Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
King Crimson - Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind CD (album) cover


King Crimson

Eclectic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars The band decided to remove the audience in this live recording which gives the impression that you are listening to a studio recording. And what is more interesting is that the songs have been re-worked with 3 drummers, some flutes, and saxophones. The rhythm section having more space, the sound is obviously louder. The drummer Bill Rieflin is also handling the keyboards parts including that precious mellotron sound on some old songs. The set list contains a lot of old songs, some songs after the 80's period including some new songs. The new songs worked very well with the rest of the songs. "Meltdown" and the Radical Action" suite have some intense moments. And to mix things up, there are some lighter songs, like "Epitaph", and the jazzy "Scarcity of Miracles". Let's say that the sound on this 3cd set is excellent. As for the Blu-Ray, the band decided again to do something different. They hired only 1 man behind the camera, who installed stationary cameras so that he had to bring together footage from those cameras to replace the lack of motion that we usually have on a standard video. Those cameras were needed to superimpose fading images of close shots of each musician over the static wide shot of the stage. Most of the material comes from the Takamatsu shows because it was the best sounding for Jakko Jakszyk. The DTS surround sound is big and loud. They pushed this to the limit with the 3 drummers. However, I could hear some kind of "crackling" noise in a few spots in my rear speakers, especially in the drum solo. In conclusion, while lacking visuals, the video is still enjoyable. I know that the band wanted to focus on the music, but a little more visuals can't ruin the music. This live recording gives us the best overall picture of the band's discography that every King Crimson fan will enjoy and a lot of Progressive Rock fan.

Report this review (#1610951)
Posted Tuesday, September 13, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pretty sure I can justify a five-star rating for this one.

Even being that I've only been listening to it for a week, I can see the evidence of how much work went into this new "Radical Action..." box set. If you are not convinced, first consider that this is a live album in which the best performances of each track have been culled from their 2015 tours of the UK, Canada and Japan, and the audience sounds have been thoroughly removed to bring about sonic perfection - making it a (what did they call it?) "virtual studio album." And if you still aren't swayed, go on over to All About Jazz's website and read their review of this 3-cd + video (extra dvd's if you get the limited edition) box. You will gape at how many mic tracks had to be manually examined and processed to isolate the drum parts alone!

This purchase is a decent-sized outlay of money, so some might consider it a stretch to say the first track (the current 7-headed-beast's rendition of LTIA-1) is worth the price of admission. To be honest though, it's not that much of a stretch - this version sounds awesome, spacious, and *huge*.

The live/studio versions of "Pictures Of A City," "Easy Money," "Level Five," "Red," "Starless," "LTIA-II," and many other tracks are brilliant too, and the band are as on-form as they were in their recently published Toronto (20 November 2015) "Collector's Bootleg" ... if not quite as on-fire. It's fine though: for the group's intensity seeming just slightly lower, they've certainly since then developed - or at least discovered how to evince on record - more instrumental flourishes than in that unadulterated full concert recording. This may well -- efficaciously if not definitively -- be rounding out a chapter in the development of King Crimson, which hopefully will not be their final one. (Why would it be, with everyone in the band, particularly Fripp, playing with enough vim and vigor to put most other acts to shame).

The new strategy of three drummers in the front line is used to full effect here. Mel Collins's wind parts and Jakko Jakzsyk's vocals are solid and well-suited for this incarnation of the band. I am not going to lend any credence to those who maintain otherwise ... nor should you.

Which leads me on to my complaint that entirely too many have wailed (or at least whinged) that Crim in their current mode are doing solely nostalgia - heck, I think I myself may have semi-seriously joked about that in my Toronto review. But I'd be remiss not to mention that "Radical Action" includes nearly a half-hour of new material by the band. So pipe down, all you complainers. Take radical action by putting on this DVD ( or blu-ray) and submit to getting a better-than-best-seat-in-the-house view of a virtual studio concert at a fraction of the cost of the real thing ! (Or if you can't afford the $30 price tag, at least visit DGM Live's youtube publication of the "Easy Money" and "Starless" viddie excerpts.) Times are good.

Report this review (#1613404)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars A stray thought, while unwrapping this lavishly packaged 4-disc live set (three CDs, plus a Blu-ray disc) from the newly-inflated King Crimson septet: whatever happened to the "small, mobile, intelligent units" Robert Fripp was aiming toward in his Drive to 1981?

Since the 1970s Fripp has arguably been the most progressive of any first-generation Prog Rocker, adamant in his resistance to a sentimental reformation of the original band. And yet here he is, nearing the twilight of his career, on stage performing beloved chestnuts like "Epitaph", "Sailor's Tale", and (not inappropriately) "21st Century Schizoid Man".

But if the Crimson King isn't looking forward any more, he's at least assembled a formidable unit to help relive the past. And after the letdown of the too-abbreviated "Live at the Orpheum" teaser it's reassuring to see the Crimson monster back on its feet...all fourteen of them, in this case.

The flute and sax work of old friend Mel Collins provides a welcome bridge to an earlier, warmer King Crimson, and offers an effective proxy for David Cross' violin on the Larks' Tongues-era songs: note his playful interpolations of Henry Mancini and Rimsky-Korsakov during the proto-metal "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One". Jakko Jakszyk 's voice is likewise a honey-toned throwback to the bygone days of Greg Lake and Boz Burrell, giving the new lineup another valid excuse to exhume such old material.

The few new songs offer encouraging evidence that the aging beast hasn't lost all its teeth yet, despite this being more of a reunion ProjKct than a creative rebirth. But nostalgia was clearly the order of the day, with a conspicuous hole in the set-list shaped like Adrian Belew, effectively airbrushed out of the repertoire as completely and mercilessly as Gordon Haskell once was. The only selections from his more than 25-years at the front of the Crimson stage are Fripp-composed, or entirely instrumental.

And Belew isn't alone in his exile: the entire audience was amputated from these live tapes, in classic Fripp-like fashion. The guitarist as long been notorious for his stage reticence, needing the attention of a receptive crowd to synergize his performance, but always at arm's length, and preferably without photographs. Maybe he decided to simply carry that wallflower impulse to its logical end.

The 1974 LP "Starless and Bible Black" followed the same approach, camouflaging a live recording as a studio album. But that was with all-new material, not the familiar oldies presented in these shows. Consequently there's a sense of detachment here at odds with a genuine live experience, all part of a calculated (and quintessentially Frippish) design extending to the matching formal stage outfits and choreographed song arrangements, split between three drummers.

And, outside of a few "B'Boom"-style interludes, there isn't any improvisation. Understandable perhaps, given the logistics of such an unwieldy ensemble. But it's still disappointing to see a muzzle tied around the historic Crimson ideals of serendipity and happy accidents.

All of which probably reads like excessive Monkey Mind griping about an album I'm nevertheless calling 'an excellent addition to any Prog Rock music collection'. Criticism aside, the sound is tremendous, the performances airtight, and the older songs (ignoring the umpteenth reincarnation of "Red") fresher than ever, perfectly at ease alongside the new stuff. Imagine the aging monarch donning his old robes and finding they not only still fit, but after more than 45-years are almost back in fashion.

Report this review (#1704945)
Posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 | Review Permalink

KING CRIMSON Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of KING CRIMSON Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.