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


King Crimson

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5 stars This is the album of the decade. There hasn't been another piece of music released this good since I was born. Incredibly inventive, exciting, frightening, beautiful, thoughtful, everything is poured into this album. Get it at all costs.
Report this review (#17261)
Posted Friday, November 21, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars They remain the king of truely progressive sound to this day. The beauty and the tension, it's all there in majestic grandeur. Fripp's guitar has rarely sounded better on a studio album. Amazing diskc!
Report this review (#17275)
Posted Monday, December 8, 2003 | Review Permalink
3 stars The music is fine, the guitar playing great, the drumming very high quality (of course, he's not Bruford, but not bad for a not-Bruford). However, as in the previous release, there is a feeling of something missing. Then you listen to one of the old Crimson albums and it becomes obvious what the problem is - Fripp is ripping himself off. Crimson albums have now become 'formula', mainly because Fripp applies the same formula to his compositions, over and over. His ideas are no longer fresh, despite the fact that virtually no one else writes like him. A previous reviewer of one of the 80s Crimson albums on this site suggested KC get rid of Belew, but after hearing this latest, and Construktion of Light, it is clear that KC has to get rid of Fripp! (I can hear it now - oh Sacrilege!). But let's face it, anyone who has seen KC live lately has attested to how uninterested Fripp seems in the whole thing - he seethes dislike for his audience and their (our) intellegence. On the other hand, Belew always puts his best into it, he saves the show! (and dare I say it, he is now the one with the better guitar solos too! Fripp just doesn't seem to care anymore. I know - I have seen the Crims three times in the recent past). So, get this album for the new Belew material.
Report this review (#17266)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars My fave KC album. Ever. It features variations, and imo the best ever, on Fripp's Hendrix-plays-Bartok pieces, finally fully integrated soundscapes, and a modern and more open sound, largely thanks to Pat Mastelloto. The compositions are diverse, yet the album flows very well. Lots of dynamics and a huge soundpallette. Also the best KC album in terms of production : this album sounds huge, very loud, and yet still with a huge dynamism. This is the culmination of 30 years of Crim. I doubt if they'll be able to top this, but I'll be proven wrong gladly.
Report this review (#17267)
Posted Friday, February 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars Nothing new here. I don't see much difference in sound between this and ConstruKction. In fact the music is too damn repetitive. Fripp & Co are now more of a guitar weilding bunch who try out every little nuance in the book on classical riffs etc etc. Very exciting if one likes such stuff, but I prefer the Crimson on Red and Starless if one likes such jams. Crimson also created some of the best melodies in the 70s. I would love them to recreate that sound. Let's get back the melletron.
Report this review (#17268)
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Latest Crimson album (so far), and a much more accessible (less brutal) one than 00's ConstruKction, Power To Believe is what I would call a positive (or at least hopeful) album. Unfortunately for me (and probably not just me) the line-up remained the same, even after five years between the two albums. Like Thrakk, it came preceded by a lighter work-in-progress with the Level Five maxi-EP (Vroom in Thrakk's case), which had given us some foretaste of things to come, so unlike ConstruKction, TPTB was no deception. Coming with the now-usual paintings gracing the KC Collector's Club and DGM releases, which are normally unrelated to the album's and track's content, showing a strong constrast between the album's positive feel.

Some have compared the four small title tracks to Poseidon's three Peace theme, and they might have a point, although this is about as far the Poseidon comparison would go. Right after the aCapella version comes the monster Level Five, taking us back Red, but a real new melody is Eyes Wide Open (one of the album's highlight) that Crimson had us not used to anymore. Elektrik and Facts Of Life are a bit of a return to the 80's Levin-era, but I find it more organic.. less 80's-ish. The second instalment of the title track is probably my fave of the four, the instrumental version with some rare Wam percussion instrument. The slowly crescendoing Dangerous Curve is one of those sonic novelties that are likely to shock some long-standing Crimson fan, but it is one of Metselotto's better performances on this album. In some ways, the middle and closing section remind me of the start of Genesis' Watcher Of The Skies.

Outside the almost-violent Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With, a weird yelling track where Belew obviously dares his strangest vocals, most of this album had glided fairly smoothly, and it's not the last two parts of the title track that will change the positive feel this album gives me, the third being another instrumental beauty, while Coda is a return to the a capella version opening the album accompanied with some aerial and ambient synths layers.

Although it would've been very difficult for Crimson to do a worse album than the previous TCOL (and even then it's far from catastrophic), TPTB is a healthy return to a more progressive (in the sense of going forward) music. Uuuuhh!!!..... Robert? If you want to do more of this type... please feel free.

Report this review (#17270)
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars My problem with this album is that the kings seem to have nothing really new to say. They are still 4 extraordinary musicians, but I have always the feling that I heard the songs somewhere else in their back catalogue. Do I hurt somebody if I say that sometimes this cd is almost... boring? Anyway, they can afford also the luxury of being a little bit tedious for what they gave in their 35 years history.
Report this review (#17288)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson never fails to fascinate..."The Power to Believe" is no exception...the title track (in multiple incarnations) serves as a guide-light..."Eyes Wide Open" is a show-stopper..."Facts of Life" is noisy and bloozy and excellent... "Dangerous Curves" builds to a thunderous crescendo and "Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With" is entertaining.

The musicianship, as always, is utterly impeccable.

Another excellent entry into the KC discography. (4 1/2 STARS)

Report this review (#17291)
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars It seems like King Crimson isn't really putting anything really new out anymore. There isn't much difference between this album and Construkction of Light. This stuff is just effects- driven and Fripp does the same exact guitar riffs on every song. There older stuff is phenominal up to the early 90's. King Crimson is my favorite band but I don't consider there recent stuff King Crimson. This album is still pretty good though.
Report this review (#17294)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Excellent. Just Excellent. I just bought it yesterday, and I loved it from the very scary intro A-cappella, to the nice wrapping up that Coda does. This is excellent. I'm sure if my dad were alive today, who was a big fan of crimson in the 70's, but never heard any of their new stuff, he likely wouldnt have liked it too much. But It, nonetheless, is an magnificent album and should be treated with much respect from proggers out there. Their sound has changed to be alot heavier on this album (and alot wierder too), But I'm sure alot of people will like it. But, if you are a fan of the old crimson style, and do not like heavy material, stay away from this, cuz it is very heavy. Conclusion: An outstanding album.
Report this review (#17295)
Posted Tuesday, June 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars In 2003 King Crimson came back whith a brand new album. The Power to Believe. And i mean it. is the power to believe that King Crimson can make complex and brillliant music. a very goopd album, one of the best of King Crimson, Crimson is the Dark, and in this album evil is not hipothetican anymore. Great Album aproaches Costa Rica.
Report this review (#17297)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars First let me just say that this is the ONLY KC album i have heard in its entirety. Sure I've heard a few 70's era KC songs but this is the only KC cd i have listend to all the way though (its also the only one i own). But if this album is just a re-hash of their older material (which some of the more unkind reviews here say), then their older material must be pretty darn good! The music here just full out blows my mind! A must own for... anyone!
Report this review (#17298)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars AWFUL! I've been a King Crimson fan for years and this is without a doubt their worst album they have ever released! It even makes "Earthbound" sound GREAT and that isn't saying much! Since the departure of Tony Levin and Bill Bruford, their sound has changed for the worst. Either Robert Fripp should reunite with the former members from 1969-1974 (because he's still friends with some of them!) or should just stop recording with Adrian Belew, Pat Mastoletto and Trey Gunn under the name "King Crimson" since there is only one Englishman in the group now and their sound is bland bland BLAND! I have no doubts that this is going to be their last album.
Report this review (#17300)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a true masterpiece right up there with PINK FLOYDS DARK SIDE.I am amazed that some people can diss this incredible album.I think this is oneof the most unique/bizarre/complex/emotional/thought provoking pieces of music ever created and im no big fan of other CRIMSON albums.This has a timeless quality and is great pot smoking music.What else can i say but some people will not like this because of its complexity but me this is one of my favorite albums EVER.
Report this review (#17301)
Posted Saturday, August 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars TPTB is a gorgeous, fullsome concept album. Moments of rage flow seamlessly into delicate arrangements that are grounded throughout by Adrian's recurring prayer. While the overall sound of TPTB doesn't take us too far away from Construction, the concept does and this the magic. Facts of Life informs us to "Believe what you want, it doesn't mean you're right" and yet, ironically, the epicentre of the album is a celebration of the power to believe. It is this kind of emotional and conceptual ping-pong that makes TPTB such a lyrically satisfying album - musically brilliant to be sure, but then I expect nothing less. Always thought-provoking; KC have no intention of allowing themselves or anyone else to become complacent. SUTEKINA!
Report this review (#17303)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
4 stars "She carries me through days of apathy. She washes over me. She saved my a manner of speaking...when she gave me back the power to believe." With this simple poem - sung acapella by Belew in a fritched voice - the best KC album since at least Beat (if not before) opens. Although less interesting lyrically than "ConstruKction of Light" (or even "Discipline," "Beat," or "Three of a Perfect Pair"), "The Power to Believe" marks another apex in the rollercoaster history of King Crimson.

Opening with that short poem, the album moves into "Level Five," an extended multi- section composition. It is no coincidence that "Level" begins with the same letter as "Larks," or that "Five" represents what would be the next "installment" of the Larks Tongues series. Leave it to Fripp to brilliantly waylay the possibility of an "oh no, here we go again" response had he titled this "Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part V." Yet there is no question that that is exactly what this is. But don't fret: it is leagues better than Parts III and IV. Indeed, it may be the most perfectly constructed, cohesive, tight and exciting KC composition since LT2.

"Level Five" segues nicely into "Eyes Wide Open," a simple but effective ballad in the style of the balladic material on "Three of a Perfect Pair." This leads into "Elektrik," which opens with a cute, quasi-brass opening. Then, using contrapuntal guitars as a "foundation," Fripp and Belew lead the band in a "guitars vs. rhythm section" composition in which Gunn and Mastalotto alternate two radically different rhythms while the axmen play a series of contrapuntal quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes. Although mildly overlong, it is oddly compelling.

"Facts of Life" opens with an intro of effects and "sudden percussion," moving into another fritched Belew vocal over some quasi-mixolydian guitarwork by Fripp. [N.B. Fripp has apparently "rediscovered" the mixolydian mode: he uses more of it on this album than he has in a long time.] A nice, straight-ahead (if oddly-timed) prog-rocker, this one also contains one of Fripp's trademark, massively distorted "chord" solos.

FOL segues nicely into "The Power To Believe II," the album's most minimalist, but no less interesting, instrumental. Opening with some effects, it moves into what sounds like an Arab call to prayer over a Middle Eastern rhythm (with Fripp in mixolydian mode again), then segues perfectly into a quasi-"Oriental" motif on melodic percussion. It then segues again, into a rhythmic, quasi-orchestral mode.

"Dangerous Curves" gives us a classic instrumental build-up (a la LT2) of Fripparanoia in 12/8 time, moving into an incessant, driving, almost Floydian section.

"Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With" (like "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum" on CoL) is a masterful, aggressive song, this time about...writing a song. Along with a truly wacky Fripp solo toward the end, the lyrics of the chorus have a very "Knots" (r.d. laing/Gentle Giant) style to them.

"The Power to Believe III" is a deliberately disjointed, "industrial" composition (a la "Industry" from TOAPP). "The Power to Believe IV: Coda" is an instrumental with a very Vangelis/Blade Runner effect, ending with the same vocal that opened the album.

Overall, the guitar work is excellent, Mastalotto has really found his footing and is truly "contributing" more to the overall sound, and Gunn (as on CoL) not only holds his own, but acts as the "linchpin" that holds much of the album together. The only reason I did not give this album five stars is because it does have missteps, and is simply not comparable to albums like Court, Larks Tongues, or Starless. And although I consider CoL as good as PTB compositionally (and far better lyrically), I gave this album four stars because it is so much better recorded that it makes a world of difference.

Report this review (#17304)
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you have ''The Power To Believe'', the music can take you anywhere. KING CRIMSON comes roaring back with a studio album that is so strong that it will retell why they are considered to be one of the most exclusive and abundant groups to create progressive art rock.

Robert Fripp (guitar, vocals), Adrian Belew (guitar, vocals) Trey Gunn (warr guitars) and Pat Mastelotto (traps and buttons) are a lineup that still commands respect from their peers while captivating music listeners worldwide.

"Eyes Wide Open" demonstrates their ability to mix up the aspects of pop and rock into their sound and step away from the intense musical compositions they are famous for, and then in the same instance switch right back to what they do best like the odd time signatures prevalent in tracks like "Elektrik." The title track is a four part suite starting with the 44 second "A Capella" building into a full mind expanding musical journey right through to the fourth and last track "Coda," which is a live cut. Although "Level Five" indicates a numerical sequence, I can tell you that there are many different levels of musical consciousness attained listening to the complex rhythms and the timing in songs such as this. I cannot imagine being a drummer in a band like this; I think I would be waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

This incredibly intricate and intelligent music says to you . listen to me over and over to understand me. I have no problem with that because I love it. Per usual the cover of the CD is as thought provoking as the music itself. This recording is another triumphant return to the top for KING CRIMSON.

Report this review (#17305)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Being (back then) only familiar with the band's early work, I was quite curious of what King Crimson would sound like in 2003, and quite uncertain of what to expect from a band that exceled in or even defined the term of progress back in 1970, and whether they would be able to stand up to this challenge, of progressing in the present days. I must admit I was suprised by how amazing this album was. I believe it is driven a bit out of the rock borders into a quite new style, that have also been around Fripp's experimental works and projects or Crimson's previous albums. These one made feel like being lost in a city, surrounded by industries, voices, suffocation but finding beauty and liberation at the same time. It is quite difficult to explain the exact feeling, but this album is not only breathtaking, but even trapping into a sequence of emotions that leads to a constant listen. As an addition I would like to state that I have never been disappointed by this band, so this one might not seem that great to those that are not really fans of Crimson's latest albums.
Report this review (#17309)
Posted Friday, February 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The second longplayer of the 21st century kCrimson quartet didn't please me as much as their first kConstruciton. There are doubtlesly some great moments here like the violently starting "Level 5" and most notably the wonderful "Eyes Wide Open", a Belewesque tender piece with great melodic illusion in its beginning. The rest of the album was more or less irritating to my ears mostly due the electronicK aesthetics of the band's sound texture, and I think I lost my power to believe on this band among these notes. I was not even interested to rush to their first concert at Finland due the artistic focus of the group on this phase of creativity. I also got frustrated as Fripp recycled his wonderful "Outter Darkness" soundscape from his solo album here, maybe felt like sacrilege occurring here. Also the capella midsections resemble the "Peace" sequences of their second album "In Wake of Poseidon". Well, actually it isn't "theirs", but Fripp's - or something. Also I'm not fond of the style of the lyrics, as it seems that their writer has accomplished the highest level of wisdom and mercifully gives opportunities of redemption to their head-banging audiences. Recommended for fans of electronic aural terrorism.
Report this review (#17312)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars To sum it up, this is one poor album. I hate to say it but on this evidence I'm now more sure than ever than Fripp should retire the King Crimson name and while still working with Belew and without Bruford, he really should not be using the name. The line up has been reduced to a shadow of what it once was and track 6 on this album is probably the worst KC song i've heard. Cringinly bad.
Report this review (#17313)
Posted Thursday, April 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
4 stars Long live the king! I liked COL, unlike many people, and this just builds on that sound. It is ALOT less cluttered and "noisy" than COL, which makes it more accessible and listenible. In some respcets this ablum is better than anything since the 80s albums. Most of the songs are really good (which i can't say for THRAK or COL). Also, the band seems more "together". The lyrics are all solid (which many people questioned Belew's ability to sing and write words). Belew is deffinately the man for the job. He is still very skilled and, IMHO, will always be.

Now, for the review. The Power To Believe I is a great song. I absolutly love the poem. Though short, it is very powerful. Brillent!! Level Five is also very good. Love the guitar/drum work in this one. Very powerful as well. Eyes wide open is not too bad. Good vocals, and an overall eerie tone, make this one pretty enjoyable. Elektik remindes me of The ConstruKction of Light (the song), filled with alot of guitar interplay and, again, soild drum work. Facts Of Life is one of thier best songs, period. This song, more than any other, proves that Belew is still a great lyricist. Stunning chours, great music, and fantastic all around. TPTB II is an average track, although it contains good guitar work. Dangerous Cruves is another fine song. Everyone on this track is really soild. Happy with what you have to be happy with is another great song. Insane (odd) lyrics accompany this track. It adds humor to this album (which, although a positive messagek, i still find bleak). TPTB III is again more skilled work by Fripp, but is nothing fantastic. The same could be said with TPTB:Coda.

All in all, this is a great album. A deffinate must for all Crimson fans, and very much worthy of a listen by prog fans. Recommened!!!

Report this review (#17314)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Their best album since "Discipline" and the best album of this century (so far). There are some flaws, though: I'd prefer Fripp & Co. to stay away from things like "Level Five" or "Elektrik", since they are really uninspired and starting to get boring. However, the rest of the songs show that KC moved in the right direction with this LP: "Eyes Wide Open" is a wodnerful pop song, "Facts Of Life" continues this latest blues experiments they've been doing and it's great, and "Happy With..." is a nu-metal song...yes, you heard right: this kinda sounds like some Rob Zombie song, but it's good enough as to be enjoyable, thanks to its powerful riff and weirdness. The title track is actually 4 tracks, the first one being just an a capella intro, the second one an amazing pseudo-ambient tune (with things they used on their previous EP) which flows perfectly, the 3rd is simmilar but not as great and the 4th...well, it's just some coda. But the best song here is "Dangerous Curves", a terribly powerful instrumental which grows and grows and grows in an amazing way that makes most modern electronic music seem silly. A classic! This is really different from how their early albums sound, this sounds modern and with a current production. Some people won't like it since, well, let's say they aren't as innovative anymore. They are running out of ideas but the new additions to their sound are pretty interesting and makes me think that they could come up with another masterpiece...even if they're old.
Report this review (#35741)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best albums of crimson ever. i foud the construktion of light a bit dissapointing, its not a bad album, not at all, but they could done better, this do not happen with the power to believe. the boys were really inspired, every song has something that calls my attention. there ar no stars in the group, the 4 plays magnificent, fripp, belew, mastelotto and gunn. this is also one of their heaviest albums.

my favorites are level five, happy with..., the power to believe II, and facts of life.

i recomend this albums to fans of NIN, Tool, and bands in that vain, but also to fans of dream theater. but i warn, this is not for every listener, well like all crimson stuff.

when i first listen to it, i didnt know what to expect but it was better that i expected.

Report this review (#38612)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars King Crimson comes back in 2003 with a modern album. Not their finest, but an album of its time. The Machines are omnipresent, the themes are actual, and the music as aggressive as their best work. But it does not necessarily works well. Some songs are good, but nothing more. The musicianship is as usual up to the taks, but it seems the magic is lost. Fripp and co. tries too much to make a monster rises up again, but really, the great mutualism between the musicians seems lost. King Crimson has searched itself for some years now, but they still havent found the form they once had. Still, a Crimson album is better than the average album from the average band, so in 2003 it was a great album. But don't buy this one as an introduction to King Crimson, really. If you're a veteran listenener of Fripp and Crimso, than you COULD enjoy it quite a lot. 3/5
Report this review (#43486)
Posted Friday, August 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'The Power To Believe' rocks! It fully, sincerely and heavily rocks. In Robert Fripp's own view of what King Crimson is, he states that King Crimson is more a way of doing things than a band. There are characteristics that carry through every single KC album, but not things like "compositional style" or "time signatures" - the reliable factor in every lineup of King Crimson is their highly original (at least in the field of rock) attitude towards the roles of each instrument. Usually, there will be a chaotic element in any King Crimson song, even the relaxed and off-the-cuff-sounding guitar licks in 'Book Of Saturday' or the wonderfully disordered crescendo in 'Islands', and in 'The Power To Believe' this element is channelled through the frankly brilliant mixture of acoustic and electronic drums courtesy of Pat Mastellotto. Fripp is the more reliable and pace-setting element this time around, but now and then his trademark 72-74 era technique and guitar sound comes through to prove it can still be used in a modern context (see 'Facts Of Life').

What impressed me most about this album was how heavy it actually was. It feels great to hear such accomplished veteran musicians see something attractive in making heavy, loud sounds. It's especially satisfying as I'm a heavy/extreme music fan first and foremost and when these two genres clash successfully it makes for truly remarkable albums (see Tool's 'Lateralus', Opeth's 'Blackwater Park', and some might say 'Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence' by Dream Theater although I'm not a fan myself). 'The Power To Believe' is not quite remarkable, not quite a King Crimson must-have, but it's damn solid and stands as a shining example of old dogs learning new tricks. The fact is, young music fans tend to dismiss older musicians because they get detached from the 'scene', and most of the time they are, but 'The Power To Believe' is proof that seasoned musicians whose commercial peak has passed still have the potential to deliver something good. 'ConstruKction' was fairly good, but it sounded a little too electronic and KC need a bit of rawness in their sound. This time it's been refined and updated, more carefully considered, and ordered much better. They haven't released an album like this since 'Larks' Tongues.', something that hits you with its heaviness. Plus - some of the riffs on here are of headbanging quality, especially the middle section of 'Facts Of Life'.

Report this review (#45272)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album sounds better than TCOL. The songs which I consider superior are LEvel 5, Elekctric and Eyes wide open (this two would stay very well in Thrak). It seems it is another transition between Crimson incarnations, and I wouldn't be surprised of some future KC reliese from mr Fripp and...who else? I wouldn't reccomend this album as a Must, nevertheless better to listen the same songs on the Live in Japan 2003 DVD, which delivers more energy than this.
Report this review (#45295)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars what's this?...a think it's a master of masterpeices really great with songs like Level Five,Eyes Wide Open,Facts of Life and All of Power To Believe parts..I saw their Japan DVD..Robert Fripp is one of the best guitarist of Progressive Rock..and Trey Gunn is great player too. I'm waiting for next album...this album have a strange mood,a modern schizophrenical mood.I like that.I feel a strange relation between David Lynch and Robert Fripp and their works too. this album highly recommended for Lynch Lovers!!!
Report this review (#45539)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This one a masterpiece?! No way...definitely a poor effort from KC. IMHO way worse than TCOL (which I like a lot). The ideas are stale, ther is no consistent flow, there are at least two bad songs, and it's BORING. I do like some tracks a lot, Level Five is great, although it's the same old LTIA thing and, frankly, they could have avoided it, but anyway, it's pretty good. Eyes wide open is a good one too, like a very modernized version of The Beatles in some way (!!! - IMHO). But from EleKctrik on I start to sense the lack of consistency. As someone stated before, Facts of life might be the worst song ever written by Belew for KC, and HWWYHTBHW does not do much better. Other good tracks in the sack might be The power to believe pt II, anyway it's kind of a The sheltering sky wannabe, and it's pretty boring at long, and also Dangerous curves is not bad, creating an interesting mood. Unfortunately the good tracks don't rescue the album from being boring to death and uninspired. A quick comparison with Thrak and you'll probably change your mind about what is a masterpiece.

Peace - Porter

Report this review (#45593)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the album that gave me back the power to believe in KC. Much heavier, more emotional and fun than their previous album Construction of Light, The Power to Believe is the hardest hitting album from Crimson since Red and their best studio album since Discipline from 1981. The album starts with a beautiful processed accapella version of "The Power to Believe." Reiterated in different forms throughout the album, TPTB acts as a unifying theme not unlike "Peace" on In the Wake of Posiedon, KC's second album. Then CRUNCH! The instrumental "Level Five" pastes your ears back with blasts of avant-math-metal. The third number "Eyes Wide Open" is a bitterweet "pop" song about missed oportunities by Adrian Belew and is one of the best songs on the CD. The ending coda is especially emotionaly charged and uplifting. If radio weren't so market researched/preprogrammed these days I'd say it could be a hit.

Heavy and dark, Level Five recalls the album Red, but thats not the only nod to the past on this album. Others songs bring to mind Starless and Bible Black or Discipline era material. "Dangerous Curves" sounds like an electronica influenced conflation of "The Talking Drum" from Larks Tongue in Aspic and "Mars" also from In The Wake of Posiedon. Robert Fripps guitar playing recalls and updates styles he's used throughout his history in Crimson: from fast unison lines, avant-metal, to soundscape electronica, etc... But rather than merely aping the past, Fripp and company have made "The Power To Believe" both a culmination of everything that made past Crimson great, and a step forward.

The playing on TPTB is confident and adventurous. Certainly the band benefited from doing the improvisation oriented Projects. A "fractalization," in Fripp's words, of the double trio, ie different arrangements of the then six members of K.C. playing live improvised music. (Check out the Projects boxed set) That they've been a quartet for two albums has also strengthened Crimson. Every persons role in the band is more clearly deliniated, its easier for four guys to listen to one another. Not to mention that its much easier to write for four people than six. There are tight composed songs, spacey soundscapes and improvised, almost electronica sounding pieces. Crimson easily pull off disciplined circular rhythm patterns, and odd "Indicipline"-like time signatures. Amazing all around playing from every member.

Most notatable is the incredible acoustic and electronic drumming of Pat Mastelloto. In fact Fripp has been quoted as saying that Pat is a rock drummer, so Crimson wanted to make a rock, more riff based album so that he could really shine. Well they did and he does. Trey Gunn on Warr guitar is also an absolute monster. He's by far a better player than Tony Levin but not as funky or groove oriented. His solo on "The Power To Believe II" is wonderful, though you have to see Trey live to truly appreciate how really good he is. Adrian Belew as usual is an absolutely smoking lead guitarist. But his vocals on TPTB really shine and have an unusually emotional resonance. They're just great, ranging from hopefull, to critical, to humorous (not something you'd usually think of when discussing King Crimson)

The "Power to Believe" is an album that looks to the past but resolutely, and with hope, marches forward. Its heavy, playful, serious, emotionally touching and has a wide variety of sounds and dynamics. A friend of mine who has given up on rock as an artform gave what I think is the perfect review: "This album makes me believe that its still possible to make interesting rock music."

Report this review (#46798)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amazing album. I see people and reviewers tend to state that Fripp repeats himself. Well in general he harks back to what he's done before, recycles riffs, reuses melodies, and does the sort. But I personally find nothing wrong with this. I don't think it means the man's not creative. Just listen to the album. It's ALL but not creative. It links back to previous efforts, developing on ideas already built. When I think of this actions of poets such as T.S. Eliot, García Lorca or Pablo Neruda and of artists such as Kandinsky, Guayasamín, Warhol, Picasso or the sort come to mind: they develop an intertextuality between their works that links their oeuvre as a whole. KING CRIMSON links from beginning to end, even if at a first listen the music from the 70's, the 80's, the 90's, and the 00's seems absolutely dissimilar. In this case: EleKtriK would be the third Fracture (FraKctured being the second): adding the interlocking guitars and a modern-classical- avantgarde a la Dinosaur intro and outro, Level Five is both Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part V and THRAK II (as a matter of fact, in the Intergalactic Boogie Express (1991) release by FRIPP & THE LEAGUE OF CRAFTY GUITARRISTS there's a song called "Larks' Thrak" that reminds greatly of Level Five; and the descending diminished melody in the guitar solo appears in the THRAK jam in the Deja VROOOM DVD), Eyes Wide Open bears a certain resemblance to Waiting Man and One Time at some points, yet it also has the interlocking guitar gamelan so famous during the 80's Crimson era going on quietly under the vocals (and not necessarily such stupid lyrics if you were to listen carefully to them), Facts of Life is kind of ProzaKc Blues II (the lyrics are a little questionable here, but whatever: the song is nevertheless a very enjoyable hard rocker/dirty prog blues a la old Crimson style --reminiscent of Pictures of a City with new and exciting technological features), Dangerous Curves is, like someone mentioned, a rebuild of Gustav Holst's Mars (or The Devil's Triangle in the ITWOP release) and of The Talking Drum in the LTIA album, and TPTB pieces set all over the album both remind of the Peace pieces in IWOP and TPTB III and IV come straight out of the ProjeKcts.

Now is this really artistic intertextuality or did the man and the band just run out of ideas? The answer to this question is not in the style of his playing nor in the impression that the music gives us. Listen to the melodies and the riffs. They are fresh with creative energy all over the album. That 7/4 destructive crunch with precise and circular polyrhythmic drumming along with the neverending and ongoing aggressive- aggressive/neurotic/plain evil vibe in Level Five, the chromatic percussion interlude at the middle of TPTB II (along with the interplay between vocals and instrumentals at the exhilaratingly spiritual climax of the song... which by the way bears absolutely no resemblance to The Sheltering Sky--as someone stated above--neither in structure, mode, chord progressions, style, rhythmics, feel, etc. except in the fact that at a point a somewhat similar effect is used in the lead guitar), the descending chromatism in the diminished chord chorus of Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With, the collective rubatos in TPTB III (extremely impressive communication between the musicians), the incredibly ad hoc drumming throughout (Mastelotto stands right next to Bruford, for real: see Level Five, Eyes Wide Open, TPTB II, and Facts of Life for prime examples), the climactic and neurotic Dangerous Curves with its build-up riff that takes us to the most hellish car chase in pictoric music ever, and the incredible journey the album itself takes you through once you spin it and close your eyes. Incredibly cohesive, extremely tightly played as usual, with amazing communication between the musicians at all times (all instruments complement each other impressively: Fripp & Co. are playing for the detail), bursting at the seams with creativity and new ideas yet still linking this work of art with the rest of their oeuvre: this album gets 5 stars right next to In the Court of the Crimson King, LTIA, Red, Discipline, and THRAK.

Report this review (#50047)
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars one of my 5 favourite king crimson albums (together with: in the court..., islands, lark's tongues, and red... and maybe lizard). we had to wait a lot of years to see king crimson at his best, and that moment has come. this album is really agressive and powerful, and really "crimsonian". i found here, a sound very similar to the THRAK sound, but with more production and better compositions. i have to remark the work of fripp with the frippertronics, and the incredible pat mastelotto rythms.

Report this review (#51461)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Jazz Rock/Fusion Team
5 stars this album is one of the best KC albums ever, competing even with the best 70's albums. Every track moves into the other so perfectly and each song is like an adventure. Level Five qualifies as one of the best heavier songs KC has made, in fact id classify it as probably the most evil song i've ever heard. from the it goes to Eyes Wide Open which is such a different song than Level Five was. Then the ultra weird Elektrik, the electronic drums work very well here. I would also have to say Dangerous Curves is one of the best ones here. The rest of the album is really great and highly recommended to all.
Report this review (#58299)
Posted Sunday, November 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album seriously suprised me. THE POWER TO BELIEVE is an absolutely wonderful album. This album is typical Crimson (or Fripp rather), yet also not so typical. Here we witness Crimson experimenting on a more electronic level, with many different electronic elements drifting through the wall of soudscapes the new line up has created. the line up consists of Fripp on guitars as always (playing amazingly as always...), Adrian Belew starring on vocals and soem guitars...along with the occasional electronic noise or piece of percussion. While I like Adrian's voice...I will admit it is kinda filtered and over-produced on this album...not to say it ruins anything because of course it doesn't. Trey Gunn, an artist in himself I was currently turned on to...demonstrates his skills on the Warr Guitar and Fretless Warr guitar (rubber bass) providing us with a solid backdrop that supports the huge amount of noise that comes through in this album. Then we have Pat Mastelotto who adds his voice on the "traps and buttons". Overall I like the line-up, and if they continue to produce albums I think I could grow to like them as much as the former classic but shortlived line-ups. Now, to the album:

Teh album begins with that wonderfully distorted voice piercing through silence and setting a rather mysterious mood that is perfect for what's about to come. All of the sudden LEVEL FIVE takes off and we're losy in a 7+ minute frenzy of guitars and overdubs. the noise is loud but in that typical Crimson form and therefore is very enjoyable if you enjoy that 'sound'. Then we move on to a rather linear song that I don't like much. EYES WIDE OPEN feels like a song they put on there to get some radio play...there's nothing really special about it...and Adrian's vocals remind me of some mainstream crap that I'll be forced to hear when taking road trips...I'm not a fan of this song, but that's not to say it's bad...teh song consistently holds out and isn't a bad song (what I mean is it doesn't impair full-album sessions) but it is a dud compared to the rest of the album. Next up is the first real sense of how electronic Crimson have come with ELEKTRIK...sounds like a bad rappers name, but the song comes off satisfying enough. There's nothing super special about it but it is still an enjoyable listen. Then comes FACTS OF LIFE, the first really great song on the album...this song manages to remind me of Old Crimson more than any other on the album...the most evident influence for this song was the former ELEPHANT TALK...this is a nice track with plenty of quirks and enough vocals to make up for the lack of them before this point. Then come the next segment in THE POWER TO BELIEVE...this is basically the same as teh first, same exact vocals, just a lot more music--if you can call it that. This song showcases the classic "noodling" Crimson was able to create...but trust me it's not overdone. Next up we have the quirky DANGEROUS CURVES which is a nice song that fits well with the album musically, but in theme kinda drifts apart from the whole "Power to Believe" idea...still a very decent track. Next up is my personal favorite from the album, HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE TO BE HAPPY WITH...the chorus is so catchy due to the repeated clause shown in the title...and the music throughout is just...catchy. It showcases everything this album is about. Then we have the last two tracks, which are the conclusion to THE POWER TO BELIEVE...once again we have the repeated vocals but with much stronger music throughout...all in all it is an excellent concluesion to a great album.

I will say that this album is not for is strange and rather difficult to get into at there are those that are anti-electronic appeal...which is fine, but I'd recommend staying away unless you are either a fan of Crimson/completionist or unless you don't mind a few quirky electronic effects throughout the album. This is one of those albums that, when taken apart song by song isn't anything remotely special, but when taken as a whole album is amazing. The best comparrison i can think of is The Dark Side of the Moon...while the songs aren't amazing or near Floyd's best the album as a whole is ultimately very satisfying. The same goes for this one.

THE POWER TO BELIEVE is an album that all should probably at least give a covers many emotional soundscapes throughout, having the uncanny ability to make the listener feel happy/excited, depressed/angered, frightened/curious, is a very emotionally satisfying album and an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Report this review (#63174)
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is an extraordinary album. I've liked it from the firs time i heard it. I Have to admit that this is the first album I heard from King Crimson. I know it is late but hey... at least I heard it. Armonicaly speaking it is great. I'm a student in Music University in Romania and this album is exeptional. i have never heard anything like this before. its just geat. as you can see, my english isn't great but i try. Hope you understand.
Report this review (#68510)
Posted Monday, February 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A much better effort than its predecessor "The ConstruKction Of Light". The album is constructed around a central theme (like "In The Wake Of Poseidon" with the trilogy "Peace"). Not too many irritating improvs here, though there are more instrumentals.

A great idea was to open the album with the short "The Power To Believe I : A Cappella". It just sets the mood for the rest of the album. "Level Five" is a heavy track (I could even say "Thrak" since the two songs are very similar). "Eyes Wide Open" is one of those nice soft songs with Adrian Belew using more a gentle type of voice. "Elektrik" is another variation of the "Fracture" type of songs that can be found on almost every King Crimson album. "Facts Of Life" and "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With" are two songs with those typical silly lyrics from Adrian Belew. "The Power To Believe II" and "The Power To Believe III" are projeKct-like instrumentals with a lot of musical variations - somewhere between ProjeKct Two and Three. "Dangerous Curves" is maybe the best track on the album for its originality - a mix of "The Devil's Triangle part I" and "Space Groove II" built like "The Talking Drum". The closing track "The Power To Believe IV : Coda" is a beautiful soundscape (from the master of soundscapes Mr Fripp) - a great way to close the album.

Rating: 75/100

Report this review (#70670)
Posted Monday, February 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Power to Believe is King Crimson's best studio album since reforming in the mid 90s. Notice that I didn't say THRAK. The truth is, I don't like THRAK as much as most people, though there are some good songs on it. But back to TPTB, King Crimson have melded their experiments with Metal and Fusion over the past couple of years with Robert Fripp's ambient tendencies to create a unique sound that couldn't be any more different than their symphonic beginnings. I won't reference The Construktion of Light to make a comparison, because I haven't listened to it enough. Go on other reviewers' opinions for that type of insight.

Overall, I like the symphonic side of King Crimson more than the avant-garde, though the latter side of the band is often very diverse and intersting, as it is on TPTB. Because of this predisposition, I enjoy the ambient songs more than the others. "The Power to Believe: Parts I-IV" are all sparse or ambient instrumentals, or in the case of "Part 1: A Capella," simply vocal. All of these are interesting, despite being toned down. Well, not every part is toned down. "Part III" begins as such, but soon ramps up into a frenetic, and fairly scary jam. "Part II" is the best of the four, with multiple shifts in the music. There is an intriguing introduction with an synthesized Arabic feel similar to "The Sheltering Sky" from Discipline, which goes into a soft and beautiful tubular bell section. "Part IV" comes close to being my favorite in the series, with an ambient soundscape deserving of being on Porcupine Tree's "The Sky Moves Sideways," a classic of the Space Prog genre. If all of these were spliced into an epic, it would be one of the most brilliant in King Crimson's career. But in this case, I believe the four sections work wonders at seperating out some of the more aggressive song on TPTB.

Speaking of, "Level Five" is a VERY aggressive, hard, loud, and technical song with just the right amount of unease and eerieness to go along. "Eyes Wide Open" is a sort of ballad, being softer than all of the other rock songs on TPTB, but coming from King Crimson, you can imagine how it differs vastly from what most people would consider a ballad. It has some great minor melody lines too. "Elektirc" reminds me of "Discipline" off the album of the same name. It has similar energetic picking with a great groove, yet is much eerier. There is also a short (electirc!?) flute introduction and conclusion to the song, and though seems out of place, it is melodic and enjoyable nevertheless.

I don't really see why it was necessary to make a seperate introduction to "Facts of Life." The song isn't too great to begin with and the intro doesn't make it much better. I find the song mostly annoying, as if it is trying to be heavy and avant just for the hell of it. I do think the riffing in the middle of the song pretty good, though. "Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With" fares a little better that "Facts of Life," though it still isn't as strong as other mentioned songs. I think I like it better becuase it is a bit self-parodying. The title I do find amusing as well. To finish the rundown of songs, "Dangerous Curves" is one of those slow-building songs that adds layers of sound and noises over time to create a hightened sense of tension. These type of songs are quite familiar to Crimson fans knowledgable of the band's cannon, and you'd think it'd get boring after awhile, right? Wrong. King Crimson always find was to make these experiments/songs work, and "Dangerous Curves" is no exception. Using electronics and a repeating guitar/bass riff throughout, the band builds up to a not-quite-exhilarating-but-appropriate conclusion which expand on the formula, adding excellent, science-fiction keyboards and powerful drumming. A great combination of the ambient and heavy aspects of TPTB.

If you're looking to get into King Crimson for the first time, I'd suggest that The Power to Believe be your starting point only if you're a fan of Progressive Metal more than Symphonic Prog. It is a very good album--my favorite one from the 1990s and 2000s--but is harder to get into than their earlier 70s albums. However, if you're a fan of the more avant-garde bands in the prog kingdom, or if you've fully explored the earlier eras of King Crimson, The Power to Believe should be for you.

Report this review (#75138)
Posted Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After King Crimson released the ConstruKction of Light in 2000, many fans were sceptical on whether they could create a great studio record after the mess that the ConstruKction of Light was (it was a good album, but by no means great). This album, released in 2003, is the most recent King Crimson offering and it takes the listener to a completely different avenue from older King Crimson. Gone are the mellotron washed symphonic tunes, gone are the poppish sounds of the 80s, and in comes ambient and hard rock mixed into a recipe that can only spell success. Robert Fripp and his band of cohorts, Adrian Belew, Pat Mastelloto, and Trey Gunn create stellar environments using the mastery of their respective instruments, but never do they get over indulgent and meander on and on with useless filler. This mostly instrumental album shows that statement in full effect, and it is a wonderful ride from beginning to end.

The Power to Believe I: A Cappella is an ambient work, with a minimalistic synth voice coming through for the entire track. It goes right into one of the heavier tracks on the album, the stunning Level Five. The interplay between Fripp and Belew, who have two completely different styles and approaches to guitar, is utterly stunning, as they exchange powerful riffs that bring up memories of Easy Money on Larks' Tongue in Aspic. Eyes Wide Open is a more mellow tune, with some (as expected) great vocals from Adrian Belew. The melody and guitar line to the song are great and they go well together. Stand out performance from Trey Gunn on this track. Elektrik is the second instrumental on the album. It brings up memories of FraKctured on The ConstruKction of Light, with Fripp and Belew playing simultaneous riffing patterns that have an undeniably sharp sound to them. Pat Mastelloto's electronic percussion on this track really fits with the undeniably jaw-dropping playing from the two guitar maestros. Facts of Life is another vocal laden tune. The intro is a powerful drum spectacular, with Mastelloto essentially going off on a tangent during the 1:38 introduction. Belew's searing and sharp vocals are accompanied by a great heavy guitar line that can only fit in a King Crimson song.

The Power to Believe II is another instrumental on the album. It has an ambient feel, with very minimalistic playing. The band was going for an ethereal work and it comes off great, with a spectacular spacey feel. The brief snippets of vocal (from The Power to Believe I) also give it a more ambient feel. Dangerous Curves is another quasi-ambient work. Trey Gunn leads the way with a stunning walking bass line and is gently added with more depth and sound from the rest of the group. The build up on this song is stunning to say the least. Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With is the final song to feature a legitimate vocal track. The cynical hard rock tune about how to write a hard rock song features dissonant THRAK type chords and some more searing and jagged vocal from Belew. The Power to Believe III and IV close the album. Both continue the trend of minimalistic ambient instrumental works, with the vocal line from The Power to Believe I being put in at key tracks of the songs. They close the album brilliantly and give the jagged album a smooth ending.

Overall, this King Crimson album is easily the best album the group has recorded in the past 15 years. It takes all the conventional rules of music and throws them out the window, giving us a dissonant, and yet strangely melodic work that can only be truly taken in from beginning to end. If you're looking for In The Court of the Crimson King Part II, you're going to be strangely misguided by the album. But if you are looking for something truly original, then this is the album for you. 4.5/5.

Report this review (#76389)
Posted Wednesday, April 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all, i have to say that i didn't like Thrak, couple of good songs but on the hole not that very good. Same thing must apply to The Construktion of Light, i've seen the tour and i was very dissapointed :( So when i brought The Power To Believe, i wasn't sure if i did the right thing, was it 20$ down the drain? Hell no! What a beatifull album, it is by far the best thing i've listen from King Crimson since the Discipline, Beat area :) Just the way it's start, with Level Five, wow! This is the King Crimson i like! Very agressive and powerful. Than, i switch to Eyes Wide Open, witch is one of my favorite Crimson tune in a long time. In all, this album is very varied like a Crimson album should be, agressive tune mix with mellow tune + Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With, witch is a great single. So in conclusion, forget the 2 or 3 previous album and get this one, you won't regret it.
Report this review (#77207)
Posted Friday, May 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
el böthy
5 stars The world is black, the world is creepy, the world is cold...and it's beautiful!!!

That's what I get when I listen to this album, to this...magnificent album! I knew it would be good, I have been reading the reviews of it for nearly a year and a half before I could get my hands on it...but this, this is not's a MASTERPIECE! I couldn't believe my ears... this band, my favorite band, a band that is more than 35 years old, can make this stunning record in 2003!!! Wow, I was blown away... the Crimsons are still Kings!!! In this album we have a bit of everything. We have that semi conceptual feel the first four (69-71) albums had, the experimentation and tightness of the Wetton-Bruford era (73-74), the structural complexity of the ´80 (81-84), the heaviness of the ´90...and it's still one of the most innovative and modern sounding albums I have hear in this new millennium!

"The power to believe I:a capella" is the introduction to the album, with Belew singing thrue some sound vocal machine... it's calm and yet disturbing, and then...

"Level 5" Huhuhuhuh, Crimson always does the best instrumentals...and this is no exception... actually this song is a Lark's tongues in aspic, number 5... Yes, it is undercover but it is the fifth part! All four musicians are great, but my hat off to, as always master Fripp and Masteloto... who plays some of the best drumming from him, specially the programmed ones. If you had any second thought to get this because Bruford is no longer in it...don't have then, Masteloto is better than ever! And this coming from a big Bruford fan!

"Eyes wide open" is a calm song...but as always a bit disturbing, after all it's Crimson. This version is much better than the on from the "Happy with what you have to be happy with" EP. Belew sings very nicely and the lyrics are also quite good.

"Elektrik" is another instrumental which shows how groovy the band can be. It's dark and it has some excellent playing from Trey Gunn.

"Facts of life intro" is as the name says it, an intro...individually it's no big thing but it works great as an opening to the actual song. "Facts of life" is hard, with Belew singing some...crazy lyrics. The structure of the song has some hints to Level 5, which is understandable as the album is as I said before semi conceptual. Fripp is amazing here. Play it loud!

"The power to believe II" is the second part of TPTB series. It features a different musical background than the first one, making it extra creepy.

"Dangerous curves" is excellent... I love this track; the way it builds up in an almost "electronic-techno" kind of way is great. Here Crimson shows how advanced they still are from everyone else in music. The second best song after Level 5, at least in my eyes and ears.

"Happy with what you have to happy with", this version is shorter than the one from the EP...why I don't know, but it's not a big lost anyway. It's almost impossible not to sing along the chorus. "Happy with what you have to be happy with you have to be happy with what you be happy...bla bla bla..."

"The power to believe III" is another variation from the series, here the vocals are different than the rest and the lyrics are not exactly the same, as some parts are sung and others not.

"The power to believe IV coda" the album ends like it started...darks, cold, creepy...and beautiful.

Get this...get it and be prepared to be blown away! Crimson is KING

Report this review (#78141)
Posted Sunday, May 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first time I've heard King Crimson was about 1 month ago, watching the Elektrik DVD. It was some experience, my friends. Since then, I've been trying to solve this band and found out some interesting things that I would like to share with you. The Power to Believe was quite a change in my life. Don't let the mindless listening of this record make a judgement of its quality. I'm not saying that those who doesn't like these songs haven't listened it mindfully enough, but that those who listen to it inatenttive might find it boring and valueless.The mathematical aspect of some songs of TPTB, which covers a profound and intense sort of feelings, contrasts with some essentially feelingful others, almost shapeless. However, although many songs may sound bizarre and even a bit avant-garde, we can see that all of them have rigid and specific structures, following even a composing formula. All the instruments have their own and essential role to play on this record, but I'd recommend you to pay special attention to the rhythm, not only by the drums, supremely composed in all aspects!, but also the melody rhythms and in the development of the music. It will surprise you in many ways. TPTB has changed my way of listening music, and I hope it change yours too.

- The Power to Believe I: A Capella: 5/5 => This 44 second-long song is one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. I really mean it. That vodecoder effect has surprised me. The melody is so pure and simple, so beautiful and ethereal, there are no words to explain it. Simply beautiful. - Level Five: 4/5 => This song is the perfect sequence of A Capella. Despite its arithmetical features, almost exercise-like, what amazes in this song are the very strong harmonic progressions and the superb use of electronic drum effects. The bridges between the different parts The timbre of the bass sometimes is something out of this world. This music is out of this world. It's too damn good. My favourite part starts in 4:17, because the progression is too powerful and the melody comes right in hand, suiting itself perfectly. - Eyes Wide Open: 3.7/5 => This one is as good as any other in the record, very well constructed, all the timbres fitting perfectly in the song. However, this song hasn't pulled me from the chair as much as many others from this record. It's very beautiful as well, and some special attention must be paid to the lyrics. That's the strongest in this music, I believe. - Elektrik: 3.9/5 => This one is much alike in its way of happening to the second track, but I think has a different ethos from that one. Level Five was agitated and intense, but this one is rather introspective and creepy, having some moments of not very light sensations, as it starts on 5:40, a unbelievably good sequence of ascending phrases. - The Power to Believe II: 3.2/5 => This is just a passage song I believe, very atmospherical and tense. It culminates, in its end, with rapid and brief drums hits. - The Facts of Life: Intro: 3.8/5 => Differently from Eyes Wide Open, this a much stronger track, much more intense. The lyrics are excellent, again. The musical part is also superb, almost minimalistic. The chorus is great, as well. You will find in this music a typical but even innovative and creative song of TPTB. It's worth the time to listen to it, truly. - The Facts of Life: 4.9/5 => This probably one of the greater songs that I listened in my life. Like TPTB II, this song starts with a mysterious mood. The image created by me for the first 30 seconds is nothing but a desolate and lonely nightly contemplation. When the guitar starts to play, with a wonderful timbre, in 0:30, the mood changes a bit more to some sort of cavern or den, maybe because of the nature of the drum effects, some heard like drops. The bass enters, with a ostinato that fits well in the music. If the music wasn't good 'til this point, it becomes worthy the whole CD, but the first track, from this moment: 2:38. Too intense. Too powerful. Too spiritual. It's all about metalophones of some sort, but I remember mainly of those Indonesian or African gamelons. It's beyond earthly imagination. So primitive, in a way, but too pure and inspiring. The main theme comes back many times with soothering calls. First as a wind whisper, what I like to imagine that timbre, a kind of pan flute. It comes back through high pitches of the gamelons, heard like a bell. At last, the voice comes back and sings the initial track. The strings come and just add more to this etheral atmosphere. Then here comes bass, drums and guitar again. And they go, and go, and go, and fade. Perfect. This song is perfect. - Dangerous Curves: 4.2/5 => After The Facts of Life, our energies are drained and anything that would come would be just something else. But not this track! King Crimson managed to keep the quality and intensity and here's a apparently simple song. It is based solely upon on one note, basically. It has, of course, another notes, but the structure is all based on one single note, and a 2 chord progression harmony. It is not boring, as many may think. It gets back to the prior tension of the record, keeping the listener strained the whole song. Very good. - Happy With What You Have to be Happy With: 3.8/5 => This is most rock track in TPTB. The main riff remembers me even of Mattias Ekhlund, from Freak Kitchen. It's fun and good, as well as well thought and with good lyrics. But the chorus, o my, the chorus is worth the entire song. It's something like anything I've ever heard. With only 6 words, the chorus is formed upon various combinations of these words, with a unregular bar system, a constant factor in TPTB. But in this chorus, specifically, plus the bizzarre harmony, the strange melody and the crazy lyrics, it adds an odd sensation to the chorus. - The Power to Believe III: 2.9/5 => This is my least favourite on the entire album. Maybe I haven't figured out it correctly, but this song is almost meaningless to me, however it is a great track indeed. I think that the introduction is kind of empty, but when the band gets in, the thing gets a bit more coherent. Maybe the lack of a solid structure for me to attach to has made me not see the real thing of this track. But I still don't get it. - The Power to Believe IV: Coda: 4/5 => The finish of this record couldn't be better. The strings take you away, from the Earth, while the voice repeat those gorgeous verses again: "She carries may through days of apathy; she washes over me. She saved my life, in a manner of speaking, when she gave me back THE POWER TO BELIEVE".

Report this review (#78194)
Posted Sunday, May 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars An Absolute Masterpiece!

Let me make simple words about this album: amazing and kicking! It's true, I tell you. And I recommend you for not reading my words after this sentence because it's useless; just switch to any CD vendor site on the net and click this album. You won't regret, believe me! Now, if you still continue reading this line, I thank you very much even though I don't recommend you doing so because the following sentences are merely my expression about how this album stirs my emotion, pumping up my spirit to rock and of course ... to work effectively!

Having been vacuum for approximately three years, switching from grandiose double-trio concept to four-piece line-up, the band still could produce such a great album like "The Power To Believe" which has pushed forward their music boundary but still maintaining the core music of "Discipline" album (the first of the band's effort with new format when Fripp brought in Adrian Belew to join his force in King Crimson). And now, Belew is the second longest serving member after Fripp - the founder. The key of new King Crimson sound since "Discipline" was basically repeated chords / notes overlaid by another instrument work / sound effects (coming out from Fripp's guitar synthesizer or drums) to enrich the textures. At first listen I felt bored but it grew on me and I get used to this kind of style and it has become King Crimson trademark.

The album kick off elegantly with a cappella by Belew in a very short period but it's strategically important to set the tone of the overall album. For this, the a cappella serves its purpose wonderfully and I mean it: whenever I play this album I cannot start somewhere in the middle of the CD - I got to start from the short opening: "The Power To Believe I" even though it's less than 1 minute in duration. This is where I put my two thumbs UP for this album. It's truly a brilliant opener! When "Level Five" blows from my speaker set it really kills me right away because the sound is truly powerful with great sonic quality and wide soundspace dynamics. Anyone would appreciate that this track is a true masterpiece because the composition, the mixing and the production of sounds are top notch! The combined sound resulting from guitar, bass and drums are excellent. I guess Trey Gunn uses his rubber bass combined with Warr guitar right here. Pat Mastelotto also creates his dazzling drum work magnificently. Overall it's a great instrumental track.

Belew's lyrics now seem to be much well positioned at the third track ''Eyes Wide Open''' where the music is presented in relatively slow tempo with great harmonies. By definition this track is very much accessible with some segment reminds me to "One Time" of "Thrak" album. "Elektrik" is another instrumental work with repeated chords combining multi guitars (Fripp, Belew, Gunn) and dynamic drumming. Fripp provides synthesizer role with his guitar.

"Facts of Life" (incl. intro) brings the music into heavier style with metal influenced riffs. The track contains lyrics and powerful singing by Belew "No body knows what happen when we die...!!!" The structure of the music is varied combining medium tempo and complex music. It's a rocking track and it stirs the emotion when I listen to it. It's a very unique style by King Crimson. "The Power To Believe II" starts off in an ambient mood with multi instruments work emphasizing tight bass lines, guitar synthesizer and it suddenly brings the "gamelan" sounds. (Hey, come on Indonesian guys! If you are Indonesians whether or not you like prog music, you must own this album! You must be proud that King Crimson has created a composition where the pentatonic sounds of gamelan are brought in wonderfully here! Bravo King Crimson!). A cappella in the melody of first track inserts nicely in the middle of the gamelan textures followed with synthesizer (produced from Fripp's guitar) and brings the music symphonically. However, the overall picture of the music gives me a sense of avant garde than a symphonic one. It's truly a great track and it's probably the best track - not that the fact I'm Indonesian, but I truly love the nuance created by this song. It's so cool ......

"Dangerous Curve" starts in a very silent mode (almost unheard at all) and slowly the music moves in crescendo with repeated riffs of bass guitar, dazzling drums backed with synthesizer sounds. It reminds me to the "Lark's Tongue in Aspic" style. This song is best suited in the middle of the night. I fully enjoy how Pat plays his drum set which semms to serve as melody of the song while other instruments play repeated chords. The magic of this song: I don't get bored even though the rhythm section is repeated. It then flows almost seamlessly to "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With" in rockin' style. It's relatively an accessible song, I would say.

Belew's a cappella is then repeated at "The Power To Believe III" which sounds like an avant-garde music with unpredictable drum work and soaring guitar sounds. The music then flows into more regular rhythm section and it's still demonstrating the dynamic drumming and excellent bass guitar. The album concludes with "The Power To Believe IV" which contains "Industry" (from "Three of A Perfect Pair" album) style interjected with Belew's a cappella as coda and ends the album beautifully. This is best suited for midnight enjoyment. Wonderful!

Overall, I'm glad that having been 35 years in prog music business, King Crimson can still create a beautifully crafted album. The album is strong in almost every aspect of great music: excellent melody, great harmonies, tight composition and excellent overall performance. The band members are talented musicians who know how to compose great music and at the same time stir the emotion of the listeners. Long live King Crimson! Overall rating is full five stars - and I cannot compromise on this as it's got to be five. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW, Indonesia.

Report this review (#79391)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Of the later-day King Crimson relases I find "The Power to Believe" to be their best focused and closest to their artistic cannon.

The lineup is still: Robert Fripp - guitars, devices Adrian Belew - guitars, devices, voice Trey Gunn - Warr guitar (similar to a Capman stick but with a traditional body; it's range is as low as a 5 string bass upward to a standard tuned guitar) Pat Mastelotto - drums; acoustic and electronic

Depending on how deeply you wish to go, there are several patterns that run throughout KC's musical output. When they are at their best, they are proof of why they are still masters of their muscular, angular progressive music.

On this CD we see Belew's metered out Hiku-like poems, involving what sounds to be vocoding, a process that splits sound into many tonal bands which can be edited as one pleases. This follows the increased use of synthesis via guitar controllers courtesy of Fripp and Belew.

Then there are the rock based songs that tend to have a pop approach, something that has continued since Belew hooked up with the band in the 80s. On "The Power to Believe" the vocal songs seem to fit in an 'order of three' that KC has been working on for the last 23 years.

Also typical of modern King Crimson releases are the fierce polyrhythmic songs that have influenced a great many modern prog bands, Tool being the most famous, and unashamed to admit their admiration. "10,000 Days" offers up many a King Crimson-like angular track with Tool's already gifted skills at creating metal drones that suck in a large share of listeners. Compare Tool to songs like KC's "Level Five" and "Dangerous Curves" and see if you don't hear the kernal of ideas found in Tool and many other Progressive Metal thru Jazz based bands.

This time out, there are several ambient songs that drift and hold sway from Crimson's sometimes monochromatic industrial strength counterpoint.

Reasons for the upgrade in KC's sound start with the rhythm section of Pat Mastelotto and Trey Gunn. I doublt many people thought Trey Gunn was an issue, but Mastelotto sometimes didn't come across as well as he was capable of. I beleive alot of that had to do with the V Drums he used and the awful cymbal crashes and dead sounding snare and tom sounds which have been vastly upgraded by playing a electro-acoustic combination kit. On TPTB we finally hear Pat sounding excellent, and while he may not be Bill Bruford, he is still one hell of a great drummer. Similarly, I'm a fan of Tony Levin, I can't say that Trey's Warr guitar isn't of equal quality in tone and playing style.

TPTB is loosely based as such: Voice Hiku Vocal song of varying degress of melodicism King Crimson instrumental song sections of varying complexity and intensity All song types based on chromatic variations, often using guitar synth and Gunn in dual bass and guitar measures with Mastelotto holding a groove and sometimes, sampled ambience.

This makes for a larger pallate of sonics and incredibly varied feel to the music they shape.

An area that old-Crimson devotes seem to either dislike, or find less interesting are the varied interludes and drastic, yet often similar themes to the music 21st Century King Crimson are creating. More importantly, everyone in the band has their function and voice. And while that is considerably more democratic than Robert Fripp once had KC running, the music they make today takes several listens to "get". While I loved "The Power To Believe" from first listen, I find that on 50th listen I hear new segments that make me wonder, "was that intentional or was it a happy accident?" Also, of the latter day King Crimson albums, this is the least based upon improvisation. Whether this was because of getting aquainted sessions and the band's continuing sense of internal radar is of question, but this is as close as KC has come to their days of "Lark's Tongue pt1"

I probably won't change anyone's mind but strongly suggest giving more time to "The Power to Believe"

My take on current King Crimson is their comfortability with one another. By comfortable I do not mean complacent or staid. I mean they have reached a musical intimacy that few bands ever do. Consider they have been together in this arrangement for over a decade, and except for the pains related to working with electronics and guitar (guitar synths often do not track - that is, play the notes as the player created, and therefore takes considerable time to make guitars and midi controllers that work with guitars that play the way they are used to working with. This is similar for drums too. From just a technical aspect, King Crimson bring a great deal of potential trouble within their setups. Finding a crew that can keep the technology together with the qualities two excellent and demanding guitarists make upon their setups is difficult to say the least. Setting up the drums and Trey's Warr guitar are not simple either. But when they play, it is like a poetic dance.

Besides the roaring metalic sheen of their prior work comes new delicate sections which, as a listener, bring a welcomed sense of relief.

King Crimson scores big for the massive mix that does not go flat when they adjust from mild permutations in their sound; playing delicate segments that once was dominated by Mellotrons and flute and are now using at times orchestral strings and oboe thru simple triangle wave leads and saw synth pads.

This is a major change in King Crimson. I know those who hear this album differently think it's more of the same 1990's work, but there is consolidation and a sense of poetry that was missing on many of the 1990's tracks. Rather than seeing "The Power to Believe" as another similar album in the King Crimson style I'd strongly suggest disgruntled listeners put a bit more effort into this CD, one of their masterworks in my opinion.

Report this review (#79979)
Posted Thursday, June 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Man, oh man, this is a tough album to rate. Being a fan of all of the many incarnations of Mr Fripps band, it was after the 80's I lost track of them. I found a used version of VRROOOM and was somewhat impressed. I was impressed mainly for the fact that again, like a chameleon, King Crimson changed their colors and went into a more metal vein. Still, I'm not much of a metal head, so once again I lost track of them. Being a member of a music club, I saw this album as a selection and immediately ordered it. What hit me was that they stuck to the metal sound but it had a more modern sound, akin to what most modern fusion/metal bands sound like today. The only songs that sound a tad different are the songs written by Belew which remind me of his work with the band in the 80's with again a more modern sound, dropping the Talking Head jerkiness. I dig the instrumental songs, (Level Five in particular) then Belew's songs, although I have to admit they are very catchy. So to round up a rating for the album, I can't recommend it enough for newer fans. They have much better albums in all their different modes, be it metal, (Thrak), herky-jerky art pop, (Discipline), symphonic (ITCOTCK), and jazz/metal, (Lark's Tongue, Red). But if you're a fan of the band, it's just about good and a half. 3.5 stars tops.

Report this review (#81281)
Posted Friday, June 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars Going into this one, I was not really sure what to expect. I had only recently discovered the bulk of Crimson's catalogue, and was enthralled by everything up to "Red." "Discipline" was very good, but it was basically a different band. I had heard good things about "Thrak," but was unable to find a copy. Then I found "The Power to Believe," and decided to take a chance. Wow! It was as if they had gone back to "Red," without sacrificing any progress. These new guys also showed some serious chops.

"Level Five" is a bone cruncher. I rarely go in for anything extremely heavy, but when it is this masterfully executed, I get drawn right in. Every note, and drumbeat, is played with precision.

"Eyes Wide Open" is a dreamy diversion, and a pleasant rest from the opener.

"Elektrik" is a clever instrumental. It opens with a sad little keyboard, and then starts clicking along with quick drum tapping, and guitar picking. It flows into a spacey section, with the rhythm still clicking. All through it builds up and down, giving the sense of staircases. The bass thumps, and becomes the glue to hold it together.

"Facts of Life" is wonderfully heavy rocker that becomes an all out shred-fest (done in the very best Crimson style). Belew's vocals may be cynical, but the words ring true.

"Dangerous Curves" is an instrumental that seems to be a mesh of "Starless," and the style of "Discipline."

"Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With" could be my favorite track on the album. This is not because the songwriting is so superior, but because it is such a wonderful poke at modern metal.

It is all held together by the recurring "Power to Believe" theme. A longer, more spacey, version takes the album out.

Some of it does seem familiar, but yet it is fresh. For these guys to sound so vital this late in the game is nothing short of miraculous. I will admit that after hearing "Thrak," and "The Construkction of Light," it didn't seem quite as novel. That doesn't change the fact that this is a great album, and is (IMO) superior to the other two.

H.T. Riekels

Report this review (#87838)
Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson had always been different through the years. Even Robert Fripp said that KC was just something that will always change (something like that) and this album shows that KC is still on his nowhere journey, where no one knows where it'll ends. Most people must know that the KC of today isn't the same as the early KC back in '69, and the KC in the Wetton/Bruford era... It's not a typical kind of music repeating album from album, it's always turning into something different.

"The Power To Believe" is still an excellent progressive rock album. KC still offers good ballad like "Eyes Wide Open", which you can compare to "Book Of Saturday". Songs like "Facts Of Life" or "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With" can be view as modern version of old KC heavy songs. "Level Five" and "Elektrik" looks like "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" modern version with the new Fripp "duels guitar" (Fripp plays one note each 8th notes, and Belew plays 8th notes but each 16th notes, for's hard to explain in english for a french guy like me hehe...) And there are songs with incredible noise and sounds that are melodics like "The Power To Believe II: Power Circle".

If you're like me and you're ready to face the band evolution you'll love this album. It's like KC turning into electro prog-rock. They're still good and check out their "Eyes Wide Open" DVD, it's awesome even if it's pratically new songs, it's still incredible to see this thing playing live.

Report this review (#88235)
Posted Saturday, August 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though I consider myself a big fan of King Crimson, I never thought they would ever surprise me with a new album I would love as much as the old ones. With this album they did, so much that I consider it one of their top three albums ever. It's amazing how this band manages to always reinvent themself and, after thirty years, come back with an album as poweful as it was their first ones.
Report this review (#94570)
Posted Saturday, October 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars My how KING CRIMSON have changed since their masterpiece "In The Court Of The Crimson King". No keyboards, organ, flute or mellotron, just three guys playing guitars, plus one drummer. Many were surprised to hear that KING CRIMSON were opening for TOOL, well if they heard this record they would realise that the two bands are quite compatible.

You only need to hear the song "Level Five" an absolutely crushing instrumental that's as ferocious as a level five hurricane to hear that KING CRIMSON can rock with the best of them. And another thing, the drumming of Pat Mastelotto completely blew me away, I had no idea he was this good. "Eyes Wide Open" changes gears to a smooth, breezy song with a good chorus. "Elektrik" is another amazing instrumental with throbbing bass and heavy drums with those awesome angular guitar melodies of Mr.Fripp.

"Facts Of Life" is another heavy, powerful tune, and i'm so impressed with the band interplay and the arrangements towards the end of the song. "The Power To Believe II" like the opener has processed vocals and also acoustic percussion. "Dangerous Curves" is an aggressive song that builds and builds, again amazing drumming. "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With" is another good one, and i'm "happy with" the music on this one especially the Frippian guitar melodies. "The Power To Believe III" features again processed vocals and this time some experimental sampling, as well as odd time drumming and guitar. "The Power To Believe IV : Code" features the same vocals that opened the album. I'm so impressed with this release the way the guys play complex, intricate music so well together.

These guys are the best in my opinion, and this is a masterpiece. I believe !

Report this review (#101185)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a great modern album by one of the finest older bands. Crimson always find innovative ways to explore and experiment within the limitations and possibilities presented to them. In the late 60s and 70s Crimson experimented with sounds in a much different manner than they do now. Today's technology offers more possibilities for creative minds ready to push boundaries.

Some parts sound like classic crimson and make me smile, other times there is a certain modern feel and this new spice comes by a little strong - something I don't mind, but others may detest. Those sections are, in a way, mechanical, electrical, industrial, but still organic, honest, cosmic, spacey, and compelling. But regardless, this is great music, capable of provoking thought, emotion, memory and adrenaline. Congratulations, Crimson, you will never cease to be Kings of prog.

Report this review (#105081)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I agree entirely with prog reviewer Gatot view of the album, this is in fact a masterpiece of modern progressive rock music - visionary, different, energetic and touching at the same time.

Sometimes it voyages into the world of delusional madness, mechanical complex and bizarre rhythms and psychic auspicious guitar solos, almost as robots had lead the way, like the multifaceted "Level Five", the exquisite "Electrik", or the energetic "Facts of Life". Other times it takes to the limits of subtlety, encountered in the beauty ballad "Eyes Wide Open" and especially in the intriguing, almost cosmic peace of "The power to Believe II", where the crafted collection of symphonic nuances, background sounds and delicate instrumental approach create a very evolving hypnotic sound where the album's main motif encounters its highest level. "Dangerous Curves" is another standout, more again perhaps not possible without the superb breathtaking atmosphere created by the complex rhythmic textures of Pat Mastelotto, in a thrillering crescendo ending in the complete psychic apotheosis. The album ends like it starts, very peacefully and after a symphonic introduction, in another vocal version of the album's main motif.

This is a delightful return of the acclaimed pioneers of progressive rock music. Curiously, 34 years later, Adrian Belew and King Crimson prove that they are more interested in enlarging rock's boundaries than making success with the almost without count used formulas. Perhaps that's why they never liked much to be catalogued, even as a progressive rock band, because they knew people in general would associate them to a particular kind of sound, instead of seeing them as what they really are. This is a respectful and admirable album.

Report this review (#105771)
Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Once again a step further in the uneven evolution of the Crimson King, The Power to Believe is certainly different from the symphonic and the danceable pop years. Modern King Crimson has forged their identity through heavy prog mixed with industrial like ambient tracks. They seem to be really comfortable in that genre as in any of the others they explored. The line-up from The ConstruKction of Light is still the same but they sound like they have walked some way together. Mastelloto's drumming is more precise, Gunn's rythms are imaginative and Fripp/Belew guitars are as great as always.

The Power to Believe contains some of the most inspired tracks from King Crimson in a long time (ever since Discipline). Level Five (seen for many as a worthy follow-up to the 4 Lark's Tongue in Aspic parts) is a wonderful heavy instrumental song separated into several guitar riff driven parts. It's one of the few modern Crimson numbers that is guaranteed to please the old-timers who stopped loving the band after Red. Elektrik is another excellent track which almost sounds like electronic music. Then, there is some really hard rocking songs : the good Facts of Life and the pretty silly Happy with what you have to be happy with. Those are probably my least favorite track on the album. The lyrics are good but the music itself isn't as interesting as the rest of the album. My favorite track is Dangerous Curves by far though. It is essentially an ambient track that slowly builds into a nervous and haunting theme. It contains one of King Crimson's best build-up actually. I particulary like when the hi-hat comes in near the in. Genius.

The flow of the album is also kept along quite well throughout mostly because of The Power to Believe parts. Those are reminiscent of the Crimson King's second album In the Wake of Poseidon and its Peace themes. I don't know if it's a coincidence but this album is also the first post-70s Crimso album that could appeal to the fans of this era. The whole mood of the album is really similar to the one of the early albums at least in my opinion. I highly suggest this album to the first generation fans.

In short, this album shows us a really improved sound from the line-up of Fripp-Belew-Gunn-Mastelloto. While announcing what future King Crimson could bring to the table, it definitely has a sound that should please the most hard-headed 70s prog fanatic. It isn't a masterpiece but, hey it's a great evidence that some of the progressive giants are still in top shape. Can't wait for the next album. 4 stars.


Report this review (#107414)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Their best stuff since the 70's.

An impressive modern release, that is flowing, captivating, and very rewarding. Heads up to those who are fans that this is a very hard rocking piece of work, with few if any traces of symphonic flair to it.

King Crimson even experiments with post-rock, on Dangerous Curves, a track that builds throughout. As others have said, Level 5 can be seen as a continuation on the LTIA project. It's not as great as the first 2, but it's still very good material. Some of this is much more accessible to other music listeners than their earlier material, but the creativity is not lost.

This record shows to me that Fripp and Co. still have it, and I'd love for them to make one more record (if not two) because they still produce inspiring and unique material. I might have this overrated a tad because of my likeness to the band, but I believe fans of their mid-70's material would enjoy this.

Report this review (#108482)
Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Power To Believe is the best studio album of the last 20 years, closely followed by Thrak, dated 1995. The Fantastic thing about King Crimson has always been their way to explore new musical boundaries, and this album is some of the best achievement in that particular sense. Let's get to the songs:

The Power To Believe I : A Cappella 44 very poetic seconds of A. Belew 's voice filtered trough a vocoder.

Level Five The second track is an awesome instrumental, very powerful, and a perfect demonstration of KC components harmony between them and technical skills, and of course, of a MONSTRUOSE capability to play the same parts together with an inhuman precision, not to mention the complex tempo signature troughout this piece of music.

Eyes Wide Open An Adrian Belew ballad, in which is quite heavy the Beatles influence, just like "Walking On Air" from Thrak; very well produced and very enjoyable, perfectly played as usual,

Elektrik Unfortunately, probably, this is the only weak point of The Power To fact this track is quite boring,and personally I found hard to listen to it all.

Facts Of Life: Intro A link track, no particular notes.

Facts Of Life A perfect example of the brand new King Crimson sound, the one which some people tend to associate to nu metal. or prog metal: which is totally wrong; it could be defined close to it, but not as much: in fact it's an evident demonstration of how a prog band, belonging to the art rock section, can sound powerful and angry and even violent, without being metal at all.

The Power To Believe II A good instrumental track, with no particular notes, simply great.

Dangerous Curves This track could be considered the modern version of "The Talking Drum": an instrumental piece which is a constant crescendo, and ends up with a huge chaotic final chord: very intense and probably one of the finest King Crimson instrumental pieces ever.

Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With Similar to Facts Of Life, but probably better, very violent, impressive and perfectly played; particular note for Belew sarcastic lyrics: a song lyrics about how to write a song.

The Power To Believe III Basically a Fripp soundscape, accompained by Mastellotto impressive drums; this track follows a structure very similar to "The Deception Of The Thrush" an instrumental track from the ProjeKct era, in fact it follows the same dynamics; a very good piece.

The Power To Believe IV : Coda A very spiritual Fripp's Soundscape, incredibly intense, a GREAT track.

In the end The Power To Believe is an excellent King Crimson album and useful to discover a brand new kind of progressive music. A very very original work.

4.5 stars: an excellent addition to any prog music collection, which is very close to be a masterpiece.

Report this review (#115400)
Posted Friday, March 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris H
4 stars Krimson is back!

And in such a high style too. This album sounds very modern, industrial and all around fitting for the times. Their second album of the new millennium, they already had the formula down for releasing their style of music into the mainstream (with "ConstruKction of Light"), and here on "The Power To Believe" all they did was tighten the nuts and bolts on their formula, and look at the results in produced! With two different styles of playing coming from Belew and Fripp, not to mention the youthful energy of Trey Gunn plucking away on the Warr guitar and Pat's technical yet heavy drumming, the album is an intense mish-mash of sounds right from the start.

After the short acapella start to the album, the heavy guitar grinding starts up almost instantly with "Level Five". The lead guitar trades are always intense and the riffs are beyond comparison in the age of emo-rock. "Eyes Wide Open" is almost the mirror image of "Level Five" in the fact that it is very mellow and moody with some awesome vocals from Mr. Belew. "Elektrik" is one of my favorite instrumentals from King Crimson, post-Discipline. Even though it is incredibly hard to track down the song, meaning that the tempos are everywhere and the rhythms fling around between instruments, it is highly energetic and worth everybody's time. This flows into the intro for "Facts Of Life", which kicks off the hard-rock tune that the "Court of the Crimson King" fans love to hate. I love the driving, intense riffs, but Belew's vocals seem awkwardly strained for some reason. The vocals are very unappealing to a casual listener. A mix of ambient experiments and techno beats glide through for a few minutes until the gem of the album pops up, and that song is "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With", which ironically enough is a song about writing a rock n' roll song. The riffs are in your face and the lyrics actually make sense. The drumming is an absolute force as well. The rest of the album is an instrumental gallery of musical atmospheres and landscapes, which are absolutely amazing. Words don't even describe the beauty of some of these tracks.

This album, "The Power To Believe", just shows the progressive rock community that King Crimson will never stop adapting and rocking out to their surroundings. Their late 2007-early 2008 release will be something to camp out for if it even barely resembles this genius effort of blending ambient/experimental sounds with "in your face" hard rock.

4.5 stars, no doubt!

Report this review (#116288)
Posted Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I think of "The Power to Believe" the word that comes to mind is "intense". "Level Five" and the onlsaught that is "Dangerous Curves" are both heavy instrumentals with a modern Crimson feel and absolutely will raise anyones blood pressure if played loud enough. "Eyes Wide Open", "Facts of Life" and "Happy with..." are all finely crafted tunes with excellent lyrics with a message. These guys just put out quality and really this is a four and half star album if there were such a rating.
Report this review (#118416)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

I didn't know what to expect of this one after the VERY disapointing CONSTRUKTION OF LIGHT, but we got a good one with THE POWER TO BELIEVE. What i notice, the older R.Fripp gets, the heavier the music is! when asked what kind of music KING CRIMSON was playing nowadays, Fripp described it as ''Nuevo Metal '' Who would have guessed it 30 years ago listening to ITCOTKC or LIZARD KC would be playing 'metal 'now?

There is no LTIA part 902 on this album, so it's already a good sign! we have some very good music on this album and a few ''metal'' songs i could have lived without, but the good and sometimes the great easily overpowers the bad.

We have the same line-up than on the precedent album, my friend Belew is here, but at least he tries to sing properly on most of the tracks (no, not all of them, don't dream).

The best tracks are LEVEL 5 a powerful intrumental in the vein of LTIA part 2 or FRACTURE, strong guitar riffs, yet melodious.A definitive KING CRIMSON anthem. The other great highlight is another......instrumental; the ambient DANGEROUS CURVES which builds up very nicely with great MASTELLOTTO drums.

EYES WIDE OPEN (with nice Belew vocals) and THE POWER TO BELIEVE 2 are also highly enjoyable and reminiscent of the old past of glorious times. The only downfall is the horrible 'metal' FACTS OF LIFE, with (once again) atrocious vocals of Belew who sounds like he is ready to throw up. But that's the only bad thing i can think of this CD.

This is the last studio album of KING CRIMSON to this day and a good one at that! I read they are going to release a new one later this year or beginning 2008. Also, T. Levin seems to be back in place of Trey Gunn. But Belew is still around. So what to expect! With King Crimson, you never know for sure.

4 stars well deserved for this album!

Report this review (#119353)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Amidst all live albums and colmpilations it is good to have a decent studio album. 'But The Power To Believe' is not simply a decent album. It takes KC a step further than 'The Construkction Of Light'. Strong instrumental piece in the opening part, called 'Level Five'. This album finally gives us some improvised music (which i missed throughout Thrak and Vrooom), flavoured with Fripp's marvelous soundscapes. Belew sings better than ever and the music is definately more diversified than the on three previous albums. The only weaker spot on the album is 'Facts Of Life', but it's not a bad song, just too thrashy compared to the smooth 'Elektrik' and melodic 'Eyes Wide Open'. Moreover, there are some totally brilliant spots, like Dangerous Curves, which is excellent in its simplicity. All in all, what you'll find on this album is more heavy sounds, characteristic soloes by Belew and Fripp's guitar which is somewhat different but peculiar as ever. But The Power To Believe is KC's best album since Discipline, in my opinion.
Report this review (#125058)
Posted Thursday, June 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars this is king crimson in 2003! Still going strong, king crimson put out this exceptional release. The sound here is that of metal, but in a sophisticated complex king crimson way. Similar to thrak, this one contains all the heaviness and wierdness, but a bit less this time. I find that this album has quite a bit of filler, whereas thrak had little. the opening track could be considered filler, but I guess it introduces you to the theme. It is merely an electronic voice reciting a simple poem, which you'll hear 4 times throughout the album! Level five is the best track here, long, heavy, progressive and definitely king crimson! This one is full of electronic drumming, insane guitar riffing, and head exploding moments. eyes wide open is another good track, quieter this time. It sounds very mysterious, as does much of the album. It's also the only song where belew's voice isn't distorted and he's actually singing! Elektrik is another strong track, but is a bit repetitive repetitive repetitive. For those of you who like wierd scales, this one's for you! it's a lengthy track (the longest here) consisting of fripp playing endless 'whole tone' riffs (this is pretty much the wierdest scale there is). It also become's heavy toward the end, but only briefly. Oh yeah, it also has a strange quasi-medieval intro and outro which sets the tone perfectly. Dare I say, the intro makes me feel as if I have entered into some realm of the court of the crimson king! Facts of life intro is just that, a short piece consisting of basically, well, nothing! This is where the album starts to loose its footing in a bad way. The lyrics, which are about ants, sand, and death are about as stupid as i've ever heard, and to make matters worse, belew is singing in a ridiculous manner. I wish he would sing 'for real' more! However, the music is good, good enough to make you listen past the crappy vocal idiocy. Power to believe 2 is a decent 'instrumental' though that poem is recited toward the end in an electronic voice. It starts of with what sounds like synthetic 'middle eastern' singing, over some stupid noises. However, toward the middle, some cool little bells come in, reminding one of the intro to larks' tongues pt. 1. this doesn't last though. This song is basically filler. Dangerous curves is a weak track. The first minute of it is silence, basically! it is repetitive as well, but I guess it's an example of frippertronics. I find it to be more filler. Happy with what you have to be happy with is another track in the vein of facts of life, this time being a parody of modern metal. I'ts about the modern metal songwriter composing a song and 'stirring another pot of ambiguity'. There's also a humorous solo by fripp who pokes fun at the 'noisy solos' of modern metal. This song does get a bit of a laugh out of me, but it's okay at best. The power to belive 3 is my favourite of the four, having some heavy instrumental parts during the last two minutes. It includes an interesting tempo change where it suddenly speeds up and then slows down. The last track is more filler, more nothingness, more of that little poem that you're quite tired of by now! This album has its moments, but is okay at best. The true fan will likely enjoy it though. Because of the excess of filler and lack of actual substance, 3/5. real fans should give it a try, but no one else.
Report this review (#126412)
Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A vast improvement over "The ConstruKction of Light". Several excellent tracks and an overall mood pervading the album that the group actually had a common artistic goal in mind. It is so much a different sound than TCOL it is hard to believe it was the same lineup that produced both albums.

Not quite a 5-star effort, but about 4.25 stars. Well worth the listen.

Here's hoping this doesn't end up being the very last King Crimson studio album.

Report this review (#126909)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I waited a while before writing this review, because I figured since Crimson albums are packed with goodies, I figured I couldn't get it all after a few listens, and I was right. Having listened to this album densely for a month,I think I can safely review it. I actually rate this album at 4 1/2 stars, but since that isn't an option, I don't want to mislead anyone by calling it perfect or close too. Regardless, it's a bloody good album! The Sound and engineering is great. It has a good balance and a complete sound. I prefer listening to this album with headphones just because that way it's much easier to pick up all the subtleties (Not too mention, it's quite complicated as is expected from the crimson, so blocking out other miscellaneous sounds is quite a bit more important on this recording.)

Track 01: The Power to Believe I: A Capella - The album starts with Belew with some odd effect on his voice and in falsetto with no instrumentation. I wouldn't call it singing, but rather talking with pitch. This is a short opener that sets the mood for the album.

Track 02: Level 5 - I had heard that this was the fifth installment of "Larks Tongues in Aspic." Having not heard the other four installments, this means nothing to me. This instrumental starts off pretty BAM in your face sinister metal sound. This song has some good rhythm elements. It keeps you interested, and has fancy playing on everyones part. It sounds like in the beginning the song had already been going on, and your coming in during the middle of it all. It has a good "Alright, here we go" effect to it, and you can't wait to hear the rest!

Track 03: Eyes Wide Open - This is one of the three in running as my favorite track of the album. It seems the rest of the album is one of two sounds, and this track is the exception. It's got a nice and relaxed sound to it, and a great melody. This is not terribly advanced piece of music, but it has an otherwise complicated guitar section. This song has the most "Feeling" to it, I guess. It takes that precise song writing over musical proficiency with a crimson twist. There are some good lines in here, but Belew is not known for being a particularly good lyricist, so there are some lines which is the negative part to this song. But after the complicated Level 5, this is a nice breathe of fresh air.

Track 04: Elektrik - Just after one of my favorite tracks, this is one of the two in running for my least favorite. It has a clever structure and some nice effects and sounds, with some good playing. My only problem with it is that I don't see the point. It has no emotional attachment too it, it's not particularly catchy. At this point is when I got worried about the album, it looked like it was going to have a couple shining moments and nothing else. I think this track is what stops the album from being a masterpiece. Just overall, meh.

Track 05: Facts of Life: Intro - I think if they had a better piece then Elektrik, this would have been pointless. It's an in between filler track that might as well be part of The song Facts of Life. It has an ambient soundscape, and towards the end some drums and distorted guitars pound out of nowhere. If Elektrik had been replaced with a calmer song, it would have made the same effect.

Track 06: Facts of Life - I liked this song a good deal when I first heard it, but then it died quickly on me. This with Elektrik is in the running with the worst on the album. It's got the metal sound and a not so catchy melody. The lyrics aren't to great. I like one of the unique guitar sounds used in this song, though. Although recently it's been starting to climb back up my likeness scale, I'm not sure why. But I don't mind listening to it as much as I used too. I just think there's nothing terribly memorable about it.

Track 07: The Power to Believe II - I'm not one who normally likes those Crimson instrumental lack of structure songs, but this is frickin brilliant! This is by no means one of the Metal tracks, it's filled with clever effects and precision playing. The only vocals are Belew reprising the first Power to Believe. It has one of the Trademark Fripp soundscapes, a good guitar solo, a great build up. A perfect ambient song. This is what the 60's psychedelic Floyd-esque stuff tried to accomplish, but utterly failed. And now KC has perfected it. Another one in the running for the favorite track.

Track 08: Dangerous Curves - And the third in the running of the best song arrives! I'm not exactly sure why I love this instrumental so much, it repeats the same riff over and over and adds and takes away different lays for the whole thing, but it keeps my attention! It's the perfect song that plays in the movie when the Man sets the house on fire and stabs the children. How Sinister! The only downfall is the end which is just this clash of sound. It just felt to me that they didn't know how to end it, so they just did that. I would have liked to see something a bit more artistic.

Track 09: Happy with What you have to be happy with - A hard earned break. This is another breathe of fresh air on the album, but in a different way then "Eyes Wide Open." It's another metal-ish song, and proves once more that King Crimson can be both complicated and notoriously simple at the same time. This song is just a bit of fun where fun was needed.

Track 10: The Power to Believe III - This song to me ties the two sides of the album. It has both the ambient feel in there, and a harder heavier sound (but not as heavy as the metal songs on the album.) At first it bothered me how he only did two small parts of the lyrics in the beginning, but now I like it. It creates a tension and space thats unique to the song. Although, this is the weakest track titled "The Power to Believe." It's an interesting instrumental with some constantly changing parts. And although it's short, it sets you up for the end.

Track 11: The Power to Believe IV: Coda - The perfect closure to the album. Where there was the musical tie in with the last track, this is the artistic tie together. It's another Fripp soundscape and ends with a reprise of the complete opening track vocals. And everything just ends with Belew saying "Believe." It's just nice and peaceful, and during the soundscape, you really reflect on the album and everything that happened, and it just sort of makes you think "Woah."

So all in all, this is my favorite Crimson recording of the four I have. It is very much worth getting! This heavy instrumental album has emotion, experimentation, rock, excellent playing in all four position, good composing, and some good fun. What else do you need in an album?

Report this review (#132085)
Posted Monday, August 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars KC’s 90s incarnation was brought by almost the same line-up they had in 80s, hence music was play in that vein as well. More modern, with MIDI guitar tech used, with some techno/rave/industrial patterns thrown in it, but the same way MATH Crimso we had in 80s. From all official studio efforts (“Thrak”, “The ConstruKction of Light”, “The Power to Believe”) the last one seems to be the most elaborated and well-balanced. Again made in the same manner as previous releases (THRAK-like structure with eponymous track serving as transition weapon, groovy instrumentals in TCOL vein), but better constructed, with more power thrown into it, with better songs after all! Can’t keep from mentioning “Dangerous Curves”, one of my favouritest KC instrumentals ever! I can recall the day I was buying it; hot 2003’s August, and a guy in glasses twice elder than me asking me if I know their early stuff…yes, I do!!! Hope we’ll receive some more new stuff from KC in future, and till that moment TPTB remains their most successful recent effort. Recommended!
Report this review (#135368)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
5 stars It's hard to get more essential than this brilliant offering from KC-- "Power to Believe" has some of the band's most powerfully creative and intense music to date, with heavy, dark cascades of sound juxtaposed to delicate atmospherics and tinkling guitars. Fripp and co. make heavy use of Crimson hallmarks, such as the trademark guitar interplay, but back them with enough effects and classy playing to make them sound wholly fresh and innovative. More importantly however, is the simple fact that they are writing better songs than they have in 20 years, combining smart and satirical lyrics with razor-sharp playing. Belew and Fripp positively cook throughout, while Gunn's bass adds a very cool electronic roar to their dueling melodies. Drumming, the biggest criticism of this incarnation of KC, is still first rate, Mastelotto delivering a fine mix of precise intensity.

I recommend this as a first purchase to anyone eager to explore Crimson's music, and to any whom at any point found themselves liking this band's eclectic output-- it won't disappoint.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#139203)
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Heavy, bleak metal with repetitive and cliche chromatic guitar lines, my favorite 'progressive' band of all time, once known for its highly innovative and cutting edge music, finds itself now relegated to that dreaded pigeon hole called FORMULA. Much of the music here is substantially better construKcted than the earlier The ConstruKction of Light, but the music has really not moved forward. Mr. Fripp is held to higher expectations because we know he is capable of meeting and exceeding them. THE REAL QUESTION POSED BY THIS RECORDING AS WELL AS MUCH OF THE MATERIAL AFTER 1981's DISCIPLINE ALBUM IS: DOES ROBERT FRIPP STILL HAVE THE POWER TO BELIEVE IN HIS OWN ABILITY TO TRANSFORM THE MEDIUM?? Or, is creative stagnation the wave of Mr. Fripp's future? Simply because the craft is better than that found on The ConstruKction of Light, this recording rates 3 stars.
Report this review (#151819)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Yet another album in support of the "less-is-more" phenomenon, King Crimson shed the double power trio structure and are reduced to four guys who really seem to be on the same page. When they decide to do grungy prog, they are quite good at it. When they attempt more traditional songs, as well as minimalist new-age music, they have considerably less success. The Power to Believe features some of all three, and as you might expect, the results are somewhat uneven.

How about that grungy, industrial prog? Well, I don't know much about the genre, but I know I like this: heavy, full of texture, and packed with Fripp's uniquely bizarre guitar licks. Tracks such as Level Five, Elektrik, and Dangerous Curves sound similar to things Crimson was trying to do on Starless and Bible Black, except these are more focused, have better production, and are overall more gripping and bizarre. Level Five hits you right away with crunching guitar and distorted bass, full of excellent guitar interplay, time changes, and syncopated riffs throughout. Elektrik and Dangerous Curves conversely use the build style, starting slow, with some light percussion, eerie guitar, and nice ambient effects before hitting you with the grand finale. Uniquely Crimson--all of it!

The rest of the album really does not do much for me. The four parts of the title track are ambient and skippable. The songs with vocals are not particularly enjoyable, though certainly worth listening for the guitar jams (particularly Happy... and Facts of Life). The one exception is Eyes Wide Open, which is a pleasant, thoughtful, and restrained piece that serves as a great counterbalance to the album's heavy parts.

I enjoy the heavy songs on this album just as much as those from Larks' Tongues and Starless. The kicker for me is that Crimson have nicely separated the heavy parts from the ambient (and to my ears, pointless) sections, which makes it very easy to find right what I'm looking for in the album. Is King Crimson back? I happen to think they never left, and I have to give them credit for persevering and still coming up with some great music, when they could easily rest on their laurels and revel (and profit from) past greatness. The Crimson spirit endures, and perhaps that's most important.

Report this review (#155927)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Power To Believe is one of the most important works of the 21st century. I would suggest that it still does not surpass the material of the 73-74 era, but what does? It is my firm belief that maybe 15 to 20 years after the album release will it be appreciated for what it is. This album is quite simply a look at music of the future. In a way one could say this album is the modern Red, which I actually agree with. The differences are great however between these two masterpieces. Red is quite jazzy in actuality, where TPTB is more interested in sonic texturing in rhythm. I use this album to show off my stereo because it has the greatist sound quality and bass depth I have ever heard! Although the album itself is quite heavy overall, it is it's psychedelic qualities that make it the amazing journey that it is. I would not do the reader any justice by reviewing individual tracks since the album is a continuous whole so I won't. If you are a King Crimson fan, or a fan of ground breaking music do yourself a favor and get this record.
Report this review (#160067)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars After the misfire that was "The ConstruKction of Light", the mighty Crims return to form with what is probably their best studio effort after 1981's "Discipline". Tighter, more cohesive and more accomplished than the otherwise excellent "Thrak", it features longer tracks which alternate between the band's trademark jagged, metallic sound, and softer, more rarefied atmospheres, in the mould set by their groundbreaking "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" in 1973. As a matter of fact, even if only Fripp remains of that legendary line-up, "The Power to Believe" seems to take up from where LTiA, SaBB and "Red" had left off, dispensing with the new-wave and world-music influences that characterised the trio of albums released in the early Eighties.

A thread runs through the album in the shape of the four-part title track, starting with the a cappella intro sung by Belew in a soothing, mellifluous falsetto. A brief pause, the calm before the electric storm that is "Level Five" - a complex, crushingly heavy instrumental that numbers among the best ever KC compositions, and a real treat for guitar lovers everywhere, studded with Fripp's and Belew's angular, structured riffing. Then, as it often happens with KC albums, the mood shifts suddenly with the haunting, sophisticated ballad "Eyes Wide Open", which is somewhat reminiscent of some of the band's Eighties output, and proves to the world that Adrian Belew is indeed a vocalist to be reckoned with.

"Elektrik", probably the least cohesive instrumental on the album, a sprawling composition which hinges on the 'duel' between the two guitars and the rhythm section, is followed by the vocal tour de force that is "Facts of Life", underpinned by Fripp's massively distorted guitar lines. Belew's forceful, aggressive singing matches the music and the wacky lyrics; while the third 'conventional' song on the album, "Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With", a fine example of hard rock KC-style, boasts an almost infectious chorus based on the entertaining, tongue-twisting title.

Of the other instrumentals, "Dangerous Curves" builds up slowly and hypnotically in a way that is vaguely reminiscent of "The Devil's Triangle" on ITWOP, and leads to a powerful, "Bolero"-like crescendo. "The Power to Believe II" contains snippets of processed vocals which seem to float eerily amid the ambient-tinged, intensely atmospheric music, featuring the haunting sound of tubular bells; the remaining two parts share the same mood, which becomes increasingly spacey towards the end. The album comes then full circle, closing with the same soothing melody that had introduced it.

It may not come as a surprise that fans of the 'symphonic' stage of KC's career are not exactly enthusiastic about the evolution of the band. However, no one could ever deny the genuinely progressive nature of the Crims, a rare example of an outfit that, in the 35-odd years of their career, have never looked backwards, as well as being immensely influential for the development of many modern prog bands. Even if "The Power to Believe" may not be exactly easy on the ear, it is a more than rewarding, highly recommended listen for those prog fans who are up for a challenge.

Report this review (#160344)
Posted Thursday, January 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Though many have tried (Djam Karet, Anekdoten, The Flower Kings, Bruford-Levin, Shinsekai all spring to mind; even Fripp himself had a go on EXPOSURE), no one does King Crimson pastiche as convincingly as King Crimson themselves.

I could take this one step further and argue (as one of DISCIPLINE's original reviewers did) that the musicians appearing on THE POWER TO BELIEVE don't even have the right to call themselves 'King Crimson'. Aping certain aspects of a classic band's style does not turn you into that band.

If I really wanted to sound negative about THE POWER, I could point out Crimso have now stopped playing 'progressive' music. What on earth got into Messrs. Fripp and Belew, and their present associates? Why do they regurgitate so many styles from the past? There are pieces here which recycle bits from 'Fracture' and 'Schizoid Man'. Others are strongly reminiscent of 'Discipline' (the album track), 'Mars', 'Satori in Tangiers' and even the Bruford-Levin track 'A Palace of Pearls'. The dominant mood is sombre, of course, as it has always been with KC, and it makes little difference that those threatening bits of icy mellotron with which the band once interlaced their compositions, have long been replaced with (equally threatening) guitar loops. Adrian Belew includes one beautifully melancholic ballad on which he tries to sound like John Lennon (as he also did on THRAK), and the accompaniment sounds more or less like the Australian band the Church; otherwise, Belew only uses his vocals on two typically angst-laden heavy rockers.

The wonder is King Crimson perform all this derivative material with such gusto! Tony Levin isn't missed; Pat Mastelotti executes Bruford-style drum rolls as masterly as Bruford ever did; and on 'Facts of Life' Fripp introduces one of those gorgeously hysterical solos, SCARY MONSTERS-style, which no-one else has ever managed to replicate. I must admit it: parts of THE POWER are exhilerating. You could never call this an original masterpiece, but if you're a Crimso fan, there'll probably be a few moments where you find yourself happily foot-tapping along.

Report this review (#171972)
Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars In some aspects, this album brings us back some ages ago into the Crimsonesque repertoire. But not to the very early days of course (In The Court). Unfortunately.

Some noisy parts, as the King used to produced ("Level Five"), other parts almost mellowish like "Eyes Wide Open". Rather unexpected and I really wonder where the die-hard KC fan sits while listening to such a song. I'm am not one of these, and frankly I can't really get thrilled with such a number.

"Elektrik" is another typical Crimson number. Instrumental, difficult to enter into, hermetic: but this is the pure definition of their music, right? Hypnotic, repetitive: you name it. But at the end of the day, it clearly marks the return of the giant Crimson. One of the best number here even if hardly accessible. But if you have come in contact with this KC album, for sure you have been listening to several other ones, so there is absolutely no surprise for the usual fan. A good number indeed.

Both "Facts Of Life" tunes aren't great moment. Useless "Intro" and ambient core song. Rather different to the rest of the album, but again, these aren't really moving numbers. Average KC music.

With "Dangerous Curves, the listener is back into Crimson's world. Scary mood, hypnotic riff, great beat. I happened to see a concert of The Flower King recently in Verviers (Spirit of 66 of course). The guest drummer was Pat Mastelotto and I was really impressed with his drumming capabilities. They are really shining here.

Oh, yes. One word about the leitmotiv of the album: "The Power To Believe - I to IV". Well, actually nothing really outstanding. Could have missed them. Easily (with the exception of the third part probably). Like the heavy and truly awful "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With". Vocals are particularly hard to bear. But Belew has never been a great singer, right?

In all, this KC album shouldn't be a deception for old time fans but I seriously doubt that any newcomer would fall in love with it. My rating is not surprisingly some sort of a middle of the road one. Three stars, which means a good album but no more.

Report this review (#178553)
Posted Thursday, July 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Some count this album as a glorious return to form, but I believe it to be just another proof that, while King Crimson may have difficulties with a few albums here and there, they have never truly lost their form.

Perpetual band King Crimson entered their fifth decade of music, the '00s, with The Power to Believe. Usually bands that made their mark in the 70s reunite thirty years later and release just another album in the hopes that it will bring back the glory of their youths. Not King Crimson. Unlike so many bands, this forty year old act has kept releasing albums inconsistently but nevertheless continuously. And each decade sounds different: The Power to Believe is a leap off the back of THRAK, returning to the idea of quality melodies and intriguing song structures. Learning from their weak ConstruKction of Light, the band toned down the excessive instrumental portions, shortened the songs that needed to be shortened, and in the whole released a new album that flows better than any since Red. While Frippertronics and complicated meshings of instruments might still be quite present, the soundscapes are once more terrific and the aggression once more has a place in the music.

The first title track opens the album with a soft a capella version of what will be the main theme eventually. Next, Level Five is a long and winding instrumental that features some neat guitar solos. The key here is that it runs for the perfect length of time, not noodling away the minutes. Eyes Wide Open jumps on the tail of that, providing us with a beautiful and moody piece. Belew's voice hasn't sounded this splendid since Discipline. The rhythm is unique here, and though it is accessible and catchy, it is definitely not just a pop tune. EleKtriK is another instrumental, this one even more complicated but less aggressive than Level Five. That is, until the end, when the band gangs up, the drums go wild, and a wall of guitars brings down the walls. Facts of Life begins with a quiet intro and some random drum soloing, then turning into another melodic and fascinating song in the vein of Eyes Wide Open.

The Power to Believe II is an experimental and meandering track in the vein of Providence, though not nearly as intriguing. Dangerous Curves, however, is a slowly building and repetitive soundscape that reminds me of The Talking Drum. The guitar picks out a rhythm and the music slowly grows louder, culminating in the heaviest and angriest riff the band ever wrote. A final chord of pure dissonance wraps it all up in a very satisfying fashion. Very much a metal-based track, not the symphonic prog band we saw back in the 70s. Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With (a confusing track name to type) is a goofy, unique tune with some grouchy distorted vocals about writing a song. The chorus is frenetically fun, kind of obnoxious but if you can get over it, you have the band's most lighthearted and catchy tune since Cat Food back in 1970. The last two title tracks wrap up the album in fine if slightly unmemorable fashion.

This is a splendid release from a band that by all rights should be out of ideas but aren't. If you like King Crimson, especially Red, and wonder what all this fuss is about a new album, look it up. It isn't Red, it isn't Discipline, it isn't THRAK, but hey, it's a particularly good album. Very modern and fun.

Report this review (#185158)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson - 'The Power to Believe' 4 stars

A return to form.if there ever was one.

This is the best King Crimson album since 'Discipline'. The Adrian Belew nuances were ultimately gone, the lyrics became somewhat insightful and the guitar interplay was wonderful. 'Level Five' was one of the best King Crimson songs in a long time. It was heavy and brutal, feeling unstructured, but there certainly was a structure. Figuring King Crimson would never even create a light song again because of the last two efforts, 'Eyes Wide Open' can bring the tears up from classic Crimson fans. The renditions of the title track remind me of the Peace trilogy in 'The Wake of Poseidon'.

This is really a great record, has quite a bit of variation, between loud and soft passages, metal and soundscapes and most importantly, Belew is not annoying. I would recommend this to any fan of King Crimson and heavy prog listeners.

Report this review (#190403)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars King Crimson incorporates a modern, heavy sound on this album, and I believe it justifies my claim that the band evolved with the sounds of the times, and incorporated them into fine progressive rock. This happens to be one of my favorite King Crimson records. It deserves to be heard, especially by those with a taste for heavier music.

"The Power to Believe, Pt. 1: A Cappella" As the title implies, this introduces the main vocal theme, using a Vocoder.

"Level Five" Similar to "Red," this piece has constructed guitar parts panned on both sides and excellent drumming. It is more experimental than said piece, but it is excellent work; neither does it make me cringe nor does it make me regret that I had purchased the album.

"Eyes Wide Open" My favorite song on the album, it's a perfect blend of Belew's excellent vocals and Fripp's exceptional guitar work. Speaking of his guitar work, his Frippertroinics briefly come in, giving the hearer a taste for more.

"Elektrik" This is one of my favorite King Crimson instrumentals. It has a great, thematic opening, interesting bass, but most of all, guitar that has separate notes panned from one side to the other alternately. It is an amazing piece, and I must be careful when playing it at night in car, since it makes me want to drive fast.

"Facts of Life (Intro)" This has a similar introduction to "The Revealing Science of God" by Yes, but is no preparation to what comes next.

"Facts of Life" The hardest song on the album thus far features distorted vocals and somewhat difficult to follow music at first, but the vocals become clean and deliver a clear message, even if the music is hard-panned. The instrumental section can be tougher to appreciate, but it fits in with cacophony of the music.

"The Power to Believe, Pt. 2" This section features less guitar and bass and more "world music," including a synthesizer and some exotic drums.

"Dangerous Curves" With strings and a steady rhythm at first, this piece evolves into something deeper and more voluminous. The final chord is both striking and definitive.

"Happy with What You Have to Be Happy With" This is the most fun song on the album, as it is a "metasong," which is to say, a song about a song. It has a heavy guitar riff and Belew's voice through a distortion box, as the song informs the listener in case he misses it. It reminds me of Alice in Chains.

"The Power to Believe, Pt. 3" This is an odd track, but reminds the listener of the theme. The guitars, bass, drums, and synthesizer are still very strong, and make this an exceptional track. The tempo is ever-changing. The guitar work is excellent here, and shows the band at their most experimental.

"The Power to Believe, Pt. 4: Code (Live)" The album flows so well from the final track back to the first, I have often missed the end when the album repeats itself (though it was not under stress).

Report this review (#197085)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Powerful.

Bill Bruford once said that if you wanted to see the future of music then you'd put on a King Crimson album. Time after time Crimson proves him right, and with The Power To Believe he's proven right again. Released in 2003, this is probably Crimso's heaviest release to date, utilizing near electronic elements with dark and sarcastic tones, loads of instrumentals and a few moments that some could call metal - it would be a few years later (skip ahead to 2008) that many bands would finally follow suit with this movement and decide that the best way of reaching the audience would be through the dark shadow of somewhat 'evil' music. But hey, as per usual, Crimson did it first.

While many prog greats of the '70s have abandoned the style completely, Crimson just finds another angle to work at it. This is evident right off the top after the intro song with the blistering Level Five, a true masterpiece of an instrumental that brings in a somewhat industrial beat to the charging guitars that doesn't let up over the course of the 7-minutes that the song goes on for. Other instrumentals on the album prove to be just as impressive, including the more beat heavy Elekrik which has Fripp reverted to an amost Discipline era guitar part while his band-mates churn out the heavy sections. Dangerous Curves gradually rises in volume until the strange synths take control of the song and lead it to its end.

Then there's the more 'song' based songs on the album. Apparently Crimson still knows how to be accessible without spoiling the rest of the album with pop-songs that have no context. On this album Belew still gets to use his very discernible voice on songs like the excellent Eyes Wide Open, a slow and brooding track that's still somehow sentimental, as well as the heavy and 'mean' Facts Of Life. The standout of these songs, though, has to be the album's single - Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With, heavy guitars once more darken the atmosphere as Belew sings his way through the song-writing process which turns out as rather comical, although you're afraid to laugh in the fear that Crimson may come to get you if you do.

Of course it just wouldn't be Crimson if there wasn't some theme tying the whole album together. If the dark tones and 'electronica' element weren't enough there's also a 4-part title track which sits between the songs on the album to link them together. While the individual tracks aren't quite as impressive as the main album they're still quite good. They're more atmospheric and less 'in-your-face' than the rest of the album, but at this point that's somewhat of a welcome reprieve from the bombast. Belew's reverbed voice is somewhat hypnotic through these tracks, and on Part II and Part III (the lengthier of the 4 parts) so are the instrumental sections - the airy synths and the still heavy, but more subdued drum parts.

All in all this is a very worthy addition to the Crimson catalog, right up with the rest of their classic albums. If anyone doubts that a near 40-year-old band can still be unique and innovative then here's your proof. This one gets a solid 4 out of 5 and is recommended to Crimson fans and interestees across the globe. Very much worth the buy.

Report this review (#199757)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After I fell in love with King Crimsons old albums, I was curious about their more rescent work. At the same time I was somewhat sceptic, with so many prog bands either changing their styles or losing their creativity with time. After some listenings, I can indicate that this is not the case here.

After a short introduction of some disorted vocals (which will appear on all TPTB tracks), level five opens the album brutally. It's close to the music found on red but harder, angrier and almost metal. The biggest difference is the drums, which sounds to be partly electronic, and it really suprised me when some almost aphex twin-like whirls appeared towards the end. A very hard and also a very good track. King Crimson really like to put a mellow track after a very intense one, and that's also the case on this disc. Eyes wide open is hard to describe. It somewhat reminds me of the mellow parts of discipline, especially the drums and also the guitar, even if there is far less guitar on this one. Also a good track. The lyrics are OK, a little of the abstract gene also found in, for example, I talk to the wind. Then another track without vocals, the mystic, windling EleKtrik. It enters harsh, gets a little bit more experimental, and then explodes with guitars and all that stuff... I like the drumming and the last part, but the rest of the track, especially the middle section is nothing special and could have been reduced. Still an OK song, but far from being a highlight. Then a rather boring and unnecessary intro to the next track, Facts of life, which turn to be nearly as intense as level five, but with vocals. Some say the lyrics here are bad here, but I think they are catchy and correct, even if they maybe could have been written in a more intellectual way. Six million ants, craawling on a plate, one of them give back.... It's not hard to see what he is pointing at, but he's definitive right in my opinion. Another very good track. The Power To Believe II is a little bit like Elektrik, but in a more mellow way. I found it more interesting and variating, however. In the beginning it consists of dome drip-dropping rythm and an arabian- sounding synth (I think it is a synth at least). Some percussion then form a asiatic-like mood close to that found on Larks Tonques in Aspic, and the vocals appears. Experimental world music. Dangerous curves sounds like a modern, industrial version of Devils Triangle, but without that non- structured endning and with synths instead of mellotron. I really like how those electronic drums fits into Crimsons music! Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With. A brilliant name, but a less brilliant track. Instrumental it is good, like a minimalistic version of Facts Of Life. The song accuse modern metal for being non- creative and all about a catchy chorus. The track works, it entertains, but the lyrics are a little bit cheesy for Crimson standards here. The Power To Believe is a industrial track when Fripp is given a moment for some virtouso playing. I don't really see it as a song, but it's very cool and eerie. Now the same song that introduced us to the album closes it, with some synthesizers added. It closes the album in a brilliant way.

Summarising the album, it is one of Crimsons most intense efforts. It maybe sounds like something you never have heard before, but it's not as groundbreaking as some of their other albums. We can call it a Industrial Rock album performed by King Crimson. It sounds fresh, and even if you haven't heared Crimson like this before, with electronic aphex-styled drums and everything, all of it have been recorded before. But, you can't accuse Crimson for losing their creativity, I am supriced they still can record albums of this quallity. And it's very cool to hear King Crimson performing some modern music. The only thing I really can complain about is that there is no really outstanding classic here, and it sometimes feels more like some good but randomly picked pieces putted together, than a solid album.

Report this review (#208937)
Posted Friday, March 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson proves that even after decades since their inception they are still capable of creating music that can be called 'progressive'. The Power To Believe eschews standard formulas for prog, forging a unique sound with ambient synths, dissonant heavy distorted guitars, and a mix of live and electronic drumkits. Along with heavy riffs and quirky polyrhythms, this may be one of King Crimson's most unique releases.

Although not a concept album, The Power To Beleive contains four self titled songs that wrap up the album nicely, each being more atmospheric type tracks, from quiet vocoder to avant- garde heavy metal bursts. In between those songs are excellent tracks with still-intelligent composition. Standouts include the killer instrumental "Level Five" which has brilliant heavy guitar riffs and lots of electronic percussion blending in a polyrhythmic assault. Also great is "The Power To Believe Pt. 2" with a strange somewhat middle-eastern sound among a haunting atmosphere. Also good are the more standard tracks with vocals, "Facts of Life" and "Happy With What You Have to be Happy With", both focusing more standard heavy guitar riffs, though the latter has a rather interesting vocal refrain. Of course, this is such a great album that each track stands out more or less, with an exception of the intro to "Facts of Life".

Sometimes the compositions tend to extend longer than they should, like in "Elektrik" and "Dangerous Curves", but overall it's a great album by a constantly progressive band.

Report this review (#218928)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars True power

Last for now, this is the son of whichever comes before him, as we see here we got back some of the red-blue-yellow sounds merged with dark themes of THRAK and the strong influences with the classical KC's sound (the idea of a theme framed in little parts come out from In the Wake of Poseidon's Peace), everything here give the impression of mature work. Ok KC were mature after the first 3 notes of In the Court of the Crimson King, but here we see every single experimentation merged and at his own place, like a draw painted in the whole career, and while we got a strong intro with the heavy Level five a strong track built from counterpoints as the drums come out from nowhere while the guitar try to accelerate the whole rhytm (anyway this piece contains inside it a lot from THRACK and The ConstruKtion of Light), the end of this song bring us to the second chapeter, a singed and more quite Eyes wide open, again here Belew's voice got the point while everything around it goes for his own way, to marge toghether at Eyes wide open Eyes wide open all the time..., the 3rd part is the wonderfull and childish Elektrik, strong and fullfilled of counterpoint once again, this time is a good guitar, hypnotic and charming as Devil's Triangle. The beginning of the second part of the album starts with Facts of life, I'll skip the intro 'cause it's almost the same (good ambience in it but just that), it's the comeback to the old way: a simple song easy to understand while you listen its words, a complex and more dark piece of music fulfilled with great moments between Mastellotto, Gunn and Fripp. After that Dangerous Curves comes out as the oldest slow ambience tracks (for example the old good The talking drum) wich made the effect of a slow crescendo of something... something like HWWYHTBHW (Happy for friends). I don't like that, since is like I'll repeat myself since is like I'll repeat my words (got the point?), even the music is pointless and empty compared with other tracks on this album. The believe parts are great intros and codas, while part two is a great piece of slow and melodic music, the part 3 is a stunning work from drums and electronic parts, maybe alone could fit the entire album without losing anything, in the end part 1 & 4 open and close this work with the right timing, put them all togheter and you'll have another great piece of music better even than others. Conclusions: some people doesn't like the ''modern'' KC, this is the clue that they are the same since '69. Only 4 stars since I don't like too much the second part and it does not add anything to the first 4 songs or to the believe frames.

Report this review (#224201)
Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is really another masterpiece of King Crimson. What happens is that is made more than thirty and three years after the "In the Court of the Crimson King". Level five is impressive. The fight between the drums and Fripp's guital, meanwile everynow and then the guitar of Adrian Belew appear like a hurt dinosaur. This is of course the continuation of "Larks Tongues in Aspic. Part IV". But it is tremendous. Shoganai is very nice chinese style. There many things to say from this cd. But this is enough, since I have to say more things about others albums.
Report this review (#236035)
Posted Monday, August 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Power to Believe takes some time getting into and it's not the kind of record you would play when entertaining guests around the house. So it's good :-)

I do not agree with some of the criticisms that Crimson is at a creative stand-still here and just doing the expected set of Crimsonisities. No, that's like saying that doing the unpredictable is becoming predictable. In fact, this might easily be one of their best albums, recalling the dreamy atmosphere of the beginnings ('Eyes wide open'), combined with the frenzy of the 'Red'-era, the melodic pop sensibility of the 80ties and spiced with a modern aggressive edge. Sure this mixture makes it immediately recognizable as a Crimson record, but it offers more thrills and tension then what many others are succeeding at.

Yes indeed, another essential Crimson this is. 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#237087)
Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
3 stars King Crimson's most recent studio album, The Power To Believe, is probably the most interesting studio album since the 1974 breakup of the band. The album has a very modern sound, with a nice production and with a very typical King Crimson sound. With this I mean there are lots of chorused guitars, Robert Fripp's unique style of playing his guitar and many interesting and original pieces of music.

The album opens very nice with the first part of "The Power To Believe I", soothing a cappella that segues into the most powerful track on the album that is "Level Five". "Level Five" is probably the best track on the album, with its powerful riffs and unique mood. The album continues showing us the several sides of King Crimson. From the soft "Eyes Wide Open" we move to the great "Elektrik", which a great song. "Facts Of Life" is a song just as powerful as "Level Five", though I am not particularly fond of the vocals here. The second half of the album is apart from the heavy "Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With" more soundscape based. The almost seven minute long "Dangerous Curves" slowly works towards its epic climax, while "The Power To Believe II" is a softer song in an eastern style. The album closes with "The Power To Believe III" and " The Power To Believe IV". The songs on the second half all are pretty good, though not very memorable. The album does feel like one complete thing, which is good. The songs do fit in with each other very well, though there still is a lot of diversity.

The Power To Believe is a very good album, though it comes nowhere near the excellence of the King Crimson from the 70's. I will reward this album with three stars, as it is pretty good but nothing more than that.

Report this review (#245202)
Posted Monday, October 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Last to time KC album isn't a masterpiece. But it is very competent album of one of the greatest progressive band ever.

Previous album ("ConstruKtion Of Light") was very heavy, muddy and radical. Some hated it, I liked. At least it was new sound, chaotic,cold and dirty, in the gate of XXI century.

"The Power To Believe" is recorded by the same line-up, but missed that radical experimentation feel. But it doesn't means that the album is boring or not interesting. At least, Fripp and Co. tried to make next step: they returned back in KC golden age of 70-th, and used dreamy psychodelic progressive of their roots as basis for their new work. For sure, they were smart enough to give their music modern sound: no dated symphonic arrangements ( happily!),no even traces of free-jazz there ( pity!). Total sound are heavier, cold, but missed chaos of previous album. And , sorry, everything sound too calculated!

Three first songs are great, different, and you are waiting for the adventures. But later the album returns to muddy water of modernised sound and structire of KC from 70-th, so you have mature album with quality sound, but no more revolutions!

I believe, that the album will refresh interest to KC from old fans ( still from 70-th, who often were disappointed by KC works from 80-90-00),and will confirm their very serious status as iconic prog band of last 4 decades. But this album isn't a step ahead, more as quality report about the job has done.

Report this review (#247063)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "The Power to Believe" is the 13th full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act King Crimson. The album was released through Sanctuary Records Group in March 2003. The lineup on this album features Adrian Belew on guitar, vocals and electronic percussion, Robert Fripp on guitar, Trey Gunn on Warr guitar and rubber bass and Pat Mastelotto on drums.

The music style on the album is dark and experimental progressive rock. For fans of King Crimson there are as such few surprises, but what made me happy about the music on "The Power to Believe", is the generally high quality level. Songs like "Level Five", "Eyes Wide Open" and "Elektrik" are excellent compositions. Lots of dark atmosphere in addition to the tight and as always innovative musicianship. The quality drops a bit after the really strong string of songs that open the album, but my attention never wanders and overall "The Power to Believe" comes off as a consistently high quality release.

If you ask me "The Power to Believe" is the best King Crimson album since "Discipline (1981)" and it´s highly recommendable to both fans and newcommers. If this turns out to be King Crimson´s last studio album it will make a great testimony. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

Report this review (#256554)
Posted Thursday, December 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Power to Believe has been the surprise of the year thus far. Usually when I start looking into the later portions of a famous prog band's career the results are nowhere near as good (See Magnification). I only own a couple of King Crimson albums, but none of them get anywhere near the level of play that the Power to Believe gets. It isn't perfect, but it is highly entertaining and creative.

The Power to Believe I: A Capella has to be one of the most captivating openers out there. As the name suggests it's extremely sparse save for some terrifically haunting vocals. It doesn't really set the tone for a good portion of the album though. As mentioned several times before by my fellow reviewers the Power to Believe is a sonic cousin of Red. When I first hear Level Five I thought was listening to a track that didn't make the cut all those years ago. It is energetic, loud and heavy. Not at all like the preceding track, but perhaps the best of the non Power to Believe (insert number here) tracks.

After passing level five we go to level six, the ice level. Whoops, that's Super Mario 3. What's actually next is Eyes Wide Open, the first real and probably best vocal track on the disc (in this case). There are many out there who do not favour Adrian Belew's singing. He isn't Greg Lake, I'll say as much, but his spacey vocal style is right at home in this technologically advanced King Crimson album.

Thanks likely in part to criticisms of Belew's vocal abilities the Power to Believe has a lot of instrumental work. Elektrik is one of such instrumental. Where Level Five was a relentless torrent, Elektrik stays mostly soft, but urgent. There are plenty of noisy interjections along with the worried guitar work. This isn't really a track to sit down and have a leisurely tea to. I don't really know what you should do while listening to it quite frankly, but it is worth a listen. (Suggestion, maybe you should paint a canary or something equally unpredictable.)

The Facts of Life is apparently so great that it needs its own introduction. In order to introduce us to the Facts of life King Crimson has decided a windswept solitude is the best place; hardly an optimistic outlook. There isn't much to the intro save perhaps for a trip back to the tail end of Tangerine Dream's Rubycon. Good if you like really short ambient stuff. The Facts of Life itself crashes through our tranquil scene with drums loaded. Belew's vocals are pretty grating to begin with, but eventually settle into a better place. It is much heavier than the Earlier Eyes Wide Open, but frankly not as good. The rest of the band is channelling Red once again, but not as good as level five. Probably gets my vote for weakest track.

After a considerable interlude, The Power to Believe II (Calgary Flames 3, har har har) finally makes an appearance. Things take a turn for the ambient yet again. It is most always sparse; at some points electronic and other times very organic sounding (Like I'm playing Donkey Kong Country for the SNES). As good as they are when they are trying to blow you apart with whacked out rock music, this slightly arabesque chill session is even better. From what I've hear of the band it's a bit of a step outside of the box. It is however a welcome one. (See earlier when I said I liked the Power(s) to Believe)

We'll depart from that sonic landscape for the very cool Dangerous curves. It competes with Level Five for top Non-Power spot. We stay in the electronic domain for the most part, but not in the ambient one for very long. There is slow rising guitar riff which eventually turns into the driving force for the song eventually splashing into a wall of sound. It has the same worried feel as Elekrik, but in my opinion surpasses it.

The last track with true lyrics and vocals is Happy With What You Have to be Happy With. The crushing riffs make their final comeback with a force. Belew's singing is at its strongest on the challenging chorus, the verse lines by contrasts sound a little generic. Solid track though.

The Power to Believe III is the second longest of the powers. It's also the heaviest, lots of minor keys haunting backdrops and trips to the south end of the musical register, all accompanied by dissonant interjections over the mellotro. It may be my least favourite power, but that is by no means an insult. Rounding out the Powers and the album as a whole is part four. Aside from the A Capella, this is the softest track. The haunting vocals make a brilliant return to close the album full circle. It is my favourite track.

The Power to Believe is an album of contrast, namely the hard rock versus the ambient. Both are good, but I think the ambient is the more interesting of the two. This album would be great anytime in King Crimson's career though it is even more the case as it comes (so far) at the very end. Were things were to end here, I think they could be very proud of their final effort. I award The Power to Believe a respectable four out of five.

Report this review (#276656)
Posted Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "she carries me through days of apathy..."

"The Power to Believe" reminds listeners why King Crimson has earned its reputation as one of the most forward-looking bands in the history of all rock music. "The Power to Believe" charts new territory, though there are subtle references to previous Crimson efforts (The "Power to Believe" reprises are reminiscent of the "Peace" theme from Poseidon, and the buildup of "Dangerous Curves" is similar to "The Devil's Triangle), but there are also new elements, such as the utilization of new electronic music technology (for example, electric drum triggers). The "machine" elements are used tastefully, however, and they enhance the music instead of detracting from it. This music is full of twists and turns, including some really wild sections (Level Five especially). Fripp has been around forever, but 34 years after he started, the music is anything but formulaic. That takes real talent, and talent is in abundance with this group.

Like so many other Crimson efforts, the contrast between loud and soft is used to great effect, creating an effect that is both startling and subtle. I find that is album to be more cohesive and consistent than this lineup's previous album The Constukction of Light (though that one had flashes of brilliance), and the production value is kicked up a notch as well. A majority of the tracks here are in non-conventional time signatures, but there is a natural flow to this, not complexity for the sake of complexity. The guitar counterpoint in "Elektrik" is some of Crimson's best, and "Power to Believe II" has a soothing presence to it that is hard to describe. Crimson knows how to close an album better than anyone, and the final soundscape here is just perfect. Highly recommended for prog fans, but also anyone interested to see where modern rock might be able to go from here.

Report this review (#280862)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I suppose that if this album is to be King Crimson's swan song, it could be much worse. Remember, for eleven years that distiction appeared to go to the comparitively dreadful Three Of A Perfect Pair.

This album, to me, was a bit of a disappointment, since it followed the near perfection of The ContruKction of Light. But despite being a lesser album to that, this disk still has enough powerful music to be well worth the purchase price. First, the down sides: the title tracks (there are four parts), are mostly pointless exercises, showing off some vocal/synthesizer effects. Only part 2, with a nice spacy jam, is good enough to hold my attention. And the obligatory Belew ballad, Eyes Wide Open is just okay. It's not Crimson enough for me.

But the good parts are actually great parts. Level Five, Elektrik, Facts Of Life, Dangerous Curves and Happy With What You have To Be Happy With (although I prefer the version of this on the EP), are all powerful, rib smashing power Crimson tunes.

Report this review (#285898)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars With Crimson the peaks were high and the troughs were low.

After the 30 year Humpyty Dumpty Rollercoster ride I've had with KC I don't know where the hell I stand with this band.

'Power to Believe' is just about as metal as KC ever got.

After the poncey effected vocals on track one there's some serious vibes going down on track 2 named 'Level 5' which kicks ass big time and rocks like a daddy. Clearly the best track on the album.

But then of a sudden Mr Belew's girly vocals are at the forefront. What the...? Who the...? Why the...?

I think King Crimson's big problem at this point was everything to do with Fripp - as soon as he had a stable band they repeated themselves in the form of 'Court of...Poseidon' and 'Thrak...Power'. 'Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With' basically sums up this whole album - you'll either love it or hate it. Is this 'Nine Inch Nails' or KC? Baaahhhh!

The whole album sounds very disjointed and uneven but quite powerful at the same time - is it metal, prog, pop or what? I'm left scratching my head like Stan Laurel watching the piano fall down the stairs. Am I happy? Am I sad? Am I pleased? God knows

Report this review (#287517)
Posted Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars It was great to know that King Crimson had found a way to return to the path that they paved on THRAK while still managing to make things sound fresh and exciting!

Unlike The ConstruKction Of Light which featured a very dark and technical approach to the band's sound, The Power To Believe actually manages to concentrate itself on the individual compositions and bring out their standout qualities. The sound might still be technical, but now this approach generates sounds and patterns that are quite memorable and make for great bookmarks on our journey through this recording.

The individual moments like Level Five, Elektrik and Facts Of Life put almost all of the material off The ConstruKction Of Light to shame. There's just no comparison between the two albums for me since this release clearly shows an improvement of the themes without pushing them too far into the extreme. But there are a few somewhat questionable instances here as well. For instance, I really see no point in the four The Power To Believe pieces that for most part are pleasant, but lack the intensity and instant recognizability that most of the stand-alone compositions here possess.

Fans of the softer side of the band, like myself, will definitely enjoy Eyes Wide Open since it sounds like a logical continuation of the style that was set on Walking On Air and One Time off THRAK. Another nice surprise comes towards the end with the weirdly titled tune Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With which happens to make a lot of sense to a metalhead like myself. I also like that Dangerous Curves sounds almost like a tune written by Steve Wilson, simply a great treat for all the Porcupine Tree fans out there!

With such a strong release like The Power To Believe I'm really surprised that King Crimson have not yet followed it up with another studio album. But I'm not going to count out the mighty Crim just yet. Still, even if this release would happen to be their final I doubt that any other band can compare with King Crimson's track record in terms of releasing quality material over the course of so many decades!

***** star songs: Level Five (7:17) Eyes Wide Open (4:08) Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With (3:17)

**** star songs: The Power To Believe I: A Cappella (0:44) Elektrik (8:00) Facts Of Life: Intro (1:38) Facts Of Life (5:05) The Power To Believe II (7:43) Dangerous Curves (6:42) The Power To Believe IV: Coda (2:29)

*** star songs: The Power To Believe III (4:09)

Report this review (#300259)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Robert Fripp returns to put together a beautifully unified, yet musically diverse album!

This is an album in the true spirit of King Crimson. We have heavy guitar riffs, 'proggy' rhythms, philosophical lyrics, experimentation and exploration with tone colours, and lyrical melodies. To me, this album is far more enjoyable than the album "Discipline" of the 80s.

"Level five" and "Electrik" are your heavier KC tracks, much like "Red" and "Lark's Tongue in Aspic Pt 2". Fantastic!

"Eyes wide open" and "Happy to be what you're happy with" are enjoyable tracks with nice melodies.

Now my favourite tracks are the title tracks "The Power to Believe" parts II and III in particular. I love the way they experiment with electronic sounds to create eerie atmospheres! These tracks are unique, have a listen for yourself, I can't quite describe!

"Dangerous curves" is a unique track, purely electronic with a regular rhythm. Almost like an interlude, very nice!

Unfortunately I find the track "Facts of Life" quite annoying. Without this track, "The Power to Believe" comes very close to an essential eclectic prog album.

A great addition to your discography!

4.2 stars!

Report this review (#334692)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Review Permalink

"The Power to Believe" follows the sound developed by King Crimson in the previous 20 years, with nothing to add.However the advantage on this album works as "Discipline" or "Beat" that he is less aggressive (or not?) and new wave, but we still have remnants of the era Levin,as in "Elektrick"and even John Wetton-era (since "Facts of Life" reminded me of "Larks Tongues in Aspic")

But above all improvisations and "codas", a track stands out: "Eyes wide open, " a normal track.The others are average, except for those I refer to the period of 1980 the band.

3.5 stars.A good album, but something will never be far from the albums of the period of 1969-1974 the band.

Report this review (#422599)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars The Power to Believe is a very hard rock and metal inspired King Crimson that most people don't really enjoy. I definitely don't enjoy this album much either. The sound here ranges from goofy, to MTV alternative metal, to just boring slow-riffed hard rock. One thing that seems to stand out about this album is that nearly every song seems to have the same alt-metal riff, sometimes with small variations. "Eyes Wide Open" and "Dangerous Curves" are what I consider to be the best tracks on the album, mostly being calmer electronic-based tracks.

If you're looking for great modern King Crimson music, skip this and go to ProjeKct X or Space Groove.

Report this review (#429392)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson - The Power to Believe (2003)

I haven't been to much into the modern versions of Robert Fripp's King Crimson, but once in a while I'm willing to try something new. Thrakk left me a bit shattered, some tracks were pretty good and other tracks seemed to be a bit pointless to me. The 2003 effort 'The Power to Believe' shows a more consistand, yet equally challanging King Crimson.

The sound of the band in this stage is pretty spectacular. The drums of Pat Mastelotto are very modern to say the least. With his many electronic drums effects he sometimes sounds like a very harsh & daring programmed drumcomputer. This isn't my kind of style at all, but somehow the Crimsons make it work very well with their abstract compositions. The bass and warr guitar by Trey Gunn also sound very modern and appropriate for this kind of style. The warr guitar gives the music an aggresive touch, whilst the rubber bass sound helps to evoke the electronic sound the band has acquired itself. Adrian Belew his voice seems to have grown a bit and he even sounds agressive on 'Happy With..'. His electronic voice effects are important for the atmospheres and science-fiction sound of the album. Robert Fripp's guitars sound thick and distorted most of the time, whilst having subtle spacey solo's for the easy-listening moments (like the accesible wave-song Eyes Wide Open). I take for granted that the symphonic/spacey synths are also played on the guitar-synth by Fripp. His symphonic land-scapes are daring and never too resembling to other synth- moments of other bands.

So, to sum it up. This album shows King Crimson playing a bland of styles. Some moments have a lot in common with Red-era Crimson, like the industrial/disharmonic metal track 'Level Five'. Other tracks are a bit spacey/symphonic like the title-track parts. The band also tries to implement modern styles. 'Happy With..' sounds like a Crimson version of the style of (don't panic!) hiphop-metal act Limp Bizkit. 'Dangerous Curves' has a modern electronic dance rhythm, albeit very progressive and harmonically challanging. I actually love this instrumental, mainly the long guitar-synth chord progressions with the excited rhythms on bass an guitar beneath it. Other compositions have that sophisticated King Crimson sound in which the strange percussive sounds are quite important. 'Elektrik' is a good example of this with original compositions with twin-guitar disharmonic guitar solo's.

Conclusion. This is not the kind of album that will make King Crimson be the commonly accepted leader of the progressive genre again, but from an artistic point of view it actually does it quite a bit. Such an modern view on progressive rock in which the band embraces te coming of modern electronic music and it's abstract drum'nbass sound. Though influenced by modern music with it's possiblities, the band doesn't give up the slightest bit of masterfull musicianship. A big four stars for this one. Recommended to fans of the harder forms of progressive rock.

Report this review (#451516)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Have you ever wanted to like an album so badly, but for whatever reason the music just doesn't satisfy you as much as you think it should? This describes my feeling towards King Crimson's The Power to Believe. There are plenty of reasons why I think I would love this album. But I just don't.

Strangely enough, I really liked this album on the first listen. And since just about every prog album I have ever given a chance has grown on me with subsequent listens, I was thinking I was going to really grow to love this piece of music. But instead, subsequent listens have actually bored me. It's almost as if I have seen the movie and know how everything turns out and I'm not nearly as interested or on the edge of my seat with what is coming next.

Fripp continues to put together Discipline-like soundscapes with his guitar on a number of the tracks of this album (Level Five, Elektrik and Dangerous Curves). There are very few vocal parts and in the limited instances where Belew uses his voice, he's more likely to be doing something other than singing. Overall, this album is just too artsy for my taste and does not produce any type of lasting enjoyment as a listening experience. I much prefer THRAK if I want to listen to Belew-era King Crimson.

There are a few nice moments worthy of mention. "Dangerous Curves" is a nice instrumental story, with some great sounds which make you feel as if the brakes in your car have gone out and you are barrelling down a curvy mountain pass of a road. "Eyes Wide Open" is also a decent track and is one of the few times when Belew actually sings.

Two stars is all I can give The Power to Believe.

Report this review (#466357)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars What if the album an artist was meant to create happened almost 35 years into its existence? I almost feel that way with POWER TO BELIEVE, one of King Crimson's most recent studio outputs. It's astounding to hear a band that had slugged it out for that long and many fans claiming their highlight creative period ceased long ago, yet put out probably their peak album. Even if COURT is more historically important, I feel that POWER TO BELIEVE is the King Crimson apex, which speaks volumes for what that group has contributed to music.

It's as if King Crimson had been listening to the bands that they influenced (Tool, Porcupine Tree, etc.) and used their songwriting approaches to freshen up their own material. A good chunk of the album is metallic and abrasive. We get ''Facts of Life'' (Captain Beefheart vocals over industrial rock), the ''darker-side-of-Porcupine-Tree'' song in ''Eyes Wide Open'' and the thick bottom-heavy ''Happy to Be With What You Have to Be Happy With'' taking the cake on the vocal songs (excluding the title motif), all of superb quality that KC can give its audience. Much of the instrumental work is loud and guitar-centric whether it's more metal (''Level Five''), deals with the spider-web guitars of LARKS TONGUES/DISCIPLINE (''Elektrik'') or involves the classic draw of buildup/suspense (''Dangerous Curves''). If you can deal with the sheer force of the album, POWER TO BELIEVE is a pure joy.

Best yet, the title project feels more of a successor to ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' than the actual sequels created over the years; the ''Power to Believe'' parts revive old aspects of KC without sounding tributary. We get the melodic percussion workout in the second part, only extended and far more exciting. And the coda is merely a mellotron wash, but done in such a fantastic way that it avoids being clichéd prog. That's very difficult to pull off when you've heard every prog band and their brother use the thing.

This is the King Crimson album that fully balances their artistic vision and pure enjoyability. I cannot think of another King Crimson album that does this mix and does it well. Maybe KC hasn't hit its peak yet, but I'd imagine POWER TO BELIEVE is insanely close to it.

Report this review (#760129)
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was supposed to be my "Heavy,Tech-EXtreme/Whatever Prog" weekend. So I listened to some PA's recommendations on these genres. I found a lot of "softness", opposite to my expectations and hopes. So I ended up, re-listening to this progressive Industrial, "Heavy" contender, KING CRIMSON's "The Power To Believe", and yes this what I needed. A perfectly tight music unit in a hyper-creative environment, exploring the extremes of the 'Metal" side of the King. It's impossible to pin the KC discography to a single genre, that's why they are in this one, but this guys have had the knack for this "Metal" hunger, since day one, but only on some parts of their total efforts. Here, this industrial/metal side prevails, as in the "The Constuction of Light" or "Heaven and Earth" albums. BUT in this project, all the "Chaos" is far more focused and richer in diversity. The progression of songs enhance the attributes of one another. The energy of performance, grows as the music developes accordingly. The unmistakable KC language adds up some new "jewels" to the crown. Pat's creativity threads all the music together, as a single concept. So, he keeps pushing the band to higher levels with a percussive catalogue, which works wonders for this kind of projekt. Add up to all that, the superb slow music composition "The Power to Believe II", which is itself worth the whole four stars, and a perfect lesson in "ballad" song-writing. I measure Crimson with Crimson, so in their discography, this is an easy ****4 PA stars album. And I believe! (again).
Report this review (#890388)
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars This King Crimson album gave me the power to believe that there was more to offer from these quintessential prog legends. The album is very different than other Crim releases but that makes it all the more endearing. It opens with a cappella and moves to some odd xylophone and percussion reminiscent to the opening of 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One'. There are Arabian flavours in the music and it is very off kilter on 'Level Five'. It is Part 5 in essence of the continuing Larks' saga, but way better than Parts III and IV.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Report this review (#905217)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars 2003. Another album, another change. King Crimson post-Discipline isn't too serious for the early fans, or maybe for general prog fans. But randomly, they hit the right nerve at The Power To Believe. I was looking for prog albums and I found this. Never heard any track. Just bought it because it's a KC album and the album cover is awesome. And this is the best feeling ever: random chooses the right album by the cover. The Power To Believe have a dark, almost-djent atmosphere sometimes. Electronic drumming and groovy, heavy experimental/dissonant rifage, it reminds me of fighting games OST. I like the concordance between voice fx, the music and the concept. Mr. Fripp is the Crimson guy. He knows how to write good songs, into any kind of music. Unfortunately, he did't use his majestic creativity all the time. However, in The Power To Believe, yes he did.
Report this review (#971337)
Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now this is an album I'm glad KC released. In all honesty, this is my favorite album of theirs outside of the Wetton years, with the exception of Lizard. It really is that good. This album confirms one of the most respectable facts about KC: they didn't stagnate. Their career has been marked by innovative trail-blazing and a willingness to grow and change, incorporating and perfectly synthesizing the sounds and styles of contemporary music with their masterful craftsmanship of quality material. With this album, the electronic influences of the early 2000s are flawlessly integrated into their sound palette, and ten years later it does not sound dated in the slightest. That is a truly critical achievement.

Musically speaking, this album still demonstrates that wonderful degree of craftsmanship we have come to expect from and admire about KC. The playing of each member is top notch, and age definitely has not deteriorated their respective skills. The lineup of Fripp, Belew, Mastelotto, and Gunn is one marked by cohesion and focus. We all know that KC changes members as often as insects shed their skin, and along with that comes a new group dynamic with each change. This lineup, however, had already released one album together (two if you count ProjeKct X) a few years ago, and had been in the group working together since the 90s, so they've had plenty of time to cultivate and refine a remarkable chemistry. In no way is this lineup inferior in my mind to any classic KC lineup. Different, yes, but they have talent and chemistry at such a high level that one cannot dismiss without making a misinformed judgment call.

The only downside to this album to me are a few select moments where tracks overstay their welcome just a little, and Belew's vocals are only good on Eyes Wide Open, at least in my opinion. Facts of life has some pretty irritating moments in the sung passages, but Fripp's solo in that song is very interesting, as is the rhythmic interplay between the sections. These issues pop up more than once, but they aren't serious enough to render any track unlistenable, or even inherently bad. Some of the instrumentals on this album are on par with or better than those written in the group's earlier days. That to me speaks volumes for the endless creativity and willingness to push the envelope that characterizes this group.

The Power to Believe is, as the name suggests, a powerful album. Each track is so unique and varied that a wide variety of prog fans can be guaranteed to find something they like on this album. It's an important entry in the group's catalog and should not be ignored. 4 stars, just short of a masterpiece because of a few weak moments, but I promise these moments are few and far between. If this album continues to grow on me and ages as well in the future as it has over the past nearly two years I've had it, the rating could go up. I'm not ruling out the possibility. Don't hesitate to give this one a spin!

Report this review (#1073999)
Posted Friday, November 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Belew's Last with Crim.

Lifting the VOG of the previous album, The Power to Believe is both lighter (not depressing) and heavier (more metal). Not really a return to form, this album allows Mastellotto to demonstrate his strong technical skills to good effect, and once again leans on Belew's strong song-writing skills to pull it through in the absence of quality compositions from Fripp. It is Belew that offers the more interesting tunes - 'The Power to Believe', 'Eyes Wide Open', 'Facts of Life' and 'Happy with what you have to be happy with' are the stand-out tracks here. Fripp, it would seem, has withered from his former ability to write cutting-edge original instrumentals (perhaps while trying to write 'FraKctured' from the previous album). The Fripp-based instrumentals ('Level Five', 'Elektrik', etc) are much more standard technical-metal - still good, but nothing special. It would seem that because Belew was the one who continued offering the most new ideas, both musically and lyrically, this marked him. Apparently, it was during the recording of this album that Fripp decided he no longer liked Belew (Sid Smith's Fripp-sanctioned biography suggests it was because Belew wanted to include a short acoustic piece that Fripp hadn't played on, even though Belew relented and went along with Fripp's decision to leave it off). While they toured the album, Crimson again went dormant afterwards. Then, when Fripp decided to once again raise a new Crimson for the recent 'greatest hits' tour (the current version), he made it clear that the new version would not include Belew. So, like Thrak, The Power to Believe represents another end of an era. It is a real shame, as Adrian Belew is not only such a musical talent, but I consider him to have pulled Crimson through the 80s and 90s - without his excellent song-writing skills, lyrics, and musical singing, Crimson wouldn't be what it is. And it is Belew that brings this album up to the four star level. I actually give this album 7.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is the minimum necessary to achieve 4 PA stars in my rating scheme. It is clear that without Belew great contributions here, this would not have been attainable.

Report this review (#1696039)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink

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