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Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

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Emerson Lake & Palmer Trilogy album cover
4.14 | 1854 ratings | 134 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Endless Enigma (Part One) (6:42)
2. Fugue (1:57)
3. The Endless Enigma (Part Two) (2:05)
4. From the Beginning (4:17)
5. The Sheriff (3:23)
6. Hoedown (Taken from Rodeo) {Aaron Copland, arranged by E, L & P} (3:47)
7. Trilogy (8:54)
8. Living Sin (3:14)
9. Abaddon's Bolero (8:08)

Total Time 42:27

Bonus track on 2004 Sanctuary remaster:
10. Hoedown (live) (4:06)

Line-up / Musicians

- Greg Lake / vocals, bass, electric & acoustic guitars, addit. keyboards (9), lyricist & producer
- Keith Emerson / grand piano, Hammond C3, synths (Moog IIIC & Minimoog model D), zukra (1)
- Carl Palmer / drums & percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Hipgnosis with Phil Crennell (tinting)

LP Island Records ‎ 6396 018 (1972, UK)
LP Cotillion ‎- SD 9903 (1972, US)

CD Manticore ‎- CDM 3 (1985, Italy)
CD Victory Music ‎- 828 467-2 (1993, Europe) Remastered by Joseph M. Palmaccio
CD Rhino Records - 72226 (1996, US)
CD Sanctuary - SMRCD058 (2004, Europe) With 1 bonus track
CD Shout Factory - 826663-10491 (2007, US) Remastered by Andy Pearce

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Trilogy ratings distribution

(1854 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Trilogy reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
3 stars Underrated by most, Trilogy is probably ELP's most "listenable" album. While "The Sheriff" is something of a "throw-away," all the other tracks are extremely creative. Emerson's compositional and keyboard work on Endless Enigma, Fugue, and Trilogy are among his best. And Living Sin is among the best (often forgotten) gems of prog-rock to be found anywhere.
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars The only Bolero I find useful in prog is the King Crimson on the Fabulous album LIZARD. This is definitely not essential album and the first sign of weakness in a dreadful later discography . By this album their formula was wearing thin and inspiration not as intense as before. Still some moments but too few and too far apart.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars "And so will break another day"

"Trilogy" is probably ELP's most progressive and complete album, and for me their best. Unlike all other ELP albums, every track on Trilogy reaches their highest standard.

"The endless enigma" opens the album in three parts (beware of the ELP compilation entitled "Fanfare for the common man)" which inexplicably fades the track before the third section). This is a superbly crafted trilogy which opens with soft, almost imperceptible synthesiser introducing frantic piano, before Lake's crystal clear vocals pick out the main melody. After the piano based "Fugue", a fanfare synth introduces the final section, which builds to a mighty crescendo. The fact that "The endless enigma" was rarely performed live is probably the only reason why it has not gained the recognition it warrants as one of ELP's finest pieces.

"From the beginning" is a beautiful acoustic track featuring Greg Lake on vocals and guitar. While it has a simplistic structure, it is a finely crafted piece. Side one of the LP closes with a couple of lighter tracks, both with a western flavour. If you listen closely to Carl Palmer's solo at the beginning of "The sheriff", you can hear where he makes a mistake, mutters "Sh*t", and starts again.

If the title track was released today, it would probably be labelled "Trance". It is a lengthy largely instrumental track, heavy on the synthesisers. After a soft start, the piece explodes into a driving wall of sound, ducking and diving through various time changes in the best prog traditions. The shorter "Living Sin" is a more straightforward Atomic Rooster type track, The final piece, "Abadon's Bolero", one of ELP's most popular tracks, particularly among non-fans. Ice skaters Torvill and Dean's Olympic gold medal would have been even more of a formality had they used this Bolero as their music! The structure of the track is very simple, with only one brief deviation from the main theme, but the gradual build to the screaming synthesiser climax is hypnotic.

For me, "Trilogy" is ELP's finest work, even eclipsing "Brain salad surgery". If you want to discover ELP at their best, start here.

Review by lor68
4 stars Well I give a "4 stars and an half" evaluation to this famous album, because this work is the most accessible and let the listener who is not into such "Prog music" be closer and understand the sense of working in progress. The title track is fantastic, above all the first section, then the second movement of such mini-suite becomes a bit prolix, because it's characterized by some excesses, as sometimes it happens. The adaptation from Aaron Copland's "Rodeo" is stunning, and a classic one as well; instead the "Endless Enigma" is another accessible suite, whose final crescendo is unforgettable!!

Recommended and perhaps the most personal album by ELP!! Along with "Brain Salad Surgery", talking about the compositions by EMERSON within, and by forgetting also his adaptations for a while!

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record has some excellent tracks, while others are decent but less retain the attention. The "Trilogy" track starts with a VERY impressive piano part, very expressive, complex and varied, accompanied by Lake's soothing voice, reminding me the talents of Patrick Moraz, Jurgen Fritz and Eddie Jobson; the second part is a complex combination of mini moog, drums and percussions, reminding some parts of the excellent Triumvirat's "Spartacus" album. "Living sin" is a weaker track: Lake rather uses odd voices, and the keyboards patterns are repetitive, although well played. The repetitive "Abbadon's bolero" sounds a bit like Triumvirat's "Dance on the volcano" track; I prefer the work on the Triumvirat's album.

On the other side of the album, the first track, "Endless enigma", takes too much time to start, and I find its rhythm too slow for the genre. "Fugue" is a wonderful complex piano track, which is, again, very expressive. "Endless enigma part 2" is excellent and very catchy. "From the beginning" is a beautiful acoustic guitar track accompanied by Lake's mellow voice, which can easily be played during a warm summer night, in front of a fireplace. On "The Sherriff", the loud Hammond organ and Lake's voice do sound at the same time in different orientations, which may be annoying for some people; this track ends with a fast and funny saloon piano. Finally, "Hoedown" can almost be danced, showing that the present rhythm is catchy and well addictive.

Review by daveconn
5 stars "Trilogy" is a challenge to the status quo of popular music, a confident coronation of majestic tendencies seen on "Tarkus" and "Pictures...". Though Peter Sinfield had yet to join, ELP's lyrical vision is hardly clumsy here, suggesting a literate bravado. This combined with what handily represent the band's most artful arrangements ("The Sheriff", "Hoedown") take the band to a new level. No longer are they flinging arrows at the battlements of mediocrity and fear (as "Tarkus" did), but on "Trilogy" the trio has scaled the wall and assumed the mantle of the new musical vanguard that CRIMSON wore but briefly. On "Trilogy", we meet new feats that were later equalled but never bettered: the almost offhand genius of "The Endless Enigma" and "Trilogy", the compelling tale of "The Sheriff", a sublime ballad in "From The Beginning", and the energized interpretation of Aaron Copland's "Hoedown".

If "Trilogy" and the subsequent "Surgery" rank among the trio's great achievements, it's no accident. "Tarkus" took them in a new direction, and their musical styles flourished in this conjoined creative environment. It's not simply that they complemented one another, but that they drove one another to excellence. Listen to Keith Emerson's spacey solo on "From The Beginning", Carl Palmer's tireless rhythms on "Trilogy", or Lake's brave handling of "The Sheriff", and you'll hear how each member could push the dialogue past old boundaries. Though it proved to be an unsustainable level of activity, "Trilogy" remains one of ELP's finest achievements, and thus one of the great records in the annals of progressive rock. It's amazing to think that listeners would soon dismiss this music in favor of punk, when the same revolutionary sentiments are at work in each. Of course, prog (at its best) required superlative musicianship, while punk crashed down the gates to let anyone in. Both will become blips in the big musical screen with time, but with the distinction that punk coldcocked convention while prog (in the person of works like "Trilogy") outdueled it in a swordfight of youthful grace matched with an admirable cunning.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars MASTERPIECE!!!

ELP had reached their peak and this album is a prove of that.

The hard Modern/Romantic Russian Classical influence in Keith Emerson's keyboard is softened by the powerful voice and bass of Greg Lake, plus the always precise drumming of Carl Palmer.

If I had to stay with one track, I will go for Trilogy this beautiful and complex song defines what the term Progressive Rock means.

This song has classical influence, abrupt changes, wonderful keyboards and it's perfectly worked from the start to the end, almost as a classical piece, starts soft and gains strength until they reach the peak at the middle of the track and begins to slowly fade to prepare the ending.

The weaker song (in this album context) is IMO Abaddon's Bolero, but all the rest is outstanding, even "The Sheriff" often described as mediocre and out of place by some critics.

A must have for every prog' fan.

Review by richardh
4 stars Solid album that consolidated ELP's position of high standing within the prog fraternity.Not a single bad track ,I particularly like Emersons use of polyphonic synths on 'Abaddons Bolero' to create an orchestral feel a la Walter Carlos.Other stand out tracks include the instrumental cowboy music inspired peice 'Hoedown' and the beautifull Greg Lake song 'From The Beginning'.But as I said there's nothing here to quibble about although I have to hold back giving 5 stars as there was still better to come!
Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars To me, "Trilogy" feels quite different to other ELP albums. Of course there are similarities but, to me, this album seems less bombastic and more measured somehow, and does not have the full-on intensity of their other albums. Even the airbrushed cover photograph of the band, sideways on, looking out over a glorious sunset on the back cover, seems mellower and somehow more sophisticated; less brash than the other albums. Yes, there are some heavy moments here, but there are some calmer, studied moments too. Lake said that the band took a lot of time and care creating this album, and I can believe it. Additionally, the production is good, the sound crisp and clear.

'The Endless Enigma' starts with some quiet percussion from Palmer, rather like a heartbeat, and Emerson's synthesiser sounding initially rather like a calling night bird. Then Emerson introduces piano, synthesizer and, briefly, a zourka before the track speeds up and becomes heavier. As far as I can determine, the zourka is a Tunisian wind instrument with a double reed, about 30 cm in length and with 8 finger holes. Lake's clear tenor voice then comes in, backed by some thumping bass in places. The song is divided in two by 'Fugue', which has some excellent piano playing from Emerson with Lake's bass playing nicely in the background and Palmer's triangle adding a nice touch; the sound of the Steinway piano is superb. The music changes mood and melody significantly through the pieces: some quiet, some heavy and full of passion. Emerson's synthesizer then emulates bells and trumpets (wonderful sound) and Lake belts out the end of the song.

'From The Beginning' is excellent. Lake's acoustic guitar and clear voice do the song justice. This is a man's love song: unsentimental and matter-of-fact. "There might have been things I missed, but don't be unkind, it don't mean I'm blind. Perhaps there's a thing or two: I think of lying in bed. I shouldn't have said, but there it is", with the refrain "You see, it's all clear, you were meant to be here from the beginning." The tune is lovely, and this is my favourite Lake ballad. Towards the end he brings in electric guitar, which sounds warm and very slightly SHADOWS-like, and then Emerson brings in some gorgeous synthesizer that gently whistles, buzzes and bubbles over Lake's strumming. To me, the album is worth it for this track alone.

'The Sheriff' is a good song in my opinion - I like the tune. As the name suggests it has a Wild West feel musically, and lyrically the Wild West is indeed the theme. This is a well-crafted piece of music, as it conveys the intended mood very well. Emerson's ubiquitous honky-tonk piano makes a satisfying appearance at the end.

'Hoedown' is ELP's interpretation of modern American composer Aaron Copland's 'Hoe-Down' from his ballet score "Rodeo." Instead of violins we have Emerson's Hammond and synthesizers taking the lead. Emerson unashamedly borrowed from classical composers, simply because he liked the music and knew a good tune when he heard one. The piece is infectious, and you can almost picture the cowpokes prancing to this. Some of Copeland's music is wonderful, and Emerson later also borrowed Copeland's 'Fanfare For The Common Man' for "Works, Volume 1".

'Trilogy' is a song very much over piano to begin with. Emerson's piano again sounds the business: crisp, clear Steinway, and the introductory part of the track sounds very Gershwinesque. Later Emerson brings in Hammond and synthesizers and really rocks it up in a very pleasing way during a long instrumental section, before Lake's vocals come back in briefly. This track works well. Palmer's percussion is, as ever, excellent. I really like the way he uses a range of percussion instruments throughout the album - you can pick out little sounds here and there that are effective and pleasing.

'Living Sin' is a heavy, dark sounding track. With Lake growling low in his throat in places, he gives this track a very seedy undertone: "If you never saw it coming, Hooked you up with Coca-Cola coming, Nice and slippery."

'Abaddon's Bolero' is presumably ELP's musical interpretation of the prophesy in Revelation. Abaddon is Hebrew for "destroyer" and, according to Revelation, Abaddon is the destroying angel king who ascends from the unlocked Abyss with an army of fallen angels and demons, overpowers human governments, and takes over the Earth (but not for eternity). The army takes the form of golden-crowned locusts with scorpion-sting tails, lion-like teeth, and human-like faces with woman-like hair, and their remit is to torture for five months using their stings all humans who do not bear the seal of God on their forehead. If you are an ELP fan these creatures may sound a little familiar. That's because they are somewhat similar to the Persian manticore, the mythical beast - and epitome of tyranny and evil - introduced in ELP's second album "Tarkus".

'Abaddon's Bolero' starts, very quietly, as a repetitive marching tune with Palmer's drumming rat-a-tat-tat and Emerson adding layers of synthesizer and Hammond bit by bit; first 'flutes', then 'trumpets' and perhaps also 'bagpipes'. Lake's bass calmly supports all this as the instrumental piece builds slowly but surely. I can't help whistling along to this. Initially the image I get is more of a marching Roman legion or Highland Regiment than an army of demonic beings. The beat is rock-solid and relentless and, whatever this army is comprised of, I get the feeling that it is going to flatten everything in its path. Most of the track does not give me a sense of foreboding, but towards the end Emerson adds very fat synthesizer and 'clarions', giving the music a more malevolent feel as the army accelerates forward, and the track ends abruptly, presumably as mankind is overcome. An interesting and evocative piece of music, which I like very much.

Another classic Progressive Rock album from the band, and an interesting change from their previous work. I never tire of listening to it, although "Tarkus" is my favourite ELP album. Nevertheless "Trilogy" is also excellent and I would say it is a masterpiece of the genre. Highly recommended.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars I bought this album in 1980, and at that time I remember that it was one of my favourite albums. Today, after a very long time (I don`t remember when I listened to this album for the last time!) I listened again to this album, and I still found it interesting. My favourite song from this album is "Trilogy", with piano, organ and a lot of synthesizers, plus great drums by Palmer. As other reviewers, I also think that this album is more "quiet" in comparison to "Tarkus" and "Brain Salad Surgery". It is more accessible than these two albums. "The Endless Enigma" is like an "Hymn" , similar to "Jerusalem" from "Brain Salad Surgery". "From the beginning" is another of my favourite songs in this album. "The Sheriff" is humorous. "Hoedown" is played slower than the live version included in the "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends-Ladies and Gentleman:E.L.P" album. A very good album in general.
Review by Yanns
4 stars This is a very fantastic album. If you are an ELP fan, like me, you must own this disc. The only reason it is a 4 and not a 5 is because of the fact that it is not a "masterpiece," but it is a very good addition to any prog collection. ELP was the band that got me into prog, and I believe their best disc is Brain Salad Surgery.

The Endless Engima (Part One) - Fugue - The Endless Enigma (Part Two): This song is one of the classic ELP tracks. No ELP fan should be without this song. Emerson's fugue in the middle nicely separates the two parts. Lake's vocals, I think, shine on this song.

From the Beginning: One of my favorite all-time Greg Lake ballads. I love how it gradually builds, and the keyboards show up at the end of the song. As good as Lucky Man for me.

The Sheriff: Many might consider this a throwaway. But it isn't. It's a fantastic song, especially the piano outro. Perfect.

Hoedown: Another classic ELP song. Taken from Aaron Copland's Rodeo, it is the perfect example of Emerson showing homage where homage is due and making the piece his own. People may consider it pretentious, but I do not.

Trilogy: Probably my favorite song. Period. I love it so much, I learned it on the piano. I play all the way up to about the 3:30 mark, when the bass kicks in (which could be my favorite riff ever). Perfection in 9 minutes.

Living Sin: Another small one that people consider a throwaway. Although not as good as The Sheriff, it is still very good. It has very different vocals than normal for ELP, but they are great once one gets used to them.

Abaddon's Bolero: Now, people really knock this song. I won't knock it as much, but it is probably responsible for making this a 4 star album instead of 5. A bit too long, I do enjoy the song, but sometimes, it drags. (For those of you who don't know, Abaddon is the term for the devil, used in the Bible. What its significance here is, I don't know.)

Overall, I love this album, and if you like ELP, you will like this too. Absolutely, buy it. Highly recommended. 4 stars.

Review by Marc Baum
4 stars Anyway, "Trilogy" is a successor, no real fan was disappointed as this came out in '72 (the prog scene was right up there to reach their peak), it includes with "The Endless Enigma part 1 & 2" one of the biggest classics the band ever recorded, but in comparison with the one year later appearing masterpiece "Brain Salad Surgery" this record seems to lack on some very few moments. Don't get me wrong, this album is from the classic era of ELP and shouldn't be overlooked. This record got a commercial edge in some moments, but in a positive way. I think that the song "Living Sin" sounds a bit out of place with it's "evil" vocals, but that's a question of personal opinion. The other highlights of "Trilogy" alongside the earlier mentioned "The Endless Enighma" are the title track (where key-god Keith Emerson shows what's his destination), the great instrumental "Hoedown" and the quiet ballad "From The Beginning" (nice acoustic guitar!). The album is the important previous step to their creative peak on "Brain Salad Surgery". A must-have anyway, like the other records from ELP's early period ('70-'74).
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album has more bright and pleasant feeling as "Tarkus", and I have given it spins more often than that album. Though this is a good record, I still think that they could have done much better as a band! Highlights for me are the wonderful "The Endless Enigma" with "Fugue", ballad "From The Beginning", arrangement of fast classical score "Hoedown" and three-part suite "Trilogy". "Abaddon's Bolero" is a bit boring and the rest of the tracks are quite OK. A classic album but not perfect.
Review by Zitro
4 stars This album reaches the level of The debut album and is as good as that one. One reason may be because Emerson doesn't dominate and there is a balance between the three artists. The other obvious reason, is that the music is very inspired and it shows that effort was put in this work.

The Endless Enigma Suite (8/10) Starts the album with very fast and random grand piano improvisation, and is followed by one of ELPs most underrated songs that is never played live. The song ends with a great crescendo. It is then followed by "From The Beginning" (10/10) which actually is an acoustic ballad piece that actually surpassed the greatness of Lucky Man. The song contains unusual chord progression, which is the main reason the song is so great. Another thing to note is the happy synth solo played by Emerson. The Sheriff (6.5/10) is the usual silly song of ELP but this one has good playing and doesn't bother me. Howdown (7.5/10) is a classic adaptation that is very accessible and many seem to like it. Trilogy (9/10) is one of ELP's best long songs. It starts with a very pretty piano ballad, but then starts having mood and time changes (like Musical Box), including one part where the piano goes berserk and switches to a trance-like synth insanity. I love it!!. The next track (7/10) is s straightforward rock song, and the last song (8/10) is a repetitive song going around the same synth line all the time, but that line is so good, that you do not want it to end. This album, the debut, and Tarkus are for me ELP's best works, and are recommended.

My Grade : B+

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Tue Masterpiece Classic Prog Rock Album

"Trilogy" is for me one of ELP's finest albums and probably the most accessible one compared to other albums released in the early to mid seventies. Not only that, the album was also one of classic progressive rock icons in the seventies altogether with Genesis "Nursery Cryme", "Foxtrot", King Crimson's "In The Court of Crimson King", "In The Wake of Poseidon" or Yes "Close To The Edge", etc.

In July 1972 came Trilogy, another hit album (No. 2 UK, No. 5 US) that included a stirring rendition of Aaron Copland's "Hoedown", which quickly became an ELP staple. One of Greg's ballad "From The Beginning", was their highest- charting American single. Also featuring the sweeping epic "Endless Enigma", "Living Sin" and the title track "Trilogy" marked a move away from heavy sci-fi concepts. - quoted from the nice booklet in the ELP box set The Return To The Manticore.

Yeah, with the above quote I feel like I'm 32 years younger. What a powerful statement about this groundbreaking album! For me it's a luxury knowing that statement as I only could afford to buy the box set (that cost me very serious Rupiahs that I never imagined during my childhood that I would have it) and also each individual album of the band in CD format. I really love ELP's music - they are just terrific. Fabulous. I can only comment that if Greg Lake did not quit King Crimson and formed ELP we wouldn't have the opportunity to see two great prog rock bands King Crimson. Thanks to Rober Fripp that did not give up King Crimson and found out another great vocalist John Wetton. There is always an opportunity in any problem encountered even if we missed great musician like Greg Lake.

The album kicks off with a of bit unstructured arrangement - if we listen to it the first time - with a sort of avant-garde (?) music through the exploration of synthesizer and piano by Keith Emerson augmented with bass and drum works "The Endless Enigma - Part One" (6:41). That's exactly what happen with the first 2 minutes of the song. This kind of music has become the trade mark of ELP music. What follow is a melodic and catchy melody through the vocal of Greg Lake. It's really touchy that reminds me to the band's classic "The Sage" really. It's hard to understand if there is someone who cannot enjoy this track especially the lyrical verse. Greg Lake provides his vocal in low as well as high register notes with full power combined with dazzling drum sounds by Carl Palmer. It clears my head like nothing I've experience in years - it's quite the suave affair, and it's surrounded by many beautiful segments through piano solo exploration during the bridge "Fugue" ( 1:56) that connects the music back to the tagline melody of part one of "The Endless Enigma" into part two that consumes another two minutes of music. Fabulous!!!

It flows wonderfully to great acoustic guitar work to commence "From The Beginning" with kind like distant vocal singing style backed with acoustic guitar fills and percussive. During interlude, electric guitar solo overlay the acoustic guitar and percussive rhythm section; continued amazingly with synthesizer solo. Awesome! The album continues with Keith Emerson's boiling water organ work that dominantly form "The Sheriff" (3:21) combined with inventive drum work by Carl Palmer and bass lines, vocals by Greg Lake. Even though this is a short track but it's an amazing track: great harmonies of music combining piano/organ drums and bass guitar excellently.

"Hoedown" (3:43) which has become ELP's opening track in many concerts after the "Welcome back My Friend" yell. It again features rapid fire organ and synthesizer work by Keith augmented by solid and inventive bass lines by Greg lake and powerful drum work by Carl Palmer. The title track "Trilogy" is one of my many all time favorite ELP tracks. It starts mellow with melodic singing style of Greg Lake accompanied with nice piano - heavily influenced by classical music. My true love is really when the music blasts off altogether (after great piano punches) with all instruments are played in continuous streams of music where bass guitar provides solid beat keeper accompanied with drum. Synthesizer gives its solo for quite reasonable duration throughout the track. Usually I play LOUD at my stereo set during this instrumental part. So uplifting man!

"Living Sin" (3:12) is a beautiful and funny song for me me. Funny? Yeah, because Gregg Lake provides his very low register notes vocal at the intro part but he suddenly sings the high register notes in full power accompanied with accentuated music with organ / synthesizers and drum work. Beautiful composition and very melodic. The song also offers many styles especially during transition pieces. The album concludes beautifully with an instrumental track "Abaddon's Bolero" (8:07).

Overall, it's a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED album If you are new to prog, this album is an excellent introduction to prog rock. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Progbear
3 stars They could have followed up the release of the tasteless "light entertainment" of PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION with pretty much anything, and it would have come as something of a breath of fresh air. This is, of course, another "half-and-half" album like TARKUS. But unlike that album, they've interleaved the good and the bad, forcing you to listen from beginning to end. Is it any wonder I listen to this a lot less than TARKUS?

Let's get the bad out of the way first. "The Sheriff" isn't as bad as some of their, "oh look! We have a sense of humour, too!" songs, but it's still dispensable. "Rodeo" is just more throwaway classical kitsch and the less said about the attempt at sounding menacing on "Living Sin", the better.

High points are easily the album's opening and closing tracks. The three-part "Endless Enigma" houses some of Emerson's most stunning organ playing, and also features a lovely fugal solo piano part in the middle. "Abaddon's Bolero" is a work of striking intensity, building slowly from beginning to end, and emphasizing Emerson's synthesizer work in a memorable way.

The rest of the album is just fairly average. "From The Beginning" was a pleasant Lake folkie guitar tune with philosophical lyrics, and was the band's biggest hit single (in the US, anyway). That leaves the title track, which is rather "Tarkus"-lite; some interesting moments, but not as good as what preceded it.

It's far from their worst album, but all the same, TRILOGY is a bit of a mess. Something like a tossed salad with some ingredients you love and others you can't stand. A cautious recommendation, but get it after you already have some of their better material.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Probably here 4.50 stars would be a better rating. I hesitate to give it 5, even if this album is in a way more consistent (not to mention more accessible) than its powerful follow-up, "Brain Salad Surgery". In my opinion, "Trilogy" is the least self- indulgent of ELP's 'golden age' albums, containing more high-quality music and not so much filler as, for instance, the otherwise magnificent "Tarkus" - a potential masterpiece spoiled by a weaker second half.

"Trilogy" is possibly Greg Lake's finest hour. His singing is superb throughout, even in the untypical "Living Sin", a rather sordid tale with rather odd, half-sung, half- spoken vocals. However, the first part of the title-track is the real highpoint, where he sings to the sole accompaniment of Emerson's piano, sounding poignantly wistful and intensely romantic. Then, after the last, melancholy note has been sung, all hell breaks loose, in the form of Emerson wringing all kinds of weird sounds from his vast array of electronic keyboards, backed by Palmer's metronomically precise drumming. Quite schizophrenic, perhaps, nevertheless one of prog's best moments - the calm before the storm.

The initial, three-part mini-suite "The Endless Enigma" is another of the album's highlights, an excellent example of symphonic prog at its best, while not as movingly beautiful as "Trilogy" 's first half. Lake sings masterfully here as well, as he does on the sweet "From the Beginning", easily the best of his acoustic ballads. Emerson sounds somewhat more restrained here, while he gives his Hammond a brisk workout in Aaron Copland's lively "Hoedown" (which was for some time a regular concert opener for the band). This leaves "The Sheriff", a much better stab at irony than the notorious "Jeremy Bender" and "Benny the Bouncer" - obviously far from being ELP's most memorable track, but undeniably more genuinely humorous and musically valid than the aforementioned songs (good singing from Lake too). Then, Emerson's take on Ravel's "Bolero" theme, titled this time "Abaddon's Bolero", while nothing earth-shaking, is a more than adequate instrumental, with good synth work.

Even if, in some ways, ELP (unlike, for instance, the more accessible Genesis) can be said to be an acquired taste, "Trilogy" - together with their magnificent debut album - would doubtlessly be a good introduction to the band for those who don't know them yet. At least, it was for me: I liked it so much that it left me wanting more - and I've never gone back since then.

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Despite the attractions of "Karn Evil 9", this remains my favourite ELP album. Kicking off with "Endless Enigma" (my favourite ELP track), it fades in gently with synth over a bass drum "heartbeat", before an eastern sounding synth leads into the organ intro. This song features some of Greg Lake's best singing and some great drum work from Carl Palmer. The beautiful piano fugue splits up the two sections of this song. "In the beginning" is a Greg Lake song, some nice acoustic guitar and Emerson chips in a solo at the end. "The Sheriff" has been called an ELP "joke" song, similar to Benny the Bouncer etc, but I've never really thought of it as such. It's an excellent song and I love the Western-style piano ending. "Hoedown" is the opening track from "Welcome Back My Friends" (although played at 100mph on that album) and is an Aaron Copeland instrumental.

It should come as no surprise that the brilliant title track is in three parts. Starting off with a nice piano section with more excellent vocal work, it leads into a manic synth section, followed by a final vocal section. "Living Sin" is probably the weakest number here, although at least Greg Lake shows he can hit the low notes as well as the high ones. "Abaddon's Bolero" is an instrumental consisting of a repeated keyboard riff, which builds up and adds more keyboards as the song progresses. It has been called repetitive but that is the whole point of the song.

Overall I find this their most consistent album, the production (by "are you ready" Eddie Offord) is also the best I have heard on an ELP album. Only "Living Sin" stops it getting a fifth star.

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer were at the height of their career when they released this album, titled Trilogy, in 1972. All of the elements of success are in this album, but did they come out on top? Well, it's one of their better albums, in my opinion, but still, it is far from a masterpiece. After the two epic albums Pictures at an Exhibition and Tarkus, they returned to a more concise format of songs. The results here range from fascinating to mediocre, but doesn't that happen with many albums we listen to, anyway? Let me just say that the musicianship for this album is once again top notch, with each member really showing expertise and mastery of their respective instruments. Keith Emerson once again plays some magnificent organs and synthesizers on this album, Greg Lake plays passionate bass, melodic acoustic guitar, and sings very well, and Carl Palmer keeps the group together with dynamic and lush drumming. All the elements of success are on this album, but does it really come out swinging (and yes, I know I said something similar above)?

The album opens well with the three part Endless Enigma (part 1)/Fugue/Endless Enigma (part 2). Emerson's organs are bombastic and grandiose, Lake's bass is dynamic and intuitive, and Palmer's drumming is melodic and intriguing. It's one of the better songs on the album. From the Beginning is the acoustic piece on the album in the same vein as Lucky Man and Still... You Turn Me On. But instead of it being an entire affair by Greg Lake, the rest of the band gives great performances, especially Carl Palmer, whose percussive work really gives the song a more organic feel. The Sheriff is the jokey song on the album, and it's probably the best song in this vein that the group has ever done. Expect some great piano work from Emerson on this one. Hoedown is the group's really fun piece of the album. A sprawling version of the Aaron Copeland original, Emerson's synthesizers in the beginning give way to a great organ line and some dynamic bass guitar. Trilogy is a nice display of Emerson's organ abilities as well as his synthesizer abilities (as if you can't derive that he's a good keyboardist), and Lake's vocals are great here. Living Sin is a bit of a throwaway number, with an uninspired vocal performance by Lake. And finally, Abaddon's Bolero is a great buidlup piece with some great snare work from Palmer and some more dynamic bass work from Lake.

In the end, Trilogy is one of the better Emerson, Lake & Palmer albums. It is in the same league as their debut and Brain Salad Surgery (which in my eyes are their best two albums). Fans of bombastic and pretentious symphonic prog will find refuge in this album. It should make an excellent addition to anyone's collection. 4/5.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Great album; fine songs; good production (even not liking that much the cover art)! This was a very popular album in early-mid 70s, probably among the Top10 in the sales department as a prog-rock release - deservedly, I think. Well, but the general atmosphere sounds truly dated and so, to review it, I have again to make a time travel and return 30 years-plus ago and place myself in the actual environment, circa 1972-1973, and I can see a much more agreeable panorama, where TRILOGY shines intensely side-by-side with other great prog releases from the same time, coming from Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull et allii.

The initial ensemble formed by 'The endless enigma 1 & 2' and 'Fugue' is really powerful and exciting, the intro shows a mix between space and electronic sounds followed by some gothic interruptions, latin drum beat and oriental tunes only to pave way to one of the most emblematic moments of the symphonic rock. Ah! That's the enigma - the fusion of several styles around rock, the real nature of progressive. Lake's vocals only strengthens this vision and his comrades go high - a song to remember forever and never let it escape from our dreams. The 'Fugue' segment is warm and brief, a comma before the grand finale of the epic, where all members seem truly to be in their peak.

'From the beginning' is one of the most known songs of the EL&P roster, a soft ballad with pleasant playing and singing. The final moog tissue is unforgettable. 'The sheriff' is fair and does a fine counterweight to previous track; no need of skipping here, it's all audible, even the famous Palmer's imprecation!

'Hoedown' is a piece taken from Copland's "Rodeo" that works very well as the album mid-term, now Emerson's keyboards are dominating, the general atmosphere is uprising. 'Trilogy', the title song, has some of the most beautiful musical lines of the entire prog-rock history. Within the song's first part we may glimpse Lake singing as never before and probably as never again. The amazing keyboard section with heavy drumming and steady bass is doubtless the highest album moment.

Finished the emotions of past track we face album's weakest track, 'Living sin' a keyboard-oriented hard-rock, glossless but not sufficient to stain the entire work. 'Abbadon's bolero', the final track is somewhat glorious, even with the obvious shades of Ravel's "Bolero", we smell grace and originality here, an above-the-average ending for a great output. Worth the hearing.

The sum of the entire effort is unequivocal, TRILOGY is a masterpiece, probably the only production to reach that status from EL&P. Final rating: 5.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The time has come to add my personal two cents about this "mirabile opus". The most beautiful ELP's record, Trilogy. In my humble opinion, at least.

I always loved it in a peculiar way and I (still nowadays) prefer it than the (sometimes overrated) glory Brain Salad Surgery. Trilogy has all a symphonic prog lover really needs: from the melodic, warm and soft interludes based on the wonderful and distinctive vocals of Greg Lake to the bizarre and frenetic keyboards' battles where Keith Emerson shows all his talent up to the excess, as we all appreciate from him. Carl Palmer's drums playing is particularly brilliant and powerful as in "Hoedown" where he duets magnifically with such a frenetic Emerson.

Generally Trilogy appears a more equilibrated and convincing record, I think, than the previous and the next ones: "The Sheriff", "Hoedown", "Living Sin" and, above all, "Trilogy" itself which is, without any doubt, the most favourite of mine ELP's track. A fabulous mix between classic music and rock that it's rare to listen to in other ELP's works. Wonderful! The first part opens magnifically and inexorably falls into one of the strongest and memorable performances of the band.

A pure pleasure without any fault. Their masterpiece for sure! No other words needed.

Review by OpethGuitarist
1 stars Bright and jolly, but ultimately tiresome.

After the darker Tarkus epic, ELP produce the much more maligned Trilogy, which seems to be closer to BSS in sound, and as some may know, I feel it's overrated rubbish. Too often I find bands being pardoned for their weak songs as a sign of the band having a "sense of humor". Strange that these ideas are never looked at in another way, in that, maybe others do have a sense of humor, perhaps we have a knack for good comedy, and think of the musicians as just plain bad comedians.

Such is the case with ELP here again, with "The Sherrif" among others. It's just filler for ELP's quest to stray as much from songwriting as humanly possible, to in a strict sense, masturbate with their instruments. Take away the flair, the gaudy lights display and marketing of a big name, and we are left with little substance - little music. ELP are more than able to play their instruments, but as evidenced by the circus of Endless Enigma, the slow and rarely captivating From the Beginning, the "we need an end to this long solo effort" on Trilogy (which actually has a good piano section at the beginning), and the overextended march of Abaddons' Balero, one wonders if ELP ever had a concept for songwriting.

Such is the case for how I see most of this record. If you're looking for virtuosos of the instruments, you will find much better elsewhere, and if you're looking for songwriting you'll find much better across almost all of prog. However, if you are looking for a big show with lots of lights, spazz, and a big name to market, Trilogy might be right for you.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars For a reason I still ignore, I passed over this album at the time of release. I bought "Pictures..." and "Brain Salad..." but not "Trilogy". So, did I miss something at that time (prehistory, actually) ?

I must say that after a long and improvised intro, the opening track really lifts off and displays a very "Tarkus" oriented song. Powerful and bombastic as ELP could be, but at the same time Keith plays the sweetest piano you can imagine (almost classical in fact). The short "Fugue" could not be better to consolidate this feeling. A showcase for Keith only.

The second part of "The Endless Enigma" is again very symphonic and full of grandeur. Lake sounding very nice as usual. There will be several weak songs on this album as well. The first one being "From The Beginning" : a dull acoustic number (Lake's showcase).

"The Sheriff" is a jazzy song, featuring this incredible organ sound which is always a marvel to my ears. Still, the track can hardly be considered as an ELP classic. The saloon part at the end being somewhat useless. "Hoedown" has also a Country & Western flavour, but this type of music has never been to my liking. No change even when ELP adopts it.

"Trilogy" starts with a nice vocal part from Gregg with a very subtle piano from Keith. The song really starts after three minutes and finaly offers the type of ELP music I prefer. But the vocal part is quite hectic from this moment onwards. I would say that this track as a whole is not that great.

But when it is compared to "Living Sin" it is almost a masterpiece. "Living Sin" is the weakest number of the album. It could have sit on the B-side of "Tarkus" if you see what I mean.

It is not the final track "Abaddon's Bolero" that will convince me either. It was quite a deception when I discovered "Trilogy" a few years ago.

The answer to my question at the start of this review, is without doubt : NO, I didn't miss anything. IMO, it the weakest ELP album so far (more to come, unfortunately). I can hardly understand that this album is praised so much, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, three stars.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars A much more even and sharp album then just about every other ELP release, "Trilogy" features dynamic songwriting and very crisp performances from all members; it's easy to hear that they put more effort into making "Trilogy" good from start to finish than on those prior albums; even the rowdy songs sound good.

"Endless Enigma" is a brilliant, textural beginning which concludes in typical ELP bombast, although Lake's vocals are a little too dull to make it a masterpiece. The quality of the three other big songs are, I think, a mater of taste: if the listener likes the sound of Emerson's gigantic keyboard/organ, they're in for a treat; if not, then they're likely to find "Trilogy" a painfully repetitive exercise (with the amazing exception of "From the Beginning", which may not have the typical prog sound, but is my favorite song on this album regardless).

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

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The masterpiece in the shadow of the masterpieces.

The curse of Trilogy is a sweet one, oh, and tacky too: It's a masterpice shadowed by another, even more glorious masterpiece. That "more glorious masterpiece" could be any of the chronologically-neighbouring ELP's studio albums, including the highly-praised Karnival.

Trilogy is so monstrous in its glory that I need some meta-language to describe it. However, since I'm not even near the abilities of Stanislaw Lem's Golem (read the story in case you didn't so) the old-descriptions must suffice:

The Endless Enigma (Part One)/Fugue/The Endless Enigma (Part Two) is a perfect triptych, perhaps defending the title of the album better than the self-titled song itself. If anything on this Earth deserves to be called Clarion Call, that is the intro to The Endless Enigma. The whistling sounds sound like a final call to all creatures great and small. The same goes with added percussions, Middle-Eastern woodwind, grand piano that is examining dimensions. The thing that follows is the most smooth, perfect slope from intro to the driving, complex rocking pattern on Hammond organ, with slight shift in stereo presence just to provoke the listener on the level of one's subconsciousness. The Fugue follows bravely and majestic, followed by the sweetest timbre of Lake's voice and suddenly, we are in the middle of ELP's trademark - a powerful, rocking background for majestic madrigal, stabbed with Palmer's fill-ins and bass pedal inferno. The calming moment is present by a simple but again majestic moment, with use of tubular bells that would never be reached by mortals such are PINK FLOYD or Mike Oldfield. The triptych ends with the repetition of the main theme in a full glory of...adultery between voice and organ, with Emerson's brassiest overdubbed Moog parts to bolden the picture.

After a final crescendo and a calming down of last reverb's reflections, we are aloud to remain in silence for a second or two before the equivalent of the vulgar movie cut, drastically changing the mood, but not the monstrosity and beauty; one of not-so-common moments for this band appears, that is acoustic guitar the will guide us to another sugar-sweet tune, this time more grounded, but no less rewarding. That is From The Beginning, the song that should be censored because of the higher level of endorphin in the brain that it could cause. With a good reason; it simply enough to add the word "perfect" before the tags such are: acoustic guitar, bass, drumming, electric guitar solo and vocals. As a bonus: guitar chords are breaking down all the theories about the bands snobism: because there is no academic education in it, the chords are pure and essential idea: unusual, not too complex, and simply stunning. Drumming is very moderate too, and perhaps this is some kind of peak for Mr. Palmer, and he should be judged by this performance, not by his extended stormy solos. Like all that is not enough, Emerson played the most beautiful synthesizer solos ever, and the cherry on the top of the everything is the timbre - it's certainly the most pleasant one ever produced by an electronic instrument, sort of simple sine wave doubled in octave, with a whisper of buzz somewhere far behind. In a way, like when a human tries to song the melody while whistling it. Very simple. The reason why the song is perfect; it's simple and unpretentious. Now laugh, all of you!

Finished with your laughing? Catching the steam?

Okay, let me proceed: of course, everything else is pretentious and self-indulgent. The band is back on the tracks with The Sheriff, a cowboy jogging that will offend some and slap them in the face with non-pastoral trivia. That is not absolutely true; and neither is true that band wanted to make a step aside with a spice of humour. Well, I simply feel that among many fields within Emerson's repertoire he was quite interested in ragtime - which is very obvious if you pay attention to any of the band's live documents. I dare to say ragtime was the core idea for the song, divided by the rest of the country pyrotechnics by a gun shot - and that is hilarious. And the country is again smoothly in gradation with Hoedown, which is indeed the perfect blend of symphonic and western. But another word of defense for our poor sherif: that's not just your another c'n'w song - if nothing else, forthe sake of those layers of chords and portamento raped on a Hammond organ.

As for Hoedown, as I said so: the fusions. But the laurel leaves and garland should go to Copland at first place. Emerson just took it and made someone that wouldn't be reach for the next 30 years. Finally, we reached the song that proudly bears the album's title - and I will start with the weakest points straight way, and they are a) lyrics and b) the bass sequence in the third part of the song - it was obviously derived from THE NICE's version of Bernstein's America, but that's the end of the story, because everything else must be experienced. Tapestries, layers of synths, organs, howling sounds, buzzing sounds, inferno. And to be honest to the more sublime parts of the song, the capability of Keith's knitting of the melody and chord in the first part is beyond imagination. You must hear it to believe it. I mean, you CAN'T do that, so shamelessly mix different scales and musical styles and make such a gorgeous melody. You can't play simple monophonic synth line over the arpeggiated piano chords and make an illusion of string ensemble in the background!

The following tracks, Living Sin is bellow the standard of the album - which is still a light year from a bad thing. Well, here we have a "Black Sabbath" side of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the guitarless metal, and it's a good rocking tune to say the least.

For the end, the bolero to beat all the boleros, including the mother. Abaddon's Bolero is strictly respecting all the forms of a traditional bolero, and it's monstruous. This should be a school example of layering in music. As for the idea, fell free to check my Tarkus review to see what is this bolero about.

Finally, the curse of Trilogy is revealed, and on a broad daylight it's obvious how enormous value of this record is. I justified all the rating stars with the very intro of the first song. That is 20 seconds of music. And where is another 2400 seconds of music? How many stars should I give to that?

Review by fuxi
3 stars TRILOGY may be less ambitious than BRAIN SALAD SURGERY, but it offers the listener music on a more human scale. While the album does not include any tunes as experimental as "Toccata" or as horribly overblown as "Jerusalem", Greg Lake, ELP's vocalist, never sang more sweetly. It's a pleasure to hear his sensitive contributions to "The Great Enigma", "Trilogy" and "From the Beginning", although heaven only knows what he meant when he wrote things like: "I ruled all of the earth, witnessed my birth, cried at the death a of man" etc...

The main feature which distinguishes TRILOGY from its predecessors is the fact that Keith Emerson finally discovered synths - in a big way. With the help of Lake's confident bass and Palmer's virtuoso drumming, he uses the dozens of new colours at his disposal to create music that's almost symphonic in scope. The most impressive example of his orchestrating powers is "Abbadon's Bolero", which sounds more mechanical than Ravel's familiar piece, and less seductive, but which is nevertheless a kind of triumph.

At the same time, Emerson remained impressive as ever on Hammond organ and grand piano. The fugue he inserts into "The Great Enigma" sounds more virtuosic than anything Tony Banks or Rick Wakeman ever wrote or played. His organ solo on "Living Sin" is a dirty, living, breathing thing - the kind of performance only Emerson could pull off. I even enjoy Emerson's 'country and western' leanings on "The Sheriff", and I feel it was a masterstroke to have them followed by Aaron Copland's "Hoedown", which gets a performance that really is more flexible and exciting than the original orchestral version.

TRILOGY may not be one of prog's mature masterpieces, but it's excellent fun from start to finish.

Review by jammun
4 stars Trilogy's the third studio album from ELP.

How rabid were we to get our hands on this, back in the day? We had a friend who owned a record store. It was a Friday. Distributor told her he'd have the album to her on Monday. What??? How about we drive 100 miles and pick up her shipment, on Friday. Done deal.

So how good was the album? It was worth everything we went to get it two days early. Now? Still a solid outing from ELP, though, as always with ELP albums, flawed. Endless Enigma, once it finally kicks into gear, is one of ELP's better songs. We also get Hoedown, a concert favorite, and From the Beginning, which deserves special mention because it contains one of Emerson's most succinct and beautiful synth solos. As usual, what was Side 2 of the LP is iffy. The title track is a bit overblown and Living Sin tries but fails to re-create the hard rock of Knife-Edge.

Abaddon's Bolero was jaw-dropping when performed live during this era, which makes the LP version somewhat disappointing. The essence of the song is there, but it fails to capture, probably due to limitations of recording technology at the time, how when performed live the song arose from a whisper -- with each keyboard layer incrementally stacking on top of the previous keyboard layer -- to become a loud and vicious aural (and, in concert, visual) assault that left at least this listener virtually gasping for air. So let's call Trilogy a good 'un; it's still not the great album that was proving to be elusive for ELP.

Review by Chicapah
4 stars Right up front I have to confess to possessing a considerable amount of favorable bias towards this album through no intentional fault of my own. You see, as an adventurous young buck on the NTSU campus in the autumn of '72, I surreptitiously snuck (with her consent, of course) into Cathy O's dorm room via her window one night in quest of hands-on, advanced research concerning the carnal arts (if you know what I mean and I think you do). On her stereo's auto-repeating turntable this admirable and desirable lady had her brand new copy of the "Trilogy" LP. Throughout the course of an intense, study-filled evening neither of us had any interest in changing the record so I heard side 2 of this exemplary album over and over for. well, let's not brag, shall we? Suffice it to say that life doesn't get much better than that particular scenario (prog & passion) and even now when I listen to ELP's "Trilogy" it summons pleasant memories so it's hard to be critical and/or objective in that state of mind. Happy thoughts aside, however, it would more than hold its own as a stellar example of progressive rock, regardless.

With "The Endless Enigma, Pt. 1" a quiet heartbeat accompanied by some eerie synthesizer notes starts things off in a mysterious mood before the space is interrupted by startling piano spasms and wild bongos. Soon the splendid, driving triad of organ, bass and drums intrude, leading you through a very dynamic song structure that climbs to Greg Lake's commanding "Please, please open their eyes!" exclamation that is breathtaking in its massive scope. Things then calm down with Emerson's lone, delicate piano and just let me say here that no one records acoustic piano any better than engineering whiz kid Eddie Offord. It's like you're sitting in the room with a Steinway. "Fugue" reminds me very much of Keith's stellar work on their debut album but this time Lake ably joins in on bass to create a fantastic duet. "The Endless Enigma, Pt. 2" is an obvious continuation of the basic theme but here they employ a deep, cavernous sound that includes clanging mission bells, culminating in a grand ending. Let me tell you, this is one marvelous piece of symphonic prog music.

"From the Beginning" is one of the more unusual hit songs ever in that it climbed to #39 on the singles chart due more to its alluring atmosphere than to some kind of catchy hook. The smooth guitar lead and curious synthesizer tone also contributed to the tune's popularity, as well as Greg's soothing, radio-friendly voice. These boys loved to throw in some levity on their albums (with mixed results) but "The Sheriff" is one of their better whimsical ditties. Featuring a surprisingly syncopated and complex structure beneath the frivolous "cowboy western" lyrics, this song distinguishes itself by incorporating a growling Hammond B3 organ sound layered with an odd piano effect to produce a unique aura. The manic honky-tonk, saloon-style piano work in the coda is a hoot.

What better way to honor one of the 20th century's greatest composers than to perform a bang-up version of Aaron Copland's "Hoedown" segment from his incredible "Rodeo." It's an amazing rendition where Emerson displays his mastery of the virtues of the B3 organ as he employs the many variations of the settings it has to offer. No wonder it was such a concert staple for them. It rocks.

As I explained earlier, side 2 of the LP is branded on my brain forevermore but that's a good thing because it begins with the album's namesake song. (Hey, Cathy could have been heavily into Engelbert Humperdink. Imagine having THAT tattooed on your subconscious!) "Trilogy" features a beautiful opening with Lake singing brilliantly over Keith's piano as they deliver a modern jazz chord progression and an intricate melody. Emerson gracefully segues into a heavy 5/4 riff where his spirited synthesizer ride blows you away. They return to a harder take on the original melody before Keith assaults your senses with another sizzling synth solo as Greg and Carl lay down a remarkably tight rhythm section underneath. When these guys played like this no one could top them. Period.

If there's a lull in the proceedings it comes in the form of "Living Sin." Composed somewhat along the lines of "Knife Edge," it's a riff-based rocker with an odd structure and stabbing accents at the close. It's not a bad number by any means but when compared to the rest of the album it's less than memorable. Synthesizer technology was evolving by leaps and bounds in those days and, on "Abaddon's Bolero," Emerson expertly showcased the state-of-the-art in that division of modern rock music. By adopting the steady layer-by-layer construction technique of Ravel, Keith tastefully introduces a myriad of sounds and textures as the number builds inexorably to its inevitable and definitive CLIMAX. (I know, I know) And don't overlook Lake's inventive bass work despite the implied restrictions he and Palmer are stuck with due to the format. Also keep in mind that in 1972 this was groundbreaking, awe-inspiring stuff that made every keyboard player on the planet yearn to acquire a Moog.

I still consider their stunning debut and the unbelievable "Brain Salad Surgery" to be their masterpieces but this one ain't far behind. While "Tarkus" seemed a bit bogged down and forced, "Trilogy" showed that Emerson, Lake & Palmer were not going to be fading away into some kind of "cult" status anytime soon. Their appeal was widening to include more than just progheads. Even blonde seductresses with gorgeous, waist-length hair like Cathy O were digging on their music and that acceptance flung the marketplace doors open for this talented trio. They had arrived. 4.3 stars.

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars At least they should call the group. "Emerson, with Lake and Palmer". Even that would not be totally accurate, such is the keyboard player's domination of the sound of the group, but since Lake does co-write a lot of the material, he would qualify as a mostly "silent partner", his voice notwithstanding.

This skewed nature of the trilogy would not matter if there was a good deal of enjoyable music to be found herein, but instead we are subject to an ego fest of some of the cheesiest organ and moog sounds to come out in any era, mostly devoid of development, melody and subtlety. Yes I suppose the playing is technically good if emotionally barren. Then there is the fixation with the American wild west, like three British schoolboys would be able to provide us some insight here. Luckily it is laughable.

"The Endless Enigma" and "From the Beginning" show us the capabilities of the group and where they may have gone if not seemingly stuck in pomposity overdrive. The showboating started earlier for ELP than most of the big prog bands and foretold their greater relative decline in respect in the prog community.

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

Probably the best ELP album since Tarkus to our days. But unlike Tarkus, each track is equally wonderful:

Endless Enigma Pt.1, Fugue and Endless Enigma Pt.2 are the perfect introduction to the album, they show Keith's incredible ability in both synths and acoustic piano, Carl's skills at his best on percussions and Greg's wonderful voice and bass with some reminiscense of what he did with King Crimson + some weird philosophical lyrics (in the vein of Crimson's I Talk to the Wind) on Endless Enigma.

From The Begining is Lake's typical ballad (and my favorite one) with really decent lyrics and the keyboards at the end are appropriate (unlike the moog solo in Lucky Man). Followed by the humorous track, The Sheriff (probably the best of its kind) led by Emerson with a Honky Tonk piano.

Then we have Hoedown, an arrangement of Rodeo by Aaron Copland that reminds me alot what Emerson did with The Nice, full with energy and shows Keith and Carl at their best (a direct descendant of Rondo and Pictures at an Exhibition).

Trilogy (the longest track of almost 9 minutes) is a display of Greg's voice and of Keith's ability to play a ballad followed by a very energetic display of their capability as a group full of synths and spectacular drums with a solid bass foundation.... this is, in my opinion, the most tasteful love song ever written by ELP.

Living Sin is a track in the vein of Knife Edge in which Lake alternates his regular vocals with some growls singing some more strange lyrics about sins and twisted stuff, its good but not a highlight.

Abbadon's Bolero its a magnificent piece (an adaptation from Ravel...sort of a military march) that closes the album in a beautiful way.

This is a very underrated album but its a masterpiece of prog and music in general with no weak tracks (even the ballad is strong and somewhat complex) and really cohesive.

Tarkus, for some reason, is closer to my heart but this one has just as much quality and I like it better than the second side of Tarkus (which I also enjoy).

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars ELP released Trilogy as their third studio release in three years. This one really hits the mark as well did all of the 4 they had written and recorded from 1970 to 1973. This one has a very friendly or light feel to it. This one was also really a studio album as they had done so many production techniques and overdubs that a lot of it couldn't be reproduced live. All in all though it is a most satisfying and complete recording.

From the opening notes of The Endless Enigma you know you are in for something special. I consider the first three songs to be one suite and it moves seamlessly through each section. From the majestic chords of the chorus to the romantic piano offerings in the fugue section the piece runs the whole gambit without wasting space. Follow this with From the Beginning the best ballad in ELP's selection. This one is a group effort and not a solo Greg Lake song. The acoustic guitar solo and synth solo at the end givers what a DJ said a long time ago and eargasim. Some people don't like the Sheriff but this is part of ELP's sense of humor and I don't mind these songs. This one is almost a hinge between the first and second part of the album. The great Aaron Copland adaptation of Hoedown which was double timed live is presented in a slower stage here but still very well done. The next three are all fine songs and Trilogy maybe the best single song ELP ever wrote. Moving from pastoral piano to highly charged synthesizer held together with Greg Lakes beautiful vocal.

I have always thought that you would be hard to argue against that ELP's first 4 studio albums in 4 years were one of the best streaks of any band anywhere. It is one of the best albums period by anyone. 5 stars.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
4 stars Trilogy was ELP's third album, and a much improved effort over the preceding Tarkus album. One of the most obvious ongoing issues I have with ELP albums is the amount of half-baked ideas, and even downright silly ones, just thrown together to fill up the space on an album. Typically these kinds of songs end up in some band member's closet, only to see the light of day as a CD remaster bonus track or inside a box set designed for the die-hard fan. ELP actually puts these on their studio albums instead of waiting around for their collective brains to do something amazing. Fortunately, Trilogy shows much less of that, although it is still present with songs like The Sheriff, Living Sin, and even Hoedown which seems out of place (although it is a live favorite of fans).

Another improvement in the ELP sound is Emerson's use of many new synthesizers (earlier ELP was more organ- and piano-dominant), adding much more depth. The Endless Enigma suite (first three tracks of the album) is one of ELP's better compositions. Probably the most interesting track is the closer, Abaddon's Bolero, which builds layer upon layer eventually building up to a wall-of-sound ending. Most likely inspired by Ravel's famous Bolero. Another track worth mentioning is Greg Lake's From the Beginning, which is mostly an acoustic guitar piece with layers of electric guitar and closing with a synthesizer solo, somewhat following the formula used on Lucky Man. It got some radio play, enough to give it a brief stint on the US Top 40.

Much better than the Tarkus album as a whole (though not as adventurous as the Tarkus epic) and slightly better than their debut album. A nice starting point for newbies to the band and an excellent acquisition for fans of symphonic prog. Four stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
5 stars 3

Emerson Lake & Palmer's third studio album is one of their very best and the group's first truly mature effort. The very best tracks come at the beginning of the album with the absolutely superb three part composition The Endless Enigma and Greg Lake's best ballad From The Beginning which is in the tradition of Lucky Man from the self-titled debut and Still ... You Turn Me On from the subsequent Brain Salad Surgery.

The Sheriff brings in a bit of comedy and plays the same role in this album as Jeremy Bender had done on Tarkus and Benny The Bouncer would later do on Brain Salad Surgery. Hoedown is an adaptation of a composition by Aaron Copland that became a live favourite for the band.

The second side of the album is not quite as strong as the first but still has some high quality songs. Living Sin is a slow, heavy rocker in the vein of Knife-Edge from the band's debut album. Abaddon's Bolero is pleasant but tends to become a little bit repetitive towards the end.

An excellent album, highly recommended!

Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars Apart from their amazing debut this is a band I just can't get into. It really seems like Keith Emerson dominates this album from start to finish, leaving Lake and Palmer in the background much of the time.

"The Endless Enigma (Part One)" opens with spacey sounds as outbursts of keys come and go until we get a full sound 2 minutes in. A calm with vocals follows. This contrast continues. "Fugue" features impressive piano melodies throughout as it blends into "The Endless Enigma (Part Two)".This is very similar to "Part One" really. "From The Beginning" is my favourite song along with the title track. Intricate acoustic guitar to open, then Lake starts strumming his guitar as vocals come in with percussion. I really like the melancholic mood on this one. Synths after 3 minutes.

"The Sheriff" begins well with the synth / drum intro. A story is told on this one. I don't like the rag-time ending at all. "Hoedown" is an uptempo instrumental with Emerson leading the way. "Trilogy" is lead by vocals and piano until a full sound arrives 3 minutes in. I like the drumming 6 1/2 minutes in. "Living Sin" is where Emerson shines once again. The vocals are different on this one. "Abaddon's Bolero" features these marching style drums and synths throughout.

Sure this has it's moments, but man I can't really get into this one at all.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars ELP third album Trilogy from 1972. Well i'm not so impressed like many reviewers from here. Quite less enjoyble than the predecesor, wich i find it the best ELP album ever, and one of the best albums from prog music, this one TRilogy sounds very good sometimes and sometimes very boring. The musicianship is like always tight, each one being master at the instrument he plays. Now the music sound very uptempo with great keys interplays, warm vocals, but someting is not the way should be, not so well written like on Tarkus. Like other reviwers observe this album is purely dominated by the master Keith Emerson who thake the lead everytimes possible. Anyway this is my no means a weak album, some pieces are still strong enough to capture the auditorium like:The Endless Enigma (both parts) and the titled track, on both tracks i like the escapades Emerson make on mellotron, the rest are only good. I think with all that this is a 3 star album , i might give it as recomandation, but only if you listen the first two ELP albums before thi sone, and aswell if you like keyboard orientated symphonic prog albums. 3 stars, good but sometimes uninstristing. still the musicians remains on a high level in music with this one.
Review by TGM: Orb
4 stars Review X, Trilogy, ELP, 1972

Trilogy is one of those albums that I think you have to hear as a whole to really appreciate, and that's bizarre given how little connection there is between the pieces. The remastering job's great, I think, which only helps the album convey it's musical content well. More importantly, the original album represents a great, landmark work of one of the progressive giants, and an important step in the use of synthesisers. Emerson never had better keyboard tones, either on organ or synths, and his willingness to use frequently his whole arsenal pays off brilliantly. However, I can't see the keyboard w**kfest that some have described it as. The pieces are pretty balanced, Lake and Palmer are both supportive and active throughout, and the reason Emerson's playing a lot is simply because he's part of a trio. No filler here either, to my ears. Nonetheless... I think it's a vital album, and a masterpiece.

If there's one piece, in any genre, even in prog, which oozes epicness from every single pore of its being, The Endless Enigma is it. Demi-nonsense, speculative lyrics sung in the regal 'this-is-the-word-of-Greg-Lake' mode, grandiose organ and solid piano bass clef backing. Carl Palmer's drumming comes in bursts of energy and tension, while Lake provides a very likeable whirling bass tone. A dramatic piano leads us down into the piano Fugue (with just the tiniest slip on the transition), which is essentially a showcase for Emerson's piano range, nabbing a couple of more unusual tones in between the standard classicals. Lake provides a touch of interplay, and Palmer's entrance on chimes, percussion and finally tubular bells provides pure, unadulterated grandeur. An even more epic reprise of The Endless Enigma leads us on to the wailing synth and voice ending. Not my favourite piece ever, but the sense of scale created is nonetheless pretty sweeping.

From The Beginning sort of contrasts to the opening suite. From the utmost grandeur to a very low-key, heartfelt ballad. I've seen the criticism that this was the obvious opener, but somehow this is the order that feels natural to me... the universal context then the personal one. Besides, no way you can put the monster that is The Endless Enigma anywhere except at the start. Regardless, enough about that... the piece is a particular standout for Greg Lake, with his fantastic voice, a bubble-blowing (to nab a phrase used of a Sinclair solo somewhere) guitar solo, some fairly neat and very moving classical-edged acoustic guitar and most of all a very directional and well-aimed bass part. Palmer has restricted himself to a fairly simple hollow drum thing (sounds vaguely like a bongo), but it works perfectly for the piece, and I appreciate the effort of the drummer to contribute properly in a soft acousticy piece. Lastly, at the end of the piece, an indescribable synth part from Emerson takes the lead. I'd certainly consider this song progressive, even if it is a ballad, and, regardless of progness, it's a very moving song.

The Sheriff is perhaps the most underrated piece ELP have ever done (except some of the Palmer bits on Works side 3, but...). It opens with a loosely disguised 20-second drum solo before the killer organ riff sets in confidently and Lake enters with a particularly Elvis-y vocal and a light-hearted set of lyrics. His bass grooves along quietly in the background, as Emerson adds in a bit of saloony piano. Despite the whimsical tap-dancing-with-piano ending, a great short piece, including one of my favourite bits of organ-playing ever. Not a serious piece, but that's half the charm.

Hoedown is one of the few ELP songs I can reasonably expect people to find anywhere... I have four or so versions, I think LOL, which basically vary in how obscenely rapid the keys are. A cover of something Copelandy, with a did-you-get-the-number-of-that-donkey-cart organ part, a load of entertaining, over-the-top synths and a solid backing rhythm section. Needs to be heard to be believed. Coincidentally, there's a live version of this as a bonus track on the remaster... good, and fairly individual, but neither that nor the studio version here are as classy as the Welcome Back My Friends rendition.


If I had to hold up one track as an example of what ELP did and could do, this, not KE-9, The Three Fates or Tarkus, would get my support. The mixture of beautifully-handled classical influence, rock innovation, group cohesion, moving lyrics and multiple moods are exactly what has made the progressive genre so enjoyable for me. A blissful piano introduction supports Lake's soft vocal and very touching lyrics (But though I smile/You know the smile is only there to hide/What I'm really feeling deep inside/Just a face where I can hang my pride). A suspended piano note hanging in the piece signals an impending transition, supported by a couple of Palmer swirls, before Emerson masterfully takes his piano in a juxtaposed descending cadence and defiant recalcitrant spiralling notes to a spaced-out synth solo, replete with a kicking Palmer beat, providing a sort of punctuation to the swirly web of notes, and gritty Lake bass. A bass-driven section quite reminiscent of parts of Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt. 1 leads us onto the catchy organ melody supplemented by a tongue-in-cheek synth, underlaying the positive and evocative vocals that will feature again towards the end of the piece. Lake's bass provides a couple of the directional changes, and this could possibly be my favourite bass on an ELP song... but maybe that's just me. A vital listen, if only for an example of how to do synth tones... defined and effective, not too clear to be edgy, and not too noise-clustered to be musical... not to mention, the mock-blues ending is quite amusing in its own way.

The following Living Sin is a neat contrast. A bizarre progressive pop melodies meet rock feel song driven by a range of infectious menacing organ melodies and Palmer's fantastic supportive drumming - emphatic directional bursts, mini-solos full of energy and a sort of unrestrained kick-within-the-beat thing all add lots to the piece. Over the top of these driving elements, Lake's moody, sullen vocal wails away in a Cat-Food-with--just-a-hint-of-misogyny style, while Emerson alternates between fantastic organ flourishes and synthy whhhhhowws. The best bit of the song is either the absolutely fantastic organ sound Emerson gets on the choruslike parts or the 'silence! never did warn you 'bout the one-night-lover!' (could be 'never did wanna buy a one-night-lover!'... sounds great either way, and ELP were never about the lyrics) bit, which features truly awesome organ soloing, Lake sort of holding the section at a slightly more emphatic level than the rest of the piece through his bass part and that rather poppish percussion sound that I'm embarrassingly fond of mixed with some balancing drum taps. A fairly whimsically inserted bit of grandiose synth flourish with a characteristic Palmer roll underneath it leads us up to the end. Initially, it's the sort of song which you hear the first time and think 'I probably shouldn't like that' but ...its prog credentials are certainly there inside the actually quite melodic mock aggression... and I maintain that it's a damn good tune.

To end this superb album, we have an interpretation of Ravel's Abaddon's Bolero, developing from virtually solo whispering organ with an assertive classical drum part from Palmer and some part of the original seemingly being taken up by Lake on bass to an overspilling, bluesed-out-wails-all-over-the-place, tentatively (well, on my part, not on the band's) headbanging monstrosity. The only ELP track, if I remember correctly, to feature a (tasteful and background... I'm not actually sure whether that's just a synth and the 'tron was for the tour) mellotron, played by Lake. What's so remarkable about the piece is that the synth tones are light, expansive and not particularly defined (especially compared to some of those on Trilogy or The Endless Enigma) and yet they really do manage to come together in such a way as to rock. I'm not sure if it's the blues-reminiscent phrasing or the relative strength of the synth parts, or the simple fact that Palmer's drumming is getting louder as the piece moves on, but tones that shouldn't rock do. Can't say fairer than that for successfully pulling off a piece in spite of listener pre-conceptions. Masterful work.

I'd call this album entirely essential to anyone interested in progressive rock, even those who aren't the biggest fans of ELP. The synth tones are fantastic and highly unusual for the time, the songwriting's great, and every track, even those which initially seem a bit less challenging, is a progressive gem. I prefer ELP to this one, but I'd still call this one a masterpiece by any standard.

Rating: Five Stars Favourite Track: Trilogy, maybe. A lot of good stuff here.

Edit back to five. Decided that my rating was based mainly on a desire to be a bit harsher in general, so axed it

Edit edit: Then decided I was being a bit harsher in general, and given this isn't one I'd instantly think of picking for a masterpiece list,I figured that a four was maybe more just both to other fives and other fours.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer's third album is the definition of mediocrity. There is no masterpiece like "Tarkus" to save the album, and the songs that are here range from excellent to poor. I don't see this as a Keith Emerson solo album, as some others have derisively commented, any more than any of ELP's other albums were Emerson solo efforts; as Greg Lake and Carl Palmer consist of the rhythm section, it is to be expected that Emerson will be at the musical forefront of the trio. Unfortunately, though, composition takes a backseat to extended soloing and repetition.

"The Endless Enigma (Part One)" The album begins with the sound of a heartbeat and some lonely, spacey synthesizer. There are moments of jarring bass notes played on a piano before the song proper begins. The piano then doubles the organ runs, and soon it's classic ELP we're hearing. The vocal section sounds similar to a hymn. Sometimes Lake sings over Emerson's quiet organ, and sometimes over the explosive sound of the full band. This is the tightest composition on the album.

"Fugue" This is a lovely piano interlude (accompanied by the bass guitar later on), and has the task of bridging the two parts of "The Endless Enigma."

"The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" The second part starts with a jaunty little introduction featuring piano, bass, and drums. After a brief synthesizer interlude, Lake reprises the melody from the first part before the song comes to a grandiose end.

"From the Beginning" Of all the acoustic pieces Greg Lake ever wrote for ELP (perhaps aside from "The Sage"), this one is the best. It has a numinous feel conjured by acoustic guitar, lazy electric guitar, spacey synthesizer, and sparse drumming.

"The Sheriff" This far sillier song begins with Carl Palmer drumming (and cursing, if you listen closely). It is one of ELP's few narrative songs, and quite frankly, isn't very good, particularly with Lake's singing, which is all over the place. The organ playing in the middle is decent, but the honky-tonk piano that ends the song is simply ludicrous.

"Hoedown" The final part of Aaron Copland's Rodeo is given the ELP treatment, full of synthesizer and organ. It makes for a great opening track for a greatest hits collection or a live album, such as how it was used on Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

"Trilogy" The title track begins with a short synthesizer section, followed by virtuosic piano playing and Lake's singing. Three minutes in, the song begins its Moog-heavy theme in 5/4, during which Emerson takes center stage. Lake eventually begins singing again, but the music almost borders on ridiculous. It is a stark contrast to the beautiful piano-laden music heard in the first three minutes. After the second vocal section, there is additional synthesizer soloing. In a final moment of ridiculousness (for this song, not the album, sadly), the band ends the piece with an old-time stripper riff.

"Living Sin" Insane organ music and Lake singing in an unsettling deep voice are what this song is all about. It's fairly bland, really, without much going for it, save that halfway through, the song begins to sound more like ELP, and in that respect, makes it tolerable.

"Abaddon's Bolero" One might be tempted to label this lengthy piece repetitive and uninteresting, since it does replicate the same riff over and over, only layering it with more and more instrumentation as the music progresses. For much of the piece, Palmer restricts himself to a lone, marching snare drum. Lake's bass is barely a part of the music. The additional instruments added on to the music do lend it a modicum of appeal, but not nearly enough to make this fresh. It is, I'm afraid, a weak closing piece, perhaps used as an opportunity to show off Emerson's wide array of Moog sounds.

Review by ghost_of_morphy
4 stars I so want to give this five stars. There are so many great musical moments on it. But four stars it is because of two weaker tracks.

Here's the breakdown.

The Endless Enigma (Part One)/Fugue/The Endless Enigma (Part Two)

This all gets lumped together because it all runs together, and it's a very nice melange. We have the avant-garde elements that we heard in Tocatta combined with the classic ELP sound (best examplar would be Karn Evil 9 part 3) and Keith's virtuoso piano. These tracks may be a bit difficult for a casual listener but any prog head will find them very rewarding.

From The Beginning

The song that features Lake is also very strong. It's not quite as catchy as Still... She Turns Me On, but it still shows of Lake at the height of his talents and the lyrics aren't nearly as insipid.

The Sheriff

Easily the lowpoint of the album. I want to like this, but I just can't. Emerson does his keyboard magic at half speed and all of the magic leaks out of it. Not enough rock, not enough good lyrics, ultimately not enough interest. This is the song that robs the album of 5 stars.


One of the joys of listening to ELP is hearing their take on classical masterpieces. It's not always an unalloyed joy (why in the hell did they have to add lyrics to The Great Gate at Kiev) but in general the adaptations are great. This is the gold standard in ELP's classical adaptations, and it's fairly faithful compared to some others. Anybody know if Emerson ever covered another Copeland work, Appalachian Spring? Feel free to send me a private message with the info if he did.


Outside of the Karn Evil 9 tracks, this may be the highest quality progressive work that ELP ever did. A very nice song in three parts that shows you exactly what ELP was all about back in the day.

Living Sin

This is the other weak track, but unlike The Sheriff it just wallows in mediocrity, not in badness. I can see the guys thinking that the driving drums, the weird vocals, and the plodding melody line are the height of coolness. Well, they aren't, but it is listenable if your expectations aren't set too high.

Abaddon's Bolero

Ok, it's a great track.... BUT....

One of my treasured possessions is a boot from a Madison Square Garden concert. This has sort of spoiled this track for me. The possibilities of a full orchestra on this make this an absolutely amazing track, and it reaches heights the album can only glance at. (After all Keith only has two hands and an orchestra has many, many hands.) But I ramble on.

What's good about this version is Keith's flying improvs over the main melody in the second half (other than the strong melody to begin with, that is.) But if you ever happen to see a version of this done with live orchestra, GET IT!!!

So anyhow, this one reaches for masterpiece status, but doesn't quite make it. What a shame.... ELP was too adventurous and eclectic to fill a vinyl with songs that would please everybody. Anyhow, 4 stars.

Review by crimson87
5 stars Trilogy is probably the most consistent ELP release , since there are no weak tracks in the album.Probably this is their less bombastic release dureing their golden era , whatever that means. The fact is Trilogy pushed ELP into the highest realms of the progressive rock scene , with legendary sold out concerts in the US , Europe and even Japan. I laugh when they call ELP's music cold since to drive japanese people mad like it happened in Osaka , your music must be highly emotional.

The odd thing is , this album is somewhat forgotten because of it's place between two of the most known records of the genre. Moreover , lot of the songs here weren't performed on live shows one case is the title track , the other ones are both the opener and closer.

The Endless Enigma looks like a prequel to Jerusalem to me. For a group that has been critizised for being bombastic and loud , this tune shows all the opposite. The Fugue played by Keith , which is less that 2 minutes long , it still good enough to be among his best compositions. Lake's singing is as strong as ever fitting well with the grandeour this piece has.

The second song of the album is the almost obligatory ballad by lake , From the Beggining.There is not much to say about it since it was one of the biggest hit singles ELP had. In my opinion From the beggining is , with the exception of The Sage , the best of this kind of numbers by Greg Lake.Same thing goes for The Sheriff , out of the ragtime pieces this one is the less jokey of them all with the exception of the gunfire at the ending. One of the reasons this album was so popular was that it was more accessible , proof of that is the classical remake Hoedown which is very well known and ELP's version is just under the 4 minute mark. This version is a lot more slower than the Welcome Back one.

Now we get to the title track. Trilogy is the best number the album offers us , it starts out really calm with some classical piano by Keith and then it transforms into a synthfest! Once again BOMBASTIC is the word. Carl Palmer does a great job behind the kit to keep up with Emo's fingers. It's a pity that this song was hardly played live and the reason behind that is that Keith overdubbed many layers of keyboards which were impossible to play by one keyboardist.

Living Sin , is a hard rock number much like Knife Edge or A time and a Place. It has some weird vocals at the beggining that were supposed to sound evil , but I can't help but smile every time I heard them. When Lake turns once again to normal mode his voice sounds similar to Lennon's! Also this song features a great middle section by Carl & Keith.

The closer is one of ELP's most exprimental works. Abbadon's Bolero has Keith putting layer after layer of synthetizers (Some may spot a Mellotron) to cheate a piece that builds up minute after minute accompanied by military style drumming.

Suming up , Trilogy may be a good point of entry to those who are unfamiliar to ELP and keyboard dominated prog. It still shows the bombastic side but leaves place to more gentle numbers.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 01. The Endless Enigma (Part One) Never had given me a song so scared about this, his awful beginning gives me chills to this day, I remember like it was today, a friend told me he had this disk, but did not know what was and I said at the time, I brings LP I hear, which took fright at the listening room of the house only with the lamp on! Dark. Those moves such as a heart. At first well short, then a strange melody of keyboards and pianos shocking attacks of the silences between. Emerson knew how to make sound of keys that he carried with you. Enter low mark, while it would mark the Moroccan flute melody, to that between what I would call Sound ELP, keyboards loose while eating Carl and Greg deploy bases perfect. So they enter the voice! My God how anyone can sing as much as the Lake? If you have someone that I wanted that someone would sing it (and then the Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull). Perfect end to a perfect melody. With the sensational low of Lake marking the melodies as the keyboards. Percussion takes care of everything for us to link at the keyboards of Emerson to our minds and hearts ...

02. Fugue Few play piano like Keith Emerson, Leakage in your , He and Greg lake build a perfect partnership. Tons of melodies and counterpoints.

03. The Endless Enigma (Part Two) Concluding what had begun to have part two of the Enigma, beautifully conducted by our three minions of sound.

04. From The Beginning The surprise that I question the Lake of interaction with the guitars, as he can compose songs beautifully so wonderful, I never stop playing the guitar From The Beginning, a melody that is not out of the head. It is so beautiful and melodic. The vocals are so perfect, the low is without a doubt a highlight of the song, along with the keyboards always estupendos Mr. Emerson. And of course do not let talk of soil and full of beautiful melody of the guitar Lke in the middle of the song. Superb!

05. The Sheriff

Sensacional! I always told myself, all of ELP disk must have a ballad of Lake, a leakage of Emerson and of course, a Honky Tonk Western joy for the staff, we have one of the stories of Old West very well conducted by the band. It is fun to hear these songs, as far I know no one else has done something similar. To finish with these crazy land of cowboy. Beautiful!

06. Hoedown (Rodeo) If this is not the trademark of the band I really do not know what is! With a catchy melody and dancing at the same time is able to snatch up the most unwary travelers of the world the wonders of progressive rock. Three masters of the art of music are working, do not dare disturb! Listen and try not to sing along to the melody, I challenge you!

07. Trilogy

Simple beauty is what you say the beginning, sntetizador piano and setting the tone for Lake that can show how your voice is beautiful. The second part of the disc was higher for the songs, starting with this (8'54). So that leaves us dizzy initial melody comes the second part of the song to understand that everything has two sides, after the simple beauty comes in (as well as in-sas heads) the madness. At a time super broken Emerson shows us how valley. And our two heroes show us how important it is to have a solid foundation for a band. As would be the third part of the music is the unification of two things, the beauty and madness, together in one show us that everything you have two sides, but they can mix at any time without that manages any kind of conflict in world. And gives you Emerson and Moogs. And just an unusual view!

08. Living Sin

Living Sin is totally anarchic, a slight feeling of fear when Greg starts to sing with that tone and serious. He seems not singing. The mixture of sounds of keyboards that Keith can with all that paraphernalia that carries with it is simply wonderful. The second part brings a dubious weight for a band of three components and it does not load the guitar (symbol of the weight) with them.

09. Abaddon's Bolero

Abaddon's Bolero to date (for me) is indecipherable. A very low melody takes the speakers and slowly going in and adding new elements involving the music, the sound will increase (in terms that sound), and when it comes to the summit is already done. (Vai understand these guys, laughs).

Certainly I do not need to talk any more. If you were concerned with what I wrote just above there will not ever be interested!

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 'Trilogy' may not be as good as 'Brain Salad Surgery' or 'Tarkus' but it is still one of the best of ELP.

It begins with the strangely quiet 'The Endless Engima' featuring great vocals from Lake and Emerson pulls no punches on keyboards.

'From the Beginning' is the Lake ballad found on other ELP works. The ladie's favourite, Lake croons as good as ever.

'The Sheriff' is a western style track with old time piano and humourous lyrics.

'Hoedown' is hailed as a classic by many but I prefer the live versions. Emerson really lets loose on this showing his bravura musicianship.

'Trilogy' is the best track on the album with great piano motifs and guitar interludes. It moves through a series of impressions in the same way as a classical piece is structured. Like the astounding 'Tarkus', it is a long, highly complex example of virtuoso playing and showcases in particular Emerson's incredible talents. It's frenetic pace transfixes from beginning to end. It slows in pieces so that we have room to breathe within the wall of sound that is at times suffocating, but then picks up the pace again towards the end.

'Living Sin' is forgettable - in fact, how does this one go again?

'Abaddon's Bolero' is the worst track because it is so interminably dull. It is just one long repetitive motif played over and over till it gets louder and well... I hate it.

There are no bonus tracks but it is a good solid album with highs and lows.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Well, it still amazes me to think of how popular this trio was in the first half of the 70īs producing such complex and intricate mix of classical and jazz music. And itīs easy to see why they were an easy target for rock critics, though. Their sound has very little of what we could call īrockī, much less rock īn roll. Philosophies apart, Emerson Lake & Palmer did give an important contribution to rock music in general and to prog in particular. I myself was never a big fan. I remember I had more respect for them than love. And Trilogy was the sole album I ever had at the period from the band.

Itīs very heavy, difficult to digest music most of the time. Not that itīs not good, but certainly difficult. The only two moments that are easier to get into are the acoustic From The Beginning (one of their best simple songs) and the brilliant arrangement they did for Aaron Copelandīs Hoedown, which, by the way, became a kind of trademark for ELP. Great moog solo and ELP never sounded so tight. Iīve been always a big fan of Lakeīs beautiful voice and he was a better bass player than I realized back then, but even Carl Palmerīs stunning drum technique pales if compared to Emersonīs ego. The guy is simply all over the place (except for From The Beginning). Thatīs ok if youīre a fan of classical piano pieces. And the bandīs music benefits a lot from the CD technology: there are lots of details Iīve never realized when I had it on vinyl.

So today I canīt really say that I became a fan. Most of the time I feel that both Lake and Palmer are only backing musicians to mr. Emersonīs showcase of his skills and musical knowledge. Often melodies and a more balanced arrangement are put aside just for him to show how capable he is to play that difficult piano or synth passage. And still, they were also too good to be ignored. And with at least two classics on the tracklist, I could not rate Trilogy with less than 3 stars. Since after I got the CD it showed me they were even better than I thought at the time, Iīll have to consider that. 3,75 would be the final score for this one. Very good CD from a very important band, but not really all that savoury for my taste.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Trilogy was not the first album I had heard by Emerson Lake & Palmer, but it was the first of theirs I had ever owned. To me, every track on this album is a gem. It's not as bombastic as most of the early ELP albums, as here, Emerson uses (gasp!) subtlety in his approach to the keyboards. While his playing is still amazing, at many points he uses the full pallette of sounds and timbres on his piano, organ and synths, instead of full on hammering. Even The Sheriff, the obligatory honky tonk piece (which I seem to be one of the few here that likes on the ELP albums), is better than most.

But the standouts on this album are The Endless Enigma, Trilogy and Living Sin (by the way, it would be a crime if Emerson doesn't release the arrangement of Living Sin that he and Marc Bonilla have been playing live in recent years).

This one is a classic among the many classics this band once put out regularly.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After Trilogy, ELP stopped making sense for me. An occasional moment of clarity aside, they just continued re-producing average clones of whatever they had done before, making music devoid of heart and purpose. With Trilogy they made the last album that still makes sense.

The Endless Enigma is a difficult one for me, liked it a lot but it now sounds as if Lake had increasing difficulties to come up with anything decent to sing on top of Emerson's classic flirtations. He sounds like a schoolboy chanting an arena hymn here. Whatever, it's a classic.

And then comes From The Beginning. A beautiful piece of music. Couldn't Lake have come up with this tune one year earlier to spice up side 2 of Tarkus? I'm not much of a fan of 70's synths in rock, but that moog ditty at the end here is simply gorgeous. The Sheriff is a nice ELP filler track. Hoedown doesn't do much for me though. Like all ELP's adaptations it only makes me long for the real thing.

Trilogy is another frustrating ELP experience. The opening minutes are wonderful, great piano playing and adorable singing from Lake, followed by 2 minutes of the most dazzling synth playing of that era. But then, instead of fading out and ending in grace, they deemed it necessary to extend the track with 4 minutes of idiocy, both the synths and the vocals in the second half of this song are far-fetched and rather brash.

Living Sun explores ELP's gothic side, known from tracks like The Barbarian and Knife Edge. It's not equally good as those songs but obviously, these low register vocals can sure please a gothic bat like me. With that song as a reference, Lake could easily have applied for a job with The Sisters of Mercy. Abbandon's Bolero ends the album with 10 minutes of hot air and gives further proof of the pointlessness of ELP's classic adaptations. This is exactly what I mean with disgraceful keyboards in 70's rock.

With a bit calculation, I arrive at some great, some average and some poor minutes of music. I guess that would be spot-on for 3 stars.

Review by J-Man
3 stars By the year 1972, the progressive rock scene was in full swing, and ELP helped prove that with their third album, Trilogy. While I don't think I will ever understand what's so great about this band, it's hard for me to deny the immense amount of quality that this album has to offer. Keith Emerson shows that he's the master of the Hammond organ throughout this album, Carl Palmer shows that he can really rip on the drums, and Greg Lake shows his talent through his vocals and his bass and guitar playing. Obviously, the highlight of this band for me is the superb musicianship.

What makes this album stand out to me in the context of ELP's discography is that this album has a lot of strength compositionally, whereas many other ELP albums are suffering in this area. I don't believe that this is anywhere near the compositions of Yes and Genesis, but it proves that ELP is more than just a never ending noodle-fest (mostly on Keith Emerson's part). While Trilogy is indeed full of solos, not many of them strike me as completely directionless. That's not to say that there's no filler on this album (quite the contrary, actually), but there is definitely less filler than on other ELP albums.


"The Endless Enigma, Part 1"- The sound of a spacey synthesizer opens up the album, but is shortly followed by chaotic piano notes and percussion. This section sounds very avant-garde influenced, but it is shortly followed by a very classic ELP sound, thanks to the Hammond organ and piano. This short instrumental run flows perfectly into the first vocal section of the album. The rest of this song is explosive and powerful, and Greg Lake delivers an excellent vocal performance. This is possibly the best song off of the album.

"Fugue"- This is a short acoustic piano piece (aside from the bass guitar near the end) that serves as a bridge between the two parts of "The Endless Enigma". This is a well crafted song with beautiful melodies.

"The Endless Enigma, Part 2"- The previous song flows right into the classical-sounding opening, except with drums and bass. The song then successfully reprises the first track, bringing the suite to a conclusive ending.

"From The Beginning"- This is an acoustic ballad in the vein of "Lucky Man" and "Still You Turn Me On". This song is one of my favorite ELP ballads, as it is extremely memorable. The extended guitar and synthesizer solos in the middle never tire, and they keep the song interesting.

"The Sheriff"- This song opens up with a drum intro, leading into the trademark ELP sound. The Hammond organ is present throughout the song, and the melodies are excellent. This is in the vein of ELP's ragtime-influenced songs like "Benny The Bouncer" without the mediocre music that destroyed those songs. This is a good song, and a highlight of the album.

"Hoedown"- This is an instrumental cover song of the last part of Aaron Copland's "Rodeo" doesn't disappoint in any way. Keith Emerson delivers an excellent performance on Hammond organ, but the synthesizers need an honorable mention as well. The drumming and bass playing are superb as well, keeping the song moving at a fast pace. This is a superb instrumental.

"Trilogy"- A short, synthesized opening leads into a beautiful piano section with Greg Lake's wonderful voice. An unneeded piano section brings us into a fast and complex synthesized section with a rather weak transition. While this part is fun and interesting, the transition into the next vocal section is rather poor. The mediocrity of the vocals in this part don't help either. I can't exactly say what's wrong with this transition, but for some reason I find it weak and a bit forced. Overall this is a pretty poor epic.

"Living Sin"- This is a hard-rocking blues rock song filled with Hammond organ and low vocals from Greg Lake. The riff is pretty memorable, but this song is rather bland and uninteresting. Carl Palmer's smart drumming deserves a mention, however.

"Abaddon's Bolero"- The last song on the album is a repetitive and uninteresting instrumental piece. The entire song builds off of one solitary riff, but never gets anywhere interesting. This is kept at a march-tempo, so the rhythm section is largely uninteresting. This song is focused on Keith Emerson, and I honestly find that he's not playing anything interesting either. This is a rather poor way to end this otherwise excellent album.


Trilogy is a great album by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and it stands today as one of my favorite ELP albums. I don't think I'll ever become a huge fan of this band, but it would be hard for me not to enjoy this album, since I'm a symphonic prog fan. If you're a lover of Hammond organ, this album is a must-own. However, I find that (like all ELP albums), this album lacks in interesting compositions and songwriting. Still, Trilogy is a solid album, filled with excellent moments, so I will rate this with a big 3 star rating.

3 stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars have spent some time looking at the reviews of this album. It's incredible that it has been rated from 2 to 5 starts and nobody seems to have written anything wrong about it. This has been my first EL&P album so this is probably the reason why I'm going for 4. The only other EL&P album that gave me the same feelings is their debut. Let's go to the songs: "The Endless Enigma Part1/Fugue/Endless Part2 are for me the same track. It starts with a low volume keyboard sound that's full of tension enhanced by the drum and the piano at the end of each keyboard sequence until it reaches the real opening. Lake's voice is impressive and the song flows well until the piano section (the fugue), followed by the reprise and the crescendo coda. "From the beginning" is the best possible following to the first track(s). It starts slowly but this time with guitar instead of keyboards. It's a classical Lake's song with an excellent ending keyboard section. I think every dilectant guitarist has played it in the 70s. "The Sheriff" is the pop moment in the album. Excellent vocals and keyboard with a contry- western-saloon piano as closure. "Hoedown"is one of the many Aaron Copland's pieces that appear in the EL&P discography, even if less famous than "Fanfare for the common man". The B-side of the Vynil edition contains just 3 tracks. They are more close to the EL&P standards. "Trilogy", the title track, would be the longest if we don't consider The endless enigma, fugue and part 2 as a single track. It's more melodic, again sung by Lake and has a complex structure mainly supported by the piano. There's not much Palmer here until the piano solo increases the rhythm and is finally replaced by the complete lineup (moog, bass and drums) on a 5/4 tempo. The keyboard riff reminds to "Tank" from the previous album, then the track changes again and Lake can sing its second part, totally different from the first. There's much more Palmer now. The main theme doesn't change anymore until the bluesy coda. "Living sin"is rock! One of the hardest tracks ever composed by the trio. Lake sings on very bass tones then his singing turns several times from high to bass. The rhythm is unusual and there is room for some Palemer's short solos. I feel it's closer to the Nice. It's only a few too short for my tatste. I think it could have been improved more. "Abaddon's bolero" doesn't add anything to this album or to the concept of Bolero. Not bad, enjoyable enough, with its crescendo, but probably the less essential track of the album. A good closure, anyway. What about the rating? Is it a masterpiece? Probably not, but I think it's very representative of EL&P music, more than any following album and just a little more commercial and less experimantal respect to their debut. 4 stars for me.
Review by thehallway
4 stars ELP's most "snuggly" album! Trilogy is equally praised and criticised for it's lack of conecpt and cohesion. I like the fact it's just a collection of songs. Not every prog album needs an "epynonymous epic" or some kind of underlying theme. But of course any album with this format is bound to have some filler. Thankfully here, it's minimal.

The title track is my favourite, although most people think it's weak. I'm not sure what it is but maybe it's more attractive to keyboard players (I dabble) given the Emerson domination. Other lengthy songs include that closing bolero, which is a nice idea but outstays it's welcome a bit in my opinion. And the multipart 'Endless Enigma', which I tend to regard as one track. This is nice too but I'm not sure if the reprise of the main song is neccesary (it's probably just a way of making the Fugue seem more significant; as a connector rather than just a short piano doodle). 'Hoedown' is a very cool western-classical cover. 'From the Beginning' is attacked because of it's commerciality, but I bet if it wasn't released as a single people would like it more. The soloing isn't as virtuosic is a lot of ELP but it's nice. 'The Sheriff' is the guilty pleasure that I hate on paper but can't help liking when I hear it. And the creepy 'Living Sin' is a throwaway track for sure.

So, a mixed bag here of quality and "cheese". The album flows well, with medicore yet consistent porduction quality and enough meat to last a while longer than Tarkus. Hipgnosis have done better album covers though...

Just as a footnote, it's become apparent to me that this album seems to have more of an effect if it's the first one you listen to of ELP. I bought 'BSS' first and feel closer to that one. Just a thought.... ...And I realised I've used the word 'nice' a few too many times in this review. It's a nice album though...

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars I may have simply acquired this album at a bad time in my prog life. ELP was a band that, while very skilled and had a few good songs under their belt, could never really grip me with an entire album or fooling me into believing so. I had been unearthing rarer bands from the eclectic, fusion, RIO, Zeuhl and Krautrock genres, and the accessible symphonic stuff was getting old to me fast.

TRILOGY did little to change my perspective, even if I can still appreciate a few songs for what they're worth. Typically dismissed, ''Abbadon's Bolero'' is one of the songs I find as a highlight; something about the repetitive buildup causes me to gravitate towards it. Another highlight here is the rodeo-esque ''Hoedown'', where Emerson really goes wild on the Hammond. And believe it or not, Greg Lake's acoustic thing ''From the Beginning'' isn't half-bad either.

Everything else makes me ask ''Why?''. The title track is very well done in spots, especially the section right after the opening ballad, but isn't captivating long enough for me to enjoy it. The first three track encompassing that ''Endless Enigma'' suite are an enigma; I fail to see the point or relevance in any of those tracks barring the nice pianos in the ''Fugue'' section. ELP also has to find ways to goof off without us really needing to hear any of it. Sure, ''The Sheriff'' isn't really atrocious, but it's pointless. And, don't get me started on the ''death grunts'' lurking in ''Living Sin''...

I'll be a little soft in my assessment of TRILOGY saying that the average progster will extract more good from this album than I can. Start with the debut and TARKUS if you want to find ELP at their finest, then go on from there at your own risk.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars Y'know, the concept of 'fandom' is strange. It's not enough to more or less like an artist's work as a whole, and the fact that most of ELP's early albums get high grades certainly suggests that I'm quite fond of this band. No, there are also certain 'standards' of the band that one must love to be a true fan. And among ELP fans, Trilogy is certainly one of these albums that are required to be adored to some degree. Unfortunately, I just can't share that point of view, no matter how hard I try.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling the album bad, not by any stretch of the imagination. There really isn't a single song on here that I would call crap (although the stupid "Living Sin" might come close). The problem is that, far too often, this album is extremely dull. Take the opening ten-minute "Endless Enigma" suite, for instance. Parts of the vocal melody are nice, sure, but the instrumental passages really drag the song down (especially since it seems too much to me that the band is trying to make all their instrumental tricks replace the main 'song' part, which raises a definite prog red flag for me, as opposed to having them augment the main 'song' part, which is what I love in my prog). And the man to blame for that is, unfortunately, Keith. On the surface, his keyboards sound just the same as they always did, but the energy, the pulsating power that made "Barbarian," "Tarkus," and "Time and a Place" come to life just isn't there. The same thing can be said about the title track as well; the first three minutes are beautiful (courtesy of Lake, as well as some very beautiful piano from Keith), but the last five are a real bore (courtesy of Emerson going through all the synth/organ/piano tricks that he already showed quite prominently elsewhere). In short, the form remains intact, but the fire is dwindling at an alarming rate.

Even the 'normal' songs suffer from the boredom factor. I actually did finally come around to enjoying "From the Beginning" quite a bit, as opposed to before when I thought of it as just another piece of boring filler; it's too mellow, just like everything else on the album, but the main melody is very nice, and I do like the atmosphere created by Keith's keys in the end quite a bit. In any case, there's also "The Sheriff," which is little more than an 'old-west' version of "Jeremy Bender." It's nice, a pleasant and slightly amusing diversion from the 'serious' parts of the album, but the lyrics aren't as funny as their predecessor's, and let's face it, that was the main appeal of the song. It's not that much of a comedown, though - I do dig the accelerated ragtime piano solos at the end, after all.

So why do I give it a solid *** if all I've really done is complain about it so far? Well, the band's attempts at staying in their established 'formula' don't really succeed, but when they shifted their mindset into a 'pure' classical mode, they struck gold. Exhibit A is the group's cover of Copeland's "Hoedown," known in pop culture as the "Beef: it's what's for dinner" theme. The synth arrangement here is FABULOUS, and while the energy is still slightly lacking, it's still enough to really get your blood pumping. And closing the album, we have Exhibit B, an Emerson classical number entitled "Abaddon's Bolero." I find it highly ironic that the catchiest number on the whole album was probably envisioned as the most pompous and "elite" song of them all, but that's life. This piece really gets you into a foot- tapping groove, and there are all sorts of little symphonic trappings in the background that are enough to vary the sound. I can honestly say that it does not get boring in the entirety of its eight minutes, and I would be perfectly happy if it went on for another ten if Keith could continue to find enough background notes to fill in the time and keep it interesting (which he definitely succeeds at here).

Again, this is not a bad album. It's just that, well, it doesn't do enough to really be considered a very good album. This is just me talking, of course; most ELP fans, from what I've observed, tend to love this one. As for me, though, I'll stick to the other standards of the era. It's definitely a solid ***, if only because of the lack of immediately offensive material, but that's largely the effect of digging the ELP approach, even when it's just them doing "ELP by Numbers."

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The album happens to be my favorite out of the entire ELP discography. Trilogy might not feature the band's best composition, title awarded to Tarkus, nor is it a great band effort but it has a great sense of consistency plus a few highlights to help it along!

Since most of the ELP albums lack a great overall feel, this release definitely sounded like a breath of fresh air the first time I heard it. I also have a weird nostalgic feel for this album's 2,5 minute intro! I kid you not, just time it for yourself and you'll see that it's an intro of epic proportions that can even be matched by those of Pink Floyd! The stuff this band goes through over the course of that lengthy intro is worth the price of admission all on its own merits, but we also have a magnificent tune to back it up, as a bonus. I'm referring to the excellent, but highly overlooked The Endless Enigma suite which, to me, is easily among the band's three top compositions. Greg Lake's lead melody is just top notch and the keyboard interludes by Keith Emerson make it truly shine! For once, the lyrics actually feel very strong and I usually get goosebumps while hearing Greg Lakes vocals towards the end. This shows to me that Lake was competent enough to handle the lyric department and that there wasn't really a reason to recruit Peter Sinfield for Brain Salad Surgery.

The rest of the album has a great supporting role to the introductory highlight. From The Beginning is easily my favorite out of Greg Lake's acoustic performances and The Sheriff is an unexpectedly effective joke country-themed tune that puts both Jeremy Bender and Benny The Bouncer to shame! Hoedown finishes off side one on another highlight where Keith Emerson gets another moment in the spotlight. Side two has only there tracks and a much more subtile direction, which might make it less accessible but, to me, this is where the band really showed how far they could push their artistry. Revisit it a few times without side one and you'll learn to love it.

Overall, this is an excellent album experience well worth checking out by both experienced prog rock fans and beginners. This is unfortunately the only ELP album that gets a high excellent addition-rating and it's pretty much a downhill slide from here on out.

***** star songs: The Endless Enigma (Part One) (6:42) Fugue (1:57) The Endless Enigma (Part Two) (2:05) Hoedown (3:47)

**** star songs: From The Beginning (4:17) The Sheriff (3:23) Trilogy (8:54) Living Sin (3:14) Abaddon's Bolero (8:08)

Review by The Quiet One
4 stars Keyboard TrilORGY ?

I do have the need to write a semi-positive review for ELP since my rather negative 1-star review for Pictures at an Exhibition seems to point out that I'm just one of those bashers of the band that doesn't get the band. Well, I'm not a real fan of theirs, but in the beginning of my prog days ELP played an important role that showed me some really wild keyboard playing that I was, undoubtedly, impressed and made me look forward for organ-led music (Deep Purple, Atomic Rooster et al).

Emerson, Lake & Palmer were definitely an original brand of Progressive Rock, originality based in the focus of keyboard virtuoso Keith Emerson, an enigmatic figure in the Prog world, his extensive and early use of the Moog and the abstention of the mellotron made him one-of- a-kind. Also, his love for classical music which is highly apparent throughout the whole body work of ELP, is also something that gained the band fame of, but at the same, though mostly nowadays, a lot of infamy. Of course, there was also Greg Lake and Carl Palmer, both were also an important role to the unique sounding style of the band, Lake with his instantly identifiable vocals and Palmer with his blasting and technical drum fills, but it's undeniable that Keith is the main protagonist in all the classic works by the band, be it Tarkus with his Hammond extravaganza, Karn Evil 9 demonstrating a his ability in the organ, the Moog and in the piano, and in Trilogy, the title track of this 1972 album, there's an amazing piano show off plus some wild synths heard by very few in that time.

Ok, let's talk a bit further of the album now, Trilogy. Definitely my favorite from them and that's mainly because it's their most consistent, with nine tracks and only till track 8 things get rather forgettable. The first 7 tracks are all at least good, and make up a classic Prog Rock album from the 70s. A classic for me is an album that has originality; it's memorable for most of its tunes, though it doesn't need to be a masterpiece.

Though the initial 'Endless Enigma' epic lasting almost 11 minutes, counting the piano bridge called 'Fugue', seems to be the highlight on the album with the anthemic chorus and masterful organ work, for me it is definitely the already stated title track with its majestic intro with piano and Lake's marvellous vocals. Although when the synths enter, the direction is somewhat lost in the middle, it's still one heck of a Prog Rock track that anyone who is in his early stages of prog knowledge must listen to alongside stuff like 'Heart of the Sunrise' and 'The Musical Box', though not really in the same league compositionally speaking, ELP always seemed to lack the creativity and mastership to compose (not to play).

Another highlight is the classic acoustic song, 'From the Beginning', lovely song that is interesting with its acoustic guitar, vocals and both unique solos, from the guitar and from Keith's synths.

'Hoedown' while not a must-hear, and it's really another tune to demonstrate Emerson's skills on the Organ and innovating Moog, it's damn fun. While I'm not fond at all of the adaption of Pictures at an Exhibition, this one and 'Fanfare for the Common Man' are ones I really enjoy.

'Living Sin' and 'Abaddon's Bolero' are forgettable tracks, the former being a mediocre organ- led song with annoying vocals and the latter is a modernised kind-of version of Ravel's famous Bolero, but ELP's is nowhere near as brilliant and by its own it's really boring.

To finalise this review I'll just summarise my thoughts the best I can: ELP are definitely a must- listen band when you're entering the Prog world, you might dislike them but they are no doubt one of the pillars of classic (symphonic) Prog and a Prog fan should know classics like Tarkus, Karn Evil 9 and Trilogy. Like I said from the beginning (pun intended) I'm not a fan of ELP, they're not exactly my cup-of-tea, but when I am I either listen to Tarkus (the epic) or the album Trilogy.

3.5 stars rounded up just because it's really the only ELP album that I find worthwhile almost all through. Highly recommended original symphonic prog, though mainly for its originality rather for its quality, if that makes any sense.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars To me this is both the most consistent thing ELP ever did and their best sounding album. This was always my favourite album from the trio and I never understood why the debut and BSS and more well regarded. There is only one real cover/adaption of someone else's work (Copland's "Hoedown"), but it is one of the best cover tunes they ever did. Palmer even gets a writing credit in "Living Sin".

"The Endless Enigma (Part One)" is a great example of how rock and classical can be combined. The album begins with a heartbeat sound on bass drum, which predates DSOTM. Some synth and piano follow along with some percussion. Later bass comes in, then drums and the trio are off. Great mix of Lake's vocals and Emerson's organ. Love the chorus of "please! please!..." One of my favourite ELP tunes. Ends with piano which segues into... "Fugue" which is more great piano playing. Only 2 minutes long so it never feels too long. Some bass near the end. A little bit of triangle too.

"The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" in contrast starts off more jazzy. Then some bells, organ and synth before it continues in a similar fashion to Part One. "From The Beginning" is the best of Lake's ballads with the trio. Much better than "Lucky Man" or "Still...You Turn Me On". One of the few ELP songs you hear on 'classic rock' radio. Nice electric guitar solo, only topped by Emerson's synth solo. "The Sheriff" is the 'novelty' song here but is much better than both "Jeremy Bender" and "Benny The Bouncer". Has a false start, you can hear Palmer screw up and then says "sh*t!"

Emerson really shines on "Hoedown" with his organ and Moog playing. Love the Moog playing starting before 3 minutes. The title track starts off as a piano ballad with Lake singing. After some classical style piano soloing, the piano gets jazzy and then bass and drums come in as Emerson solos on Moog. Changes to a different jazzy section and Lake returns on vocals. More great Moog soloing.

The trio really rocks out on "Living Sin". Great drumming and Lake gives one of his best vocal performances. "Abaddon's Bolero" is a typical bolero with martial drumming and the track building towards a crescendo. Lots of overdubbed synths in this song and a great way to end the album. Not very much to say about this album other than it sounds great and is musically consistent throughout. A masterpiece of 1970s progressive rock. 5 stars.

Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars Trilogy is an ELP album like all others. It's noisy and technical album that gives this reviewer a headache. I've listened to it a few times and after 4 years of owning this album I decided to throw it on one last time for the sake of reviewing it. However, I also consider to be the best of early ELP. The song writing here is better than it has been before this album and better than on later albums.

I know I talk a lot of smack about ELP's music, but "The Endless Enigma: Part 1, Tocatta, and Part 2" is actually the best suite I've heard composed by ELP. It features the musical foolery that their known for, but it is more controlled and used sparingly as actually fantastic vocal and musical hooks take the forefront of the suite. I actually forgot that I found these tracks so enjoyable.

"From the Beginning" is another of ELP's best ever tracks. It's mostly an acoustic guitar ballad with some iconic guitar playing, and that main riff with the bends is incredible. The lyrics of this track always spoke to me as well. A very mellow track, which is usually the case with ELP's best.

"The Sheriff" is a short super synthesized country song, basically. Not bad, but not particularly memorable or important either.

"Hoedown" is a decent if abrasive cover of a classic Aaron Copland composition. It was fun to listen to the first couple of times, but its abrasiveness eventually took over and became supremely annoying.

"Trilogy" starts as a beautiful and promising piece of subdued music, but later reveals itself to be mostly a noisy island jazz inspired keyboard mess.

"Living Sin" is a random and playful song that manages to sound only like a throwaway track. This features a lot of noise.

"Abaddon's Bolero" is a good enough example of a bolero, but drags on a bit too long for its own good, and really serves no purpose except to be incessantly noisy and abrasive.

This album is about half enjoyable and half forgettable, which in my opinion is fantastic for an ELP album; I usually find them to be much less enjoyable. This album along with their debut would be the best suitable for an introduction to this band.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Vastly more consistent than Tarkus, but lacking a song that quite reaches the height of that album's famed epic of war and space armadillos, Trilogy used to be my favourite of the two because, like the debut, it's an Emerson Lake and Palmer album I can listen to from beginning to end. At the same time, to do so I do find I have to sit through some of the bad habits the band were developing that would come to fruition on Brain Salad Surgery. The vocal sections of some tracks, such as on The Endless Enigma, add little beyond pushing the bombastic material from grandeur into farce, and it would have been better had Greg restricted his singing to pieces such as From the Beginning, which seems to have been written with vocals in mind from the start. The novelty track on here, The Sheriff, isn't quite as goofy as Jeremy Bender or Benny the Bouncer, but it still becomes irritating after a while.

Another downside to this album is Emerson's keyboard sound. We all know Keith loved to incorporate as many new and innovative synthesisers onto ELP albums as possible, and I suspect most prog fans wouldn't have it any other way; however, I think a few of the synths and keys deployed on here were not quite ready for primetime - either in terms of the hardware, or simply in terms of people figuring out how to make them sound good. There's points where the synthesiser sound on the album has aged badly - this is most notable in some sections of Abbadon's Bolero, where some of the synths sound like cheesy 80s Casio keyboards mimicing old Dr Who incidental music. Of course, at the time it must have sounded revolutionary... but listening to it 40 years after the fact, it gets pretty cheesy.

Still, like I said this is the most consistent album ELP managed to do after their debut, so three and a half stars.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nš 133

Though they were barely two years into their existence, the progressive rock super group known as Emerson Lake & Palmer released their fourth album, three studios and one live album, in 1972, titled "Trilogy". It was another remarkable achievement that saw the musical and compositional skills of the trio once again taking another giant leap, as the album was filled with not only uncanny playing but also memorable songs brimming with intelligent melodies and daring arrangements. So, Emerson, Lake & Palmer had already released previously, two very carefully performed studio albums. The first album was dominated by virtuoso keyboards including the church organ, distorted bass and powerful drumming and the second album is pure progressive rock of epic proportions being as bombastic as it was ambitious.

So, "Trilogy" is their third studio album and was released in 1972. "Trilogy" features the trio settling down in a more crowd pleasing. Actually, the group was gaining in maturity what they lost in high pure energy. Every track of this album has been carefully thought, arranged and performed into a process of perfection. "Trilogy" increased Emerson, Lake & Palmer worldwide popularity and consolidated definitely their great, unique and original musical project.

The front cover of the album depicts Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer respectively, and in the interior of the gatefold of my original vinyl record features a photomontage showing multiple images of the band members in a forest carpeted with autumn leaves. This is really a very nice cover for this excellent album.

"Trilogy" has nine tracks. The first track "The Endless Enigma (Part One)" written by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, the second track "Fugue" written by Keith Emerson and the third track "The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" written also by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, is a single piece of music. It's a superb trilogy piece of music which opens magnificently this fabulous musical work. This is, in my humble opinion, one of their best compositions and I'm also convinced that it's also one their most unknown musics. Unfortunately, this composition was rarely performed live and I think this is the main reason why it never reached the just recognition that it deserved. The fourth track "From The Beginning" written by Greg Lake is a beautiful acoustic song featuring Greg Lake on vocals and guitar with some participation of Keith Emerson in the end of the track. It's a song with a very simple musical structure but I think we can say that this is one of the best musical compositions of the group. The fifth track "The Sheriff" written by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake is another song on the same mould of "Are You Ready Eddie?", "Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff" and "Benny The Bouncer". As I've written before, I don't particularly like this kind of songs and despite not being a bad song, I think it's quite unnecessary in an album of a progressive band like Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The sixth track "Hoedown" is a musical interpretation of the band taken from a ballet named "Rodeo" written by the American classical composer Aaron Copland, which was one of their most popular songs when performed live. This is a fantastic piece of music also performed live on my CD version. I honestly don't know if I prefer the studio version or the live version, especially if it's the version played live on their fantastic live album "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends". The seventh track "Trilogy" is the title track. It was written by Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, is one of the highest moments on the album and is also one of their best and most beautiful musical compositions. It's largely an instrumental song very much over piano in the beginning, heavily influenced by the classical music. In the middle, the music blasts with all instruments playing in continuo, altogether. This is really an amazing track. The eighth track "Living Sin" written by Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer is the most heavy and dark song on the album. Despite not be one of the best songs on the album it's still very good. It has different vocals along the song, which is very uncommon on the band, but they do a great use of them. The ninth and last track "Abaddon's Bolero" written by Keith Emerson is one of their most popular songs. The musical structure of the track is very simple with a main theme that gradually builds the final hypnotic climax. This is a very good and interesting piece of music that closes perfectly well this fantastic album.

Conclusion: "Trilogy" is, in my humble opinion, the most underrated album from the group. It's true that it hasn't the immediacy of "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" or the pomposity of "Brain Salad Surgery". However, relatively to "Tarkus" is much more balanced, despite not have a masterpiece like its suite "Tarkus", probably the best song ever composed by the group. "Trilogy" is probably the less pompous, the most complete, the most progressive, the most classical and their finest album. It's perhaps the most beautiful too. Sincerely, it's a pity that this is the least known and the most underrated album from this remarkable serie, composed by their four first studio albums. For those who aren't familiar with the musical work of this super group, I think this album is a great starting. So, sit down comfortably and enjoy it.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars For some reason, I keep wanting to put this album after "Brain Salad Surgery" as far as when it was released, but in actuality, it was released before that album and after "Tarkus" (and "Pictures at an Exhibition" which was a live album). That makes "Trilogy" the 3rd studio album for Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP). Trilogy was definitely quite different than both the albums that came before and after, less bombastic and more personal, yet still not commercial. It also relied more on classical music influences.

There are a lot of people that feel that this album relied more on Keith Emerson's talent, but in reality, that is what ELP always relied on, at least on their best and more progressive albums. Emerson seemed to always stand out more than Lake or Palmer. A lot of that is because Emerson was the best at being able to play several keyboards at a time and he was exceptional and adding in textures and loops where needed. Greg Lake, of course, fit right in with Emerson's bombastic style as far as his vocals were concerned as he had a very strong and almost operatic voice, but his guitar and bass talents were meant mostly for support, and never really proved that he could uphold a long guitar solo, so that was still left up to Emerson to carry that load. Besides that, Lake, when left alone to write a song, always leaned toward commercialism, especially ballads. Carl Palmer was an amazing drummer, and proves that many times on ELP albums, probably one of the few that could keep up with Emerson. He doesn't stick out on the albums as much as Emerson, obviously because he played percussion and didn't have the texture and dynamic opportunities that Emerson had with the keyboards and gadgets available to him. Thus, its easy enough to understand why Emerson seemed he was in the spotlight, but it wasn't just because of this album, as it was always the case. Yes there could have been a fourth member that could have provided some great guitar solos, but, then it wouldn't have been ELP. Besides, you have "Triumvirat" if you want to hear that same style of music with more guitar.

So, you have the album "Trilogy" which is decidedly less bombastic and it sits between two very bombastic albums. I have always loved this album and consider it one of the all time best, and I actually place it over "Brain Salad Surgery" because I was never as excited over the "Karn Evil 9" suite, that, even though it is an exceptional work, it is way too long and over-the-top, sometimes a seemingly endless barrage of wildness which could have stood being trimmed down to fit a few more tracks in there for variety. Trilogy, on the other hand, has plenty of crazy solos, but is much more dynamic with it's heavy and soft parts. It's the variety on this album that makes it stand out for me, plus the fact that it relies on the classical (and sometimes jazz) influences of the musicians.

"The Endless Enigma" is actually a suite of the first 3 tracks, a great combination and opening highlighting the strengths of all three performers, but driven, of course, by keyboards and piano, which start off mysteriously and minimal, become dramatic with the introduction of the piano, and then settle in for the heavy melody. The vocals are one of the most difficult parts of this track and show off Lake's dynamics and range, going from soft to loud many times. The first part takes up most of the track. The second part is a short piano solo based somewhat loosely on the fugue style of baroque composers, and even this section actually starts more like a rhapsody which finally does turn into a fugue in the second half. The last part returns to the main theme again after a fast attack with percussion and bass and Emerson's varied sounds and textures and ending on Lake's heavy vocals.

After that first 10 minute track, we get one of Lake's most beautiful compositions "From the Beginning" which starts with an acoustic guitar solo similar to the introduction to "Roundabout" from "Yes". When the main vocal melody starts, it continues with acoustic guitar some sparse percussion and a beautiful melody. The long instrumental ending has a nice electric guitar solo, which remains light. Keyboards don't even come into this track until the second part of the instrumental break.

"The Sheriff" is a "western" style track (western in topic, not sound), a rowdy track along the same lines as "Jeremy Bender" from "Tarkus". This is a quick track with the expectant story line, but a quite basic melody line. The best part is the Honky- Tonk style ending.

Following that western theme, we get a cover of a section of a classical work from Aaron Copeland. The track is "Rodeo" taken from one of Copeland's much bigger works called "Hoedown". This is one of my favorite ELP covers, and it remains surprisingly faithful to the original, only done with ELP's instruments and not an orchestra, Emerson taking over all of the orchestra parts on his keyboards. It is quick paced, exciting, fun and entertaining, a track that definitely shows off Emerson's talent as he pretty much takes control of everything except bass and drums.

"Trilogy" is really a three part track put into one song. It starts off in a rhapsody style with piano, which is later joined by Lake's excellent and expressive vocals. After the vocal part, the piano continues and by itself builds up to the faster 2nd section, which hits suddenly with the full band, suddenly jumping into a repetitive and noisy pattern with Emerson doing a keyboard solo over the top of it all. This section ends with a sort of fanfare separating into the next section, which continues with a more complex foundation that has amazing bass and drum parts. Lake starts singing again, this time with shorter phrasing and stanzas, but still all over the musical scale. After the vocals, Emerson plays another solo with a deeper texture, but the chaotic section continues to the end which comes at almost 9 minutes. This is the most bombastic song on the album, but there had to be at least one, right, and its welcome on this album.

"Living Sin" is a dark track, mostly headed over by Lake's evil sounding vocals, similar to "Knife's Edge", but shorter and less complex. I remember the keyboard riff that comes at the end of this track used to be used by a local TV station as theme music to their "Movie of the Week". There is some great drum work by Palmer on this one, but then his work is great on the entire album.

The last track is "Abaddon's Bolero". So, a Bolero is typically a Spanish style dance, made popular worldwide from Maurice Ravel's "Bolero". Ravel's classical version of the dance is the most popular version of a bolero and because of that many current artists and composers that came after use Ravel's template of starting out soft, and over the course of several minutes, the song increases slowly in volume, using the same melody and thematic ideas throughout, until the song climaxes at full volume. The traditional bolero is typically in a 3 / 4 or 6 / 8 meter. ELP's version of a bolero uses the same template as Ravel, starting soft and over the course of 8 minutes of repeating the same basic melody and adding instruments and volume, ends in an explosive climax. However, their "bolero" is actually a march in 4 / 4 meter, so it really isn't a bolero. (Yes I know there is a different style of Bolero from Cuba that uses 2 / 4 time, but ELP's track is still obviously a march). Anyway, the song is quite dynamic as explained, the melody is simple, but complex and long enough to not get too boring as textures and sounds are added with repeats. The style is not Spanish either, but more Americana sounding, taking short riffs and feelings from maybe Civil War times. Anyway, there you have it.

I tend to blame the varied reviews on this album due to the fact that there isn't as much bombasitic-ness on this album as others, and the fact that the album ends on "Abaddon's Bolero" which is repetitive, but hopefully the explanation above will shed some light on that, it is actually a great track even if it isn't a bolero in a traditional sense. But the album still shines in the fact that it has a better variety and still shows off the exceptional musicianship of the trio. It might be harder to accept too because it is driven more by classical influences than some of their other albums. I don't agree that it has anything to do with Emerson being in charge of it, because he was always at the head of their best albums anyway. When Lake started influencing the music more by writing more songs, that is when the overall sound of the band suffered more, starting with the horrible album "Love Beach". As far as "Trilogy" is concerned though, it is one of my favorite ELP albums and I consider it essential especially with regards to its use of classical influences in progressive music.

Review by Kempokid
4 stars To me, Emerson, Lake and Palmer's album Trilogy was an attempt to curb to their enthusiasmafter the ambitious undertaking of Tarkus, providing much more restrained, polished songs while also maintaining some ambition and bombast from Tarkus, making a perfect middle ground betweem the two albums. This is definitely my favourite album by the band, as the issues that the previous albums had have been fixed for the most part, with much more focus on songwriting rather than showing off talent while also maintaining focus throughout the album. Just like previous efforts, there is still great focus on making an energetic, fun experience, except this time I feel they execute it extremely well without any major problems. One thing that I have noticed in this album is that many sections seem to take strong inspiration from certain other symphonic prog bands of the time, especially Genesis and Yes.

The Endless Enigma is definitely one of the highlights of the album, a 3 part suite switching between hyperactive instrumentation and melodic power with what feels like some Genesis inspiration, including Greg Lake at times sounding quite similar to Peter Gabriel, especially during the rising crescendo of a chorus. The song overall has an extremely powerful, grandiose tone to it that I feel is rarely matched by the band, or many other classic prog bands at all for that matter, and find this to easily be one of the greatest songs by the band, with the varied percussion and frantic piano in Fugue to add an additional layer of depth to it. The album continues going strong with my favourite slow song by the band, From The Beginning, which begins sounding extremely similar to the intro of Roundabout before developing into a relaxed beat with various kinds of percussion, as Greg Lake's wonderfully nuanced voice carries the listener along smoothly, with this being such a wonderfully relaxing song. On the other hand, the album is far from a quiet one, after all, it's ELP, with an extreme amount of energy being released in one of their best classical reimaginings, Hoedown. This is without a doubt one of the most entertaining songs the band has put out, constantly keeping the amazing, fast pace and high energy of the song and displaying the extent of Keith Emerson's keyboard playing. My favourite part is easily once various melodies begin crossing over one another in the final half minute of the song, fully displaying the insanity capable of the band. Trilogy is another song split up into multiple sections, although this time not in any way other than compositionally, with no different section names or the like. I personally don't find this song to be quite up to the same level of the previous ones, but it is still quite an impressive song. Living Sin is a surprisingly dark sounding piece, with a much lower, more foreboding tone of voice used by Lake, while still maintaining his charm. While the song is more simplistic than others here, that isn't an issue when it is made up for immensely through just how enjoyable it is.

The album does unfortunately have two songs in which I am not particularly keen on, those being The Sheriff, which has a similar ragtime feel to Jeremy Bender, albeit better in this case, but not by enough to elevate it beyond mediocrity, and Abaddon's Bolero. WHile I love the idea behind this song, taking the inspiration of the Bolero by creating an ever crescendoing instrumental, I don't find it to be particularly interesting beyond the fact that it sounds like an intense war march. While these two songs don't dampen the experience by an extreme degree, I do still find them to be somewhat disappointing, especially The Sheriff, which didn't have the benefit of being interesting in concept.

Despite a couple of more minor flaws, I find this to be Emerson, Lake and Palmer's best work, being highly consistent and polished all the way through with very minor flaws for the most part. I also like the fact that in many respects, this is a far more restrained approach to the band's songwriting, with far fewer moments of pure bombast and excess, embracing the more subtle side of songwriting to write some truly unforgettable tracks. This is where I'd recommend newcomers of the band to start off, as it's more refined and subtle than previous albums and seems like a much easier entry point into the band.

Best songs: The Endless Enigma, From The Beginning, Hoedown

Weakest songs: The Sheriff, Abaddon's Bolero

Verdict: A more refined, subtle album by Emerson, Lake and Palmer that displays increased maturity, leading to a more well rounded album. Definitely my favourite by the band and an ideal starting point for those interested.

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars Although the remarkable suite "Tarkus" helped enormously to the consolidation of Emerson, Lake & Palmer as one of the obligatory references of progressive rock, it is also true that the uneven level of the rest of the themes of the album of the same name went a little unnoticed in the general consideration. The subsequent "Trilogy", the trio's third album, settles this pending account with a more homogeneous production in its musical worth, even considering the compositional diversity of its pieces.

There are no huge anthology structures in "Trilogy", instead there are excellent themes of smaller extension and inspired elaboration, like the initial and mysterious "Endless Enigma", title borrowed from a painting by Salvador Dalí, where Keith Emerson's experimentation with sounds of space fiction, piano and synthesizers, and Carl Palmer's bongos accompaniment, give way to a magnificent melody that suits Lake's deep vocal register very well in the two parts that compose it, or "Trilogy", a symbiotic narration by Lake together with Emerson's piano prior to an intense instrumental development in which the British demonstrate that their virtuosity remains intact; or the introspective acoustic ballad "From the Beginning", with Lake again very comfortable singing on the band's more laid-back pieces.

The influences of modern classical music are also present in "Trilogy", as with "Hoedown", one of the best of the album, a fast-paced instrumental adapted from the American classical composer Aaron Copland, where Emerson pounds his Hammond as mercilessly as Carl Palmer his drums, or with "Abaddon's Bolero", Emerson's particular version of the famous theme "Bolero" by the French composer Maurice Ravel.

Finally, the versatility of the British to incorporate nuances and elements from other sources can be found in the unabashed "The Sheriff", a continuation of the tavern rock started with "Jeremy Bender" in "Tarkus", and in the mournful and hard rocker "Living Sin", which, by the way, could have used a couple of Jimmy Page's guitar riffs to round off its lilting mid-tempo.

"Trilogy" is an excellent album and one of the pillars on which Emerson Lake & Palmer's history in progressive rock was built.

4 stars

Review by Mirakaze
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic, JRF/Canterbury, Avant/Zeuhl
4 stars A good album in and of itself, but within Emerson, Lake & Palmer's discography Trilogy is in my opinion not an essential entry and covers very little new ground. It also has one of the worst album covers I've seen so that doesn't help the situation any. Sigh... How far we've strayed from the giant armadillo tanks of yore...

Instead of having one giant long-winded epic track, the band this time decided to have three slightly less giant ones ("The Endless Enigma", "Trilogy" and "Abaddon's Bolero") in addition to some shorter songs: another Greg Lake ballad ("From The Beginning"), another joke track in the tradition of "Jeremy Bender" ("The Sheriff"; although this time the band put a lot more effort into creating a less generic and more complex melody, so that it doesn't feel like a throwaway. It's also got some funny lyrics and you can hear Carl Palmer say "[&*!#]" when he screws up his drum solo at the start, so check it out), and another organ-dominated synth-rocking cover of a classical piece ("Hoedown", originally by Aaron Copland). The only other track that's under five minutes is "Living Sin", which is pretty forgettable, and Greg Lake puts up a low grumbly voice on it which is just kinda ugly. Skip it!

Unfortunately, the epics generally don't work quite as well as on the preceding albums. All three of them are around eight minutes long but most of them don't really seem to have enough musical ideas to support that runtime. I suppose "The Endless Enigma" works well enough as a bombastic album opener, and it helps that the musicians are all still in top form and having a blast (I especially enjoy the little piano and bass fugue in between the two parts of the suite), but the chorus is just not as memorable or energetic as that of similar songs the guys made before and after. I'm also not a fan of the title track. It starts off as another Greg Lake-dominated ballad, but not a good one: it's just sappy, with Keith offering a minimal piano background and Greg occasionally trying out a falsetto and failing. The lyrics don't help matters either ("We tried to lie / but you and I / know better than to let each other lie / The thought of lying to you makes me cry" [Thank God they hired someone else to write lyrics for them on the next album...]). The song then leads into a sort of cool jazzy jam before ending with a jolly fast-paced part that's still a little boring. The problem is not even just that the melody sucks, but mostly it's how monotonous the arrangement is. I think Emerson uses the same synth tone throughout 90% of the album.

Still, there are two tracks that elevate this album above the average decent 70s symphonic prog level. One is "From The Beginning": while it follows the same format as "Lucky Man" (an acoustic guitar ballad with a synthesizer solo), it feels far less banal and more introspective. Plus, the synth solo is a lot less extravagant and fits the song much better, whereas on "Lucky Man" it seemed to come out of nowhere and felt really out of place (which is hilarious, but I don't think it was the intended effect).

My favourite track however is "Abaddon's Bolero", which is indeed a bolero: a melody is repeated again and again over a simple military march rhythm, with new layers being added every time. Remember what I said about Keith's synth sounds not being diverse enough on this album? Well, on this track he makes up for it and pulls everything he can out of the instrument, starting with a barely audible flute-like tone and eventually ending up with a vast array of different sounds and melodies that all play simultaneously, like a synthesized orchestra (complete with fake trombone glissandos!). I realize that the song's repetitive nature could just as easily drive you up the wall, though. Ah well, I would never claim that this sort of music (or really, any sort of music) is for everyone. Give it a chance, is all I can say.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars 1972 saw Emerson, Lake & Palmer release their third proper studio album, named 'Trilogy', issued on the Island label and produced, as usual, by the band's own Greg Lake. In the year of 'Foxtrot', 'Close to the Edge', 'Thick as A Brick' and 'Octopus', and after releasing two pretty successful and impressive albums in the face of the self-titled debut and 'Tarkus', it seems fair to assess that 'Trilogy' is not a step up, to put it that way. However, any negative connotations such a statement could usher should be quickly abandoned, as this album continues the flamboyant and all-over-the-place stylistic that ELP was going after, and is certainly an excellent example of early prog rock.

Nowadays, when a band releases such a record, we often say it is 'more of the same', usually dismissing it as something non-progressive. Others, nevertheless, do not take sonic similarities between albums as a negative trace, but rather as a sign of a band honing their craft and developing further their own identity. In the case of 'Trilogy', I tend to be more inclined towards the latter case.

From the get-go the listener is bombarded by the keyboard wizardry of Keith Emerson on 'The Endless Enigma, Part 1', a three-part composition that is quite choral and cerebral, while maintaining the lush luster of the previous material by the band; one of the better presentations of ELP. 'From the Beginning' is a gorgeous acoustic piece by Lake, one of the most well-known songs from the power trio; the rest of side one is quite good, as well, with 'Hoedown' becoming a live staple in the years to follow.

Side two is no worse, with just three songs, where we could say the band displays their more adventurous side, with the title track - a great, great song, 'Living Sin', something more different from the band, and one of their 'heavier' songs, and finally 'Abaddon's Bolero', a listening experience only for the most patient, but nevertheless a very recognizable prog rock instrumental.

'Trilogy' might not have the suspense of 'Take a Pebble' or 'Knife-Edge', or the over the top grandiosity of the seven-part 'Tarkus', but it has a charming character of its own, topped by the very excellent performance of each band member, and especially the beautiful singing of Lake, all of which make it a very good addition to anyone's collection of progressive rock.

Latest members reviews

5 stars After the brilliant but slightly inconsistent Tarkus ELP settled down a bit with the follow up which in retrospect is probably their most accessible album-Trilogy.The opening track "The Endless Enigma" Part One and Two manages to be bombastic not unlike the beginning of Tarkus but less intense a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2877774) | Posted by Lupton | Monday, January 23, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #107 I really thought this album would have a very high average and that it would be among the first places in ProgArchives' TOP 100 but it wasn't like that; I got really surprised of reading such a large amount of bad reviews and I'll have to disagree with most of those reviews becaus ... (read more)

Report this review (#2598969) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Monday, October 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Trilogy is, in my humble opinion, ELP's greatest and most definitive album. More so than any other record in their discography, Trilogy exemplified everything that makes ELP great: ambitious prog epics (e.g. 'The Endless Enigma' suite, 'Trilogy'), rock adaptations of classically styled pieces (e ... (read more)

Report this review (#2419182) | Posted by ssmarcus | Monday, July 13, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Perhaps ELP's ultimate masterpiece. "Trilogy" is where all the music elements and mega talent of each band member comes together for one fine album. Whether it's Keith Emerson's amazing keyboard solos, Greg Lake's splendid guitar work, or the hard drumming of Carl Palmer, they all gel together t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2282935) | Posted by Music is Forever | Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #24 The reunion of these 3 excellent musicians really put the trio thus formed in a league apart. I dare to say they began, filled in and finally locked up a whole new category of rock music. Global Appraisal I admit they also excel in their several other great albums ... (read more)

Report this review (#1499180) | Posted by Quinino | Monday, December 14, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of my first adventures in the large and strange world of progressive rock, and what an adventure! I have always loved everything with unusual sounds, long songs and lots of melodies. Always been absolutely bored when listening to usual hit music. So when I heard about progressive r ... (read more)

Report this review (#1158942) | Posted by BatBacon | Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It appears more clear for me I am now exploring among the best prog music available for listeners. Emerson, Lake and Palmer are here so dedicated to their music that it is quite impossible to not become affected by their intriguing music. Their third record "Trilogy" from 1972 could be conside ... (read more)

Report this review (#1131621) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Friday, February 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Trilogy" one of the best known progressive rock masterpieces, and the most popular album of Emerson Lake & Palmer. The album was released at 1972, and the cover art which shows the shirtless Emerson, Lake and Palmer, it was designed by Hipgnosis which designed a lot of prog rock cover arts for band ... (read more)

Report this review (#936253) | Posted by FenderX | Wednesday, March 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Emerson Lake and Palmer's third studio album, Trilogy, is, in my opinion, one of their two greatest albums, and the one that is the most overlooked. It features some of their best individual pieces, and is a pleasure to listen to. Side one starts with The Endless Enigma. The song is both deli ... (read more)

Report this review (#912514) | Posted by wehpanzer | Monday, February 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars If someone were to ask me to name the first album that comes to mind that embodies the "good, but non-essential" rating indicated by three stars, this is the one. It sits at the very middle for me; it exhibits good musicianship, variety from song to song, and it demonstrates a certain degree o ... (read more)

Report this review (#900265) | Posted by Neo-Romantic | Sunday, January 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Like many people, I was first attracted to Emerson, Lake & Palmer early in my discovery of progressive rock. Their virtuosity is the stuff of legend. Having just seen a lot of what Yes had to offer I was craving something grandiose, so naturally the first ELP album I grabbed was love it/hate it mast ... (read more)

Report this review (#845528) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Friday, October 26, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ELP's lyrics can get kinda pretentious in my opinion, and my opinion strengthens with the opening track "The Endless Enigma/Furge". However, the music is quite good. Then comes "From the Begining". Then "The Sheriff", about an out-law in the ol' west who escapes and kills his captor, the sheriff. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#740231) | Posted by smartpatrol | Sunday, April 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A solid album from Emerson, Lake and Palmer put out in 1972. I like "The Endless Enigma", both parts, "From the Beginning", "Trilogy", and "Living Sin" the best. "Bolero" goes on too long for my taste, and "HOedown" is just ok. I am not a huge ELP fan by any means, but would put this close to TARKUS ... (read more)

Report this review (#733622) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4 and 1/2 Stars As self serving as any band might get (DT comes to mind about being utterly self serving), Emerson, Lake and Palmer has always done it properly. Music and art for it's own sake with a bit of ego dashed in. Hot off of Tarkus and having Pictures Of An Exhibition put out for the mas ... (read more)

Report this review (#604422) | Posted by Monsterbass74 | Saturday, January 7, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the age that this album first appeared, these performances were stunning technical displays of musical composition. Just deciphering the sounds of the fledgling age of monophonic synthesizers is enough to boggle the mind. Greg Lakes voice is as strong and melodious as the best of lead singers. ... (read more)

Report this review (#529927) | Posted by bluepno | Friday, September 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars PROG NO EMOTION "Damn, Emerson Lake and Palmer, is that there is nothing you have done which I might like?" That was my thought after finishing a work to hear more of that trio. "Trilogy" is not very different from its predecessor and its successor, is proud of the work itself, ambitious, stu ... (read more)

Report this review (#477625) | Posted by voliveira | Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Arguably ELP's best. This feels like a complete album that every song fits and feels like it belongs here. They also in a way streamlined their sound into a more accessible progressive sound. I will say that this album was my gateway into prog and is a great place to start IMO. The Endless Eni ... (read more)

Report this review (#472155) | Posted by criticdrummer94 | Wednesday, June 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Trilogy ? 1972 (3.2/5) 10 ? Best Song: The Endless Enigma part II I think for once in my life I'm agreeing with the vast majority (and more importantly that schlock- face Robert Christgau) in considering the ELP fanaticism to be little less than a joke with a good ending. Greg Lake's voice is ... (read more)

Report this review (#441636) | Posted by Alitare | Monday, May 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an Emerson, Lake and Palmer album that I very much enjoy. The opening 'Endless Enigma' is an epic with a catchy chorus, a lot of excellent instrumental music and a 'fugue' or something in the middle to make it interesting. It's all very well done, though the vocals get a bit mumbled ... (read more)

Report this review (#321997) | Posted by Brendan | Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An absolutely wonderful album! I've always loved the compositions aswell as the production of this album. As far as I'm concerned the two major Master-pieces in this album are Trilogy and The Endless Enigma, both are more than a great excuse for this album to exist. The other tracks may not comp ... (read more)

Report this review (#321411) | Posted by TweedeKramer | Monday, November 15, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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