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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Powell CD (album) cover

EMERSON LAKE & POWELL

Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog


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yaub@katamail
4 stars A very good album: Cozy Powel filled nicely the position of Carl Plamer with a very different style, Lake sings well here, and Emerson is... Emerson. The only aspect I don't like is the sound: boomy drums and voice with way too much reverb. Anyway, my advice is listen to it!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#18881)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!

Apart as to refill-up their bank account , was there any use for this album? Not too bad an album, though especially in those days ( Genesis and Yes were up to much less than that ). I remember even hearing Touch and Go on the radio a few times. The Mars track is impressive and can bring you back to the classic 70's albums. Powell has no problem filling Palmer's shoes , but my main gripe is that they chose a drum sound too typical of 80's sound.

An acceptable album but hardly essential!! Still worth investigating for the average proghead!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#18882)
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
cvp@zappmobil
4 stars After a long period of lack of inspiration (the last album that I consider 100% ELP style is "Brain Salad Surgery"-1972), this is the first album that reminds me of them, adapted, of course, at the style of the 80'. Emerson is "in hand" on the keyboards, Lake is "in voice" and Powell is doing a really great job in replacing Palmer, leaving on this LP a mark of his astonishing drumming style (we must not forget that he was coming from a hard rock and heavy metal experience). In general a very good and interesting album, probably the last in the ELP-style.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#18883)
Posted Thursday, February 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars P is for.. Powell

This album by ELP (even if it wasn't quite the right P!) found Emerson and Lake back to being inspired and coherent.

The tracks are generally more commercial and less progressive than in their early days, and Powell's drumming is of course more beat focused and much less instrumental than Palmer's.

The opening track "The score" follows on nicely from "Karn Evil 9 part 1", even to the extent of repeating the "Welcome back my friends.." lyric. It's a superbly crafted track, with a positive, upbeat feel. It is by far the most progressive track on the album, standing well alongside the ELP greats such as "Tarkus" and "KE9, 3rd movement".

"The Miracle" and "Touch and go" are the other standout tracks. Both are Lake driven songs, his voice sounding steady and clear, with a power to it which had been lacking on the immediately previous albums. "The miracle" is an out and out Lake ballad, while "Touch and go" features some inspired fanfare synthesiser by Emerson. Neither track could be described as particularly progressive, the band appearing to be searching for another hit single. The remaining tracks are more run of the mill, but there is an even quality throughout the album

In all this album was a welcome return to something approaching decent form.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#18884)
Posted Tuesday, March 02, 2004 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars ELPowell is a progressive album that deserves to be reviewed: Keith Emerson really masters melodic modern & anthemic keyboards here! The style is very symphonic, particularly on the "The Score" and "Mars, Bringer of War" tracks. It really sounds Olympic Games anthem. This record often sounds like Asia, especially the lead vocals, the keyboards and the beat. The difference is that the tracks here are more elaborated, definitely more progressive. Many bits also remind me the Pallas' "The Sentinel" album. Actually, there are no ordinary tracks, and I like the short, refined, catchy & accessible tracks on side 2, which have nothing to do with the short tracks on the "Love beach" album: notice the outstanding lead vocals, like on "Lay down your guns". The album ends with the symphonic epic "Mars, Bringer of War", really sounding like a serious & solemn movie soundtrack.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#18896)
Posted Thursday, April 08, 2004 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Reknowned heavy rock drummer Cozy powell takes over the sticks from the temporarily absent Carl Palmer and provides a perfect reason why the P in ELP is for Palmer.Cozy is as subtle as a brick.Greg Lake is forced to shout to be heard while Emerson does his best to sound like the London Symphony Orchestra.Loud it is.Clever it ain't.Worth buying only for their truly awesome version of Holst 'Mars' but otherwise it's sheer pain.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#18886)
Posted Friday, June 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
Blacksword
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Dissapointing. Cozy Powell clearly needed money and Emmerson and Lake clearly needed to get an album out - maybe for contractual reasons. So whats wrong with it? The musicianship? No. Keith Emmerson is unlikely to play like a baboon! Cozy Powell drums like a gorilla banging a wheelybin with mallets as usual, but you have to expect that. Its the collage of crap ideas, and comical pomposity that makes this album almost unlisternable. 'The score' starts positive enough. It sounds exciting then all of a sudden Emmerson breaks into the most awful and innapropriate fake trumpet riff. It ceases to be 'rock music' at that point, IMO, at least until Greg Lake rescues the day with the first verse, about two days into the song. In all fairness 'The score' is probably the best tune on the album, followed by 'The Miracle' and 'Touch and go' the latter which was a single, which went rather unfairly, I felt, ignored by the British record buying public. Pompous though it was it was dead catchy!

The good news stops there. 'Learning how to fly' sounds like Dido at half speed. You can almost hear how bored Greg Lake is as he yawns his way through this mundane, characterless piece of muzak. The rest of the album is plain boring. Then you get 'Mars the bringer of War' Gustav Holst starts to breakdance in his grave as this ponderous trio tear his classic music to bits with synthetic pings, and fake orchestral boings! Then the crowing sh!t on the dung heap has to be 'Loco-motion' Yes, thats right it is THE 'Loco-motion' Done ELP style. Imagine it. Painful.

This is for ELP fans only, and I would imagine plenty of them must have felt somewhere between heartbroken and greatly amused at it.

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Send comments to Blacksword (BETA) | Report this review (#18889)
Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
bmce861911@ao
4 stars A great effort when you consider that Carl Palmer declined to join in because of his invovlement with ASIA at the time. From the 1st track to "Touch and Go" it to me is high energy turn it up as loud as you can play it ELP. Not too crazy about the rest.

I saw them at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia in 1986 for the first gig of the US tour for this LP, er, uh, CD (I bought it on vinyl brand new when it came out at my local record store as soon as they had it!).

The show was flawless and complete with three large video screens and great sound and a huge fake pipe organ facade behind Emerson. He still wrestled with the Hammond then too! Compared to the Black Moon tour, Polydor must have invested big bucks in this tour as the Black Moon tour stage setup and sound was stark by comparison.

Cozy gave them a much heavier sound than with Carl. It is a shame he died tragically. It would have been interesting to hear a follow up studio CD. Live stuff from this line up is recently available and is worth getting.

This effort should be rated as though you never heard of ELP with Palmer before. Though in all honesty by this time I was starving for anything ELP. "3" (to the Power of 3) with Emerson, Palmer and Barry was really quite poor in comparison to this.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#18890)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars In the eighties, several progressive bands and solo musicians were having success recording albums which were more accessible for the listener (Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Yes, Pink Floyd, GTR, Asia, Kansas). In 1986, it was time for "ELPowell" to record an album with a mixture of Progressive Rock with some Rock and Pop elements. As I know Cozy Powell because he played with a lot of bands (Jeff Beck , Rainbow, Black Sabbath, etc., most of them Heavy Rock Bands) and also recorded some solo albums, I think that this album is very influenced by him, but I also think that Emerson and Lake really wanted to sound more accessible as the other musicians that I have mentioned before. I like this album very much. I only have the L.P. and cassette versions which I bought in late 1986, so I never have listened to the bouns tracks included in the C.D. version. "The Score" has very good keyboards, with Emerson playing the "new keyboards" of the eighties. It also has very good drums, and Lake still sings very well in 1986. "Learning to Fly" is shorter, with a very good keyboards section at the end, which connects this song with the next, "The Miracle", another good song. "Touch and Go" was played in FM Radio in my country, and I also had a video which was broadcasted very few times on T.V. It has very good keyboards too, and Powell plays simple but effective drums. "Love Blind" is another very good "pop progressive" song."Step Aside" is influenced by Jazz, and in this song the trio showed that they could play in any style.It is mainly played on piano, with background synthesizers. "Lay Down Your Guns" is a "peace song", and this is the only song of the album where I think there is a guitar played by Lake, which sounds for me more like a guitar synth, playing a solo at the end of the song. Lake is credited in the back cover of the album as playing basses and guitars, but I can`t say if in the other songs he played guitar too, as this album is dominated by the keyboards. "Mars" is the last song of this album, with a good arrangement, but it is not very interesting fo me as the rest of the songs. This album is another very good example of the "more accessible Progressive Rock of the Eighties" of some bands and solo musicians. The cassette version has a better sound than the L.P., and I agree with a previous reviewer who wrote that this album has a lot of reverb in some places. It is one of the things that I don`t like from this album, but it is still very good.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#18891)
Posted Friday, October 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's not the finest album in terms of ELP comparison or progressive vein. But if you like other ELP albums, it's worth collecting. It contains classic ELP sound and some poppy stuffs. For me personally, my main temptation to own this album was not only because of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, but also it featured one of my favorite rock drummers: Cozy Powell. I like Powell's solo album "Octopuss" - great rock music with excellent orchestration (some tracks) and of course . excellent drumming. I also like Rainbow albums that featured Powell on drums.

"Touch and Go" is a simple rock track that once was popular in my hometown and some local bands covered this track in a program called "Legend of the Month" featuring ELP. This track is probably the easiest song to emulate and has a sort of up-tempo and energy with a touch of light classic music. "Love Blind" is a straight forward pop track with good vocal line and solo keyboard at background. "Step Aside" is an interesting track with heavy influence of jazz. Jazz lovers would love this track. It's probably due to this track is performed by ELP that makes me liking this track. "Mars, Bringer of War" composed in a classic ELP style with classical music influence, dominated by keyboard sounds. Drum stools are played like a mars to march troops for a war.

It's not the kind of "Brain Salad Surgery" or "Trilogy" or "Pictures At an Exhibition" or "Tarkus" music but this ELPowell is a good one to have. You still can hear the powerful voice of Lake and unique Emerson keyboard work. Rating 3.25/5. GW, Indonesia.

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#18892)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
night_life200
4 stars This is easily one of the best efforts (next to Trilogy, my personal favorite) of Greg Lake and Keith Emerson. The added element of Cozy Powell is the icing on the cake, in my opinion. I enjoy Powell's work from his days with Blackmore's Rainbow. In truth, this was one of the first ELP albums I listened to when I first got into them. Powell's solid rock drums could give Carl Palmer a run for his money, (no offense Carl, you're still the best) not to mention Greg Lake's voice and Keith Emerson's keyboards sound better than ever in places. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the tracks.

1. The Score-A very nice opener. Sounds almost reminiscient of Karn Evil 9, thanks to the added lyric of "It's been so long, you're welcome back my friends...to the show that never ends" I imagine that when they performed that number in concert the audience went up in cheers and applause. The ending of the song is the most powerful point of the song.

2. Learning to Fly-A track that shows that Greg Lake's voice is obviously getting older and therefore deeper. Good nonetheless, I found my senior quote for the yearbook in this song ("You stand in the shadows or reach for the sky, this time the promise is not just illusion, I'm heading for glory, I'm learning to fly")

3. The Miracle-Arguably the album's finest moment. A good, long song that kinda lets your imagination go to work, I like to just chill after a long day at school and listen to this song super loud.

4. Touch And Go-The hit from the album. This was another one of those that is fun to listen to loud and sing along to.

5. Love Blind-Another good Greg Lake ballad.

6. Step Aside-A kind of jazz attempt by Emerson. The piano phrase makes this song pretty killer. One of my favorite cuts off the album.

7. Lay Down Your Guns-THE Greg Lake ballad of the album. His powerfull vocals, Keith Emerson's killer piano and Cozy Powell's slow rock beat are a lethal combination to make one of the finest ELP(owell) ballads these ears have ever heard.

8. Mars, The Bringer of War-The traditional instrumental no. of the album. A cover of the Gustav Holst piece from "The Planets". All in all, a great way to end a great album.

This is one of those things that grows on you after a short time and a few listenings. To those who haven't even heard this album yet, what are you waiting for?!?! This album is definitely worth the $10 you might pay to get it online somewhere.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#18895)
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
plicostella@h
4 stars If you don't take this album as an ElP "album",and you don't know who are you listening to then you won't be disappointed by this,a great album indeed.Beautiful melodies and a great sound,it's one of the most underrated albums ever maybe just because it comes from the 80's which lots of stupid critics say it was full of garbage.Great lyrics too...A must for any prog fan....just try not to think about 70's stuff when you listen to it and you'll defenetely enjoi it.Masterpiece.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#18897)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
kirklott@comc
4 stars This is a fantastic ELP album, chronically underrated by fans of the band. And while this 1986 release features a streamlined sound characteristic of the 80s, it also boasts a complex and satisfying progressive feel.

First, this is only two-thirds of the original Emerson Lake & Palmer, in that drummer Cozy Powell sits in for Carl Palmer (who was wasting time in Asia). But this effort reunited Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, the musical principals of ELP, and it brings back the sense of melody, group cohesion and sense of purpose that had been missing since 1973's "Brain Salad Surgery."

"The Score" opens the album powerfully, continuing lyrically and musically where Brain Salad Surgery's "Karn Evil 9" left off (Welcome Back My Friends, to the Show That Never Ends.). Next up is "Learning How to Fly," which is pleasant prog-pop, 80s style.

The terrific single "Touch and Go" is both proggy and catchy at the same time, featuring majestic keyboards and intricate bass. "Step Aside" is whimsical and jazzy, and recalls some of the best short pieces from ELP's early albums. "Mars - Bringer of War" is a satisfying reading of one of the coolest classical compositions of all time, from Gustav Holst's "The Planets."

Finally, this is the last album on which Greg Lake had a great voice. Somehow between this album and 1992's "Black Moon,' Lake's voice became deeper, huskier, and unpleasant.

There are only two reason why this album is sometimes bashed. First, it was released in the 80s. Some prog heads just don't believe that any good progressive music was released in the 80s, but the fact is the probably the most proggy album of the decade from any of the 70s giants like ELP, Genesis or Yes.

Second, Carl Palmer isn't on the album. It's true that Carl's inventiveness and precision are missed, but Cozy Powell brings in power and swing that are nearly as satisfying.

So again, this album is highly recommended.

(I can't comment on the two bonus tracks. Obviously the cover of "Loco-motion" is unlikely to be a great addition to the band's ouevre, and I'm not familiar with the other track.)

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#51044)
Posted Sunday, October 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one truly underrated gem I never, ever get tired of. And nearly twenty years later, it still surpasses most of the dreck people deem `progressive.' The album is powerful and intense. `The Score' is a scorcher of an anthem,hearlding their return in fine fashion. `Learnng to Fly' is a catchy pop/rcok song withan interesting middle keyboard solo. `The Miracle is as epic as it gets, with great lyrical imagery and possibly Greg Lake`s last great vocal performance. `Touch and Go was one of those songs built for radio,but yet it reasonates larger than life. Love Blind would possibly seem to people a throwaway tune. Once aqain,it`s pop/rock,but nothing wrong with pop as long as it`s well executed. Step Aside is anice,breezy soft jazz interlude . Lay Down Your Guns is a nice hearfelt ode to to peace in the cold war era. A powerballad of sorts. And then the finale, `Mars,bringer of war. Emerson`s arrangement adds new life to this classical masterpiece. This is `heavy meta'l with keyboards instead of guitar. Keith Emerson and Greg Lake received a lot of flak at the time by uniting with drummer Cozy Powell to hold down the `P' initail. Cynics can be forgiven for thinking Emerson and lake were merely cashing in. But listen to this album; The musc is quite strong. Intesne and agressive which were the hallmarks of EKP music.. It was defintiely better than most albums that came out in the 1980`s and this album blows to shame ElP`s output in the late 70`s, whcih was quite weak and embarassing. Keith Emerson is on the mark with his keyboard work. Here,he is tasteful,never falling into the land of indulgence. And the sounds he was employing at the time were five steps up form the mouldy Hammond organ sounds. The textures are thick and larger than life. Greg Lake is excellent on bass as always. But his singing holds sway here. This is the last album where his voice was still dynamic and powerful. For my money,he was the best singer of the classic rock prog era. It truly is a shame he wrecked his voice through years of smoking as it always had a nice reasonant tone to it. That is the problem inherent with most prog releases nowadays; A lack of a distinguished singer. Either the singers are just plain generic, mediocre, or terrible Cozy Powell may not be Carl Palmer,but his heavy handed style of drumming serves the larger than life music well . His style adds a heaviness to the ELP intensity that never before existed. It`s hard to believe it`s well over 19 years since this album came out. But it`s truly a criminally underrated work. The album still sounds fresh and exciting after all this time. ELPowell made an album that was aggressive and intense without sloppy angst.

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Send comments to Rowdyboy (BETA) | Report this review (#53429)
Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
clintonb@ffla
4 stars I didn't even know this album existed until I happened to hear "The Score" used as part of a figure skating routine on TV. I was thinking, "wow, that's a cool song". It sounded somewhat familiar, then when I heard Greg Lake's voice I asked myself, "is this ELP?". I eventually tracked the album down, and I'm glad I did. To me, this is easily the best ELP album since Brain Salad Surgery.

This is a stream-lined ELP for the 80's. The hyperactive, virtuostic, chops-fests of the early ELP albums are not to be found here. The Hammond organs and Moog synths have been replaced with modern-sounding keyboards with lush string pads. The songs and sounds are symphonic, majestic, lush. This is Keith Emerson as a one-man orchestra (their cover of "Mars, The Bringer of War" really brings that point home). There are keyboard solos, but they are nothing overtly flashy, they just simply serve the song.

Robert Fripp once said that the drummer basically determines what type of band you are. I don't know if that is true in this case or not, but Cozy Powell's simple, heavy- handed drumming serves these songs very well. Carl Palmer's hyperactive top kit technique of the early ELP albums would sound totally inappropriate on this album.

The energetic, symphonic-sounding track "The Score" starts the album. It quickly leads into the slightly more poppy-sounding "Learning To Fly" which then flows into the more sombre, doom-laden, yet still symphonic sounding track "The Miracle". This is a great sequence of songs.

Next comes "Touch and Go". As others have said, this was the "hit" off of the album, or at least it was the only track I've ever heard on the radio. To me "Touch and Go" is to ELP as "We will rock you" is to Queen. I swear I've heard this melody before, in a Scottish or Irish folk song perhaps? I could see this song being played on bagpipes. I could see someone making a rap version of this.

"Love Blind" is really nothing special, a lush sounding pop-song. Nice keyboard solo.

"Step Aside" is a nice mellow jazzy number.

To me "Lay Down Your Guns" is the only weak track. It sounds like a love-song ballad with anti-war lyrics. It seems a little cheesey to me.

The album closes out with their cover of the classical piece "Mars, the Bringer of War". It starts out quiet and slow martial rhythm and gradually builds up in volume and intensity and finally ends with huge sounding "orchestra" accents. A perfect track to end the album.

The quality of the album is pretty consistent. There really isn't a bad song to be found here. One might miss the virtuostic displays of the early ELP albums, but I don't miss them because the compositions on this album are pretty strong.

I am also impressed with the song sequencing. Starts out with high energy, then gives you a breather with some more laid back tracks, and then builds back up with a rousing finale at the the end of "Mars, the Bringer of War".

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#70414)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Twelve years ! This is the time between their last great album and this one. What the heck (except money) would an ELP reunion bring to their fans ? Very intelligently, they hired Powell who is replacing Palmer on duty with Asia. He was more used to drum with hard rock bands (Jeff Beck, Rainbow) that prog ones, but as is was rather skilled, I do not believe that it should be a problem to hold the drum kit. Not to replace Carl (no one can do that) but to help Keith and Greg in their project.

Even if this album is not a masterpiece it is way better than their infamous "Works" (I, II & Live). They have reverted to longer composition, very symphonic, pompous as usual of course especially "The score" and "The Miracle". But since it was their trade mark, the fans (to which I belong) can only be pleased by this return to the roots. During the former there will be several references to "The Show That Nevers Ends"... nostalgia I guess. Anyway these are excellent pieces of ELP music.

There are not really outstanding tracks. The album is well balanced and most of the songs are pleasant. "Touch & Go" is maybe harder than usual. The jazzy "Step Inside" is also weaker (but I am not really into jazz to be honest). We'll get the traditional tranquil Greg lake one with "Lay down Your Guns". A very nice ballad. It reminds me at times "Jerusalem", but it is not so strong. Still, it might well be my preferred song of the album.

"Mars, the Bringer of War" could have been the soundtrack of warrior movie. ELP in all its "grandeur". You can almost imagine the Roman army destroying anything they can on their way to glory. I had the same feeling during some passages of "Salisbury" from the Heep. This song is really too much. Kind of a "West Side Story" at times. This is a love / hate number.

"The Loco - Motion" is very much welcome. Dynamic and funny this cover won't be a memorable track, but it breaks the global mood of the album. A bit like "Nutrocker" did on "Pictures".

A good come back and quite a nice surprise actually. At least ELP sounds as ELP (which was not case for most of the giants of the seventies - except Floyd probably).

Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#126038)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a solid effort from a band trying to make some good music in the 80's.

ELPowell formed when Keith Emerson and Greg Lake wanted to play together, but they couldnt inlcude Carl Palmer, as he was still playing with Asia at the time. So, They found a new drummer who just happened to be Cozy Powell, a hard rock drummer from the 70's, and they set out to make an album.

Now, the result is ok. Its not like the album is terrible, its just not that great, with a few exceptions. I also think they sound a bit like Asia as well. Now the high points of the album definatly are Touch and Go, The Miracle, Learning to Fly and The Score, with Touch and Go definatly being the main attraction.

I should also mention that Greg Lake sounds amazing here, as his voice is in top form, while Keith sounds a bit restrained from what he normally plays. Cozy also is a very good drummer, but for me, he just doesnt cut it in the prog realm. Now dont get me wrong, I love his other work, but he's just not suited to play prog. And the instrumental version of The Locomotion is just not right for this album. Trust me, after the initial 30 seconds you listen to it and laugh, and then hit the 'next' button to skip it.

To sum it all up, this is a pretty good album, but nothing essential. The only thing you're really gonna miss is Touch and Go, which ELP played on their tours in the 90's. So, if you pass this one up, its no big deal.

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Send comments to Tarkus31 (BETA) | Report this review (#139555)
Posted Friday, September 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
progaeopteryx
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The 1980s were almost devoid of progressive rock. By the year 1986, Genesis had released a series of albums that had degraded from symphonic progressive rock to a collection of pathetic pop rock fodder. Yes had transformed even quicker, going from the excellent Drama to 90125 almost overnight. Another great band from the 1970s was Emerson, Lake & Palmer. They fell apart earlier than their contemporaries with the awful Love Beach in 1978.

Along comes 1985, and apparently Greg Lake and Keith Emerson were just itching for a reunion. Unfortunately they couldn't get Carl Palmer to come aboard as he was enjoying success with Asia at the time. There were rumors at the time that Bill Bruford would be part of the lineup, but he was committed to King Crimson and his own group, Earthworks. So they found veteran metal drummer Cozy Powell who had been with a whole host of bands in his career, including The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Whitesnake, and others. So, how would a metal drummer fit in with the escapades of Emerson and Lake? Actually, a lot better than I would have expected as their sound gelled quite nicely. The obvious difference between him and Palmer, is that his drumming style on this album is almost machine-like.

Emerson, Lake & Powell was quite different from the ELP of old. Their sound was more modern this time, more structured, and typically 1980s-ish. But it's not like the rest of the stuff blasting from radios during this decade. Quite different indeed. It was one of the few truly symphonic progressive rock albums to come out and actually receive some attention from the music press and fans of the time. A gem amidst a pile of rocks.

This album is very keyboard oriented, and this can clearly be heard on the first four songs and the excellent remake of Gustav Holst's "Mars, the Bringer War." "The Score" is pure ELP, with all the energy of the old ELP. Emerson and Lake still had it in them. The Miracle, sounding more like neo-prog, was quite a powerful song also. Amidst these great songs, ELP created a number of more radio-friendly songs. They clearly were not immune to the musical movement of the time. Some of these shorter songs are okay, and some are just forgettable. "Touch and Go" was probably the best of the shorter pieces, filled with Emerson's bombastic keys and Lake's powerful vocal delivery. This one received much radio play on the AOR stations at the time and even made it briefly on Billboard's Top 100 in the United States.

Later releases on CD would feature two bonus tracks, which were poor and somewhat annoying, like the remake of "The Loco-Motion." I guess it was a sign of the times. When I first bought this it was an LP and ended with "Mars, the Bringer of War." Now that I have the CD version, I consider the bonus tracks as just that. They're bonus and not really part of the core album.

If it wasn't for the mediocre shorter pieces, I would be almost willing to give this five stars. It isn't as good as Brain Salad Surgery, but it was the best from ELP since then and clearly one of the best albums released during the dark 1980s. I'm leaning more towards 3.75, so I'm going to round it up to an even four stars. An excellent album from the bleakest period in progressive rock history. A must-have for ELP fans.

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Send comments to progaeopteryx (BETA) | Report this review (#155882)
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Heather Arsonists Foiled by Mid Atlantic Storm Clouds

There is a story attached to this album that posits the original master tape recorded in England was destroyed in a fire/accident and forced the band to reconvene in the USA to start all over again at the behest of Polydor. Whether there is even a grain of truth in this is debatable, but I must admit to being more than sorry that a more 'anglicised' version of the album is not in existence. It might also help to explain why we are left with a document that loses much in the botched transatlantic translation of 'ELP' into 'AOR'.

What does seem abundantly clear however, are the internal tensions at work between the three protagonists and their anxious record label i.e Emerson and Lake were never exactly prog's 'Ken & Barbie' and we have the late Cozy Powell's testimony to their relationship at that time as being somewhat closer to 'Itchy & Scratchy'.

All the ingredients were now in place for an album that would make Love Beach sound heavier than a tone row poem by Schoenberg, but surprise surprise, the results are considerably better than we had even dared to hope. Apart from the engineered lapses into corporate 'rawk' territory to appease their paymasters, most of these tracks sound just fine and dandy to me.

Powell's proven abilities as a heavy rock drummer are well documented, but he is very much an 'in the pocket' player in contrast to say, a 70's Carl Palmer or the late Brian Davison, and this approach does have a commensurate effect on the music from Keith and Greg. Therefore it should not surprise you to find a stripped down backbeat beneath many of these songs. Keith has stated in interviews that he found this 'liberating' in his playing, knowing that Powell was always there, never allowing the pulse to get lost.

'The Score' - Keith often uses brass fanfares in his work and these are what drives this piece along so dramatically. There is a lengthy instrumental section before the vocals enter and we notice immediately he uses synth chording more frequently than the organ of previous years. (Remember this was 1985 and polyphonic synthesizers were commonplace) Greg's voice is ushered in bathed in about a swimming pool's worth of reverb, and like all the elements of this heavily processed recording, sounds artificially ENORMOUS. I suspect the track was originally intended to be entirely instrumental as apart from the reprised 'You're welcome back my friends' tagline, the remaining vocals appear utterly superfluous.

If you like your prog both pompous AND bombastic (with a hint of Camembert) then you will require at least one change of clothing long before the end of this.

'Learning to Fly' - With one foot in the stadium and the other in the cinema, Emerson straddles quite admirably two competing disciplines here and the result is a deceptively simple but dynamic song of which his own parts carry the melodic interest considerably better than Lake's. (After running repairs to another instrumental?)

The pace changes abruptly at the end and Keith's exposure to the soundtrack industry is evidenced by a quite magnificent piece of orchestral writing realised on unaccompanied synths that segues into....

'The Miracle' - OK I admit it, the lyrics here would probably even embarrass Fish when he was but a tadpole in short pants, but the music is thrillingly cinematic and for once, carries a truly spellbinding chorus. We get a rare glimpse of the Hammond from the front of the mix in an inspired solo that entails a visit to 'Goosebumps R Us' for me every time.

'Touch and Go' - Perhaps one of the only post 80's tracks by any permutation of ELP deserving of classic status. The harmonic structure is as basic as any simple folk tune, but the periodic injection of 'that' stupendous fanfare stated by Emerson, clever use of a choir pad and Powell's industrial percussion effects, transcend the humble foundations of this piece. For what it's worth, I think the fanfare 'hook' bears more than a passing resemblance to something I have heard before by composer Vaughan Williams? Whatever, just when you think Keith has run out of harmonic variations to put under this motif, he comes up with yet more to bring us to a giddy and swaggering conclusion.

'Loveblind' - Oh dear....why is there never a power failure when you could really use one? Apart from a decent synth pitch wheel excursion on the fade out, this is all the reason a man needs to throw some of his fellow creatures off a bridge. It sounds like a bad Asia song covered by an REO Speedwagon tribute band after their guitars had been stolen from the equipment truck. (If you play this song backwards you will NOT hear any Satanic messages, just Polydor purring)

'Step Aside' - This is one of those little hidden gems that seems to have fallen beneath the ELP radar. A very atmospheric and brilliantly composed jazz setting of a memorable tune featuring Keith's patented Oscar Peterson impersonation and some tangy harmonies on the classic intro. Although this is hardly Cozy's forte, he sensibly plays well within himself and contributes a tasteful if somewhat rudimentary swung groove. What little jazz the drummer may have had in his soul, it completely dwarfs that possessed by Lake, who just sounds ill at ease with this material.

'Lay Down Your Guns' - Keith and Greg have an unfailing knack of coming up with twee sub Elgar whenever they attempt 'majestic' paeans to pacifism. A similar, if slightly better attempt is represented by 'Farewell to Arms' from the Black Moon album. Do they have to write a pro war song before they eventually nail this sucker?

Whoops, that was clumsy as it's now time for......

'Mars, the Bringer of War' - Emerson has stated that he hesitated before embarking on an adaptation of this Holst piece as he felt it was 'just a bit too obvious' for a band like ELP to tackle. Regardless of his misgivings, I am glad he went ahead and, although I do share some of the reservations expressed by other commentators, do feel that this is a largely successful attempt.

As with all arrangements of music composed for scores of performers, much is going to be lost in transposing said parts for just three players. Keith has therefore learned to his cost, that he will we judged not only on what he does play, but also on what he chooses to omit and is forever trapped in a classic 'no win' situation. I believe he has to his credit, identified all the appropriate 'obbligato' parts on Mars and does a damn fine job of capturing the relentless fury and incendiary aspects of Holst's composition.

My only criticism would be that the palette of sound colours he chooses are predominantly synth heavy and without recourse to the more 'organic' elements like Hammond, piano, and clavinet with which to provide contrasting relief, the 8 minutes or so of unremitting synthetic textures can be something of a strain on the listener.

This is a very robust and often neglected album and, although it was transparent that this line-up would never endure, we should instead just enjoy a record that still manages to fan some progressive flames despite Polydor's strenuous attempts to douse the fire.

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#170144)
Posted Wednesday, May 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Keith Emerson and Greg Lake were apparently eager to reform ELP in 1985. For what reasons, considering their history of clashing egos, I cannot say without digging through a biography. Perhaps their solo careers just didn't amount to anything? Perhaps the ka-ching of dollars rolling in dried up by 1985? Whatever the case may be, Carl Palmer was having some success and couldn't join them due to contractual obligations with Asia (which was in a tailspin of its own at the time). So instead of abandoning the idea, they approached Emerson's longtime friend Cozy Powell. It apparently was just a coincidence that his surname began with the appropriate letter.

And so, what does this new incarnation of ELP bring us seven years after its dismal fall in 1978? If you guessed "more of the same," you nailed it on the head. The typical ELP formula was a number of longer pieces (sometimes suites or epics), a few Greg Lake ballads, some filler, and a lovely rendition of a classical music piece. Emerson Lake & Powell's self-titled album fits this description to a tee!

So, is this just like older ELP albums? Sort of, but not quite. On this album they upgraded their sound with the new synths of the day giving it that 1980s sound that most prog groups found themselves employing. The other notable difference is Powell, who doesn't try at all at being a Palmer-clone, but sticks with his metal drumming sensibilities. So, yes, that does add a new dimension, even if it sounds like a robot drumming for most of the album.

The Score and The Miracle are nicely done works of art, even though they sound kind of over-polished and lack the energy of earlier ELP epics. Learning to Fly and Touch and Go are nice songs too, but more in the AOR arena. Their rendition of Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War is probably the best song on the album, though sometimes that 1980s synth-sound is a bit too harsh of a treatment (i.e., too many keyboard stabs). The rest of the material is... well, rubbish.

Certainly the best album ELP had made since Brain Salad Surgery, and unfortunately the last decent one. If it weren't for the filler and dreadful Lake ballads, this could've been a nice four-star effort. This lineup of ELP never made a second album and I can't say if that was good or bad, but this would have been a nice finale because worse albums were to arrive in the 1990s. Three stars. Good, but not essential.

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Send comments to progaardvark (BETA) | Report this review (#180547)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think that this album is one of the most unappreciated in all prog-rock history.

Unsuccesful solo careers of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake forced them to reunite but last of the former members - Carl Palmer said no. At that time he was drummer in Asia and he decide that his new band (which was still popular then) was more suitable for him. So Keith and Greg had to find a new drummer which is well techniqued and which first letter of the last name was P.

Forunetly Rainbow former drummer Cozy Powell was willing to cooperate.

ELPowell created really good album. It sound more modern then their masterworks from 70's but they kept their best from past decade. Tracks such as The Score and The Miracle are still keeping the same high level of composing and performing as Tarkus or Karn Evil 9. Even when you try the easy listening tracks like Touch and Go or Love Blind you'll realize that they sound better then Lake's poppy song like C'est La Vie. Even Asia soundlike song Lay Down Your Guns is a good one. For me Step Aside is a nice surprise - cute song in Sinatra climate.

I regret that they hanen't cooperate for longer period of time. After they first tour Cozy decide to quit...

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Send comments to Patiquee (BETA) | Report this review (#186652)
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The letter ain't the only thing that stayed the same

Before we start this review I have a confession to make. I originally bought the vinyl of this album as something of a joke. I really didn't expect very much of it, and here's why. It's from the 80s, it doesn't have the original lineup of a band whose name is the lineup of the band, and it's the successor to the massive flop, Love Beach. Well, let's just say that this album is a very pleasant surprise. It's largely a return to what ELP was doing in the 70s that made them so famous, and it really doesn't have any terrible moments. On the whole the album is solid, there's no individual tracks that get away from the rest, nor bog it down.

What's surprising is just how much the album still sounds like good ol' ELP. Although with Emerson's synths (now flavored to the tune of the 80s, although no less virtuosic) pressing hard in the foreground it's really no surprise that the album sounds classic. Lake's voice sounds just as sharp as ever and Powell makes a great contribution to the album with his hard rock background, although the other two seem to have put some restraints on him, because he never has the chance to really unleash and fly off the hook with his drumming skills. The melodies for the album are all surprisingly familiar, although hard to put a finger on just where they could have come from. The powerful The Miracle has a ripping synthesizer which sounds oddly familiar, but still very much ELP.

If not for the overwhelming amount of pomp still present on the album a lot of the material may have sounded flat. Though ELP often get criticized for sounding 'pretentious' there's no doubt that that element of their sound is part of what made the band great. Emerson's obligatory reworking of an instrumental, this time in the form of Mars, The Bringer Of War, sounds like a clash of the titans, put to the music of a synthesizer as sharp as a blade. The compositional work on the single Touch And Go is as impressive as much of the music made by the band in the 70s with their immense sound ready to crush anyone who gets in their way. Although some of the songs on the second side are a little bit out of the normal range of ELP music such as the slow and sappy Lay Down Your Guns, the balladic Love Blind and the almost 'pool-house' sounding Step Aside, they still fit within the context of the album and make for an excellent listen.

Lucky for the fans, there's also some excellent prog on the album. The first side is home to a mere 3 compositions, and with two of them being over 7-minutes, you know some good has to come of it. The opening The Score is a track that can be compared to some of the band's best with a driving keyboard and powerful shouting from Lake. The entire 9-minutes of the song has enough nostalgia factor to really nab the attention of any discerning progger and though some of that may be lot on the short, but no less impressive Learning To Fly, it will certainly be regained by the already mentioned The Miracle.

Overall a surprisingly good album from a band who hadn't produced much of note since the mid-70s. Don't overlook this one for the same reasons I did. If you enjoy ELP then chances are you're going to get a kick out of this hidden gem. Not for starters to the band, but certainly not the last one you want to own by them. A solid album that's going to get a good 3 out of 5. Recommended!

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#192587)
Posted Wednesday, December 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars It is difficult to judge this album. Emerson, Lake & (Cozy) Powell plays a very good songs with great tons of Emerson's self indulgent parts but without true Prog style. In fact the music is more close to AOR than Prog but it is true that 'Emerson Lake & Powell' is a great album for 80's.

If you love 80's Asia 'Emerson, Lake & Powell' is your album. But if you hate 80's Asia... And I think that only 'Mars, Bringer Of War' and 'The Loco-motion' (that is a bonus Track) (that are two cover) are great songs, maybe with 'Touch And Go'. For the rest 'Emerson, Lake & Powell' is a typical 80's AOR Rock album.

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Send comments to 1967/ 1976 (BETA) | Report this review (#221019)
Posted Saturday, June 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars Here we find the step between Love Beach and Black Moon. If you hadn't heard the origimal ELP albums, you might think this album had more merit than it actually does. The songs are so-so. The Score is over nine minutes long, and although it has some passable, but not fantastic keyboard work by Emerson, it's pretty much a forgettable song. Touch And Go, the single from the album, has a listenable hook, but I wouldn't call it prog. It sounds more like arena rock to me.

Really, the only song I like a lot on this album is their version of Mars, The Bringer Of War from Gustav Holst's The Planets. It's not bad, but it seems an obvious choice for Emerson to want to cover. Nowhere near as obscure as Janacek or Ginastera.

2.5 stars.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#244661)
Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The market concerning the music played at latter term in the middle of the 70's might changed rapidly attended with a certain kind of diversity. In an economical recession in the middle of the especially 70's, it is true to have influenced the industry of music. And, the field's in extension Rock gradually changing the shape into the scale at the same time as economy's accomplishing the process of growth results.

The market recovered gradually in respect of business and there was a part in the main current at the time of the revolution in the latter half of the 70's, too. The appearance of Punk Rock and New Age that was the main current in the latter half of the 70's had the influence in respect of the fashion at the same time as strengthening the color of the message and emphasizing it in the market.

The existence of King Crimson that had revived in the flow in the 80's appeared in front of the fan and the listener with the purpose. There might have been a revival and a reprint to Prog Rock wished because the listener felt it at the time of the 80's. The activity of a band active in first lines such as Yes and Genesis on the boundary of King Crimson might have been movements for the fan of Prog Rock to have a presentiment of the next age exactly. And, it will have been a flow that had to be called that the appearance of "Asia" had a decisive attitude to the flow and was inevitable. Or, the flow has respect that was followed and succeeded to Neo-Prog Rock. Naturally, the activity of the band in the 80's shows the movement that actively makes inroads into the market while absorbing the counterplan at that time. And, the fan and the listener pay attention to the part where the trend of "ELP" gets into the news gradually. And, ELP's appearing in front of us to answer the expectation of the fan and the listener results. Moreover, in unexpected shape for the fan and the listener.

ELP that had announced "Love Beach" in September, 1978 was in the extreme condition. Respect of financial failure concerning "Works Tour" that leads orchestra and dares. Part of slump of sales in album when musical main currents such as Punk Rock and New Age show movement. Or, the part of no relations of the member dissolves the band as a result with the end of the tour in December, 1978.

It was related to the music for the movie and the music of the project and had Keith Emerson as a part of the activity of the member afterwards. And, Greg Lake announces the album with Gary Moore. It comes to take an active part Carl Palmer in the band that leads an active musician in the field of Jazz/Fusion and is called "P.M.". However, the activity of music by each member never contributed to sales of the album in the difficult situation. Carl Palmer only faced time when the activity by "Asia" had become active. Keith Emerson and Greg Lake plan the revival of the band in the flow. Carl Palmer never participated for the activity with Asia. Their participation was not achieved as a result though the name of Simon Phillips and Ian Paice rose as a drum player. Perhaps, it is guessed that the talk did not advance in money respect. And, the person who had risen to the candidate was Cozy Powell. However, the name of the band was not able to write the name of "ELP" legally because it was not able to obtain the permission of Carl Palmer. Therefore, the band starts up activity substantially as "Emerson,Lake And Powell". They exchange the management of Switzerland with the contract and begin the production of the album as a result in November, 1985.

Composition of tune to which age is taken. Or, the song that has the flexibility of Greg Lake. The Korg Co. that Keith Emerson took at this time, and making the sound with the keyboard of the Kurzweil Co. and part of the reformAnd, a powerful rhythm where the individuality of Cozy Powell appears enough is constructed. Part where Tony Taverner known on business by "Flash" of Jeff Beck was appointed to producer of cooperation. Part as album to execute chemical reaction as band. There might have been restructuring, dignity, and a reprint to which everything had been exactly done at this time.

As for "The Score", the sound in which the sequence is made good use of twines round a powerfully steady rhythm with the melody of a complete keyboard. The fanfare that gives the excitement and the presentiment as a new band will excite the listener. Melody with sense of relief. The melody of symphonic with the keyboard constructs a good flow. The song of Greg Lake that continues the atmosphere has the expansion. The melody and the composition constructed while exactly following the music character cultivated in the 70's are kept. Intermittent rhythm in close relation to melody with tension. The flow that shifts to 2 and the rhythm and the melody of three reams is also complete.

In "Learning To Fly", a powerful rhythm and the melody are features. It advances with the progress of Chord that there is a sense of relief in a steady rhythm. Sound of decoration with keyboard. Or, the music character is constructed with new machine parts. Especially, Solo and the sound of the keyboard are remarkably shown. The way to put up the chorus is also good each other.

The construction of a grand melody and the construction of a fantastic space of "The Miracle" are impressive. Part of powerful song in close relation to flow as straight Rock. Line of calculated Bass. The melody of grand symphonic continues. Processing of progress of original Chord that is and emphasized rhythm. The tune decides the impression of the album.

"Touch And Go" might be a tune where a grand melody exists together to an aggressive impression. Construction of overwhelming theme with keyboard. The rhythm that Cozy Powell produces might be suitable for the tune that gives a powerful impression. Construction of sound in which age is emphasized. Part of repeated theme. It is exactly a tune for men who have them emphasize the part of symphonic.

"Love Blind" is Rock that develops straight. There might be an element that is reminiscent of the music character that Asia did, too. Melody of Oriental sound with keyboard. Or, the sound in which the wind instrument is reminiscent is processed. The sound of the keyboard that expands the possibility contributes to the tune.

As for "Steps Aside", the melody of an acoustic piano is impressive. A city impression to which the flavor of Jazz is taken is given. As for the development of original Chord, the contribution of Keith Emerson might be large. Gentle rhythm of Cozy Powell that doesn't obstruct tune. In this album, the composition intermittently developed is different.

"Lay Down Your Guns" is a gentle exactly ballade for them. Song of Greg Lake with expansion. Or, the continued beautiful piano melody. The flow of the grand melody that they do expands the width of this album. Beautiful Solo with the keyboard also contributes.

"Mars,The Bringer Of War" makes it faithfully take up the tune from "The Planets" of Gustav Holst and arrange. Opening feelings of classics appears remarkably exactly in this tune. The construction of the tune in symphonic is complete. The taste of Keith Emerson that can express various music is splendidly demonstrated. The member of the band that piles up the performance advances in union.

It is ..tune of original symphonic that is.. finished complete "The Loco-Motion". The melody that there is a sense of relief in Intro with the tension gets on. It is likely to consist exactly as an interpretation of the tune that they think about. The flow of Chord with development and the tension of the rhythm that puts fast and slow is also splendid.

"Vacant Possesion" is a tune with the age. The melody with expression of feelings in close relation to a gentle rhythm that flows slowly might have the element of the Power ballade. The introduction of the part of a bright melody that appears in the latter half of the tune also has originality.

Their activities did not continue long as a result. However, this album will become a part of the history as a flow that dismantlement and the restructuring of the zeal that they had at that time and the music character are expressed.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#273227)
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The sole eponymous album by Emerson, Lake & Powell is the closest that the 70s symphonic progressive triumvirat of Yes/Genesis/ELP got to real progressive quality during the 80s. Almost but not quite, since this is not an Emerson, Lake & Palmer album, indeed - one thing for sure, the spirit that drove Emerson and Lake to write this material before summoning Cozy Powell to fill the room of an unavailable Carl Palmer is the same that made them create a big part of the magic instilled in their 70-73 albums. This is not an ELP album but it is more deeply related to the bombast and magnificent melodic sensibility of the "Tarkus" and "Brain Salad Surgery" albums than the "Works" volumes. Powell was a very powerful drummer, and he makes it quite clear in places, but it is also true that in this album he had the same predicament that Terry Bozzio did in UK's sophomore album "Danger MOney": that is, not being in position of delivering his whole individual stamina since he wasn't really a part of the creating process for the album's framework. On the other hand, this constrain allowed him to focus on sheer rocking power, which in turn helped to reinforce the most bombastic aspects of this repertoire. This is true about the amazing 'The Score', which comes to show how well the Emerson-style keyboard-centered art-rock could be somewhat refurbished by elements from 80s hard rock and sound revitalized instead of cheesy (like 75% of Genesis' 80s material) or overblown (like 85% of Rabin-era Yes' material). This is what the trio side of "Works 1" should have sounded in order to properly capitalize on the sort of apex that ELP had achieved during its "Brain Salad" days. 'Learning To Fly' is an interesting exercise on catchy prog rock with an authentic ballsy attitude: forget about what Howe-era Asia or GTR achieved in their respective albums, this song incarnates the key to good prog rock for the 80s with Billboard potential. But again, it is 'Touch And Go' that completely wins the prize in this area, and quite deservedly so: its recurrent fanfare is memorable even nowadays, fluidly displayed on a robust slow pace (many tremendous rockers by Zeppelin and Purple are quite slow, actually). The closer of the vinyl's A side is, IMHO, its pinnacle: 'The Miracle' represents a genuine blast of progressive rock's glorious past, and again, a symbol of all that was missing during ELP's late 70s era and only now was ready to surface. Bands like Yes, Kansas and The Enid would have killed to come up with something like 'The Miracle', so moving, so clever, so powerful. 'Love Blind' is less accomplished in artistic terms, but it remains a pretty catchy rock tune: it wouldn't have been out of place in Uk's "Danger Money". 'Step Aside' is a lovely song song on a jazz-pop tone, something like Sting's first solo sutdio album. Nice, but not as nice as the power ballad entitled 'Lay Down Your Guns', which is very majestic despite that it dangerously flirts with the sort of AOR sound that Foreigner and Journey used to do consistently. It is a lovely song, period. "Mars" is a topic of chamber music that could easily be adapted to a rock context, so it is not such a big deal that ELPowell would do it, but they did it and it's fine with me. Personally, the instrumental additions that Emerson came up with for the 'Locomotion' cover alone could have been a main motif for a terrific instrumental, perhaps the closer, but now I'm entering the erea of rock history sci-fi so I won't dig in further. My overall diagnosis is very positive for this album. As a whole effort, it is not as consistent as "Black Moon" (which was the real ELP reunion album), but its A side comprises the best material written by the Emerson-Lake duo after the 70s. 3.49 stars for this one!

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#285519)
Posted Monday, June 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
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Symphonic Team
2 stars What happened when Powell joined Emerson and Lake?

The good news is its better than Love Beach and In The Hot Seat. The bad news is it is not much better. Cozy Powell entered the fray to replace the irreplaceable, though apparently not, Carl Palmer. Powell is okay but you may not actually notice he is there as Emerson simply dominates from start to finish. It is a delightful break from the mediocrity of the appalling Love Beach. The tracks are quite memorable especially the wonderful The Score and Touch And Go, the catchy single of the album, with melodic retro 80s Synth, a track played many times on live tours. The rest of the tracks are hard to remember as they blend together and can be quite a slog to get through. Mars, Bringer Of War is a brilliant rendition of the classic, better than King Crimsons version in any case, and I perhaps return to this song most when choosing to hear a Emerson Lake and Powell track. It builds ominously with pounding drums and a very threatening key motif, echoing the menace of alien invasion. The original piece of course was heard during the movie "Things to Come".

Other bonus tracks here are The Loco-motion, a strange one, and Vacant Posession, wth some interesting musicianship. In conclusion the album is worthy of 2 stars for the good bits, but as is often the case with late ELP, the music never measures up to the first few classic albums.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#452173)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars I was very surprised when, after 8 years without releasing a studio album, i had a ELP new tape cassette from a friend. Even more surprised when I realized that the P was not Carl Palmer. I didn't know actually who Cozy Powell was and my first impulse was to give up to listening to something which was apparently a commercial operation....finding a drummer beginning with "P"...

But it was not so bad. I think it's clear that using "To the show which never ends" as chorus of the first track is quite a marketing operation, but the symphonic prog of "The Score" is exactly that: symphonic prog in that style heavily influenced by Aaron Copland but with a lot of rock and the stupendous vocals of Greg Lake which are a band's trademark not less than Emerson's keys. A good start indeed.

But what next? "Learning To Fly" is opened by a sound which doesn't have anything to do with Emerson. The first two minutes of the track are a disconnected 80s episode that Lake's voice is not enough to make interesting. Of course there are hints of the past glory, especially in the short keyboards solos, but I would have preferred a shorter album than having to skip this song.

A song which fades into "The Miracle". Also this one can't be mentioned as a song representative of the band even if it's not bad as the previous one. Also this pays a tribute to the epoch but it's not too far from the Lake's side on Works vol. 1. Acceptable.

For me a folk-oriented song like "Touch and Go" with Lake on his "hard" side like on "Living Sin" has been a good reason to later purchase the album. Just a three minutes song, but also "Lucky Man" and "From The Beginning" were just song. There's some electronic in the middle, of the kind used by David Gilmour the same year for "A Momentary Leapse of Reason" , but not as invasive as in the PF album.

"Love Blind" is one of the lowest moments of the album, instead. An 80s song which could have been sung, probably better, by Bonnie Tyler or Blonide....listen to this song and try to imagine....

"Step Aside" brings up the level a while. It's a jazzy song with some swing and Emerson's piano without falling in the usual ragtime. Much more better than "Show Me The Way To Go Home" on Works vol.2. More of that jazz, please.

"Lay Down Your Guns" is another Lake's melodic song which sounds like an anthem. I think it pays a tribute to "Jerusalem". Not my pot, really. It's a song that I'm used to skip but I can't say that it's absolutely bad, just too melodic for me.

The album is closed by the second truly symphonic track: "Mars, Bringer of Wars". It's an Emerson's orchestral. I really like Emerson's excursions into the classical music territory and I wish he had composed more true symphonic music like i.e. "Piano Concerto No. 1". As often happens, the orchestral works of Emerson are very close in the composing and arranging style to the "music for films" standards, but they are usually epic. This is Emerson how I like him.

In the end, what is disappointing is the alternance of excellent and weak moments in an album that was probably intended by the major as an attempt to relaunch and renew this dynosaur band, but where they succeed is where they are more adherent to the early things. Another album which shows how bad were the 80s for music and not only.

Half good, half rating but rounded up because of the goodies inside.

Powell? I don't hear big differences and I don't know if it's good or bad.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#811038)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the ELP album that never was. P from Powell. After the low rated and well hated Love Beach, this was the next step. At the first track, The Score, my first idea listening to it was racing music, like Formula One OST. But it's actually good, a highlight from the post brain salad surgery era. I have the same feeling for the whole album, some great tracks but forgettable stuff. While The Score and Mars Bringer of War (the title of the track really fits the song) are the best tracks and songwriting from the album, the most catchy and memorable song is The Miracle. If you like Black Moon 80'sh ELP style, you should try this one too.

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Send comments to VOTOMS (BETA) | Report this review (#992103)
Posted Friday, July 05, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Always love this album, is a great musical work. Keith Emerson was at his best (the credits tells that he write all the music) and Cozzy Powell, gave to the band a fresh new sound, less musical than Palmer but really powerfull, and I like too much this addition. By the other side, Greg Lake was in a shouting mode of sing, which fits well with the music. The opening Score is a perfect modern prog track, full of all this Emerson's keyboard pirotechnic, pompous and which much power, just an excellent piece that never tires me. The big drum sound and the superb vocalization of Lake complete the circle in this track. The other highlight is the most known Touch and go, simply amazing. The intro is killer, and all in all in this track is perfect too. It has only one problem, it's too short. The other prog number is the instrumental Mars, bringer of war. Not an ELP track, but an adaptation of a Gustav Holst, this piece is mainly a combination of sound impacts. The rest of the album is a group of good songs, between which I can stand out The Miracle with a good hammond work of Emerson, Love blind wiht a great keyboard solo or the ballad Lay down yor guns. The bonus tracks are good too, specially The Loco Motion, a well done instrumental piece. Highly reccomendable. Four stars.

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Send comments to genbanks (BETA) | Report this review (#1088688)
Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Seven years after "Love beach", a quite nice record, ELP returned with a better one called "Emerson, Lake & Powell". Wherefore? Well, no the drummer's name was Cozy Powell and not Carl Palmer. Perhaps they hade looked for a drummer with precisely the same initials. The differencies in drumming style could be heard. I think this one drums more like a rock drummer than Palmer do. In the middle of the eighties, 1985 the record came and I guess it already was released on the CD format. The cover isn't so progressive, but quite distinct with three faces like cubes in black, yellow and red.

The albums contains of seven songs. It starts with power in "The Score" a typical fanfare song of ELP with arena statements and a fast wonderful song of Lake(8/10). "Learning to fly" then is a nice little rock song with good isntrumentation but not splendid(6/10). "The miracle" later is a symphonic piece with great vocals and imagination(7/10). "Touch and go" is lovely, one of my favourites on this record. It is a poppy marching tune with good fanfares(8/10). Then come two less intriguing songs: "Love Blind"(5/10) and "Step Aside"(5/10) which could be considered a bit jazzy but not so brave. "Lay down your guns" though makes me happy again, a catchy tune indeed(6/10) and "Mars, Bringer of War" goes in old footsteps with an agressive modernisation of Gustav Holst's classical piece(8/10).

This is actually a record I think many prog lovers will enjoy, it doesn't sound like music from the eighties, it's more like they're playing the music they allways have played. Some songs do not get me as much as others but the whole result is positive. I will give Emerson, Lake and Powell three strong stars today! Best tracks: Touch and go, The score, Mars, Bringer of War!

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Send comments to DrömmarenAdrian (BETA) | Report this review (#1157653)
Posted Saturday, April 05, 2014 | Review Permalink

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