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BLACK MOON

Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog


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Emerson Lake & Palmer Black Moon  album cover
2.85 | 293 ratings | 30 reviews | 4% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Black Moon (6:59)
2. Paper Blood (4:29)
3. Affairs Of The Heart (3:47)
4. Romeo And Juliet {Prokofiev, arranged by Emerson} (3:43)
5. Farewell To Arms (5:10)
6. Changing States (6:03)
7. Burning Bridges {Mark Mancina} (4:45)
8. Close To Home (4:29)
9. Better Days (5:37)
10. Footprints In The Snow (3:52)

Total Time: 48:56

Lyrics

Search EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Black Moon lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Keith Emerson / keyboards
- Greg Lake / vocals, bass, guitars
- Carl Palmer / drums, percussion

Releases information

Original: 1992 Victory Music Inc (Marketed in France by Barclay and Germany by Matronome Music GmbH) Original cat code: LP 828 318-1/ CD 828 318-2/ CAS 828 318-4
Victory Music / PolyGram Records 480003-2

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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Black Moon ratings distribution


2.85
(293 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(4%)
4%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
23%
Good, but non-essential (40%)
40%
Collectors/fans only (24%)
24%
Poor. Only for completionists (10%)
10%

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Black Moon reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Who's the new singer?

By the time "Black Moon" was released, Lake's voice had changed remarkably. The distinctive tones are still there, but he sings in a completely different, and much lower key. This is somewhat disconcerting at first, but you do get used to it.

"Black moon" was ELP's last credible album. It's certainly not their best, but they play and write as a band, even if to some extent the tracks are ELP by the numbers. There is a tendency to steer clear of the true prog which they explored on their early albums, the offerings here being more straightforward songs.

The opening track, apparently inspired by the burning oilfields of Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion, is a keyboard swamped piece of AOR, with little sign of the inspiration which created "Karn Evil 9" and the likes.

The obligatory classical interpretation is a stomping version of "Romeo and Juliet", you can almost picture Emerson's keyboard histrionics as he pounds the keys.

A good album, but not by any means one of the ELP greats.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#14586) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 04, 2004

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Fairly decent AORish prog that never hits any great highs but does at least manage to avoid the lows of ELPowell.The worst thing about this album is the flat production.Mark Mancina should not have been allowed anywhere near.Where's Eddie Offord when you need him?? Ignoring that there are some good songs.'Paper Blood' has some excellent Hammond work from Emerson and 'Affairs Of The Heart' showcases Lake's mature baritone quite nicely.There's also the very pleasant piano peice 'Close To Home' and the lovely 'Footprints In The Snow'.Those are the highs really.The rest is average at best.Overall a respectable comeback album that should have lead to better things but unfortunately.......

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Posted Friday, June 04, 2004

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer got back together in 1991, older and hopefully wiser, to record this 1992 release, which has much more of a rock/pop feel than the Progressive Rock on their first five albums. However, unlike "Love Beach" (their earlier attempt at a more commercial sound) this album actually works. If you can listen to mainstream commercial rock and pop then you will probably like this album. All the tunes are catchy and the lyrics are good. Musician and producer Mike Mancina produced the album and contributed the song 'Burning Bridges'. Although the album has a more commercial sound there are still the Lake ballads, the 'serious' numbers and Emerson's take on a piece of classical music. So it's still ELP, just an ELP that has 'progressed'.

The Gulf War inspired the title track. The title comes from Lake's shock at seeing on TV the Kuwaiti oil fields burning and the thick black smoke filtering the sun into a 'black moon'. His lyrics talk of 'deserts burning' while Emerson's synthesizers and Palmer's percussion recreate the sounds of automatic rifle fire, fighter-bombers and shells slamming in. The band unashamedly borrowed the three-drumbeat riff from QUEEN's 'We Will Rock You' as the anchor for this track. After I got over that, it works. Good stuff.

'Paper Blood' is a real commercial rocker, but none the worse for that. Lake's lyrics talk of the power of money and appear to be a comment on how fortunes can quickly change for the worse (the band's, by any chance?). Could this be the reason for the carrousel on the album cover?

'Affairs Of The Heart' is a Lake/Downes love ballad with acoustic guitar and some pleasant orchestration, somewhat in the vein of 'Lucky Man' but with a more commercial flavour.

'Romeo and Juliet' is Emerson's arrangement of the superb 'Dance of the Knights' from Prokofiev's score for the ballet Romeo and Juliet (or the equivalent 'The Montagues and Capulets' from the orchestral suite Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 2 Opus 64ter). Apparently Emerson described it as 'an obvious choice'. So obvious in fact that I often wondered why it had not been done on one of the first five ELP albums. I'm going to have to eat the words in my review of "Pictures At An Exhibition" and say that here I prefer the original. If you get the chance, go to the ballet or listen to the orchestral suite: a big orchestra playing this piece is hard to beat. I would have preferred ELP to have been more adventurous and given 'The Montagues and Capulets' a bigger twist by playing around more with the score and using fatter synthesizers, more guitar and percussion. Still, what they did is very good and should impress fans of Progressive Rock.

'Farewell To Arms' is a hymn to peace and has a very Scottish feel to it with Emerson's synthesizer sounding like bagpipes. Granted it's not Progressive Rock, but it's a lovely song nonetheless.

'Changing States' is an Emerson instrumental sounding like an upbeat movie soundtrack (horses galloping through the surf on a beach, boats ploughing through the waters - you get the picture). Not Progressive Rock either, but well composed fluff and pleasant enough.

'Burning Bridges' is a song composed by Mike Mancina; sort of 'Michael Bolton meets ELP'. Again not Progressive Rock but, so what, I like it. A very catchy tune with nice strings, and a little bit of Emerson's synthesizer keeps me happy. A slick, commercial piece.

'Close To Home' is a pseudo-classical piano instrumental written by Emerson and Lake. It's no masterpiece but is again pleasant; almost the sort of thing one would expect to hear in a plush bar or restaurant. However it doesn't feel pretentious to me.

'Better Days' is another pop song a la Michael Bolton, this time a Lake song about a down-and-out, written after Emerson told him about a bag lady who he had taken pity on and slipped a ten-pound note. An OK song.

'Footprints In The Snow' is a great love ballad by Lake. It's pure pop with a very catchy tune, decent lyrics and nice backing orchestration. I like it.

The Sanctuary Records CD has some bonus tracks: the Single Edit of 'Black Moon' and edits of 'Affairs Of The Heart', 'Paper Blood' and 'Romeo And Juliet' complete with fade-outs. Not essential additions, but shortened repeats of the album's tracks.

I'm glad I own this album of very accessible, polished music. Progressive pop? Commercial rock? Whatever. I've heard worse Progressive Rock many a time. Three stars (Good, but non-essential).

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Send comments to Fitzcarraldo (BETA) | Report this review (#14591) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Lots of changes abound in "Black Moon", but most painful is the odd shift in timbre of Lake's voice, which went from positively beautiful to husky and mediocre. What happened? He scarcely sounds like the same person. More disconcerting is the shift in songwriting to a much more accessible, almost radio-friendly sound; gone are the sweeping compositions and exciting instrumentals... there is very little to get excited about here, but not a lot to be disgusted with. They band still plays well, but they could have stirred up the creative juices a little more to give us something worthwhile-- even within the short, song-based framework they decided to record this one in.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

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Posted Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars If you except "Emerson, Lake & Powell" released in 1985 this is the first true ELP album since their very average "Love Beach". Forteen years ago! Is there still a place for ELP in those days ? Let's hear.

The opener strongly reminds the Genesis type of compositions while they were three. Over-powered drumming (a la "We will Rock You"), almost heavy-rock sounds. Not a great start for an ELP fan I'm afraid. After five minutes of this "heavy" treatment, ELP will propose a nice and more traditional finale. Light and sweet then hypnotic (like during their interpretation of the "Bolero", ages ago).

The same heavy mood goes on in the next song. "Paper Blood" has absolutely nothing to do with the traditional ELP we have loved in the seventies. I can understand that a band needs to evolve to avoid boredom but I can't cope with this type of (d) evolution. As usual, we'll get the classic sweet and gentle ballad to remind us "Lucky Man", "Still..." etc. No need to say that "Affairs Of The Heart" is far to reach the quality of its glorious predecessors.

Since ELP have definitely difficulties in creating great songs, why not pumping into the classic repertoire and re-arrange a Prokofiev song ? I am not at all a specialist of classical music and I do not know the original. I can only say that when ELP did the same excercise with "Pictures", I quite liked it. With this one, the same boring feeling prevails. Just like during the syrupous "Farwell To Arms". Really pityful. I have almost the same feeling than during "Works" (whatever version) : an extreme disillusion. When ELP almost meets folk...

Shall we finally a good ELP song on this album ? Well, once you are ready to lower your expectations, "Changing States" might well be the one. Somewhat pompous as in their glory days, this track has the seal of a classic ELP song. Finally ! Emerson is rather effective, and Carl has probably never played better on this album. A nice instrumental moment and by far the best song of this album.

A bit of uneffective pop moment with "Burning Bridges" just gets you back to earth. We are heading again the all-time lows of their music. Press next of course. You'll enter into the classical territories with a piano solo. Actually, with so many poor songs, this might as well be one of the most bearable ones available on this album. Still, it sounds more as a piano bar song than anything else. But to my ears, it sounds way better than the funkish / AOR "Better Days". Awful.

To close this album, ELP offer another slow ballad. Not too bad but just good to fall asleep.

This album is poor. Almost no tracks is bringing a little passion. One star. Just ignore this album from your ELP discography.

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Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Emerson v Emerson with Victory Records as the Loser

I was really surprised at how low people rate this album given that it is probably the strongest ELP studio release since Brian Salad Surgery appeared in 1973.

Given that a reunion was completely unexpected and that our three heroes now found themselves aboard a sinking ship adrift on the choppy high seas of corporate 'rawk' (HMS Victory Records, who went under) they deserve great credit for producing a record as good as this one. Stories abound that Victory originally approached Emerson to compose a soundtrack for a movie and 'suggested' that he get Lake and Palmer on board. The fact that no-one involved can even name the film in question begs some questions. There are many others who view this version of events as apocryphal and would consider more plausible, Emerson's urgent need of huge amounts of cash after a vicious divorce had 'cleaned him out'

Go figure....

Short pieces are the order of the day here, with no extended suites as in days of yore. Some reviewers are convinced that the band were 'under instructions' to write concise, sharp and snappy radio fodder for this but Emerson's version of events is quite different. He has stated that he had 'carte blanche' from the record label to write and record whatever he wanted, irrespective of genre or track length.

OK, this AIN'T Trilogy or Tarkus but neither is it Love Beach or In the Hot Seat either. There is not a bad track on the album and although rather bereft of any obvious ELP instant classics, we have a very fine collection of symphonic prog tunes where a welcome 'modern' economy is evident.

The only real niggles I have are that Carl Palmer appears to have decided that in 1992 there is no place for 'interactive' drumming anymore, so his contributions are no more than a very elaborate 'click track' for Lake and Emerson to keep time. Although this adds considerable weight and power to the rhythm, and is consistent with a desired contemporary feel, much of the previous subtlety and interplay between the trio is lost as a result.

Also, Greg's voice has understandably lost much of its range and tone down the years, but I do miss that unique 'tenor sings rock' texture that only he and say, John Wetton seemed to possess.

BLACK MOON - A real 'grower' this one, as on first hearing I relegated it to 'stadium grunt' due to its use of the We Will Rock You drum beat (are you squirming yet Carl ?) but after repeated listens, the overall structure and complexity reveals itself, layer by layer. Check out the closing organ solo over the very inspired 'folky' bridge chord progression. True killer. Why, even fatboy has honed a social conscience for this one with his depiction of the planet ravaged by eco unfriendly nations etc

PAPER BLOOD - a simple 'rocker' but damn fine for all that. Greasy organ open fifths from Emo hammer out the deceptively simple riff over which Lake intones a tale of the futility of the acquisition of wealth (Right on sister! Greg's tits appear to have been firmly in the wringer when they booked the studio) Rather refreshing 'solo' from Mr E, which consists of some incredible stabbing of an ambiguous 'cluster' chord over the incessant rhythm? (You have to hear it)

AFFAIRS OF THE HEART - Greg's first contribution to the album, and a very fine acoustic ballad it is too with Emerson playing a very minimalistic (by his standards) and beautiful accompaniment on ethereal piano and synths. Like so much of his 'background' work on this record, the textures and timbres are exquisite. From memory, a version of this song was recorded by Lake and Geoff Downes ?

ROMEO AND JULIET - Prokofiev gets thrust into the ELP blender and comes out screaming. The beat has a real 'Hendrix' vibe and the synth sound used for the main melody is spine-tingling. Emerson has stated in an interview that before arranging this piece for the band he played the original piano score over and over again until he got it down perfectly...then threw the manuscript paper away (Prokofiev might have thrown it back, but who cares?) This track was a particular standout on the subsequent world tour.

FAREWELL TO ARMS - Perhaps the first 'baby clanger' on the album. Quite a decent tune but spoiled by Lake's rather mannered vocal (you know those really irritating instances when he 'speaks' the tagline of a song?) and the feel is not dissimilar to a rather sluggish adaptation of 'Elgar' The closing synth solo almost saves the day however, and there is more than a passing nod in the direction of 'Lucky Man Moog' here.

CHANGING STATES - this is an ELP version of a tune that Emo composed for a solo album (where it was called Another Frontier) Not really that different until the slowed down bridge section appears that precedes the ending. I actually prefer the solo album version but the superior organ, bass and drum sounds here make this a real treat. 'Bach' is the obvious inspiration here and Emerson whips up a real storm with his own inimitable appropriation of what the 'fugue' form should sound like.

BURNING BRIDGES - Surprisingly, this was a song written with ELP in mind, by the album's producer Mark Mancina and very fine it is too, replete with a strong melody and memorable chorus to boot. The organ sound and melodic shape employed throughout is redolent of 'Procul Harum' and never fails to summon the hairs on the back of my neck to attention. Exhilarating. (Mr Mancina is now a very successful and prolific composer of movie soundtracks).

CLOSE TO HOME - Emerson's solo piano piece and unfortunately not one of his best. Not a stinker by any stretch of the imagination, but this tune has always struck me as having 'odd' phrasing in the main hook and fails to satisfy despite some masterful playing and an interesting developmental section in the middle. Perhaps A Blade of Grass would have made a better choice. (I think this alternative solo piano track was included as a bonus track on subsequent reissues of the CD?)

BETTER DAYS - Mercy! this is almost funky?, with staccato clavinet and as close as Carl will ever get to approaching an 'urban' vibe on his kit. This type of modernity had been attempted before by ELP, but compared to other (atrocious) efforts on In the Hot Seat and Love Beach it proves they COULD assimilate contemporary developments within the broader context of a progressive style. I am advised that the storyline was inspired by an incident in Emerson's life where he (anonymously) gave a considerable amount of cash to a homeless person in the street. (NOT his ex wife presumably) The ending section to the fade out is magnificent. No pyrotechnics or 200 notes a minute here, just fantastic use of timbre, texture and dynamics to get the job done. Breathtaking (and simple)

FOOT PRINTS IN THE SNOW - Emerson must have loosened the reins to give Greg TWO solo pieces on the one record? Anyway, this is another fine acoustic song with a particularly memorable hook and although very understated, rather surprisingly provides the album with a satisfactory conclusion. (ELP usually started with a hurricane and built up to a climax)

So in summation: This album is NOT even remotely AOR or POP and I am puzzled by the charges of same leveled against it from previous appraisals. Certainly, the tracks are shorter than we have come to expect and there is no overriding 'concept' piece upon which to focus our attention. So what?

I just wish that those anodyne and soulless charlatans like Marillion, IQ, Pallas et al get the chance to hear what their own mutant baby christened 'Neo Progressive' COULD have been if put in the hands of the masters.

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#169136) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars To back up the previous reviewer, ExittheLemming, I would also consider this E.L.P. reunion album as a strong 'come-back' album, out of any of the 70's Prog-Giants (particularly Genesis and Yes from the same era...). Black Moon seems to continue in a more traditionally Progressive sounding realm, indeed the title-track opener is superb, even with the QUEEN-like rhythm from drummer Carl Palmer. Emerson reverts back to the Hammond Organ, not particularly for the nostalgia alone, but also to incorporate a 'vintage' sound in a modern context. The whole arrangement of the song suggests an epic feel, and a passionate return to the fundamentals of their whole artistic expression. We still get some complexity, classical symphonic inspiration, and a tightly composed set of songs here, as well as some commercially oriented material, but quite non-offensive, truth be told. A marked improvement from the few mediocre 80's recordings they were responsible for (E.L.Powell, '3'..). Quite a sensational live recording followed-up this album. Black Moon remains a testament to the power of this phenomenal trio, and a fairly strong resurgence for fans and Prog-Heads alike.....no 'Karn Evil 9' here, but still an exciting blend of songs which demonstrates the intricacy and catchy sensibilities of this group of gifted musicians. This was the 'bee's knee' for me when it came out, and I still return to it time after time. The vinyl version leaves off an Emerson solo Piano piece, 'Blade of Grass' (from memory)...Closer to a 4 star, than a 3.

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Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In 1992 ELP reformed to record Black Moon and set out on a World tour. I was very excited to hear that as ELP was one of my all time favorite bands and they had done nothing since the EL Powell mid 80's collaboration. I thought back then this album was a greally good effort. Sure the band had added the some of the trappings all music had in this day being influenced by MTV. They also had shortened their songs by quite a bit and in many way only appeared to offer the long time fan only glimpses of the past.

Lets review what an ELP album has to have. It needs a ballad, it needs a classical adaptation and it needs an epic. Even love Beach had all three. So does this album have this? Well certainly the ballad, kind of an almost John Denverish,in sound and structure, Affairs of the Heart. It has the classical adaptation, albeit short, in The Theme from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev.

Does this have an epic? Not really and there in lies its fatal flaw from being a classic to being merely good. Instead ELP try and add ELP epic moments to shorter songs. For instance the end of the Title Track where Keith does a multiple keyboard orchestration but someone forgot to tell Carl he needed to come along as well or the synth solo at the end of Farewell to Arms. Unfortunately these aren't epics and the closest we get to one is the 6 minute instrumental Changing States which comes off a lot like Canario did on Love Beach. I think though Carl still felt like he was drumming for Asia as there is none of the frantic quality he always put in an ELP classic. Instead it is a laid back Palmer who seems like he is just counting out time. I have to say it just wasn't Carl but ever since In the Air by Phil Collins came out every drummer threw away his cymbals and minimalized. There are moments in this song that do you get you thinking about how good these guys still were and even though its not quite enough it was better than 99% of the music coming out in this time period.

Then there is Keiths solo piano piece called Close to Home. I always have loved this one. It reminds me of Jefferson Airplanes guitarist Jorma Kaukanen's Embryonic Journey. Just an quiet introspection of the artist and his instrument. After that it gets a bit sketchy with Burning Bridges written by the albums producer Mark Mancina. I knew Mark when we were both younger and it is a well crafted pop/rock power ballad but not for ELP although Mark sure knows how to get the best sound out of Keith's Synths. They do soar on this CD.

Some of the rest of the songs sound like they could have been on a Greg Lake solo album rather than an ELP and putting an Emerson solo on such a song does not make it ELP. Still all in all these guys did a pretty good job with this and the tour was fun as well. My opinion has changed since 1992 but this is still a 3 star.

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Posted Monday, May 12, 2008

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Review 38, Black Moon, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1992

StarStarStarStar

I really like this much-maligned (here, at least) album, though it's probably not for everyone. Greg Lake's voice has certainly faded since its glory days, but is still passable, and has a certain verve and aggression that suits numbers like Black Moon and Paper Blood. Palmer does have a rather less constantly-shifting style that takes a while to get used to and appreciate, but still gives some solid moments. Emerson is on top form throughout, whether with vicious Hammond or gentle piano. It's not going to be another reiteration of their glory days, but it is a collaborative effort and well worth taking a listen to.

Black Moon's classic title track opens with a tense, dark atmosphere created mostly by Emerson's shimmering keyboard choices, including a bizarre, brief, crashing piano solo. Palmer and Lake kick in with a rather We Will Rock You -esque beat, though it's heavily elaborated (one or two brief bass solos also colour it). Lake's vocal, strong and aggressive, drives through the excellent and biting lyrics ('We don't get active, we become immune/Black Moon.'), and the synths give a certain strut to the political lyrics. We get two incredibly good solos from Emerson, and towards the end Palmer gives us some interesting classical-ish drumming choices which hark back to the glory of Toccata. A classic ELP track, equal with much of their past fare.

Paper Blood is aggressive ELP-fare, with a superb performance from Emerson on the hammond, giving some stabbing bursts of energy as well as that lovable blues block organ. Palmer's heavy, but quite relaxed, drumming suits the song down to the ground, and Greg Lake doesn't do badly on the vocals/lyrics department. Some strong harmonica adds yet another colour to the mix. A very thick riff holds the song together.

Affairs Of The Heart is (Shock, horror. They've betrayed prog) a ballad, with some standard Lake acoustic strumming complimented by a couple of bursts of interest. His vocals (despite some extremely good lyrical lines ['faces like a ghost with eyes of jade]) do finder it harder to cope with the extended showcase, but when Palmer and Emerson (especially, some amazingly emotional soft keyboard additions, piano and others) come in, it does take off very impressively.

The interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Romeo And Juliet has a very vicious and dark colour of its own, with strutting synths, loud and superbly interesting drumming and even Greg Lake guitar soloing of the highest order. Palmer definitely feels very much in his element on this one, and I'm a sucker for a dark (/re-)interpretation of classical pieces. Great stuff.

Farewell To Arms has a harder time contending with the rest, because despite some reverent organ and absolutely beautiful piano from Emerson (as well as excellent bass, and not-so-great acoustics from Lake). Palmer doesn't quite match up to himself in the song, feeling a bit subserviant to the mix. Lake's vocals are basically the song, and, though generally good, but overblown, they do border on the tacky at times. A whirly moog solo that from Emerson, almost a nod to Lucky Man, leads us out.

Changing States seems almost like a soundtrack piece, with an array of great piano, synthesiser and organ parts leading to the pompous and cheerful addition of a bizarre drum-bass combination which whimsically take a solo or add in something. Emerson gives us both the main tune and some variations on smaller instruments which take a little listening to notice. Basically, ELP doing what ELP do, but with a different basic sound. Lots of variations from everyone involved, a panache and grandeur that isn't to be missed.

Burning Bridges (written by manager, Terry Mancina) begins with a tense drum-part and some thick organ, with the later addition of some piano and bass, before it develops to a pop tune (I love it, don't care.). Greg Lake gives us some great vocals and lyrics to this pop tune. Keith Emerson's wonderfully dripping brief piano and organ solos, and his musicianship throughout shows how great musicians can work superbly in a pop context. Carl Palmer also provides some very fierce work in addition to his basic beat. Pop tune, but I like it.

The odd Close To Home is a piano solo (so I can't help the musicians). The feel is rather carefree, structured, but not tightly so, and played gently and carelessly on a warm afternoon. There is a rather developing feel throughout the solo. Warm and cheerful, but I can't evaluate it.

Better Days is a punchy, almost-electronic-feeling piece, with catchy bass and drums, some rocking keyboards from Emerson, mostly tolerable (narrative) lyrics and good vocals from Lake. Palmer gets to use some bells as well as a bass drum-heavy beat. All in all, a good pop song, with Emerson and Palmer giving it a little extra class.

Footprints In The Snow is another of the ballads, with the usual Greg Lake acoustics, which I can't say I find very interesting, but also some gorgeous piano additions, background keys and small bass parts. Lake's voice doesn't really have too much difficulty handling the spotlight, and the lyrics are good enough for the piece, though not great. The gradual build up in the last verse is sublime, and the conclusion for the album is prety strong.

The bonus material on my remaster is banal. Four edits with reduced atmospheric build-up. No point in listening any further than Footprints In The Snow, really. I could have done without the extras.

Basically, around half of this album is heavily pop-based or ballad-styled, so if you don't care for that, put it somewhere later on in your ELP-list. However, this half is very well done, and the other half (Romeo And Juliet, Black Moon, Changing States, etc.) is certainly not to be missed by anyone who likes ELP (or doesn't), and I think a reasonably open-minded prog fan should be happy with it. Not a masterpiece, certainly, but a very good album in a changed musical world.

Rating: Four Stars Favourite Track: Black Moon

Edit: Dropped carefully to three stars. Same recommendations apply, but I think that three reflects them better by comparison to some of my other ratings.

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Send comments to TGM: Orb (BETA) | Report this review (#171828) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars This is easily the best Emerson Lake & Palmer album since Brain Salad Surgery that was released 20 years earlier! Of course, Black Moon is not as inventive and adventurous as the bands classic 70's albums. However, that is irrelevant since this is also a different type of music. Black Moon is more of a rock album, and it rocks quite hard at times too. The songs here are really good and memorable.

There are no long conceptual pieces here (like Tarkus or Karn Evil 9), there are also no ultra intricate, experimental things (like Toccata), but still this album really captures the true spirit of the band. We find here great instrumental passages; Romeo And Juliet, Changing States, good hard rock songs; Black Moon, Paper Blood, and even Greg Lake's ballads are good this time; Farewell To Arms, Footprints In The Snow. The latter are easily Lake's best songs of this type since Lucky Man and In the Beginning from the very early 70's.

This album is also very consistent. There aren't really any standout tracks, but also no weak tracks. In many ways Black Moon is the exact opposite of Works Vol.1 where the three members did quite different things from each other on their respective vinyl sides. Here on the other hand, they really feel like a band again, working together.

This album is highly recommended if you like this band. For me personally this is one of the three or four best Emerson Lake & Palmer albums of all time.

Excellent addition to any prog music collection

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Posted Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I guess many fans of ELP hailed Black Moon as a triumphant comeback. I do recall quite a bit of fanfare for this release back in 1992 and it was enough to peak my curiosity at the time. I too thought it was a pretty good album, but really didn't think it was anywhere near as good as their 1985 album with Cozy Powell. Strangely enough, this album disappeared off the radar (at least in the States) in less than a few months. Apparently it did better elsewhere. Today, about 16 years later, it hasn't aged well at all in progressive rock terms.

Let's face it. This album hardly merits the mention of the word progressive in the traditional sense. It's nearly completely in the AOR/pop rock vein, with maybe the exception of the Romeo and Juliet instrumental. It's clearly on the tail end of that 1980s sound that so ruined many a prog band and fits in nicely with its dinosaurian contemporaries of the time, like Genesis' We Can't Dance, Asia's Aqua, and Eloy's Destination.

Probably the best quality this album has is that it's probably the first album where the entire band seems to be involved in a team effort. Also, for AOR/pop rock, it's not that bad, and is rather better than other similar pop music from the time period.

I suppose one can argue as to how progressive this album is. I'm not convinced that it even warrants usage of such an esteemed word. Because of this, I can't see it ever being higher than two stars. For fans, collectors, and those pursuing a historical study of the downfalls of great prog bands.

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Posted Monday, August 25, 2008

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
3 stars ELP is a strange band, initially the first outright prog supergroup (and when you realize that Blind Faith only lasted one paltry album: arguably THE rock amalgamation of all time). Big boys, bigger arsenals of equipment and even bigger egos contributed to a phenomenon that espoused the fragility of fame and fortune in the music world, where you were indeed a "lucky man" what with all the horny groupies, the "tossed out the hotel window TV sets" attitude, the nasty drugs and the endless enigma of touring. Certainly, their recorded output up to Brain Salad Surgery is considered as topnotch examples of classical-infused power trio progressive rock but as the punkers stated their bloodless revolution (led according to lore by the aptly named The Vibrators), the virtuosos started running out of steam and ideas, egged on by the greedy corporations and the onset of diluted pop-prog by 1978-79. The death knell had sounded thanks to monolithic wastes of time, energy, vinyl and talent like the bloated Works Volumes 1 and 2, more embarrassing than anything and fuel for the untalented and frustrated to "revitalize" popular music by encouraging ugly idiots who could play two notes real well! By 1992, the punk phenomenon had petered into disarray (hey, how many combinations of 2 notes can you come up with?) and the music world was in a momentary lapse of marketing, hence ELP decided to go for the gap and try to wiggle through and make a splash. As many others here have commented correctly, it was a mitigated success, as "Black Moon" has some interesting tracks as well as some 'yuck'. Firstly, how can they agree on such a boring cover, with such dismal artwork, I mean the circus is a cool place and an attraction like the carousel can be enlightening but please, where was BSS' Giger when you really needed him? Secondly, the production is way too sterile and "poppy" with little warmth and no character at all. Who is this Mark Mancina anyway? The title track certainly has "oomph" as it steamrollers mightily with verve, confidence and authority, rousingly referring to the burning Iraqi oil fields of Gulf Storm and giving Lake's shakier voice some depth. One is almost reminded of Queen's anthemic "We Will Rock You" pounding, as Palmer does his best Roger Taylor imitation and Emerson reverts to blaring his fanfarish synths with undisguised ardor. Good emphatic opener, somewhat ruined by the next silly affair, the politically charged "Paper Blood", which could have been vastly improved had the lads rejected the gooey cheese they wrapped around it! A real corny and ultra-simplistic organ riff leads this horrid sing-along, I mean Asia could do this better and that is sad, perhaps this where the inspiration came from in the first place. The hysterical harmonica does little to relieve the pain. "Affairs of the Heart" reveals a quieter mood, time for Lake to provide one of his patented ballads but alas, his voice had altered greatly in the intervening years and he comes astoundingly across sounding more like David Cousins of the Strawbs, especially when the vessel resembles traditional British folk songs. The resemblance is uncanny and this sentiment will resurface later with equally Brit-folkish "A Farewell to Arms" as well as the closer "Footprints in the Snow". "Romeo & Juliet" is why I purchased this way back when in the first place and it is a classic piece of genius that has epic, empirical intonations full of bombast, majesty and clout. The sibilant synths marshal forward boldly, with swagger and utter poise, a modern diversion on Prokofiev's classic piece. Still revered today in many circles (and oft sampled) as ideal "entrance" music, be it at an event, a wedding or a concert. Simply magnificent! The Emersonian instrumental "Changing States" begins nicely with stately piano, church organ and a rousing "entrée en scene" that playfully rollicks onward, a good but not mindboggling return to form. "Burning Bridges" has little or no relevance to a prog fan, a pedestrian affair that is verging near revolting, tasteless corn! Even the organ snippets cannot save this bummer, got to (Black) Moon this one! Next! "Close to Home" is a piano solo that would do well in the bar lounge of a respectable 5 star hotel, say the Paris Ritz or even the Beverly Wilshire, Emerson doing his best Richard Gere/Pretty Woman midnight recital , as the wait staff boringly broom away the glitter, waiting to go home. Back to the sludge with the ridiculous "Better Days", a Chris deBurgh-like storytelling cough introducing a rather pedestrian sing-along rock song with funky clavinet and strained Lake vocals, "Stand on Me" repeated ad nauseum, with the wimpiest organ solo and the worst plodding drums ever from Palmer. Brutal trash. "Footprints in the Snow" mercifully revisits some faraway and discreet elegance, a genial nod to Cousins and his nasal twang with acoustic guitars and melancholic chorus. A little polish and a lot of spit would have elevated this a tad higher but three merry-go-rounds is more than enough!

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Posted Sunday, March 01, 2009

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars ELP plays ELP twenty years too late

When people in or outside the Progressive Rock universe discuss what was wrong with the genre, the name EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER always is mentioned, they are accused of pompous, self indulgent, arrogant, and many other things.......I always protest on such silly accusations, because Prog is a pompous genre and ELP played an important role in the definition of it.

ELP was one of the brightest stars of our beloved genre, but the price they paid for such brilliance is that they burned too fast, after a good debut and the respected "Tarkus", came "Trilogy" and Brain Salad Surgery", the peak of their glory enhanced by the fantastic live album "Welcome Back my Friends....", but it was only 1974 and while other bands kept growing, ELP started to progressively loose credibility, reaching the bottom of the pit with "Love Beach" an album that should had never been recorded.

After this disaster, they split and nobody believed we would hear more about them, but in 1994 the trio was back and releasing "Black Moon" in an attempt of recovering they well deserved place in Prog history, and honestly it was their best release since 1976, but this wasn't enough, the old formula was exhausted and what impressed us in the 70's, was only cliche in the 90's, specially after during the peak of the Swedish Renaissance.

The album is opened with Black Moon and it's promising opening of Synth and piano, but as soon as Carl Palmer hits the drums, the listener will discover it's only a pale echo of the past, very pompous and strong, with a Lake still in his peak, but lack of substance, as if they had lost the path and couldn't find the way back, the previously impressive keyboard solos, sound boring and unimaginative, not a good start.

"Paper Blood" is an improvement, the harmonica makes it sound fresher, and Keith selection of organ is impressive, but the problem subsists, a couple of good ideas,. but little substance, no matter how hard they try with the old formula, they are not able to cause the same impression as twenty years before.

What else can they do at this point?....I know, try with their ability to recreate classical musicians works, and they choose well, "Romeo and Juliet" by Serge Prokofiev is a pompous, explosive piece of music even when a bit repetitive, but instead of making what they know best, destroy the original work to create something new and radical, they follow the original composition with some effects but nothing more.

Until this point ELP has failed in the attempt of playing ELP music by following their old format, but there's still something to try....A Lake ballad in the vein of "Lucky Man", "Still yo Turn Me On" or at least "Ces't La Vie", but "Affairs of the Heart" is as simple and unimaginative as the name, and the same comment is valid for "Farewell to Arms"

I could continue with all the other tracks, but all of them sound like a pathetic attempt of playing ELP music following the old script, but except for the brilliant "Better Days", they keep falling miserably, turning in a tribute band of themselves, for God's sake, even the piano interlude"Close to Home" by the fantastic Emerson makes feel sleepy, they aren't able to do what they do best, maybe it was time to attempt something new.

The sad thing is that they are not doing anything wrong, they are following the frames they created, but what was imaginative in 1974, is less than average in 1994.

If it was almost any other band, the album would deserve at least 3.5 stars, but great bands are judged by their own standards and for EMERSON LAKE & PALMER, this album is worth 2 stars, maybe 2.5 to make it average.

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Posted Friday, July 31, 2009

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars I am shocked by the number of good reviews, and horrified by the five star reviews this album has received. They must have been written by people that think the last half dozen Genesis albums are progressive gems.

First, Greg Lake sounds like he spent the previous twelve years sitting in his house chain smoking. Or maybe if he just cleared out whatever was blocking his throat, he could get some of that golden tone he once had. And Carl Palmer must have thought he was still pounding out simple beats for Asia. And the songwriting? Except for a couple of songs, everything here is AOR. Sure, Emerson's keyboards pump a little energy into the music here and there, but there is none of the grandiose boldness that once made ELP one of the top bands in the genre.

The saving graces of the album are Romeo & Juliet from the Prokofiev ballet, and Changing States, both of which can be found in slighly different forms, and under different titles on Emerson's far superior solo album, Changing States.

Really, the best thing about this album was the reunion itself, which gave us a chance to see ELP playing some of their classic material.

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Posted Friday, September 25, 2009

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars 4 reasons to buy this album:

Black Moon (6:59)

Paper Blood (4:29)

Better Days (5:37)

Romeo And Juliet {Prokofiev, arranged by Emerson} (3:43)

I had heard all of these tracks live on DVDs and live CDs and enjoyed the new sound and thought that this album would therefore be a definite triumph. I was wrong. It is no triumph, but it would have been good enough to bow out on, rather than release the slap-your-granny- awful 'In the Hot Seat'.

The reunion of ELP was not as successful as they may have hoped but this effort blows 'Love Beach' out of the water, in fact off the beach altogether. The Black Moon album boasts prog in bursts and some inspired instrumentals from the power trio. There are some excellent moments, the aforementioned songs are terrific but others are quite memorable and catchy. The obligatory ballad chimes in with Affairs of the Heart and Lake is strong vocally. He sings different than the classic albums but it's pleasant enough. The drums are nothing much to write home about but effective nonethelesss. Emerson shines in places and seems to be enjoying the reunion. This was the last great hurrah from the band proving they still have some innovation and are deserved of the tag - one of the greatest progenitors of prog rock.

It may not be up to the standard of thier classic albums from debut to Trilogy, but it is streets ahead of Love Beach and In the Hot Seat does not even hold a candle to it. One of the better more recent ELP albums by a long shot.

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Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Latest members reviews

2 stars I have recently followed "Emerson, Lake & Palmer's" career and most of their material hav yet been absolutely lovely to listen to. The last record I reviewed was Emerson, Lake & Powell from 1985 with a totally different drummer. This time I will write about "Black Moon" from 1992 with the prop ... (read more)

Report this review (#1171431) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, May 05, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've long given up on ELP as their classic period had concluded with "Brain Salad Surgery" - at least in the sense of a complete album worth of admiration. Having heard their efforts since left me underwhelmed - if not bitterly disappointed. With that in mind, I've bought this CD only because ... (read more)

Report this review (#1165005) | Posted by Anon-E-Mouse | Friday, April 25, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Finally a decent cover art. After Love Beach I couldn't expect any good artwork haha. I think Love Beach is a way better than Black Moon. This is where Emerson, Lake and Palmer turned themselves into a crossover prog band. After all, Keith Emerson is leading the tracks again. And Greg Lake's voic ... (read more)

Report this review (#946108) | Posted by VOTOMS | Thursday, April 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A strong return to form 13 years after their dissolution in 1979. The playing is surprisingly muscular, and the band tight and authoritative. Quite a change from the whimper and disappointment that was "Love Beach". The songwriting is more concise and contemporary, though Emerson does manage t ... (read more)

Report this review (#808605) | Posted by Progfan1958 | Wednesday, August 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Emerson, Lake & Powell incident exluded (Palmer busy with Asia), this is the first Emerson, Lake and Palmer album since Love Beach. An album I don't think is loved among us. Black Moon is still a romp in AOR land with a couple of forays into good old ELP land too. They have done a Yes and P ... (read more)

Report this review (#569831) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Maybe you'll find my review a bit tendentious. Black Moon was my introductory album to ELP. This happened back in the days when i was a 15 year old boy that was already a fan of Pink Floyd, Supertramp and other more commercial bands of the 70's like Dire Straits and Queen.The way to accustom an e ... (read more)

Report this review (#426437) | Posted by Pasha | Friday, April 01, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars "Black Moon" is the return of Palmer with Emerson & Lake. But sure this album isn't a Prog album. The style is various from Classic Rock to AOR to a strange fake Prog (in "Closer To Home", that is only a Romantic Classic Prog and in Prokofiev's rearranged version of "Romeo and Juliet"). In thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#372628) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I heard "Black Moon" on the radio some years back and it didn't sound too bad. In fact I decided to give ELP another chance and I bought the "Black Moon" cassette. I was pleasantly surprised. It was definitely better than the crappy "Love Beach." My favorite on the album was "Romeo and Juliet." ... (read more)

Report this review (#278302) | Posted by Keetian | Saturday, April 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is nowhere near as good as the great ELP albums of the early 70's, but that doesn't mean that it isn't good. There are no grand epics but there is a collection of good songs. Lake's voice has changed and so has Palmer's drumming style, but this is still better than a lot of albums out there ... (read more)

Report this review (#172808) | Posted by digdug | Sunday, June 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Of among all the comebacks which we have attended (and, in many cases, suffered) in the last 15 years, one of the worthiest was that of the emperors of the symphonic rock, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. After an absence of fourteen years from their last studio work (apart from the projects Emerson, ... (read more)

Report this review (#172393) | Posted by cesar polo | Wednesday, May 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Nice to see some thought provoking discussion about ELP on here from Exitthelemming and TomOzric. Having said that I think a three-star rating for Black Moon is about right. What made ELP so unique, great and exciting at their peak was the combination of brilliant musicianship and aggression ... (read more)

Report this review (#169162) | Posted by Drachen Theaker | Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Delusion, this was my first feeling after listening (twice) this record ELP is the music I was surrounded since I was 14th. After years I still have all their LPs and bought the first 4 + Works I CDs. Still... they turn me on :) Every one of those is something special. BSS definetly the best ev ... (read more)

Report this review (#59118) | Posted by | Sunday, December 04, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Black Moon is ELP's one of the most accessible albums which has good quality music in it. To brush it aside as a mediocre work will be wrong. the songs are tight, the keyboard sounds perfectly like Emerson and it will definitely entertain a wide range of listeners. Lake's vocals here is more in c ... (read more)

Report this review (#49826) | Posted by Sharier | Monday, October 03, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is ELP`s comeback album after 12 years ( bar ELPowell, 3, ) . I must say that this could have been better with maybe Greg Lake producing but a bold effert none the less, Black Moon, Good solid track to start proceedings which in the beginning sounds like the Endless Enigma. Paper Bl ... (read more)

Report this review (#39201) | Posted by | Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars It would be better if they never got back together to the studio and only play alive. So many years without ELP and they come up with an album that would be great to other bands, but not to one of the best progressive bands. This record is gold in comparison with their next studio album, "In The Hot ... (read more)

Report this review (#14585) | Posted by | Monday, December 29, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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