebly sounding drums are peerless, and his combination with Greg Lake's bass shows this is no simple improve. Giles' agility and drum kit are so rarely imitated. A few parts in the middle get to be a bit much, but I can still appreciate it.

When Schizoid ends, we see the true dichotomy in prog, and one which is a source of much debate. I happen to think there was no other song to follow Schizoid than "I Talk to the Wind", a lovely ballad as gentle as the previous track is vicious, and yet every bit as potent. The resigned vocals and lyrics, the bass, the ethereal flute, even the melodious lead guitar all work synergistically.

The segue into the drum roll of "Epitaph" is almost imperceptible at first and in seconds becomes deafening. This is yet another flawless piece of work and probably one of the most mellotron drenched songs ever. The lyrics are actually quite understandable and aching with regret and sadness. Yet the music is uplifting too, partly because it's Greg Lake's most heartfelt vocal performance ever.

Moonchild starts as a gentle ballad a la "I Talk to the Wind" but a bit spacier. Then it becomes a quiet improv with a variety of plucked noises, good to meditate to. This is a drop off in quality but not enough to deduct even a half star, as it seems to be filling the need for greater artistic expression than the more structure pieces could achieve. It's almost like the band knew how seminal the album would be, and planned it accordingly, by plying as many sub genres as possible from the as yet unnamed style.

The title track shocks us back into the here and now, or is it the 13th century? Perhaps the dark plague, where no good can befall us. A truly beautiful, lengthy yet structured piece with no waste. More hard hitting vocals and chorus line, flutes, mellotrons, and a mind blowing close. This is transformative music, and a perfect close to one of the most groundbreaking albums ever, in any genre.

Report this review (#124675)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I really think this album is vastly overrated. I was expecting much more, given all the hype about it being the 'birth of prog', or whatever. It is good, but far from 5 star material.

'21st Century Schizoid Man' is the best song, and also the heaviest, which is what I prefer. The rest of the songs are much softer, particularly 'I Talk To The Wind', with it's mellow flute and nice singing. 'Moonchild' is an overrated song that I don't really like at all. The dumb noises make absolutely no sense, but the rest of the song is also boring. 'Epitaph' is a bit better, but too soft for me. The title track is half decent.

Overall this album just did not do it for me. Therefore, I award it 2.5 stars rounded up to 3.

Report this review (#124687)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the record that introduced me to the 70's progressive rock, i still remember the first time I listened, "21st Century Schizoid Man" was the perfect opening track to this new world, "I Talk to the Wind" and "Epitaph" are softer than the other, showing us more sensibility. "Moonchild" begins like a normal song, but then it transforms in an improvisation, and finally "The Court Of The Crimson King" is the one who shows us more symphonic elements.

This album was the beginning of a complete musical style, and the beginning of a musical change for me. A Masterpiece!

Report this review (#125230)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Robert Fripp and company helped usher in everyone's favorite music- progressive rock in 1969 with "In The Court Of The Crimson King." Many argue that predecessors Pink Floyd, the Beatles or even Frank Zappa "started" progressive rock, but none of them made it an art form as Crimson did with their debut album. The album starts off with the iconic "21st Century Schizoid Man", a freak-jazz-rock track unlike anything else on the album and that will literally make your head spin. The next three tracks are slower and easier to listen to, but still contain all of the energy as "21st Century Schizoid Man." "I Talk To The Wind" features excellent woodwinds and the mellotron-drenched "Epitaph" is an elegant and beautiful piece. The next song, "Moonchild," features a haunting melody for the first two minutes and then goes into a minimialist improvisation for the next ten minutes. This is the low point of the album, but it is still very good. King Crimson would definitely get better with their improvisation in later years, so don't worry. If you were left a little wanting with "Moonchild," the final song, "The Court Of The Crimson King," is majestic. The epic track pretty much sums up the beauty and melancholy found throughout the rest of the album. Check out this song if you are a little unsure about getting the album. Overall, this is seriously one of the best albums of the 20th century- an absolute classic in every regard!

Standout songs: "21st Century Schizoid Man," "Epitaph," "The Court Of The Crimson K

Report this review (#125351)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Almost perfect!! 21st Century Schizoid Man is the best track in this album, with heavy riffs and distorted vocals, breathtaking solos and duets of guitar and saxophones, became one of the classic prog songs from KC. I Talk to The Wind is a gorgeus ballad, with poetic lyrics, sung beautifully by Greg Lake, endig with a delicated flute solo. Epitaph is a mellotron drenched song, with great acoustic parts too, is the darkest song in this album. Moonchild starts as a beautiful ballad, but after the 3min starts an instrumental experimentation that drawns until the 12min. I don´t think this is a bad song, but the weakest in this album, and sometimes i skip this track. The Court of The Crimson King, have dark symphonic elements as Epitaph, with strong presence of mellotrons, heroic vocals and a very pleasant flute solo. A true prog classic album, 5 stars
Report this review (#126314)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love this album. It is a great work that sparked the careers of Fripp, McDonald, and Lake and marked the beginning of one of the greatest prog bands ever, King Crimson. King Crimson really knows how to utilize silence and displays this with 21st Century... After the quiet opening hydraulic sounds, the song kicks off with a very piercing, loud, memorable riff. This riff coupled with Lake's distorted vocals makes the main theme of the song very memorable and catchy. Then, Mirrors starts the song in all different directions with the drums going out of control from Giles, and Fripp's shrieking guitar solo. Then it all comes back together for the final verse leaving a very good first impression with this band.

I Talk to the Wind is a very quiet song with a beautiful melody supplied by McDonald's flute, and poetic lyrics from Sinfeld. It is an amazing song.

Epitaph is a very epic song, and i was never too sure about what the line Confusion will be my Epitaph, but Lake makes it work with a strong vocal performance. McDonald's mellotron in this song is very majestic and also sets a very dark atmosphere.

Moonchild is a tricky song to rate. Before you ever review this song, you must need to hear the remastered version, or else there is nine minutes of silence. The beginning is another lovely piece with some more poetry from Sinfeld, but after the beginning, the band goes into improv. This improvisation is the weak point on the album, but it is not that bad. But usually, after the first part ends, I skip to the title track.

In The Court of the Crimson King. Yes I am. This song is amazing. The mellotron, and the choral section of the chorus is just amazing and purely regal. The rhythm of the chorus on the drums is very complicated to me, and is a high point on this album, out of many. With Sinfeld's poetry, I can actually see myself in this far away place, and I wish I hada painting of it. I also want to know more about this Crimson King, which is very weird, because it is a song and not a story.

This album gets only four stars because the periods of silence, or what is close to it, just get a little tedious.

Report this review (#126347)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I guess it's time for me to throw in my two cents to the first progressive rock album ever! I think it's personally one of the most emotive albums I own, surley not my favirote, but very exciting. It's also one of the only albums I'll pop in my cd player more than once a month. It's just too amazing to disregard no matter what kind of prog fan you are.

21'st century schizoid man- This song is on my top five favirote aggressive prog songs! It's just full of energy and constant controlled chaos. Between Mike Giles furious drumming, Friips incredible solo, and the horns that pack the mai riff, it's a flawless song in every way. My favirote part is the distorted vocals that go perfectly with Sinfield creepy lyrics. This song also happens to be my screen name if you didnt notice.5/5

I talk to the wind- An excellent slow song to relieve yourself from the opening track. Gregs voice is beautiful as ever and Ian Mcdonalds Flute solo is worthy of Ian Andersons standards! Another flawless sond. 5/5

Epitaph- This song just might be the most apacalyptic song Sinfield has ever written, (and he has made a couple of those) with lyrics that that speak of hope, but then bash them down as if there is no such thing. Also a great part to this song is the mellotron played by the very versitile McDonnald, and of course the bluesy dark solo by Fripp. This song I think is a little "out there" for Crimson at the time. 4/5

Moon child- This song is what I believe, is the first attempt at a prog rock epic. The first part of the song is very pretty with Gregs soothing and trippy vocals flowing through the song for the first three minuetes, then improv jamming... for nine minuetes! I will admit after the firs two it does get a little boring. 3.5/5

In the court of the crimson king- THE first prog epic! barely under ten minuetes, a masterpiece with every element needed to close the album. How can you listen to the opening riff with the acoustic guitar and mellotron and not be completely blown away. Just to soup that riff up, after the versus, everybody (except Fripp) sings with the Riff to completely give it the whole kick-in-the-face feeling! And Just when you think the song is over They start a whole other jam session with that same riff but with a very heavy and brutal distorted guitar! The best way to complete an album!

4 stars

Report this review (#126354)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not my favorite King Crimson album, I prefer 'Red', but it is certainly one hell of a debut. If it was not for the ultimate ProG song '21st Century Schizoid Man' I would have rated this album lower. I purchased this album a few years ago and have listened to it eagerly, trying to understand what makes this album so critically acclaimed. I soon realized that the album's ability to challenge the listener is what makes it so great. After all this is what ProG is all about.
Report this review (#126487)
Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Seminal progressive rock art? Under debate. Masterpiece of modern art? Absolutely.

This album opens King Crimson's career with audacity and power. You see the aggressive highs of 21st Century Schizoid Man and the flowing lows of I Talk to the Wind. You see the amazing complexity of their music in Court and their powerful lyrics in Epitaph. You also see the wankiness characteristic of later acts in Moonchild. My complaint is the same as everyone else's; Moonchild could have stopped at 2 minutes. Other than that, the album is flawless.

Report this review (#126492)
Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hmmmm....5 stars really????

you bet! The only think that came to mind after hearing this album for the first time was : How would a parent from any normal family react if they heard this new LP their kid bought? The overall craziness and heaviness behind "21st century..." is a lot crazier and heavier than stuff you hear today. This stuff was soooo heavy back then I am positively sure it was enough to get thrown out of the family house. And that's just the first track! I talk to the wind is a very soothing track...excellent stuff. Epitaph is an extremely relevant song even today. I get shivers everytime I hear it....stuff of legend! Moonchild is a bit on the...long side I could say. The worst track on the album but still...way better than a LOT of stuff we hear today.

In my opinion, the last track is probably the best's extremely melancholic, over the top and baroque. It really sends you in another world with all its amazing soundscapes. This song is a journey more than anything else.

This is probably the best outing by KC also happens to be one of the best outings in prog music. Not to be underestimated.

Sum up in three words : relevant, intense, beautiful

Report this review (#126494)
Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Who wouldn't say this album is perfect? Every single sound that you hear in The Court is NOT casual, but it's the consequence of a great study made by the composers, who in 1969 (!) created this masterpiece. "21st century..." has become a prog HIT, famous all over the world, "I Talk to the wind" is a perfect ballad, but also a poem... "Epitaph", nothing to say. "Moonchild" is possibly the best track in this LP, with strange sounds and relaxing silences. The we finish with the title track, the only conclusion for a perfect disc. The thing that surprises me every time is the drum. I've never heard a more astonishing performance made by a drummer! But also Fripp is fantastic. So, don't hesitate, give 5, 5 and 5. When I think about a PROG cd, I think to "In the court": it represents all his genre. There's nothing you can say to make me change my mind. Goodbye.
Report this review (#126590)
Posted Saturday, June 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first wholly progressive album from history (in my opinion)

Defining prog-rock is a pretty hard task, and saying which album was the first to contain all of its elements will depend on your point of view and your taste. But to me this album, besides being a beautiful masterpiece, is the first album that can be called completely progressive. I'll explain it here.

By 1969, various experimentations with rock music had been made. The Beatles had recorded with orchestras and string ensembles, Moody Blues had recorded a conceptual album with an orchestra (that would be the first, I suppose, with the singer/flutist role, so common in prog), Jimmy Hendrix had recorded insane albums, Procol Harum and then The Nice had mixed classical and rock in a clever way, etc. All these influences were important to progressive rock, but they are not, to me, completely progressive. Now, let's go to Crimson King... 21st Century Schizoid Man opens the album violently, with saxophone being used in a completely original way, dialoguing with the guitar. Bass is behind, but very cleverly constructed, always changing, playing a melody, instead of just accompanying. What's the name of that? Progressive rock. The long instrumental section is amazing, ending with more vocals from Lake. Greg Lake is my favourite singer in all times, so I am really pleased with his voice all through the album.

I Talk to the Wind follows, showing that the album's style is regular in the world of ideas, rather than in musical ideas. This is the basis of prog-rock for me, let me explain it. While heavy metal is easily discernible by its sound, with heavy guitar, shouted vocals, etc, prog-rock is not constant in this way. It changes from calm to violent, from simple to complex, and what defines it is actually a group of ideas that are common to these different-sounding songs. In this song we hear Ian MacDonald's beautiful flute work, in a pastoral style, far from what someone would expect from a rock band. Ian MacDonald says: "The idea was to be expansive, more inclusive of other styles of music than just the old "two guitars, bass and drums" format, so we included classical and jazz elements." Greg Lake agrees: "My roots are very much European music rather than the blues, which is the basis of most rock'n'roll. I was always into classical and folk music, and that's where I look for my inspiration"* Pete's lyrics are slightly nonsense but still gorgeous and well written.

Epitaph has even better lyrics, dreamy but very direct. MacDonald says about it: "On Court Of The Crimson King, Peter deliberately wrote in this stylised, colourful language but the lyrics were actually sharp commentaries on the states of things at the time. It was just phrased in that way, but most prog writers then tried to emulate that style"* Here we have many highlights: Greg Lake's most expressive voice, going from extremely calm to extremely melancholic /sad, the gorgeous work on the Mellotron, being this one of the first songs to have it on such a crucial role, influentiating many bands. The way the melodies from voice and mellotron dialogue is fantastic.I must notice that this song manages to be completely effective and wonderful with a very simple (but good) harmony. At this time, prog wasn't a competition of who can make the most complex song...

Moonchild starts as a calm song, similar to I Talk to the Wind, and stays like that for 2 minutes. These two minutes are great, with good singing, discrete mellotron and dreamy lyrics perfectly constructed. Then, the song ends, and starts a long improvisation of guitar, vibes and, later, drums. This is very different from anything you'll expect: atonality is constantly present. This would mark the progressive tendency for experimentation. It is not for anytime, but with headphones, at night, it's a really interesting experience.

The album ends perfectly with its title song. Again we have perfect lyrics, evoking a medieval atmosphere in well-structured verses. After each sung part, there's an instrumental section, always great, with a hell of a work by Ian MacDonald (his personality was very important here, and his departure will deeply affect the band's sound). A friend of mine has defined well the mellotron/voices gorgeous harmony (aaah) repeated all-through the song as a perfect soundtrack for the gates of heaven (if there was one...) When you think the song has finished, enters a woodwind section that I love, reworking the theme with harmonies between flutes and clarinets. All in all, this album bring with it a whole new style of music, that would reach its peak commercially and arguably artistically in the 70s, but would keep alive until today. Says Ian: "The opportunity was there, groups were given more freedom in the studio, we were able to produce our own album. The Beatles had a lot to do with what was going on, this idea of using the studio as an instrument and being free to make the music that they wanted. That impacted on the rest of the business for a while. After a few years record companies started demanding more control over producers and budgets again, but there was a time there when bands had a lot more freedom to express themselves in the studio. We were never given a lot of time though, the first album was done very, very quickly-eight days from beginning to end I believe, including the mixing." Ok, Ian. And you expressed yourselves very, very well. Thank you for that eternal masterpiece.

*Interviews quoted from Record Collector magazine from December 2005

Report this review (#126622)
Posted Saturday, June 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is fantastic beginning of prog music. First track is really killer one, whith so energy fille and crazy rhythm. Combination of beautifull guitars, saxes, great flute, mellotron, fascinating and original drumming, it left me breathless. Only the sound quality did not impress me, but for this record, it is unimportant. History begun...
Report this review (#126684)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson's first effort is widely acknowledged as the seminal 'progressive rock' album, which speaks to how well it has aged. The cover art has a definite in-your-face quality to it, and is nothing short of startling. I can't imagine what this picture of human terror would have looked like next to other LP sleeves back in the day. At the very least, an eye-grabber.

The artwork fits the tone of the first track, 21st Century Schizoid Man. This song will first surprise you, then rock you with its straightforward yet chilling ascending riff, led by a howling saxophone. Enter the distorted loudspeaker vocals (an effect which greatly helps to gruff up Lake's otherwise smooth voice), and dark lyrics of a vaguely Orwellian future, and you've got a frighteningly good intro track. Alongside frenzied lead guitar and sax solos and fast and catchy riffs, lengthy solo sections also showcase Giles' agile drumming, which is at once technically impressive and melodic, a rare feat among drummers. This fast, tightly played section overheats until it crash lands back on that unstoppable introductory riff. This is the apex of the song. After a final vocal section, the track comes to a chaotic conclusion, which is perhaps a little anticlimactic, but since this is the intro track, that's not a bad thing.

I Talk to the Wind provides a calm and flowing counterpoint to the first track. The unusual chord progression of this song sounded completely new to me when I first heard it, but it had a natural beauty to it as well, and the woodwinds work perfectly for this (especially given the song's title). The highlight here is the clarinets' harmony behind the vocals and soloists. Again, Giles' drumming is excellent, remaining engaging while not at all overpowering the song. Another top-notch track.

Epitaph, the third track, retains the slower pace of the last track, but brings back the dark tone of the first. The mellotron used here sounds a little dated with its strings setting in full force. Much like track two, the best part of this song is its use of woodwinds in the bridge, particularly the deep, dark bass clarinet passage, which is a magnificent mix of classical and rock. However, this song has not aged as well as the rest of the album, and the overused mellotron strings and Lake's vocals both make Epitaph sound out of date.

Moonchild is a solid track for about two minutes, but the remainder of this 12-minute track consists of some pointless noodling on individual instruments. It is too experimental and just doesn't work with the album as a whole. This abstract experimentation was a gamble that didn't really pay off. I would have liked to see where they could have gone with this song, but instead it goes nowhere.

Sitting through the final ten minutes of Moonchild does make the title track's symphonic refrain ring out all the more gloriously. This is the mellotron at its best, perfectly accompanied by unforgettable vocal harmonies. This melody evokes a sense of awe quite appropriate for the song's subject matter. This track also contains the finest of the flute solos on the album. After the song and the album have apparently ended in a thundering climax, The Dance of the Puppets commences. The organ lightly goes through the motions of the chord progression with a restrained flute setting. Then the refrain blasts through a final time, building to a noisy and abrupt end. This song, a masterpiece in itself, is a perfect ending to the album.

In the Court of the Crimson King is a masterpiece of its time, but not a timeless masterpiece. I consider this mandatory listening for any prog rock aficionado, but mostly because of its originality and its place in prog rock history. Musically it is not without its flaws (listening all the way through does bore me at points), and there are better King Crimson albums to come. Still it is undeniably superb progressive rock, and essential for prog fans. If you haven't heard it, go find this album and listen to it.

Report this review (#126725)
Posted Sunday, June 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now talk about a strong start for King Crimson. I don't know if this album marked the birth of prog rock, but it became one of the most succesful work in prog rock history and the most popular album by King Crimson. When my father bought me this album for christmas, i had no idea what the band sounded like, i wasn't disappointed.

What is interesting is that there are a lot of different moods in this album. I think the band was more experimental at that time. The agressive "21st century schizoid man" became one of the classics in the history of music. "I talk to the wind" has some relaxing flute. "Epitaph" and fan-favorite "The court of the Crimson king" have some powerful mellotrons. The only weak point of this album is "Moonchild" which has (album filler) written all over it.

For any prog rock fan, whether you are familiar with King Crimson or not.

Report this review (#127002)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In some respects IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING has dated badly, as Fripp himself points out in his extensive liner notes to the FRAME BY FRAME box set. The album's apocalyptic themes seem overblown - a problem which is exacerbated by the sheer awfulness of the lyrics, and by Greg Lake's portentous delivery. "The wall on which the prophets wrote / is cracking at the seams" etc. etc. - when I was sixteen, I thought such words sounded deep, but now they make me squirm with embarrassment. I also feel the title track goes on for too long. Its 'psychedelic nursery' theme hasn't worn well (even if Steve Hackett would build his whole career on similar subjects), and the song was ruined once and for all, to my ears, when a friend pointed out the "aah- aah-aah-aah-aah" refrain sounded exactly like the melodramatic ballads which once used to dominate the Eurovision Song Contest.

However, if you consider this album (and especially its original A-side) from a purely sonic point of view, its importance cannot be overestimated. Fripp's blistering lead guitar and the entire band's "Rite of Spring"-type riffing on "Schizoid man"; the delicate interplay between flute, keyboard and guitar on "I Talk to the Wind" (superbly accompanied on drums); and the grand, mellotron- drenched crescendos of "Epitaph": all these have been imitated by so many other bands (starting with classics like Yes, Genesis and PFM) that 'Crimso' must be said to have spawned the very genre of progressive rock - or at least a great deal of it.

Report this review (#127593)
Posted Thursday, July 5, 2007 | Review Permalink

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. This phrase - with no clear origin, but often attributed to the likes of Zappa, Eno, Elvis Costello and Laurie Anderson - sounds awfully goofy. Yet there might be some truth in it. At least, on what it intends to state: that music is to be listened, not dissected in writing. I can relate to that - I don't generally like to write about music - or read about it, for that matter - when I can instead listen to it or make it myself.

However, the question should be posed: who has ever tried dancing about architecture? Have you ever tried? Have you ever been compelled to move those feet to the white silence of a minimalist building? If you have, Kraftwerk would probably be the soundtrack while you slide your feet and dance like a robot. Walking through the streets of Vienna, don't you just feel like waltzing? Don't you feel like swinging on the floor of the American lunchwagon lighted by the luminous jukebox? And don't tell me you don't hear Soft Machine and Caravan in the old walls of Canterbury.

Culture is all around us, and all intertwined, just like the human senses - sight and surround can evoke sound, and sound and rhythm will have physical effect on our bodies. So it possible, in a sense, to dance about architecture. And so, the same might be said regarding writing about music.

Writing about music can, however, be a pain in the but, especially if your knowledge of music theory is close to zero. How to describe the feelings produced by a certain listen? How do speak and write about the notes on a song, the tone and pitch of the singer, the use of instruentation - what are the proper adjectives to use? How do you write an album review? The only answer I can think of is "with honesty, and as best as you can".

As a musically unaware toddler, I had the good fortune and good guidance of a father who, not being entirely a prog-head, had an hear for fine music. At an age when pop and three minute radio singles should be making my day, he made me sat in the living room listening to Ravel's Bolero and Vivaldi's Four Seasons. My mother balanced things a bit by providing me with Queen and Spandau Ballet. Rock music was progressively growing on me, and it was only natural that my father presented me to a few other gems in his small music collection - Led Zeppelin II, This is the Moody Blues, CSN&Y's Dejà Vú. Seeing that I was very much into that music, my father had the brilliant idea of showing me something "a little different". Enter the Crimson King.

How impressed I was, aged 8 or so, at the sight of the grotesque face in the enormous gatefold, telling me instantly that what I was about to hear was. not normal. As the needle touched the vinyl surface, I couldn't hear a thing. My father told to get near the speaker, and listen carefully, and so I did. I began hearing strange, electro-metalic sounds, but very faint. Then, out of nowhere - BAAM BAM BARAM BAM BAAM (I swear to you, my right ear never recovered. Thanks, Dad.)

Greg Lake's distorted vocals, Frippy's guitar, Ian's sax - all love at first listen in 2st Century Schizoid Man, the most delightfully wicked cacophony ever made. This track, with it's heavy sound and swift changes quickly became an all-time favorite. After such a sonic orgy, it is followed by the gentle I Talk To The Wind, one of the most beautiful songs ever with that exquisite flute playing. The mellotron-drenched, apocalyptic Epitaph (my fathers favourite) also became one of my favourites, although not as much as the first track. Still, what an ending to the first side! I remember the speakers trembling during the ending, what a rush!

The beginning of side two. It starts wonderfully, with my favourite guitar work by Fripp ever in Moonchild - this song could have been great. It was, in fact, great, for 3 and half minutes or so. After that, it was just a nice improvisational piece, with a few curious moments. Not a bad piece per si, but sub-par when compared with the rest of the album. However, even if long, it was still a good prelude to The Court of The Crimson King. The delicate instrumentation with slight nods to medieval music, the emphatic vocal chorus, the general sense of drama in the song - what is there not to like? An almost perfect closer. It ends the album on the same note as the beginning - delicate electronic sounds fading away before the main structure of the song is repeated, with that mellotron bringing the whole show to an end in a juicier, more bombastic ending. By now, I forget the initial surprise. My ears are thankful for this experience. Both to the band and to my father, and their demented sense of humour.

Report this review (#127951)
Posted Monday, July 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If I were asked "What is prog?" by someone, I would use this album as an example of all of it. While albums before this had been a little progressive, this is the first to truly be progressive though to the core. Almost every other album on this site owes something to this one.

Our album starts off with the hard hitting, attention grabbing 21st Century Schizoid Man. This is probably one of my favorite songs of all time. From the distorted vocals to the stop/start section about 2/3 of the way in, it is sublime. This song cuts off abruptly into I Talk to the Wind, a nice breath of fresh air after the Schizoid Man does his work. This is followed by Epitaph, another amazing song. Sounds very Medieval, in fact.

The B side's first song of two is Moonchild. This is the weakest song on the album, which really doesn't say much. The improvised 10 minutes are an interesting exercise, but really could have been shaved off at the song's 8 minute mark or so. The album calls it a wrap with the melletron heavy The Court of The Crimson King. It and Epitaph are probably the most similar songs on the album, though I don't really care. Its mood really finishes the album well.

The Moonchild issue made me question whether this was a 4 or 5. Then, I factored in the infulence and albsolutely stellar cover art, and the 5 it was.

Report this review (#129275)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the court of the Crimson king..this is really one between the more important album than progressive rock; perhaps it is just this album that give the coordinates for progressive rock. The poet Pete Sinfield give the lyrics fabulous and visionary that create in the music an halo of magic,and tell of the human angst of XXI century; and together at the music we are bring to the court of the crimson immaginary dimension made of dreams and illusions. This is an album mainly for guitar and mellotron and characterized of delicates melodies for all the tracks except the beautiful and disquieting 21st century schizoid man where rule the famous riff of the guitar of Fripp.
Report this review (#129356)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, now I will add a review for this classic too.

21st century schizoid man 5 A marvelous rocker with a great guitar riff, distorded blurbing vocals from Greg Lake, astonishing mad jazzy paets with fine guitarplaying from Robert Fripp. I talk to the wind 3 Much less adventurous, a conventional ballad with soft, dreamy vocals from Lake, subdued and traditional guitarplaying (not very common with Frip as he usually broke bounadries in approach to guitar), and some fine flute playing. However, the melody is arguably not that inspired, and the song could be a minute or two shorter. Epitaph 5 A majestic, atmospheric ballad with marvelous hooks.Great work on the mellotron, powerful rhytm section (especially drumming) and as usually fine vocal performance by Greg Lake. The moonchild 5 Another ballad (the third!) on this album. The melody is quite interesting and the repetitve, sparse guitar work is hypnotizing. However, the song soon transforms into an instrumental, full of disjointed, (seemingly) chaotic and unmelodic sounds. I like it, it has certain charm and atmosphere to it, especially Fripp´s guitar bits. In court of the crimson king 5 The majestic melotron driven opening was later partly copied by Uriah Heep for their intro to Circle of hands. No wonder, it is very emotional, and grandious when coupled with the powerful drumwork. I love Giles´s drumming on this one. In the faster passage, Greg Lake plays some nice bassguitar lines together with his singing which is great as well.

Points together: 5+3+5+5+5:5=23:5=4.6 stars=5 STARS


Report this review (#130433)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I would really love to give this album the 5 stars it probably once deserved. Even 4 stars would put my soul to peace. But...i just cannot give this album anything more than 3 stars. Here's a short list why.

1. It's dated, really dated. If i was reviewing this album almost 30 years ago i would probably give the album a 5 star rating. Unfortunately its not three decades ago, so i must review it by putting it up to everything until NOW.

2. It starts off great, but somewhere in the middle i lose all interest. It gets really boring, and anytime i lose interest i must drop AT LEAST a star off my review. Your not supposed to lose interest in your music, and if you do, you know somethings wrong.

3. The sound is terrible. Not the bands fault at all i know, but like i said i have to rate it up against every band up until now. I just heard the sound and im like, "Eww...gross."

Now, this is why im still giving it 3 stars

1. The musicians are really good, and throw that fact right at your face.

2. The first song is fantastic, and pretty much saves the album from a 2 star rating.

So its probably essential, at least as a crash course in the history of prog, but its just not essential to me. Someone whos never heard should definitely give a full spin, and decide for themselves. It just didn't work for me, but other people seem to think differently. I might have missed something...unless it was never there.

Report this review (#130473)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Many people say that this is a Masterpiece of Prog music. So I say that it is a masterpiece because it changed the history of music, the beginning of a revolution. but i can't give 5 stars becouse it is not a "Perfect" album. in some moments it sounds boring, in particular for the track "Moonchild": it starts quite well, but in a few minutes, during the improvvisation, I always forget that I'm listening to music. Also the sound is not very good. but if you want to understand how prog evolved in the early seventies, this is a must!
Report this review (#130759)
Posted Monday, July 30, 2007 | Review Permalink

Well, don't be fooled so easily: there were too much progressive music before this (Moody Blues, Procol Harum, The Nice.... even The Beatles), since this album is acclaimed as the first real prog one. Ok it's true: it's the prog pioneer release, the first of the firsts, although the process of progressive music to become a separate genre of rock, was logically way longer than the days before and later the release of this five tracks.

You know what else? ITCOTCK is the PUREST prog album ever made. Probably any album from a prog band "progs" more than this: rocker, symphonic, complex, and including a 8-minutes soft jamming part (Moonchild from the fourth minute aprox.).

All the good things of this album are already said - this is a full-rating one, no doubt about it. And you know the rule: the first is the best, doesn't it? ;)

Another masterpiece to add to your prog catalog. Five solid stars.

Report this review (#131227)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best Song: 21st Century Schizoid Man; Highlights: 21st Century Schizoid Man, I Talk To The Wind, Epitaph, In The Court Of The Crimson King

The true birth of progressive rock. All that amazement that I felt when I first heard the otherworldly "In The Court Of The Crimson King" still echoes around my mind. This is such a great album that my mind was completely blown away for eternity when its magical sounds and melodies first met my hears. How come such an incredible piece of music be practically unknown to everyone that's my age? A mystery. The album opener (my personal favourite) is the blueprint to almost every great crazy-ass prog song with rocking guitar and band jamming in the middle ever! The suspense with the train sounds and all that, the absolutely marvellous riff, the jam! God, the jam! Unbeatable. Then follows the two ballads, with beautiful vocal work by prog's greatest singer, Mister Greg Lake (great bass player too!). Moonchild will always be the weak point to me because it seems to be a little derivative and I was never able to cope with all that dissonance and stuff. Still, it's a brave effort, because no-one was doing things like that in such a "strange" or "weird" way (the common man calls prog strange and I love it). The closer is such a great piece of music that i always lack the words to properly describe it, though I can say that the intro just blows my mind every single time I hear it. All in all, it's a really necessary album for every fan of prog and art rock. Moonchild was going to make me rate it four stars, but due to the album's importance and the fact that all the other songs are so absolutely fabulous, there goes another star.

Report this review (#132852)
Posted Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I am mystified by the constant assertions of this being the first prog rock album. "In the Court of the Crimson King" was the prototype at best, depending on how you look at it. Contemporary works of The Moody Blues, Procol Harum or Yes were very similar in style, already the gloomy sound of mellotron and the shimmering flute were mainstays in this brand of "proto-prog". On the other hand there is one quite original tune on here, the erratic "21st Century Schizoid Man". It's the natural link between "Helter Skelter" and "Black Sabbath", surely Sabbath must have been influenced by them, Ozzy even covered this very song on his recent covers album (a very mediocre version I have to say). The rest of the songs however mostly move in the typical late 60s fashion, from that soft "moodie" sound on "I Talk to the Wind" to the "floydish" experimentation on "Moonchild". Perhaps part of the mystique is that Greg Lake, whose voice is very characteristic here, went on to sing in ELP, one of the bands that defined the classic prog sound. Good album but as Robert Fripp himself said, he didn't yet have his own compositional style. Crimson went on to produce much greater classics.
Report this review (#133025)
Posted Tuesday, August 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album and band certainly isn't the Adam and Eve of progressive rock, but it certainly is the moment the other animals in the Garden of Music realised a new, dominant species had been created.

Of course 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' is essential: by the criteria listed in Progarchives, this must rate five stars. Everyone interested in Progressive Rock must own it. Yet I must confess I don't much like it. I didn't like it when I first heard it thirty-five years ago, and I don't like it now. I can't stand Greg LAKE'S voice, which makes the album unlistenable. He reminds me of poor ROD EVANS and so many other late sixties vocalists, all GERRY MARSDEN knockoffs, refugees from the British Invasion. Have a listen to LAKE singing on 'Epitaph' and think 'Ferry Across The Mersey.' Well don't, actually, it'll ruin the album for you. LAKE'S voice is far too proper and polite for such a record as this, which is why, I presume, Fripp distorted it in '21st Century Schizoid Man'. 'I Talk To The Wind' is fluff. 'Epitaph' has more substance, 'Moonchild' is fun after LAKE stops singing, and the title track closes the album as powerfully as 'Schizoid Man' opened it.

I've bagged LAKE, so to be fair I must praise MCDONALD, SINFIELD, GILES and of course FRIPP. They are superb musicians (as is LAKE when he's not singing), and thanks to their virtuosity and FRIPP'S vision this record covers the gamut of progressive sensibilities. Symphonic, jazz-rock fusion, space rock, experimental, progressive metal and psychedelic rock are all here. FRIPP went on to influence virtually everyone in the progressive movement and many beyond it, and even people beyond music (Stephen King, for example).

So, the opening roar of progressive rock wasn't entirely convincing, but at least it got everyone's attention. As did the cover! See KING CRIMSON roar!

Report this review (#134057)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In The Court of The Crimson King is one of the best albums of the late 1960's.

It begins with 21st Century schizoid Man, a driving powerhouse of a song, it begins with reeds, and then a power guitar opening from Robert Fripp leads us into Greg Lakes opeing lines "Cats Foot Iron Claw" etc.

From then it gets stranger and stranger, the huge instrumental passage midway through may seem pointless but it is brilliantly concieved.

The veres about "Innocents bleached with Naplam fire "could be a reference to Vietnam and americsa bombing of villages with Naplam bombs. A brillianrtopeing to the album.

Then comes I talk to the Wind- a gentle almost folky track wonderfully played and sung, if not typical Crimson it certainly lightnes the mood.

Next comes Epitaph- a dark, gloomy song sung by Greg Lake and co-written bby Peter Sinfield, tihs siong is as dark as any on the album and begins with Ian Macdonalds Mellotron and this instrument is prominent throghout the song.

The lyyrics are very dark and even scary, though what Lake means when he sings Confusion will be my epitaph is a mystery to me.

Lakes vocal performance on this song is oputstanding, and the playing by Macdonald is a brilliant counterpoint to the darkness of the piece.

Next comes Moonchild, all ill say about this is that it is a brilliantly earthereal song, 12 minutes long but never dragged out or dull, the playing is tight and the words are semi-spiritual.

So onto the fianl track-Court of Te Crimson King, what an epic, almost 9minutes long, mellotron,organ, bass and guitars all combine to produce a brillaint background to Greg Lakes well sung lyrics, as usual the lyrics were written by Peter Sinfield and on this song they conjure up medieval castles, torture and masques. The song ahs often been called the first true Prog Rock song and i believe it is.

all in all the album is 43 minutes of brilliance, epic iin its scope but also eartereal, spooky and on Schizoid an just plain weird.

Listen to this album and marvel at this criminally overlooked bands majestic writing and playing.

Report this review (#134508)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars All right...I have been "lurking" this site daily for well over a year, so it's time to get to reviewing! The goal is one a day for however long it takes (hopefully it never ends!).

Fittingly, this album is my first review. It represents my "gateway drug" for prog, which means that when you buy this album, you have made the crossover from mainstream rock to full-on prog. It is then only a matter of time (and patience!) before you "get it". I also have a few friends to back this theory. When I first bought the album and saw that frightened cartoon face on the cover, I knew I was in for something different, and I didn't know if I was ready for it. Here's a song-by-song breakdown microcosm of my prog evolution:

21st Century Schizoid Man. This song defined the term "freak out" for me. I now have prog rock freak-outs regularly with friends, all based on this. This song breaks musical barriers, from Lake's distorted vocals to the tasty original instrumental to the chaotic ending.

I Talk to the Wind. I certainly did not see this coming. Absolutely brilliant transition, and a great song to boot. Nice vocals, flute, and laid back jam at the end.

Epitaph. AWESOME SONG. Highlights are the mellotron crescendo and the fade-out ending--one of the rare songs that I wouldn't change a single thing about.

Moonchild. I'll admit it: I don't "get" the instrumental part. The ONLY thing that makes sense to me is that when you sit through the entirety of Moonchild, the introduction to the final song is MINDBLOWING! Thus, I view most of Moonchild as an extended transition to set up the finale...

The Court of the Crimson King. More than enough has already been written about this gem. Great melodies, imagery, and of course the ending is perfectly fitting for a freak-out album.

All in all, nothing less than five stars will suffice (of course!). Diverse, creative, inspiring, attention to detail (especially transitions) and (mostly) great melodies make for a classic, must-own album--a one-of-a-kind experience. This is naturally the opinion of most viewers of this site, and I am thrilled that I honestly share it with them!

Report this review (#135153)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Recognized by reviewers’ majority as a flawless masterpiece and the first REAL Prog album, ITCOTCK nevertheless has some lacks. You definitely aware of what I’m talking about. Yes, this is “Moonchild”’s jamming that has stolen one star from my rating. I appreciate KC’s longing for making cacophony, they are Masters there, they’re good improvisators, skilled musicians, talented songwriters, blah-blah-blah. But please, do this on live shows instead of studio efforts! I wonder what prevented them from making the whole album entitled “Moonchild” – a producer’s sanity? Anyway, this is the only black spot here, other songs are great, from heavy craziness of “Schizoid” to mellotroned namesake opus. Gotta mention both “Epitaph” and “I Talk to the Wind” as well – very good mellow songs, one is from the light side and the next one is from the dark side of human mind. After all, definitely an essential album and highly recommended (if you managed to avoid it still!), but you were warned!
Report this review (#135379)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 21st Century Schizoid Man, rock solid, out of all the songs on the album, this is defiantly the best opener. Great distortion vocals, great saxophone,\ bass and drum jam that sort of reminds me of something from the Canterbury scene, then comes Fripp's unique guitar style, I once heard described as "guitar-tuning". Then comes some psychedelic type sounds from the sax, while the drums and bass beat and blaze. The band then does the crazy part where they are play in perfect sync and stop frequently and continue to play fast again and then stop, and so on. Then end of the song is chaos. Next comes I Talk To The Wind, very mellow great vocals from Greg Lake, great flute as well, very soothing. The drums have a nice steady constant beat. Fripp's guitar is very spacey and soft while the bass plays good and soft in the background. In the middle of the song there is a fantastic flute solo, then guitar solo. "I talk to the wind, my words are all carried away". The flute solo makes it's return, and leads us until the very end. My personal favorite song on the album is Epitaph. Another soft mellow song, great lyrics, great vocals, and drums> "Confusion. will be my epitaph". The guitar is good on this track, and a lot of it is acoustic. Lake's vocals shine in this song, brighter than any other on the album. Moonchild, at twelve minuets in length (most of it is improvised doodling), reminds me of a very mystical forest, with magical powers, and weird little creatures roaming through it. With the moon(child) up above shining it's power onto the forest. After the "song" comes the improvising section; very weird and interesting, and unpredictable psychedlia; each instrument is doing their own thing, which I like because it leaves my brain fooled. The Court Of King Crimson has quite an intro. More of that beautiful flute comes back for our pleasure. The drums are fantastic on the song, along with Fripp's guitar. After a little while there is a nice flute solo, while the symbols grow louder and louder, Then Lakes voice comes back, and the song goes into a small whistle like part which makes it feel like the song is about to end, but then you get the melody one last time, and the song fades off into chaos, then ends. There is only one thing to say about this album> It's a masterpiece and a very important progressive album. This is an absolute essential.
Report this review (#137677)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Legendary, unique, innovative, powerful, yadda-yadda... "In the Court of the Crimson King" is a sweeping genesis to the genre that is overflowing with musical enjoyment and is essential for historical significance alone. However, sitting through this album can sometimes feel like a chore, with its extended empty passages and emphasis on mellotron chords.

With the obvious exception of "21st Century Schizoid Man" (which will positively destroy the listener with delight), these songs are exceptionally slow and generally boring. Fripp's guitar sounds like little more than airy noddling throughout, and displays none of his famed prowess, nor do the other players demonstrate anything especially memorable. This may sound like a pretty huge complaint against "In the Court", but there are still plenty of merits to attract the burgeoning progressive rock fan. The vibe of "In the Court" will appeal to anyone feeling moody, the instrumental work offers some hidden gems for the ambitious (and patient) listener. Greg Lake's vocals remain a highpoint for me as well. Fans discovering this highly praised relic of the genre for the first time should be prepared for one slow-paced chord after the other, and shouldn't hold their breath waiting for a second guitar solo. Still, mandatory listening for fans of classic prog.

Songwriting 4 Instrumental Performances 3 Lyrics/Vocals 4 Style/Emotion/Replay 3

Report this review (#138683)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson's first album. One of the handful of albums that launched Progressive Rock. The album as a whole is just an amazing work of art, and it hits you with all sorts of sounds from the band. The three highlights from the album are 21st Century Schizoid Man. Whne listening to this track, its impossible to ignore the blaring guitar and saxophone, combined with the drums and bass. While listening to this track, you wonder if its lyrics are painting a picture of our future. The next great track is Epitaph, where Greg Lake's vocals will just capture you with the emotion he puts into the performance. And again, the lyrics get to you. To finnish out the album is In the Court of the Crimson King. One of the first looks into what would become Progressive Rock.

And when reviewing the album, you cant not talk about the cover. The haunting image of the man screaming makes you just think.

Report this review (#139282)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album is widely believed to be the first ever progressive rock album. It is the beginning of it all and is an essential listen for anyone who listens to progessive rock music and wants to have some understanding of the history of progressive rock music. There is a good possibility that at least at some point while listening to an album that portends to be progressive rock music you will hear some influence from In the Court of the Crimson King.

21st Century Schizoid Man is not only the first song on the first prog album but it is also quite possibly the first ever prog metal song. Greg Lake sings/screams the chorus in a dutiful metal fashion.

I Talk to the Wind is a beautiful, mellow song that features Greg Lake's trademark vocals and Ian McDonald playing some of the most fascinating flute to be heard on a progressive rock album. Possibly this is the first ever prog folk song.

Epitaph is another excellent mellow song featuring Greg Lake's trademark vocals and some beautiful mellotron.

Moonmadness starts out as a beautiful mellow song that turns into a very quiet instrumental in which you really need to turn up the volume to hear what is happening. Really nothing to exciting in the instrumental portion of the song. Some nice drums and guitar work, but really quite quiet. To me this an indication as of to what is to become of King Crimson in the 90's and 00's as they become more of an improvisational instrumental band.

In the Court of the Crimson King is another amazing rocker and quite possibly the quintessential prog rock song. Excellent lead and backing vocals, excellent music and time signature changes, and of course Mr. Fripp on guitar.

I know that I really haven't anything additional to the other 550+ reviews that were done for this album, but I believe that it is an album that all archive members should definitely give a listen, and also it is an essential album that requires a review.

Report this review (#139530)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is where prog legends King Crimson got their start. The album starts off with a song every prog-rock fan should know, "21st Century Schizoid Man", a spastic and sometimes dissonant, but brilliant piece with a completely insane instrumental section. After this, we're given the chance to relax with the beautiful ballad, "I Talk to the Wind", which features Ian Macdonald's melodic flute lines. Next is "Epitaph", a very moving symphonic piece with some powerful lyrics and that mellotron sound that characterized prog. After that is the underrated "Moonchild". Unlike a lot of people, I like the end, although it can be tedious after a while if you're not in the right mood. The album closes with "The Court of the Crimson King", which has a similar mood to "Epitaph". My personal favourite song on this album is "Epitaph", but they are all great and this album is a true masterpiece.
Report this review (#140102)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This Masterpiece of Progressive Rock is absolutely amazing. This has everything that makes a good album. All five songs are great. They are all wonderfully written and the music is just perfect. 21st Century Schizoid Man is a Great way to Start the album. The next four songs just keep the momentum going. I talk to the Wind is another wonderful song. Greg Lakes vocals are just perfect for this song. Epitaph is yet another perfect song. March For No reason is my least favorite song on but this song is still great. One of my two favorite songs from this album is Moonchild. I love this song. The wonderful instrumental end puts it all together. And Finally the Title track ends it greatly. In the Court of The Crimson King is the closest thing to a perfect album you could get.
Report this review (#140548)
Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, what an amazing album. It's hard to find any faults with this one. Everyone plays their instruments perfectly, albeit with no major virtuosity. Fripp's guitar ranges from frantic to beautifully soft. McDonald adds an interesting array of instruments here, with his flute solos sounding very welcome, and his mellotron spine tingling. Lake's bass doesn't stand out incredibly, but he is very talented and shows it in some parts of the album. He also has a brilliant mid-range voice, which works on both the subtle parts and more aggressive sections. Giles' percussion works well; it's there when it needs to be and knows when to be quiet. Sinfield's lyrics are very beautiful and haunting here. The cover art is very good, and to me is one of the most iconic images in musical artwork.

The album starts off with the proto-heavy metal song, '20th Century Schizoid Man'. This reminds me a lot of the kind of music Black Sabbath created a year later. It has some kind of vocal effect on the verses, before going into an amazing, jazz/hard rock instrumental section, which feels a lot like a jam, but manages to stay structured, before heading unexpectedly back to the verse, and then into the brilliantly cacophonous climax.

Next up is the beautiful 'I Talk to the Wind'. I find very few ballads as truly moving as this one, and the flute solo just adds so much to it. This song was rather surprising to me, because before I got the album I had only heard 'Schizoid Man' and the title track, and did not expect anything so heartfelt.

Then we have 'Epitaph'. Most people seem to think this is the strongest track on the album but I think it is the weakest. It is still an absolutely excellent song, which just shows how high the standards for this album are. It has a very nice melody, but my complaint is that the songs feels the same throughout, apart from a short instrumental bit. The marching drum beat is extremely effective though, and really goes with the politically fuelled lyrics of this song.

Then there's 'Moonchild'. Here's a song which splits fans of this album like no other. Most people agree it starts off well, a very touching ballad. Then comes the experimental, unstructured jam, which many people seem to hate, but I find to be rather amazing. When one is by themselves in a dark room this song can create a very strange, relaxed mood, almost like a musical drug.

Now cue... the greatest rock song ever. Forget Stairway to Heaven, this is the stuff of dreams; This is 'The Court of the Crimson King'. The vocal melody is so beautiful that i find it must have existed before time itself began. The haunting lyrics are fantastical, yet manage to whisk you away into that world of witches and jester's and the like. The mellotron builds up a tension which is too amazing for words to describe. The guitar strikes notes which fall ever so gently, the bass for once is noticeable. Then when you think it's all over, here comes that flute again, and palys almost like a nursery rhyme, before building to a magnificent climax where everything comes in.

And there it is. The perfect ending to a perfect album. I couldn't imagine giving this a lower rating as that would be insulting. Perfection in music is rare... but it exists.

Report this review (#140657)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Back in the days of yore, before we even knew there was a genre called 'prog', a friend of mine put a new album on his turntable and cranked up the volume. What ensued was a jaw-dropping listening experience, though I admit I didn't know quite what to think of it initially. This was something different, something familiar yet stunningly new. This was King Crimson.

The guitarist was obviously accomplished, but didn't quite have the requisite facility of the standard Clapton/Page/Beck blues licks. No, he was going off on another tangent altogether. The use of mellotron was interesting, even radical. The singer -- who's this Greg Lake? -- was decent enough, but there was perhaps too much post-processing of the voice on that opening track. Good rhythm section though.

Well, those may have been my first thoughts, but about twenty listens later it all sank in and I became a KC fan for life. This album is almost perfect. What's amazing is the range of music presented here. Any regular to this site is familiar with the shock and awe of 21st Century Schizoid Man, but what's rare is for a such a song to be followed up with a song a gentle as I Talk To the Wind, which in turn is followed by the other-worldliness of Epitaph. Moonchild presents minor problems for some listeners, but in the context of this album and of music in general at the time, it's another great song. And of course the title cut eventually gathers all of these elements into an organic whole.

The musicianship is first-rate throughout. I won't get into the argument of whether or not this was the first prog album, but Fripp and company certainly took us on an exploratory trip into previously uncharted musical waters here. Worth every star of the five I give it; in fact I would call this mandatory listening for anyone with more than a passing interest in prog, or any music for that matter.

Report this review (#140897)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A groundbreaking album in the history of progressive rock and KING CRIMSON's finest album.

This was one of the first prog recordings I ever heard and it still stands as one of my favourites (and many other's too obviously), it ventured into uncharted territories with it's dark and at the time very experimental sounds. The album is heavily influenced by jazz, Particularly evident in Michael Giles groovy drumming most notably during 21st century schizoid man which ranks up there with the best progressive rocks songs of it's time although it lends itself more to fusion than to prog. I talk to the wind is another fantastic song, very sombre with some great flute and our first ever taste of Robert Fripp's signature 'Frippertronics', there are some great sound textures and nuances here. Epitaph is a very sombre song with some great mellotron sounds probably one of the weaker songs on the album but still fantastic.

My main problem with this album is Moonchild, I'm into avant-garde/experimental/noise/you-name-it music and I just see no merit in the song, it's a waste of 12 minutes on such an otherwise fantastic album, it's very quiet and not a lot happens in it at all and this is one of the things that I really dislike about KING CRIMSON. The triumphant eponymous track is well worth sitting through Moonchild though with it's fantastic mellotron washed choral harmonies, it's an exceptional song.

Overall this is a great album essential to any serious fan of progressive rock and although I really dislike Moonchild the other 4 songs make up for it and the sheer influence and the innovativeness of this album merits the 5 star rating.

Report this review (#141433)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
3 stars A place to start

In the Court of the Crimson King helped to define what progressive rock would become. The album itself was still to rooted in psychedelia to be considered, in my opinion, a true split from its psychedelic rock roots. The album has what most consider 3 progressive anthems: 21st Century Schizoid Man, Epitaph and the title track. The songs are co-mingled withthe ever allusory to Haight headshops "I Talk to the Wind" and, the flitty "Moonchild".

21st Century Schizoid Man is the most important song on the album. Hard, psychotic and rooted in blues, it takes a simple theme to extreme. Solid song structure with contrasting bridge give a true sense of journey to the song. Its frantic pace true to the schizoid theme.

I talk to the Wind could have very well been cut into ten 30 second clips and used to sell househould products in TV ads.

Epitaph is a good song, the only problem is it sounds a little to much like it came straight off of Moody Blues Days of the Future Passed. I can smell the sandlewood as Moonchild opens, then comes the birth of what I find the least enjoyable aspect of King Crimson, the "where did the song go" improv.

ITCOTCK is *the* KC song to many. It is a very touching song, despite the lyrics. Solid verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, bridge, chorus structure.

ITCOTCK is a good start. It is a sign of great things to come for KC, and some not so great. 3 .3 stars.

Report this review (#143283)
Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars KING CRIMSON were found in 1967 in Bournemouth,UK by mastermind guitarist Robert Fripp.Their first album was released in 1969 entitled ''In the court of the crimson king'' and it is considered the first trully progressive rock album and one of the timeless masterpieces in progressive rock history.The band combined succesfully elements from psychedelic music and jazz rock dressed in masterful symphonic orchestrations due to the fantastic mellotron work of Ian McDonald.The vocals of Greg Lake are ethereal and fit amazingly with the band's musicianship.KING CRIMSON leave a lot of space for orchestral development and bring to surface really astonishing atmospheres!An album and a group ages ahead of its/their time and a must-have for any music lover!
Report this review (#144584)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In the beginning was the sound, and the sound was with Harry Chamberlain, and the sound was good...

Look, I'm not trying to say that Mr Chamberlain is God or anything, but hey - as far as Prog Rock is concerned, well, bone up on your history if you don't know who he is.

Because when God created Prog Rock, on the first day of Prog, he surely told Harry that his invention was of great importance - and, Lo! The Bradley brothers did put his idea into manufacturing, with proper backing and everything, and behold - the Mellotron was born, and without it was not a Prog Rock record of any substance made.

And Ian MacDonald heard what the Moody Blues did with the Mellotron, and it was good. So he, together with Mike Giles and Robert Fripp, unable to withstand the cheerful insanity any longer, teamed up with Gods' bass player, got a gig supporting the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, and life was good - even though, by many accounts, the Stones were not.

Much has been written about this album, including academic theses exploring the deep significance of the key associations, relationships and modal tonalities, the subject matter of the lyrics, the use of technical devices such as ritornello, ground bass, obbligatos - and of course, the huge Tierce de Picardie at the end.

One particular musing mentioned the magical - and allegedly, mystical number 5: 5 band members. 5 Songs. Songs that, somehow, to a twisted mind, display workings of the number 5 in their forms and structures. 5 - in numerology variously, the number of Dischord, Motion, Erratic, Adventure, Passion, Expansion, Travel, Unpredictability, Information, the planet Mercury, communication, networking, translation, communities of information.

The 5th verse of the Bible runs thus; And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

And the evening and the morning were the first day.

You may well ask WTF?

As did I.

The Meanings...

See, people really do hunt for meanings in the early works of Prog Rock in a way that makes you think; "Hang on - these guys are missing the whole point!", but also in ways that appear to have some kind of hidden code - first day of Prog Rock?.

It's rock music, albeit a "higher" expression of that format. It's the next generation of Progressive music on from the "movement" that started approximately at the point Bob Dylan shocked the world by "going electric" at the Newport Folk Festival 4 years previously. The sound of his guitar being plugged in, even to that dodgy sound system, was by far the quieter of the big bangs caused by that single event.

But, the thing that really stood out to me from one particular essay was this simple phrase; "'Moonchild' is perhaps one of the more remarkable pieces ever conceived in the history of rock music.". The writer goes on to link the Moon and number 4 and all kinds of stuff to do with modes, counterpoint, pedals, magical light and flashes of timbral light...

"Moonchild" really is both the best track on the album, and one of the most remarkable pieces in rock - a fact that most people overlook, painfully missing the point by describing it as "boring", "noodle" and using other similar terms that would indicate a lack of patience, narrow tastes in music and, well, simply not liking it, so writing it off as therefore a bad thing.

Not so.

And so it is that I'm going to take this track offline and work on an analysis to help you understand just why it is so spectacular.

Moon Child - one of the most remarkable pieces in rock music

Cue up the start of the piece. Ready?

Here we have drifts of mellotron, and a repeating picked guitar figure, which is soon joined by a short, repeating guitar figure that is important. Listen carefully to it's soaring tones - those opening notes are remarkably similar to "Au Clair de Lune" by Claude Debussy.

Greg picks up on this quickly with the vocal line - a two-part affair that picks up on this figure, appending an answering phrase, and acquiring a light accompaniment comprising bell-like cymbals, and a regular falling soft tom-tom pattern. This is repeated, then the second part of the verse picks for an additional answer. The solo guitar takes the 1st "theme" and plays with it, before the second verse is presented with the ongoing light percussion.

Little tension is built - but the song does not demand it. This is not a dramatic song, and that is part of its progressive nature - it is painting, with striking lights and shades, a kind of watercolour-hued portrait of the Moon Child that is non-linear, which kind of pushes against the intrinsically linear nature of music, yet covers many angles;

"Dancing in the shallows of a river", "Dreaming in the shadow of the willow", "Talking to the trees of the cobweb strange". None of this necessarily describes a person, real or ficticious - to me, it describes the effects of moonlight on earth - the reflection in the river or fountain, the moonbeams "dancing" and "Waving silver wands", and the interplay of the moon's light on flowers, cobwebs and the sun dial. "Sailing on the wind in a milk white gown" and "Waiting for a smile from a sun child" are self- explanatory, and "Playing hide and seek with the ghosts of dawn" clearly refers to clouds.

So the music expresses the soul of these ideas - the subtle keyboard changes highlight this best.

You'll note that this is not standard song structure - there is a 3-part idea that is repeated 3 times for this first section, which could be seen as verse/chorus/instrumental x3, except that the "chorus" is in no way a chorus, but an extension of the verse.

Then we have the instrumental section, which continues this expression - it seems a bit pointless to map it all out, but the first section appears to represent the rippling waters of the river - the willow, of course, will be on the river bank, and the slightly sinister edge that the music acquires could be expressing this.

We continue in the branches of the trees, "talking of the cobweb strange" - 5:28 might be expressing this, with tiny strands of melodic runs that pick up from each other. Just re-read the lyrics as this section plays out - it's not too hard to make your own mind up about what's being expressed.

The music of this section has an atonal feel to it - and some of the stylisations are strikingly similar to music in "Pierrot Lunaire", by Arnold Schoenberg. Listen to "Der Kranken Mond" - particularly the flute backing. An online recording of the entire work may be found online - note also that there are 4 sections of Pierrot directly concerned with the moon.

The interplay between the instrumentalists here is remarkable - all aiming for an overall series of pictures, or, rather continual moving image, with none taking centre stage, going into personal space every now and again, then rejoining the conversation, using a predefined set of ideas. This is not aimless noodle - this is carefully constructed. The point at which it all comes back together (around 10:45) is masterly - all parts drifting slowly towards each other, and the little major chord on the guitar clearly showing the "smile from the sun child" - all music from this point has this upbeat feel of morning approaching and the darkness lifting.

All of which serves to underline "Moon Child"'s position in the album - as the penultimate piece, it provides the necessary contrast from which to kick into the grand splendour of "The Court of the Crimson King". Indeed, if you have your stereo at the necessary volume to catch each and every tiny detail in "Moon Child", the title track is like a mighty rush of wind, and somewhat overwhelming. It's in this dynamic perspective that the true power of this album may be experienced - and you probably won't get it listening to compressed mp3s on your computer speakers or headphones. On a half-decent stereo, this contrast will blow your socks off. On a decent system, it's like hearing it properly for the first time - every time.

Everything Else

Let's have a quick blast in real time around the other 4 tracks, in what seems to be a concept album on an artistic level; Each song painting a portrait that is strikingly impersonal, yet full of unique and colourful character. Each nostalgic, and infused with the individual sounds of the musicians, whilst coming together as a unified whole - a 5-part symphony structure after a fashion.

"21st Century Schizoid Man": Here's where we set the volume level to maximise our listening experience. If you can't hear every little detail in the first 30 seconds or so, then you've set it too quiet. Do try not to listen to mp3 or other form of over-compressed media - and make sure the neighbours are out, if you're not listening on headphones. When the riff kicks in, that sucker should nail you to the back of the sofa with its intended hugeness, ferocity and awesome power. There are plenty of descriptions of Greg's distorted voices, the huge and unique sound of the riff topped with sax, so let's have a look at the song construction;

The first thing that jumps out is the identical nature it shares with "Moon Child" - although pared down to 2 iterations, we have essentially 2 sections to the verses, with an instrumental section linking them. The big difference is in the construction of the verses, which comprise 3 declamatory statements rounded off with a single statement of the title. This really gives punch and drive to the song - and, of course, obliterates standard song structure.

After a mere 2 minutes, the instrumental bridge kicks in, developing the introduction riff - I always think that the underlying riff sounds like the Mission Impossible theme. Anyway, this continues into part-improv, part composed mayhem, Fripp producing guitar work that's both modal and atonal - and this whole section is polyrhythmic and more jazz than rock-inspired, yet maintains a solid rock feel. At 4:40, this is all brought together in a tight composition based on the rhythm and melodic fragments of the "improvisation".

Then, to round off the nod and wink to "First Movement" form, the verse idea is recapitulated (albeit still in the tonic), followed by the build-up that initially led to the "Development", which descends into screaming noise.

Continuing in the Symphonic vein, the next "movement" is a slow one. This time we have a balladic song that is in a more traditional verse/chorus format. The drumming, however, is notably not that of a standard ballad - and the woodwind backing seems to infer orchestral music more than it infers jazz. The prominence of the wind instruments is clearly intentional - and the short instrumental bridge is a thing of beauty. The coda, led by the flute, is a bit of a surprise when it kicks in around 4:50. This is tightly reined in, and simply plays, wind-like, with the melodies presented in the verses and choruses.

"Epitaph" would be an odd choice for a final movement - so it's a good job that this is, in fact, central and pivotal. It begins with material from "I Talk To The Wind", and feels more like an extension of the former than a new piece per se. This song appears to be based on the symphonic sound style of the Moody Blues - although that modulation around 3:45 is something else - a bit reminiscent of the orchestral build-up in "A Day In The Life". This moves on to "March For No Reason", via an instrumental passage strongly based on the earlier material. Oddly, the strong beat is on the second beat of the bar! The original verse/chorus is reprised, then there's a magnificent burn-out with some amazing percussion.

"In The Court..." follows on from "Moon Child" utterly naturally, the contemplative mood inspired by the previous 3 pieces suddenly roused - we know this is the finale. Here we see the quiet/loud structure emerging - something Nirvana were to use as their single most important song element more than 20 years later. Structurally, this song is not very interesting until we reach the instrumental section (Return of the Fire Witch) at 4:15 or so, when the flute melody and bass takes us into a new dimension - the bass reminding me more than a bit of Pete Trawavas. Sadly, this only lasts a minute and a bit, then we're back to the song already.

Moving swiftly on, there is another instrumental section (Dance of the Puppets) at 7:00, just after it feels that the piece might have ended. A jaunty, almost comical pipe organ plays with the thematic material for just under a minute, before returning once again to the majestic chorus material, broken up rhythmically, and with all kinds of little experimental details in the instrumental parts - none taking center stage, all playing their little parts in the crowd and creating a sbutly shifting texture that suddenly comes together in noise to finish the album in a blaze of atonality.

In case you were in any doubt, this is an essential masterpiece of Progressive Rock, arguably the very first Prog Rock album in the sense of the Classic idea of Prog Rock - if you don't like this, you don't like Prog.

Report this review (#144966)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Milestone album of the century! That's what can I say about this album. This was the one of most important album of all time. The sound of rock music change directionally by the release of this album.

The album was overally very complex. The structure of this album was bizarre. The first track, titled "21st Century Schizoid Man" was very powerful. The theme and the structure of this song was absolutely brilliant. Check out the middle section of this song! Then, "I Talk to the Wind" is slower track, which also the shortest track is this album. Track 3, "Epitaph" was argueably the best of this album, yet the most popular song of King Crimson. The song 's atmosphere is very heavy and dominated by the sound of mellotrons. Flip to side 2 and starts with "Moonchild", the longest track of this album. This song was purely psychedelic experimental. And the last song was the title track, there'sn't much differents to side 1's "Epitaph", this song was dominated by mellotrons.

5 stars is fit to the album that changes the world's music.

Report this review (#145703)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Maybe the first true prog album of all times. At least as we know and love symphonic prog. Anyway, In The Court Of The Crimson King remains one of my top ten favorites and one of the albums that make me fall in love with prog music. The music inside this CD was so beautiful and groundbreaking at the time, small wonder it became so successful and influential. I was sorry this band could not produce another album with those same guys.

Looking back, however, it is only natural to see that they could not stay together too long. There were simply too many talented people in a small room. But what a hell of an album they produced! Since the first chords of 21st Century Schzoid Man (one of the heaviest and novel songs for the sixties) to the very last notes of the title track this a major work. Not that I like every minute of it: I can´t stand to hear the complete Moonchild with all that music concreté second part. Still I also can´t deny that even that is bold and inovative for 1969.

The music is so interesting and rich, it stood well the test of time. Almost 40 years after its release it still relevant and captivating. Epitaph and the title track are among my favorite prog songs, with lots of the best mellotron I have ever heard and Lake´s most passionate vocals. The band soars through the whole album.

It is simply a masterpiece of music, a must have for any prog lover. And for anyone who wants to know one of prog´s landmarks. Classic!

Report this review (#146917)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is quite difficult to agree on the Best Prog Album of All Time. Through this web page, I've discovered a vast and almost infinite account of what Progressive Music is about. I'm trying to put into perspective that it's almost impossible to grasp the essence of any album just by looking at its ranking. Five Stars for the First Album of Progressive Rock in History. That's how I see this album. Prog Rock formally began in 1969 with this album. The Beatles and The Moody Blues were precursors and they are more than respected here, but King Crimson has the honour to be the first. There could be endless debates about this fact and I respect all points of view. To me, this is a very special album and it's ranked at Number 1 on the Harkonnen list. However, I only listened to it for the 1st time 3 years ago. That's right, I've got a 900 CD collection and I only bought my KC catalogue 3 years ago. I've been listening to Prog Rock since the 80's and I Talk to the Wind and In the Court of the Crimson King had been on my favourites for a long time now, mainly from the excellent The Tokyo Tapes by Steve Hackett.

King Crimson is a difficult band. It normally takes a few attempts to understand / enjoy / love their music. But ITCOTCK is straight forward: from the naked rawness of 21st Century Schizoid Man to the sublime and melancholic Epitaph to one of the best endings in album history, this is an easier attempt to get into the Crims. It is the best starting point to get into their varied catalogue. I have the 30th Anniversary Edition and the sound is crisp while warm, clear while respecting its age. Like a good wine, this is a record that grows with time, don't get dissapointed if you don't get it the first time, specially that "overlong" improv in Moonchild. Listen to it in a rainy afternoon and you'll experience the magic.

Five stars. Number 1 in the Harkonnen list.

Report this review (#150434)
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars In terms of the music on this record, there is really nothing to add that hasn't already been said here. This is the record that defined the genre of Progressive Rock. Like it or not, the fact that this recording conjures up such accolades and paens is what art is all about. We can sit here and intellectualize every rhythm,harmony, dynamic, timbre, and structure. Or, we can just feel the music. As for me, a whole world of music was opened the first time I heard this record and I've never returned home. This is a record of tremendous contrasts in intensities, textures and moods. To listen to this recording from a purely intellectual or a purely passionate perspective denies the essence of who we are. Nothing in life can be intellectualized without feeling and nothing in life can be felt without intellectualizing it, although we frequently try to delude ourselves to the contrary. There is nothing purely representational or abstract... just a continuous flow. What I do know is that this record does make me think and feel in ways that most of the vast progressive rock literature, music in other genres and works in other art forms have been unable to approach. Five stars simply because no higher rating exists.
Report this review (#150496)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hoorah for the birth of progressive rock! Quite a genius, this Robert Fripp is. In the Court of the Crimson King effectively changed the world of rock music with its crazy genre-crossing, sloppy playing and aimless noodling. And hey, it's even enjoyable half of the time! Wow, you almost have to own this just because its so historically important! I wonder if Robert Fripp knew he only had to make King Crimson's debut half-good in order for it to be called a masterpiece by everybody. That man had to have been playing somewhat of a joke on us with "Moonchild." "Hey guys here's what we're going to do: play this song I wrote, and then when I finish my guitar solo, let's hit random notes lightly for 7-8 minutes." I don't think anyone else has been able to receive praise for that approach. Goodness this must have been a fun album to make. And check out those drum fills! How did those get on the album? I guess if an album is as innovative as this, it doesn't matter how well it's played. I need to figure out how to make this work for my band! Did they realize how sloppy those fills were? It sounds like Giles had the chance to play a fill and couldn't figure out what he wanted to do, practically every single time! Now, I understand that technology at the time wouldn't allow an easy way to correct the fills, but man, Giles must have been at least a little disappointed with himself. Fripp certainly reassured him that it is inconsequential and hey, everyone else sounded great so all is well. There is no way those fills would have passed in the past two decades. Lucky guys. It's especially surprising that the drum work is the best on the fastest, most difficult drum song on the album, "21st Century Schizoid Man." I'll be fair, not all of the drum fills are bad, but it's hard to get over some of those fills.

And yet, after all that bashing, I can still say that this is a very good album. "21st Century Schizoid Man" could possibly be the anthem of progressive rock. It is gritty, it rocks hard, and has an awesome jazzy mid-section. "I Talk to Wind" is nice and the music, especially the flute work, is beautiful. "Epitaph" is possibly Greg Lake's most passionate vocal performance of his career (which is sad because it's just starting here, but you don't have to view it that way if you don't want to) and its a great song in general, "Moonchild" is another nice tune before the band invented the concept of filler, and "In the Court of the Crimson King" is a great closer.

It goes without saying that this album holds probably the most importance of all prog rock albums, but unlike a lot of the band's other innovative albums, this one still manages to be quite captivating and enjoyable, at least most of the time. The dissonant side doesn't show a lot, but oh man will it soon. There are few King Crimson albums I could recommened to somebody in this day and age, and their debut manages to be one of them.

Report this review (#150885)
Posted Thursday, November 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
4 stars i think this is a msterpiece of prog if you cut the massive lump of pointless crap at the end of moonchild. It is just noodling, and lets face it, improvisation doesn't sound very musical when its play by 3-4 blokes at the same time! I honestly don't blame Greg Lake for walking out at this one.

21st Century Schizoid Man is an extremely good jazz piece, not necessarily prog, but it is an awesome piece and deserves merit. The middle jamming section is very influential and needs to be recognised more. I Talk to the Wind is a memorable ballad with one of the best flute solos I've ever heard at the end, and some lovely jazz-esque guitar work from Fripp. Epitaph is a very dark, depressing song, but nonetheless genius and musically enjoyable: it probably was and still is the main building block of gothic chord progressions in modern music. Moonchild brings the album down one notch. They should have left the song alone imho, and i think this song is the foundation of Fripp's insanity used for the wrong reasons. 10 solid minutes of directionless improvisation is too much for me. In the Court... is the highlight of the album. Truely a great song, and a masterpiece in the way that it kicked of the whole prog legacy. Without its world class musicianship, dark lyrics and inventiveness, would prog still be the same today? I doubt it somehow, so all progheads have a lot to owe this song i think.

21st Century Schizoid Man - (10/10) I Talk to the Wind - (8/10) Epitaph - (8/10) Moonchild - (5/10) In the Court of the Crimson King - (10/10)

Report this review (#151106)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I suppose it's time. What a monolith this album is. 1969, picture rocking Jefferson Airplane and then throwing this on, must have been whacked, poor hippies. Anyway, one of the greatest albums ever, truly innovative in it's use of jazz and classical as a basis instead of blues. This format had been meddled with before, with bands like The Moody Blues using classical and bands like The Doors using jazz, but both and to this degree had not been done until this album (or at least this successfully) which laid the foundation for all of prog and influenced metal a great deal too. 21st Century Schizoid Man was the most intense song since Mars, The Bringer of War (which KC covered) when it was released. Later of course the band would release Red, the most intense album yet released. I Talk to the Wind is a relaxing ballad that gives me images of a solitary freedom, a lonliness, but a manly lonliness, overlooking some small town by the sea with the wind swirling off the cliff in front of me. Epitaph is one of the most epic laments of all time. The imagery in it is just so... gah, epic; "Upon the instruments of death (mellotron, jk) the sunlight brightly gleams". Moonchild is a track that people hate on unjustly. The beginning is of course eerie and great, but I also think the jam is good. It's quite relaxing and you can picture alot of eerie sh*t happening. It's a part that you're not supposed to pay too much attention to. The title track is ultra epic of course, especially the chorus, you all know it. At any rate, one of KC's best, probably 3rd, behind Larks' Tongues and Red.
Report this review (#151915)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars In my humble and some what unorthodox opinion, along with "Close To The Edge" by Yes, this is the most overrated prog rock album of all time. Not that this is a particular bad album, but to say that it is the must have eclectic-prog album when it is far from even King Crimson's personal best doesn't sit well with me. Anyway, on to the music itself. The album opener "21st century Schizoid Man" is a powerful rocky sounding song which with it's horn section accompaniment, makes it my personal favourite from the album. The other song that I really like on this album is the finale track "In The Court of The Crimson King", which delivers a powerful truly proggy range of mellotron and vocals to make it the most consistent long track on the album. The only other track really worth mentioning is "Epitaph", which starts well but deteriorates towards the end. The real stinker on this album on this album, as most will agree, is "Moonchild", which starts of as a whiney 60's prog-pop song and ends with what can only be described as the band detuning their instruments for 6 straight minutes. A fairly decent album, but with only two 2 very good and 1 decent track, not my cup of tea. 2.5 stars.
Report this review (#152946)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another album where much has been said, but I will put in my two cents anyways. King Crimson is one of my favorite bands for this reason: they always manage to create an album that puts exceptional skill and ideas together into a journey that no other band can take you on. This is the first, but not the best, of these albums. 21st Century Schizoid Man is the birth of a giant, and it is immediately evident in the middle section that Robert Fripp is an amazing guitarist. Michael Giles shows us his chops on this song, and makes us wonder why he left. Ian Macdonald is to Robert Fripp as Ian Underwood is to Frank Zappa: a collaborator and player of winds and keyboards who is second only to the bigger name in talent and creativity. He does some amazing sax work here, and his flute solo on I Talk to the Wind is beautiful. This song is a nice ballad, with some nice use of guitar harmonics and strumming, and a gorgeous vocal by Lake. Epitaph is defined as a legacy left behind by a person or person's, and this album would be the beginning of Crimson's Epitaph. The song has some great acoustic work and dramatic drumming by Giles, and the middle section with oboes and timpanis is incredible. With a killer vocal line, Lake tears at your eyes, pulling tears out of them with his words and emotion. Moonchild is nice, the jazzy, strange ending section isnt bad, but explores where Crimson would go in terms of improvising songs live. The title track is similar to Epitaph in its vocals and extensive use of mellotron. The lyrics are some of sinfeld's best, and they evoke images of a fantasy Court in which a Crimson King Rules.

Overall, a beautiful album, creating such a gorgeous, fertile sound as would never be matched again on a Crimson album. An amazing debut, maybe not the beginning of prog, but certainly one of the first albums of it.

Report this review (#154656)
Posted Friday, December 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
5 stars "But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying."

Because they just don't make music this good anymore. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, simple early rock and Beatles clones plagued the radio airwaves. I can't say I remember that time (considering my existence had yet to even be conceived), but I can only imagine the patience it took to endure acts such as The Dave Clark Five and Gary Lewis & the Playboys. By the late 60's it seemed music was beginning to evolve, however. Artists such as The Moody Blues and Procol Harum were just making their debut on the rock scene, and their response was well received. By the time 1969 came around, In the Court of the Crimson King must have felt like a rejuvenating breath of fresh air among a polluted atmosphere.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is it - the one historical recording that renders all those preceding it obsolete. The instant "21st Century Schizoid Man's" thunderous chords strike down upon the listener's ears, he can tell this will be a storm unlike any the 60's had ever seen. Never before had classical structures been interwoven with rock and roll aesthetics before, nor with such energy. Actually, "21st Century Schizoid Man" may in fact be the first metal song ever recorded. Honestly, can one listen to the history of rock and roll chronologically and say that anything pre-1969 sounded like this? Coming to this realization triggered a heightened appreciation for the album that I did not initially hold.

Don't be fooled though, this album may be one of the most important landmarks in history, but that does not overshadow the overall musical quality. Each musician performs at the top of his game, and is never bombastic or ridiculous as later King Crimson would show. The completely unexpected (and in my opinion unnecessary) noodling in "Moonchild" may be the only sign of pretentiousness on the entire album. Honestly, this section tests my patience to the point where instead I almost wish I was listening to my mom babble on about soap operas. Sadly, it's the one part I skip over nearly every listen. Can someone please explain why they included this on the album? In addition to the random tuning "Moonchild", In the Court of the Crimson King has its faults - one of these being the overall length of the album, which in my opinion falls way too short. I have to admit though; this is a problem I find with many "old" albums. I guess one could only fit so much time on a single LP!

Even though the album has its flaws, the high points are so pronounced that I cannot give this album anything less than a full five stars. "Epitaph" and the title track have rightfully earned their places amongst the most profound pieces of music to ever enter my life. The walls are down and the emotions flood loose, submerging the listener in a wave of minor key despair. "Epitaph's" opening washes of mellotron never fail to send a chill spiraling down my spine, offering me a sense of euphoria that just cannot be found elsewhere. I am carried off into an mystical land, and it is times like this that I think "this must be what heaven is like." Other points as well, such as the mellotron interlude in the title track, cause me to wonder how mere humans are capable of producing such extraordinary power. It is almost as if ancient, earthly spirit is channeling its will into these musicians, in an attempt to convey a long lost message. Honestly, I feel like this music is supernatural at times!

Anyway, I think those familiar to prog have already arrived at a consensus that this is one of the great art works of our time. As for anyone making an attempt at their first progressive recipe, In the Court of the Crimson King is one of its absolute essential ingredients.

Report this review (#155539)
Posted Saturday, December 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In the Court of the Crimson King is without a doubt one of the great prog rock classics. When you listen to this album you will understand why. Great epic tracks, lots of mellotron, and exciting arrangements. Some of the things we identify with prog rock. Those characteristics weren´t very normal in 1969 and therefore King Crimson should be considered as one of the inventors of prog rock.

Even though this is a prog rock classic, I don´t find it to be a masterpiece, there are flaws on this classic album that cannot be ignored. The biggest being the experimental piece in Moonchild which is really pointless noise to my ears and enough for this album to go from 5 to 4 stars in my book. Unfortunately the noisy experiments would continue on later King Crimson albums but on In the Court of the Crimson King this is fortunately the only place.

The songs are very mellow and majestic with the exception of 21st Century Schizoid Man which is the most experimental and innovative song on the album. It´s actually pretty heavy and Greg Lake´s vocals are distorted. The middle section with the horns, which I think is really cool always remind me of the band in the bar in the first Star Wars movie.

I Talk to the Wind is a mellow song with some great flute playing.

Epitaph is a very majestic song. The vocal melody is really beautiful.

Well you already know what my feelings are for the most of Moonchild. The section with vocals is really great though and it really doesn´t deserve to be ruined by the pointless noise that occur later.

The Court of the Crimson King is the ending epic of the album, and the most majestic song on the album. Lots of mellotron is used on this song.

All in all In the Court of the Crimson King is not a full masterpiece IMO, but it is a really fine and excellent addition to your prog collection ( Well everybody probably got it already, but to those of you who have lived under a rock, go buy it).

Report this review (#157008)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh, what an extraordinary album ! I listened to In The Court Of The Crimson King first, I was about 12 years old (now I'm 25 !), and it was kind of a shock. An intense, emotional musical shock. From the violent and oppressive first track '21st Century Schizoid Man' to the magnificence of the last (and title) track, including the purity of 'I Talk To The Wind'... No weak song here. Only five tracks, five long tracks (perhaps 'Moonchild' is a little too long), but every single track is an achievement in prog-rock history. And that sleeve, my God...Part funny and oppressive, a masterpiece !

This album is one of the few you must take with you on your personal desert island.

Report this review (#157014)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is historic. This can't be considered to the first prog album ever released, since there was some stuff that preceeded it that had enough qualities to call prog, case in point being frank zappa. However, this is the blueprint on which the prog explosion was based. This being my first prog album (apart from floyd), when I listened to other albums, I could hear the influence of this album all over the place. As a matter of fact, If you look at the 70's prog scene, and look at the music before this album, it is a larger jump to this album then it is from it. I seriously consider it to be that unprecedented. Heck, 21st century schizoid man is before bitches brew. How is that for anticipating? Before Bitches brew, fusion was somewhat like prog. existant but not there. So, historically, this album is absolutly essential. This album is a revolution.

If you aren't interested in history, but rather quality, then this album does not dissapoint. The members are what make this album so great. Robert fripp wasn't the king he is today, and this can be observed by looking at the next three albums, which while being very good, lack what this album has. Ian McDonald is quite the musician, and his influence is what I believe pushed this album over the edge. This album is a concept album of sorts, which runs backwards throught time, starting with the 21st century (the future) and moving to the past (the court of the crimson king). The centerpiece of this is the song Epitaph. This song is the present, in 1969, that was the vietnam war. The lyrics reflect this to a degree, with Will no one lay the laurel wreath/ As silence drowns the screams. being one of my favorite lines ever written in a song. Puzzling over the lyrics to this album as a great time waster, as they are very cryptic, but beautiful and full of meaning, all sorts of allusions and references. The music itself is brilliant. There ar plenty of other reviews that talk about it. Before you listen to the music, to get a context, play some beatles, beach boys, jimi hendrix, early the who. With context in mind, this album should absolutly blow you away. The first song is like heavy metal several years before it was this heavy, with a bunch of free jazz, standard jazz, and schizophrenia thrown in. The second song is a pretty ballad, which isn't revolutionary but is beautiful. The third song is absolutly epic, with etensive mellotron to mimic a string section, and this crescendo in the middle which gives me goosebumps to this day. The fourth song is a ballad with an extended improvisation in the middle. It is a lovely song, but it is a bit hard to appreciate for some people. This improv was initially done with Peter Sinfield (the lyricist) shining different colored lights and the musicians pllaying off of them. This is a point in the album where one can relax ones ears a bit and enjoy the ambience. It is a good song really, and it doesn't deserve the derision it gets. Fans of free jazz should appreciate this song. The final song is even more epic then epitaph. The lyrics are the most cryptic here, but the melody, the instrumentation, and everything is flawless. It is a fitting end to a perfect album.

Report this review (#157145)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

Well, most of us know this is one of the most important recordings of the progressive rock genre. It was my first 'classic period' prog record and it still is one of my favorite progressive albums ever made. It's majestic appeal, atmosphere and cover are legendary and it's innovative and professional approach on symphonic music can been seen as a foundation for the genre. Furthermore it was the first great achievement for Robert Fripp, Greg Lake (later to join ELP) and lyricist Peter Sinfield (KC, ELP, PFM).

21th Century Schizoid Man is an up-tempo jazz-rock track with an interesting wind-section, heavy guitars and THE perfect bass-lines. The couplet theme with it's distinct distorted guitar and vocals is strange and very very catchy. The instrumental parts of the song are legendary with as a highlight the parts with the short silences between the melodies played by the band.

I talk to the Wind is one of my favorite ballads of all time. It's atmosphere and devotion is so good that it remains a one-of-a-kind song today. The wind-section is particularly good with amazing flutes played by McDonald. The guitar plays a gentle role and the vocals are intimate. The lyrics are the lyrics ever written by Sinfield in my opinion. This songs has nothing to do with the rock genre, but no-one I know off has yet disliked it. It's magic on a record.

Epitaph is one of the first epics of KC. With an impressive and bombastic main theme with mellotrons (yeeeeh!) and a intimate couplet theme with lyrics about the inglorious side of war, fear and the philosophical approach on how mankind's ethics are not ready for it's technology yet. Another magical songs with an impressive and incredible influential sound.

Moonchild on side two has two parts. The first two and a halve minutes are filled with an amazing magical song, perhaps a bit like I talk to the Wind. The other ten minutes of the recording are filled with the band improvising in a seemingly meaningless fashion. A lot of random sounds, no repetition, no logic. This long sit can be seen as an atmospheric interpretation. A lot of people have found themselves having trouble with strange part of the album. It's quality isn't as high as all the other material and the term 'failed experiment' comes to mind. Still this part can grow on you as it did on me and it does make the next some much better somehow...

In the Court of the Crimson King. An indescribable song of in-human genius. One of a kind, one of the best. It's main-theme is hypnotically attractive and it's lyrics are very inspired. The many instrumental parts are innovative and the comeback at the end with it's almost metal guitar shrieks are amazing. One of the best epics of the progressive genre.

Conclusion. BUY.

Report this review (#157295)
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This may have been the first true prog album, but that doesn't make it one of the best; indeed, listening to it now 35 years after I bought it, its flaws are all too obvious. The crashing chords, dissonant sax and distorted vocals of Twenty Furst Century Schizoid Man do not form a good start and nothing can redeem the track, not even the jazzy section in the middle where the drums, bass and sax produce an excellent basis which is spoilt by a dreadful guitar solo without melody or form. I Talk to the Wind is simply boring. Epitaph raises the standard considerably with Greg Lake giving a superb vocal performance on a track which is by far the highlight of the album and epic in a low key way. Then follows Moonchild which, after the first minute or so descends into 10 minutes of utterly aimless, pointless improvisation which is a total waste of vinyl. The title track manages to salvage something with its swathes of mellotron and another fine vocal performance from Lake, who emerges from the album with considerable credit.

I would have to say that it is a good job that prog progressed greatly from this experimental and ground breaking release, otherwise I would never have become a fan. I guess King Crimson just isn't my cup of tea.

Report this review (#157299)
Posted Monday, December 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars (Review re-edit 5/16/2009)

I can't but agree that IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING is one of THE seminal albums in progressive rock. It's very debatable whether or not this is the first ever progressive rock album, but I do feel that the ''classic'' progressive rock sound was first achieved here, and this served as a blueprint for future prog rock bands.

The main weapon here is the mellotron. Tracks 2-5 feature the instrument quite heavily in spots, notably the title track. I think the reason why so many people melt over the mellotron passages on this album is because they act as a surrogate orchestra, therefore giving the pieces an overt classical type feel without overdoing it with an actual orchestra. Plus, the sound is very majestic and grandiose which fit prog rock well.

The trump card here is ''21st Century Schizoid Man'', a dark, loud, urgent piece of music that just begs for you to pay attention. This was the very first Crimson piece I ever heard, and as a consequence of the heavy guitars, amazing sax figures, offbeat unison sections and most notably, that recognisable riff, I quickly became latched onto the song and the band itself. It's only after a few listens that I've discovered how manic the bass and drums are, particularly in the middle instrumental section.

The only song that might give you a headache would be ''Moonchild''. I tend to think the ballad at the beginning is quite boring, but after two minutes the song goes into some weird improvisational stuff that can be best described as goofing around in the studio. Otherwise, I'd say that this might be a key album in understanding how progressive rock works. Although several other albums might do this as well, IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING is one of the bigger ones that can serve as a gateway into progressive rock.

Report this review (#158211)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars We might argue whether this album represents the beginning of the prog rock movement or not, but it certainly set some standards in rock music. It's NOT about incorporating passages of classical music into rock - it's about cohesive and intelligent overall picture. It's about DETAILS.

Hence, this is The Thing. And a great one at that. It's not perfect, or 100% suitable for my taste, but it's a masterpiece - in a real meaning of that word.

Does it sound dated a little bit nowadays? It's up to you. However, try to imagine how it was back in the 1969 when the album hit the market. Way ahead its time! Production, the sound, approach...Mellotrons, processed vocals, futuristic/fantasy themes...a stellar album compared to your average muddy blues record of the era.

Here's why is this album important: it represents The Very Answer what The Progressive Rock is. You may dislike it, but if you think that at least some aspect of it is progressive, take it and apply it in any way you like: that's it.

If you absolutely dislike it, that's fine. But if you think this record does not contain a single element of progressiveness in music, I really doubt you know what the progressive music is.

Report this review (#158651)
Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the Court of the Crimson King is still one of King Crimson's masterpieces. It is still probably one of the first prog albums, along with bands like Jethro Tull.

To start off, 21st Century Schizoid Man is a great prog rocker that pretty much started the grunge era. Its solo is still widely regarded as one of the best solos ever. I Talk to the Wind is a very nice and delicate piece, with a lot of flute playing by Ian McDonald. Epitaph is a very melancholy ballad with death- describing lyrics. Moonchild is a nice ballad, but I feel the solo goes on too long. Then, finally, the tile track! This is a very bombast song! This song is almost perfect.

Overall, this is a great album, but I still think that Moonchild could have been better.

By the way, I would really rate this 4.5.

Report this review (#160527)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson's observation, or In the Court of the Crimson King has got to be one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard in my life. The record starts out with the booming, aggressive '21st Century Schizoid Man', clad with Robert Fripp's insane guitar solo and the protesting vocal work that intermittently weaves throughout the song in between the heavy guitar chops. This track is followed by a quick switch(which can easily be compared to manic-depression) to 'I Talk to the Wind', a beautiful track that literally brings me to tears. This ventures off into the next two tracks which are the long winding road to '[In] the Court of the Crimson King', which is a fantastic anthem that brings the record to a crashing end.

After this record stopped, I sat there, heart pounding, ready to flip the record and start it over again. This album is a pure essential to not only prog fans, but any listener(whether they be familiar with many forms of music or complete neophytes).

Report this review (#161986)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars In terms of its influence on others, this is a very significant album. Most notably Genesis were influenced and directed by its content, and this showed in some of their work on their early album "Trespass" (listen to their track "The knife").

This album contains one of the most unique and powerful songs to grace the prog rock world in "21st century schizoid man" - vocals angrily shouted in a distorted manner, and the most disturbing sounds you are ever likely to hear from a saxophone - but it all works brilliantly to convey its message.

The album features notable musicians, but all are eclipsed by the eccentric, wildly imaginative and totally unique Robert Fripp. Yet for all this, the truth is that apart from the title track and "21st Century." this is a lightweight album of little substance.

"In the court of the Crimson King", the title track displays a symphonic majesty rarely heard of at the time. This sound was however to be heard more commonly when other groups such as genesis started to be influenced by this style.

The piece that does the most damage to this album is "Moonchild". The opening two minutes or so of this piece starts out as a beautifully crafted dream like ballad - but then it transcends into 10 minutes or so of barely audible chimes and taps on the drum. No doubt in its day it was though of as a cool track to meditate to, but in reality it is an abysmal, empty track filler.

The other tracks in the album fare better, but compared against the later works of King Crimson are fairly forgettable.

Nevertheless, because of the significance on the influencing of many other bands, and the quality of the two above mentioned tracks, this album deserves 3 (and a half) stars.

Report this review (#162912)
Posted Friday, February 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars EDIT (1/3/10): Just because something is historically important doesn't make it good! Original review still intact though as the album is pretty majestic, but EXTREMELY dated.

In the Court is not the greatest progressive rock album ever created, however it is one of the most important ones. The almost legendary status this album has attained makes it hard for it to live up to the hype. I personally adore this album, but I understand why some don't. Also, it is not the easiest work to get into as there are many subtleties in every song (excluding perhaps 21st Century Schizoid Man). A rewarding listen for anyone who wants to witness prog at its early stages.

21st Century Schizoid Man is probably King Crimson's most famous song, and for good reason. Right from the first riff you can already hear the creative drumming and powerful guitar. Greg Lake's voice is masked by a distortion effect, it sounds good though. The best part of the song is the middle section (subtitled Mirrors) because of great improvisation by the bass, and the guitar and trumpet solos. In live versions the middle section is extended in a more free form improv. Hear what I think is the definitive version from the Earthbound release. The song goes into a stop and go section where all instruments play the same thing in staccato fashion, then replays the beginning section all without missing a beat. Fun Fact: This song was recorded in one take.

I Talk to the Wind is a commonly overlooked song (largely overshadowed by Epitaph and the title track) which is a shame as its still a good laidback song. Lake gets some vocal time, which is a plus for those who love the man's voice. The minimal guitar is perfectly played and the drums are very jazzy. Taking the lead in this song is the flute, which provides a beautifully played solo as well. Potentially could drag on for some people who were expecting another rocker like Schizoid Man, however still a great song to relax to.

Epitaph is next. Right from the first drum roll the song sounds epic. The mellotron is played magnificently and the guitar again has a minimal but pivotal role. Lake's singing is beautiful here. At around four minutes the song is doused in mellotron and begins to sound even more epic. For the next minute, the bass drum echoes and Fripp's guitar strikes the same chord repeatedly before Lake resumes singing. Everything comes to a close as Lake's voice fades away and the mellotron sings sorrowfully before fading away. There is no point where the song sounds boring or overdrawn.

Moonchild has often been derided for having an overly long improved section. The first part of the song is a beautiful lullaby with great drum work and (again) minimal but pivotal guitar. Definitely an overlooked gem. The next nine minutes are subtitled The Illusion, but really its just an extended improvisation. Mildly interesting for the first three minutes but way too long for comfort. It really is nothing other than filler. In the words of Ian MacDonald in an interview with Classic Rock Magazine, 'We'd run out of material. And we didn't want to put a cover tune on our first album. So we were left with a gap; we needed another seven to nine minutes...Mike, Robert, and I went back into the studio, set the tape rolling, and just improvised for about ten minutes.'

In the Court of the Crimson King is the second majestic track on this album (first being Epitaph). The mellotron and drums set the stage for the first thirty seconds. Then comes the most powerful six note melody ever to come out of a guitar. Enter Lake's voice. A high point of the song is definitely the 'aaahhhh' chorus, which admittedly repeats a few too many times. Each instrument adds something without taking control. Lake's voice however, holds no prisoners. The song fades out. There is silence, and then flutes and reeds interact in a magical way. Unfortunately, drums come in and ruin the moment as the song must regretfully come to an end.

I've done a lot of praising of each song, but I believe it is deserved. This album is very simple and minimalistic and its better for it. It has a certain aura attached to it, whether its a result of the album's status or a product of the music itself is besides the point as either way it is a great listen. Whatever you may think of it, the musicians are all talented and this album deserves praise.

NOTE ON THE RATING: When I rate, I rate based on the website's words next to the stars. While In the Court has some flaws, that does not mitigate its impact on the music world. Had it come out now, it would not be deserving of a five star rating, but as it stands, this album is Essential.

Report this review (#164302)
Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
5 stars Review 17, In the Court Of the Crimson King, King Crimson, 1969


An old crush, that I can never, no matter how hard I try, get rid of. I have managed to persuade myself at different times that it's not that groundbreaking, decide that Court itself is way too bombastic, and that the mellotron is too thick for me, that the improvisation on The Illusion is utterly pointless, that this album doesn't deserve even five stars. However, every time I hear the first throb of 21st Century Schizoid Man, all these delusions disappear. An absolutely stunning album from start to finish. Much like ELP's debut, this is only made more amazing by the variety of material on the album: jazz rock, softer songs, an extended improvised section, grandiose emotional pieces with a very epic feel. Artistic and emotive, very musically tight and diverse, and with Sinfield's amazing lyrics fitting each song perfectly. Just perfect. An almost unique six star rating (the other being Larks' Tongues In Aspic).

21st Century Schizoid Man is, in my opinion, the greatest opener ever, perhaps even the greatest song ever. Two subdued throbs on a mellotron give way to a driving, powerful sax riff, Fripp's guitar with fuzz box hammering through behind it, stunning drumming from Mike Giles and Lake's almost-spat out, distorted vocals. After the second verse, it moves into a stunning jazzy 'jam' (I don't know quite how to describe it: too organised and tight to be a 'jam') with bass, sax, drums and jazz guitar emerging from the mix at different moments, and then a forceful, brilliant return to the main riff. The last verse takes the song to another peak, and it ends with an insane, chaotic splintering combination of the instruments. Sinfield provides brilliant, gripping, evocative lyrics, perfectly fitting the music. Designed to be played in a dark room at an obscene volume. This song alone has more merit than most complete albums.

I Talk To The Wind is a very sharp contrast to the opener, but it works superbly in the context. A very soft song, particularly showcasing Greg Lake's voice, a beautiful flute part from Ian McDonald and Mike Giles' enchanting percussion. The vocal and instrumental sections both stand out. Truly magical. Sinfield's lyrics again fit in very neatly, and can really transport the listener to another state of mind. Very simple in format, but nonetheless perfect. Not your average ballad.

Epitaph can only be described by itself. Pure emotion trapped inside 8 minutes and 47 seconds of music. Again, a completely outstanding song, with more of Sinfield's superb lyrical contributions. Greg Lake's vocals, Fripp's acoustic guitar, McDonald's mellotron and piano and Mike Giles' drumming especially stand out. In fact, everything stands out. Another dose of musical perfection, and another dose of imagery.

Moonchild is the strangest of the expressions in the album, but no less effective. It begins with the haunting Dream, with the sublime guitar part from Fripp, a bit of subtly used Mellotron and Greg Lake's beautiful vocals introducing the idea: moonlight. Mike Giles provides more of his unusual percussion. After a few minutes, the largely improvised (according to most things I've heard about it) 'The Illusion' section begins. It echoes and brings up the lyrics and the imagery, cycling through the actions of the moonlight described by Sinfield's lyrics. The improvisation leads fluently to another arranged section, suggesting a slow dawn, and the shadows of the night gradually vanishing. A musical painting, and a greatly under-rated one.

In The Court Of The Crimson King crashes into existence with a thu-thu-thu-thub from Mike Giles and the suffocating, thick mellotron riff that is the core of the song. The verses are composed mainly of pretty acoustic guitar, vocals and a careful, directing drum part, and have a very medieval feel. As it moves onto the repeated 'chorus' line, perhaps the most impressive use of block vocals in rock history, the choking mellotron returns. Sinfield again provides superb lyrics with a very bitter, dark edge. Of especial note are the instrumental Return Of The Fire Witch, highlighting Ian McDonald's skill on the flute, with a sort of weird borderline improvisation around it from Lake, Fripp and Giles, and the double-conclusion. The first conclusion is a relatively simple vocal or mellotron (can't really tell which) fade out, probably responsible for the end of Genesis' Visions Of Angels. Giles provides a couple of taps on the percussion, and a mocking reed organ begins playing. We are treated to a brief solo from Mike Giles, and then McDonald and the band return to provide a full overblown repeat of the main riff, driving slowly towards a superb and hectic conclusion, echoing the end of Schizoid Man.

One of my introductions to prog rock, and yet still improving with every listen. Mike Giles' drumming here is perhaps my joint favourite for any album overall (together with ELP's Tarkus), and demonstrates how you can escape the mould for a musician even as a drummer. If not for Robert Fripp's ability to go on and keep making superb material with several completely different line-ups of King Crimson, the departure of Lake, Giles and McDonald after this album would be an utter tragedy. This album is genuine art as music. Peter Sinfield's lyrics, as I have pointed out earlier, are absolutely the best throughout this album, on a par with Roger Waters' Echoes. A stunning series of images, and a true observation. Art at its finest.

Rating: Six Stars. It's the other Larks' Tongues In Aspic.

Favourite Track: 21st Century Schizoid Man

Report this review (#164840)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars PROLOGUE

Now before jumping into the deep end, let's take a trip back in time to the second half and the close of the 60s. This was a fairly experimental period on many fronts... the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's and Abbey Road. John Coltrane was experimenting with free jazz and Sun Ra had been there even longer. Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, the Velvet Underground and Captain Beefheart were experimental forces of the era too. Psychedelic rock was simply everywhere. With the long jams, hippie themes and higher degree of virtuosity required, the musicians of the era experimented with a hard rock type of sound and broke through barriers. Most of these psychedelic bands would go on to be forgotten in the sands of time, but there were some more popular ones who stuck around (the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd etc.).

As psychedelic musicians experimented more and more, they ushered in a new type of music, progressive rock, and the border between the genres can be rather blurred at times. Some of the bigger pioneering bands of progressive rock were the Doors with their darker lyrical themes, the Who with their rock operas, Deep Purple with their organ fitted heavy prog sound, and Can, Pink Floyd and the Beatles with their pure experimentation. The German psychedelia scene would later give rise to krautrock (a subgenre of prog rock), but before that came King Crimson. Now while it is arguable as to whether King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King was the first pure progressive rock album ever, it is certainly the most important album in the creation of the genre, and is the earliest progressive rock album I have ever heard. King Crimson created progressive rock and propelled themselves forward as a major direct influence on the other big early prog bands like Yes, ELP and Genesis. In fact, they went on to influence those who influenced them.


01 - 21st Century Schizoid Man: 21st Century Schizoid Man isn't exactly jam packed with lyrics, but the ones that are there are very poignant. In my mind, it attempts to paint a portrait of a man from the future. With lines like Cat's foot, iron claw, Poets starving, children bleed and Innocents raped with napalm fire, the lyrics give the impression that our schizoid man harks from a time where technology is absolute, art has been forgotten and war and conflict are rife.

The song starts out with ambience pockmarked with 'industrial' noises, and at about the 30 second mark, the song kicks in with what I call 'the monster riff', and upon hearing it, my reasoning will be obvious. And after this grandiose and heavy opening, Greg Lake starts chanting the first verse in a distorted caustic voice. After dipping back into the monster riff which signifies that the first section isn't yet over, Lake comes in with the second verse which is more bellicose in nature and is followed by one more rendition of the monster riff. A three note buildup which breaks into a circus-like saxophone riff marks the beginning of the energetic jam section. Robert Fripp's guitarwork is abrasive, and his 'anti-guitar solo' adds to the chaos, and though he is soloing, it's worth pointing out that Greg Lake on bass is practically soloing at the same time too, without overcrowding the song. Lake might not be Tony Levin, but at this point and throughout the song, his basswork is actually stunning. While the saxophone gives the song a jazzy feel at certain times, it is nothing short of demonic at other times - most notably around the halfway mark of the song where Ian McDonald comes in with a beautifully dissonant and distorted sounding saxophone solo, which is followed by a 'normal' jazzy sax solo (if I can call it normal). The monster riff concludes the jam as Lake shouts the third verse. And to finish off the song we have an incredibly frenetic burst of instrumental 'contributions' as every musician speaks his part at once.

02 - I Talk to the Wind: Instantly following the frenetic ending of the last song, in an arrant contrast, we are met by the calm dulcet tones of McDonald's flute playing which is the lead instrument throughout this song. With the enchanting beauty of the flute-playing, the addition of woodwind instruments, Fripp's occasional harmonics and the amazingly precise and delicate drumming of Giles which doesn't deviate from the song at all, Lake delivers all four of the song's verses in a flowing and dreamy fashion. The opening lines Said the straight man to the late man. Where have you been? eloquently suggest a conversation between a straight man (a conventional everyday working man) and a late man (an unconventional and peaceful man of his own ways, a hippie). The rest of the lyrics, in essence, are the late man's reply to the straight man's question which occupy three and a half verses. From his reply, my impression is that the late man is at peace with nature but largely disillusioned with and disconnected from society. Following that, McDonald plays a lush flute solo which is followed by a very gentle Fripp solo. Lake rejoins in the vocal deparment as he repeats the chorus and the first verse. And just as the flutework sounds like it's adding the finishing touches to a sculpture and you think the song is about to end, McDonald's flute soloing comes back into the fray, if possible, even better than before. The song finishes as McDonald's flute fades away.

03 - Epitaph: With a drum-roll, Epitaph commences and Fripp provides some extremely sorrowful sounding guitar wails backed by arpeggiated acoustic notes and drenched in mellotron. Then all goes silent and Greg Lake comes in, soulfully singing over his 3 note bass arpeggios, and this is really where the song starts to scream epic. Lake truly sounds like a prophetic doomsayer in this song, as if he's warning of imminent disaster looming over the world. And the vocals/lyrics are the major focus of this song. In the credits, Epitaph is divided into two halves, March for No Reason and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. In the first verse, the protagonist puts forward the idea that the world is troubled, the end is near, and everyone is deeply unhappy but no-one will step up and do anything about it. This verse is followed by the mellotron punctuated chorus which shows that the protagonist understands exactly what is happening, but he is possibly confused as to why no-one else understands. He professes the idea that he will be unhappy forever. Fripp's wailing guitar separates this from the second verse, in which the protagonist goes back a bit in history and talks of the seeds of time being sown at the start of the world. He mentions that the world has been shaped by those who are well known (possibly referring to people who aren't fit to rule but pick up the baton and hold tenure by birthright). This interpretation is reinforced by the last lines of the verse as Lake laments that The fate of mankind I see, is in the hands of fools. Now, I am not exactly sure where the song is divided but I'm guessing that Tomorrow and Tomorrow starts after a one note mellotron crescendo which grows in volume and bursts into some acoustic arpeggios. What follows is some long acoustic chords strummed in a medieval manner and a flute/woodwind section. Lake comes back in with the first verse and the chorus, and the song finishes with Lake wailing the last line over and over and the last word even more so, accompanied of course, by strong mellotron notes.

04 - Moonchild: Now Moonchild is quite an interesting song. Like Epitaph it is divided into 2 parts: The Dream, which has a duration of approximately two and half minutes, and the Illusion, which spans the rest of the song (almost ten minutes). The Dream is as pretty and delicate as I Talk to the Wind, but rather different in mood - it's much more eerie and spacey and is perfected down to the drumbeat. I don't really know what to make of the lyrics - my interpretation is that they simply describe a lady called Moonchild in all her elegance, but it's quite possible that there's a reference I don't understand here. Regardless, Sinfield's poetic eloquence shines through here as he pairs up Dancing in the shallows of a river with Dreaming in the shadow of the willow.

Around the 2:30 mark, The Dream transforms into the Illusion which is a freeform improvisation. Most reviewers would agree that The Dream is a pleasant section, but many of those reviewers would consider Moonchild a weak song because of presence of the Illusion, the ten minute improvisation. Personally, I don't think the Moonchild is a bad song at all, but I do think it's the weakest on the album and that the Illusion could be shortened in length. I'm not going to pretend that the Illusion doesn't contain any musical noodling, but it's noodling of the free jazz type rather than the musician shredding type. And if anything, that makes it more inaccessible to the contemporary listener, but better in my opinion. I find it rather relaxing and I enjoy listening to the instruments 'talking to each other' in short bursts. It is most cohesive in the last two minutes or so, but it doesn't really climax in any way. It's not bad, but it certainly pales in comparison to the improvisational brilliance of Providence from their later album, Red.

05 - The Court of the Crimson King: This song opens with mellotron and both the music and lyrics conjure medieval imagery. The Crimson King supposedly refers to the 13th century Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick II. Each verse is concluded by a choral 'Kiiiinnnnggg. Aaaaaaah' sound which really adds to the dramatic/epic elements of the song. After the second and third verses, we have instrumental sections full of acoustic guitar, flutes, mellotron and woodwinds. A few drumstrokes signal what seems to be the end of the song, but after that there is a flute buildup and the true ending of the album unfolds in all its beauty. This song in particular, laid the foundations for symphonic prog, where bands like Yes and Genesis would start from.


With virtuosity of the highest degree, brilliant songwriting, eclectic influences, brutal originality, ambition, use of textures, amazing ability to convey imagery and Sinfield as his lyrical peak, it is easy to see why this album was so influential in the creation of progressive rock. King Crimson provides quite a range of music here... we see heavy metal, jazz, folk, rock and avant-garde. Fripp certainly nods to classical and medieval music too. Little has a mellotron seen such great use before this.

While this may not be considered King Crimson's classic lineup, I do wish they wrote more albums with this lineup. Before their next album, they would lose Ian McDonald who played a huge part in this album. While this is a stellar debut, King Crimson would go on to change their sound over time and progress, as is the nature of progressive rock bands.

Report this review (#165656)
Posted Friday, April 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Only one question. If The Court Of The Crimson King not essential, then what is essential? Maybe it is not very complex progrock, but from start to finish it is mysterious and inspirieren. 21st Century schizoid man Mirrors - open gate to all prog genre, and this is not essential? I talk to the wind - fairytale where to hide oneself, and this is not essential? Epitaph - wall of melatrons and heartbreaking plainsong, and this is not essential? Moonchild - krautrock in Crimson way, and this is not essential? The court of the crimson king - symphonic hymn for all prog genre, and this is not essential?

All in good vibration, and this not inessential, because this is essential!

If The Court Of The Crimson King not essential, then what is essential?

Report this review (#165902)
Posted Sunday, April 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Of course I felt nervous while playing In The Court Of The Crimson King for the first time. So many glowing reviews, such a milestone in progressive music. What if I don't like it?

But I did. I really did, and it's been a real pleasure listening to ITCOTCK next to Lizard for a while now. A diverse and rewarding album which has a unique characteristic in that it is so utterly fresh (for its time) and still feels very rooted in an older tradition of music, whatever that one might be. Stunning from beginning to end, its freshness hasn't faded, even though I'm listening to it almost forty years after its release. It's quite a warm album, mixed with enchanting melancholia and fantastic surrealistic musical landscapes, painted both by the instrumental and vocal performances and the madness of Peter Sinfield's vision. The album is so strong in imagery. Few other efforts match it, especially with the highly expressive and omnipresent Mellotron, enriching the album with an atmosphere only that instrument can create. There isn't a single weak spot to be found. I've tried to find them, for a while I even wanted to find them, just so I could say that ITCOTCK is flawed. It's not. There are dips in the quality though, I admit that. But as with any other masterpiece album, they are never below 'really good'.

21st Century Schizoid Man is a musical slap in the face, from start to finish, and just as its title suggest it's an exposé of a twisted mind. Distorted, disturbing vocals from Greg Lake and powerful drumming together with a crushingly loud riff before everything falls apart in a wild, frantic jazzy section with saxophone all over the place. Raging along together in a paranoid fashion with Fripp's evil guitar soloing on top of everything, it eventually returns to the main theme of the song, only to fall into chaos again by the finishing cacophony.

Quite a jump then to the beauty of I Talk To The Wind. Nice ballad with a soothing performance from both Lake and Fripp, hovering on delicate flute. Weakest song on the album according to me, as it isn't as instantly commanding as the others. Strangely accessible for Crimson as well. Still has its function here though, and wonderfully relaxing. Epitaph on the other hand, is just stunning. One of those songs that really can't be described by words alone. Trapped emotion, perhaps? And the soaring Mellotron together with all of that makes it one of the best tracks here.

It's perfectly reasonable that Moonchild is loathed by many, with a drawn-out improvised section. Uncertain, meandering and yet very delicate and beautiful, I just like it. Some music has the power to take you to unexpected places and Moonchild is made of such material.

What finally concludes the album, is also the best of the best. The title track, a powerful, abstract story riddled with mystery and imagination unleashes the mellotron in all its glory and has one of the best refrains I've heard so far in rock music. A choir effect, be it from the assembled vocals of the band or from the mellotron, always makes me smile. Perfection. Enter the flute for a great interlude with careful percussion until Lake returns for the main theme once again. And just as you think the song is over, you're served another interlude with a delicately careful organ until a spiced-up, last reprisal of the main riff is played once again and then.just a touch of the initial madness found on 21st Century Schizoid Man. And there it is: a full circle!



Report this review (#168246)
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album got me from the first notes It's amazing this kind of jazzie sound and weird stuff the ones that i like more are 21st century... it remembers me an old style of chase, like dick tracy or something, very groovie and jazz And I talk to the wind it's a beautiful peace, and what is surprising to me in this song is that th music creates a big contrast with the lyrics (about something that can't exprees itself with the others) and are kind of sad, but very inspirating

Rellay, this is one of the masterpieces of all prog music

Report this review (#168314)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Crown of Thorns

Time for a little revisionism here methinks...

Reviewers of this album are often at a loss to reconcile the disparity between its indisputable influence and its musical merit. In the case of the former, it made Prog mainstream and served to convince the money men that this type of artistic expression could shift shed loads of units. In the case of the latter, we are left with an endearing work that left its indelible mark on all those who fell within its magical slipstream. Yes, this is one of the most important prog records EVER No, this is NOT the flawless masterpiece touted as a 5 star effort by most of the genre's myopic curators.

Therefore, at the risk of appearing bludgeoning, there are only three tracks on this record that you really couldn't live without: 21st Century Schizoid Man - Epitaph - In the Court of the Crimson King

The remainder are pleasant enough but do inevitably betray the origins of the band in its gestation period of hippy 60's pop through free-form freakout wankery. e.g. Giles + Giles + Fripp = Flanders + Swann + flares + chemicals

What is also interesting about this record is that it subsequently shaped everyone's perceptions of what King Crimson were about, irrespective of how much they grew and developed over time. To wit, mention the name to anyone over 40 and you will get that that tiresome lazy association of ideas - Groovy baby, peace man, far out, let's all make love etc Anyone who has heard the band live circa 69-70 will testify that In the Court only hints at the sort of ferocity and confrontational power integral to an audience with the reigning 'King Progress'. The irony of their 'hippy drippy' label is one that probably hindered Crimson's material success in later incarnations. If you seek further evidence, check out the numerous Collectors Club releases lovingly remastered by Robert Fripp himself to see the sort of feral jazz intensity they exuded live.

So for me at any rate, this album is not even representative of our fave red critter at the time of its release and it could be argued that Court was culpable in creating a level of expectation amongst it's subjects that the Crimson King was never really in a position to satisfy. Much of this music has aged far less gracefully that that of it's contemporaries (the Nice, Procul Harum, Arthur Brown etc) and notwithstanding the three indispensable tracks, those earnest apologists for Moonchild must be guilty of intuiting the 'Music of the Spheres' from the sound of their engines idling at a red light.

Report this review (#168989)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first progressive-melancholic-driven rock masterpiece ever. A perfect combination of Greg Lake singular-pussyfooting vocals, Ian McDonald timeless saxophones, Michel Giles thunderstorm-psycho drumming & Robert Fripp majestic mellotron-driven tunes covered by a loud and schizoid way o guitar- raping.

...and also Sinfield memorable verses into a giant & magnificent piece o artistic network.

Schizoid Man, Epitaph & In the Court... are among the best songs ever recorded by a british rock band, and it´s maybe a general opinion amon pro-rock & art-rock fans & lovers.

Nothing more to say.


Report this review (#169396)
Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Why reviewing any particular work after 662 reviews , all agreed that this is a Masterpiece of progressive rock . Your reviews about this album took at least 40 hours of my time , what was really surprising to me was , that some reviewers spoke my language in this regard . What if the date of release wasn't 1969 , so what will happened if this work observe the light today 3/5/2008 . In fact i know what will happen dear proggers , we will have the same reviews & the same ratings ( ranging between 2 to 5 stars ) But the only difference will be my review & my rating , simply because one way or another in 1969 ( when i was 16 ) In the Court of Crimson King , in addition to few releases at that time like Supertramp first , Fruupp's future legends , Floyd's ummagumma , then Tull's Aqualung , change my life in a complete way , that cannot be described in few lines . What makes these excellent works Masterpieces is not only that we enjoy them . Yes , for sure that in every album there's always some tracks that i don't like , but it doesn't mean that my reviews & ratings has to be effected by a song , MAYBE , i couldn't understand , or addressed to someone else . Can you imagine yourself enjoying a beautiful song like Epitaph , for 32 years , then suddenly you've got the lyrics on the internet . then a dictionnary to translate every single word in it ........... How wonderful this feeling is , So , this is one of few pieces of art that we cannot argue about their ratings . I'm still doing my best to improve both , my reviews & my english language , not to mention my progressive library......................yours Tracks Toni --- N.B = rating in 1969 , 4.5 Stars . rating in 2008 , Now that i really understand the lyrics , this excellent work deserves a 5 Stars .
Report this review (#169756)
Posted Saturday, May 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the beginning...

I do believe this is truly the first prog-rock album. In the late 60's, progressive ideas were in the air, In The Court Of The Crimson King made them evolve in a new music movement. Even though this is a debut album, the musicians showed amazing ability and the tunes are very mellow. Robert Fripp's magnificent guitar, Greg Lake sang like he rarely did again later, Pete Sinfield lyrics gave big contribution to make this record a wonderful one. Ian McDonald's super-symphonic keyboards, how can I forget to mention? ...and also the jazzy drumming by Michael Giles... Let me tell you one thing; This is truly a masterpiece!!! How can you say it isn't? However it's a matter of taste...

Report this review (#169915)
Posted Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Neurosurgeons scream for more

Well, we all do when it comes to this album. Often proclaimed the first progressive album (or at least the most influential), this is certainly a debut release that had magnitude to it. This album is very far ahead of its time (as Crimson often was), it's Jazz-rock fusion sounding almost (almost) like an early form of metal. It's heavy, that for sure, especially at a time when most prog albums were playing it more psychedelic.

There isn't much to say about this album that hasn't been said before, so I'll be brief to avoid being too redundant. This is an album that sounds like it could eat you. You don't listen to this album - It makes you hear it. Blasting guitars shift to calm and chilling segments fueled by a multitude of instruments ranging from guitar to sax and the emotional voice of Greg Lake. 21st Century Schizoid Man is a prog classic, it's frantic pace and solos demand any listener to revisit it over and over again. I Talk To The Wind is best described as sounding like an evil version of Pink Floyd as the boys in the band decide to slow things down for a minute. Epitaph is a terrifying thrill-ride that's propelled further by Greg Lake's excellent delivery of the sad lyrics, ''confusion will be my epitaph''.

Often complained about, Moonchild remains an essential song in the Crimson catalog. It starts with those soft and soothing vocals and then moves into a long and reflective quiet section in which simplicity becomes a thing of majestic beauty. It all closes with that ever classic In The Court Of The Crimson King, another almost scary song which sees the band going back into the Epitaph and 21st Century mood.

Like I said before, it's really hard to add anything to this album that hasn't already been said. This one is definitely essential to every prog rock collection. If you don't already have it, I recommend you try it out to see what all the fuss is about. You won't be disappointed.

PS - this is the 666th review of the album... sweet

Report this review (#170063)
Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I know, I know, it's the dawn of a new era or whatever; and, heck, I'm even a big mellotron fan. However, this album is simply to melancholy, and perhaps, a little too boring for me to consider it a masterpiece. For comparison, I am more impressed by East of Eden's debut album, which came out roughly the same time. The reason I mention this is because it's simply the timing that is important when it comes to this album. Yes, it may have been the single most influential album in experimental rock, especially symphonic rock, but that does not make it the best album. Heck, it's not even King Crimson's best, as I would happily pick out about 8 other albums of KC that I would select before this one. Nevertheless, I'll recommend it just because you are supposed to hear it; and if you already haven't, I'm not exactly sure what it is you are doing here.
Report this review (#170826)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is where all start. Maybe is the first real prog rock album ever. As always King Crimson was marking the way to follow for all the other bands.

Musically this album has 2 great jewels: 21st Century schizoid man and The Court of the Crimson King. The rest in good rock, but nothing extraordinary.

21st Century schizoid man: Excelent and powerful rock song. Lake sings with a really distorsioned voice and plays great bass lines. The drums here are amazing, a lot of breaks and tempo changes.

I Talk to the Wind: Nice ballad, very distintive of Lake's compositions in later ELP. Again the drums play an important role, giving

Epitaph: Is very ambicious, Nice atmosferic keyboards, Lake gives a very emotive interpretation, with his angelical voice.

Moonchild: Another slow song, atmosferic and emotive. A Little boring at times.

The Court of the Crimson King: A real Classic, Everything about this amazing song is already said.

5 Stars, cause this is a key album in prog history

Report this review (#172821)
Posted Sunday, June 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The beginning of Prog Rock...

... and also my entry in the world of Progressive Rock.

This is again an album you will know. So I have a lot of problems what I should write. The musicians are just brilliant, the music either and the cover is one of the great classics. What Robert Fripp in 1969 did is simply amazing. The great opener, 21st Century schizoid man, is a great heavy track. The vocals are distorted and the whole song has a nice wierd feeling. So heavy the first track was, so nice and warm is the secound one. Talk to the Wind. There you can listen to nice flute playing and nice singing. The next song Epitath is another classic. The singing by Greg Lake was nowhere better than on this song. Moonchild is wierd. I like it sometimes but I can't stand this long free jazz part everytime. The last track is pure epic. When you want to listen to some goundbreaking and essential material you should buy this album.

Report this review (#175858)
Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars For my 100th review I knew that I had to pick a very special album and what can be more special than my all-time favorite album? Yes folks, this is the album that turned me overnight from a punk loving schoolboy into a fan of progressive rock.

It has been nearly 10 years since I've heard In The Court Of The Crimson King for the first time but listening to it today it feels almost as fresh and new as the first time, something I consider to be quite extraordinary! If I remember correctly this was not my introduction album to progressive rock, I owe the to either Thick As A Brick or maybe some Pink Floyd-album that my parents had exposed me to as a child. Non-the-less it was this King Crimson debut that made me re-evaluate my musical tastes and values! After listening to it I realized that there was no way I could ever go back to listening to punk and hardcore ever again and up to this day I actually honestly say that I never have!

There is no reason to do a track-by-track walk-through, or even segment-by-segment one for that matter, because after 800+ rating/reviews here on Prog Archives I'm certain that many have managed to do a quite excellent job at that. Instead I shall tell you why I personally consider it to be my favorite album. It's just a beautiful, melodic, instrumental, technical masterpiece in all possible categories. The only tiny flaw I can think of is the prolonged Moonchild instrumental section that drags on for too long but it by no way makes me think less of this fantastic progressive rock debut album.

Masterpiece that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime!

***** star songs: 21st Century Schizoid Man (7:21) I Talk To The Wind (6:05) Epitaph (8:47) The Court Of The Crimson King (9:25)

**** star song: Moonchild (12:13)

Total Rating: 4,72

Report this review (#175917)
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars This album is a very important one for progressive rock, it was one of the first prog rock albums ever and it was extremely influential on other prog groups. All the five songs here are prog classics, especially the opening and closing tracks.

Why is this not a masterpiece of progressive music then? Well, in terms of being a groundbreaking album with a huge influence on others it is. However, the tedious experimental part of Moonchild stops me from giving this five stars. I simply cannot believe that they chose to include this boring improvisation on this album. This shows very bad judgement. But what a relief it is when the title track kicks in.

I should add that this album is the best album by King Crimson by an extremely wide margin. They never again made anything even close to the standards set by this one.

In The Court Of The Crimson King is a classic but not quite a masterpiece.

Report this review (#177331)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars In The Court Of The Crimson King has become not only one of the most important albums of King Crimson but also one of the quintessential albums that spawned the progressive rock movement. Often quoted as the birth of prog rock, the album certainly encompasses all of the characteristics of the genre that we have grown to love: weird, jagged guitar licks, devastating drum time signatures that move outside the standard 4/4 rock signature, keyboards and mellotron pieces that balance the insanity, and all this punctuated by blazing blasts of saxophone that spiral out of control. In other words King Crimson at their best.

The influences of Jazz are prominent throughout and the band are so tight the music tends to punch holes within the fabric of the musicscapes. An example of this is in the awesome '21st Century Schizoid Man'. This song introduced me to the band and I have never looked back, getting hold of any King Crimson I can, I am proud to say I have been Krimsonized. You have to love a band that uses music to express themselves the way King Crimson does. Greg Lake's vocals in '21stCSM' are processed through a vocal transposer that make him sound like some terrible alien machine that is telling mankind where he is going wrong: "Politician's funeral pyre, Innocents raped with Napalm Fire."The lyrics are as potent as the Crim's can be. The feeling of alienation and a barren soundscape are exemplified in the way the song is structured. During the lyrics, a sense of minimalism is produced, then the wall of sound kicks in. The incredible sax and Robert Fripp's screaming guitar complement each other brilliantly throughout the opening half, and then it slows down for a moment before the time signature changes completely and there is an erratic saxophone that locks in and continues while a strange lead guitar howls and reverberates. One of the best things about this section is the way the music seems slightly off kilter, almost out of tune but not quite. There are moments where all instruments cease at once, pause and then begin on cue only to stop again in various rhythm patterns. It is quintessential listening for anyone interested in progressive rock.

Following this maelstrom of sound, the album settles down surprisingly, for where else could it go, into a very melancholy type of song, 'I Talk to the Wind'. This features Ian McDonald's woodwind and the soft vocals of Greg Lake. To be honest, it's not one of my favourite pieces, it all seems so safe and tranquil in comparison to the rest of the album, but I guess as a contrast it works well enough. 'Epitath' is a great track that has been partly resurrected by Greg Lake on ELP's excellent live epic 'Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends' (the last few seconds on CD 1). It has a symphonic component that is created with a heavy blend of mellotron, keyboards and vibes. The lyrics are thought provoking "the wall on which the prophets write is cracking at the seams, upon the instruments of death the sunlight brightly gleams, when every man is torn apart with nightmares and with dreams..." this is where prog rock got its reputation for thought provoking lyrics. The stanzas are confusing, though enlightening and the lyrics revitalise the music, rather than detract. The two cannot exist without the other and are of equal importance. Peter Sinfield was responsible for some of the most provocative lyrics of the prog movement and he is credited on this album for 'words and illumination' interestingly enough.

'Moonchild' is the longest track and annoyingly tends to just go on and on, almost as a complete improvisation in the studio recorded without forethought at times. I know this is one of the most annoying things about this band that I love, but it is also the reason that they are outstanding; they do improvise in concert substantially, and it has garnered their reputation for jazz fusion. So it's a catch 22 - if you are into a band as experimental as King Crimson there are going to be moments in their repertoire that will infuriate you. Michael Giles drum patterns are interesting enough but unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, 'Moonchild' is just about the worst they have recorded. It should have been cut by about 6 minutes and there is too little going on for my tastes to even make this memorable. It is more or less a jazz improvisation and doesn't really go anywhere. Maybe this is why some fans adore it.

'The Court of The Crimson King' ends the album on a positive high note, although the album cover looks like the Crimson King is slowly being tortured to death. I absolutely cherish this song and it is one of the best prog tracks I have heard. Lake's vocals have never been better, and there are amazing flourishes of sweeping keyboards that send a chill down your spine. The sound goes from intense to very soft in waves and all is complimented by a stirring lyrical content: "The black queen chants the funeral march, the cracked brass bells will ring, to summon back the fire witch in the court of the crimson king."

On that note, in conclusion I will end this by stating the facts: if you care about the birth of progressive rock, if you like your prog jazzed up with a fusion of heavy mellotron, if you love saxophone interlaced with jagged guitar rhythms, if you have heard of this album but were worried to purchase it because it's so old, if you are into Emerson Lake & Palmer: look no further! This album encompasses all that makes prog rock so enticing, and in a sense it captures all that made King Crimson one of the leading progressive masters, brilliant but flawed geniuses. The Court of The Crimson King is, hands down, an essential purchase.

Report this review (#177697)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Interestingly, one of the first prog albums I ever heard continues to be one of my favorites. The few flaws this album has aren't even worthy of mention, in my opinion. Actually, that might be a lie... the only flaw is the extended instrumental in Moonchild which I'm seeing less and less as a flaw nowadays.

One of my wishes is to be able to forget all of the music I have heard until now and travel back to 1969. I would love to know what it was like to hear 21st Century Schizoid Man for the first time; it must have been a shock! Granted, there was some heavy stuff back in those days like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but I do not think anything those two bands have written is comparable to the in- your-face-ness of Schizoid Man. And with a saxophone!

Another stark contrast this album has with my general feeling of the 1960s culture is the utter hopelessness and despair of Epitaph. When most songs were quite poppy and hunky dory, Greg Lake was singing, Confusion will be my epitaph as I crawl a cracked and broken path. Hell, the despair of this song beats any of the relationship problems modern music focuses so much on since this song deals with the despair of life, not some petty and uninteresting break up.

Epitaph also showed us (and the bands King Crimson would come to influence like Genesis) how emotional a Mellotron could be. In just a couple chords the entire mood of a song can change and give you an overwhelming feeling of sadness. It's incredible.

I wonder if there is a song more debated on the Archives than Moonchild. I don't even know which side to take. Sometimes I really enjoy the instrumental bit, and sometimes I can't help but skip to the title track. I think it just depends on what mood you're in. If you are just in for a casual listening, skip it. If you're giving the album a serious listen, then it is unskippable. As I'm becoming a bit more interested in ambient music, my appreciation for this song isn't as harsh as it used to be now that I can listen to all of the interplay between the instruments. I particularly like the ideas from certif1ed's review of this album so be sure to check that review out as well. While I'm still trying to understand it through the lens he gives, the last two minutes or so are definitely the sound of the sunrise, and is done quite beautifully.

I have some fond memories of this album even though I've only been listening to it for a few years. It's strange how one of the albums that allegedly kicked off the genre is still held in high regard. Even though bands took what King Crimson started and tried to perfect it, very few were able to actually succeed. From the album cover (one of the best) to the music (some of the best) and the lyrics (some of the best), this album is about as perfect as anyone can get.

Highlights: 21st Century Schizoid Man, I Talk to the Wind, Epitaph, Moonchild, The Court of the Crimson King

Report this review (#178004)
Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I frequently spent hours walking the aisles at music stores, and this album cover would scream at me as I browsed. I thought if I ignored it, it would go away and i could search in piece. I did this for years, until the early Aughts when I was in college, and I finally gave in to that terribly paranoid expression, and bought the 30th-anniversary remaster of this sucker on compact disc.

The opener blew my brain apart immediately, but the rest of the album left me confused for the better part of a day. But after the second listen, it struck me: this was a special recording, a crystalline marker of the trajectory rock music would take for the next half decade or so into the 70s.

The "21st-Century Schizoid Man" intro ("wind session") breathes eerie science fiction before exploding with unprecedented ferocity. What follows is one of the most influential and ahead-of-its time tracks ever written.

The segue between the first two tracks always entertains, gets a chortled grunt from new listeners. "I Talk to the Wind" is charming, a leftover from Giles, Giles & Fripp.

The proto-doom "Epitaph" is the album's literal center piece, and is as beautiful as it is gut-wrenching: cathartic, indulgent, and heavy in it's own right. Pete Sinfield's lyrics carry an antiwar message, a poignant impressionist word painting delivered in an appropriately observational tone.

"Moonchild" is a brilliant tasty little folktune, contrasted by its long coda. This post-song noodling garners the most negative criticism. While I understand why, its ambience and sparsity is compelling if you have the patience.

The epic title track is an aural city of marble inundated by piss-warm oceans, now resurfaced. A false ending followed by a humorous guignol-esque interpolation precedes one final jam on the main theme.

The song and album ends with a cacophonous swell, halted abruptly, as if the band were squashed by Monty Python's giant foot; however the effect is badass and memorable rather than slapstick

The result is an arcanely English, neatly bundled postmodern masterpiece, compressed to high heaven, and surrounded by mellotrons. This mature, gutsy and convincing slice of art rock is impressively performed by very young musicians whom had very little experience playing together, yet were able to tap into a creative wellspring that would make most veteran groups green with envy.

Like it or not, this is the quintessential English progressive rock album, and a milestone for the genre.

One of the greatest debut albums of all time.

5 songs, 5 stars.

Report this review (#179424)
Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars At the edge of the seventies, God Fripp rose from his throne and sat, let there be prog! He picked up the greatest musicians ever and created a court of kings. Well first, I just have to say that since the first time I listened to this album, I can't see any pieces of music that can blow this legendary record. 21st Century Schizoid Man..... Peter must be the greatest visionnary lyricist in the history of rock music. ''Nothing he's got, he really needs'', those are the words that made history. Through the frantic orchestration of the kings, you don't know where to give attention. From the insane Fripp guitar play, to the complex drums of Michael Giles, THE SONG IS THE PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK (not to say that it started progressive too!). I don't think I need to say more about one of the greatest piece of music ever made, if it is not....... I just feel that it is POOR to give a five on this album, because it deserve much more, not only to me, but for everybody. It doesn't matter if you like it or not. This album is the reason why Progarchives actually exist, and it's listed 8# on your top progressive album...... Listen this album another time and think twice.
Report this review (#179550)
Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The edge of progressive rock. An absolute masterpiece, one of the best record ever (for me, the first). Five beatiful songs, that I heard in 1970 for the first time. I was 14, and the first song, 21st century schizoid man, was a very shock for me! Fantastic music, words wrote by the great poet of the rock history, Peter Sinfield, magic atmosphera. The second song, I talk to the wind, is a sweet ballad precious for style and cadence. Epitaph, a milestone song, inspired by night in white satin performed by Moody blues, is a suggestive and mystic piece. Moonchild, other unforgettable song, based on two movements and delicate sounds, leave in the listener a sensation of peace and happyness. The last song, In the court of the Crimson King, is an incredible piece of absolute art. The excellent voice of Greg Lake, after in Emerson, Lake and Palmer, with the massive use of mellotron (Ian Mc Donald) and drums (Michael Giles), in accord with the guitar of Robert Fripp, an absolute genius, creates a mix of sensations impossible to explain. However, I think that five stars are few to describe this opera, that is a masterpiece in the cover, too.
Report this review (#180066)
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This it is the first album of King Crimson. and god what a disc! . when a group begins with a masterpiece of the progressive rock, one would hope that the following discs will be excellent pieces, and that is just what happend with King Crimson, is certain that "Moonchild" is not an masterpiece song, but is quite good, to begin with the disc we have "21st Century schizoid man" that is neither the more nor less than the best song of the disc along with "The court of the crimson King" and "Epitaph".. That with these three songs the disc already becomes a masterpiece, but also we have "I talk to the wind" that also it is an excellent song, and this putting of a form in which it agrees of a very perfect form with the end of "21st Century schizoid man", later it follows "Epitaph" that is for my ear the best song of King Crimson in all its repertoire, soon we followed with "Moonchild" that I repeat is not a bad song but it does not seem me that this a the level of the rest of the songs of this disc, and close with "The court of the crimson King", goodest albums than this are very few. and this album is an indispensable piece in all and each one of the collections of progressive rock, by simple that it is that collection
Report this review (#182641)
Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes,this is the first progressive rock album to be released,in a far way 1969.Interestingly enough,it doesn't spot a primitive or undeveloped sounding:this is prog at it's very best,unparalleled and in the scope of the best rock music ever to appear.In The Court of the Crimson King is clearly delivered from jazz influences(although not the same jazz we hear in Canterbury schooled bands like Camel),and dodges with uncanny sophistication what would be eventually classified as 'symphonic prog'.In other words,this album's sounding is completely unlike anything else in the world of music,either before or after it.There is another important element that contributes to the oftenly exotic music made here:a good share of the guitar parts was written over the triton,a musical scale which spots an uniquely dark edge.Months later,Black Sabbath would work on their debut album based on this same scale,but Crimson's addition of mellotron ,sax and flutes transform songs as 21st Century Schizoid Man and the title track into apocalyptical hymns.

Despite the fact that it is one of the most original album ever to be writen (totally ignoring any references to current LSD-powered pshycedelia whatsoever),the genious of guitarrist Robert Fripp and Ian Mcdonald also concern the light and shade contrast of the album,with delicate moments as the dream-like ballad Moonchild(and the intriguing subsequent gap between the latter and the closing epic).

One of the most insteresting qualities of this album is the fact that,although it's weirdness and at times enigmatic structures and arrangements can't really be completely understood,theres the present feel that everything,every note and compass,has been thought out for long time and exists for a greater purpose(for instance,it's worth checking out some very interesting theories behind an existing concept in the album).

The lyrics wrote by Peter Sinfield are already at their best here,leaving gaps for one's imagination to flourish.The artwork,both the front and the inner sleeve,are amazing.The disturbing schizoid man in the cover is expressive and scarry,as for the crimson king in the inner sleeve,'it is smiling,however if you hide it's mouth and look straight into the eyes,they reveal an incredible sadness.It reflects the music.'.Those are the words of Fripp himself,and he coudln't be more accurate.The sum-up of the music,with all it's dramatic climaxes,subtle sounding sadness and infernal spotlights,point out to one of the best albums ever made.

Report this review (#184991)
Posted Tuesday, October 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a tough album to review, because while it is not perfect, it is one of the most historically significant prog releases, and King Crimson is one of the most historically progressive bands ever to adopt the label.

What we have here is the very first release from Robert Fripp, a man of few words (if I remember right, he's written one line of lyrics ever in his forty years of producing important music) but of much ambition. While he will eventually come to be known as a guitar great, this album features very little in the way of Fripp showcasing his fretting talents. Instead, we have spacey and melancholic music punctuated by superb drumming from Giles. Do not get the impression that this album is boring, though. Vast oceans of mellotron and such like it, while they have become more or less a prog cliche by this day, give this release a wonderfully dark vibe. Greg Lake's voice, one I've always felt was underused in ELP (and, for the most part, in King Crimson, too) shines above much of the music with a fervor that is downright inspiring. His bass work also foreshadows the efforts he would put into ELP, except in the context of King Crimson, I find his playing both more exciting and more tasteful. In the Court of the Crimson King is a perfect debut for King Crimson, displaying their range of styles from highly aggressive to softly melancholic to experimental.

The album opens with a vicious kick, 21st Century Schizoid Man. This song became an anthem of sorts to King Crimson, inspiring a lot of bad puns over the next number of decades. Here we have distorted vocals from Lake (and terrifying bass playing), wild drumming from Giles, some unique guitar work from Fripp, and so forth. Oh, and we have lots of brass that pumps this song into full gear. Dark and menacing vibes just pour out of this track, while the energy levels and the tempo hit peaks that the band won't really touch again till Larks' Tongues or Red. This song perfectly showcases the aggressive, nearly heavy metal side of the band. On my first listen, I was blown away by this song but then uninspired by the rest. Be forewarned: this is not a song representative of the rest of the album. So when you first put this record in, do not expect an album full of upbeat and aggressive tunes.

In direct support of that last statement comes the album's gentle ballad of sorts, I Talk to the Wind. The music is lovely, and some gorgeous flute tinkles over the pastoral setting evoked by the music. Greg's quiet vocals on here are not terribly impressive compared to the rest of the tracks, but the harmonies they hit work quite, quite well. Probably the least unique and inspiring song on the album, but it nevertheless fails to be worthless.

The last song on side one then opens, the spacious Epitaph. Here is where Greg's vocals truly shine. Veritable choirs of mellotron back an anguished and impassioned vocal line. Here is the band's foray into space rock and psychedelia. Overall a very neat song, and a solid way to end that side of the album.

The next half kicks off with the album's longest song, Moonchild. If you are unfamiliar with King Crimson, I can imagine this song being a surprise after the carefully constructed first three songs. Psychedelic strains of this and that populate most of the song, creating an ambiance, an atmosphere, of sad and old music. Not that it's anything rehashed or uninspired. But trust me, chances are this will be every new listener's least favorite track off the bat; however, this one does grow on you. It fits the mood of the album perfectly, and it provides absolutely haunting sounds to bring the album to its conclusion, the title track.

The aforementioned title track kicks the album into the highest gear it's seen since 21st Century Schizoid Man, but don't mistake that sentence to mean that this is remotely similar to that song. Rather, we have a verse from Greg Lake that sounds almost minstrelsy. Each verse culminates in a haunting (that word again) harmony among several voices set to sound like a choir, all riding on top of a wave of thick keyboard sounds. The drums get a serious workout in this track. This tune is, despite its odd chorus of sorts and for the most part lack of words, strangely catchy. It wraps up the album with a gentle punch to the nose.

In the end, this is probably one of the most important prog albums ever written. It was instrumental in the wave of 70s progression, and still stands today as an interesting and unique experience. I don't see how any fan of any sort of classic prog could get by without owning some King Crimson, and I don't see how any fan of King Crimson can get by without owning this album. This is almost a necessary addition to any prog music collection, in my opinion. It's not perfect, but it is about as close as they come.

Report this review (#185123)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9,5/10 !

Can be the birth of a genre or at least a a new way of making music be one his own best works ? Often the genre comes to maturity after a certain time and evolution of it in some steps and years... That's not happening often but ITCOTCK is the proove of this.

A rather jazzy begin with 21st schizoid man, who contains already instrumentals parts who puts you in the mood they want, they will appear in every song, this is followed by the magnificient and smooth I talk to the wind who calms you down before the intense Epitath, the best written text in prog history for me... I was thinking if an album could have my 10/10... I will not give it but the next track Moonchild puts me in doubt again... I can't think of how this could be better ? But my philosophy is that there still is. Many people have tried to comment the clossing track but there's nothing to say about this nine-minutes-long track if it isn't genius...

However this is the album that every progheads should have in common, Chamber rock or prog folker, neo prog addicted or Opeth-freak because it's there that everything begun even if Krautrock has some records before the release of ITCOTCK...

Report this review (#188801)
Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars King Crimson's debut is considered by many to be a cornerstone of progressive rock music. My feelings about it change for better or for worse each time I hear it. One overwhelmingly positive thing I can say about not just this album, but the first four King Crimson albums, regard Peter Sinfield's lyrical contributions. His words are full of intrigue and taciturn wisdom, using enigmatic phrases and mysterious concepts that give the hearer something to contemplate, and people have done plenty of that, what with the rampant speculation involving Frederick II of the Holy Roman Empire and the identity of the Crimson King. Where the lyrics succeed, however, the music fails; the latter tends to be either repetitive or anarchic, or both. A generous portion of the album is filler, plain and simple. The argument that one should like King Crimson (or the Beatles, for that matter) because of how influential they were, and that we wouldn't have progressive rock as we know it if it weren't for Robert Fripp, is specious at best. It's tantamount to claiming that if one enjoys the work of a certain author, one must likewise think highly of the literature of those who influenced said author. This reviewer is young, and I believe I have an advantage in being able to judge the music on its own merits rather than through the heavy bias of historic musical importance.

"21st Century Schizoid Man" The first track is the most boisterous, with crunchy electric guitars, wailing saxophone, heavy tom fills, and the greatly distorted voice of a young Greg Lake. The music runs through several time signatures (including free time). The lyrics consist of mostly sentence fragments describing (at least in part) the perceived chaos of the Vietnam War; before a live audience, Fripp stated that the song was dedicated "an American political personality whom we all know and love dearly. His name is Spiro Agnew." There are other valid interpretations that are worth exploring that will not be recounted here. The song concludes with cacophonic improvisation.

"I Talk to the Wind" What the first song is, this song isn't. The distortion is gone from Lake's voice, and only a velvety harmony remains. The song is flute-laden, and is perhaps comparable to early Camel in sound and structure. It is pleasant in many ways, calming even.

"Epitaph" The heavy waves of Mellotron and the acoustic guitar that open "Epitaph" is one of the best moments of this album. Lake's voice is undeniably good here, and the strikes of acoustic guitar that punctuate the piece are impressive even though it's a small addition. The Mellotron's saturation of this piece is also part of what makes this one of the better tracks present. The problem with this song is that there's simply too much of it; at almost nine minutes, there are no noteworthy changes in pace or structure, only in intensity, so the song has a propensity to become tired after so long.

"Moonchild" One might not expect a third soft song in a row, but this is as quiet as it gets on this album. The vocal section is very good, though, with guitar work that was the harbinger of Fripp's sound. There's not much more one can say after that: Everything after four minutes is directionless improvisation. This is the musical equivalent of an artist who is hailed as genius for randomly smearing and splattering paint on a canvas. It could be forgivable, but no- it takes up three-quarters of the album's longest track. Quite a bit of what is going on here makes me think the band left the studio unlocked, with everything still running, and a gaggle of seven-year-olds with a couple of dogs snuck in and began enjoying themselves. It's unbelievable.

"The Court of the Crimson King" Once again we have a song that overstays its welcome, at nearly ten minutes. The Mellotron riff is a classic example of its use in progressive rock, although it is seriously overused throughout the song (and especially at the end). It is heard at least nine times, not counting instances when there are no vocals. The verse sections are fantastically written, and the words are haunting. The first instrumental section is upbeat but brief. The flute-led second instrumental section in the middle is simply beautiful. Regardless of the above criticisms, the song stands as one of the best offerings from King Crimson, and the reason I can't rate this album less than three stars.

Report this review (#189402)
Posted Saturday, November 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson - 'In the Court of the Crimson King' 5 stars

No, this wasn't the start of progressive rock. Whether I like to admit it or not, I consider maybe The Beatles, Franz Zappa or the Moody Blues to be a start for this genre to the best of my knowledge. It is undeniable though, that this is the album that put prog on the map. I don't give it extra stars for that reason; it put prog on the map because it was just a great album by itself. I find it to indeed be one of the best albums in the 60's.

At this time, there was no leader like there is now. This band was made up by Robert Fripp (guitar), Ian McDonald (winds, sax, keyboard, mellotron, everything etc.), Greg Lake (bass, vocals), Micheal Giles (drums, percussion) and Peter Sinfeld (lyrics). It is important to recognize every member that has ever been in King Crimson. The pretty much all are virtuosos at their instruments and each form something magical after their go-around with King Crimson. Basically, this band is just full of high- standards.

21st Century Schizoid Man is the opening number. Probably the most chaotic thing to hit the music scene at this time, with some really heavy, distorted guitar with the drums and saxophone blasting away also. Greg Lake's voice is also heavily distorted giving this track a pre-heavy metal feel. Quickly going into a time signature shift thereafter with some jazz licks, the track just goes into chaos. There is a spacey guitar solo in here as well. The track closes out with a sort of 'free-improv' section where everyone is doing their own thing at the same time instead of focusing on one musician. Very creative.

Not content to keep the same format, the next track starts out with a flute intro, very calm and relaxing. The track features Greg Lake finally getting some clean vocals done, which sounds great and some fantastic guitar interplay by Fripp.

Epitaph is one of the most depressing songs I have ever heard. This track uses the mellotron to its deepest appeal.

Moonchild is the most important track on the album. The guitar intro by Fripp is very unconventional to me even now, after hearing so many different things. It is all over the place, but remains so melodic and smooth. The track really feels like a song for about 3 minutes until there is just minimalism, short bursts of sound and very little improv for a good number of minutes. It really leaves it open to interpretation. I just feel a sense of curiosity and calming when it's done, it really speaks out to me as something different.

In the Court of the Crimson King closes out this brilliant album. Plenty of mellotron and chanted vocals giving this a really really old song appeal from the medieval times. The lyrics fit so well accordingly too. Can't really argue here, this song is a masterpiece of music.

This wonderful and diverse album deserves no less than five stars in my opinion. It put prog on the map, because it was a good album, it is already clear it wasn't the first.

Report this review (#190282)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson's debut album In the Court of the Crimson King is considered by some as the first prog rock album (others give this title to the Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed). One can definitely here traces of different strains of prog here such as symphonic rock (Epitaph) and the very early roots of what would later become prog metal (21st Century Schizoid Man). Though ITCOTCK does have quite few amazing moments, the full impact of the record is dulled slightly by the long and aimless Moonchild (I know this point has been hammered in to every reviewer of this album but I just wanted to add my opinion).

ITCOTCK opens with the proto-jazz-metal of 21st Century Schizoid Man with its catchy opening riff and the main theme for its middle section Mirrors. IMO, Ian McDonald was one of the great musicians to pass through King Crimson in the band's entire history (he plays nearly half of the instruments on In the Court...) and his sax playing on Schizoid Man is one of the best parts of the album by far. The second track, I Talk to the Wind is a great ballad that again features McDonald's exceptional woodwind playing, only this time on flute. Epitaph is a strong example of mellotron rock that KC, along with the Moody Blues, pioneered. Its lush string sounds provide the perfect backing to Greg Lake's wonderful and ominous vocals. Moonchild has a half-decent opening vocal melody but then dissolves into what I believe is a frankly juvenile attempt at free jazz (if you want good free-form jazz without the yawn try Albert Ayler or Ornette Coleman). The final track, the title track, is probably the second best song on here besides Schizoid Man. It is a wonderful culmination of all the thing that made this line up of King Crimson great: Greg Lake's captivating voice (that turns Peter Sinfield's imaginitive lyrics into magnificent melodies) Ian McDonald's woodwinds and mellotron, Robert Fripp's serene and aggresive guitar playing, and Michael Giles loose-but-steady drumming.

After the last track fades out, it leaves me awed at the sheer skill and craft that these four (or should I say five) musicians possessed. It is sad that this was the only album these particular men all made together but that's not a bad thing because ITCOTCK is a fine collection of songs that is timeless and will remain a rock classic for years to come.

Report this review (#190786)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars If you consider yourself a prog fan you have to have this album. That doesn't mean that it's one of the best, but its historical place is unarguable. So in one sense it's essential, but if I were to grade it on its music alone, I would give a simple good rating of 3 stars.

For all the claims of this being the originator of prog, King Crimson borrow alot of their sound from the Moody Blues. Classically influenced, organ / mellotron dominated, ethereal atmospheres, all of these signature elements were well established by the Moodies quite awhile before this album emerged. 21st Century Schizoid Man's riffing certainly establishes a heavy psychedelia that upped the ante at the time, but it was but one step in a long line of great headbangers. The rest of the album really is the airy post-Moody material I mentioned before. The sound has never wowed me, never seemed truly challenging or ever all that innovative. Probably so many have borrowed from the album, and the sounds are so overused, that the once original sound long ago has become the norm. (Similarly, I remember Pearl Jam's Ten sounding original at one point. Now, it's a good album, but hardly unique or challenging) At the same time, however, if you go back and listened to classics like the Beatles' Rubber Soul, Yes' Close to the Edge, or Led Zeppelin IV, they still come across as amazing pieces of work. Certainly those albums have been borrowed from extensively as well, but their power still dazzles.

ITCOTK is, to me, a good album more valuable for it's place in history than for music that still inspires me. It's great to have in the library, but it's not an album I listen to all that often. (Though later KC does have a place in the rotation.)

Report this review (#192081)
Posted Saturday, December 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, every prog rock fan MUST own this album; King Crimson's impact on music, especially prog rock, with this album is immeasurable. It took me at least a month and a half to digest all of their studio albums, and I still continue to explore their albums, never failing to find something new with every listen. Now why do I give this album from a band that I consider one of the most innovative, forward-thinking, talented, and creative groups out there only a four star rating? It's simply a matter of taste. I love love love 21st Century Schizoid Man. It is just, for lack of a more appropriate word, BADASS. The drumming, the riff patterns, and the lyrics are all sublime. I think the weakness of this album results from the hard-hitting energy level of Schizoid Man never being reached again on the rest of the album. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of great tracks on this album. I love Epitaph and the title track, but I'm not crazy about I Talk to the Wind or Moonchild. It's not that the songs are bad, it's just that it's three soft songs in a row before the majestic, but comparatively tame Court of the Crimson King. It is this drop in energy that garners this album a four star rating in my book. I think In the Wake of Poseidon is a better, more mature album even though it sounds pretty similar to this album. Overall, though, I love King Crimson and I love this album.
Report this review (#192098)
Posted Saturday, December 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars If your able to put out a debut album this complete, this musically exceptional, this important to the course of rock music then you've done something special. While this album is not the first prog album, Zappa, Procol, the Moodies, and the Nice all came before, but this is the album, this is the group that cause progressive rock to explode out and consume the rock world. Some will quibble about the perfection of this album, pointing to the 10 minutes of noodling that closes out Moonchild as a blunder, but everything surrounding this more than makes up for this hiccup (I agree, this is a minor hiccup). How about a track by track assessment: 21st Century Schizoid Man Mirrors - sublime I Talk to the Wind - supreme Epitaph - superb Moonchild - for 3 minutes ideal, 9 minute derailment which is more than forgivable The Court of the Crimson King - immaculate ^ I looked up synonyms for perfect A 6 star album that will have to settle for 5.
Report this review (#198937)
Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me a long time to get used to King Crimson. I always jazzy, too messy and way too experimental. And in a certain way I still think that...Listen to Thrakatak and I think you know what I mean. Incredible skilled musicians but much much inprovisation. However after a certain time I decide to give it a try...2 of my friends threw my dead with their admiration for KC so I thought that if we like so much the same stuff.....I must like KC as we'll, sooner or later. And after a while that indeed did happen......this all begin with Frame By Frame, the 4 cd KC box that has all its greatest tunes collected. The first disc of this has the first KC album almost presented in its entirety.....So at first it wereonly ths songs that I got aquinted with....But not much later (I think in a timespan of 2 months) I brought the entire, then available collection on CD and more) so for a while the only thing I was actually listening too was KC. Amongst all this amazing albums this first (one of the most incredible debuts in the history of music and certainly in Prog.) KC album and it always kept a special place in my heart....Songs as Epitaph, In The Court, Moon child, I Talk To The Wind are simply extremely beautifull and for Prog lovers a true mellotron paradise.

I think that apart from the music...special attention must be given to Greg Lake's voice that evetually I think became one of the best singers KC ever had.....and ELP really benefits from that as we'll.....Here once again its so often Greg's beautifull singing that stands out.....

The only song that I never really could apreciate was 21 Century Schidzoid Man...perhaps because of the fact its to jazzy.....perhaps because of Greg vocals that are distrurbed......But I never listen to this song and usually then to skip it right to the much more sensitive and touching I Talk To The Wind, that builds up perfectly (in my opinion) to the highlight of the album and one of the highlights on KC carrear and Prog music in general) Epitaph....I must have listened to that song a thousand times and still am not tired of it....The really really amazing on this one...not suddle like in so many KC songs as The Sailor's Song, or Starless but fully blown in your face, not abble to avoid....One reviewer here remarks the utterly depressing lyrics of this album, but I think because of the Mellotron the song gets much more sad and melancholic. Something that is repeated again with ITCOTCK, which has the same spectaculair use of Mellotron.....

The Mellotron that was used for this is in the hands of Tony Banks...or although thats what he said in Chapter & Verse...but then he adds that Fripp said that of every Mellotron he owned.....I think Hackett once remarked that this particulair Mellotron was called The Black Bitch....KC eventually became a major inspiration to Genesis...and I think you can hear that....

This album eventually became one of the most important Prog albums in history, the one that was a major inspiration to everything that came after that....and cleared the path for that what was yet to come....from them (unfortunatly only already soon in another formation) and all that other bands that are the reason why we as fans are vistiting this website in the first place.

Report this review (#200145)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can i say about this piece of amazing and beautiful work.this is the first progressive album,there is no doubt about it..this work is very unique,elegant,dark,relax,amazing,brilliant...the only weak song in my point of view is Moonchild,but the beginning of the song is excelent,with this album we have a lot of brilliant Ideas,this album has made a real Influence on the new bands...this deserve it all..this albums Is the king of the kings,watch the date ,we are talking about the 69oh men,this is heavy,dark,melodic,mellow,catchy,sad, contains a lot of good things and then comes the Best Song on the albumIn the court of the crimson King,so epic,so original,soooo Kin crimson..are you ready???,are you ready to have a new experience?? ok, something,please,close your eyes,And Enjoy the Ride..

Hey!!!,Wake up!!!!!it is only an album.;)

Report this review (#200248)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars

One of the most fascinating albums I have ever stumbled upon, this was the first album by King Crimson and (rare for any band) their best album. It's a wonderful fusion of Rock, Jazz and Classical themes with dark lyrics about man's downfall. This can be reflected on the album cover with a face of a man who seems to be in immense pain.

First starting with 21st Century Schizoid Man, your ears will pierce in delight from the heavy guitar and saxophone work. The 'Mirrors' section is a powerful instrumental piece and the ending of the song is absolutely chaotic.

It quickly goes from chaotic to peaceful when 'I Talk to the Wind' starts with a gentle flute piece, a lovely song that is peaceful and is a break from the heavy previous song. 'Epitaph' is a haunting song about judgment day and the end of the world.

'Moonchild' is the weakest song of the album, not that its utter crap, the first 2 and a half minutes is wonderful and hypnotic. But the rest of the 10 minutes left is just experimenting in free form. It's great to listen to in the middle of night while in bed and having your eyes closed, but at any other tie it's simply boring.

The title track is a masterpiece with a wonderful use of the mellotron, and Lake's vocals are stunning as well as the drumming. One of my favorite songs ever, everyone in the world should be force to listen to this.

A masterpiece of any genre of music and a must buy for Prog Rock fans.

Report this review (#201219)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Recently, I looked at a lot of reviews that decided to deem this album as a bit overrated and not truly the beginning of prog rock. Well, you could argue that The Nice kicked it all off, but... overrated? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This album is absolutely incredible.

21st Century Schizoid Man starts things off, and it's one of the best songs in the entire prog rock genre. The booming sax and guitars, distorted vocals, absolutely crazy drum parts... this track is incredible, a seemless blend of rock, jazz, and classical.

I Talk To The Wind is next, a great soft piece with a wonderful melody, great woodwind section courtesy of Ian McDonald, and great Greg Lake vocals.

Next, we have the second big highlight, Epitaph. Lake absolutely shines on this one, with possibly the most powerful vocal delivery in the history of rock music and absolutely beautiful Mellotron tracks, once again courtesy of McDonald. It's chill-inducing all the way through, a masterful piece of music.

Moonchild is next, and it starts with a beautiful Mellotron driven section before devolving into an avant-garde sound collage that is sure to turn a lot of people off.... and it IS boring at first.... but do you think that I'm going to bash an album that gives us 35 minutes of the best music ever made just for including an experimental bit? Not at all. Just listen to it and let it grow on you for God's sake, the rest of the album is so damn perfect.

Wrapping things up is the beautiful, moving, exceptional title track. It's a Mellotron driven epic at heart, and it manages to be on par with the previous two highlights (which are the two BEST rock songs ever written up to that point, mind you). The vocal harmonies are gorgeous, the instrumentation is pure perfection, and the song is an all around masterpiece.

So..... three of the best songs ever written, padded by two solid progressive rock songs, all in one record. Nothing less than a five.

THIS IS A MASTERPIECE AND YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM. PERIOD. (Honestly, music fans in the 60s and 70s were spoiled, this was the big stuff back then and now we are subjected to garbage like Nickelback and gangster rap. Yyuck.)

Report this review (#201406)
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars A trip through musical and genre creation.

This album is a landmark album for not just prog, but music in general. With experimentation, avant-garde, and a dark painted scene as backdrop for some of the best music you will hear.

Starting off with the metallic punch of 21st Century Schizoid Man, it is a dark proto metal that has depressing, yet powerful lyrics and musical skill that was quite possibly unmatched in their time.

And racing down the last song's highway you fly off the cliff into the soft ravine of I talk to wind, a flute lead peaceful tune. Calm and floaty, it is another emotion led by this brilliant band.

Another somber tune, Epitaph, this one darker than I Talk To Wind. But better, in my opinion, even though this whole album is simply classic.

Moonchild, which is often slated as the only weak point on this album, is also the most experimental. I have been able to let it grow on me, but can understand the reasons for dislike.

Finally, you have The title track, a prog opus. A befitting end to a magnificent album.

Report this review (#201762)
Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Historical? Yes. Masterpiece? Oh heck no. Now let the hate mail commence.

Well, I do agree with many people on this being one of the starting points of true progressive rock. But to say it's THE starting point and THE progressive rock album...give me a break. That to me is like saying that all prog fans must like The Beatles because without them, progressive rock would never have existed. Prog rock would still have come about with or without The Beatles. It would just have been different. Just like how progressive rock would have come about even without this album. Also, being someone who is young and wasn't alive during prog's heyday, I fell that I can make a fairly good judgment on this album.

I will give the critics here this: this is actually a fairly good album. My issues with this album however are: 1) many instrumental parts feel too repetitive, 2) Moonchild and Epitaph are just too long for their own good, and 3) large portions of this album have filler. I can't put it any nicer than that. I know me saying such things may upset some people, but it's honestly why I can't give this album any more than 3 stars. To be honest, 21st Century Schizoid Man saves this from me giving it 2 stars. The King Crimson what I have come to know and love, the one with avant-garde, jazz, and lots of experimental and eclectic natures lacks quite a bit on this album. Besides the first track, the vocals also serve as one of the redeeming qualities. I'm sorry, but an album with this much filler is begging for a 3 star rating. I've tried and tried and tried yet some more to give this album a chance, but noodling isn't going to get me to like it anymore.

Report this review (#202453)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is really an outstanding record, even 40 years after the release. For me, it was one of those rare changes in the life that occurs after the discovery of some really great, earlier unknown kind of music. Sure, you can hear influences from the Moody Blues and probebly some jazz-records when listening to this, but I am sure there are nothing similar that really exceeds this one.

-21st century Schizoid Man- A really great opener. It starts with a a silence, and some strange, mecanic sounds, and then explodes into the chaotic riff that defines the song. A lot of guitar, sax, complex drums with constant changing rythms and the rough, angry and frightening mood of the song. This song really is what king crimson is all about. The only thing that keeps me from giving the song a higher rating is that the middle section, the instrumental mirrors is a little bit too long. 8/10

-I Talk to the Wind-

Right after the first song, the band surprises you, again. The contrast after Schizoid Man couldn't be larger than this, after the schrieky guitars and saxophones, we are now calmed by the harmony of a very mellow track. Flutes, reeds and soft, surrealistic vocals brings us another fantastic song. After a long, chaotic, tireing day, nothing offer better recovery than this song. 9/10


The previous song is slowly fading out, and the best song of the whole great album explodes right from the start in a wall of melancholy. Then it fades, with only the bass, drums and vocals left in the speakers, and the song gradually builds-up. A song couldn't possibly be more sad and epic at the same time than this one. No moment is vasted, the mellotron and accoustic guitar are fantastic, some short noodling at the electric guitar adds much to the song, a reed is also featured, and the pessimistic lyrics are above it all. So many instruments, and the song wouldn't be the same without just one of them! The climax of the album reaches when Greg lake repeat: But I fear tomorrow I will be crying again and again with the haunted, melancholic mellotron in the background, while the drum from the intro appear once again. 10/10


The intro of this song is a romantic, strange, mellow and fantastic love song. The song sounds, more than the rest of the album, influenced by the moody blues. Then, after 2 minutes, the song changes into some instrumental noodling, very improvised. In the beginning it's OK, but after 6 minutes of the song the instruments and tunes seems randomized and doesn't seem to go anywhere, all the moods are quickly swept away. Such a disapontment, when the beginning was so good! Luckily, the song gets somewhat back on the track after 10 minutes, with only two minutes remaining. But it's hard to not press skip during that frustrating middle section... 7/10

-The Court of the Crimson King-

After the slow moonchild, this song really brings some life into the record again. It's sort of a medieval ballad. You can find the structure (main mellotron riff followed by verse, followed with main mellotron....) quite boring and repetative for a prog album, but those parts are so good composed, epic and memorable so it doesn't matter very much. And there are still two solo sections whitch gives some variation. Excelent song, but it wouldn't have lost anything if it was 2 minutes shorter. 8/10

I have to say this one really is balancing at the 5-star rating, because of the dull part of Moonchild. You don't want music like this at a five-star album. But all the other tracks are fantastic, and the record itself is such a great step in history for the progressive rock in general, so I can't let Moonchild let it down. The really dull part just include 4 minutes, the rest of the album is extraordinary. Five stars!

Report this review (#205368)
Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars I grew up listening to this album and when I rediscovered it a few years ago after listening (and loving) The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), it introduced me to the genre. In the Court.... shows everything that is magnificent about prog:

1)Musical virtuosity

2)Long epics

3)Crazy improvisations (21rst Century Schizoid Man)

4)Beautiful ballads (Epitaph)

5)Amazing lyrical content, from the surrealistic I Talk to the Wind to the realistic Epitaph and the Orwellesque pesimistic vision of the world of 21rst Century...

+ it features Greg Lake's vocals which adds something really special to the music

-21rst century... is one of the best oppeners to an album that i've ever heard, you'll never expect something like this even in your wildest dreams. With high expectations and a bit skeptical, you put on a record with a great (and really weird) cover art and you're told that it is one of the greatest things on earth (something hard to believe), and then... it HITS you, its like dreaming but then you realize that you are awake and listening to a bunch of musicians that are easily among the best in the world just madly jamming... when the track finishes you have to stop the record to listen to it again, then you realize the amazing (and distorted) singer, the lyrics, which really mean something (they aren't just silly words glued with silly music), and the well defined role of each instrument from the leading guitar and winds to the rhythm and backing section.

-In contrast with the previous crazyness follows the quieter and surrealistic (more amazing lyrics provided by Peter Sinfield) I Talk To the Wind, which immerses you into the spirit of the album and transports you through a different universe to the beauty of Epitaph and Moonchild.

-Epitaph is kind of a quiet ballad in which Lake shows his ability as one of the most talented singers in music, this song surrounds you with a magnificent and beautiful, yet sad atmosphere. (I really love the mellotron work here)

-Moonchild continues in the same mood, but is a bit too long (nonetheless, is always fun and interesting to listen to Crimsonian experimentation).

-The album finishes with the title track, which really transports you to the Court of the Crimson King (or kings?) where the band displays what they can do with their talent, knowledge and a few instruments. Great mellotron usage, beautiful instrumentation (specially the instrumental sections, and the flute is simply outstanding) and lyrical content that only a poet could write. A masterpiece ending for a masterpiece record...

This album is almost orchestral, in the way that each instrument has its own role and none is superfluous, even the backing mellotron has its well defined place in the piece...(well its a symphonic prog album after all).

A masterpiece of prog and rock in general and a must have in any serious rock collection, specially recomended to first timers in the the words of Jimmi Hendrix, King Crimson is...the best band in the world!...5 stars aren't enough...

Report this review (#209241)
Posted Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars To me, In the Court of the Crimson King defines prog rock like no other album. I believe the central concept that makes In the Court great is shock. The album begins with the straightforward hard rock of 21st Schizoid Man but soon ventures into the avant garde and showcases technical virtuosity unlike any other band. From the spacey free-time interplay between Ian McDonald on vibes, Michael Giles on drums and Pete Sinfield on guitar in Moonchild, the album unexpectedly enters the triumphant The Court of the Crimson King. This is one of those rare glorious prog moments, tying together the album flawlessly and making it feel more like a journey than a collection of songs.
Report this review (#210532)
Posted Sunday, April 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars As with who-knows-how-many-others, this was my first prog album. It got me hooked on the whole idea of prog, and I'm eternally grateful.

The first time I heard 21st Century Schizoid Man, I almost fell out of my seat due to the incredible drum sound. How a snare drum could be so dry and snappy was beyond my understanding, and I loved the whole sound of the band from the very start. When the song then went into its staccato section with some of the most precise playing ever recorded, I almost died. I have since then gotten more used to awesome prog records (so I'll hopefully not die again), but this is truly one of the most epic moments in prog, or music altogether.

After 21st Century Schizoid Man, there is an abrupt change of tone and feel, and I Talk to the Wind begins. I simply love Ian McDonald's playing here, adding tons upon tons of pure harmony to the song. Next song is Epitaph (with its confusing subtitles), and the mellotron really comes through in this song, yet again delivering a huge doze of harmony and pure loveliness.

Also: Moonchild. An incredibly mystical song with many quite subtle ambient sounds swishing around, all in all creating my favourite song on the album, and on of my favourite songs of all time. The structured part of the song is over in not too long, instead flowing over into an improvised and quite psychedelic jam with very sparse playing. This can either be viewed as boring or beautiful - I choose the latter.

The album ends epically with the grand In the Court of the Crimson King, a song which features choral verses aplenty while still managing to be heavy, atmospheric, sweeping and so much more. The song has a couple of different parts (full name is The Court of the Crimson King/The Return of the Fire Witch/The Dance of the Puppets), but keeps the general atmosphere alive throughout them all.

This album truly deserves its high rating.

Report this review (#216471)
Posted Monday, May 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars Once again, although definately not needed I'm going to review one of the masterpieces. In the Court of the Crimson King could be, (and probably is,) the best prog debut album ever released. Then again it's no wonder when it has tracks like 21st Century Schizoid Man, the crazy tune with the amazing blend of guitar and saxophone, which to me sounds like a 60's version of Ozzy Osbourne (funny i think that because Ozzy did do a cover of it). I Talk to the Wind is an excellent ballad in which Steve Lake's vocals are perfect all through the track. Epitaph is a very beautiful song once again polished by Greg Lake's voice taking the superb lyrics to a completely new dimension. Moonchild is not as good as the other tracks but is still well above-par. The title track is undoubtedly my favorite being a prog masterpiece from start to finish. It has everything you could want, good lyrics, nice vocals, and a good rhythm. People shouldn't even question why this is a masterpiece.
Report this review (#217369)
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson really kicked off with a bang with this album. featuring tight playing from a band you've never even heard of before, "In the Court of the Crimson King" never ceases to amaze you and always will keep you off your feet (even though it's not a movie).

Crimson followed what was mainstream back then, maybe not mainstream-mainstream, but prog-mainstream. Uses of mellotrons and flutes didn't make Crimson such a special band, but the song-writing and the performance of each band member is just insanely amazing and proves this album has aged well, and WILL age well. Every song from "In the Court of the Crimson King" is just tight, using parts for songs actually allowed Crimson to play both soft and loud at the same song, and while sounding very, very weird, Crimson actually pulled it off quite well. Every song on this album except for "I Talk to the Wind" has at least 2 parts in it, making it possible to maintain what every prog band would like to be able to do; be versatile. From Mirrors in "21st Century Schizoid Man" up to Dance of the Puppets in "In the Court of the Crimson King", Crimson pulled off what a lot of bands couldn't back then and made the progressive rock genre what it really is, making bands like Yes and Genesis make the music they make.

And I know Yes and Genesis might not admit it, but I really think "In the Court of the Crimson King" influenced them, no matter if they were formed before, or even at the same exact second. So I recommend this album to every prog fan out there, old or new, prog metal or prog rock, just to find out what the origins of the music you listen to today are.

5/5 for just being King Crimson, and making music.

Report this review (#221549)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The distorted sound of "21st Century Schizoid Man" must have sounded radical in 1969, and it still sounds as brutal and fresh today. Not many records from that year have aged with such grace as "In the Court of the Crimson King" (an exception would be "Hot Rats" by Frank Zappa) and it sounds as if it's not from this world. It's raw, it's mellow, it's edgy, it's soft, and it has some awesome riffs and melodies.

A quick run through the tracks:

1. "21st Century Schizoid Man" A disturbing piece of exploding jazzrock. One of KC's key songs, and also one of their best. 5/5

2. "I Talk to the Wind" A mellow ballad, with some nice playing and vocals. The weakest track in my opinion. 4/5

3. "Epitaph" Epic and haunting, with nice melltron sounds and drums. I also love the lyrics of this one. 5/5

4. "Moonchild" Some complains that this track is too long. I disagree. I love the improvised playing, it's very atmospheric. 4/5

5. "The Court of the Crimson King" If "Epitaph" was epic, then this is EPIC! I love the false ending, when the song comes back in the shape of a keyboard that sounds like something from Disney's "Snow White". And the chorus, ah the chorus! LOVELY! 5/5

Of course this record is worth five points!

Report this review (#226021)
Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was one of the very first prog albums on the face of the Earth, and no one can deny that. Without "In the Court of the Crimson King", we might not be where we are right now. This is equally (and possibly more) important than classic proto-prog albums such as Sgt. Pepper and Tommy. So why am I giving this four stars? Well, it just isn't absolutely essential. This is all great music that any prog music fan should own, and I highly recommend it to anybody. Essential? Not quite. Excellent music? Certainly.

The Music:

"21st Century Schizoid Man"- This is an almost hard rock song, and is a great way to open the album. This has excellent use of saxophones from Ian McDonald with Robert Fripp's excellent playing. This has an improvised jam in the middle that builds and progresses incredibly back into a reprise of the opening. This is an excellent way to open up the album.

"I Talk To the Wind"- This is a much mellower song in contrast to the previous heavier song. This isn't a particularly interesting song, and is actually kind of boring at times. It does, however, have a very catchy melody with some nice woodwinds, but isn't exactly a "standout" track.

"Epitaph"- Another softer (but more epic) song, with no really "aggressive" sections. I like this song much than the previous song that somewhat bored me, and this is one of the best songs off the album. This has an excellent chorus and great use of a Mellotron.

"Moonchild"- Well, this is the one reason this album is a rounded down to a four, not rounded up to a five. It has a nice (if not very memorable) melody at the beginning, but for the last 9 or 10 minutes it's just pure improvisation. It's very directionless, doesn't build at all, and I have never been a huge fan of free time, so by default I shouldn't like most of this song. I always stop this song at three minutes.

"In the Court of the Crimson King"- This is the masterpiece on the album. There are a few other great songs, but this is the climax of the album, and is a great closer. It, once again, has exceptionally good use of the Mellotron and I wouldn't argue that this song is anything short of a masterpiece.


I do highly recommend this album to any progressive rock fan, and I won't deny this is a very important album historically and that this is a classic prog album. It has a few flaws, but they can all be excused in the presence of some of the greatest progressive rock ever recorded.

4/5 stars

Report this review (#227047)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' - King Crimson (9/10)

Bill Bruford once said 'if you want to hear where music is going in the future, you put on a King Crimson album.' While this sounds a bit oddly self-serving coming from the drummer of the band, it is undeniably true. This album was working around with so many genres, some of which would not even come to fruition until a decade later.

There are few albums that still sound fresh years after they are put on the market, especially not from the realm of prog. Many prog albums from the 60s and 70s era have not aged well, to the point of the derogatory term 'dinosaur prog' being used in fair abundance. King Crimson's opus 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' however, demonstrates how fresh an album can remain if it has the right level of innovation in it.... and this album is in no short storage of innovation.

The album starts off with one of the heaviest songs of that generation, '21st Century Schizoid Man.' Never have I ever heard a song from the 1960s that sounded so heavy and 'metal.' From the first jazz-infused chords, it's clear that this is something special and an album worthy of it's praise. The tightness of the musicians is almost unparelleled, and despite such grim subject matter (a bleak, post-apocalyptic future) there still manages to be an energetic groove; especially in the middle, frantic section. To this day, '21st Century Schizoid Man' stands as being one of the most groundbreaking, landmark songs in all of rock music, and the obvious highlight to this already-superb album.

The two highlights of the album are the opener and closer; both classic tracks. It's easy to see why King Crimson is considered 'eclectic prog' from listening to this album. The aforementioned first track for example ,delves into jazz-fusion and proto-metal, whereas the title track has a heavy symphonic influence. I would not want to be the guy entrusted to properly catalogue a band as diverse as this!

The only downside of the album is the second half of the song 'Moonchild.' While the three 'middle' tracks aren't quite as memorable as the two monsters, they are all beautiful and melodic, except for the second half of 'Moonchild,' which really hurts the flow of the album. After a very calming ballad progresses for a few minutes, the songwriting and composition breaks down into a random jam, which would have been fine except for the fact that the jam is too mellow to retain much real interest for the listener. It's more or less a few minutes of relative silence until the great closer. Disregarding this however, the album is fantastic.

'In The Court Of The Crimson King' is an album that every prog fan owes himself to listen to. A dominating contender for my favourite King Crimson album (only challenged by 'The Power Believe.')

A progressive masterpiece, and King Crimson's quintessential work.

Report this review (#227307)
Posted Friday, July 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Far from a masterpiece!!!

Here, finally it's time for me to review the debut album of King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King. Probably I have to begin with the fact I don't hear all these things the other members of the PA have heard. Moreover, I think very much people doesn't rate what they' ve heard, but something else - they rate the importance of this album for the birth of progressive rock as a genre with 5 stars, but not the album as a value for itself with 5 stars. It has been converted into a symbol of the genre and this overshadow the judgements of the real musical quality.

It contains some really good moments like precise voice of Greg Lake, the beginning of Moonchild and the last homonymous song - The Court of the Crimson King, which is the sole I could rate so high as 3.5 stars. On the other side: everything else are early samples of 60s rock music, I'll put the scraping on the first song - 21st Century Schizoid Man, middle- class songwriting and mediocre musicianship of the band members and I don't want to forget it is full of boring repetitions.

Yeah... the importance of this release can't be denied, because it is one of the first progressive rock albums. So what? All people repeat this. At the dawn of progressive rock music, it's obvious impossible to make something really good. It's a new genre - you have to pass through the worst things before reach the best. It's not necessary the first one to be one of the best. It's just the first one and nothing more. But here comes my next thought. It's not even the first one. Pink Floyd's A Saucerful of Secrets is earlier and it's progressive rock, too. But it's not a symbol of the genre.

So it's not the first, it's not the best from firsts... What's then? I suppose it's the debut album by British progressive rock band King Crimson. I'm looking forward to the next King Crimson album to be reviewed soon by me. For the debut not more than 2.5 stars!!!

Report this review (#228151)
Posted Friday, July 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just like "Black Sabbath" by said band and it's unimaginable impact on music, the same must be said for this album. Sure, prog has its roots in jazz, classical music and artists such as The Beatles and Frank Zappa but "In the Court of the Crimson King" is what cemented it. This is the first Progressive Rock album, the very foundation off which every progressive band is built on. Not to mention bands such as Tool and even more progressive metal bands owe some influence to King Crimson.

I am not going into too much detail since this album has already been reviewed to death. Also, you just have to listen for yourself. So I will just say this is a great album. Robert Fripp is of course the undisputed God of prog but what I enjoy most about this album is the drumming of Michael Giles. While this is a great album, it is not perfect. Some parts drag a bit, and some are downright boring. This is especially so on Moonchild. It starts off great and the huge improv section I like, at first. The soft part is wonderful and soothing, but starts to drag.The more, "upbeat" section starting at around 5 minutes left is also good for a while, but drags near the end, and I am glad the song is over.

I was going to give this album five stars right off the bat, for its historical standing. However, I can not. I pride myself on analyzing albums on solely their music, and not any outside forces. So even though this album is the birth of prog...I have to give it four stars. Some parts just go on for way too long. Now if you have the chance to get this album, GET IT! It is a wonderful work and it is like owning a piece of musical history. However, the album is not perfect. Based on that, I give "In the Court of the Crimson King

Four Stars

Report this review (#229267)
Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Forty years and still relevant !!

The train hoots. Silence. And there comes the 21st Century Schizoid Man running out of the music boxes. Trumpetlike sounds urge him to hurry, guitars howl and the bass determines the speed. Brilliant. The court of the crimson king is still one of the most important measures of modern music. An unsurpassed piece of music and I do not need to add more words since much well-deserved compliments have been given in the past 40 years. Let me conclude with one remark: there are only a few albums in my collection where all songs have five stars. This album is one of them.

Report this review (#229411)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ok, I can't postpone it any longer now. Time to review the grand birth of prog rock. It's unofficially awarded most significant prog album in my own poll lately and guess what ... I can actually agree with this.

One of the reasons I waited so long with this review is my problem with rating it. This must be just about the only album in history I can actually reward with all 5 ratings. I will try to explain that by saying that in my most negative way of looking at this album I could give it one star because the music on it is not really my favorite style at all. I would pick all terrible moments (Moonchild's last ten minutes f.i.) and use them as a reason to give the one star. Same with two stars but then I would say there are some nice moments on some of the songs and use that as explanation. The most likely rating for my taste (and it has crossed my mind to actually give this) would be the three stars. Two very good songs (I talk to the wind and the title track), two that have good moments (Epitaph and the Schizoid song) and one that's more or less awful (Moonchild). This would justify a three star rating and in case I'm in a good and generous mood I could also give four stars for this view of the album.

But you know what I'm going to do ? I'm going to crank it up a notch and grant this album a bonus star for historical significance combined with my generosity and then I could give the full five here (like so many obviously did before me). And that's what it's going to be. I feel I've done enough harm to my reputation by giving the one star to Lark's Tongue (which I would do again if I could do it all over) and let's face it: this debut is indeed much much better and more bearable than the latter "masterpiece"'. So five it is and now if you'll excuse me I go back to my beloved neoprog where I belong ...

Report this review (#231302)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Five stars of course. In the Court of the Crimson King is a really masterpiece. The first track has a very impressive strength. "I talk to the wind" is an amzing ballad that takes you away. Epitaph makes you feel in a very sad mood. Moonchild is a fantastic song follow by psicodelic jazz. The final track is very strong again and with psicodlelic views that takes you away in the abism of thoughtful feelings. After listening many times since the late seventies, I did not get tired yet of the amazing compositions inside this album. I have been always amazed how, at that moment, so young people was able to do such ecstasic compositions. The flute, the drums, melotron everything is very well played in this album. This album has the capability of exposing many different feelings and moods, but it is always serious. This album is the one that one cannot regret listen to many, many times. Not going without saying that I think there is a correlation beteween the music ant the art work. I did not find any reference on the site to this. The art work of the schizoid is fabolous. A pity that who did died a 21.
Report this review (#234849)
Posted Monday, August 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is where true progressive rock started. Many critics call this the masterpiece of prog and some say the same thing with the band itself. One of the most famous and craziest of all prog-rock tunes, 21st CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN opens up the album. Greg Lake's distorted vocals make it hard to understand the lyrics and sometimes the chaotic horns may get too chaotic, but this song is still a very satisfying experience. I TALK TO THE WIND is a very quiet piece with calm guitars and soaring flutes. This song is magnificent! EPITAPH is filled with mellotron and the only fault I can find in this song is that the opening verse is almost too quiet to hear. MOONCHILD is another great song, at least until two and a half minutes. A very quiet jam consists for the next ten minutes of the song. That's right, ten minutes! The first two minutes of the jam are completely tolerable, almost pleasant. But the rest of the song is strange and eerie and is reminiscent of old Pink Floyd instrumentals. Moonchild is too long and drawn out. It could have easily been kept at 2 minutes. The title track is one of Crimson's greatest achievements and is the best song on this album. It is very mystical and Greg Lake delivers an excellent performance.

Overall, In The Court Of The Crimson King remains one of progressive rock's greatest masterpieces and deserves a high rating.

Report this review (#235043)
Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars I'm sure there's no need for recommending this album: you already own the vinyl album, two or more CD-masterings and a large poster in your bedroom of the album art of this prog rock masterpiece!

Even if you wouldn't like the music it's still a 5 star album as it's the landmark of prog rock. Not the best probably, but certainly the most important album of all. In the Court of the Crimson King kicked off a small decade of fruitful experimentation in rock, absorbed elements from classical music and jazz and ultimately created something that was bigger, louder and more ambitious then what rock used to be.

Granted, Crimson's album did not came out of nowhere: the Nice and many other bands had experimented with classical influences and Pink Floyd was (with Umma Gumma) even exploring deep space, but those bands where still rooted in the traditional 60's approach to rock song writing. They sure were extending the format, but did so with jamming your socks off inside the existing format. Instead, ItCotCK is something entirely new: long songs with alternating soft and loud parts that were fully composed, with crescendo's, climaxes, weird time signatures, instruments like the mellotron and so on and so on. No doubt. Progressive rock was born.

And historic relevance aside, the music is brilliant of course!

Report this review (#237072)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars In The Court Of The Crimson King - King Crimson (3.88/5 stars) Original Release: October 10, 1969


21st Century Schizoid Man (including "Mirrors") (4 stars) The start of this song suggests an arrival at a train station but not one that you might recognize. Then horns and guitar explode in synchrony and a portrait of unstoppable insanity is painted in music and lyrics. In the midst of this song is "Mirrors" which is a long instrumental featuring some guitar sounds that I suspect are unique to Robert Fripp. The instrumental puts you on a rollercoaster ride through hell until you emerge back into the initial hard rock with horns insanity the songs starts out with. I mean all of this in a good way.

I Talk To The Wind (4 stars) In my music collection, this song probably has the most flower power. This song has a serenely gentle melody with vaguely passive aggressive mystical lyrics. The extent to which this song might sound dated is also the extent to which this song evokes a mood perhaps unique to its time. The song ends with a nice flute solo.

Epitaph (including "March For No Reason" and "Tomorrow and Tomorrow") (5 stars) In "cliche" saturated lyrics we hear the lamentation of one who looks for meaning and value in a world overruled by chaos and destruction. There is misery and emptiness in the instrumentation and mood of the music. "March For No Reason" invokes a pointless treading through wasteland; "Tomorrow and Tomorrow" seems to be the coda that launches you into an endless void.

Moonchild (including "The Dream" and "The Illusion") (3 stars) Quiet melody with lyrics that paint some fantasy image of a young girl in the language of the flower children. After two and a half minutes you are required to sit back and relax and let your imagination come in as an additional band member and visualize to some extent based on the quiet free form instrumentalization that occurs throughout the rest of the song. I find this enjoyable when I am sitting and relaxing, but not so much when I am otherwise active. This song fits into the album as a whole with its counterbalancing effect set against the strong, cold passions in the songs which flank it. This song will require some extra effort focus wise and will probably not appeal to many or even most. I can't say when "The Dream" ends and the "The Illusion" begins in this song...and I hope that that wasn't intended by the band because I felt like I just wrote another lyric for them...

The Court Of The Crimson King (including "The Return of the Fire Witch" and "The Dance of the Puppets") (4 stars) The mood of the music and the lyrics on this song suggests to me a sentimental looking back at some lost fantasy realm where magical figures performed their timeless ceremonies. "The Return of the Fire Witch" is an instrumental interlude where the music picks up a more hurried energy. "The Dance Of The Puppets" is another short instrumental interlude that relaxes into a quiet guitar and flute duet. This song seems to end at one point, but picks up again. A carnival sounding organ precedes a return to the timeless main theme. This time the melody is punctuated with additional instrumental and keyboard sounds that seem to suggest a kind of static degradation of the otherwise pure emotion/memory as if this whole fantasy world-album is now beginning to disintegrate.

Album: If The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper..." was a concept album, which it wasn't, then this album is a better concept album, which it isn't. "Sgt. Pepper...", The Moody Blues' "Days of Future Passed" and this album all bring the listener effectively into another world that reflects our own. The songs combine and reflect and contrast one another and produce a sense of a complex space. "In The Court Of The Crimson King" simply takes you further away from the world that we know. This album in its new sounds in both the instruments and in its production is a world unto itself and for this reason this album has a timeless quality even as it does, at times, sound dated. With its stark fantasy and powerful album cover, this album is often hailed as the first true progressive rock album. This album invites you on an imaginative journey full of strange glories and frightening darknesses. As such it engages the unconscious more strongly than is typical and for this reason qualifies this work as Art Rock in the truest sense of the term Art.

MP3 recommendation:

Essential (5 stars) 1. Epitaph (5 stars)

If you only get one song from this album I recommend Epitaph. It contains most of the great qualities found in the various songs on this album.

Report this review (#241173)
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album truly deserves all the praise it gets. The quality in my opinion manifests itself through the overall atmosphere that the musicians create. The album manages to evoke your imagination so powerfully that you could almost smell this Court, and visualize vividly these rusty chains of prison moon, or the cracking wall on which the prophets wrote, or the funreal pyre, or the Sun on the mountain.

I am not going to talk about all the tracks seperately. I'd say it is a very impressive achievement that is stunningly loaded with energy, a musical madness, insanity at the gates of hell, and an experience that stays with you. Lacking the words to describe the feeling that is evoked specifically by this album I must end this review here and let the music do the rest of the job.

Report this review (#246367)
Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The definitive progressive rock album. Period.

Many say that it's impressive that such an album as this was released back in 1969. The birth of prog say others. I'd even take it one step further. This is the album that could remain as the only progressive album, yet summarize just about everything that progressive rock was about.

The album starts off with the harder-than-metal-kick-in-the-face intro of "21st Century Schizoid Man" and in a few seconds breaking ground for zeuhl, heavy prog and (with the distorted vocals) even progressive metal. The song then leads into a wonderful instrumental jazz-rock middle section, before returning to the heavy riff from the beginning and ending with a seemingly uncontrolled frenzy that leads thoughts to the experimental/avant-gardistic side of progressive rock.

After this comes the beautiful prog ballad "I Talk to the Wind" and the dark and atmospheric "Epitaph", which combines emotion and complexity in an astonishing way. Both must-hears. Next track is "Moonchild", and judging from most of the earlier reviews, this particular child must be the bastard of the otherwise so perfect family. While most agree on the beauty of the ballad in the opening of the song, the following ten minutes of free-form improvisation remain controversial. While I honestly can't argue for its musical brilliance, I can't skip the track either, as it offers a both entertaining and relaxing journey and serves as a perfect build-up for what's to come.

The final track of the album. Pompous. Grandiose. A true symphonic masterpiece. This is Progressive rock in a nutshell.

Okay, so what I tried to say here is that this album is very special. Not only because it was so early, but because it had glimpses of so many the "main" sub-genres of prog. Not only are these glimpses performed. They are performed in such a fashion, that we can be sure that King Crimson would be a leading inspiration of whatever sub-genre they might have chosen.

Report this review (#246411)
Posted Monday, October 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album has often been cited as the beginning of prog rock, and I mostly agree- while there were certainly predecessors like the Moody Blues and the Beatles, the first TRUE prog-rock album, the first that could be first and foremost called "prog" as opposed to symphonic rock or pop rock, was this, the legendary "In the Court of the Crimson King".

It begins with the hard-rocking, proto-metal "21st Century Schizoid Man", which successfully blends metal, jazz, rock, and prog into a heavy, bruising monster of a song. Next is the gentle, serene "I Talk to the Wind", which soothes the listener after the preceding barrage, leading him or her into a peaceful state. Then comes the melancholy Epitaph, which seems builds of the previous track, though the placid soundscapes have now turned into an atmosphere of sadness and mourning. And then comes the center of this album's controversy- Moonchild. I side with the camp that states that the first two or three minutes are great, taking the melancholy of Epitaph and transforming it into outright depression- but this then turns into a messy, boring, overly experimental jam- however, if you're a fan of randomness and experimentation, then you may like this- all music is subjective, and some may find this 10-minute slab appealing, while others may deem it repulsive. However, the album goes out of the gate strong, with the epic title track, which is almost stereotypically prog, particularly the heavy use of mellotrons and the medieval lyrics- this is probably the second best track on the album, after the opener. I have two reasons why I give this album 5 stars, despite the fact that Moonchild drags on way too long: First, the four other songs and the first quarter of the aforementioned track are brilliant, and second, this album is the epitome and the beginning of progressive rock as we know it, and while I don't like to say that ANYTHING is ABSOLUTELY essential, I must say that, to get prog rock, this epic album by one of prog's greatest bands is required listening. Highly recommended to anybody.

Report this review (#247735)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I'm not really a great fan of KING CRIMSON. I own some of their albums but their music has never really connected with me. Their music leaves me cold. But even I can't deny that this album, "In the Court of the Crimson King", is an absolute masterpiece, and my only perfect experience with the band (the man).

From the beginning, with "21st Century Schizoid Man", the album is a constant delight of fantastic music. This dark, menacing track is followed by a really beautiful tune, "I Talk to the Wind", which almost takes us to a bucolic, pastoral scene, but one that is a little bit darker than what it looks like. Fripp and his bandmates could do melody, after all. Then we have another brilliant success: "Epitaph", a longer, slow song, with an epic feel to it, that reeks of 60s-70s magic, with a fantastic vocal performance. "Moonchild" is the reason many people either love or hate this record (around here we'll find more of the first ones, though). After a rather melodic start, we have about 8 minutes of pure sychedelic improvisation -or it it really-? Everything is just little details: few notes and chords here and there, dissonances, drum fills that are short and barely noticeable, a rock band ahead of its times, in a word. Finally, probably the best track in the album after "Epitaph" is the title-track, which follows directly and blends perfectly with "Moonchild". Another long epic, the chorus is just magnificent. A reaffirmation of the majestic, arrogant (in the best of ways) music we just have heard.

The musicianship is amazing, the flow of the album is perfect, with a symphonic feel to it. A perfect masterpiece that's considered the first proper progressive rock album, and that deserves all its accolades not because is the first, but because it's one of the very best. Anything lower than 5 stars is just unthinkable for me.

Report this review (#248430)
Posted Friday, November 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you think progressive as an attitude to the music, surely this is not the first progressive rock album. The Soft Machine, Moody Blues, The Family, The Nice, Pink Floyd had truly progressive approach to rock music before, but if think at all the stereotype of progressive rock, In the court of the crimson king is the first 100% prog album in rock history. Anyway, first or no first prog album is surely one the best album in rock history a masterpiece that everybody should own. 21st century is an incredible opener for this album, a song in advance of 30 years in rock history and in the following tracks KC codify the symphonic prog rock.
Report this review (#251174)
Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the first KC album I obtained and at first listen, I was not all that impressed. The only songs I had heard before getting this album were "21st Century..." and "TCOTCK" and they were alright. After more listens, I had realized that this was no ordinary album. It is still quite hard for me to comprehend that ITCOTCK is from 1969! 41 years ago! Amazing! And it is one of the pivotal works of music for all time, influential beyond comprehension. I suppose it is a must.

1. "21st Century Schizoid Man" - 8.5/10

2. "I Talk to the Wind" - 9/10

3. "Epitaph" - 8.5/10

4. "Moonchild" - 6/10

5. "The Court of the Crimson King" - 8.5/10

40.5/5 = 81% = 4(-) stars

Report this review (#251985)
Posted Saturday, November 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Oh, If only I could rate this album higher then 5 stars...

Because honestly, In the Court of the Crimson King is intoxicatingly beautiful, confident and yet is still brave enough to explore. Each track is so well balanced and each has a unique quality which diversifies the entire album as a whole. And what even blows my mind even more is that this album was released in 1969. I was expecting to see a release date of at least mid to late 70's but for them to be making this level of intricate music in 1969 is truly impressive.

Its almost criminal that so few people know the name of King Crimson. Its even more criminal that I just listened to this album for the first time less then a week ago. I never knew, and no one around me (young or old) knows who king Crimson is. I plan to change that as much as I can from this point on.

In the end, the Court of the Crimson King is truly and excellent album, which never gets old, and always leaves me wanting to re listen.

Report this review (#252468)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Something that basically started it all. Or at least this is what we were told and taught in school (hehe, I mean PA). My first try to start exploring prog music intentionally happened in May 2008. This was one of the first albums I've heard. I remember how keen about it, talking with Mororus, one of good friends I had in one online game I was playing then (but unfortunately, I was concentrating more on this game not so worth of attention [as any other online game], talking with people (I don't regret this, no way!) and listening a lot of prog while I was at it. OK, it wasn't so bad after all).

But first of them was ItCotCK (terrible acronym). Rocking first, calm ballad like second, philosophical third, jamming fourth and conclusion in fifth, take this as my epitaph to this album. Something like Marty was here, because for most people, this is well known album that they don't have to listen again. And even I feel like saying a lot about this record, what else can be said. So let's finish this with cliché

5(-) with one exception - Moonchild, where I'm not so sure that it's so exceptional song. More research needed. Anyway, before I entered PA forum. I though that it's shame song, really bad one, but certain people made me think about it. And so I did.

Report this review (#252628)
Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars I was really interested in hearing some King Crimson. People said they were one of the first prog bands to come around and that they were excellent musicians. I had Dream Theater's cover of Larks Tongues in Apsic, and that sounded good, so you can imagine I was excited when I found a box set of this, In The Wake of Poseidon and Lizard for only $17.

I went home and put on this CD. The first track was outstanding. There were a lot of complex moments, crazy instrumentals and everything that makes prog unique. I was excited to hear the rest of this CD.

However, I soon realized that there is only one progressive song on here, the first one. The next four tracks are all slow songs. Sure, they are ok songs over all, but they are not progressive rock. The drums aren't doing anything complex. The lyrics are repetitive. Moonchild has to be one of the most boring songs I've ever heard. All it is is the band members randomly playing their instruments with no pattern or anything.

I don't recommend this CD to anyone who likes up tempo progressive rock. However, if you are a person who likes mostly slower songs, this may satisfy you.

Report this review (#253561)
Posted Sunday, November 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Just like the 5-star rating says: Essential a Masterpiece of progressive music for all the years to come! Only consisting in 5 songs each describing different atmospheres and feelings from heavy to calm. All the instruments blend perfectly in each song along with Lake's vocals which fits perfectly into the mood of the main theme of the songs. Just when I first listen to this I was like 15 and even now just makes me wonder how can they create such great music in early 1969. Along with Genesis, Pink Floyd and Yes, King Crimson with their debut album just turn my attention to prog music for the years to come. So 5 Stars for the grandpa of Prog music. Cheers! 40 years and still grabs attention thats the power prog music haves.
Report this review (#254263)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Placing this album on the turntable for the first time in the the better part of a decade, I reflected on the impact it had on not only in the annals of rock music but it's contribution to modern music as a whole.

Untarnished by continuous radio airplay, In The Court Of The Crimson King was more of an artist's album that veered off the beaten track of the American R&B trends of the day, almost consciously deviating from a standard six bar blues substructure. Virtually devoid of individual solos, the grandiose multi-sectioned compositions featured odd time signatures and unusual instrumental combinations that demanded concise execution and concentration from all band members. No Keith Moons or Jimi Hendrixes here. Despite the macabre nature of the abstract free imagery contained in the lyrics, it still managed to appeal to the hippies while inspiring and setting precedents for a new generation of artsy bands that would surface over the next few years. Not only did the sepulchral lyrics create dense atmospheres, compressed walls of mellotrons and the uncanny use of angry saxes and delicate woodwinds contributed to it's fierce and imposing sound whose tension was occasionally alleviated by sullen passages by the woodwinds as well as the guitar. The album can also attribute it's unique sound to things that went wrong in the studio, from misaligned tape heads to lost master tapes that resulted in an overall muted sound ironically creating even darker cohesive textures throughout.

Although the sound deficiencies were compensated for on a 2004 remaster after some lost tapes were discovered ( and to a greater extent on a 2009 5CD blowout ), the full audio-visual effect of In The Court Of The Crimson King : An Observation by King Crimson ( Phew ! The name even gives the impression that something huge is about to transpire ! ) must be heard in it's original vinyl format in order for it's exquisite splendour to be explored and revered. I can only imagine what it must have been like to listen to this creature for the first time in October 1969 holding the foreboding album sleeve in hand gazing at the paranoid Edvard Munch meets Wiliam Blake artwork of Barry Godber, wondering what might lurk behind those glaring eyes of the 21st Schizoid Man, the subject of the chaos and cacophony of the opening track with it's classic plodding main riff written by vocalist/bassist Greg Lake and reed man Ian Macdonald. Covers by everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to April Wine ( who arguably do the most credible version ) not only bear testimony to it's lasting appeal, but it has also been ressurected on the 2005 Crimson Jazz Trio's 2005 CD, The King Crimson Songbook ( featuring original drummer the late Ian Wallace ) which reveal it's free jazz possibilities. It's restive metaphorical lyrics could be a contemporary comment on the Vietnam war but like the lyrical chaos and catchy idioms that persevere throughout the album, Pete Sinfield's dark, philisophical lyrics captured listener's imaginations and delved deeper into their conciousness like no album that prededed it. An onslaught of mellotrons and harmonized vocals colour the four other elongonated tracks ( I Talk To The Wind, Epitaph, Moonchild and In The Court Of The Crimson King ) which served as templates for so many bands that would surface in the early seventies, which would adopt and integrate the profound classical musical devices, dynamics and forms of these prototypical art rock compositions into their own musical endeavours. A definitive ground breaking album that confronted the unknown, In The Cort Of The Crimson King would even recieve positive reaction from the musical press who would later lambaste recordings from bands like Yes and Genesis and King Crimson themselves who would harvest and filter components from the work gradually turning this new high art music concept into clichés that by 1974-75 at times bordered on the ridiculous . With some notable exceptions, King Crimson well nigh took what would become known as progressive rock to it's verge here and could quite arguably be credited with both it's creation and destruction on this leviathan recording.

A nonetheless undisputed revolutionary audio document from countless perspectives, In The Court Of The Crimson King sits as comfortably on the shelf with other innovative recordings from Stravinsky or Coltrane as it does with The Beatles or The Sex Pistols and is quite simply one of the most important recordings of the 20th century period.

Report this review (#256833)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The release of In The Court Of The Crimson King was a milestone in rock music history, and the album itself was to a large extent instrumental in the invention of progressive rock. The album really needs no introduction to anyone visiting progarchives; it has already been reviewed extensively therefore another in-depth analysis of each track would be superfluous.

On this the band's debut album, King Crimson fused elements of rock, classical and jazz to produce a monumental epic. From the metal jazz-rock of 21st Century schizoid Man, to the pastoral balladry of I Talk To The Wind and the ambient soundscapes of Moonchild, this is a truly groundbreaking work. However, for me the most striking aspect of the recording is the prominence given to the Mellotron on the albums two orchestral pieces; the crescendo-laden Epitaph, and The Court Of The Crimson King, which features some of the most exhilarating use of the instrument to be heard anywhere. The feeling of incredible power in these two tracks is almost tangible.

I first heard this album in 1972 when a friend at school lent me his copy. He had told me that it was choc-full of swathes of Mellotron, therefore I had expected something akin to my beloved Moody Blues or Barclay James Harvest. Imagine my reaction when the strains of Schizoid Man erupted from my speakers! Of course, I soon grew to love this track along with all the others; I even enjoy listening to the much-maligned ambient improvisation of Moonchild.

From the reviews on PA it is evident that this album is held in great reverence by many prog fans, and rightly so. 5 stars... and then some!

Report this review (#257533)
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars First, I'd like to say a word about King Crimson, the band, as a whole. No band embodies progressive rock like Crimson, no band has reached the status of Crimson, and no band will ever be as innovative, creative, genuine, or influential as Crimson; it's a fact, an absolute fact. Although I personally prefer Genesis, King Crimson is easily the most important progressive rock band, and their magnum opus is this 1969 chef d-'oeurve, which, in essence, created progressive rock as we know it nowadays. With the creative hurricane Robert Fripp leading the band, they created this testament to rock music, this jazz-influenced, guitar and keyboard-laden opus which remains to this very day the most influential record in the genre. Drawing influence from jazz, classical, and even mainstream psychedelic rock, King Crimson developed this nigh-perfect record, featuring several grim, dystopian recordings and a very expressive, modern sound.

Each track is an inventive, original work, and each is representative of progressive rock as a whole; the heavy "21st Century Schizoid Man" has remained Crimson's most well-known song, and it is, like the record's other pieces, a depressing, scary, joyless melody that presents the world as a place of suffering and discrimination. "I Talk to the Wind" is certainly a change of directions, showing more of a folk influence than a bombastic jazz one, as the previous track did. Following is the horribly somber "Epitaph", which, like most Crimson songs, labels the world an uninviting place. The melody itself is really quite funereal, featuring grim atmospheric elements through Robert Fripp's acoustic guitar and Ian McDonald's keyboards. The fourth track, "Moonchild", is an interesting affair; it begins as a seemingly innocent ballad, but develops into an intense, jazzy jamming session, a la the Allman Brothers. The album closes with the beautiful "The Court of the Crimson King", which, to this very day, remains one of King Crimson's masterpieces. The heavy mellotron riff fits the melancholy mood excellently, and the result is absolutely brilliant.

This record is an absolute must-have for any fan of the progressive rock genre.

Report this review (#259363)
Posted Monday, January 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Proof that often the best place to start is at the beginning!

In The Court of the Crimson King has been called a great deal of hyperbolic things, a masterpeice, a birth of an entire genre, sublime, agressive, timeless, chaotic, you name it. But even though I've given this album five stars, it isn't quite perfect- but this is part of it's brilliance.

For a start, the album only has one agressive, chaotic track, the opener, which of course everyone here has heard an praised over and over. It combines rock sensibility and jazz ablilty in a fantastic statement that echoes out throughout the seventies, progressive rock and beyond. It is a great track, but it largely misrepresents the album- the album never again reaches this level or type of instensity, after all these years listening to it, it always seems to me to be very much out of place. How odd. But no matter. It's followed up by a flute-driven ditty that is ridiculously simple and benign in comparison, with some laid back lyrics and quiet sensibility. What a contrast. But of course, contrast and dynamic shifts is what prog is all about! So this switch is actually a stroke of genious, and the track actually is pretty brilliant. But then the flutes are ditched, just like the saxophone was ditched before that, replaced by that famous sample-playback machine, the mellotron, with those famous wide doom-laden strings. King Crimson seem to have oddly followed up a ballady peice with another ballady peice, how odd. This one in itself contains the musical dynamics which are now a hallmark of prog, and takes the emotional intensity back up again, but in a totally different way to the opener- instaead of tortured animalism, we have tempered intellectualism. Another stroke of genious. Another brilliant track. But oh dear. Moonchild. Easily the worst track on the album. Quite a nice song turns into ten minutes of what feels like mucking about in the dark. Dissapointing. Only once can i remember listening to this track all the way through without skipping. But improvisation! on a 'rock' album? Genious, once again. Not to my taste but to plenty of others' it seems. And then it ends with the title track (kind of), rather a rehash of the dynamics and mellotron of Epitaph, the first and only time the album repeats itself stylistically, with an anthemic sound that is magnificent and grandiose, a genious track also- with only one track that has something in common with those before it, it manages to make the album feel like a whole- uncanny.

So in closing, it shouldn't make sense that this is one of the two best and cohesive albums King Crimson has ever done (the other being Red), but it is. Essential prog in the strictest sense- even if this isn't where it really all started, its certainly the first one chronologically most worthy of paying attention to. In the Court of the Crimson Kiiiing.... aaaaahhhhhh....

Report this review (#260346)
Posted Monday, January 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of my favorite albums of all time. I've looked for things as instrumentally diverse and eclectic as In the Court of the Crimson King with very little results. King Crimson's style drastically changed, as well as their line-up, quite frequently.

21st Century Schizoid man is a wild song with an awesome guitar solo. I Talk to the Wind is such a beautiful song. The flutes are just dreamy. Epitaph is a very dark, dramatic song with great arpeggios from Robert Fripp. Moonchild is pretty great for the first few minutes, with nice experrimentation for the last 14 minutes. And In the Court of the Crimson King is the perfect end to this album, telling a great little story.

I've never connected the lyrics myself, but some say this album is a concept album/rock opera. The only prevalent theme I can imagine is innovation and awesomeness throughout the whole album. 5 stars, easy.

Report this review (#264712)
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In The Court Of The Crimson King, by King Crimson, is popularly considered to be the first true progressive rock album ever recorded. Over 40 years later, listening to it now, and comparing it to the music of the times, it's not hard to see why. This is the perfect starting point for anyone wanting to get into King Crimson, or even progressive rock in general. If you have never heard this album, do everything in your power to acquire it as soon as possible.

Unlike King Crimson's future works, which are more specialized brands of music, there's really something here for everyone. Whether you're looking for the frenetic pacing that KC is most known for, a soft ballad, grandiose symphonies, or weird experimentation, ITCOTCK will more than likely have at least one song that you'll fall in love with. About 85% of the album is sheer bliss, while some of the experimentation and jamming the band gets into is interesting the first few times around, but quickly becomes tiring.

I would not say that any one instrument really defines this album. It's really the combination, and the sheer chaos, of all of the instruments working together that make these songs such a joy to listen to. You might think that it would get out of hand (to be fair, it does occasionally), but these arrangements, while crazy, still manage to be very well structured. While you'd be hard pressed to find a guitar solo on this album, there are a few special moments that make you rewind and go, "wait, that was guitar?" that are among my favorite moments. Also to be noted is the use of Mellotron, which is simply fantastic, and is surely one of the top examples of the instrument. The vocals/lyrics are arguably the best that KC would ever achieve, and are truly a joy to listen to.

So 40 years later, whether it was the first prog album or not doesn't really matter. The simple fact is that this is a fantastic piece of music. Even though not every song is perfect, and you may even want to skip one every time, you simply must hear this to fully understand the genre.

Report this review (#265611)
Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Recently, I reviewed Stg. Pepper's. It is an album which I am not very fond of musically, but an album whose influence is apparent and worthy of respect. I certainly am nowhere near as critical of the music on In the Court of the Crimson King as I am of Stg. Pepper's, but I think it is another album whose importance outweighs its quality.

Overall, In the Iourt of the Crimson King maintains a much higher musical standard that Stg. Pepper's. King Crimson are simply more talented players and the tracks which made the cut for the album are much more interesting. What I would consider to be the flaw with the album is just how long winded it is. The compositions all easily hold my attention at first, but then proceed to linger in the same ground for too long.

The influence of jazz music on In the Court of the Crimson King is very apparent. I think it must nearly qualify as a fusion album. Much like the fusion classic, Heavy Weather, In the Court jumps right up with the most exciting and entertaining piece on the album; probably one of the things which makes it so significant. The wailing guitars and saxophone along with the fuzzed out vocals are perfect for the aptly named 21st Century Schizoid Man. Taken on its own this song is a masterpiece.

Again like Heavy Weather, the album takes an abrupt drop off in intensity. Unlike Heavy Weather however, it scarcely recovers any of that intensity. What I can say though is that the slow portions or In the Court are far more entertaining than those on Heavy Weather. I think owing to a difference in pop-music intentions. The first track of the rest of the album is I Talk to the Wind. It is a flighty psychedelic piece. The lyrics, vocals and that smooth jazz influenced drumming are excellent. The rest of the piece is made up primarily of woodwinds making for a very gentle journey; one which might end in a journey straight to bed. I Talk to the Wind is representative of the aforementioned long winded quality of the album.

After 21st Century Schizoid Man, Epitaph is the most interesting piece. Greg Lake is again excellent, this time instead of woodwinds the primary backing music is a distant mellotron later joined by an acoustic guitar. I would say it is sonically superior to its predecessor and therefore easier to forgive it when it drags out a bit through the middle.

In my review for ELP's eponymous album, I was critical of the unstructured improvisational style. It's unpredictable and often responsible for more harm than good. This criticism surfaces again on Moonchild. Interestingly enough like on ELP, I really just wish Greg Lake kept singing. Moonchild is very sparse and I often lose interest during its extended improvisation. Closing out the album is the not quite title track, the Court of the Crimson King. This is probably the liveliest piece after the opener, but it is still nowhere close. I think its closest relative on the album is I talk to the Wind for its vocal style and use of flutes. The singing does get more intense at times and it is cut up by Epitaph style mellotron stretches. I don't really know what to make of the dissonant staccato keyboard portion, not really a fan.

In the Court of the Crimson King is a stronger more entertaining album than any of the others which I brought up throughout the review. I can see why to certain tastes this album would qualify as a four or more often five star entry. However, I find following the frantic introduction in stays at a near coma level of activity. There is some really good stuff in there, but not when you compare it to the elephant on the album. Schizoid Man is essential, but the album as a whole really only qualifies as good, three out of five stars.

Report this review (#268028)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Okay, I suppose it's time for my take on this work, finally. I've put it off for awhile, but I might as well get these 'giants' out of the way so that I can dig further into lesser-known territory in my reviews. This deserves my time, however, because it truly is a masterpiece in so many ways.

Already, virtually everything can be said about this album already has been said, and so this will be a very short review. But in a nutshell: this is one of highest-rated, most beloved Crimson records, and it's just their first release! These guys were amazing and revered before they even had a hit, and they weren't making music for commercial success or status; they simply wanted to make great music. And make great music, they did. I wish that attitude would be more common among so many of the modern-day Proggers.

Everything on this album has a magnificent sheen of brilliance and polish. From the kick-to-the-face Jazz-Rock epic opener that is ''21st Century Schizoid Man'' all the way to the majestic title tack album closer, this record is a resounding piece of musical history that should not be missed. I am one of those people who tends to look at the biggest hyped works of art with a closer eye than others, since I do believe a work can get 'too much credit', but in the case of In The Court of The Crimson King, all the praise is well-deserved.

Of course it can be argued that the band would later go on to do even better things in the future, but this is where their legacy began, and few other bands can say they hit it out of the park on the very first try. It's an enormous accomplishment and an iconic piece of music. Minor flaws here and there might be a huge deal to some, but as far as I am concerned, this is an album you shouldn't pass up. It's certainly one of the greater works of the decade, and while not fully 5-star material in my personal opinion, I think enough people have already given all the reasons why you should in fact pick up a copy of this monumental record.

So on a personal level, this is 4 out of 5, but don't fret; it's still one of the better records of the era, and a must-have for Psychedelic Jazz-Rock fans, or followers of King Crimson. Ideally, everybody should give this one a try once. It might be a little unevenly-paced for some, but as a complete experience, it was hard to beat at the time, and it's still a grand, well-loved work of art to this day.

Happy listening.

Report this review (#271237)
Posted Friday, March 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I believe this was one of the first prog album I ever listened to. (First was Images and Words then Blackwater Park. While reading a review of BWP, someone compared it to ITCOTCK so I decided to give it a listen). I'm ashamed to say that at the time I listened to this, I wasn't too impressed. 21st Century Schizoid Man was a fine tune--weird but fine no less--however the rest of the album didn't stick. I wanted something heavy with raging guitarist and technicality. My adventures in virtuoso music somehow always ended in disappointment--the music lacked the conviction and feeling that progressive music held. So I turned my attention to prog music and I've never looked back.

After giving this album a few more listens, I've really fallen in love with it. Each track has a life of its own, yet while listening to the album, I never feel like it skips a beat. 21st Century Schizoid Man is frightening and powerful and about halfway through the song when it goes into double time is very cool. I Talk To the Wind is mellow and features the flute. Epitaph is despairing and can bring you to tears if you let it. Moonchild is gentle and mystical and the five minute avant garde jam session is interesting. The final track in this album is very powerful and dark.

I don't have many elegant words to describe this album. Every composition is very strong and very different. ITCOTCK is a very unique King Crimson album and is a must-have for every fan of progressive music. This album is flawless and prog at its best. 5/5

Report this review (#273351)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars WHile some may not consider this a masterpiece of prog, I do. It is without a doubt one of the top 10 prog albums made. It is hard for me to come up with something new to say about this album as it has been discussed and reviewed about a billion times by others. by song may be the easiest way to do this review. 21st Century Schizoid Man- 5 stars . From the crashing opening to the bitter end this song rocks! Is this the original Mars Volta? I Talk to the WInd- good mellow Crimson. 4 1/2 stars. Epitaph- 5 stars. Basically flawless. Moonchild- the weakest song on the album. A bit overboard with noodling but still a 4. Title Song- 5 stars again for near if not true perfection. So overall, this may be a 4 1/2 star effort but because of it's great importance in the history of prog music I bump it up to a perfect 5 stars. King Crimson has shown what prog was and where it was going.
Report this review (#273544)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you aren't a prog fan, you will be taken to the Court.of the Crimson King There's no other way.

Yeah, really, if you don't like prog or you don't "get it", this is the album you should listen to. It's very easy, everything is there: creative songwriting, unexpected melodies, conceptual ideas, great performance and a music way more sophisticated than what was fashionable at the time. Yeah, an album that has already 41 years old it's still the reference to "get" and enjoy prog. That's it.

King Crimson is basically Robert Fripps solo work. Well, at the time this was really a group but has changed line ups all the time, but at this time, this was a team work and everything is great about this album.

I don't have too many words to add to the others reviews. Just that if you are a prog fan and you still don't have heard this album, you should do it, right now and see where prog rock emerged. The melodies are creative, innovative, the orchestration is outstanding and the quality of the production is great. 5 stars. This is THE masterpiece. Go now and check it out. You won't regret it.

Report this review (#274352)
Posted Friday, March 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Music is about telling the world how you feel about something important to you, allowing them to bath in all of your powerful emotions. With the world superpowers sending their sons to Vietnam, and their nations on the brink of nuclear destruction, what else can one sing but:

"...knowledge is a deadly friend when no one sets the rules, the fate of all mankind I see is in the hands of fools.. "

Right from the beginning, King Crimson are doing what they do best - they are being creative, proving themselves a pioneering driving force in the yet to be fully defined genre.

I would have to say that this is the one of the darkest albums I have ever listened to. The aura of tragedy is just, beautiful.. that mellotron moves me every time! Not only with poetry, but with the music itself, the artists capture the darkness of their message so brilliantly.

Perhaps the season of inspiration of this lineup was just too great to last. We all know the story now don't we?

"21st Century Schizoid Man", "Epitaph" and "In the Court of the Crimson King" surely changed rock, prog, and the world of MUSIC forever in 1969.

A must listen for all who love art!

Report this review (#275909)
Posted Friday, April 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a milestone in progressive rock, for many (including myself), the truly first prog album in rock history and, as such, a very well known and appreciated album among prog fans, as the number of ratings and reviews demonstrate.

The main reason why In the Court of the Crimson King is to be considered the first progressive rock album, in detriment of other contenders, like Days of Future Past, is that... it is progressive. Tempo, rhythm and climate changes, subdivisions within songs, along with high degrees of experimentalism and musicianship.

Since there really is not much I can say to add up to the common knowledge, the reviews already made, and the hints to those newcomers yet to discover In the Court of the Crimson King, all I want to do is give my personal impressions about it.

In the Court is one of the classic rock albums that failed to catch my senses for many years before I began to truly enjoy it (some of the others are Tommy and Aqualung). It was not until I listened to Larks' Tongues in Aspic that my renewed interest in King Crimson finally opened my ears to the qualities of their first album.

The weight and distortion of 21st Century Schizoid Man makes a perfect opener and still a favourite among fans, but not particularly appealing to me, though within time I came to like it. I Talk to the Wind is its counterpart, light, melodic and more conventional, with beautiful flute work. Probably the less progressive song in the album. Moonchild, after a beautiful opening, drags into 10 minutes of minimalistic, hardly audible, music - and not much seductive even if you turn the volume to maximum. Just 10 minutes waste of tape and time. Epitaph and the title track are the strongest songs to me, I love the dark mood and Mellotron of the former, and the subdivisions of the latter, especially the brilliant section where the main theme is repeated solo by the flute - a much shorter and smarter example of minimalism.

The other reason why this album didn't get to me at first is the voice of Greg Lake. He hadn't still developed his skills as singer and interpreter. Sometimes his voice sounds in the wrong place and even off key. Still, not a major flaw. It is mainly because of the 10-minute equivocal of Moonchild that I give In the Court 4 stars, instead of the 5 stars that, aside that, would be very well deserved.

Report this review (#276686)
Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars To review an album like this one, is very hard to do, so much have allready been said, and so many allready know everything there is to know. ITCOTCK is the definition of Prog. rock incarnated. Lets start with the cover, stunning, a cover that any death metal act would die to have on the debut. Scary like hell, colorfull in nuances of red and blue, perfectly descriping the terror of the title track. And what an opener ! "21st Century Schizoid Man" is the most powerfull and agressive track on the album, and on any later KC album too, with a constant duel between sax and guitar, combined with the distorted vocals, the tight bas/drumming rythm section, makes it very heavy, a masterpiece that would still be groundbreaking, even if it was realeased today.

After this breathtaker, the album changes dramaticly, into the sweetest ballad, "I Talk to the Wind" Wonderful melodic vocals, wonderfull Flute solo's, Another Masterpiece and compleetly contrasting the first one. Notably the drumming is still very much part of what makes this take that special.

Now to the side 1 closer, Epitaph, my favorite track, and the track that to me defines the birth of Symphonic prog. , the heavy use of melotron and woodwind, gives the track a deepness and almost classical music feel, even though both Guitars, Bass, and drumming shows a clear rock tradition. Prog rock at its best.

Side 2 opens with the epic 12 min.+ Moonchild, often described as the weekpoint of the album, Not mainly because of the song, that takes up the first 2-3 min, but due to the following allmost 10 minutes of improvisation, without much melody. I dont hate this piece as much as others tend to do, its an integrated part of the album, and its defining prog. as a genre of experimentation. Hard to imagine the album without it, after all those years, isnt it ?

The closing track is the legendary title song, more than nine minutes of symphonic prog at its best, The melotron again very dominant, and this time a very strong use of choral vocals, everytime the verse hits the word "king", combined with a strong flute solo in the mid section, gives the distinctSymphonic feel to the track. Again a masterpiece, that has defined to many, what prog. rock should be, and what King Crimson was at the time, they gave birth to prog. rock.

Even though lyrics dosent mean much to me, in this case Peter Sinfields words are perfectly matching the moods on every track, storytelling not just songs. Depressing but sweet. The album, is the one most people would say defines prog. rock and King Crimson at its best, even though many hardcore crimson fans, tends to like the wetton period as much as the debut. Couldent find an album that deserves those 5 stars more than this one.

Report this review (#276735)
Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is disputed as to whether or not this was the first "true" progressive rock album. If so, that's rather a neat little achievement for the humdrum county of Dorset; 2.5 square km of farmland and Jurassic coastlines that myself and the original members of King Crimson had the good fortune to be born within. It is indeed lucky that this debut album was as celebrated as it was; or we really would have to rely on "the second largest natural harbour in the world!"

In the illustrious 'Court of the Crimson King', one can discover five songs that blend whimsical folk melodies, dark jazz workouts and paranoid polyrhythms in an enormous symphonic vessel, drenched with thick mellotron and that 'quintessential English charm' that prog fans always bang on about. The lyrics are about as poetic as things get around here (think Thomas Hardy on acid?) and the instrumentalists deliver virtuosity and emotion in seemingly correct ratios; that is, constant lightning-fast drum fills trapped beneath melodic bass lines, with delicate yet calculated guitar and some beautiful flute decoration. Occasionally the saxophonist blows his own trumpet, resulting in confusion all around. The first track 'Schizoid Man' is deceptively cool. After a dosage of heavy jazz riffs and distorted vocals (Metallica take note) the whole affair shifts into an improvisational workout, carrying Fripp's first ever maniacal guitar solo, although perhaps thankfully the only one on this album. While something in the vein of Larks' Tongues in Aspic would benefit from the guitarist's angular and dissonant style, this record suits the modest, 'Wimbourne village' side of Fripp (since when were place names adjectives though?). Two double-tracked squealing saxes follow and the steadier opening theme is reprised. Structure brings clarity to chaos; a successful formula.

Remaining tracks fit into the epic symphonic category or the calm jazz one. Each one creates a mood; easier said than done, although it's notable that none of these moods are particularly optimistic. Medieval, apocalyptic, schizophrenic? it's no wonder Mr Fripp seeks to create mostly instrumental music these days! The highlights on this album come not from Peter Sinfield's baroque rambling, but rather the emotions bleeding from the Spanish guitars, woodwinds and of course, that omnipresent mellotron. An epic finale of a title-track leaves the listener satisfied and likely to come back for more, but the band would outgrow this style (and indeed most of these members) within the next couple of years.

Largely without flaws, 'In the Court of the Crimson King' retains a certain power each time I take it for a spin. Complimented by a strikingly apt cover image and an (unfortunately short-lived) chemistry within the band, this debut already says a lot about the genre it popularised. Things would get a lot more interesting from here on in.

Report this review (#277797)
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

"In The Court Of The Crimson King" is the quintessential Prog Rock album.

King Crimson are one of those bands that could be loved by anybody: their extremely proud of their eclecticism, as every album they've ever released is different in a way from the rest. In the case of their debut "In The Court Of The Crimson King", well, nothing sounded quite like that before, and much of progressive music sounded like it after. Indeed, it is absolutely the best, most important and influential Progressive Rock album of all time.

This mighty creature is the result of legendary guitarist Robert Fripp's genius, sided by a band that is to die for: Greg Lake on bass guitar and vocals, Ian McDonald on all wind instruments plus mellotron, Micheal Giles on drums, and last, but not least, Pete Sinfield, the lyricist. Together, they were King Crimson, however the lineup after this release will change on almost every album released. Before 1969, only a few Progressive Rock traces were around, and this album gave a huge push to the genre, bringing up all the elements of Prog, Art Rock, Jazz Fusion, carefully mixing them all together, all in a little more than forty minutes. ITCOTKC has, like I said, all the elements of progressive rock, before the genre was developed: it has the aggressive, virtuous, multi time changing song ("21st Century Schizoid Man"), the soft, flute based ballad ("I Talk To The Wind"), the melancholic, yet extremely apocalyptic and mellotron based song ("Epitah"), the minimalistic, the quirky tones mixed with free improvisation ("Moonchild"), the epic sounding soundscapes ("The Court Of The Crimson King"). This album has it all, even though, for the most skeptical ones, this album might seem inconsistent, like I use to feel, because it had one strong, in your face song and the rest were mellow. But it actually is, for the already explained reasons, one of the most complete albums in terms of sound.

Lyrically, the album is extremely enigmatic, fascinating, evoking fantastic situations, people and creatures: dancing puppets, witches, and what more, are present, especially in the last track; however, there are many other themes echoing all over the album, such as grief, confusion, worrying, frustration, but also cheerfulness and sweetness, but they are written with such a mysterious touch that they are not at all thorny and complex.

The opener "21st Century Schizoid Man" is one of the fundamental pieces of Progressive Rock, adding in strong elements of Jazz Fusion, thanks to the massive presence of the sax. The main riff has become pretty much a trademark for the genre. "I Talk To The Wind" easily is one of the best ballads of all time, the soft tones are just of an incredible power, that haven't aged a bit, thanks to the magical wind instruments that create them. "Epitah" a solemn, beautiful, mysterious song, with enigmatic lyrics, a great flow, and great instrumentation overall, especially concerning the mellotron. Most of "Moonchild" consists of a minimalistic instrumental improvisation, but the actual, only riff here is the softest you'll get from this album. A memorable and wonderful track, even counting the frequent odd moments. "The Court Of The Crimson King" is the perfect ending for an album, with an epic, once again solemn tone, with a gigantic riff and beautiful, soothing vocals; even in the quieter moments, the emotion is always there, just like in all the forty three minutes of music in the entire LP.

Even after more than forty years, "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is and remains a masterpiece of modern music, a landmark achievement that will always be remembered. An essential listen not only for who loves Progressive Rock, but for everybody who listens to any kind of music.

Report this review (#279653)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars It would be difficult to fathom a genre that owes more to a single album than does prog rock towards In the Court of the Crimson King. It's not as if it's the best prog album ever or anything like that - honestly, it would be hardpressed to crack my top ten. It's not even really the first prog album - even if you distinguish between "art rock" and "prog rock" (and you SHOULD), that honor arguably falls to The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack by The Nice (and arguments could probably be made for albums even earlier). There can be little question, however, that it is the most important prog rock album ever released. It's been occasionally referred to as the Sgt. Pepper's of prog, and that analogy is apt in more than a few ways. Not only did this album firmly establish the rules and potential of the genre, it also managed to popularize the genre all by its lonesome to a greater degree than could ever have been expected.

Of course, one should note that its impact and importance wasn't completely for the better. On the one hand, its overnight success inspired many bands that might not have otherwise done so to take up the prog genre, and that wasn't (at least in the short term) necessarily a good thing. It's no concidence for me that the outpouring of terrific prog albums began not one year later, but two years later - 1970 is filled to the brim with clumsy transitional albums by talented bands that wanted to be prog but hadn't quite figured out the genre's finer points. There were some exceptions (Gentle Giant, though it's VERY much like this album, or H to He by Van Der Graff Generator, though even they put out their own mediocre prog album that year in The Least We Can Do is Wave to Each Other, or ELP, which is nearly as good as this one is), but they were just that, exceptions.

There's also the fact that, ultimately, this album, in my humble opinion, helped shorten the shelf-life of "quality" prog (in its purest form). Most genres have a lengthy "embryonic" stage, where the rules and boundaries and positive qualities of the genre are established. Then there's a "peak" period, where a slew of solid albums are released within the genre, and afterwards there's a decline, where high quality output gets harder and harder to find. In the Court of the Crimson King had the interesting effect of completely eliminating the "embryonic" stage in one fell swoop. Ultimately, 95% of all the further developments of the genre were embellishments of the ideas presented here, and while that allowed for greatness for a good while, the possibilities were capped simply by this fact.

Alright, enough of the peripheral impact of this album, let's talk about the music. The most important member of the band at this point, despite what "Fripp runs everything" proponents might believe, was mellotronist/saxophonist/flautist Ian McDonald, who also played the biggest role in the songwriting. The melodies are heavily based in a classical, operatic tradition (except for the opener, of course), with some connections to regular pop but much more bombastic. Still, the melodies are GOOD, so even somebody who might hate the idea of pretense in music might still get a kick out of the quality tunes found here. The arrangements tend to follow suit - the mellotrons create an overwhelming symphonic effect at times, while the drumming (courtesy of Michael Giles) is deep, echoey and, yup, bombastic. Fripp is mostly downplayed (except, again, on the first track), yet makes his presence felt with some brilliantly beautiful electric and acoustic lines.

The vocals and lyrics also fit firmly into the bombast motif. Pete Sinfield contributes the lyrics (though nothing else), and while they're as pretentious as all get-out, they're not imageless by any means. It actually helps to listen to the lyrics the way you'd listen to the lyrics of an opera - listen to the sounds of the words, occasionally pick up on a moving or repeated line here and there, and just let them blend into the instrumentation. Granted, Sinfield turned out to be a HORRID influence, provoking whomever to jot down the most pretentious yet meaningless stuff imaginable ("All we are is dust in the wind!" - I'm grumpy towards Kansas, what can I say), and even he himself wasn't so great all the time, but on this album, he's more or less ok. And besides, it helps that he has Greg Lake to sing his lines - of all the voices in rock, I can't think of anybody more suited to bombastic, near operatic-singing, and he allows all the lines, good and bad, to come alive.

Now, at this point, I should start talking about the actual songs. Problem is, this album has been reviewed a 100 zillion times by people like mine, and I'm not sure there's ANYTHING left to say about them that hasn't been said. So here's the general breakdown - if you want more details, just piece them together from the other reviews on the net (including on this site).

"21st Century Schizoid Man": Booming guitar-based rhythm track, distorted screaming vocals, beautifully apocalyptic lyrics, incredible mid-song sax-guitar jam, WILD Hendrix- style guitar soloing.

"I Talk to the Wind": Lovely melody, lots of flutes, ultra-pretentious lyrics, nice breather between epics.

"Epitaph": Brilliant melody, layers of well-constructed bombast, lots of mellotron and woodwinds, terrific lyrics, AWESOME vocals, beautiful guitar solo, lengthy but not overlong fadeout.

"Moonchild": Major mis-hit of the album, first two minutes are a decent ballad, next ten are quiet and incoherent rambling jamming on vibes and bits of percussion. Blargh.

"In the Court of the Crimson King": Ultra-bombastic, brilliant melody, TERRIFIC harmonies following the chorus, lots of mellotron, lots of variation on the main theme.

There you have it. Again, if you go to this album looking for the pinnacle of prog, you'll be disappointed, but if you come here looking for where it all began AND why anybody cared in the first place, you won't be let down.

Report this review (#279747)
Posted Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Throughout prog's history, KC has always stood at the vanguard; pushing music into unexplored territory. Nowhere is this more true than with their debut which exploded onto the scene in 1969. Even at a time when innovation in music was commonplace, this album holds a unique place in rock's canon. Court is one of the few pivitol albums that changed the face of popular music forever and it's impact and influence have not been dimmed with age.

Lead by the incendiary genius of Robert Fripp, KC have concocted an album which incorporates equal parts jazz rock with breath-taking symphonic bombast a la mellotron. Adopting the 'shock and awe' formula: Court careens from the incredable maelstrom of Schizoid Man, through the mornful jazz of I Talk to the Wind & Moonchild and then into the epic aureas Epitaph and the title track. The instrumentation varys wildly with jazzy flute and sax mixing with electric and acoustic guitar along with the ever present mellotron. Special mention goes to the subtle drumming of Michael Giles who is undoubtably the best procussionist KC ever possessed. The lyrics, which expess the disillusion and dislocation of the individual from society, are much more serious than you'll find with most prog bands; although Pete Sinfield mixes in healthy doses of fantasy as well. The overall mood is perfectly expessed by the spectacularly frightening cover art.

The real stength of Court lies in the album's internal tension which at times (on Schiziod Man) threatens to tear the music apart and at times becomes almost unbearable. Sometimes this beast of sound rampages freely and sometimes it is restrained but KC controls it so that it always treatens to break loose. What would the title track be without Moonchild's long outtro? Part silence, part roaring fury; it makes for a truly engaging experience. Dispite what you may think about the quality of the music (and judging by the amount of glowing reviews, there are few who doubt it), Court epitomizes the genre we all love. It IS brilliant, it IS daring, it IS a masterpiece. This is the album that puts 'progressive' in progressive rock.

Report this review (#280297)
Posted Sunday, May 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Another top ten album where I am just adding my review.

The importance of this album is undisputed. It is an album that defined the term progressive rock . It is also the grandfather of a lot of albums in this genre. So full marks for that.

Music wise.......... It starts with the classic 21st Century Schizoid Man. It is an excellent song, although not one of my favorite songs.I Talk To The Wind on the other hand is a masterpiece and one of my all time favorite songs. It is very lyrical and poetic. Epitaph is off course another classic King Crimson song and a brilliant one too. I do not care too much about Moonchild where the avant-garde is to overwhelming. The title track is another classic King Crimson song which sums up the 1960s in a nutshell. So what we have here is four classic tracks and one not so great track. Hence my four and a half sprinkling of stars.

This album is though an essential album in anyone's collection. I am sure I will still enjoy this album when I am drinking black coffee from a straw in a rocking chair and tell the nurses when I drove to the planet Mars in an 1979 model Volvo car. The joy of old age and senility..........

4.5 stars

Report this review (#283797)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Here it is. The granddaddy of progreesive rock albums.

It's not the first progressive rock album. Many bands were playing progressive rock at the time (not that it was called progressive rock). Pink Floyd, The Nice, Frank Zappa to name just a few were experimenting with the edges of what would become prog. But this album changed everything. This album was heavy. This album was deep. This album was dark. This album pushed the boundaries of rock music. And this album was pure prog. And it paved the way for many of our favorite bands, and helped them become the monster they were in the seventies.

Stangely enough, not one of the songs on this album come close to my list of favorite tracks, even by this band. But back in the early seventies, when I first heard the album, I could not stop listening to it. It was a gateway to ELP, Yes, Gentle Giant....

To me, it may have been surpassed my many other albums, but it is essential.

For that I give it five stars.

Report this review (#285182)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE prog album!

Yes! Here I am reviewing the album that arguably started at all. The father of prog. Not only is it the father of prog, but also has the honour of being (in my opinion) the greatest debut album of all time. This album showed that King Crimson meant business.

A description of the music: It's really hard to classify this album with a certain sound. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is a jazzy track with a blaring saxophone and very distorted vocals. The dual saxophone solo uses an effect that screeches and hurts your ears, but is actually quite enjoyable. An amazing track! "I Talk To The Wind" is a very pretty flute ballad with beautiful vocals from Lake. "Epitaph" is an incredibly powerful song with pessimistic lyrics. Lakes vocals here are great. "Moonchild" starts out very wonderfully, then gets to the part that seperates true fans. 10 minutes of very quiet experimentation is not for everyone, but if you just lie down, close your eyes, and relax this is really pretty. Otherwise, you may want to skip this track after the vocals are done. "The Court Of The Crimson King" has incredibly forgiveable repitition. While it repeats itself often, it doesn't matter because the power of this song never fades and remains constantly enjoyable from beginning to end. The mellotron riff here is just unforgettable.


Opening and closing: This album opens really powerfully with "21st Century Schizoid Man," which is sort of a misleading track to how the rest of the album will be, but is an incredibly powerful opening. "The Court Of The Crimson King" is also an amazing closer and the sudden screech and end is one of my favourite endings of all time.

Flute work: I love the flute work on this album. It may not be on par with Ian Anderson, but then again who is? The flute is just beautiful on "I Talk To The Wind" and the flute sections of "The Court Of The Crimson King" are very powerful.

Uniqueness: This album is just so unique. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is just one of those tracks where nothing sounds like it. Many people have attempted to imitate the sound of King Crimson, but have never captured the essence of the band or their greatness.

Vocals: The legendary vocals of Greg Lake are at their finest on this album. His best track is "Epitaph," where he puts the necessary emotion into the lyrics and makes them very powerful.


Moonchild: Unless you're lying down and relaxing, the 10 minutes of experimentation is nigh impossible to really enjoy. For some it'd be impossible to enjoy at all. This is a problem as it takes up a decent chunk of the album.

Song ratings: 21st Century Schizoid Man: 10/10 I Talk To The Wind: 9/10 Epitaph: 10/10 Moonchild: 8/10 if you can abide the experimentation. 1/10 if you can't. The Court Of The Crimson King: 10/10

Recommended for: Fans of old music. People who love the magic of the flute.

My rating: 5 stars. This is the probably the most important album in prog history. If you are interested in the early roots of prog its mandatory you have this in your collection.

Report this review (#285818)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars when U're preparing to write 'bout an opera,a masterpiece,be it literature,sculpture or paintings,often u can give away to our case we talk 'bout of a musical and historical document.Where everything'started.10/10/1969 the prog rock era.IN THE COURT is a great work full of ideas,where 4 incredible musicians have created a complex and innovative opera,futuristic,apocalyptic,and lysergic scenarios.fantasy worlds,illusions,fears of the man of our time.All accompanied by a cover that reflects the spirit of the age;"THE SCREAM OF GODBER".by this Pete Sinfield has sewn twilight melodies of songs on essential texts but gothic,esoteric,epigrammatic.

After a whirlwind of emotions filled with many shades and colors,from the beginning "21th century "to "In the court",the red curtain closes with a warning against the manipulators and the oppressors:" THE YELLOW JESTER DOES NOT PLAY,BUT GENTLY PULLS THE STRINGS AND SMILES AS THE PUPPETS DANCE...IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING"


Report this review (#287963)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars dont get e wrong this is an awesome album but its not what i first expected. At first i thought it would have been a lot more heavy like red or starless you know bruford weton cross era crimson. but when i got the album and listened to it the only heavy song on there was schizoid man. to me the album is essential to any collection but it was kinda boring to e at first but now that i have listened to it more and more it came to my knowledge that the balled songs are very powerful and pretty deep to. so all and all this is a master piece to all of music but if your looking for more heavy crimson then look to Red
Report this review (#287964)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Definitely an essential album for any lover of music! This album defined progressive music and was the first of its kind! There were some forerunners, but I believe this album was the first to truly characterize progressive music. The best songs on the album are Epitaph and the title track. Greg Lake's vocals are flawless as is the musicianship. The only weak point is possibly Moonchild, but without experimentation you don't have prog, so I can appreciate the song for what it is. Certainly 5 stars! I'm suprised that its only the #6 top album! I would have thought this album to be considered much more essential!
Report this review (#289840)
Posted Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Review Permalink

It's never easy to judge an exact moment when a genre becomes defined. There are many blurred edges, and many contenders pushing from several directions for a say in where music is going at any one time in history. Yet I keep coming back to the release of this album as the most certain instant when something of the future gelled.

Having said that, it's glaringly obvious that the inspiration for this came from Fripp's well attested visits to see 1-2-3 (Clouds) at the Marquee in early 1967. Listen to this description of King Crimson's music from a publicity blurb for this album. "the trademark Crimson would stick to throughout their career is shown here--dynamic variations between soft/lyrical and raucous/experimental. This was seen not just between songs but in the drastic dynamic shifts between sections in a single composition." This could be a blueprint of a 1-2-3 performance, as Brian Hogg, speaking of a 1966 performance, noted in "The History of Scottish Rock". "Their set comprised of original songs and standards, but these latter pieces were studiously reshaped, to become, in essence, new. It anticipated the techniques later used by America's Vanilla Fudge, but where the US group slowed their creations down for melodramatic emphasis, 1-2-3 were more concerned with dynamics and jazz-like swing, and used the pieces as stepping stones to self-expression, rather than a means in themselves. Yet they balanced this esoteric desire with a conspicuous focus on melody. There was nothing else remotely like it around."

The inspiration and concept may well have come from 1-2-3, but it must be said that Crimson took it to a level of confidence and sophistication that brought the new genre to the marketplace in a way that 1-2-3 or anybody else was unable to do, perhaps in the case of the Scottish band, because they were simply too early, in 1966 and 1967, audiences were not yet ready for that level of sophistication. Nevertheless, the seeds were sown, and bands like Crimson, Yes, ELP were the rich commercial harvest of these early experiments.

The real jewel of the album is the first track, shocking to untrained ears in its sudden vibrant shattering of mainstream conventions. The melodies of this and the other outstanding track, In the Court of the Crimson King are very recognizably Lake's, but the urgent improvisation and superb synchronizations are very much the province of the band as a whole. Outstanding instrumental technique abounds, and the freshness and vitality is something that few bands could match at that time. 5 stars.

Report this review (#294646)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Just listened to In the court of the crimson king from start to finish for the first time.

Well first off, I loved 21st century shizoid man and I talk to the wind. (Of course I already knew that.) The harsh chaos of shizoid man makes the transition to the more calm I talk to the wind very welcome. And the progression of a lyrical story is evidant here. Perhaps the protagonist of the first song is a pessimistic insane man, (possibly because he can predict the near future). I talk to the wind appears to be about his lonelyness. This man has probably been shunned for his insanity, rejected the world due to his views, or both.

Epitah was good, but the vocals lacked volume. I found the lyrics hard to hear. But from what I was able to hear, it seems to have the same views of the previous two songs.

Moonchild it don't think I'm ever going to like. Noodling is okay with me as long as it's done in moderation and in good taste, but this song is ridiculous. A lot of it sounded like a monkey playing percussion instruments while computers turned on and off.

The title track does well enough to make you forget this though. If the vocals on the verses were a bit louder, it would be the perfect ending.

I found to most impressive part of this album to be the drumming. Other than moonchild, it sounded like every tap, hammer, and roll was done with utmost precsion and thought. It had both texture and melody, not as much of the latter as Neil Peart's drumming, but it didn't really need that much melody. It went perfectly with the music.

I really can't say whether I'd pin this down as a concept album or not. If I could hear more of the lyrics, I'd probably be able to make a better judgement.

Overall, 3/5 stars. It shows a lot of promise and talent, but you need to make sure that your audience can hear your lyrics, especilly when they're this thoughtful, and having a blotch on your album as big as moonchild is a big mistake.

Report this review (#295672)
Posted Saturday, August 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the court of the crimson king...

What can I say about this album that hasn't already been told???

this is my personal experience with this album...

After reading and hearing a lot of people talking about this album I decided to listen to a couple of songs....

So I went to youtube and the first song I found was 21st century schizoid man...

the first seconds were amazing. I had never before heard progressive rock of any kind so was surprised by the song, especially Greg Lakes singing. but then the song came to this frenetic and confusing headache inducing distortion laden mess full of screeching guitars & dissonant harmonies. In other words nothing I had ever heard before prepared me for the big mess this musicians were making. I HATED IT!!!.

fast forward a couple of months and more reading and i was becoming more and more intrigued by the music that I had heard that day so finally i decided to give it a chance.

This time i listened to the entire album.


By the time the album ended I was amazed & depressed (something that always happen when I listen to this album). But the important thing is that it left a lasting print in my head. I absolutely LOVE THIS ALBUM!!!!!! its different and wayyyyyy ahead of its time.


because of this album i have discovered the following bands and become a proud owner of their discography king crimsons (duh),yes (the albums with steve howe), genesis (the peter gabriel stuff), emerson lake palmer , dream theater,and more lately porcupine tree & mars volta.

all of this because of the lasting impression that this album caused on me...

Report this review (#296438)
Posted Friday, August 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first King Crimson's album, "In The Court Of The Crimson King", is surely an undeniable MASTERPIECE. There are so powerful compositions such as brilliant "21st Century Schizoid Man", so charming as "I Talk To The Wind" and so moving into the deepest depth of your soul such as "Epitaph". The fourth, "Moonchild", is like the veritable rites de passage, which brings you through the labyrinth of incredible sounds into the crowning this real work of musical art "In The Court Of The Crimson King". When you are listening to it, you're starting to feel the beautiful fairy-tale atmosphere of the Crimson King's court. Probably the best debut and one of the most excellent piece of musical art, not only in the prog rock's history, but in the history of the whole popular music too.
Report this review (#297051)
Posted Wednesday, September 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well... This album seems to be the mother of all prog-albums. And I am a big Crimson fan. Still... I never play this album. Off course, I love the opening track. But I can listen to it when I play the USA album. And the rest of the album? I don't know. Moonchild is ok. Maybe it's the mellotron, I have nothing against this instrument but there is just to much of it! And I really don't like I talk to the wind, too ballad for me! I understand the importance of this album, it was something completely new at the time, and therefore I'll give it and extra star but I really prefer the eighties Crim and the bruford/Wetton lin- up and even the Lizard album. Sorry.
Report this review (#297594)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars In The Court Of The Crimson King

Here is my own review of this and I took the liberty of using the original review as a spring board. Thx Atomic.

"In the Court of the Crimson King" was the first album by the group "King Crimson". When it first appeared it was quite a shock to many listeners, similar to The Beatles White Album, which defied description and challenged your perception of music and where you stood, or thought you understood these things. Somehow, at the time, not many people thought as much about "pop music", or gave it some credit for literacy, which is usually not associated with popular top ten songs in Billboard or Top of the Pops.

As the years have passed, and it is now 2010, this album gets a lot more reviews and comments than The Beatles' White Album and I think this is well deserved. That is not to say that The Beatles had lost their touch, they had not, and their last album was the next one voted in this particular list of albums. Abbey Road, however, was not the "anti- topofthepops" that "The White Album" had been and indeed, it appears that the fracture in the band had already caused issues and prevented the music from being better, or at least from just being a bunch of songs, and every member on their own trip, which is very clear in both of those albums, and the album "Let It Be".

Like many of the more outlandish rock bands in those days, this King Crimson album featured a lot of things ... and the small list added above is a very good example of some of the things found in the album ... however, one should appreciate the fact that many of these had been happening for some time in many other artist's repertoire ... with one exception ... you did not see them all in the same album!

So, in this album you will find a lot of weird things, jagged guitar licks, weird drum time signatures, massive keyboard sounds, and specially with a mellotron. As for influences, this would be a bit harder to define ... one could say that this piece appears to be towards jazz, this one towards rock, but how do you define this other piece and that other piece?

But there are some things that tell you that this whole album is done by people that have a conscience and an attitude. It may not be quite as visible or as important today (2010) since we have nothing to fight for anymore, but let's start with the very first piece on the album.

21st Century Schizoid Man The harsh guitar attack right at the front of it all, leads the way ... and singer Greg Lake lets you have it ... ... At paranoia's poison door Twenty first century schizoid man. ... Blood rack barbed wire Politicians' funeral pyre Innocents raped with napalm fire Twenty first century schizoid man. ... Death seed blind man's greed Poets' starving children bleed Nothing he's got he really needs Twenty first century schizoid man.

It doesn't take any smarts to realize the socio-political commentary of this whole thing. From VietNam (Napalm fire reference) to Oil to politician's funeral pyre (IRA conflict) ... and the guitar attack right out front.

I've always thought that the guitar licks were almost the same thing as the images that you saw on the TV, and the brutal violence of it all, and the point, TO ME, was ... what are you going to do about it? It was not about it being "progressive" or anything else. It was about your own conscience and your ability and desire to take action and help change the insanity in this world ... the 21st Century Schizoid Man was the maniac that you saw with guns in their hand ... because he wanted the oil and the money it could bring ... ohh, by the way, have things changed much? ... and you can see the importance of something like this is likely to last out a lot more than ... a lot of other music out there.

Greg Lake's voice, is as important here as the album itself ... why? There is a screaming/shouting/and cynical/satirical edge that helps make the point, where a regular singer would not sound as important or create such a strong impact. It's hard to think of this song as just guitar, saxophone and breaks and time changes ... without the lyrics spoken in the right spot, the ability to accentuate a meaning dries up ... and that is not something that happens in this whole album. More on this later.

I Talk to the Wind More of a folk song than anything else, with soft vocals by Greg Lake, and the woodwinds by Ian McDonald ... and it is one of those pieces that stands out, more because of the contrast to the opening piece than anything else, but unlike most rock bands or conventional and popular music bands, these lyrics are a continuation of the 1st piece. Check this out:

... I'm on the outside looking inside What do I see Much confusion, disillusion All around me. ... I talk to the wind My words are all carried away I talk to the wind The wind does not hear The wind cannot hear.

It's actually a very sad song, because it KNOWS that it has a voice and an opinion and wants to help create change ... but no one listens or cares? ... actually one could say that the wind is at fault since it carries your words and does not bring the meaning in to you ... or you would hear it! And, know it! I'm particular to that thought and feeling ... because too much that is said is often ignored and not appreciated or (as is the case here in the board) understood, and quite often you get a group of people that are ... quite simply ... not interested at all.

Epitath The next song, if not one of the most important of the album, is without a doubt one of the prettiest things ever done in rock music anywhere. And it is a massive eulogy to the many innocent vitims of corruption and wars that mean absolutely so little to most people, except those that wish to take advantage of whatever natural resourses in some form. With a stunning opening scene that is better than almost any movie ever made, and the best imagery that any literature can offer ... or the prettiest painting you ever saw ... that gave you ugliness, such a perfect image to illustrate so much of the 20th century and its wars ...

The wall on which the prophets wrote Is cracking at the seams. Upon the instruments of death The sunlight brightly gleams. When every man is torn apart With nightmares and with dreams, Will no one lay the laurel wreath As silence drowns the screams. ... (and then it closes with)

... Confusion will be my epitaph. As I crawl a cracked and broken path If we make it we can all sit back and laugh. But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying, Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying. ...

There is no such emotion, and amazing imagery, in most lyrics and music anywhere.

Most of the rock lyrics hope to tell you a story with insipid lyrics and ideas that are trying to make any band come off as relevant, and in the end, it is vacuous and not important ... it's just trying to make sense and sound important ... but it rarely can reach the heights and level that these lyrics and poetry can.

The larger special point to be made here is how it is sung. Greg Lake is NOT an average singer, and in fact, I like to joke that he can't sing at all. But when it comes to "acting" and "accentuating" words and moments, there are not many in the music business that are any better than what his work examples have done. In a business where we worry about tenor, baritone and rock singer and whatever else description we can give it, in the end, we can see why so many people that love rock music do not enjoy a lot of classical materials, like Opera ... can you imagine a Greg Lake singing in Turandot? ... oh my gawd ... she would die after the first set of words. Can you imagine Greg Lake as Siegfried challenging the Gods? ... yeah ... it's very different from a song about some bitch or some girl that left you behind!

With one of the prettiest sounding mixes of keyboards, mellotron this song stands out as an anthem for the ages, and the kind that will be remembered for a long time to come. It is the ultimate conscientious objector Anthem, and stands out like Jimi's American Anthem at Woodstock or Toni McPhee's endearing version of Amazing Grace prior to that. If there is a God, or a theme, or a heart ... you won't find many out there that even come close.

Lyrics, regardless of where they come from can make or break something. Poems can kill, or lead people to war. But pure heart and soul, is hard to ignore. And it has been with us for hundreds of years in many forms and idioms, and this is one of the finest examples of what poetry and music can do ... it's not just the lyrics ... it's everything else wrapped up in one.

Moonchild ... She's a moonchild Gathering the flowers in a garden. Lovely moonchild Drifting on the echoes of the hours. ...

Like the soft piece before it (I Talk To The Wind), this one comes and goes, and you don't know what to make of it. Sometimes, when I hear this, I think of the "hippie" thing and ideal that led to many communes and pictures of women dressed up as angels and other rather insulting images for the male ego. But the image sticks. The song lingers. The loveliness of the woman lingers. Your experience lingers.

A lot can be said about the improvisations that appear to be just some meanderings in music with little attention to anything else. Things like Moonchild come off like they were what is called in theater "guided explorations" which are often done in very advanced acting classes and these usually end up defining the difference between the "boys and the men" and the "women from the girls", the words taken with lots of salt and sugar of course. The point is that you see something on a screen, let's say, and the visual shows a girl picking up flowers and you would play what comes to mind to fit the mood of the film ... very much as if it were a soundtrack for the visual. This is something that some people can stand, when you close your eyes and allow the images to flow with the music or the lyrics. The problem is that there are many folks that are not capable of doing that and they "have to be told" by the lyrics what it is all about ... and when that happens the Shelley'esque poetry goes right out the door and is not understood or appreciated.

Not all improvisations are just meanderings into nothing and back. Theater and film actoing schools (the advanced ones not the rest) use a lot more exercises that help you develop that "inner" character in order for the performance to get stronger. All the major groups across the world live by similar processes and that is the main reason why they are so well known. There is no reason to believe that musicians are not intelligent enough to not want to experiment and learn something else about what they do ... with the exception of the rock music ego, that thinks that the world can not experiment or try different things that are not "music". Actually the same thing happens in academic circles.

The results in these things vary. In general, for most acting exercises, it is the directors' calls and changes and little things thrown here and there that cause the process to change and each character (in this case instrument) have to update itself and adjust to the feeling at hand, and this is something that most "prog" drummers can not do when all they are concerned with is "time" ... and in the picture that you are "coloring" the time changes ... and you are not changing it? ... or adjusting?

The Court of the Crimson King This is the last song in the album and it is a long one with massive layers of keyboards and mellotron like the song before (Epitath). And while I, personally, do not think that this is a massive anthem like 2 other songs in this album, it still stands out ... but for another reason. The lyrics.

It's hard not to appreciate the cynic here and the view from the "Fool's" eyes. In essence the whole thing is like saying that in the end we're nothing but puppets on a string in a much bigger court ... it's a wonderful analogy for the state of affairs politically and philosophically and what the 20th century had become ... ideas don't matter any more and no one cares any more and business interests run a muck and do what they want and convince you along the way they are funny and witty ... and you cry and scream fighting for these ideals and die for them sometimes.

Someone had a thread on one board on how evil this was. It is not evil. It is just like any other story about the King and the Fool and everything else around them ... and how one manipulates the others, and in the end, all that is left is a song, a few words, a poem ... and even them it doesn't mean much ... specially when today, we're talking 2010, this album is discussed as a major work in "progressive rock" and the rest of the artistic concept and design is totally left behind.

This is much more than a "progressive rock" album and that concept is nothing compared to the importance of the album itself, not only to the time and day when it came out, but today, in September 2010 and any time after today ... it's still important. And it stands up because both the mucis and the lyrics are so direct and such a strong screen shot of a day and age and time that we want to remember the music, but not what it created, including the hurt, the anger, the wars, the bombings, nameless acts ... that were all shown on your television in that day and age.

Few albums have that much importance! And this album deserves the credit for one of the most intelligent and defining moment of my generation, people that I am proud to stand up for because they meant a lot more than some other ideas and concepts that were simply defined by advertising and social belief!

But you must choose ... if you like to have your strings pulled, or if you want to be the player. I side with the artist and the player.

... The yellow jester does not play But gently pulls the strings And smiles as the puppets dance In the court of the crimson king.

Lastly, is the discussion into what became known as "progressive music" many years later.

I, personally, do not think that when you have your center in the right place and you know what you believe in and what you want to try and what you want to accomplish with your art ... that a whole new world reaches out to you. That world is one that is unknown to many folks and even scary for 95% of all the musicians out there. Why? ... how do you keep track of everything and stay together ... the answer my friend, lies in the wind ... and not the drum beat ... and what that tells you is that the musician and person that is asking the question is not listening to that wind! ... and that is what "I talk in the Wind" and "Moonchild" are so important to this album ... trying to help you see ... but sadly all we can think of is some kind of improvisational this or that which makes it some kind of fusion that we can't define, and it takes away from the music itself, the moment and ... most importantly its very soul.

Music, is about "expression" ... and very few musicians are talented enough to know the difference between notes and scales and art. One you can listen and call "progressive" or "prog". The other you live and die with and love every minute of it.

The opening song itself is about "megalomania" if you will with a political edge ... but in other ways it was also an attack on a lot of music at the time that was noisy, loud and did not have a whole lot of strength behind it. To me, that is also an important edge in this album ... that "noise" and "loud" can also be good and important, not just a Rolling Stones concert, which was usually too loud ... and often out of tune too! And it's hard to separate that megalomania and "star" think in the history of rock music ... even if the progressive contingent wants to separate itself from the over blown "stars" of rock music ... and in the end create another group of stars .... progressive is a lot less about the individual than it is about the music, and this is one thing that we tend to forget, and must understand first of all.

It is important for us to realize that a lot of "progressive" music came out of a lot of experimentation and improvisation and that a lot of the music was cleaned up and then lyrics added. It might be said that sometimes the lyrics were there and then the music was added and that is definitly a possibility when you are looking at lyrics in this album by Pete Sinfield. Although not a major poet at the time, what he did write was solid enough to give him some credit for his work, and all it took was one group of musicians that had enough respect for some wonderful words ... to be able to find some music that fit the whole thing beautifully ... and you can't say that about The Beatles or anyone else! At least you will have a hard time listing these in one finger.

This album is not, for me, the best of them all, in terms of the top of the progressive list, but it certainly is one of the top ten albums and a definite must listen. However, this is not a good listen, in general, for today's (2010) audience of metal and prog and some other genre's that are quite meaningless when placed next to something like this. You either appreciate a time and a place and its music ... or you simply are not someone that enjoys music ... for music, in the end, is not about jagged pills or mellotrons or synthesizers ... it's about the very heart that created what it did ... and this album is by far one of the very best ever in that area. Few albums can stand up to that kind of strength, unity, design and above all .. BEAUTY!

Report this review (#298086)
Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Who would care if I randomly put good words about this album and called it a review? Everything written about this album is way more than I could think and write. And since it is my first review on this site, I called this for an easy shot, because everything was already said. This is one of the first progressive albums that I ever listened to, with "the Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here". Neat chooses, huh? Boy, I am cool. And this album is my favourite progressive rock album of all times. With the lovely mellotron on "Epitaph" and all the symphonic arrangements and the unique feeling attached to the whole of the album, this deserves to be one of the best albums of all times, and it is a real pioneer for the progressive era. Every song is special and works so fine that you can't stop listening till your heart is about to faint away. I will be listening to this true piece of art till i die. And I am so happy that how it proves the power of music to make you feel wonderful unique feelings.
Report this review (#299197)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Does this album really need another review? Does its magnificence need another supporter? I don't think so, really. Let's just pretend that this is being read by somebody who doesn't know anything about KC, or progrock, and happens to be in this site for the first time. It's very simple: this is THE progressive rock album, the one who defined the genre as pseudo-intellectual rambling of musical prowess, filled with passion, technique, and lyricism. Of course, we know that ProgRock is so much more than that, and there are so many different bands who are hard to compare to the mighty Crim. I mean, the mighty Crim's carreer itself is hardly comparable to this very album, musicwise they drifted away from it pretty quickly. Yet there it stays, as a monumental milestone, THE progressive album which is praised outside proghead's circles, the one you'll find in best-of-lists. It is hard to portray in words the mystic aura this album has. It is so gorundbreaking it feels other-wordly as of today. its production, some may say dated, stays hauntingly charming. its playing... if you're a musician of any kind, you can't help but to be amazed on everything that goes on in here. and man, THAT cover. i'm sure that design helped to sell an awful lot of copies. Historicaly, this album is the nightmare at the end of the 60's dream. It is its bad trip. One might argue that Morrison & co. were already dealing with the dark side of it all. But lyrically they were still singing about love, sex, rock n' roll, dreams, albeit in very dark tones, Sinfield (what a name!) instead seems to have vomited on paper all his dark fantasies, all his childhood nightmares, all his paranoids, and created something unique. As I've already said, you can hardly call this a King Crimson album. There's almost no trace of Fripp's hypnotic and angular guitar. The drumming is very un-Crimson-y too, bordering on typical jazz drums. (But then again, that's why the Crims are so amazing. You have this, then you have Discipline. You have Islands, then you have Larks. Talking about resting on your laurels.) But I'm digressing. Track by track reviewing sounds ridicolous with albums like these. It's all a single magnificent journey. (By the way, Moonchild is brilliant).

This is one of the freshest musical experiences this century had to offer, one of the very few ones that transcend its genre, its format, its period and enter a domain of eternal recognition and adoration. If you fail to grasp its greatness,no problem, but try again. It will hit you sooner or later, just as, say, Picasso or Herriman eventually will. It is THAT good.

Report this review (#299470)
Posted Friday, September 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I realize I was pretty harsh on this on my previous review, so I'm going to edit it because I've listened to the album several more times. Before, only around 2 of the 5 songs sort of clicked, yet those didn't even seem remarkable. After a few more listens, since I wanted to see whether this alleged prog masterpiece and turning point, I not only put the music in the context of the time in which it was written, but also looked for merit in the music. Of course, I realized the talent it took to write such music upon first listen, but piecing together everything, the entire work as a coherent piece, still took time for me. Eventually, I grew a penchant toward the music itself, and every single track on this album grew exponentially better. Moonchild too went from fairly dreadful to bearable and then even to pretty good. Besides Moonchild, every other track is fantastic. If this were any other prog album, it'd probably barely miss 5 stars since it drags a bit in some places, but since this album was incredibly influential, I'll rate it 5.
Report this review (#300889)
Posted Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
5 stars c. 1969: "What in the devil is that?"

King Crimson is well known for their experimentation. From distorted vocals to heavily affected guitars, through their 40+ year existence, Robert Fripp has been well known for his musical..... "anti"-genius, breaking down every single rule made for music to make some of the most inventive music of the time period. In the Court of the Crimson King, the pseudo self titled and debut album of the band, showed just how willing to experiment the band was. Each track has a tasty amount of prog, proto-metal, jazz, and King Crimson-esque noise.

21st Century Schizoid Man, one of the band's signature tracks, is an odd way to open up an album. Blasting forth with intense saxophone/guitar work, immediately one can see just how freely Fripp is willing to work. The distorted vocals add an intense metallic touch to the already intense music. The instrumental section is full of proggish virtuosity and jazzy fun, making the track just a blast to listen to. Overall, the track is easily one of the best openers I've heard, and certainly one of the better tracks the band has put out.

Being 1969, the band was in no position to put out an all "metal" album, and they needed to almost appease their critics. So, I Talk to the Wind, a beautiful melodic piece, contrasts the insanity of the previous track. Cool and melodic, the track is one of the more laid back the band has produced, and has many pleasant instrumental solos and vocal sections a la Greg Lake. Overall, the whole track is cool and melodic, making for a very relaxing ride.

Epitaph is next, a somber and again melodic journey. Featuring some of the most classic KC lyrics, the song is again one of the better tracks the band has released. With haunting mellotron chords and some very somber vocal work, the whole track is a beauty.

Moonchild is the strongest jazz influenced track on the album, featuring more jazzy guitar solos and softer keyboard. However, the track isn't purely jazz. The track has a certain degree of experimentation to it, not the type seen in 21st Century Schizoid Man, but a crazy avant type that featured random muted chords and eccentric drum splashes and such. Overall, a much more avant-garde and creative track is seen here, showing how willing to do what they wish the band truly is.

The "title track" The Court of the Crimson King is the last and one of the best tracks on the album. It features a very fantastic mix of everything that was played on the rest of the album, with heavy sections, somber melodic sections, uplifting melodic sections, and everything in between for a great overall experience, which ends an absolutely fantastic album.

ALBUM OVERALL: King Crimson sure knows how to compose music. With their debut album, the band fleshes out of the some of the best progressive music ever, holding it's wait even 40 years after it's release. The album holds virtually every element that is desirable in the genre, experimentation, great instrumental sections, melodic beauty, and so much more. Overall, In The Court of the Crimson King is certainly a masterpiece of progressive music. 5+ stars

Report this review (#302096)
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The album that put the pomp into pomp rock!

Badly dated, with overblown arrangements and embarrassing lyrics, yet this remains the most important Prog album ever. It is certainly an essential album for those interested in the history of progressive music. But taken on its own merits, it perhaps lacks the timeless qualities that bear repeated listens. It is no doubt because this record was so pioneering that it has aged less well than others afterwards. They were able to learn from and improve on it.

The album starts off with the innovative "21st century schizoid man" which has been claimed as the progenitor of heavy metal and grunge among other things. I cannot fault it, especially in the instrumental section, but it has never been a favourite of mine. It also provides the sole example of an up-tempo song on this album; from now on, the mood will be slow, serene and funereal.

"I talk to the wind" is the subtlest piece on the album and thus often overlooked. A beguiling flute part adds a lot to the ethereal atmosphere. Were it not for the awful lyrics this might be better appreciated.

The overblown nature of this work really kicks off with Epitaph, a rather drawn out and dirge-like number with huge mellotron accompaniment. The lyrics, although not the greatest, do at least match the mood of the music.

"Moonchild" is perhaps the most prophetic piece here, in terms of King Crimson's subsequent development. After another slow and wistful sung section is a long ambling instrumental. Completely free form and dissonant, it rambles aimlessly for 9 minutes and is the major disappointment of this album.

"In the court of the Crimson King" is the mother of all bombastic prog tracks. In particular the chorus has massive mellotron strings and harmonies to match. The lyrics again are terrible and easily parodied.

Although I personally prefer many other prog albums (including some by King Crimson) I cannot see how this cannot be given 5 stars.

Report this review (#303624)
Posted Tuesday, October 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars The most overrated album in the history of prog(whatever the hell prog is). Alright boys and girls, I'm going to turn this sacred cow into a Big Mac. Get some popcorn ready. I wonder how many people who give this album 5 stars actually listen to all 12 minutes of "Moonchild" every time they play the disc. Pointless noodling is just pointless noodling, it doesn't matter who's doing the pointless noodling. To call this the first prog album is nothing short of a complete slap in the face to artists like Zappa, Floyd, The Nice, Moody Blues, Procol Harum and East Of Eden and what they were doing before this album was released. Listen to Uncle Meat and Ummagumma(both released in 1969); those two albums make ITCOTCK sound like the Monkees! I bet some of the people who drool over this album are the same ones who refer to Trespass as Genesis' first album(ah, revisionist history, you gotta love it). This wasn't even the first symphonic prog album, that would be Days Of Future Passed. As much as I like what Crimson did from '69-'71, I really don't think they "found themselves" until LTIA(Oh that Bruford, he leaves Yes and they go to hell; he joins Crimson and they record their best album).

"21st Century Schizoid Man"-This sounds like a mix of Hendrix and Zappa. Seriously. There is nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking about this song. Is it heavy for 1969? Yep. But there were other songs that came out the same year that were just as heavy if not more so (check out Floyd's "The Nile Song" which came out in *early* 1969). The full-band writing credit on this song is misleading; Lake came up with the main riff, while Fripp and Giles came up with the jazzy middle section. If you took that middle section and added mallet percussion, it could have fit on Uncle Meat. If you removed that middle section from the rest of the song and got rid of the distorted vocals, it could have fit on Electric Ladyland. I don't think this song was very influential, however, there is a part on Soft Machine's "Facelift" that sounds very similar to a part in "Schizoid Man". ITCOTCK came out late '69, while Third was at least recorded early-mid 1970, so it may just be a coincidence.

"I Talk To The Wind"-pure Moodies except for the good drumwork, which is similar to the drumming of BJ Wilson of Procol. How influential was this song? I've heard a lot more songs from the '60s sound like this as compared to the 70s. "Epitaph"-pure Procol except for the Mellotron which sounds like the Moodies. In fact, if you want to hear a song from 1968 that sounds similar to this, listen to "In My First Mind" by Steve Miller(yes, *that* Steve Miller). Miller's song also has a slow tempo and is drenched in Mellotron. The lyrics on "Epitaph" are far superior of course. Lyric-wise this is my favourite Crimson song and Sinfield's finest hour as a lyricist. However, it is only slightly better than some of the lyrics Procol were coming up with at the time.

The first two minutes of "Moonchild" is a nice little ditty, nothing more. The rest is a perfect example of a band out of ideas. If you say you have listened to all 12 minutes of this song more than 10 times, then you: a)are lying, or b)have a greater tolerance for barely audible noodling than I do. Let's move on to the title track...more Moodies! Maybe a tad bit darker than the Moodies but wouldn't sound too out of place on In Search Of The Lost Chord. Of course the drumming is far superior to anything you'll find on a Moodies album, and maybe slightly more adventurous than what you would find on a Procol album.

So why the hype? The press loved it! People like Pete Townshend praised it to high heaven. It was Crimson's only gold album. It's considered the first prog album for no other reason than YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD SO! Compare this album to the Giles, Giles & Fripp album a year earlier. Worlds apart. Why? Because there are no Moodies, Procol, Hendrix and Zappa influences on that album...that's why. Keep in mind I am giving this 3 stars, not 1 or 2. Overrated as a all hell, but in general the music here is still pretty good. The drumming of Michael Giles in particular stands out. For an album recorded in the UK in 1969 on 8- track recording technology, this sounds incredible. In fact, the only other British release from 1969 that sounds better is Abbey Road. 3 stars it is.

Report this review (#303894)
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although I believe no introduction is necessary when it comes to "In the Court of the Crimson King", especially considering this is a website specialized in progressive music, these are the facts:

"In the Court of the Crimson King" is the debut album of King Crimson, and is considered by many to be the first progressive rock album. It definitely is one of the best though. Even before listening to the album one could tell it's unlike most albums that had come before it, because it only had 5 songs, each of them of untypical, for that time, length.

Before I start talking about the music itself, though, I want to comment on the cover art. I will admit at first I found it uninspired. I still have no idea what it's point is, but I can see it, at least, does it's job well, and that is make you curious about the contents of this record.

Onto the songs, then.

The album begins with "21st Schizoid Man". This song does give the listener an idea of what's to come. King Crimson on this track shows their excellent songwriting skills. I sometimes try to imagine how it would sound without the sax and its extended instrumental sections, but these make it what it is.

"I Talk to the Wind" is the weakest song on this album, in my opinion. That does not mean it is a bad song, but I feel it lacks the energy of the other songs. I can see the beauty in its melody but I feel it is a bit longer than it should (even if it already is the shortest).

Ah, "Epitaph", the Crimson song everyone knows, and not without good reason. Lyrically, it's the best the album can offer. When it comes to song structure and instrumentation, it possibly is the least progressive. I feel that it is badly mixed, which detracts from the listening experience.

"Moonchild" is the most hated track. Longer than the others, it is often criticized as being too long, that it is self-indulgent with its "jazzy" instrumental parts. It is, however, a personal favorite. I really have no idea what it's all about, but it is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. I especially like the percussion on it. It definitely is not an easy listen though.

The last song on the album is "The Court of the Crimson King". As always, the lyrics manage to impress, while remaining extremely vague as to what it's all about. This one's the most symphonic of the lot, and also the most "consistent" never really straying from the basic melody.

If there is a single person on here that has yet to listen to this album (something I doubt) they should really give it a try. A great introduction to prog. Not as accessible as most of King Crimson's discography, but possibly better than it. King Crimson would never again create such a consistent and consistently good piece of work.

Report this review (#304694)
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Well considering KC is probably my favorite band, I must review everything in their collection. And unfortunately I have no choice but to also review the second or third most reviewed album on PA.

But wait! Shockingly this album is a masterpiece. An absolute perfect album (well at least very very close). And yet not KC's best, but hell a damn good debut if not the best debut album by any band ever. And now the songs!

21st Century Schizoid Man: Absolute classic opener. The guitar line is face melting. Lake's vocals (which I'm not a huge fan of in ELP) are great, especially with the distorted effects. Pete Sinfield provides incredible lyrics. He's probably my favorite lyricist of all time. The drumming is probably my favorite aspect in the song. Michael Giles is an incredible drummer and his drumming on Schizoid Man just weaves the song together so tightly even though it feels like the song is going to explode every second. Lakes bass playing isn't amazing, but it's not bad. Ian McDonald's sax playing sounds like a swine being sacrificed to the devil. Absolutely ferocious. Amazing beginning.

I Talk To The Wind: The ballad that is still getting radio play today. I might say this is one of the best ballads of all time, and I would probably be right. McDonald's flute is gorgeous. It's surprising to hear such a dynamic change between his insane brutal sax to this beautiful melodic flute. The song has all the great aspects. And Fripp's minimal guitar playing is just so beautiful it can jerk you to tears. It's surprising to hear such beauty after the insane explosion which was Schizoid Man.

Epitaph: Great song, though probably my least favorite of the album. Sinfield's lyrics here are the most controversial than they've been in any song here, criticizing organized religion. The song has great mellotron and even better vocals and the best acoustic guitar playing. Fripp is showing quietly his virtuosity, though his full potential is yet to be seen. The song can be a bit to dramatic, and it sometimes feels like the mellotron is making the song sound like, and an actual Epitaph.

Moonchild: Most controversial song on the album. The vocals in the beginning are probably Lake's best ever. The lyrics are also beautiful. In my opinion the instrumental passage in the middle is incredible. It's showing a future KC, and while some might hate it for being dull and uneventful (which is legitimate), I love it for being challenging and surprising. Most challenging part of the album, and possibly most rewarding.

In The Court Of The Crimson King: Best song of the album. Beautiful mellotron in the beginning makes you feel like you're in this depressing ceremony. The lyrics are very interesting as poetry alone, and talk about the rule of a corrupt... ruler. Beautiful instrumental passages, beautiful vocals. Beautiful ending. Very emotional and very powerful.

This album is (shockingly!) a must have for any self-respecting prog rock fan. But even if you accidentally stumbled on this website you probably know this. So. Yeah.

Report this review (#306150)
Posted Friday, October 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars What hasn't already been said? Well, I'll tell you that Michael Giles is a very skilled drummer. This album has drums that are very unique and stand out allot of the time. Especially on Court of the Crimson King. The Talents of Ian Mcdonald are present throughout the entire album as well. He shines on I Talk to the Wind. That song has one of the best performances of a woodwind in all of progressive rock. The lyrics of sinfield set the tone for the album. This is one of those cds you forgive for the "preteniousness". Fripp plays beautiful acoustic guitar on this album. Epitaph being his best performance IMO. So, yes it is one of the top five progressive cds in all prog rock, it was also the first. Very essential, and very enjoyable.
Report this review (#306807)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best debut album of all time! This is "In the court of King Crimson," the debut album of King Crimson and has revolutionized the rock, giving rise to prog rock.

It starts with "21st Century Schizoid Man," a song absurdity.Her is fast and aggressive, and it gives me pleasure to hear the distorted guitar of Robert Fripp, showing why he is one of the best guitarists of all times.Next track, "I talk with the wind," is my favorite album, and totally opposite of the earlier-it is quiet and reflective, and absurdly beautiful. "Epitaph" is a treat for lovers of Melotron, and it is quite another track beautiful. "Moonchild" is the largest-and worst-of album.Are 12 minutes flat, and I almost could not hear it for complete.The first two minutes are cool, there is a beautiful melody, but then there's an instrumental improvisation What is ridicule.God, I hate this song! Fortunately, all is not lost, because there is still the title track to save the album (thank God!). The chorus is wonderful, and again we have the presence of the mellotron.

(10/10) -21st Century Schizoid Man -I talk with the wind -Epitaph -In the court of king crimson

(5 / 10) -Moonchild (I'll just give 5 score by two minutes early, but I would give a zero)


5 stars

Report this review (#321286)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is probably essential for any fan of progressive rock music. However, I have rated it three stars.

This is progressive rock's first true album. With it is a legacy that, to this day, runs through progressive rock bands that have followed. Brilliant instrumental music, meaningless lyrics, sometimes sloppy vocals (though, they are pretty good here), ethereal, generally long song times, not much emotion.

When listening to this album, there is an air of excitement, there's an air about it,, which convey's something like 'we're doing something wonderful that's never been done before.' There are obviously a lot of pent-up ideas that were waiting to be unleashed.

The opening cut, the rocking '21st century schizoid man', has a catchy chorus, but look at what the instrumental music is doing, from rock to jazz to classical, changing time signatures, changing chords, changing signatures, etc. no one had ever pushed rock this far before. No, no-one had ever done this before, not even anything like it, and the listener can sense the excitement in the studio as they lay this cut down. They know what's going down... Classic and Timeless.

'I talk to the wind' is a vintage progressive rock ballad. But, at that end, it is not much more than that, obtuse lyrics, pleasant and airy, melodious.

Unlike almost anything that had come before, the dramatic 'Epitaph' is a very prophetic- sounding song. The lyrics seem to envisage a world in the future where there is chaos and disasters happen (maybe they were prophesising the future of music?), the vocals are dark and dramatic. Most of all, however, is a dark 'air' or ;aura' surrounding the song. This feeling is probably makes the song so attractive to listeners out there seeking something different. Something BEYOND the norm, the mundane, the ordinary.

There is the controversial 'Moonchild' (named after the Aliester Crowley book?), which I think rewards a patient listener, and the main part is a nice ballad, a kind of ethereal love song. That said, it does require a lot of patience to sit through nine minute of music that is 'barely there'.

Then, the title track kind of goes back to 'Epitaph', prophetic, dark, symphonic. The chorus is catchy, and, unusually for the Crim, there are some eerie vocal harmonies that hearken a bit to The Moody Blues. The song is catchy, and the instrumental music is very good.

But somewhere in this album, there are faults that plague so many prog efforts that have followed in it's wake. I know prog is about expressing artistic merit, but would it kill them to make the music a bit heartfelt? I mean, this is an excellent piece of art, but with almost no emotional value. The lyrics are often poetic, but rarely mean anything. Or maybe only Peter Sinfield knows what they mean.

And the album isn't a 'ball of fun', so to speak, although, admittedly, they rectified this later and many of their later albums are just as much fun as any hard-rock band. Good examples of this are Thrak, Red, etc.

But this album opened up a whole new genre, a genre that allowed limitless exploration, innovation and creativity. There have been many classic that have followed in it's wake, including albums made by the same band.

Report this review (#329414)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The album that brought it all to a synthesized head: all before was but labor pains; all to follow but variations on a theme? Not quite, but, after Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band, ITCotCK is the album that most affected musicians, listeners, and even the direction a whole host of musicians would take for the next five or six years. Still, this is by no means a perfect album; many do not like the "waste of time and vinyl" that is a big chunk of "Moonchild;" some find the music of "21st Century Schizoid Man" too abrasive, too discordant, too distorted; some find many of the slower-paced songs too syrupy--especially the lyrics and their presentation; I find the drumming of Michael Giles to be tedious, uninspired, and rather rote (and am always painfully aware when any other artist tries to emulate it). Flutes, Mellotron, moods conveyed, structure and innovation are what make this album so unique and groundbreaking to my mind. For 40 years now I've found myself singing "Epitaph" to myself almost daily, "I Talk to the Wind" whenever I go outside, and "The Court of the Crimson Ki-i-i-i-i, i-i-i-i--i-i-i-ing" many time a week. The album definitely makes a permanent imprint, affects neural development, and opens up one's mind to start asking bigger questions. For these reasons, and many more that I'll think of later, I can only grant this album masterpiece status. Any true prog lover should not, cannot call themselves a prog lover without owning this music.
Report this review (#330920)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is really the true birth of what would be called Progressive Rock. The fact that it evolved itself from other much more original sources like 1-2-3, John McLaughlin, etc, is neither here nor there. Forget that debate, it's time to put those original sources to one side - they could never have delivered what King Crimson did with this album. This is the point where it all converged and became mainstream.

To add to all that, this is in fact the only true King Crimson album, the rest are a subterfuge, or a mish-mash of Fripp's increasingly eccentric ideas held together by various assorted pieces of glue called alternative musicians. Fripp's eccentricities were focussed only for this moment in a blaze of glory. Crimson itself lived and died right here in this album. Whether you like it or not, five stars is the only alternative, I can't understand why anyone would give less. I don't like everything about this album, there's a lot I don't like. For me, there are only two tracks to talk about, '21st century' and 'Crimson King', yet I wouldn't dream of anything less than five stars, its appearance is just too important and crucial to the whole reason we're here on this site writing anything at all.

Because Robert Fripp remained at the ship (or more accurately, at the wreck of the ship), he tends to receive all the lavish praise for this album. He rightly is lauded for his fine contribution, but every single member of that band had a crucial part to play. The real tragedy (or was it a blessing?) was that it couldn't be held together beyond this one moment.

But what a moment it was, in those two songs at least, a new vision was built. Many have rightly praised 1-2-3 for the idea of such a band, but that band, great as they were in concept, as a musical unit of just organ bass and drums, they could never have lived up to this promise of such dynamic power, texture, and colour, the power, texture, and colour necessary to drive these ideas into public consciousness and deliver a new style and genre to the masses.

This was the achievement of this one-album band, and it was glorious, nothing less.

Report this review (#339553)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is one of the very first and until today most essential progressive rock record including five stunning proto and eclectic progressive rock pieces. Even nowadays, this outstanding release hasn't lost anything of its visionary magic and never feels old-fashioned. Everything is perfectly worked out on this release: the iconic cover and booklet artwork, the warm productional sound, the catchy but highly diversified song structures, the instrumental experiments and the addicting ethereal vocals featuring cryptic and mysteriously intriguing lyrics. Today, fans and experts always mention bands such as Genesis, Pink Floyd or Yes when it's time to name the biggest names but for me King Crimson easily stand above them all and not only because of this brilliant debut record. This album is still in my all time favourite top twenty records ever done even after thousand of releases I was able to listen to in my life. This here is definitely one of those records anybody should have listened to at least once in a lifetime, no matter what you are usually used to listen to.

The album kicks off with the visionary heavy metal prototype "21st Century Schizoid Man" that has been covered so many times over the years because it's simply an essential masterpiece. The distorted vocals, the agressive big band sounds, the unchained but always technical drumming, the wildly pumping bass guitar and teh hypnotizingly noisy guitars create an apocalyptic atmosphere with an unsurpassable intensity.

The rest of the record has a rather floating tone that breaks a lot with the first song which is the only negative part I could find out about this release. Even though this radical change doesn't really want to fit, the remaining four songs are excellent in their own way as well. We get the calm, dreamy and folk influenced hippy anthem "I Talk To The Wind", the beautifully sung spiritual ballad "Epitaph" that makes me think a little bit of The Moody Blues, the floating "Moonchild" with a weird and unique instrumental section that immediately puts you in an eerie mood and finally the catchy and peaceful epic hymn "In The Cour Of The Crimson King". Each song is profound, unique and shows the band's open minded versatility.

In the end, we have one truly heavy track and four songs that discover all possible aspects of the musical power of tranquility. Today, the album still feels magic and relevant and finally gets the credit it always deserved. If I had only one progressiev rock record to choose to introduce someone to this kind of music, it would definitely be this album. King Crimson prove right from the start that they are the true kings of progressive music and it's sad that they were never able to equal or top this release and get a little bit more recognition but once you will discover this album you may release why it's almost unbeatable and was never surpassed by any other band since its release.

Report this review (#381390)
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Most great bands from this period had blues-based influences but King Crimson stood out from the rest by stripping that typical sound away and combining rock with jazz and classical symphonic elements. That is one major factor that made this release one of the most influential progressive rock albums ever.

The guitar sound is not always the prominent instrument. In fact there is only one guitar solo on the opening "21st Century Schizoid Man" which is jazz-rock fusion and a great piece. It is the most aggressive track that gives way to something delicate and beautiful. "I Talk To The Wind" has some gorgeous flute work and fragile arrangements.

The mellotron-laced, symphonic "Epitaph" is very atmospheric and mythical. Greg Lake's vocals are really striking and full of emotion. The textures on "In The Court Of The Crimson King" are just as majestic and passionate. "Moodchild" is very soft and slightly chilling with some soft percussion. The doodling at the end goes on a bit too long which would usually mean the loss of at least half a star from the overall rating. But with this album I will make an exception because the rest of the music is very special. There is a kind of presence that draws you in. I can't quite describe it. It's warm as well as touching, although also dark and melancholic. For me it's a masterpiece. 5 stars.

Report this review (#391307)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
5 stars King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King [1969]

Rating: 10/10

In the Court of the Crimson King does not need my commentary. This is the album that is most often labeled as the first progressive rock album. Although artists such as The Bealtes, Frank Zappa, and Pink Floyd built a heavy foundation for prog, this is the album that catapulted rock music into a new level of creativity and artistry. In the Court of the Crimson King was so radically ahead of its time that if it were to have come out yesterday, I think that this description could still be applied.

Every track here is a separate entity in and of itself. Each is stylistically unique, with distinct compositional styles and musical dynamics. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is one of progressive rock's most recognizable songs; the vocal hooks, inventive guitar work, staggering rhythm section, and jazz-rock insanity make it a true classic. "I Talk to the Wind" calms things down quite a bit. This is a pastoral, folky song centered on flute and soft vocals from Lake. "Epitaph" is a Mellotron-laden epic with some of my all-time favorite lyrics. Lake sounds emotional, Fripp's acoustic guitar is gorgeous, and the entire song is quite an experience. "Moonchild" is one of the most controversial songs within this genre of music. It begins fairly normally, with soft vocals and vibraphone, then transitions into a ten-minute-long minimalistic improvisation that I won't even try to describe. Many people see this song as ramblingly overlong pointlessness, but I enjoy it quite a bit. Both the vocal section and the abstract portion manage to create a distinct atmosphere; I envision a full moon overlooking a gnarled oak tree whenever I listen to this. The title track brings back the Mellotron and the grandiosity. This song moves seamlessly between epic passages and quieter, more subdued sections - all with a distinct Renaissance feel.

In the Court of the Crimson King may be innovative, historical, and revolutionary, but these factors are not what make it such a masterpiece. Even if this wasn't the first progressive rock album, it would still be one of the greatest. Every moment of this album is memorable; the composition, musicianship, lyrics, and musical textures are some of the best ever recorded. This is one of those excessively-praised albums that actually deserves all of the love it receives; it is essential to anybody who is a fan of music.

Report this review (#427369)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars In most people's minds (including mine), this album defines the moment the genre was born. Taking a leaf out of 1-2-3, stealing a sidelong glance at Yes, a group of consummate musicians brought together a stunning new sound that was as stately as it was powerful, as melodic as it rocked, and put together an album that still sounds fresh today. To hear these pieces performed live was even more memorable than the record, as i can testify. Much is made of Fripp and Lake, quite rightly, but the other band members were equally important. The sound of that sax in the high octave parts of 21st century made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, the drums rattled through your brain like chattering machine guns.

A wonderful debut, sadly a band at its peak and zenith, imploding almost as it began, that truism somehow making it even more clear that this was the real deal.

Report this review (#428161)
Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars There isn't much to say about this album that hasn't already been said. In The Court of the Crimson King is King Crimson's beautiful debut album and is one of the earliest progressive rock albums ever released. This music was absolutely wild for the time when it was originally released, and still holds a high standard for progressive rock bands to attempt to reach. Before this came out, there was nothing quite like it. It's beautiful, it's harsh, it's got jazz, it's got epic lush atmosphere. It's the complete progressive rock package slammed into one nearly perfect album. A definite classic, and this serves as the perfect introduction to an entire genre that this album single handedly created.
Report this review (#429378)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The turning point.

The end of a path: where the seeds planted by the Beatles, Moody Blues, Procol Harum and other proto-prog bands finally sprout. A starting point: if there is an album that defines what is progressive rock, as we know it today, is this. Crimson's first album is the manifestation of a style, a record of immense historical importance that contains all the essential elements of prog. There are extended pieces of music with lot of instrumental passages, bombastic arrangements, epic and solemn tones, visionary lyrics and fantasy themes, mixtures with jazz and classical music, great tempo changes, and finally there is an amazing album cover in classical prog style. For the first time in an album does not lack any essential element of what we today consider progressive rock.

21st Century Schizoid Man is a revolutionary song, with distorted vocals, incredible rhythmic variations in the central part and a frenzied solo sax, destined to make history. Every prog fan should know this song, it is a must for any progger! All other pieces are less aggressive, from I Talk To The Wind, relaxing ballad featuring magnificent solos on flute by McDonald and a great performer by the singer Greg Lake, to the sumptuous and romantic Epitaph, and finally the title track, where triumph the solemn atmosphere created by the mellotron. The only flaw, unfortunately, is the long instrumental part of "Moonchild" (the first singed part is rather sublime) that at the time could be innovative, but now seems aging badly.

There are great individual performances by musicians, but of course it is the music as a whole that leaves breathless. Greg Lake's voice is at the highest level in his career and with ELP will no longer be so. The work of Giles on drums is amazing, especially in the "21st Century Schizoid Man." Robert Fripp is an incredibly innovative guitar player but I think this is an album where the underrated Ian McDonald is on the spotlight with a memorable use of mellotron and winds. Fripp is already the leader here, but his leadership does not seems absolute: without doubt all members give a great contribution on creating this masterpiece.

The most important record in the history of prog, a must for anyone. My rating is only 9 / 10 because of the instrumental part of "Moonchild".

5 stars.

Best song: 21st Century Schizoid Man

Report this review (#436170)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the cream of the crop. The quintessential prog-rock album. This album didn't necessarily define a genre (Because no one ever has or will sound like KC.) This did however define a certain thought process. It defined that ability and creativity can be combined to make a music of higher thinking. A better kind of music. The music of the future featuring musical elements of the past. Elements of Psychedelia, Classical and Jazz are all over this album.

21st Century Schizoid man starts you heavy. This song has everything that psychedelic music was moving toward. Horns and crazy sound fast guitar. Screaming vocals and funky drums. One of the greatest breakdown/jam sections to be in a song for the time. The rest of the album is slower but just as epic.

I Talk To The Wind starts softly with some beautiful flute harmony. In fact Greg has some beautiful vocal harmonies in this song. A pastoral passage through the wind. Every instrument compliments each other perfectly.

Epitaph is a very powerful song both lyrically and harmonically. Though the drums aren't the strongest element in the band they do a perfect job on this track in particularly. The music truly accentuates lyrics. Peter Sinfield's a great modern poet. These lyrics in particular are amazing especially the chorus "Confusion will be my epitaph as I crawl a cracked and broken path. If we make it we can all sit back and laugh. But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying. I fear tomorrow I'll be crying." This is a track that can be listened to any time any day any week of any year and have the same affect upon oneself.

Moonchild's vocals are the first impression. This track is orchestrated very beautifully. Very folk yet much more. Psychedelic spaciness around the 2:30 mark that's very trippy. Fripp is jazzy in the sense of Wes Montgomery. Very pre-atonal pre-crazy guitar tuning Fripp. Almost can't tell this is the same man. Though if one listens closely you can see how he will develop in the future. This track is great but it doesn't have the replay quality that the other tracks do. Mainly because of the psychedelic softness that is the bulk of the song.

In The Court Of The Crimson King is the title track. This song is epic. The chorus with its vocal harmonies carrying it. Though I wish there was a little more to the song it is still the perfect song to end the album.

This album defined a generation. 4 stars.

Report this review (#454036)
Posted Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars So many words have been written on the merits of this album, so I'll refrain from getting too deep into them and instead address what is often cited as the album's one flaw: Moonchild, the first song on the second side, which begins unusually gently given the tone of the rest of the album (loud, paranoid, bombastic, sweeping, dramatic, and all the other words that have been applied to it...) and ends up seemingly losing its way in a long quiet section of freeform improvisation which lasts for around 9 minutes or so. (Indeed, in the most recent round of remasters this section was shortened). Taken on its own, the song is highly dissatisfying, but taken as a prelude to the spine-tingling album closer of In the Court of the Crimson King I actually think the free-playing segment works quite well, the improvisation coming together into a gentle but foreboding atmosphere before the first chords of In the Court blare forth.

So, I will join with the masses in giving this one five stars, even though some of the individual songs might only be three star compositions, because this is one of those very few albums which you can say are greater than the sum of their parts.

Report this review (#455797)
Posted Wednesday, June 1, 2011 | Review Permalink