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King Crimson Larks' Tongues in Aspic album cover
4.42 | 3273 ratings | 228 reviews | 61% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One (13:36)
2. Book of Saturday (2:49)
3. Exiles (7:40)
4. Easy Money (7:54)
5. The Talking Drum (7:26)
6. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two (7:12)

Total Time 46:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Robert Fripp / guitar, Mellotron, electronic devices
- David Cross / violin, viola, Mellotron, electric piano, flute (3)
- John Wetton / bass, piano (3), vocals
- Bill Bruford / drums, percussion
- Jamie Muir / percussion, drums

Releases information

Artwork: Tantra Designs

LP Island - ILPS9230 (1973, UK)

CD EG ‎- EGCD 7 (1986, Europe)
CD EG ‎- EGCD 7 (1989, US) Remastered by Fripp & Tony Arnold
CD Discipline Global ‎- DGM0505 (2005, UK) 30th Anniv. 24-bit remaster by Fripp & Simon Heyworth

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues in Aspic ratings distribution

(3273 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(61%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

KING CRIMSON Larks' Tongues in Aspic reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Aspic's Lark on the Tongue!

This album for a long time was my least favourite of 70's Crimson albums because of Wetton's voice and totally weird sense of dynamic sound-levels - only Exiles seemed of interest as well as Talking Drum but for the rest...... I was simply not into it!!

And then one day, a friend put this album as I was arguing (politics) with a girlfriend at 2AM, and the spark came, with the music blaring out of the speakers at a very unreasonable loud volume for the time of that time of night. As I said , prior to this I only enjoyed Exile and to a lesser extent TD, but those crazy percussions that had turned me off in Easy Money started making extreme sense and I actually stopped in mid sentence (I was about to nail the coffin closed on the argument I was winning hands down) and yelled: YYYYEEESSSS!!!!!!!!. She looked at me and said: no King Crimson!! But I was now instantly hooked, and asked for a repeat of the track. Needless to say that after this repeat, this first thing I did was to go home with the borrowed album and played it twice before falling asleep. To this day, that famous coffin is still lacking a few nails, and I will gladly leave it that way!! ;-)

The 2 parts of Aspic became clear to me also but it is the incredible percussion from Muir on Easy Money that convinced me that this was probably the creative high point of this band. I still have a bit of a problem with Wetton's singing on Book Of Saturday but it is a thankfully short number. Still nowadays, Exiles and Taking Drum are my fave on the album, but almost every track is now a pure classic on my mind. Definitely one of Crimson's best oeuvre, even if it is not the most accessible.

Review by lor68
4 stars Almost perfect, this experimental work is still very important today for some of the bands within the so called "Zehul Music" in France and Belgium (MAGMA, SHYLOCK, ART ZOYD and so on). The title track is excellent and very influential, but also the song-format tracks like "Book of Saturday" and "Easy Money" composed by John WETTON, are not bad. Highly recommended and one of their best ones!!
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This CRIMSON album has mellow parts and aggressive ones too. There are some good percussion parts, and the drums are very well played and elaborated. WETTON's voice is very good, as usual, and his bass is excellent, very present, and sometimes it has an aggressive powerful sound ("Larks Tongue In Aspic Part 2"). FRIPP's guitar is sometimes aggressive, sometimes more on the smooth higher notes like he uses to do on the early albums.
Review by daveconn
4 stars I 'm sitting here, waiting for "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" to explode all over again, convinced that CRIMSON is King. For all intents and purposes, this is KING CRIMSON Part Two. ROBERT FRIPP assembled a new cast, including seasoned veterans that invoked the maiden voyage of the KING: JOHN WETTON, BILL BRUFORD, JAMIE MUIR, DAVID CROSS, lyricist ROBERT PALMER-JAMES. Not since the original Court has so much talent been brought to bear on the KING's vision. In a sense, CRIMSON had handed the crown to EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER after their debut, only to reclaim it on "Larks' Tongues In Aspic". The addition of WETTON (a GREG LAKE soundalike) and BRUFORD now aligned CRIMSON with ELP, enabling them to again make propulsive music at once pretty and profane. Lest they be overlooked, the roles of Cross and Muir are equally important, expanding the range of what might be considered music and giving "Larks" a decidedly Eastern and adventurous flavor. Exotic percussion, violins, the mournful and otherworldly sounds of FRIPP's leads, strange noises, unconventional rhythms... the musical objects in this picture are to traditional drums/bass/guitar rock what the Sistine Chapel is to a simple portrait. "Starless" might be the more stunning record, Red the more remarkable for its simple cunning, but "Larks" is no less luminous an achievement. The records that initially followed Court tried to replicate its sound and effect while expanding the experiment slightly (e.g., adding orchestral elements). "Larks" is a reinvention of the band that stays true to their original mission statement. "In The Court of the Crimson King" asked the musical question: How do we take the rock music of 1969 and push it as far as we can?

"Larks" does the same, substituting "1973" for "1969", which as it turns out makes quite a difference. Every track on here is essential, though the improbably easy "Book of Saturday" and the caustic "Easy Money" have garnered the most attention over the years (in part because JOHN WETTON has kept them alive in his live repertoire). It's something of a daunting appetizer, so start with "Court" and "Wake"; by then you'll have developed a taste for "Larks' Tongues In Aspic". Do yourself a favor and save for a nice digital remaster of this, since many of the passages are very quiet (moreso than any other CRIMSON release).

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Ushering in a new era for the band, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" shows a new solidified lineup after the personnel chaos of the previous albums, and a noticeably different approach- in my opinion, the best period of KING CRIMSON's history starts right here.

It's never a problem for Fripp & co. to open an album, and "Larks' Tongues pt. 1" is possibly the most compelling of all their intro statements. The rolling, tinkling percussion establishes the tension, which is given movement and shape by the dramatic string stabs and fuzzy descent that follows. Just as the thunderous climax is reached, the heavy riff explodes on the scene, instantly making music history (and sending chills down my back every single time). The song bogs down just the slightest bit as the improvisational sections kick in, but we're able to hear David Cross' incredible bowing, found vocal samples and eastern inflections among the novel sonic elements.

The melancholy tone and slightly jumpy rhythms of "Book of Saturdays" intoduce us to Wetton's wooly vocals. More personal and emotional than anything the band has yet done, the fine lyrics that Palmer-James provide give us a new dimension to the previously rarefied KC soundscape. It's slightly out of place between the noisier aural epics of the rest of the album, but this brief song is no less full of instrumental delights.

"Exiles" billows in like a slow-building storm, but then reveals itself to be plaintive rather than thunderous. The overall tone is evocative and lovely, like a more inspired and instrumentally adventurous MOODY BLUES composition- and the lead guitar is characteristically sublime. The exceptional drumming serves as a good example of why Bruford was so essential to the previous YES albums, and Wetton's warm but ragged tones fit the new sound better than Lake (or Haskell, or Burrell, or Anderson) could have done.

"Easy Money" could have easily been this album's rocking "21st Century Schizoid Man", but the song dares to follow brief, hushed tangents to create a more appealing and unpredictable structure. Wetton presents a unique bass presence that his predecessors often lacked, occasionally approaching Chris Squire's raspy brilliance, and Cross removes any doubts that a violin can work in louder, harsher passages.

"The Talking Drum" further represents the new exotic influences, due in no small part to Muir's contributions. Cross leads the movement as this unsettling, slow building track evolves around more subtle improvisations than those featured on the other instrumental tracks.

"Larks' Tongues pt. 2" is final, masterful evidence of the direction the band is taking; the unstoppable, hard-edged momentum on this song will be the blueprint for "Fracture", "Starless and Bible Black", "Red", and even later works (it's similar to the instrumentals on "Discipline" and of course "Larks' Tongues pt. 3" on "Three of a Perfect Pair"). Despite the later efforts of metal and punk to roughen up the musical landscape, this is the still some of the heaviest and hardest music in any genre. Listen close because I can't risk being overheard by the "Court of the Crimson King" diehards...this album is a much better reflection of the band than their debut.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Not a bad album at all with a good blend of mellow and aggro.I think at times it get's harsh criticism for Wetton's vocals but this is a wonderful prog album from a solid outfit of musicians.Both of the Lark songs are awesome. Highly recommended!
Review by el böthy
5 stars Talk about a flawed masterpiece.

This is, at least for me, King Crimson's second best album, and probably also their second most important one, for it was the beginning of another era, arguably the best of their career. And the songs are all astonishing, and I mean all, specially the instrumental ones.

Lark's tongue in aspic part I is probably Crimson's best instrumental ever, and one of the whole Progressive genre for that matter. The percussion intro, the violin build up, the heavy (really heavy) riffs, the perfect rhythm section (man, where ever Bruford goes the rhythm section is great), the spooky hidden voices in the back, the dramatic final. what a masterwork of a song, absolutely brilliant!

Book of Saturday is a shorter number were Wetton makes his debut as singer, while Fripp plays some jazzy chords. It's the simplest song of the album, but itīs just as effective and it follows perfectly the madness of the previous song and brings it down a notch, so we can relax.

The third song is one of my personal favorites. Exile, with itīs beautiful melodies, thanks to Fripp and Crossīs solos is a piece of heaven. A delicate yet powerful use of the mellotron wraps it up and makes it a highlight of the album.

Easy Money is, objectively speaking the weakest song. but, hey! There are no weak songs in this album! And so it's the case with this one, although it's probably not up there with the rest, that doesn't mean it's bad. It's just very good, while the rest is brilliant. I don't know about you, but I can live with that.

The talking drum is a build up. Yes, the whole song, the whole 7 minutes is a build up. and you know what? It kicks ass! It's the best build up you can ask for. Wettonīs simple but effective bass, that fly flying around (yes. I know, itīs pretty strange), Cross hypnotizing solo and Frippīs angular fills make this the mother of all build ups. and just when it seems to get to the climax. Lark's tongues in aspic part II starts. More rhythmic, less diverse, but just as powerful this second part proves how tight this line up was playing 7/8, 5/8 and more like it's a walk on the park. This would become a classic in their live settings, and rightfully so!

But, and this quite a "but". itīs not perfect. No, no, no, no. sadly this is not the case, for you see there are two flaws. One is Wettonīs singing, which is not quite developed. it would however get better, achieving some excellent work in Red. so really, itīs not such a big problem. What is a big problem, at least for me. is the production. This alum sounds. well. bad! Very bad if you ask me. By far their worst produced album in the seventies. what a shame. But is that enough to deny them 5 stars? .mmm, oh Lord, why do you put this weight upon my shoulders (man, am I melodramatic)? Well, it's really a 4.5. and I'm feeling generous.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album changed my view of listening to music forever. After hearing Crimson's debut I was already blown away but this one was a completely different story musically, with an entirely new line-up and a whole new musical path ahead. This was a whole new source of inspiration not only for King Crimson but also for other bands listening to this record after it's release. Crimson's new sond was really experimental, which is even further expanded with the new drums/percussion section of Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir respectively. Bruford's clean and polyrhythmic style is an excellent contrast to Muir's manic and assymetrical approach, having equipments enough to fill your living room completely. Robert Fripp also was wise in the choice of David Cross on Violin/Mellotron and John Wetton on bass and vocals, and the overall result is very interesting, diverse and eclectic.

The stand out tracks here are definitely the title traspic, effectively sliced in two to both open and close this album. This piece toys with multiple genres including jazz, contemporary classical and proto-metal and makes you think that Fripp hit the nail right on the head when he came up with the title. The keyword for this album is experimental, but don't be afraid, it's all worth it.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Larks `Tongues in Aspic, weird name isnt it?

But what a masterpiece.

If one thing we know and remember very well about King Crimson, it has to be it`s different line-up changes, i like them all, but the peak, the best could be this, at least for me, i have always dreamed about a concert of Crimson with Wetton and Bruford and Cross playing this stuff , and Bible Black`s stuff, because i feel very pleased and excited with this music.

So , the fact is, after another line up change, David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir gathered to create a memorable album, which is for sure a masterpiece and loved by so many of you. Another thing, Peter Sinfield is not here, and he never came back!

It starts with the first of several parts of Larks Tongues in Aspic, and personally i think it has been the best so far, despite i love Part 2 and the other ones, the opener song is a clear example of what progressive rock is , it is instrumental and long , an epic , starting with a very soft and calmed sound of percussions and kind of instruments, but it is progressing little by little, the sound is increasing by the time, the music and instruments are playing its`respective role, and suddenly all are there to create a magnific sound, which sometimes after that calmed sound becomes very powerful, with a crazy guitar playing , and a superb violin, which maybe is not so fast etc, but the quality of David Cross is showed at his best, it also could sound like an improvisation, which is not strange in KC, honestly, this song is marvelous, it has everything what a prog lover could wish (well, except vocals if you need them).

Book of Saturday is a beautiful song composed by John Wetton, so the first contact with vocals is shown here, the song could sound sometimes a bit relaxing and calmed with that soft nice voice, but it has alwasy the great guitar sound.

Exiles is a superb song, reminding me to the early Crimson tunes when ITCOTCK was released, a song which also contains the superb and beautiful sound of Mellotron so characterized in Fripp`s career, which makes the song so much enjoyable to a prog fan, again with vocals and an amazing playing.

Easy Money, hell, i can always remind the begining of this song, those bass lines and that nasty also annoying guitar sound, but for the oposite, it sounds great, and i always remember the first words which actually aren`t words, but i hope you get what i mean, a classic and reat song.

The Talking Drum and Larks Tongues in Aspic Part 2, are the last 2 songs of the album, which actually could make only one song, both songs are instrumental and great songs, when we can notice the elegant and superb drum playing of Bruford, and the amazing musicianship between them, these both songs are loved by all of us, of that im sure, maybe the best or my favorite parts of this album are the instrumental songs, not because i dont like Wetton`s voice, not at all, i like it, but i prefer this time those superb songs.

So as you noticed i love and am very pleased with this album, quite a masterpiece.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars This is a good album. Great music and solid lyrics. The downside to this album is that the bright part caomes early with LTIA. a fantastic song. Also not the best starting point for thier music. But besides these flaws a great album that will be remembered in the history of great prog rock. Buy it!!!
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This studio album opens the most creative era of this band. It also differs stylistically from the other major progressive albums of the year 1972, as it is more avant-garde and aggressive than average symphonic prog releases usually are. The opener "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part one" starts with a beautiful long layer of percussions and bells. A very aggressive and powerful riff emerges from this sea of calmness, and two jazzy themes follow it. Bill's drumming accompanied with Muir's percussions is amazing! The composition continues with Cross's solo violin, and he does some patterns from a violin number "Larks' Ascension". This affected Muir, who described as the title of this album how their music sounded. This number was also an exceptional concert number in the bands repertoire during the tours of following years. "Book of Saturday" is a short a beautiful ballad, which has amazing backward guitars from Mr. Fripp! This makes this a version, which I prefer on this studio album more than on their concert recordings. "Exiles" is also a fine studio track, though their performance from their last concert from 1974 of it is a true killer. This version is still nice as it has piano and fun fake fade-out in the end of it. "Easy Money" worked usually better on stage, but this version is also interesting, as it has very rich tapestry of percussions and noises. "The Talking Drum" is a tritonic intro for "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part two", and this coupling also got interesting treatments on the stage. These versions are still very good, and the studio sessions have been used to create an interesting fake echo for David's violin solo at the end of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic part two". A classic masterpiece.
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The 2nd best album in this era of King Crimson. The core group of Fripp, Bruford, and Wetton are here, along with David Cross (who made a guest appearance on Red, but here he's a member) on violin, and the borderline insane Jamie Muir on percussion. What you get on this album is some of the best music Crimson has created, but mediocre lyrics are the low point of this musically perfect album.

The opener of the album, the instrumental masterpiece Larks' Tongue in Aspic Part One, is easily one of the best Crimson instrumentals. Starting off quietly with Mellotrons and Cross's violins, Fripp's buzz-saw guitar comes in the background around the 3 minute mark. Muir's insane percussion also takes shape during this hectic minute of nirvana. When the main riff kicks in, the listener is presented with a thunderous guitar and off the wall drumming. Within the next few minutes, the guitar shallows out and Cross's violins take the forefront again. Overall, a masterpiece that no one should miss.

The songs with vocal are a mixed bag, the best of which is Easy Money. The music created on these varies as well. The laid back music to Book of Saturday suits the mood. The agressive guitar on Exiles and Easy Money is also very suited for the mood presented. Wetton's vocals, while not as good as Red (My favorite vocal performances by him), are sufficient enough to sing the material written by Fripp and Palmer-James. The other two instrumentals, the Talking Drum and Larks' Tongue in Aspic Part Two, are incredible instrumental voyages that keep the hard and rough Crimson sound alive.

Overall, this is a good addition to your King Crimson collection. The Red era of Crimson is my favorite, and I'm sure that there is something on this album that will please everyone. 5/5.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

That was the headline of Melody Maker July 22, 1972 which brought the following news: "The New King Crimson rehearsed quietly this week - with Yes's Bill Bruford on drums alongside leader Robert Fripp". Wow! What a great news for those who loved King Crimson when this news was heating the ground. And you can imagine what disappointment for Yes fans club at the time. We all knew how great Bill was with Yes during his tenure with the band. And he proved it with this album where his drumming style characterize the new music of King Crimson.

The chief reason I purchased this album was actually not because of Bill Bruford because at that time I was not aware about it at all. Ttrack 4 "Easy Money" and track 2 "Book of Saturdays" (which I first heard through friend's LP set titled "The Young Person's Guide To King Crimson") were the only reason because the music really fit my personal taste. When I got the album, at first listen I found it difficult to enjoy title track "Larks' tongues in aspic part one" (13:36) because it's too explorative in nature. I especially lost my passion on enjoying quiet passages with some solo work in mellow style. But when I look into perspective and putting the whole album in a complete picture then I could understand why the band positioned this "hard to access" track as the album opener. In a way, this track is positioned this way because it sets the whole atmosphere of the album. The combination of complex sounds and quiet passages brings smoothly to the next track, a very nice song "Book of Saturdays" (2:49). It starts with great voice line of Wetton: "If I only could deceive you. Forgetting the game .." oh man . what a great melody singing part! This drum-less song is really nice especially on the combination of violin, guitar work and powerful vocal. It continues with another song-oriented track "Exiles" (7:40) in mellow style with great violin. A very memorable King Crimson classic track!

"Easy Money" (7:54) is my all-time King Crimson favorite track. It has a harsh and hard drive opening combining great drumming with unique snare sounds, solid bass lines, and rough guitar work and great vocals. What makes this song so wonderful with me is the combination of complex and high point segments with quiet passages like: "Your admirers on the street / Gotta hoot and stamp their feet / In the heat from your physique / As you twinkle by mocassin sneakers". It moves with heavy mellotron work, excellent percussive and great guitar from simple to complex until the music turns into complex segments. Oh man . this is really greaaaaattttt ..!!!! . "The Talking Drum" (7:26) is an exploration of Jamie Muir percussion blended with David Cross nice violin and Bill's drumming that builds the music into crescendo. It's a very nice music. "Larks' tongues in aspic part two" (7:12) concludes the album with great (and rough) guitar work combined with great drumming and inventive bass lines. Bass lines are also excellent.

Oh man . I cannot give this album less than five stars rating. It's truly a masterpiece! Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours,


"We lay cards upon the table / The backs of our hands / And I swear I like your people / The boys in the band" King Crimson "Book of Saturdays"

Review by Tony Fisher
3 stars This album is conclusive proof that high quality musicians do not lead to great music. With Wetton and Bruford in the rhythm section, backed by Muir on percussion, and Fripp and Cross to provide the melodies, this should have been awesome as they have all made good music elsewhere. As it is, the songs range from soft ballads to heavy riffed passages laced with strange noises and it just doesn't do much for me though it's not actually unpleasant. Wetton's vocals are mediocre here (he was much better than this in Wishbone Ash) and the lyrics are hardly inspiring. Monumentally overrated, it's not bad and worth one or two listens; definitely not worth buying.
Review by Zitro
3 stars This album contains some of the best musicians together, yet it is not a great album. The weirdness of the music can be unpleasant at times, the mellow parts scream filler, and the vocals are not that good.

Larks' tongues in aspic part one ( 8.5/10 ) : This is the opener of the album and easily the strongest (and least accessible) part of the album. The first 2-3 minutes is a very slow (and overlong) buildup. When violins and electric guitars begin to appear, they show that something will happen and yes .. one of the most powerful and outstanding guitar riffs blow you away ... then it goes soft again, builds up again, the same riff appears and changes into some very weird music that you need repeated listenings to get used to. After that chaotic music fades, there is another slow buildup that ends up with one of the most amazing, unique, and bizarre moments in prog rock ... its hard to describe ... that's how the song ends. 2. Book of Saturdays ( 4/10 ) : One boring ballad or something .... mmm how did it go?

3. Exiles ( 4/10 ) : Another boring song that I had to listen to it to read the review to remember. I press the skip button again.

4. Easy money ( 5/10 ) : This song is not that pleasant, but it is very memorable and unique. The vocals stink though, I miss Greg Lake in King Crimson.

5. The talking drum ( 4.5/10 ) A boring instrumental buildup song to the final one. The drumming is something to pay attention to.

6. Larks' tongues in aspic part two ( 6/10 ) : An good finisher of the album. It is very hard rock and reminds me of the instrumental 'Red'. The main riff of the song is good, and headbangers would like it since it comes close to metal.

The album is not bad, but it can be very boring ... I'd rather go back to 'Red'

My Grade : C

Review by Yanns
4 stars I want so much, almost like Lizard, to give this album 5 stars. It is an absolutely fantastic and mind-blowing album. Masterpiece? Flawless? No. So I guess I can't give the rating I so really really want to. But I'll restrain myself and get on with it, mainly because, well, you wouldn't be reading this unless you were interested in this album. Ha. I can laugh at you now. I wasted part of your life with you reading this. I feel better and worse about myself at the same time. Ever feel that way? Anywho, on with the review:

This was my second Crimson album, after their debut. My first listen to this album was disastrous. I was expecting ITCOTCK. I didn't realize that I had to let go of that Crimso. I didn't know Crimso changed so much that I would have to let go of a version of them. Granted, I knew they had a lot of line-up changes, but I didn't know that their music changed dramatically as well.

Once I got past my own mental barrier, I was greatly rewarded by this album, again, like Lizard. Don't parallel those two albums though. They are truly different experiences. I probably prefer this album, although that might probably be like 7 or 8 days out of 10. The other 2 or 3, I'll be in a Lizard mood. I'm wasting your life again. Anywho:

Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 1: I couldn't stand the opening 3 minutes on my first 5 listenings or so. Why do that, I thought. It seemed so pointless. However, once I realized the album for what it is, it made more sense. Anyway, after that, the violin starts up in the 5/4 time signature, and the amazing Fripp guitar starts in. This blasting riff will leave you speechless when understood completely. The whole violin break in the middle is wonderful, as well as the climax/ending. Perfect.

Book of Saturday: My real thought on this song used to be "piece of absolute junk." I didn't want the almighty Crimson making little 3 minute songs. That's not what they were supposed to do. And, of course, once I broke through my ITCOTCK barrier, I realized what a great little song this is. Wetton, although impedimented a bit by his speech, still has a great voice.

Exiles: A favorite of mine. Wetton's vocals here really stand out for me. Truly, a beautiful song. Hard to describe. I absolutely love this song, and my feelings about it cannot change. Bruford's simple snare work is perfect.

Easy Money: Picks up the pace a bit, with weird sound effects and lyrics as well. I couldn't get over how strange the song appeared, but it grew and grew on me until it became, of course, like everything else. Fripp's guitar work is nice here, and I love when, towards the end of his solo, it comes back in with Wetton's chanting.

The Talking Drum: Actually my least favorite track here, possibly the reason that I can't give this album a 5. Something about it just doesn't grab me and pull me in. Granted, it is a good instrumental, in typical Crimso style, but it doesn't do it for me to the same extent as the other songs on the album.

Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part 2: The mother of all album closers. Which is why this also became a concert staple for them. Absolutely mind-blowing with the amazing guitar bringing back the 5/4 time signature arrangement from Part 1. Every member of the band work together, it is really heard on this song. Very very cohesive. And of course, it's ending lasts over a minute. Mind-shattering. Hard to believe how incredible it gets.

Now for my recommendations. Crimson fans: You already have this. If not, that isn't my fault that you've been deprived, but you can help yourself out and go get it. Looking to get into Crimso? Just like Lizard. Don't start here. Not as radically different as Lizard, but still, this is not the right Crimson to start with. Go to their debut. 4/5 stars, phenomenal album.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First of all, let's get one thing clear: I love this album and I listen to it very often. However, to be perfectly honest, I also think it falls short of being a masterpiece because of a rather unfortunate flaw. Musically it's one of KC's very best, more accessible than its follow-up, "Starless and Bible Black", and definitely more energetic than its predecessor, the slightly soporific "Islands". Jamie Muir's weird presence and extremely imaginative array of percussion instruments add a pinch of spice to the band's already idiosyncratic take on prog rock. Bruford needs no introduction, and bassist Wetton, with his aggressive, powerful style, is possibly the best choice for KC's new musical direction.

So, where does the problem lie? In my opinion, Wetton's vocals are what prevents LTIA from being the 5-star masterpiece it deserves to be. Before joining KC, he was not used to singing lead, and had to reinvent himself as a lead vocalist because of the band's long-standing tradition of having a singing bass player. As I once read in the forum, Fripp tried to get all his vocalists to sing like Greg Lake, often with very poor results. This is quite evident on this album too, with wonderful songs such as "Book of Saturdays" and "Exiles" which would have been perfect for Lake's voice, but are instead marred by Wetton's still uncertain, at times downright flat vocals.

In spite of all that, though, the music is just plain stunning. The title-track bookends the album, with the first part being subtle and understated and the second almost heavy-metal in its intensity. The above-mentioned "Book of Saturdays" and "Exiles" are both wistful, moving ballads, the second punctuated by Cross's romantic violin strains; while "Easy Money" has an interesting structure, with an almost funky feel and rather weird lyrics. The quirky "The Talking Drum" leads then the way for the monstrous riffing and complex rythmic patterns of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic pt. 2".

It's a shame not to be able to give 5 stars to such an exciting record, but I must admit to being very particular about vocal performances. Nevertheless, 5 stars or not, this remains an essential listen for every prog fan.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Where's the beef?

I don't know. I do not know why people are giving such a great attachment to such a hard piece of candy. If In The Court is easy as chocolate, this would be an 'everlasting gobstopper Willy Wonka style' ! You could suck on this for hours without going to the core.

Ha ha. I don't really have a problem with Book of Saturdays, Exiles and Easy Money; they're fairly 'easy listening' and frankly, very good material. On the other hand, the Talking Drum and the Lark's Tongues suite I and II is giving me severe headaches to dissect correctely.

Even with lots of hearings, they still have the free-for-all-anti-melody-atmosphere that's giving me 3 stars. Even after many years of progressive material, going through difficult albums (Violent Silence, Anglagard, Echolyn, Universal Totem Orchestra, Zappa), this one is still giving me a hard time to digest. This kind of Crimson experimentalism is probably good for me, in a while I'll probably forge a better appreciation for lesser complicated material.

No go, sorry.

Review by Thulëatan
5 stars Here is music so enigmatic, so unique, so genre-defying, it's as if it has come from another world. That inimitable, skewed strangeness of the Crimson sound returns intact from previous incarnations - the broad lyricism, stark mellotron, and Fripp's living yet tightly disciplined, angular, muscular guitar work - but delivered now with colder, heavier resolve, as intellect meets and tempers high emotion.

Bill Bruford joined the band for this album, and his responsive drumming accomplishes the above standard perfectly, rarely just keeping time and more often making the percussion a formidable voice in itself. He is helped out by Jamie Muir, also on various tuned and untuned percussion, who has a strong presence on the album and is responsible for the many unusual sound effects that give this album an extra worldly, organic atmosphere that is notably absent from the next couple of albums. John Wetton introduces a confident, smoky vocal to the proceedings, as well as outstanding bass guitar work ranging from the smooth to the thunderous. The new sound is completed by the violin of David Cross, unexpectedly complementing the rest of the band with his distinctive, delicate tones, and enhancing the album's aural stamp of being neither old nor new.

The title 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic' presents the image of something fragile and essential captured and preserved. It is almost disturbing, removed, alien, but it is also evocative of the process of recording music; catching the rare, fleeting wonder of group creativity, their message, and tying it down to a permanent state. It's a message of diverse themes, ranging from the incredible opening instrumental 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One', which moves through moments of both intense energy and aching loneliness, to the more traditional Crimson ballad 'Exiles', which still takes on very new properties to create an epic piece on yearning and remembrance. Meanwhile, 'The Talking Drum's menacing pace and the gritty mid-section of 'Easy Money' point towards the raw, improvisational edge the band would explore more while on tour - and on the next album. The entire album is consistently interesting, clearly brimming with fresh ideas from five great talents, and stands once again as a reminder of a golden age of progressive music that is no longer with us. Possibly King Crimson's finest album.

As a general rule, if you can't make out each individual note of the thumb piano at the very start of the album, or the congas at the start of 'The Talking Drum', you don't have the volume up loud enough ;)

Review by Guillermo
4 stars I think that with this album King Crimson started their most experimental period during the seventies, and the band also had a new line-up with very good musicians. Bill Bruford, IMO, was, with Mike Giles, their best drummer, and he really found a good place in King Crimson. In this band, he found a way to show more his skills as drummer, and his playing became more "heavy" in comparison to his work with YES. John Wetton also was a very good bassist and lead singer, and in King Crimson he found the first opportunity to be one of the main composers and the lead singer. He and Bruford worked very well in King Crimson, and they became one of the "heaviest" rhythm sections in Progressive Rock. Jamie Muir, maybe the most "experimental" musician in the band, also worked very well with Bruford. Muir`s percussion instruments sound very good in this album, but he left the band after this album was released. David Cross was maybe the most "conventional" musician in this line- up, with his classical music influences. Robert Fripp also became a more "heavy" guitar player with this line-up, and he also started to enjoy more the freedom of improvising, as this line-up was very good improvising in the studio and in concerts. So, IMO, this band closed their history in the seventies with two years (1972-1974) of very good music,very "heavy", really, IMO.

"Larks`Tongues in Aspic Part One" sounds more like a song with a basic structure on which all the members, particularly Muir, improvisd and experimented with sounds.

"Book of Saturday" is more a "pre-composed song", a good song with lyrics written by Richard Palmer-James (former guitarist and lyricist with Supertramp in their first album only). He also wrote most of the lyrics for these King Crimson line-ups (1972-74). Wetton also performed this song wit the band ASIA in their reunion tour in 1990-91, and he also has played this song as soloist.

"Exiles" is the best song in this album, with mellotrons, violin and a flute part (uncredited) by David Cross. This song sounds more related to the early years of the band in sound.Cross influences a lot this song, and he also was one of the composers of this song.

"Easy Money" is another good song, more "heavy" in sound, and with Muir`s good percussion, and a sinister laugh at the end of the song.

"The Talking Drum" sounds like another improvisation recorded in the studio. It has Wetton and Bruford playing in very good synchronization.

"Larks`Tongues in Aspic Part Two" is another instrumental song, the heaviest song in this album, with very good guitars by Fripp and sound effects maybe played by Muir.

In conclusion, this is a very good album in one of their most interesting periods.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album is absolute masterpiece and probably my favourite KC work. Starting from the title track part I, with dark and horror strings, and ending with part II with heavy guitar riff, which would surface now and then on several subsequent albums, Fripp and Co. demonstrated they perfection and mastery of composing and performing. In the vocal tracks, John Wetton plays bass and sings in a way that I was wondering how on earth is it possible to sing and play bass in that way simultaneously!. Bruford is one fine drummer and his beating on this album (listen to percussive instrumental "Talking Drum") is unbeatable. David Cross plays electric violins and shares Mellotron duties with Fripp. "Larks Tongues in Aspic" is a demanding album, even for KC fans. Forget about Greg Lake's ballads from the first two albums. This one rocks very hard and is extremely dark and experimental at the same time. But once you got acquainted with it, you will never let it go.
Review by con safo
5 stars One of the most influential albums of all time. King Crimson yet again proves how very far ahead of the times they are with this astounding album of experimental bliss. Book ended by two epic's of the same name - "Lark's Tongue In Aspic" the first being an absolutely stunning composition, one of KC's finest. One of the highlights is the sublime percussion by Jamie Muir - it adds a ton of depth to this already deep track. Opening with a beautiful percussion intro, and soon exploding with one of the heaviest riffs anyone had heard at this time in 1973. David Cross contributes nicely to the overall sound, bringing his classical influence to the overall piece- listen for the very emotive solo after the first climax. Of course, we cannot ignore the amazing drumming skill of Bill Bruford, who really opens up and explores new territory on this album - along with John Wetton, they come together to form one of the heaviest rhythm sections in rock.

The album now takes a turn into (somewhat) more traditional rock territories. "Book of Saturdays" is a beautiful little track, including what sounds like some backwards guitar playing by Fripp. "Exiles" is probably the most easily accessible song on the album- reminiscent of their debut. This is quite a beautiful and atmospheric track, Wetton impresses with a superb vocal performance. The next song is a rather gritty, heavy track with extremely unique and imaginative percussion through out. The improvisation style that KC would soon embrace to it's fullest is apparent in this song, and another fantastic guitar solo by Fripp. The song crescendos around Fripp's guitar - and returns to the main theme. Great stuff. "The Talking Drum" is a very improvisational song in nature- an intense crescendo of pure musical splendor. I still have trouble believing this was recorded in 1973, it's absolutely mind-blowing! The album concludes with the second half of "Lark's Tongue In Aspic"- and return to the extremely experimental nature of the first half. Dark atmosphere and heavy riff's make this song sound like nothing else recorded.

More than an album, an experience. A true testament to Fripp's vision, aided by the incredible composers and musicians he surrounded himself with. A Timeless recording. 5/5

Review by fuxi
5 stars Progressive rock doesn't get any more inventive than this. Muir, Bruford, Wetton, Cross and Fripp were a team to be reckoned with. If you read the reviews this album got in the seventies, you'll hear some critics complain that Cross's violin only gets the most basic lines to play, but this doesn't bother me at all. It's the violin's TEXTURE (together with the sheer weirdness of the percussion, and the explosive interruptions of John Wetton's bass) that turns 'Larks' tongues in aspic part 1' into such an extraordinary listening experience; all the virtuoso lines you desire are provided by Robert Fripp's lead guitar. No matter how many times I play 'part 1', it never fails to surprise me. This kind of instrumental chamber music (fairly abstract, but never grating) is unlike anything else in rock. As for part 2, which concludes the album - well, THAT happens to be based on one of Crimso's classic riffs, and it's great to hear it here in its crisp original incarnation. Between parts one and two, the listener is serviced with two lovely ballads (first appearance of John Wetton as KC's best ever vocalist!), one charming novelty song and seven minutes twenty-six seconds of delirious instrumental mayhem. Absolutely gorgeous.
Review by Chus
3 stars Muir.. somebody please stop that wacko!

After a deserved year break from the last effort, the infamous "Islands", Fripp decided to yet again reform Crimso; this time, Sinfield would depart as well, being replaced by a less-metaphoric Palmer-James at the writting table; thus the band's nucleus reduces to one Robert "Freak". By then, future bandmates would include ex-Family John Wetton, Bruford (obviously of Yes fame) one crazed jazz-fusion flavoured violinist named David Cross and even more crazed percussionist, Mr. "everything-he-could-bang-he-does" Jamie Muir.

Indeed Jamie dominated great part of "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part 1", in which he showed his compulsive manner of making random percussive noises from various percussion instruments integral in King Crimson's musical prototype. It was a mix of Zappa and fusion, as simple as that (if simple); it has a meandering middle section; saving the powerful segment B and the climax. Exiles, on the other hand, is the album's obbligatory symphonic song, with bits taken from a former concert staple called "Travel Weary Capricorn"; Wetton introduces his sweet timbre for the first time in KC (to our ears anyway); as the awaited Lake's contender, possibly Wetton has better projection of his voice, always trying not to force notes unintentionally. Cross exposes his consonant side as well as Fripp, and the Muir-Bruford duo is very conservative in this track. "Easy Money" is easily the most banal song of the album (yes, I figured it out all by myself *laughs*); basically is an extended rocking jam with a pleasant vibe and some rare effects; the bass guitar adds groove and Fripp practices his arpeggios. "The Talking Drum" sets your mind in the desert itself, with a certain egyptian charm; it's consistently based on the same pattern adding the fade-in effect to increase intensity. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part 2" hardly reprises any idea left by the 1st part; it's the most "metallic" song on the album, with emphasis on power chords and odd time signatures (10/8, 11/8 and so); David Cross shrieks his violin like a madman in the bridge, and the power chords resemble early Metallica (or in that case, Black Sabbath). Needless to say, this album explored the same avant-garde turf as Islands... only this time in heavier mood.

This record is what could be called the first prog-metal album, at least in my opinion; even so, it's not bad for my taste considering that it's an experiment; and it's not as condensed as your "normal" prog-metal record. 2.5 stars rounded to 3. Perhaps not for all fans, so anyone could either like it or dislike it. I suggest you give it a spin and set your own criteria.

Review by OpethGuitarist
5 stars Ageless classic.

One of the most progressive and experimental albums of the early 70's was King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic. Bruford's presence has an instant effect on the band's quality, taking KC from an outstanding band to a god-like force. This is the most sophisticated, most rewarding, and peak for the outstanding and sometimes overlooked tour de force that was King Crimson.

The album is complete throughout, with no noticeable weak points, even though the highlight is the title tracks. This is no looking back, no second-guessing, powerful and moving experimental prog. LTIA is ripe fruit for squeezing which never loses its juice, a real ageless wonder, thanks to the dynamics of Fripp and Bruford, who click as a duo like few do, and the presence of Muir, the unsung hero of the album, truly make this a ride that will be enjoyable for years to come.

Larks Pt. 1 is one of the most engaging songs KC ever wrote. This is some of creativity at it's peak, with just wicked compositional skills that are baffling. KC may have never been the most appealing band (too quirky for many Yes and Genesis fans) but in my mind they have always been far superior and far more creative in their approach. This is the KC album that blows every other one out of the water. Red is perhaps more likeable because it is less difficult to understand, but if you really dig deep and find everything (or most everything) about this record, then you will have labored and loved, because few experiences are as gratifying as this.

Wetton's vocals I find quite enjoyable, despite his limited range. This album is as fun as getting 'Easy Money'. Enough with the bad puns, if their's one album to start the New Year with a bang, that one you never got around to getting, make it Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars I'm not usually into albums where the band experiments and improvises a lot but "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" really blew my prejudices right out of the water. It must have been an amazing time back in the early seventies and the news that Bill Bruford (the drummer for YES) was joining KING CRIMSON must have freaked a lot of people out, and CRIMSON fans must have been on cloud 9 in anticipation of their next album. Well the fans would not be disappointed as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" would be their best work since their debut. Mellotron is played by Fripp and Cross and used beautifully on the 2 tracks "Exiles" and "Easy Money". Mr.Fripp has stated that he prefers the live versions of the songs of this record over this studio album.

We get started with "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One" an instrumental that opens with percussion from Jamie Muir. He gives us various experimental noises for about 3 minutes and then it stops as violin and guitar sounds come in. We get outbursts of guitar and drums that come and go quickly.This sequence happens again followed by percussion and a guitar melody. Drums come in and it all stops around 8 minutes in and we get violin melodies to the end of the song. "Book Of Saturdays" opens with vocals, guitar and bass as violin comes into this mellow song. Some cool vocal melodies from Mr.Wetton. Nice tune ! "Exiles" features various noises for 2 minutes until violin,guitar and drums come in.This is such a beautiful song with mellotron and great vocals. One of my favourites on the album.

"Easy Money" is another favourite of mine. With heavy drums and some cool guitar as vocals come in. Various noises again from Mr.Muir then the mellotron floods in. Great ! We get a funky rhythm and Fripp's amazing guitar as a hypnotic soundscape is produced. The laugh at the end of the song is priceless. "The Talking Drum" opens with different noises followed by percussion followed by violin then by guitar. Talk about building a mood ! The full sound is incredible after 5 minutes. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two" opens with a riff and drums as the violin comes in and the melody softens. This is another great tune !

This one may be very different from their debut, but it is equally a masterpiece !

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars As you might have already noticed if you have read some previous reviews, KC is not my favourite band. What I like the most with KC is their symphonic side. Do you remember ITCOTCK ? I have always had a hard time in getting into their jazz-rock or experimental effort. I'm trying though but this seems to be hopeless...

Still, I believe that if reviewers only post reviews of their beloved bands and albums, all of them will reach a five star rating on this site, and this is not the purpose, right ? My choice was to review bands (almost) all the way through their career (even poor albums). I will go on like this with lots of other bands and probably end up with 3 or 4,000 reviews on this site, at least. So, here we go...

Wetton is in charge on the bass and on the lead vocals whereas Bruford is on the drums. Will this change KC sound and inspiration ?

The title track (part one) is purely experimental, almost jam session oriented. I cannot find a single second of this track interesting : a marimba session to start (almost three minutes), some cacophonic minutes to follow. The song keeps up with this hectic tempo till the end. If you have read my intro, is then almost normal that "Book of Saturday" sounds almost like a dream to my ears. Just a pity it is so short a track. Nice and melodious.

"Exiles" is another song I can live with : although the intro sounds quite weird (for about two minutes), it turns into an interesting violin playing, nice and romantic melody. It is the matching piece to "Talk To The Wind" from ITCOTCK : the violin replacing the flute. Very nice KC moment I must say. This type of thraks is keeping my interest in this band. I guess most of their fans would not really be found of these type of songs, but I just love it.

"Easy Money" is something different. A bizarre track I must say : noisy for half of it, almost good for the other half. All the complexity of KC to non die-hard fan (like myself) is there. "The Talking Drum" is another experimental and dull track. The "sound" is almost unnoticeable during the first half unless you turn your volume on at full capacity (it was also the case for "Moonchild" and globally for "Islands" by the way). I must admit that the last three minutes during which the beat catches up with good violin and ryhtmic section are quite interesting.

Part two of "Aspic" is substantially better than the Part I. At least it is more structured and can be called a song. The hypnotic riff works very well. It is my fave here. I would rate this effort with two stars although five out of ten would probably better reflect my opinion. This is really for KC fans only.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

In 1973, Robert Fripp assembles a new KING CRIMSON line-up with the well-known BILL BRUFORD who just left YES, a ''crazy'' talented percussionist JAMIE MUIR, a violin player (no more sax in KC) DAVID CROSS and a young bassist singer JOHN WETTON who played bass for FAMILY.

Listening to the beginning of the first track LTIA part 1, you know Fripp has reached a point of no-return to the musical landscapes of ITCOTCK. The guitar of Fripp has become heavier , meaner, noisier.What's new also is the sound of the rythm section, maybe the most impressive pair that has graced the world of rock music. Bruford adds new textures to his drums sounds that were never heard before and the bass, ..ah! the mighty bass, pounding, resonnating so loudly in your speakers.What a treat! Poor David Cross: you can hear him almost only on the parts when the other 3 keep quiet.

The only bridge with the past is ''EXILES'' a beautiful ballad in the vein of Epitath, beautifully sung by J. Wetton , the only song where Fripp's guitar sounds like in the good old times But now these the good new times. This is a different Crimson, but definitely a great Crimson. One of the only few bands that never repeated themselves album after album. And the good thing ( and quite surprising!) they were always successful commercially, even with the music and line up changing all the time.But i guess it was a strength as well.

This is an album of pure raw energy like the 2 parts of the title track, but beautifully executed. I never get tired of the intro of part one with first the percussions of Muir, then the appearance of the sad sound of the violin and the climax leading to the hard- rock riff of mr Fripp; a great pleasure. Part2 is still played these days live by the current KC line-up. And John Wetton always had EASY MONEY and BOOK OF SATURDAY on his set list.

I remember when i got the album back then in 1973, i was not enamored with it at first. i guess i needed time to adapt to changes. The curious thing was i didn't like the voice of John Wetton at the beginning; found it kind of rough. The thing is , i think, his voice like the old wine got better and better.On RED, i can see an improvement and later on ,with UK, ASIA or his solo carreer, he became one of my favorite singer, very powerful.

How to grade this album? i would give 4,5 stars but as it is considered a monumental cornerstone to most prog fans, will be 5.

Review by 1800iareyay
5 stars With their fifth studio release King Crimson effectively combine the quasi-metallic noise and heaviness of the debut with the free-form jazz that the band had switched to for Islands and Lizard. Lark's Tongue shows Fripp and his new group of cohorts back on top of their game with technical precision balanced by loose improv. David Cross makes the violin into a downright terrifying instrument, while Bill Bruford (fresh from Yes) joins with mad percussionist Jamie Muir to cement the rhythm section with bassist/vocalist John Wetton.

The album opens with part one of the title track, with several minutes of rolling percussion from Muir with occasional violin that builds ever so slowly until the dam bursts and Fripp's riff fills your ears. Wetton and Fripp thunder along with Bruford and Muir, though eventually Cross gets his moment with some great improv. In order to ease off of the throttle, "Book of Saturdays" and "Exiles" are exquisite ballads that manage to display all of the instrumental virtuosity of the title track but without the crushing volume. Still, "Exiles" has its moments where you can hear the band only just refraining from exploding.

"Easy Money" is probably the most recognizable track of the album, and its pounding bassline and abrasive guitar sound make it so memorable. The lyrics are nothing special but they stick in your head, but not in an annoying way. "The Talking Drum" builds like the intro track from near silence into borderline cacophony at the end. The interplay between Cross and Mr. Fripp is simply stunning. The albums closes with part two of the title track, is even more precise than part one and it's the kind of song that can both encourage listeners to learn an instrument and dissuade them because they'll never be that good.

Bruford and Muir's interplay, Wetton's pounding bass, Fripp's new guitar tone, and the unique bowing of Cross make this album as must have for prog fans. Larks' Tongue in Aspic is one of the earliest examples of prog metal (the earliest being Deep Purple), but, unlike Purple, it has not been used as the blueprint. So singular is the sound and music of this album that none could ever hope to mimic it. Only now have bands like Tool been able to capture the spirit, and even then that's taken more from the accessible Red than here. Newcomers to KC should certainly not start here, get ITOTCK and Red, their two best and most accessible, before braving this.

Grade: A

Review by Dim
5 stars What can I say about the greatest album KC has ever put out? With the coming of a completely new band, all at the height of they're game, Bruford, Wetton, Cross, Muir, and of course the only original, Robert Fripp set out to make one of the most musically challenging albums I've ever heard. All six songs are great, but the instrumentals are the greatest parts hands down, I still have yet to hear a band to surpass KC's musicianship.

Larks ongues in Aspic Part I- Amazing opener, starting with some goofy sounding percussion from Jamie Muir, then busting out with drums, violin, and mellotron, to get the song moving. The guitar comes in with some intense riffing sprawling all over the fretboard, then the guitar and violin drop out and Bruford shows off one of the best drum beats/ solo's I've ever heard, and Wetton breaks out the wah peddle for his bass to anchor down the drumming. Afterwards a very lovely violin solo for about two minuetes, just to explode again with John's Bass. 5/5

Book of saturdays- A much more relaxed song, and the only one that's under seven minuetes long, John shows off his voice while Fripp does some pretty chord changes. 4/5

Exiles- This is the only song tha I am not so fond of. There are some good acoustic guitar parts and violin section, but John's voice sounds absolutely gross, he sound's like he's singing out of his nose the whole time. 2.5/ 5

Easy money- Great song! Although it sounds like it's made for mainstream purposes, I dont care!You cant beat the guitar solo! This is Fripp's declaration of him being the greatest guitar player of all time! After the first versus (witch are also amazing), Fripp starts very soflty then builds for about three minuets and completely rips it up! 5/5

The talking drum- This song was completely directed by Fripp, it's very subtle at first with just some conga drums with basically nothing else for a couple minuetes. Fripp and Cross come in with some flying solo's with they're instruments that are very cool. From then on a steady rythym keeps going right into the greatest instrumental ever! 4/5

Larks tongues in Aspic part II- The absolute masterpiece of the album! This song goes through many different time sigs, only going to 4/4 once, and everything is still in it's place! It starts with a raging guitar then full bands come in and completely knock you off your feat, with an almost metal sound! Then a slower mellotron/ violin part break it up... just for Fripp to come in with an over powering riff... Just to give Frip and Wetton a very satisfying kick-in-the-face riff/ rythym thingy. Then a crazy, weird, haunting violin solo comes in with all the madness, usually I am not a fan of violins or any of those classical instruments, but Wetton can pull it off! The soft violin/ mellotron part come back in and leads to the grand finale where everybody explodes the ending chord, honorable mention to Bruford with a mini drum solo. THE greatest instrumental to ever pass through my ears. 7/5

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I remember when I was a kid and a making his first advances in Prog, when a good friend tried to introduce me in wonders of KING CRIMSON, his dream was to make everybody a fan of his favorite album "Lark's Tongues in Aspic", no matter what effort he made it was too much for me, I simply wasn't able to understand that cacophony with no sense at all (IMHO). The years have passed and the situation has changed only a bit, now I can listen the album once each every 5 or 6 years but still can't get into it, no matter how much effort I have placed, and believe me, listening people talking about it as the greatest example of Prog perfection there have been moments in which I felt like an ignorant that isn't able to get it.

"Larks Tongues in Aspic Part I" sounds to me as a as five guys playing their instruments randomly without any sense of melody, some guitar sections have some meaning, but the rest is simply cacophony. It's clear that Fripp, Cross, Wetton, Muir and Bruford are outstanding musicians, but the lack of melody just eliminates me as a fan.

"Book of Saturday" is a simpler tune but thanks to God Wetton's wonderful voice at his peak and the nice melody make perfect sense, even the distorted violin by David Cross fits perfectly in the track, give me melody or better don't give me the album.

"Exiles" starts confusing with a serious of sound effects that I prefer to call noise, not spooky, not dramatic, only senseless for me. But then a wonderful change, the violin adds a new dimension to what was a complete cacophony, maybe a bit too high for John's vocal range but very nice, after the first vocal section another instrumental that says nothing to me leads back to the melodic passage, Fripp's performance is simple outstanding and again the violin is extremely beautiful. Liked the song, but honestly where is the Prog icon?

Good melody, nice vocals, dramatic violin and delicate piano but adding weird noises to a beautiful and basic melody doesn't make it Prog, good song, I like it but not remotely outstanding IMHO.

"Easy Money" beginning reminds me of 21st Century Schizoid man, distorted guitar and vocals with great percussion by Bruford and Muir lead to a melodic section, not very memorable and again the strength, this is Prog without any doubt but not all Prog has to outstanding for everybody, after 7:54 minutes I keep asking myself what they pretended.

"The Talking Drum" is another excuse for calling themselves experimental and more advanced than the rest of the bands, maybe I'm wrong at it's a full masterpiece, but the intro is just noise without any logic, I understand Bruford left YES among other reasons because with KING CRIMSON he would have more chances to improvise, and sure he had, but the music says me nothing. The song goes always in crescendo until the end but again I can't stand it.

"Larks Tongues in Aspic Part II" is a prove that you can be risky, advanced and experimental and still make sense, love this track, my favorite, the radical changes the mysterious viola and the perfect drumming are outstanding and have a reason to be there, it's not just noise, this is music of the first class. The guitar and bass section is out of this world proving how underrated John Wetton is, he can be the perfect complement for Robert Fripp much better than Greg Lake ever was on bass and still be a great vocalist on other tracks, the gem of the album.

I know people will probably hang me, but if it wasn't for the final track, I would rate this album with 1 star because if I have to be honest almost nothing of it says too much to me, but I will rate it with 2 stars only because of this track and the simple but effective "Book of Saturday" (If possible I would give an average rating of 2.5 stars, that would be perfectly adequate IMO, but sadly this is not possible).

I could easily live without "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" and I understand a review has to be an honest personal impression of the album, I would lie if I placed it in the level of ELP's debut or other excellent albums I rated with 3 stars.

Some bands are better than their individual member, this is not the case of KING CRIMSON, we all know the members are all outstanding but the music of the band says nothing to me in most of the cases. Maybe I'm wrong and we are before a masterpiece, because millions who love this album shouldn't be wrong, but that's how I feel.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Fripp unleashes his heavy side.

Being such a dynamic band it's no surprise that we'd find King Crimson embarking once more into uncharted waters. Having reformed the King, Fripp was ready to do just about anything, including somethig as crazy as touring with all new, yet to be recorded, experimental material. There's no way you could get away with that in today's market, yet King Crimson managed to make one of their best albums by doing just so.

With the new line-up (Which would shed members with each new album) consisting of a violinist, a drummer (fresh from Yes, no less) and a percussionist, as well as bass and guitar, this was going to be a crazy outting with some very original sounds.

Starting with a quiet violin intro we're soothed into a lull then quickly blasted by Robert Fripp's excellent heavy riffs. LARKS TONGUES IN ASPIC PT 1 continues on this roller coaster ride until it finally decides to let you rest, after about 13 minutes, giving way to the next, slower tacks. These next four tracks are not quite as noteworthy as the bookending title track, but they are quite good and worth mentioning. The first of which, BOOK OF SATURDAY, is a nice quiet tune that soon gives way into the haunting EXILES, which is a great piece with well done vocals that give it that dark feeling. EASY MONEY follows up with no less success, a frantic track that blasts the audience consitantly until THE TALKING DRUM, with is more or less an intro to the next big standout, LARKS TONGUES IN APSIC PT. II. PT. II is more conherant and consistant than it's PT I counterpart, a little more listener friendly, but no less heavy and no less fantastic.

All in all, while the title track is likely the biggest attraction here there are several Crimson classics to be heard on this album, however, it might take you a few listens to really get into. 4 stars, a great album.

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars Rebirth.

Considered by many to be their best, LTIA nevertheless has some lacks. A theme here can be abandoned on its very progression (“Easy Money” opening riff, LTIA-1 coda’s 5/4 violin bridge), or mutilate into something hardly bearable. On the other hand, “The Talking Drum” is a simple jam over catchy bass-line, and it goes this way all his length. But the record has “Exiles” and LTIA-2, and that’s enough to regard it as a Masterpiece. The best rhythm section ever existed (Wetton/Bruford) plus Muir and Cross talents made live shows of those times simply awesome and amazingly captivating. Musical press was completely shocked: KC step on the stage and play for 1,5 hours anything they wish!!! You need not to understand this music or try to analyze it; you must simply listen to it to know if you like such stuff or not. LTIA caught this atmosphere even better than SABB or “The Great Deceiver” recordings; this is an ultimate KC, hated/loved for these tracks all over the world. LTIA-2 is still a mandatory live number, should I say more? Highly recommended

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars A twisted revamping of sound, personnel, and direction makes "Lark's Tongues" a much more dynamic, powerful, and ultimately enjoyable album than anything else the band has done up to this point. Fripp actually PLAYS his guitar! There IS a rhythm section-- not just ham-fisted mellotrons screaming slow-paced chords in the background! This combined with Wetton's talking bass and enjoyable tenor voice makes this incarnation of KC one of the best, and makes "Lark's Tongues" one of the bands few essential classic albums.

A must for those interested in getting into King Crimson, and a better place to start than anything that came before it.

Review by progrules
1 stars Quite some time ago I bought this record with high hopes because King Crimson is after all the cradle (or at least one of them) of progressive music. The other two are of course YES and GENESIS, I already knew them and have the greatest respect for these two bands. It's not quite the case with KC I'm afraid. It already starts with the first song, an "epic" of over 13 minutes but I was waiting till it really started. That was after 3 minutes !! I don't like that. I want action from the first seconds. And even after 3 minutes my patience kept being tested, I waited and thought: when does it REALLY start ? It didn't. And so was in fact the entire album. Only the last song starts to go slightly towards the vein of their later album RED which I appreciate much more.

Why this is such a high valued album , I don't understand. It will be a matter of taste. Not my cup of tea this one.

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars What a strange album: so much to love, and also so much to irritate.

It takes guts to put out music like this, and for that I applaud Crimson simply for adding this to the land of prog. However, different is not always good, and that's the case here for me. The experimental stuff is not consistently engaging (for me, at least), and the more straightforward numbers by and large suffer from noticeable flaws (vocals among them).

Larks Tongues in Aspic (I). When it's good, it's phenomenal, but unfortunately it's only good for about a third of the song. We've got 3 minutes of basically random noise until the frightening guitar comes in. Then it's over 5 minutes of an absolute BARRAGE of rock: truly bombastic percussion and brilliantly chaotic bass and guitar. There's simply nothing like it elsewhere, and maybe this is the musical equivalent of being in a beseiged city, with 1000 pound bombs dropping and artillery shells raining. Then it dies down and features a meandering violin for a few minutes before the cool (yet anticlimactic) distorted bass finale.

Book of Saturday, Exiles. Tender yet ominous music with a great texture added by the violin, these songs are another highlight of the album, although Wetton's wheezing voice is a definite limitation.

Easy Money, The Talking Drum. Usually 8 minute songs are desirable, but when hardly anything exciting happens throughout, as is the case here, they are just a drag. There's some memorable guitar and a good extended jam on Easy Money, but The Talking Drum is just another forgettable Crimson improv piece.

Larks Tongues in Aspic (II). Crimson finally put it all together here and show that they can rock for more than a few minutes at a time. The riff is relatively simple, but when you throw in those cannons for drums and the violin texture, you get something special...and that's not even including Fripp's often maniacal guitar. Great finish to the album.

I may be committing prog sacriledge, but I'm only going to give 3 stars here. I definitely think this album is worth having for its originality and the excellent parts, but overall there's a lot of average, and even boring, material.

Review by jammun
5 stars Simply, some of the finest music ever etched into vinyl or burned into shiny plastic. It's all here -- a virtual encyclopedia of music.

Oh sure, it starts out innocuously enough, only a little melody played on a kalimba which imperceptibly evolves into a bit of violin and fuzzy guitar suggesting a mere hint of of the usual KC menace, and then LTIA Part 1 explodes, with Fripp hammering power chords which tend to favor the tritone...just in case we weren't sure this was going to be standard KC. What follows is probably my favorite Fripp solo, which initially sounds like he's playing utterly random notes, until you've heard it a few hundred times and come to aurically understand that he's playing themes at hyperspeed that repeat throughout the song. And it just progresses from there:

Book of Saturday: a great KC 'quiet' song. Exiles: a beautiful composition in the tradition of Epitaph. Easy Money: the best pure rock song KC had recorded up to this point. The Talking Drum, a prognostication of what was yet to come in rock and roll.


LTIA, Part 2. As Hunter S. once said, "Mother of Sweating Jesus!" Just when ya think this is the perfect album, the band brings it all up to a new level, and it's not just perfect, it's sublime. Listen to Fripp, Wetton, and Bruford just pounding away. This is Heavy Metal as it was meant to be composed and played. It's as if Fripp is issuing an ultimatum, "Screw Led Zep, screw Black Sabbath, screw all pretenders now and forever, this is the standard you'll have to meet from here on out!"

So, as always, there are possible objections:

Wetton's voice not all that great? Okay, maybe he's straining here and there, does that detract? Umm, no, it's rock and, prog rock. No problem.

A tendency to meander (I'm thinking Talking Drum here)? I don't hear meandering, I hear innovation that will eventually be picked up by Eno, among others. No problem.

Now that we have the objections out of the way, what's the final deal? This is the finest KC album since their first. Bruford and Wetton as a rhythm section totally rejuvinate the band. Fripp's playing is his best in years, obviously buoyed by the new blood. He plays, to use a cliche, like a man possessed. Muir is the most inventive percussionist this side of Dom Um Romao, and Cross knows exactly how to squeeze a violin into the constricts of a loud rock band.

Maybe I'm getting carried away. I've listened to this awesome album at least a thousand times in the past 35 years, but it never disappoints, and even now I come away with a new appreciation of it with each listen. There are not a lot of albums that meet that standard. Simply, essential.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars King Crimson. A band I instantly fell in love with after hearing Red. And yet a band that can be so alarmingly disappointing that it hurts. Because shameless experimentation, brave and ground-breaking as it might be, isn't always my cup of tea. Melody and structure makes me a happier man. With Starless and Bible Black and its extensive improvised live jamming, the real 'songs' on the album were the only things that saved it from a negative review. And those songs are among my all time favourites.

The funny thing is that on Larks' Tongue In Aspic, it's almost the exact opposite. The two parts of the title piece is truly amazing and, for a change, actually feel like they have a direction. Thus, a rare (for me) song-by-song review is required.

Starting with a great xylophone-dominated part, Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part I is just something special. One of those moments you know you're in for a real treat. And via some sinister Fripp-work and strings you're soon nailed to the wall by such an ear-shattering heavy riff that it just blows your socks off! And sure, this aggressiveness is a very integral part of the whole KC experience and one of the greatest assets in making their sound so utterly boundless in time. It feels perfectly fresh. While the following cacophony might appear way to free-form to some (which should include me...), I think it's a tight, frantic and very interesting combination of great percussion, drums, bass and on top of everything the nervous, wandering guitar of Robert Fripp.

Indeed, the title suite is pure bliss if you like to hear some talented musicians. Bill Bruford is everywhere together with percussionist Jamie Muir and the impressive bass playing of John Wetton, who also fills the role as vocalist. I stand in awe wondering how it's possible to keep the instruments synchronized, and for some time mr. Fripp actually finds himself overshadowed by his rythm section.

After such an intense experience, it's only healthy with a long violin passage. Painful, screaming tones makes it sound very desolate, nothing more than a vague touch of percussion (and perfection) accompanies the lone cry of the instrument. Suddenly, after a dark crescendo, it all finishes just as quietly as it began.

No wonder it's hard accepting Book of Saturday after that. A typical Crimson ballad, if there ever was one, not far from Lament on Starless and Bible Black. It's beautiful, melancholic and surely one of Wetton's better vocal performances but feels...a little flat? While Lament had a certain edge, this one just lacks it. Pretty much the same outline for Exiles, but since it's a lot longer, there's also a lot more space for the song to grow. Consider it the upgraded version of Book Of Saturday, with tasteful guitar, piano and violin. The Mellotron is really nice here and all I can say is - atmosphere. Feel it.

Then we have the two songs Easy Money and The Talking Drum. While neither is bad, they both have serious trouble taking off. After the promising start of the former, it gets a little stuck in the mud, conjuring up images of a Fripp noodling along with closed eyes, while the rest of the band just follows, with little or no space to do something really good. And how fun is it to listen to a drum beat with just one bassline over it for seven and a half minutes, even with a massive violin-coated ending?

After all these so-so moments it all falls into place once more on Larks Tongue In Aspic, Part II. So once again this is a KC album which gives me very mixed feelings. Charming as that may be, it would be highly unfair to rate this very high for loving the title suite. It is better than Starless and Bible Black though, and that means 3.5 stars.


Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There is no doubt that the fifth album from King Crimson called Larksī Tongues in Aspic bears witness to a significant change in King Crimsonīs sound. There are more avant garde tendencies and dissonant notes here than on previous albums and the music has become much more heavy with loud bass and Bill Brufordīs brilliant drumming.

The whole lineup has been changed since Islands except for Robert Fripp of course, and I think itīs one of the main reasons for the change in sound. The new blood includes former Yes drummer Bill Bruford, bassist and vocalist John Wetton and violinist David Cross. There are also a percussionist on Larks' Tongues in Aspic called Jamie Muir.

The music is very dark and there are none of the hippie ideals that sometimes occured on the previous albums here on Larks' Tongues in Aspic. The second era of Kind Crimsonīs career begins with this album. This is indeed a very groundbreaking prog rock album but I must say that IMO it lacks some real good song writing. There are way too much noodling and trivial noises throughout the album which is what I would call avant garde. The most significant change in King Crimsonīs sound is the addition of David Cross though as the violin is omnipresent throughout the album which to me is both good and bad news.

Much of Larks' tongues in aspic part one which lasts for 13:36 minutes is made up of those trivial noises and some avant garde violin playing that hurts my ears. When there is some structure in the song itīs really brilliant though. From the moment the heavy guitar part sets in this song is a prog rock classic. The good part only lasts for a very short while out of the 13:36 minutes though and itīs not satisfying to me.

The next two songs Book of Saturdays and Exiles are allright and they serve as an introduction to John Wettonīs voice which I have never liked much. Toneless and flat IMO. Both songs are good without being anything special.

Easy Money is one of the very good songs here and to me this is the second best song here. Itīs a great track with a great solo.

The talking drum on the other hand is the worst track here. Why on earth did they smoke all that weed before mixing this song. The volume control is totally wrong. The song starts so quit that I canīt hear anything unless I turn the volume all the way up. But if I keep the volume there by the end of the song I will blow the roof of my house as the volume is gradually turned up through the song. Besides that problem the song in itself is a useless jam in my ears.

The real gem here is without a doubt Larks' tongues in aspic part two which would be the only song on Larksī Tongues in Aspic that would make it unto a best of King Crimson album if I had to chose. Itīs wonderful dark and heavy with the coolest bassline and great drumming. The guitar riff might well be the worldīs first tech metal riff. This is a masterpiece.

The musicians are outstanding everyone of them and the sound quality is also very good.

This is an album that divides King Crimsonīs fans for sure. Fans of the first four albums sometimes have a hard time with the new sound while others see this as a great renewal and feels Larks' tongues in aspic is a great step forward for the band. Iīm ambivalent as I like the new dark and heavy approach but on the other hand I donīt like the avant garde moments that are too many and fills too much of the albumīs playing time. My personal opinion is that this is only for the fans and that it doesnīt deserve more than 2 stars but I will recognize that significance Larks' tongues in aspic has had on progressive rock and give it 3.

Review by TGM: Orb
5 stars Review 28, Larks Tongues In Aspic, King Crimson, 1973


This is not only the King Crimson album, but the album. Experimental in the extreme, flawless throughout, continually providing challenges, bizarre visions and layers for the listener. From the gentle xylophone-led opening to its swelling, tidal conclusion, we move through several styles and atmospheres, emotion flowing freely from all the musicians. Not an album to be judged instantly, and one that needs a lot of time, consideration and energy to appreciate to its fullest, but . I love every single second of it, can't bring myself to question the validity of the pieces, and can attach an idea, a flowing vision, sane or not, to each moment.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic part one begins with a gentle xylophone, which continues with some unusual variations on the basic idea and some tingling and ascending percussion and humming mellotron additions, gradually and calmly building a soundscape of fragrant and exotic ideas. The tingling percussion gives way to a mantric violin, a snarling guitar from Fripp, and a combination of manic percussion gives way to a burst of raw guitar aggression. Swirling variations on the guitar and fanatical mellotron lead up to a second and equally powerful emotional explosion. Fripp contributes a curious, intricate solo while the percussionists and John Wetton combine forces to add an even richer exoticism. Next we are treated to a demonically inspired rhythm section showcase with Fripp providing some accompanying driven guitar reminiscent of Sailor's Tale. Suddenly everything disappears, leaving David Cross's lone violin dreaming out some distant romance. A harp-like sound drifts in, before the gentle violin vanishes to German voices, a forceful violin and driving Bruford percussion, Fripp shows up on both acoustics and electrics as the piece glides along to a beautiful percussion end. Fully progressive, with no seams or rifts between the soft or loud sections. No bridges required, no moments of relaxation, just pure musical ideas. Jamie Muir's title describes the piece perfectly, an exotic journey from start to finish.

Book Of Saturday follows in on the gentle end of Larks', with a crystalline acoustic guitar part weaving into John Wetton's heartfelt bass and a delicate, virtuoso violin. John Wetton's clear, distintive vocals convey the real sense of loss and uncertainty from Richard Palmer-James gorgeous lyrics. The careful interplay between the three musicians is flawless throughout, developing ideas, . Gorgeous violin brings the song to a close.

The chaotic opening of the lengthier Exiles, with its distorted mellotron-voices and wedges of thick sound, conveys another, almost-martial atmosphere, a forceful segregation from society. A strong violin and cymbal-touches lead in to the main theme, combining an improvised violin with a humming bass that seems to alter the emphasis of the violin, a full, yet unobtrusive drum part from Bruford (I presume), and some dancing acoustics from Fripp. Richard Palmer-James lyrics are richly sung by Wetton. As the song continues, we move through a number of ideas, receiving tragic solos from Fripp (on electrics) and Cross. A tragic mellotron build-up more reminiscent of Epitaph leads to a curious acoustic from Fripp. There's a real feeling of absence of definition. Deserted, empty, echoing, and emotional. Another absolute masterpiece.

Easy Money leaps sarcastically in, providing an opportunity for Jamie Muir (and indeed the whole band) to have some more fun with his bizarre percussion. John Wetton provides a thick, jumpy bass sound, while Bruford experiments with a more hollow percussion set and Fripp flexes his sense of humour with some self-parodying solos. David Cross is presumably responsible for the gleeful mellotron-butchery we see in places. The band slowly and carefully escalate from the sparse punchiness of the song's first part through a complete instrumental workout to a masterly return, with Wetton's exuberant vocals and a typically bizarre Cross violin striking out over a development of the earlier verse. A mad laugh brings the song to its conclusion. Great music, and I suspect the musicians had as much fun making it as I did listening to it. Masterpiece.

The Talking Drum took the longest of any of the pieces to make its impression on me. Still, it has done so, with a fast bongo and Wetton's bass, which manages to provide the illusion of consistency, leaving room for Cross and Fripp to improvise powerfully over the top with sometimes independent and sometimes intertwined ideas. The piece develops gradually with Wetton and Bruford/Muir giving increasingly heavier and more substantial sections. Not at all easy for me to describe, but truly brilliant.

Suddenly, Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt. 2 breaks in with its thick guitar riff and a shapeshifting rhythm section that doesn't stay still. The parts change so frequently that it's futile to list the changes. Wetton takes a brief bass solo as well as being the vehicle for a lot of the changes in the music. Muir gets to play around with metal sheets, among other things, creating a spiralling percussion duo. David Cross gives out the some of the strangest sounds I've ever heard on a violin, squeaking dissonantly. The heavily-rocking song slowly builds up to the most bloated, powerful conclusion I've yet heard, throbbing out with everyone contributing. A piece where the subtleties may initially be hidden by the sheer noise, but once they reveal themselves, they'll delight on every single relisten.

Rating: Six Stars. This is my favourite album. A quintessential masterpiece of prog rock.

Favourite Track: All of them, but Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt. 1 and Exiles might be chosen if I'm forced to pick.

Warning: I don't have the intelligence to distinguish between a violin and a viola. My review may be compromised.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars I don't understand why so many people think this is a masterpiece album. In my opinion, there is only one song on this album that is really good all the way through, and that is Book of Saturday; a nice little song, but nothing remarkable (like the excellent Starless from the next album, for example). "Exiles" is also a pretty good track, with some nice parts. "Easy Money" starts out good, but soon drifts away into improvisational territory. (John Wetton have performed this song live recently, with his solo band, as can be seen on his great live DVD Amorata. In my opinion the Amorata live version of "Easy Money" is much better, than on this original album. BTW, Book of Saturday is also performed on Amorata).

So far so good, nothing bad, but nothing remarkable either. "Talking Drum", however, is a completely pointless, very repetitive, meandering instrumental (reminds me a bit of Hawkwind). And then there is the title track. Divided up in two parts, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" takes up about 20 minutes of this album. The first part has too much of a jam character to it to be considered good in my opinion. It lacks focus. And it really isn't enough with one good riff to fill over 14 minutes of music! The second part is much better than the first, but it is still based on one riff only, and some improvisational variation on that one riff. Not enough to make a masterpiece in my opinion, yet alone an album that is good all the way through.

There are some good parts here for sure, but they are too few and too far in between to make this a good album overall. The people involved in this album, Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Robert Fripp himself are all people I respect. But I think they have all done much better work on other albums. Bruford with Yes and UK; Wetton with Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, UK and Asia; Fripp with the excellent In the Court of the Crimson King album. In the Court of the Crimson King was a groundbreaking masterpiece, Larks' Tongues in Aspic is not!

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Lark's Tongues In Aspic begins with Part One of the title track and we are immediately transported into the world of King Crimson: a world of jazz fusion, eclectic musicianship and wild virtuosity. In simpler terms - definitive prog rock. Glockenspial style bells are played, almost sounding like air chimes that you sometimes see outside people's homes that chime when the wind blows. But underlying this a strange twisted shimmering can be heard, and it's growing louder and louder. The bells cut out and the 'Psycho' style violin locks in as Fripp's tortured fuzz guitar blazes. The drums are erratic as ever and the sound is almost like a free jazz festival. The violin sounds similar to Van der Graaf's "The Quiet Zone/ The Pleasure Dome" in some respects, perhaps VDGG were influenced by LTIA.

Cross, Bruford, Wetton, Muir and Fripp - a super group of immeasurable proportion and more influential to prog rock than most of the other bands the early 70s had to offer. This is experimental rock at its most profound. On every level the album causes us to question the function of music. There are lyrics, sung by Wetton, but they are subdued and overshadowed by the incredible instrumental prowess of the Crim's. There is even an oriental feel, with viola and mellotron. The dynamics of the album are second to none, moments of tranquil beauty, Cross's sparse violin, the true essence of minimalism, is punctuated by sudden bursts of jagged guitar and drums.

Other tracks of note are 'Easy Money' and 'Exiles' but nothing compares to the end track, 'Lark's Tongues In Aspic, Part Two. This track features a killer riff that virtually tears through the melancholy nature of the track. Bruford's drums pound relentlessly sometimes without a discernible rhythm, at other times in the drums are in time to what is left of the beat that has been mangled by spurts of guitar and bass. It's a tour-de-force of verbal soundscapes that astound the ears and reinvent music as a medium for atmospherics: a sublime patchwork of electronica and rock carefully interwoven with visceral violins and percussion vibes. The remastered Lark's Tongues In Aspic is flawed in places but still remains a must purchase for 'Crimsonites' and prog rock fans alike.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Happy-go-lucky experimentalism.

King Crimson will always earn my artistic respect simply because they kept reinventing themselves. Those that loved the symphonic beauty of the debut will be in for a sore awakening. Only ''Book of Saturday'' and ''Exiles'' carry any similar vibe to those days; both are pretty good but not overly strong pieces of balladry.

The real meat of the album comes from the heavy sound punctuated by Fripp's guitar dexterity, Bruford's kit and Wetton's bass effects. Of particular mention of where this sound is used at best is the middle of the first ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' part. ''The Talking Drum'' also employs this sound to the fullest even if the song has to develop for five minutes to do so. As for the others, ''Easy Money'' sounds like a jammy rock song and the second part of ''Larks' Tongues in Aspic'' has a heavy metal vibe.

It has the experimental edge, hard hitting guitar work, and ''stick-to-one-idea'' song development that I enjoy out of progressive rock. More traditional progsters won't like the noise, though.

Review by LiquidEternity
4 stars Following the mildly disappointing release (to many) of Islands, King Crimson returned to form with the impressive and experimental Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Bracketed by the two instrumental title tracks, this album is the first to feature the classic vocal stylings of famous John Wetton (also well known for his role in Asia). However, due mostly to the title tracks, this album is mostly instrumental, and you won't get nearly as good of a showcasing of Wetton's supreme singing ability until, in truth, Red. This release is a wonderful gap bridger, looking back on Lizard and forward to Red. The aggression dives in and out of the songs here, but instead of sitting among melancholic sections, it plays between melodic and creative bits. Robert Fripp's guitar is on fire here, too, and fans of his more extravagant abilities should certainly look here sooner than into any of the albums the band release prior to this one.

The first Larks' Tongues track is the longer one (and, out of the four total present on different albums [the third being on Three of a Perfect Pair and the fourth on ConstruKction of Light], this is the longest total) of the two present here, and it also is the better constructed, in my opinion. Some really neat percussion marks the intro before King Crimson's heaviest and most evil riff until 2003's Dangerous Curves. The song builds and falls, builds and falls for its remainder, featuring some really neat bits but still struggling to find its identity as a song. Book of Saturday arrives next, and it's a sweet and gentle little ballad bit, something very much straightforward to realign the band and the audience after the thirteen minute onslaught of the opening track. The final track on side one, Exiles, is another mellower piece with nice vocals from Wetton and some spectacular drumming from Bruford. The acoustic guitar is nice and the violin nicer, but on the whole, it is a slightly uninspiring tune.

Side two begins with Easy Money, the most aggressive and accessible tune on the album. Deep tom work by Bruford and a heavily distorted main guitar riff back a powerful intro. The tune meanders in an almost AOR sort of way, reminding me a lot of early Black Sabbath without being remotely unoriginal. A solid guitar solo in the middle continues this feel and builds the song back to a stunning conclusion. A very fun track, probably the most since Cirkus off Lizard. The next track, The Talking Drum, just happens to feature some of the most impressive drumming Bruford did not only with Crimson but out of any musical act he found himself in. This song builds very, very slowly, but it comes to a splendid climax. Lastly, the album closes with the second part of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, which is still neat and still features some frenetic fret work by Fripp (no alliteration intended), but is overall not as inspiring or powerful as the first part.

In the end, this is a wonderful Crimson album to have, though it still is weaker than several other of their 70s releases. Most the album is instrumental, so fans of that side of King Crimson need to buy this.

Review by rushfan4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator

Say what? OK, I'm not sure if it is because I live in the United States, or if it is because I didn't start listening to progressive rock music until the late 1980's but as I remember it I really didn't know who King Crimson was, other than that they were the 21st Century Schizoid band. On the other hand, I was then and I am still a really huge Yes fan. Being a Yes fan, I am on a mission to collect all albums that Yes and former Yes members appear on. A highly unlikely goal since there are so many, and many of them are out of print, but it was fairly easy to find albums from Bill Bruford's side band King Crimson. Yes, I know that this is Robert Fripp's band, and that this is the 5th King Crimson album with the 5th different lineup, but for me it was just another band that I needed to collect for the Yes collection.

As usual, Robert Fripp plays guitar and mellotron on this album, but joining him in the band for the first time was the lineup of Bill Bruford on drums, John Wetton on bass guitar and vocals, David Cross on violin, and Jamie Muir on percussion. In addition, Richard Palmer-James replaced Peter Sinfield as the band's lyricist. This album consists of 6 songs and is quite simply a progressive rock masterpiece. Bill Bruford makes his presence known very quickly on the opening instrumental track Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One, which starts off with Jamie Muir showing his chops on percussion. This is followed by the mellow Book of Saturdays, which clocks in at two and a half minutes and is the only song on the album not over seven minutes. This song as well as the next two feature John Wetton's fabulous voice on lead vocals. The last two songs, The Talking Drum and Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two, are both splendid instrumentals. Although, the song is called The Talking Drum, it is not a drum solo as one might expect. All band members participate in this song, and it seems to me that the lead instrument is actually David Cross on violin. The final track, Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two, is also an instrumental that features all band members. If you listen closely enough during the songs the band makes noises reminiscent to the sound that larks might make.

When I first started writing reviews for PA over a year ago, I had a goal to review all of the King Crimson albums. This was to be a way for me to get to know King Crimson better as a band, since they are probably the giant prog band that I know the least about. Since then I have also learned that there are quite a few classic prog bands that I am not that familiar with. Anyhow, I previously reviewed the first four albums and then I stopped. Ironically, I reviewed Islands exactly one year to the day that I am reviewing this album. Hopefully, I will review the others before another year has passed.

Anyhow, I am giving this album 5 stars. Larks' Tongues In Aspic is most definitely an essential album for Progressive Rock fans, and a masterpiece of progressive music. A must have for all prog rock fans.

Review by ProgBagel
5 stars King Crimson - 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic' 5 stars

One of the most experimental albums to date.

The opening track, 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part One)', is still a song that has yet to be topped with bringing a completely new sound to music such as this one did. The wonderful new additions to the King Crimson name were almost too tough to handle. Arguably, the best drummer to ever live, Bill Bruford, was now in the ranks. Patrick Muir's unconventional percussion skills were enlisted as well. The biggest addition would go to John Wetton, for his heavily distorted bass, which is an instrument that never stood out in the Crimson mix, along with his nice vocal works. The first part of the title track puts the heaviness in '21st Century Schizoid Man' to absolute shame. The rhythm section by Bruford and Wetton was tough to top also.

David Cross had yet again more significant contributions. His distorted/delayed work on 'Book of Saturdays' was just perfect, making that a really short and sweet track. The three middle tracks, all around the same length of time, gave some decent sized varying works, really heavy on the newly found rhythm section.

The last track which is part two of the title is again superb. It is the most 'songly structured' pieces of all the experimental and avant-garde like tracks on the album.

This album is absolutely unbelievable and could still stand up as one of the most unique of its time.for all time.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars King Crimsons's second truly masterpiece. When robert Fripp came back with this new version of his band, the expectations were high: after all it included Yes recent departed drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruffod, ex Family bassist John Wetton, classical violinist David Cross and fabulous percussionist Jamie Muir. With such line up one could only hope for a great work, but, boy, could anyone guess it'd be that great?

Lark's Tongues In Aspic is one of the very few records I know that can blend avant guarde music, free jazz, eletronic, prog, pop and even metal into something that is at the same time unsual, groundbreaking and still accesible. That may explains why such a 15 year old like me enjoyed the album so much a the time. In fact, I almost worn out my vinyl copy. And, believe me, I was never one to like complicated, atonal music.

The secret seems to be the fact that even on its most intricated moments KC music here was focused and convincing, while their most commercial stuff was too sophisticated for the untrained ear. So while the title track first part sounds like a collection of noises in the first moments it does develop into well structured tune and you'll ending up appreciating it. On The other side, something so simple as Book Of Saturday is really no simple at all if you listen carefully to the arrangement (great subtle guitar work by Fripp!). The only song that I really don't like much is The Talking Drum, but thats just my personal taste.

While the album was not well produced (in fact, badly recorded), the music still shines. For a first, this new encarnation of King Crimson proved to be every bit as good as the one they had on their outstanding and classic debut. Every band member does a great job and John Wetton proves to be one fo prog's best voices (plus a strong bassist - something a lot of people tend to take for granted). The delicate balance of the experimental and the melodic is one of the most difficult things to achieve, but they did it. I can't give it five stars because of the poor production and some little flaws here and there. But something between 4 and 4,5 stars is quite fitting. Highly recommended.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I bought this album right around the time my son was born. Despite what sentiment it owns due to that fact, it remains very much a King Crimson album for me, which is to say, a hit and a miss all at once. I think the experimentation that permeates the album is much too much for my tastes. But as with all King Crimson albums, there is a great deal to enjoy even if one is not more than a casual fan.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1" For the first three minutes, the first part of the title track consists of experimental percussion. Fripp's heavy enters like a descending jet before exploding in enraged-sounding power chords. Both he and Wetton are all over their respective fretboards, Fripp more so, almost as though he were playing a game requiring him not to play the same note twice, and Bruford's percussion is lively as ever. Wetton uses a phase effect on his bass during the section where Muir and Bruford sounds like they is hitting everything in the room. The cacophony suddenly gives way to Cross and his lonely violin. The final minute is the best part of this instrumental journey, with mysterious voices in the background and a very pleasing guitar tone.

"Book of Saturdays" The jazziest and most subdued song on the album, this features subtle vocals and clean bright notes and chords from Fripp that pop in all over. He delivers one of his short, processed guitar solos before Cross enters with his violin. The bass is deep but also restrained. Fripp adds more processed guitar as the song comes to a close. The brevity of this song adds to its overall beauty.

"Exiles" Almost two minutes of experimenting with sound precede the song proper, but the beautiful violin and acoustic guitar make it worth the wait. The bass stands out, and that lazy snare drag lets me know that it is indeed Bruford on the throne. Drawn-out (but pleasingly so) atmospheric sections bridge the verses. I love the vocal melody and Fripp's gentle electric guitar solo, which works alongside Cross's violin in polyphonic glory. This is easily my favorite song on the album.

"Easy Money" After some loud music, Wetton's voice struggles over subtle instrumentation. Even when it is bumped up in volume, it is not as audible as it should be. This one has some amusing sound effects. It features some subtle guitar, as well as some intriguing percussion from Bruford. In fact, I would say it is the combination of Bruford's drums and Wetton's bass that keeps this track exciting. I happen to find that it's the vocals that brings this one down. The laughing at the end is nothing short of psychotic.

"The Talking Drum" As the title suggests, this track features various percussion work, even if it doesn't actually talk. Ironically, it is the bass that I find the most interesting thing to listen to, but the violin over it has so much going for it. Overall, the music has an Eastern European feel.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2" Coming right off the heels of the preceding instrumental is the second part of the title track. The guitar is better here, in my opinion, and the subtler parts are more interesting. Even though it is shorter, I find this part far more enjoyable than the first part. Bruford goes nuts on his drums at the end.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Finally I Understand

My experience of King Crimson was limited to their debut album for years. While I enjoyed their post-Moodies organ rock, I was never able to reconcile their reputation as musical explorers and visionaries with what I heard on that record. A few weeks ago I picked up Larks' Tongues in Aspic on a hunch, mainly based on a review here that Anglagard's sound was at least partly based on the music of this album. I am so glad I followed that hunch, because this album fits so perfectly with the reputation KC has on this site and elsewhere. It is so much more adventurous and challenging than ITCOTCK, you'd think it was a different band. Of course, with the exception of bandleader Robert Fripp, it is.

This is a classic album with many reviews, so I think the main role of my review is this: for those like me who didn't really buy in to the hype of the debut album, explore the band a bit more. Unlike the symphonic debut, this album truly is eclectic prog and resembles more a mixture of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Gentle Giant than Genesis or Yes. Especially for those with a taste for a little more avant music, this is truly a masterpiece album. The intro and outro tracks are especially experimental, starting with a bell solo and evolving through heavy riffing, interweaving thematic lines, and plenty of dissonance. Nicely, I almost never get the feeling that we're descending into free form chaos. I like my avant music with a sense of structure and this album is a perfect example of that. John Wetton's vocals are more than adequate, though secondary and certainly not what you buy the album for.

For more detail, see the many other reviews of the album. Just know that this is the album to buy when you're looking for the eclectic KC, an almost completely different sound from the symphonic debut.

Review by Isa
5 stars |A| One of the most timeless and adventurous albums of all time.

King Crimson's Lark's Tongue in Aspic was one of those few strange albums that I somehow knew it was going to be one of my favorites before even hearing a single note of it. I'm still unsure why, maybe it was the awesome title, the album cover, a friend's description of it that I forgot, or something along those lines. Either way, my first impressions didn't blow me away, but I felt this was a worthwhile album with which to become familiar, and eventually became and remains one of my favorite albums of all time. It cuts through any stereotypes, boundaries, categorizations, anything that might group it with other albums... truly one of the most unique albums I've heard yet. I put it on right after being exposed to god-awful dance music as rebellion or right after having my mind been stretched by obscure classical music as a form of rejoicing. There's almost something spiritual about the work in this album, though I don't think I could ever really put my finger one what makes it so. I just know it's one of those works that truly stretches the musical imagery of the listener, taking them on one hell of an adventure.

So just what about this album makes it so unique, so strange compared to even most other progressive music out there? Well, I think it has to do with Fripp's composition moment of brilliance combined with the incredibly intricate and delicate musicianship. Many unconventional composition techniques were accomplished in this album, and it leaves me to believe this was some of Fripp's most adventurous and experimental work yet, that probably being the understatement of the year. Here's a sample: Lark's Tongue in Aspic Pt. 1 starts off with what sounds like a marimba, and incredible marimba work at that, soon adding in soft percussion and sound effects. In come violins playing staccato notes in 10/8 (3+3+2+2, judging by the accents created to distinguish the macro-beats, I think) eventually layering on distortion guitar lines, building to the main riff of the track. That intro alone tells you what you're in for with this album. You won't find much in the way of melody (except for the perfect vocal lines) or anything structurally conventional. Most everything contributes to the overall mood and musical elasticity of the moment, the sound effects, the percussion and drums, the almost frantic guitar and bass parts, almost everything serves an almost atmospheric purpose, and certainly not in the sense that Pink Floyd does. I think I'm even hearing some eastern music influences especially from the violinist and percussionist. Also, somehow this album gets away with being overall incredibly thinly scored, not usually more than two or three parts going at once, yet rather than constrict the sound of the album, this rather seems to enable more freedom to create various musical textures. Few albums match the creativity of almost any moment on this beautiful piece of art.

As far as tracks go, each one I can gladly say is among my favorite King Crimson tracks, and thus some of my favorite tracks in all of prog are all on this album. The instrumentals Lark's Tongue in Aspic Pt's 1 & 2 as well as Talking Drum mostly include incredible use of ethnic percussion and various colors and textures within each track, even more so than the tracks with vocals. These tracks include the voice of bassist Wetton, which would be the most likely thing in my mind to scare off most people from this album, for most people don't seem to like his tone and singing style very much. I personally don't mind it, in fact I'd say it fits perfectly with the underscored music. I guess I'd be willing to admit it's slightly pitchy in some spots, but it's never bothered me much. And that's something that usually bothers me with some prog bands. Exiles reminds me a bit of Epitaph in the use of acoustic guitar arpeggios, but the track itself is really quite different in almost every other way, especially with the violin long tones. I especially love the flute, very reminiscent of ItCotCK overall. Easy Money is probably my favorite track in that that drummer and percussionist just go mad towards the end - I find few things in music more exciting than that build towards the end.

So yes, I do adore this album, and do consider it essential to every progger. It's really hard to give any comparisons to any music the material here sounds anything like this, as it usually is with King Crimson. Only I'd say this album transcends even prog itself. I find it hard to review albums I view as masterpieces because I feel I can never really do justice as a reviewer to the quality of the album, but hopefully I've come somewhere close with this one. If you like more overall experimental music that focuses mostly on textures and somewhat avant-garde sensibilities, or just want more challenging music than your usual prog, boy do you need this album. This is my favorite King Crimson record by far, and one of my favorite pieces of artistic music for me to have ever heard.

Review by The Sleepwalker
4 stars Strange sounds of bongo's, bells and other exotic percussion... that could only mean one thing... a new King Crimson era! The era Larks' Tongues in Aspic opens is KC's heaviest and my personal favorite era. This era will bring along some of the band's greatest songs, some amazing live albums and of course another King Crimson to discover, this time a King Crimson with Bill Bruford on drums, Jamie Muir providing percussion, and John Wetton being the new vocalist and bassist. The biggest change is David Cross on violin, the sensitive instrument takes KC's music to a whole new level. After the big dissapointment this could only be better, and yes, it is.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic pt.1" introduces us to the strange sounds of the new King Crimson, with its strange percussions and experimental violin playing. The first part of the the title track is very powerful and very typical for this era, as the band would be more experimental than ever when performing live. Great track.

The next song "Book Of Saturdays" is a very short one, but still very good. It is guitar driven, but Fripp is soon joined by a great vocal job of Wetton. The song has a very emotional feel to it, which makes it very pleasant to listen. The track is the least experimental on the album, that's why it might feel like a bit as being on the wrong place... but it's a good one.

"Exiles" is one of my KC favorites, it is a true epic wrapped in a 7 minute coating, it really is great, and everything feels good about it. The vocals are magnificent, the gentle guitar playing is pretty laid back compared to the other instruments, giving it a very atmospheric feel and the percussions and violin show its experimental powers. Exiles is one of the highlights of this album.

"Easy Money" is just as "Exiles" one of my favorites, though I'm not really a fan of the version on this album. I rather listen to a live version, cause on the version on this album the percussion gets too much space I think, and it doesn't do the song much good. Also, on this album it sounds pretty stiff, which it absolutely isn't when performed live.

"The Talking Drum" also is a very experimental song. The title of the track might make you think it is some kind of drum solo or something like that, but it isn't. The talking drum is just like "Larks' Tongues... pt.1" a very experimental and loose song, and it's pretty good.

"Larks' Tongues in Aspic pt. 2" starts out pretty rough, with distorted guitar and heavy pounding bass, and of course percussion. The song isn't just a strange jam, as it is in fact pretty structured compared to the other instrumentals on this album. The song is however, just as "Easy Money", pretty stiff, and I prefer live versions of the song.

I think Larks' Tongues in Aspic is a very good and experimental album, but some of the songs sound pretty stiff and are much better when being performed live. In my case I had heard most of the songs played live (Great Deceiver box set) before I heard them on this album, so maybe that's why I find the songs that stiff. Nevertheless, I do suggest the live versions of the songs on this album, but if you're a big fan of wacky percussions and King Crimson, you really should check this album out.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars However much I would want to love this album it's not going to happen any time soon. I've given it 20 years and still find it hard to get into. It's an album that reaches lonely heights where it concerns originality and attitude but on the downside, I find no passion in it, some of the songs are inconsistent and the singing is generally off-putting.

Lark's Tongues pt i has a great main theme but most of its 13.35 improvised minutes sound chaotic, overworked and either too far-fetched or sleep-indulging. It sure is a big artistic statement and it must have provided a stunning alternative for the increasingly mellowing prog scene around that time, but that doesn't make it quality material. Crimson have plenty more inspired improvisations from this era.

Book of Saturday is a pleasing short ballad and Exiles is a classic among Crimson's more melodic material. Still, the vocals are a major flaw, strained, slightly out of tune and insecure. The same goes for Easy Money, it's a great tune but losing effectiveness due to the grating vocals. Due to extensive touring, Wetton's vocals would gradually improve and any live version of these songs is better then the studio versions here. Also the instrumental closing tracks Talking Drum/Lark's Tongues pt II suffer from a dull sound and lifeless performances.

Despite the obvious shortcomings, this album is too much of a landmark to put it into the fans only section. It has huge historical value, but if you want to appreciate this incarnation of King Crimson, I would strongly suggest one of the many live albums from this era.

Review by Chicapah
5 stars Some smart guy named Eric Hoffer once wrote that "It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities" and, in the case of this particular version of the inimitable King Crimson group, I think that quotation is dead on. The talented musicians that mastermind Robert Fripp assembled for 73's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" had one thing in common: They had each tasted a modicum of success in other bands/venues and found the fruits of the promise land to be unfulfilling. They all yearned to resurrect and revitalize their naive, unspoiled inner adolescent and set the boy free to run without confines on the playground that is the recording studio with other restless Peter Pans like themselves. The album they put together just may be the prime model of what is referred to, in theory at least, as progressive rock. It has no identifiable precedent. Comparisons to other forms of music, even within the prog arena, are futile. It stands forevermore as an enduring work of late 20th Century aural art.

I must alert the reader to the fact that, like a lot of fine albums that populate this eclectic and liberal genre, it ain't for everybody. You won't want to slap this on the stereo at even the most casual of dinner parties unless you want the guests to depart the premises in a stampede. It's not top-down, cruising-down-the-interstate-with-a-nasty-redhead-by-your- side, yodeling "I Love L.A." fare, either. In all likelihood, your significant other will probably despise it and you for subjecting them to its radical musical ideology. It's anti Top-40. Don't overreact to those warnings, however. It's not some kind of dissonant/boring/confusing everyone-play-whatever-they-want-and-we'll-call-it-jazz free-for- all. No way. There's a calculated method to this madness. It has a planned structural integrity and a designed purpose. At the same time it sounds like nothing else you've heard. Robert, Bill, David, John and Jamie left all preconceived notions of convention out in the busy street and proceeded to manufacture magic. A copy of "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" belongs in every progger's stash. Period. Otherwise, why are you here?

Okay, that was pretty uppity/prog-snobbish and I must admit with a red face that I was guilty of intentionally avoiding this album until this year when another prog reviewer whose taste in music I greatly respect gave it his highest rating. So I put it on my wish list and my son gave it to me as a gift. I expected it to be good, no doubt, but this is so astoundingly inspired and genuine that it'll strain my ability to literately describe it. Yet I'll give it the old college try. It's my calling in life. (Or so I tell myself.)

"Lark's Tongue in Aspic, Part One" draws back the curtain to the strains of a percolating Kalimba accompanied by an odd assortment of light percussion items. It's like entering a stranger's room through a doorway of hanging hippy beads (the abode of that mysterious, exotic siren you just met at the bar, perhaps?). The lighting is slightly surrealistic and there's a faint odor of some kind of spiced incense in the air. You're not scared; you just know for sure that you're not in your mom's house. Soon an intriguing electrical white noise arises as if you're being guided through a huge mass of neurons excitedly exchanging impulses. This is followed by some tense violin bowing from David Cross that graduates to a heavy metallic riff performed by the full ensemble. They segue to a dense rhythmic groove, then John Wetton cranks up a wah-wah bass solo surrounded by frenetic Fripp guitarisms, Bill Bruford's rumbling drums and Jamie Muir's wild percussion. Suddenly the number drifts into a sad, mournful violin piece that slowly becomes agitated and angry in its mood before leveling out into a strange oriental aura. Then, without notice, the whole thing detonates and disseminates like nuclear fallout. Exhilarating is the closest I can come to doing it justice.

At this juncture you might think you've been irrevocably altered, but along comes "Book of Saturday" to clear your head. Robert's delicate chording and phrasing on his fretboard is beautiful and John's adventurous bass lines never distract, only compliment. The song's memorable melody is delivered by Wetton without unnecessary affectation in his customary fool-on-the-hill style and David's violin injections (both backwards and forwards) are exquisite. Since long-time wordsmith Pete Sinfield had left the think tank in a snit after the previous KC album, former Supertramp Robert Palmer-Jones was enlisted to supply lyrical content and his splendid contribution to the project shouldn't be overlooked. "Reminiscences gone astray/coming back to enjoy the fray/in a tangle of night and daylight sounds," John intones with a melancholy slant. Profound? No, but poetic nonetheless.

The ironic "Exiles" creeps in like an ominous fog from which the cries of unidentified, tortured creatures can be heard in their vain attempts to escape, then the landscape clears briefly for Wetton's moonlit vocal to reassure before said dark mist returns. I love the way Cross' violin twines around the melody without choking it. The inventive bridge with its graceful piano is a revelation. Here the insightful words capture the very essence of what this incarnation of King Crimson was all about. "But Lord, I had to go/my trail was laid too slow behind me/to face the call of fame/or make a drunkard's name for me/though now this other life/has brought a different understanding," John sings without a trace of bitterness. The tune ends with a fantastic mixture of guitar, violin and the Mellotron dancing atop Bruford and Wetton's intricate rhythm track.

The sarcastic "Easy Money" begins with what sounds like a chain-gang of inmates chanting cheerily-but-not-really as they slog down a muddy road on their way to a day of hard labor. That may not seem like something that would interest even the most dedicated of proggers but somehow it entertains. It's that cool. The song features one of the more unusual verse/chorus compositions you'll ever encounter, adorned as it is with Muir's eccentric "allsorts." (I didn't make that term up; it's what he's credited as playing in the liner notes.) The group collectively snubs their nose at the trappings of rock star fame and fortune and its obligatory indenture to the record company moguls. "And I thought my heart would break/when you doubled up the stake/with your fingers all a-shake/you could never tell a winner from a snake/but you always make money/easy money," John sneers. The number's extended musical interlude ebbs, flows and breathes like some sort of primordial life form in which Fripp displays the unconventional approach to lead guitar playing that justifies his genius labeling. The song comes full circle to reprise the convicts' hymn as well as another verse/chorus go 'round (this time with full-throttled gusto) before it all collapses into a fit of canned, taunting, demonic, impish laughter that'll send a chill up your spine. He's laughing because there's always a price to be paid for stardom. And it's steep. Easy money, indeed.

A ghostly wind blows across a desolate plain infested with carrion-eating flies as barely- perceptible fingertip rhythms initiate a steady pulse for "The Talking Drum." David's stark violin steps in and Robert's eerie guitar springs up alongside him like a new species of wildflower. Suddenly a growling, menacing bass guitar effect bursts in boisterously as all the combined elements finally rise up and reach a fevered crescendo after which destitute lemmings scream in crazed delight as they race toward the ragged precipice of the beckoning cliffs. This instrumental track is a perfect example of cultivating tension through patient manipulation of dynamics.

The album's finale, "Lark's Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" is not just some weak regurgitation of the opener. Surely you jest. The tune's extremely heavy, dense metallic theme dominates without mercy, and then the band descends into a hypnotic 9/16 rock pattern before repeating that sequence. Jamie's incidental sound effects rival those cleverly instigated without caution by the Beatles at their most imaginative and free. Cross' mean-spirited violin solo sounds like it was transcribed by Ol' Scratch himself and I could swear that Muir and Bruford are tossing their drums down a staircase to achieve the sublime cacophony they were striving for. It all ends in a fat, gloriously noisy finale that distills slowly into one single solitary note.

The musicians that comprised this short-lived form of the entity known as King Crimson knew coming in that they were walking away from everything safe and secure in order to find liberation from the shackles of commerciality. Their aim was not to shock, denigrate or assault their fans. They simply wanted to create something totally original yet comprehensible and satisfying to thinking, open-minded human beings. If I'd bought this recording when it came out in '73 I doubt that I would've had the maturity or patience to recognize and appreciate its brilliance. It would've required that I tune out the world and still myself long enough to absorb its powerful subtlety and the superlative uniqueness of this cooperative conception. As my esteemed fellow reviewer told me, there's nothing to compare it to and he's right. Most music is a derivative of something but this album has no ancestor. It's a towering Sequoia without roots; an anomaly. It's a bonafide masterpiece, everything progressive rock is supposed to be, and an example of why this branch of music bores its way into our souls in ways no other can.

Review by Easy Money
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars As early as 1973 the future of Progressive Rock was not looking good. Mellotron dirges, fake jazz excursions, pseudo mythological lyrics and pointless pastiches of incongruous styles had just about run it's course. Somebody needed to do something! Somebody did. Thankfully Larks Tongue in Aspic opened the door to all manner of directions and styles that 'prog rock' could head towards in an effort to keep evolving and moving with the times. Each song almost represents several future genres that Progressive Rock would eventually fracture into.

Although Progressive Rock started out as a mostly British pastoral music, Larks Tongue was about to take us to many different lands including Asia, North Africa and urban USA, while substituting sprawling excess with tightly focused compositions that finally put a rock beat to true concert hall sensibilities. Although each song on this album is a powerhouse that could inspire entire genres, four songs in particular really sum up what this album is about.

Larks Tongue in Aspic Part I is a beautiful wandering Asian fantasy that recalls Rimsky- Korsakav as well as classic tense film noir soundtracks. Easy Money is probably one of the first rock songs that successfully fused gritty US funk with progressive tendencies without sounding like a weak British copycat of James Brown. Talking Drum takes us to Africa and the Middle East and is a precursor to the huge world beat explosion of the 80s. Larks Tongue Part II finally realizes Robert Fripp's dream of melding Bartok styled compositions with rock like energy and drive. This is the true melding of rock-n-roll and modern chamber composition that many others had tried but fallen short on.

Unlike many other progressive rock albums from this era, Larks Tongue still sounds modern and still points the way for young rock bands who want to do something more with their music. Possibly the finest Pogressive Rock album ever.

Review by friso
4 stars King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973)

This review was edited due to change of opinion

The progress Robert Fripp's Crimson made in just four years is unbelievable! First they've set the standard for symphonic prog, secondly they showed how to use jazz influences in prog on Lizard. Now the time had come to make all the heavy metal bands of the seventies look like they are shy neighbourhood-friendly bands. This album has a lot of progressive elements; the first trash-metal riff, progressive music with a violin that play's solo parts, a percussionist playing a strange assortment of percussions and totally new harmonic interpretations of rock. Only for this varied combination of inventions this album should be listened to by every listener of progressive music.

It took me some time to learn to appriciate this album. At first I though it was mediocre for a King Crimson record. Over the years I've learned to sit through the confronting passages and I got more positive excitement during the passages I do like. Still I think the album could have been better with a mix that's less extreme on the dynamic aspect. The difference between soft and loud is to big throughout.

The opening-section of the album with it's soft percussions is a bit boring, but as soon as the exciting double violins and the guitars tune in you can feel this is really something. The thick sounding fade-in guitars are a good warm-up for the main riff of the song, that could be seen as the first trash-metal riff. After that we get to listen to some furious and disjointed guitar exercises by Fripp, and to be completely honest with you; I never liked the combination with the percussion to much and on this part it really ruins it a bit. After the main body of the song Larks' Tongues in Aspic part I has a silent interlude with nostalgic violin and the band makes an exciting comback with a punchy rhythm and sound-effects (I think recordings from tv).

Book of Saterday is 'the relaxing' track of the album, as most King Crimson albums seem to have one. The vocals of Wetton never suited my tastes, but the chords and backwards-sounding guitar melodies create a nice piecefull atmosphere. Exiles has a great intro with a low-playing string-instrument and some sound-effects, before evolving into what is perhaps the most beautifull song of the album. It's nice to hear King Crimson do some mellotron-based chords progressions once in a while. The violin sounds relevent on the main theme, though I wouldn't have mind a more pitch-perfect take on this melody. A majestic ending for side one this is.

Easy Money is however the complete opposite of majestic, for it could be discribed as a raw, rhythm-driven semi-punk song that's a bit out of place here. There's however plenty room for some more silly percussions by Jamie Muir (perhaps I'm not his biggest fan) and a solo section with some interesting interplay. On the next offering in line, The Talking Drum, King Crimson shows some of their interesting developments in the improvisational aspect of the music. Though based on a simple bass melody (with the unholy tritones or raised fourth), the track has a nice dark sound. Again, I would not have mind a more pitch-perfect violin recording. The track ends in something that sounds like an awfull scream, but as soon as you realize what is going on you are being launched into Larks' Tongues in Aspic part number two. Often perceived as the bigger brother of part one, it indeed is a great track that has a bit more body (or completeness) then most of the other tracks of this album. The main riff in 11/8 (you can't just use your fingers for this one) is highly exciting and it's lovely how the distorted bass guitar of Wetton suits the music fine. Near the ending of the track we get to listen to some recognisable instrumental panic and franzied drums over the main theme and it's time to close the album with some last shrieks.

Conclusion. Yet another King Crimson album that could be listened to as if watching a good movie; with full dedication and a fresh explorative mind-set. The heavyness, the strange percussions and the big dynamic differences (the long quiit passages) may leave some of us dazzled, but overall this is a great King Crimson record that stood the test of time very well. I'm going to give this one four stars.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of absolutely best ever progressive albums, and one of the best King Krimson work as well. Possibly, most experimental of KC work, it sounds absolutely mature, without any weak points or even few seconds fillers.

I believe that King Crimson reach their top of seventies in this album. You have absolutely great sound of each musician there, and very complex structures and musicianship is perfectly melted in very fresh,unusual,experimental sound. Even more traditional Wetton songs sound there absolutely in place. I love this music, it's sound,atmosphere.

I love KC debut, and I like very much SABB from their seventies (I like Discipline trilogy as well), but I believe that near KC best albums, this one is best of the bests!

Review by kenethlevine
2 stars Robert Fripp re-invents KC yet again, this time in the embryonic and innovative violin trio format. Mel Collins is gone and Peter Sinfield's lyrics have been replaced by those of a certain Richard Palmer-James. The mellow jazz of "Islands" is pummeled by heavy fusion and even early metal minimalism. This is groundbreaking stuff for sure, having influenced many a RIO band to this day. It is also loosely adhered to for the next couple of albums, making "Larks" the beginning of a relatively stable, albeit typically short lived, phase of the group.

Finally, it marks the beginning of the end for me as a quasi fan of KING CRIMSON. Apart from 2 fine tracks in the spare "Book of Saturday" and the effusive "Exiles" (which owes more to ITCOCK than to the new KC), this disk is an atonal unstructured schlemazzle, which is fine for those who like it, but anathema to a sizable number of listeners here. The two title tracks are both in this category, with the first flitting from one incomplete theme to another and the latter doggedly sticking with its only idea, and "Talking Drum" just never develops at all. "Easy Money" is like an unpredictable precursor to PINK FLOYD's predictable hit "Money", but I can't find much value in either.

If any of the less accessible cuts had been decent, I would have been able to round up to a good grade, but have to settle on two stars for the first time in the KC discography, no lark.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
3 stars Pseudo-refined work of grief.

Hailed as one of the best albums in progressive rock genre, Larks' Tongues In Aspic defines the style of King Crimson. I would say it's a good King Crimson album, but not one of progressive rock peaks, in my opinion. King Crimson proves to make a lot of good, but strongly flawed albums. All of their albums contain highly experimental inimitable compositions with specific spirit and melancholy. But almost all of their releases contain obviously meaningless and weak songs as well. So this formula is not an exception on Larks' Tongues in Aspic.

Sometimes the experimentation, the depth and some cyclic depressive tunes are woven into simple and stronly flawed tunes of the production and songwriting. The violin is just like a outstretched hand to the hell. Moreover, there are too much repetitions everywhere on the album. The balance of the sound could be described as a sudden death. It full of sudden change of the course of sound. At the beginning there are slow and quiet tunes, suddenly followed by joyful scratching, meaningless jazz rock fusion tunes. The statics rules all around the creativity of King Crimson (not only on Larks' Tongues In Aspic). There's no dynamics. There's no logical links between the motifs on most of the songs.

All these conditions on the album are not exception. They are frequently existing practice (not just Larks' Tongues in Aspic, but all the albums by KC). Larks' Tongues in Aspic consists of six songs, of which the homonymous Larks' Tongues in Aspic suite (I and II) is best. There're nothing special outside this suite. For me King Crimson is productive machine of disguised pseudo-masterpieces! Larks' Tongues in Aspic has been disguised as a masterpiece, but regretfully it's really not!!!

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I seriously can't understand what this band has that makes people drool all over their releases. I can agree with the near-perfection of ITCOTCK, a brilliant album, one of the best in all rock (not just prog), but this one, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is for me nothing but self- indulgence taken to the extreme, trying to disguise showing-off as "experimentation".

Just like another respected reviewer who rated this album with two stars, I have to say that, where it not for the last track, I would've given this exercise in musical indigestion a 1-star rating. The first track is nothing but jamming of the lesser kind recorded, with the addition of violin to make it sound "experimental", even though the inclusion makes no musical sense (I have to admit that, for the few minutes when the violin is present, at least the music appears to have some direction.) There's no discoveries here. Nothing new. This was done decades ago with real purpose. The next three tracks are more traditional but rather forgettable, nothing like the monuments in ITCOTCK. Wetton's voice (who, if you are a modern prog fan who has never heard KING CRIMSON but has heard THE FLOWER KINGS, sounds exactly like Roine Stolt) is good enough to make these tracks better than they actually are. "Easy Money" in particular is a totally average affair. Finally, the album raises from the darkest pit with the second part of the title track, where Fripp seems to have decided to bring some sense into the music with interesting riffs and playing with odd time signatures.

Experimentation doesn't equal quality. And uninspired cacophony doesn't equal experimentation. Then, this album is neither experimental nor is it a high quality one. It's just an attempt by first-class rock musicians to become larger than life, it's an ego show based in nothing but an image. The band created an image with their debut album, and by the time this thing was released, it's clear they really thought they were above everything. Their image as prog gods got to their heads, and they really believed they were ones.

And gods can do anything... even make art out of drivel.

But they really aren't gods.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
5 stars What can one say about this masterpiece? Surely that it is one of the greatest and most important progressive rock albums ever made. Why? Because "Lark's Tongues In Aspic" is one of those ESSENTIAL albums of this genre, because it gave a huge contribution in defining it. The album's year is 1973, a year that many consider the best prog period, due to the creation also in the same year of essential works such as "Selling England By the Pound" and "Dark Side Of The Moon".

"Lark's Tongues In Aspic" is truly an Eclectic album: all the songs are different and original, thanks to the extremely talented musicians in the band. An amazing and enigmatic presence such as the one of percussionist Jamie Muir gives a completely different touch of bizarre, not really that present in their previous albums. Also, David Cross's violin is always the main instrument in the creepiest and most mysterious moments, giving the listener a lot of tension. Fripp here puts on one of his best performances in the title track (both tracks), with the use both of mellotron and guitar. Bruford, of course, never disappoints. The first part of the title track is a masterpiece, thirteen minutes of heavy moments alternated calm but tense ones, using as main element a wise sense of bizarre. "Book of Saturday" is a nice and relaxing piece, perfect for an interlude. John Wetton's voice is really expressive and shows a huge amount of talent. "Exiles" starts with some wind sounds accompanied with a mysterious violin piece. It then turns into a nice ballad, where mellotron is the main instrument, along with the vocals. "Easy Money" is a KC classic, great melody, great arrangements, a fantastic live piece. "The Talking Drum" is a fantastic instrumental piece, very calm and mysterious, possibly along one of their best ones. Another live classic. the second part of the title track is the real classic, a guitar based song where Fripp shows possibly his best performance. Heavy, catchy, maybe the best instrumental song of KC (along with part 1)

An essential album, like I said, that should be listened by everybody who truly loves music.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars After the bland and boring Islands album, once again Robert Fripp changed over the lineup and the sound of King Crimson, and turned out one of the greatest prog rock albums ever recorded (if not the greatest). In fact, it was this album, when I borrowed it from my local library (in the seventies, libraries actually kept good music in their collections), that changed me from a casual prog listener to a full blown prog maniac.

Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One is one of the top prog masterpieces of all time, with amazing work from all players, and fantastic studio production. From Jamie Muir's tuned percussion intro, to Fripp's wild arpeggios, to the bone crunching power chords, this song is amazing from start to finish. It's too bad the live versions just don't do justice to this piece. Part Two is great as well, and is quite powerful, but Part One is just transcendent.

Book Of Saturday and Exiles allow the listener to catch a breath after the heaviness of the opening track. And although they are comparitively light, they are as entertaining as any of the softer Crimson works.

Easy Money is a more straight ahead rock song, and is helped quite a bit by Muir's crunchy rhythm sound and sparse percussion fills. And I'm glad they used different lyrics on this recording than on most of the live versions. Jokes about pedophilia just aren't funny.

The Talking Drum is a tension building jam, that buils with perfection, and leads with a scream into Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two, a song that Fripp loves enough to have kept in the repertoire for three decades.

I wore out more copies of this album than any other in my collection. I rate this, on a scale of one to five, a ten.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The disbanding of the precious King Crimson lineup did wonders for the band's sound! Besides the five instrumentalists, the band also recruited a new lyricist to replace Peter Sinfield. This position became occupied by Richard Palmer-James who, among others, was previously a founding member of Supertramp where he performed and wrote the lyrics for the band's self-titled debut album.

The combination of Palmer-James' lyrics, John Wetton's gorgeous voice and creative bass guitar playing, David Cross' prominent violin and Bill Bruford's technical approach to drumming is considered to be the best combnation of individuals that would ever play with Robert Fripp. The first results of this collaboration brought about one of King Crimson's most hailed achievements outside of their debut album and Red. Larks' Tongues In Aspic features beloved classics like the short ballad Book of Saturday, a longer mellower piece Exiles and the weird piece like Easy Money, that's outside of the 20-minute two-part title track!

So, how can this release get 'only' the 4-star rating from this King Crimson fan? The reason is simply the fact that I consider both of it's followup releases to be even better! The material on this album lacks the perfect flow that I expect of a masterpiece album and instead I look at it more like a collection of great compositions from a collective that were still finding their sound. Larks' Tongues in Aspic is undeniably a very important part of many King Crimson-collections out there and even if this release definitely is among their top 10 albums, I still hesitate to award it anything more than the excellent addition rating that it undeniably deserves.

***** star songs: Book Of Saturdays (2:49) Exiles (7:40) Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two (7:12)

**** star songs: Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One (13:36) Easy Money (7:54) The Talking Drum (7:26)

Review by tarkus1980
5 stars The last couple of Crimson albums might have more-or-less stunk (not that everybody agrees with me on that), but let's be fair to Fripp - he wasn't exactly surrounded with the mightiest of talent. Compounded with the fact that Fripp's bandmates weren't really on the same conceptual page as him - he wanted weird, they wanted more conventional jazz and blues modes - and it's no wonder those albums weren't quite up to par. So Robert fixed these problems - he surrounded himself with people with more playing talent than the band had yet fathomed, and (more importantly) who were able to share a common goal with Fripp. The result was the band's best album yet, and an album that (in many ways) served as the foundation for all King Crimson to the very end.

The new direction for the band, as defined on this album, can best be described (in my opinion) as "Heavy Avant-Prog." If we accept Robert's description of the initial King Crimson as "Hendrix plays Bartok," this new version can be described as "Hendrix plays Eric Dolphy plays Bartok." This album is prog rock, but rather than pushing the stylistic boundaries of the Court formula, like seemingly most bands in the genre were doing at the time (not that I'm putting those bands and albums down, you see), it instead seeks to totally break down and rebuild the genre from its very foundation. Combining the already established manner of "Schizoid" jamming with elements of avantgarde jazz, and framing these jams within a tight mathematical setup of climaxes, rises and falls, it's little wonder that some critics of the day referred to this as "outer limits" music. NOBODY was making music like this, and no wonder - nobody else had a combination of people conducive to making this sort of art, and it's doubtful that many others would have even if they could.

The new KC lineup included six people, counting a replacement lyricist for Peter Sinfield (who went off to join ELP), one Robert Palmer-James. Palmer-James, for better or worse, doesn't really have any impact on the album whatsoever - three of the six tracks contain lyrics, and while they're not blatantly icky, there's not much in the way of consistent imagery contained within. "Easy Money" does have some amusing anti-capitalist rantings, but I've heard better. Still, there's something to be said for the fact that there's no "Stake a lizard by the throat" to be found here.

Now, the lyrics may be irrelevant, but that obviously can't be extended to the rest of the players. The bass and vocals void is filled by one John Wetton, previously a member of Family and later of Asia fame. He's not a great vocalist, but he's unquestionably the best the band has had since losing Lake, and his bass-playing skills are simply superb. He's not afraid to play at a higher volume than normal, or to put different effects on his bass, and he's able to both create a solid foundation and to augment the general sound well.

The most novel part of the sound of this lineup comes courtesy of David Cross, master of violin and viola (and mellotron, as needed). The modern cynic might feel a bit uncomfy at the idea of a fulltime violin player in a rock (ha) band, given that history hasn't shown this can produce consistently tasteful results, but such fears should most definitely be laid to rest. Cross shows an amazing ability to accentuate the dark mood that permeates so much of the album, yet is also able to create occasional stretches of surprising loveliness. There are also a number of passages that show him playing his instrument in such a way that definitely doesn't match anything I've heard anywhere else - it's hard to be innovative in playing a violin in a rock context, but he definitely pulls it off.

The biggest coup for the band, however, came in the percussion section. First, Robert managed to snatch up a maniacal eccentric by the name of Jamie Muir. His percussion style was WILD, a kind suited to total avantgarde improvisation, and very different from almost anything previously found in prog rock. He's responsible for many of the most exciting and unexpected moments on the album, throwing in a useful enough dose of instability to really give the album an edge. Yet as interesting as this is, his brand of insanity is the kind that is much more effective in either a distilled fashion, or even better, a kind useful in a mentor-student relationship. In other words, Muir needed a student...

...and who should need a teacher but Bill Bruford. Bruford, by his own admission, had peaked with Yes' Close to the Edge - he believed that any followup by Yes could only be "Son Of Close to the Edge," and he did not see what else he could do within a Yes context. So he tendered his resignation from the band before that album's tour; Fripp was all too happy to snatch him up, and Bruford was all too happy to have a new start. In my opinion, Bill had proven within Yes that he was one of the top three or so drummers in the whole rock world, but he did have one slight weakness - his style tended to be a bit too anal at times with his precise, jazzy rhythms. Under Muir's tutelage, Bruford took his previous style and crossed it with healthy doses of spontaneous, instinctual power, and in the process made himself (in my mind) the king of all drummers. His drumming on this album is nothing short of spectacular, combining the best aspects of his Yes work with stretches that defy all possible expectations of quality.

This bizarre mix of players and ideology introduces itself to the world in a big way with the opening 13-minute title track (part one - part two closes out the album). The first 2:50 or so is devoted to a relatively quiet marimba improvisation, with bits of chimes here and there, and also with occasional bits of violin (I guess... it's hard to tell what exactly is what on this album) chiming in to increase the ominous effect. About halfway through, Bruford begins slowly riding his cymbals, gradually increasing their volume as the marimbas fade into the background, raising the apprehension and feeling of expectation of the listener to very high degree. Then the main piece begins - Cross begins playing an INCREDIBLY spooky violin line while Fripp plays some distorted notes here and there, then disappears for a couple of seconds, then builds it back up again, and then there's a MONSTROUS distorted heavy riff played a few times (with some soloing overdubbed). Then it's violin again, the distorted guitar notes come back with heavy bass in tow, the tension builds again, and then there's that riff again! Fripp throws in a very brief typical guitar line for him, and the band breaks into a weirdass jam, featuring Muir creating rhythmic woodblock noise in the midst of it all. This goes on for about a minute, the groove slows down, and then they break into another even wilder jam (app. 6:15-7:35). Fripp's guitar and Wetton's bass are most prominent here, but take special care to notice the absolutely INCREDIBLE drumming from Bruford here. The combination of power and speed here, oh man, this has few, if any, analogies in the rock world, I can tell you that.

Eventually, around 7:40, the jam ends, and the piece returns to Cross' hands. His playing over the next three or so minutes can't really be explained in terms of rock music, but ... have you ever heard the Camille Saint-Saens piece "Dance Macabre?" It has this whole creepy "dead people at dawn" atmosphere to it, and for whatever reason, I'm always reminded of it by Cross' playing here. But I digress. Eventually, this playing fades out, the initial violin lines pop back in (the ones before the "main theme" pop up), and we hear a bunch of really quiet voices mumbling things over the lines, before the violin and bass help fade things out. And that is how you build a brilliant introduction to an album.

The next three tracks aren't as brilliant, but part of the reason for that is that they have lyrics, and as such are closer to being "normal" songs than the exploratory opening track. Not that normalcy is inherently inferior to experimentation, of course - I usually consider prog tamed with "convention" to be superior, but let's face it, this incarnation (at this point) was better at experimentation than regular songwriting. Still, that hardly means these tracks are anywhere near bad. "Book of Saturday" is the weakest of the lot, a decent but thorougly unspectacular ballad with bits of weird guitar and violin sound to accompany an ok melody. "Exiles," on the other hand, is a major winner - the lyrics don't add much to the effort, but the vocal melody (and delivery) is terrific, and Cross' violin theme ads more than enough resonance to make up for the lyrical deficiencies. The song does have the drawback of a little too much meandering in the instrumental breaks, with Fripp messing with spacey feedback and ideas that have nothing to do with the rest of the song, but hey, at least he makes the song totally unique by doing so.

Flipping over to side two, we're greeted with a bizarre percussive rhythm, overlaid with all sorts of gritty guitar feedback and wordless syllabic vocals, serving as an introduction to "Easy Money." The song itself has a really cool vocal melody, with all sorts of neat percussion underneath that, and then it breaks into a really eerie, pretty quiet (yet suprisingly intense in its quietness, and I'd guess because of the quietness) jam, with Fripp leading the way with some absolutely terrific soloing. There's bits of mellotron here and there to augment it, but the emphasis is clearly on Fripp, until about halfway in, where Wetton becomes the highest instrument in the jam, not letting it down in the slightest. Not surprisingly, the song then closes out with another iteration of the verse melody, louder and more intense this time around, fading out with some VERY disturbing laughing sounds. It's hardly the best track on the album, but it's definitely a worthy inclusion.

So thus ends the sung portion of the album. But not the album itself! In fitting fashion, the band decided to close out the album with 14-and-a-half minutes of instrumentals, split over two tracks. The first, "The Talking Drum," is just about the textbook definition of how to properly work a lengthy crescendo. It starts off very, VERY quiet (with a buzzing fly sound, for some reason), with Muir randomly banging on bongos (I guess), until Wetton starts playing a simple bassline again and again about 1:40 in, with Bruford riding his snare in lockstep fashion. And then Cross pops up, working off a brilliant up-tempo (yet somber) theme and playing it every which way. Eventually Fripp joins the party, throwing in his own theme that he plays every which way. Slowly but surely, the intensity reaches an utterly feverish pitch, with all these seemingly disparate ideas working as one to drive the listener into a total frenzy. My brother and I once decided that, essentially, this is the music you'd hear on the elevator down to hell, and I still stand by that assessment.

Then out of nowhere, the piece grinds to a halt, there's a screech of guitar feedback, and we launch into "Larks' Tongues in Aspic 2," the best riff-rocker prog has ever seen. In some ways, I prefer later live versions to this studio original, but make no mistake, this original has an atmosphere and aspects untouched by later versions. Fripp manages to take his high quality riff and present it in (I count) three variations over seven minutes, with all sorts of cool interplay between guitar and bass and ESPECIALLY Cross' violin. The sound that Cross squeezes out of his instrument at the 4-minute mark of the song, over the heaviest riff, is just about the scariest noise I can imagine ever coming from a string instrument. I'll tell you what it sounds like to me - it sounds like a lark screaming (after all, the title is a recipe involving larks), and for whatever reason, the thought of a screaming bird just sends all sorts of horrid feelings through me. His soloing over the next minute or so shouldn't be forgotten either, though. In any case, after what seems like forever of building up the tension of the "softer" theme of the song, we hit the final climax, which has an apocalyptic sound not really matched elsewhere in music. It then seemingly fades out forever, and we end with a slow, slow slide until the last note of feedback disappears.

And there you are. If any significant general flaw can be expressed for the album, it's that it is most definitely music solely for ears and brain, and not at all for the heart. Even then, though, the band is excused by the fact that the music is so well constructed and planned out that, despite a dearth of actual heartfelt resonance, the band is able to simulate it pretty well by messing with your feelings of comfort and well-being. Point is, it's a friggin' great album, and one that NO prog fan worth a grain of salt can do without. Also, one last thing - do not try to judge the quality of this album after one or two listens. I tried to take that approach with it, and as a result I feared this album like nobody's business. Listen to it once, put it away for a while, listen again, put it away, etc until you start to get an idea of what's going on. One day, you'll find that the structured aspects of the album start to stand out from the chaos, and soon it will start growing on you until you wonder how you ever made it through life without it.

Review by thehallway
5 stars A compendium of controlled explosions, composed improvisation and cool metallic groove. The artwork hypnotised me years before I bought the album, and now that omniscient Sun has a soundtrack; it's fantastic.

'Larks Tongues in Aspic' has a very professional and refined sound, that of five virtuosos who are in complete control of their music, yet manage to simultaneously be crazy, maniacal and very fun. Fripp leads his army into a continuous flurry of experimentation, heavy riffing, meandering solos, and plenty of simple melodies too. The two (four?) part title track embodies the best of this recipe. 'Part One' is a linear journey of contrasting themes which vary in their complexity and volume (quite considerably). The guitar is very angular and distorted beyond belief, delivering either flurries of chromatics or power- chordal riffs that drive each section into the next. Cross' violin is either atmospheric or beautiful, Wetton's bass thick yet fluent, Bruford's drumming powerful and clever, and Muir's percussion essential to the piece, decorating every gap in the sound with interesting rhythms and sound effects. 'Part Two' delivers a condensed version of this in a more song-like and catchy way, making it less successful as a piece of music but enjoyable nonetheless, and precursive of the Red style.

The other tracks show different aspects of this impressive band. The all too short 'Book of Saturday' is cool and bluesy, showcasing some nice violin and Wetton's emotional voice (which people are divided on, but I like it). 'Exiles' would make a nice symphonic epic if it weren't literally interrupted by snippets of random dissonant wind, although it kind of doesn't fit with the album's style anyway. 'Easy Money' on the other hand, is the pinnacle of the blues-rock style that increased in quality with previous songs such as 'Ladies of the Road'; its very cool and great to listen to, with a nice length and some moments of suspense. And as an arabic-tinged crescendo instrumental, nothing surpasses the feel of 'The Talking Drum', the solos here are among the best of this line-up's era.

This album took surprisingly little time for me to get into, but then I knew what to expect. In 1973 it must have blown people's minds. The first track remains a truly intense musical experience every time it comes around again, and there are no other compositions like it. Crimso's second "debut" is as shockingly brilliant as the first, and much better on top of that. Chemistry is the keyword here.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars If you only buy one King Crimson studio album, make it this one. Here Fripp re-invents the group(for the first time) and creates music superior to anything the band had done previously. Being the only original member he is joined here by ex-Yes drummer Bruford, ex-Family bassist/vocalist Wetton and newcomers violinist/keyboardist Cross and percussionist/weirdo Muir. Ex-Supertramp member Richard Palmer-James now writes the lyrics, replacing Pete Sinfield. At this point Fripp might as well have retired the 'King Crimson' name and called this group something else.

This is, to my ears, the best sounding of all Crimson's studio albums. This sounds better than DSOTM. I love that album and Parsons work on it is terrific. But this sounds better. It is better recorded/mixed/engineered than DSOTM is. LTIA has one of the best mixes from the mid-70s of any rock album. (I know Steven Wilson thinks he could improve the original mix but he's going to fail). This has more sound effects than any other Crimson album. They only compliment the music, never becoming a distraction. I just love the part in "Easy Money" where you hear a zipper sound and then somebody goes, "Mmm, my-my". Hilarious! That's just brilliant, I wish this band had more moments like that. The sadistic laughing at the end of the song is just wicked cool.

That song is segued, via wind noises, into the instrumental "The Talking Drum". Which is really just one big crescendo leading up to the album's highlight LTIA pt. 2. On it's own it just sounds like a jam, but in the context of the album it works great. The lyrics here are not as poetic as Sinfield's but they work in the own weird way. Wetton did better singing with UK and Asia. His vocals here are not bad and are adequate for the music. He rarely played better bass though. You will hear some of the best wah-bass this side of Bootsy Collins here. For the longest time I thought his bass at the end LTIA pt. 1 was a synth!

This is the only studio album to feature Jamie Muir. After Crimson, he joined a Buddhist monastary. Here he plays all sorts of percussive things like chains and whatever that instrument is at the beginning of the album. Some kind of African xylophone it sounds like. This guy *influenced* Bill Bruford. How the hell do you influence Bruford? I thought the world's greatest scientists got together and concluded that Bruford could only influence other drummers, none could influence him. Speaking of B-boy, his drumming here is fantastic. Better than anything he did with Yes. I like the part in LTIA pt. 2 where he plays a straight 4/4 beat for about 5 seconds. It's like the musical equivalent of trying to drown someone under water but you let them up to breathe for 2 seconds and then try drowning them again.

The band has a fairly original sound here. Sometimes the guitar and violin playing is similar to the first two Mahavishnu Orchestra albums. The music is a blend of hard rock (almost metal), jazz-rock, symphonic rock and all out avant-rock. The weakest moment on the album is the quieter section in LTIA pt. 1 with the violin as the main instrument. Not bad but doesn't add anything. One of the strongest moments is the end of the same song. You get some nice electric violin with the sound of a Scottish play from the radio. When Bruford recorded his drums for this part he had to sync his drums with the talking; he had to stop his drumroll at the exact same time "dead!" was said. Then when get some beautiful wah- bass from Wetton while you are hearing different people talking at once. Perfect.

"Book Of Saturday" is a nice song with mostly just guitar, bass and vocals. There is some lovely violin and backwards guitar here too. "Easy Money" is one of the best songs with an almost spacey middle section. There isn't as much Mellotron here as on earlier albums. Somebody, I assume David Cross, plays piano on "Exiles", which has a great Fripp solo at the end. Crimson were always better live, but they never made a more consistent and better sounding album. A true classic of progressive rock. 5 stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Okay, here we go: time to write the review of the most highly-acclaimed album in Prog World that I can't seem to understand or appreciate, much less like. 1. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part One" (13:36) Okay, give a percussionist three-plus minutes and he's going to fill it for you. (I do love the use of the kalimba.) Then David Cross's Psycho-like staccato viola notes with Fripp's menacing guitar squeals! The band bursts into a well-known chord progression a couple times as Cross and Fripp's scary duets get scarier but then the music bursts forth into a couple minutes worth of whole-band jam-weaving. Aaron Copeland-like Cross and Fripp interlude in the ninth minute turns Vaughn Williams as David soars like a bird, soloing with a little support from Jamie Muir far below. Back to Copeland and Haydn before Cross and the band reignite the earlier theme in a subtler, milder form, for the final 90 seconds. Certainly interesting--and different! (26/30) 2. "Book Of Saturday (2:49) nice music ruined by John Wetton's pitchy singing. This pop song will never be a hit. (8.5/10) 3. "Exiles (7:40) Krautrock noises fill the first 90 seconds, then a cool, slow low end with cymbal play enters before the band just bursts into fully formed song. (Teo Macero-like editing, I presume.) Even asking John Wetton to stand 49 feet away from the microphone (as they obviously did here) won't solve the primary issue of his pitch-less singing voice. Otherwise, this is actually kind of a pretty, tender song. (12.5/15) 4. "Easy Money (7:54) cool march-like opening--sounds like the inspiration for all CLASH music. BEATLES vocal is weird way to start. Horrible vocal! The rest of the song just doesn't bring me in despite the nice drum and bass play. (12/15) 5. "The Talking Drum (7:26) exploring with the band exploring KLAUS SCHULZE/TANGERINE DREAM territory! Then hand drums join in. Who thinks Jamie Muir could keep up with Santana's percussionists? NOT ME!! Innocuous bass line paves the way for David Cross's viola. Weird to hear Bill Bruford playing such a straightforward drum beat. Fripp joins in, playing off of Cross's continued viola play. Obviously, these guys are not in the same league as the members of the band they're finding inspiration from, the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. Still, decent song. (13.25/15) 6. "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part Two (7:12) Taking off from the start with the famous Lark's Tongue chord progressions, then backing off at 0:45 to begin from one and build and add, over and over, moving back and forth from the opening theme to the second twice before going into an improv/solo section. I never noticed before how very true to classical music constructs this follows! I always liked this song in concert--as did the musicians, apparently, cuz they kept playing it over the course of 50 years. (13.25/15)

B/four stars; an interesting display of the continued evolution of one of prog's boldest experimenters, here incorporating many ideas from many musical genres and sub-genres. When I listen to this next to some of Miles's work or Mahavishnu, or even early Chicago and Soft Machine, I am not so very impressed.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Larks' Tongues In Aspic is one of the best and most unique albums in King Crimson's catalog. The sound of the title track is slightly avant-garde with touches of metal, hard rock, psychedelia and jazz. The title track is split into two parts on this album, and the band would add more parts to this piece on later releases in their career, but none of the later additions live up to the creativity of this original version. The remaining tracks are mostly hard rock and jazz influenced tracks that include vocals, unlike the title track. Overall, this is one of the most satisfying and intense listens in the King Crimson catalog and is very highly recommended.
Review by Anthony H.
5 stars King Crimson: Larks' Tongues in Aspic [1973]

Rating: 9/10

Larks' Tongues in Aspic is the first King Crimson album to feature the classic lineup of Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, and Cross (along with Muir on percussion). I consider this to be the band's most consistently excellent formation; some of Crimson's most adventurous, most innovative, and craziest music was created during this era. Larks' Tongues is a creative milestone for Fripp and company. The style of this album is eclectic and hard to describe; the music goes from ambient minimalism to heavy fusion to Mellotronic symphonics to experimental grooves to peusdo-metal. Larks' Tongues could not have been more different from its predecessor Islands, and is yet another testament of Fripp's ability to reinvent this band.

'Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 1' is probably the best instrumental King Crimson ever did. It begins with an extended ambient intro played on tuned percussion. Intense violin builds up to metalesque riffing, and heavy jazz-rock insanity is combined with chamber-rock ambience to create a stunningly memorable composition. 'Book of Saturday' is a short vocal/electric-guitar piece that adds some melody after the assault of the title track. 'Exiles' is the probably the most 'traditional' Crimson track here, with bolero drums and Mellotron passages. Cross's violin and Wetton's vocals stand out here. 'Easy Money' is another amazing song. I find this track hard to pin down; is it rock, jazz, blues, or just King Crimson? The wonderfully unorthodox guitar soloing and odd percussion prove it to be nothing but the latter. 'The Talking Drum' is one of my favorites. An absolutely infectious bass groove dominates this piece, with Cross's manic string soloing bringing the song together. 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. 2' is the heaviest track here, and is probably the most recognizable piece on the album. The song mostly builds upon a main theme by adding increasingly complex and multilayered instrumentation.

Larks' Tongues in Aspic is another King Crimson masterpiece. Creative songwriting and unparalleled musicianship are displayed here en masse. I would heartily recommend this album to any fan of progressive/experimental rock. I would especially point this album out to any open-minded music listener who is not yet familiar with avant-garde music; although not crushingly experimental, this album opened the doors to my appreciation for avant-rock. This is a prog classic that has never truly been replicated, and I don't think that it ever will be.

Review by Warthur
5 stars After the end of the Islands tour, Robert Fripp was once again left with the task of reconstructing King Crimson's lineup from scratch. However, rather than continue down the path of trying to produce a symphonic followup worthy of In the Court of the Crimson King, Fripp took the more daring approach: he wouldn't just create a new lineup, he'd break down and rebuild what it meant to be King Crimson from the ground up.

In the Court of the Crimson King kickstarted a new genre of progressive rock and was immediately embraced by the prog community, who soon took its lessons to heart. Larks' Tongues In Aspic comes up with its own genre yet again, and decades later the rest of the prog world still hasn't caught up to it, except for perhaps a few bands right on the cutting edge of Heavy Prog or math rock/post-rock. With angular rhythms, avant-garde percussion, Bill Bruford unleashed to try out jazzy chops that had been suppressed in Yes, John Wetton providing the best vocals and basswork on a King Crimson album since Greg Lake left, David Cross adding a plaintive and enigmatic violin to the proceedings, and Fripp laying down some of the angriest and heaviest riffs seen on a rock album to date, the album introduces the mid-1970s Crimson lineup (around the rock-solid core of Wetton, Fripp and Bruford) with a true tour de force.

Easily the best King Crimson album since their debut, this is the album which reinvented the band, and in doing so reinvented rock music altogether, and it still yields secrets with repeated listens to this day. If you only like symphonic prog and have no love for the heavier, more avant- garde, or even (dare I say it) RIO-ish end of prog, maybe this isn't for you, but otherwise if you like King Crimson, you need this album. Like In the Court of the Crimson King and Discipline, it's one of the key puzzle pieces that's essential to putting the picture together; if you don't taste the Aspic, you don't know King Crimson.

Review by rogerthat
4 stars Whether or not you consider Larks' Tongue in Aspic a masterpiece, it is arguably the album where King Crimson break away from the pack of the other well known prog rock acts. Having first demonstrated the scope for structure and extended sections in rock with their debut, King Crimson now seem to want to be liberated from structure. There is no neat sonata form in evidence anywhere on this album. The band seem to zealously avoid linearity of any kind. Unpredictability is the name of the game.

While the other biggies of prog - and by then a good deal bigger than King Crimson - had wonderful musicians indeed, Fripp & Co lay down a starkly different approach to performing the music on this album. The focus is not on any obvious demonstration of virtuosity. Instead, they take the jazz virtue of never playing a note the same way twice to heart. Whether the results of such an approach are blissful or messy probably depend on the listener's preferences and orientation. And it is an album that divides opinion. Depending on who you are, King Crimson's unorthodoxy could be the very thing that draws you to the album or repels you away from it.

As for me, one thing I personally detest about long jams or improvisations is the absence of a mood save that which is very much familiar in that genre of music. E.g A blues jam sounding very bluesy is not exactly what I am looking for. To me, any performance ought to serve a need, a goal and I get off very fast on generic showboating.

That is not a problem with LTIA. The two part title track is very atmospheric and the meandering nature of the music conceals a strong sense of purpose and resolution. The music does move towards a logical conclusion, just not in a particularly logical way. But I am too taken up with Bruford and Muir's creative percussion work to bother too much about that. The musicians create a very sensual experience, and I find it alluring for this reason. As I expressed above, King Crimson avoid obvious ways of interpreting their music. Where a Howe or Barre might play beautiful notes, Fripp finds several different ways to play the notes beautifully and that is a significant difference, at least for me. There are not very many prog rock bands who have consistently favoured this approach and among the big ones, the Wetton-King Crimson lineup is probably the only that adopted it. The result is a sound that is timeless and not dated in any way, much like the last work of this lineup, Red.

Having heaped superlatives on this album thus far, I am afraid it is time for me to nitpick. My problem is Book of Saturday and Exiles don't really fit into this package. The meandering, nomadic approach to music that works so well on the instrumental tracks hampers these vocal based tracks. Unlike Easy Money, they don't rock and don't have the almost frightening dynamic range of that track (just check out towards the end of Easy Money where Bruford explodes like a loud firecracker). It is down to Wetton to do justice to the melody. And the melody of Exile is quite beautiful but to me, he's just not up to it. While the band plays everything differently all the time, Wetton seems to sing everything the same way and that, frankly, makes it pretty hard for me to concentrate on the track even though I like the composition. I also feel that these tracks hark back to an earlier era of King Crimson and don't fit into the bold and abrasive approach of this lineup. Maybe Fripp could have somehow persuaded Lake to sing these two tracks instead?

For this reason, I am afraid I cannot hail this album as a masterpiece. But it is an amazing experience nevertheless. I have intentionally avoided trying to describe too much about these tracks for that would be to take away the element of surprise that pretty much makes this album. 4 stars.

Review by stefro
4 stars After the twin peaks of seminal post-psychedelic debut 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' and the heavy shreddery of 1974's bone-crunching 'Red', this 1973 effort - the Fripp-led outfit's fifth - remains arguably the next best slice of available Crimson. Suitably glazed in the arty and experimental packaging that came to characterise many of the group's early-seventies offerings, 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' finds the five-piece of Fripp(guitar), John Wetton(bass, vocals), David Cross(violin), Jamie Muir(percussion) and defecting Bill Bruford(drums) churning out an at times exquisite rendering of Fripp's now avant-prog soundscapes, the whole washed down with a heavy dose of experimental jazz-fusion that takes this King Crimson into as-of-yet uncharted waters. The opening title-track, rather surprisingly, proves the weak link, as eleven-plus minutes worth of gentle rattling, strange ghostly noises and occasional half-formed melodies drag by, though all four of the shorter tracks prove to be well worth the wait. 'Book Of Saturday' - short, sweet, maudlin - proves both utterly compelling and rather beautiful, Wetton's note-perfect vocals particularly fetching. 'Exiles', however, proves even more satisfying despite a warped and ominous beginning that harks back to the album's soggy introductory gambit. Again, a deceptively sweet-natured centre and Fripp's striking use of mellotron tone-and- colour make for another faux-medieval mini-epic of deceptive grandeur; Wetton, as ever, delivers faultlessly on both his counts. 'Easy Money' finds King Crimson doing their very own take on straight-up head-nodding rock - again excellent - though 'The Talking Drum' reverts back to pompous art-pop territory; interesting but flawed, it's almost a novelty, yet not quite. The second part of the title-track trumps the first - the snail-pacing of yore dissipates under a welter of powerful instrumental passages - and makes a suitably grand and quirky finale. Though it may have it's faults, this is progressive rock in the vein of a true original outfit, made in a way that drips with the Crimson statement-of-intent. Intricate, passionate, darkly-ambient and always biting away at the very edges of rock's limits, 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' is another fully-formed challenge of an album that positively glowers with musical innovation in a very different way from the avant-edged rock 'n' roll grade of the era. And that, it seems, is exactly the point. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2013
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars You know how some groups have that perfect album or that certain period of time when everything they do is perfect. King Crimson had a lot of those albums and periods. Their best work is more disbursed throughout their repertoire however. This album is one of their perfect ones. Words can't describe just how amazing it is. It was decades ahead of it's time. Listen to a lot of the post rock bands today and tell me that I'm wrong.

Larks Tongue Part One is the most following a classical music style than the other four (or five if you count "Level Five") in that there are string instruments and the ever amazing mellotron that balance out the heavy guitars that appear throughout, though not as much in abundance as the other parts. However, that doesn't diminish the quality and compositional finesse that are apparent in this track. Lovers of KCs heavier music might consider this one the least of their favorites of the entire suite because of the quiet parts throughout, but this one has it's share of tension building all throughout and in my opinion is just as great as the other parts. If anything, it's more original sounding than the others because of the variety of dynamics and instrumental leads throughout. Personally, I love all the parts, two of which are on this album and the other two are on later albums with Level Five also on a later album. This track is over 13 minutes and totally instrumental, but it is still over way too quickly.

The next track introduces John Wetton as lead singer and his voice fits so well with the music. Not the best vocalist out there, his voice can be too brash at times for some listeners but his voice works so well with this music because of it's dynamism. This track is quite short and mostly acoustical.

Nice bridge to the next track "Exiles" which clocks in at over 7 minutes. This one starts out sounding experimental but soon breaks out into a lovely interchange between acoustic and violin and drums and John's voice joins in the interchange. A pattern of freestyle sounding improve and tightly composed sections continue throughout and the combination is amazing. The dissonance here is understated never taking the song out too far into left field, but still there, and never drowning out the beautiful melodies that are evident in the sections of the song that are more tightly composed.

The next track "Easy Money" is more intense, but that is the feeling that remains throughout the rest of the album. It follows the same pattern as the previous track with tight sections and loosely composed sections. The difference here is this one is not as careful as the last, it's more humorous, louder and irreverent. The last section breaks the tight/loose pattern of the song and crescendos and levels off several times nicely to become more and more chaotic as it goes on. This is a very well developed track.

"The Talking Drum" is an instrumental which is an awesome study in building tension starting out pianissimo and constantly building with percussion over a driving bassline and a wandering violin. I love this! This one should get the blood moving and the heart pounding as you are anticipating where this whole exercise in tension is going. It builds in tension and in volume. Fripp's guitar soon starts to have it's say increasing tone, volume and more tension. The tension, chaos and craziness all culminates and explodes into a sudden frenzy that segues so beautifully into the heaviness of the guitar driven masterpiece known as "Lark's Tongue, Part 2"

Like Part One, we have a very dynamic instrumental piece driven by guitars and heavy bass and percussion. Nothing else was like this in it's day, but there is a lot out there nowdays that have been influenced by this music. Grunge and Post Rock roots are heavily embedded in this music.

Fortunately for all of us, KC would continue to explore this type of music throughout their albums. Amazing album. Influential? Absolutely! Essential? You better believe it! Enjoyable? Oh Yes! Everyone that appreciates rock should own and know this album. So hard to believe that it was released in 1973, except for a few minor passages, it does not sound dated as is the case for "In the Court of the Crimson King" does, even with it's own influence on earlier Progressive rock. If there is one band that you should listen to to understand where a lot of the current heavier Prog rock groups get their sound, this is the band to study. If you like this one by KC, you'll definitely want to listen to the albums "Red", "Discipline", and "Thrak" and there are plenty of tracks from their other albums that you will enjoy also, so all of their albums need to be explored.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After a string of 4 consecutive masterpieces, each with their own unique flavours and mood, some reinventing themselves completely from the last, King Crimson manages to do it again.

In 1973, prog went ham. Notable groups in the genre were putting out their most ambitious material, and King Crimson seemed to be following suit. This album, though, went just far enough that it was decades ahead of its time but somehow still retains an air of sensibility and control that makes it listenable today.

With a completely new lineup, including Yes drum virtuoso Bill Bruford, Fripp had assembled a brand new freak show flying circus of musical madmen and it proved to be one of the greatest decisions of his musical career. Gone are the woodwinds and extensive mellotron use of yore, and while I initially rejected this, the album's sound redeems itself with the addition of some real strings (David Cross on violin) and the eccentric percussion assortments of Jamie Muir.

On the surface, nothing about this album should work. It is incredibly experimental and by experimental I really mean to say the "high school chemistry teacher we all had that liked to blow up pumpkins in the hallway" type of experimental. Brutal, explosive, almost sadistic at times. But, through the genius of all those involved, it still maintains a surprising amount of listening enjoyment. Side one, although it sounds nothing like what King Crimson had done before, still offers some familiarity in its structure. "Larks' Tongues Pt. 1" offers the sort of occult-brewed jump scares and unrelenting tension that we got from "21st Century Schizoid Man", only with the dial cranked so much higher. "Book of Saturday" provides much-needed breathing room, a la "Cadence And Cascade". Then we're swept off our feet by the gorgeous "Exiles", where Cross' violin is brought to its full atmospheric effect and Robert Fripp contributes some of his finest soft guitar work. Side two offers a whole new variety of sounds, from the proto-metal "Easy Money" to the crescendo of "The Talking Drum" to the final coda of "Larks' Tongues Pt. 2", which is guaranteed to wake you up in the morning any day of the week

Ultimately, "Larks' Tongues" is a masterpiece of chaotic prog. If you're looking for some soft, melodic prog that holds your hand, pats you on the head and wipes your bum for you, then don't even think of putting this one on for a spin. But if you're looking for an album that will dominate you, perplex you, throw you in the dirt and bring you along for a ride you'll never forget, this is the album to look out for.

Review by jamesbaldwin
4 stars After "Islands", King Crimson have dissolved, and Robert Fripp, now the sole owner of the brand, rebuilds them starting from John Wetton, former Family, who provides bass and vocals, and replaces Pete Sinfield to the lyrics; Bill Bruford, virtuoso jazz-rock drummer who abandons Yes after the masterpiece "Close to the Edge" (and before the good but pretentious and pedantic "Tales From Topographic Oceans"); David Cross, violinist; Jamie Muir, drummer.

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic" starts with the song of the same name, Part I, a minisuite of 13 and a half minutes. It is an instrumental piece written by the whole group that constitutes the manifesto of a new conception of rock. After a minimalist ambient start, in fact, the abrasive guitar of Fripp, of which we had already had a taste on "Islands" (Sailor's Tale, The Letters, Ladies of the Road), is unleashed but here the sound is more metallic and it is followed by the percussive sound of the new rhythm section that appears mighty, geometric and twisted at the same time. It is a solid, oblique, paranoid sound, which has lost completely any romantic and liquid ambitions of jazz style. The "Lizard suite" is a thousand miles away. Cross's violin characterizes the second part of the song, more subtle and mellifluous. They are sound atmospheres of great charm, completely new to the music of the time. Masterpiece. Rating 8,5/9.

"Book Of Dreams", less than three minutes, has got the structure of a pop song, but the poor electric guitar-violin arrangement, without drums, makes it a melancholic performance focused on the scanned vocals of Wetton, which takes on the leader's garments, here very much his ease. Rating 6,5. The problems come with the next "Exiles", whose long cacophonic start is only a prelude to an epic ballad conducted by the violin and the drums. In the climax of the song, well done, the voice of Wetton proves completely inadequate to stay behind the music in the high notes, for the clear lack of vocal range and breath. Then the song proceeds with a relaxed atmosphere until the end. Rating 7,5/8.

The sequence of the first side follows the present pattern from the debut album: 1) Avant-garde rock song with great sonic impact 2) Melodic ballad 3) Mighty epic ballad. If we compare "In The Court Of..." with "Larks", we note that as far as the first piece is concerned (21st Century Schizoid Man versus Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part I), King Crimson show that they have evolved by changing sound but maintaining a very high sound quality; as regards the second and the third piece, "I Talk To The Wind" and "Epitaph" are much higher than "Book Of Dreams" and "Exiles", which however have the merit of keeping alive the new, unmistakable sound, and being melodically appreciable.

Side two opens with "Easy Money": as in "Ladies Of the Road", here KC let out their ironic part, the menacing sound has that grotesque implications rather than dramatic. It is a good song, perhaps the best after the initial suite, the last song where Wetton sings. But the track is only a frame for a guitar jam and percussion that takes up most of the piece: it does not happen often to listen to a solo Fripp. Rating 8. Starting from this record, the vocal part will remain, in the history of KC, increasingly minority (and weak) compared to the instrumental one. The song ends with laughter, reminiscent of those of Gordon Haskell after "Indoor Games" (in Lizard). From here on, the best inspired part of the album ends, which proceeds towards the final, dilating beyond a measure some rhythmic ideas and taking up the initial mini-suite.

The bass by Wetton is the main character of the tribal "The Talking Drum" (rating 7.5), which consists of a rhythmic progression then marked by the violin, and also by the guitar and the drums. It is a paroxysmal progression, almost an accelerated bolero, ending in some distressing screams that introduce "Larks' Tongue in Aspic, Part 2". In the passage between the two songs a remarkable pathos is reached. The Reprise is more rhythmic, supported than the initial minusuite, however it is also quite repetitive and does not add much respect to Part I. Personally, I am very demanding with the reprises of another piece: in my opinion they have to make essential contributions to the first piece, new atmospheres, variations on the theme (as the Beatles did with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Reprise), because otherwise they seem to be exercises of style and a filler to reach the length of the album. In this Reprise, very obsessive, the novelty is the almost dissonant sound of the violin, however, on the whole it can not be said that it is a piece that has its own musical autonomy compared to the initial minisuite. Rating 7,5/8.

Overall, "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is a revolutionary album for the new sound that requires the progressive scene, but in terms of quality of the pieces, after the sensational start, it doesn't maintain the same, high level of the initial minuisuite, and It holds on a limited content of sound and melodic ideas, however unexceptionably developed. It is ultimately an almost masterpiece, like Lizard. In fact, in my personal ranking, this LP can be compared to Lizard, another album characterized by a revolutionary sound expressed especially in the suite, but that fails to maintain, at the level of compositions, the excellent quality standard of the sound and the conception of album, resulting in an almost masterpiece.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,75. Rating 8,5/9. Four (and a half) stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars There are many existential quandaries that the universe teases us with on a daily basis so it can be quite unnerving when your favorite musical artists create some more for you! I speak of KING CRIMSON's lauded fifth album LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC. If you were like me upon first exposure to this eccentric and innovative album then you were wondering what in the world is ASPIC? Well, culinary types may know the answer but in reality the word has two actual meanings. Firstly it is a clear jelly typically made of stock and gelatin and used as a glaze or garnish or to make a mold of meat, fish, or vegetables and secondly we have to put on our botanist's cap to realize that is either of two species of lavender, Lavandula spica or L. latifolia, that yield an oil used in perfumery. So which of these does this bizarre title refer to? I am eternally striving to figure this out but i digress before i even start.

KING CRIMSON is one of the most revered bands in all of the progressive rock playbook and one of the reasons why this band could do no wrong for many during the first leg of this band's career is that Robert Fripp and whomever he was collaborating with would consistently crank out one album after another with little or nothing in common. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the lineup changed often and as a result pretty much every album in the beginning featured a completely different musical cast and Fripp as the de facto band leader wisely molded any particular album's thematic underpinnings to the strengths of whichever cast members were in the KING CRIMSON show at any given moment. While members came and went since the debut "In The Court Of The Crimson King," the band completely melted down after 1971's "Islands" leaving only Fripp to carry on the name and create a new band from scratch.

Fripp was a magnet for talent and had no problem recruiting a new batch of veritable prog stalwarts eager to play with the already legendary band that single handedly launched the big bang of prog in 1969 with the lauded debut. The lineup that appeared on LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC would result in being a wise choice as it would prove to be a fairly stable lineup until the band's first dissolution after "Red." Bassist / vocalist John Wetton joined the team after having previously played with Mogul Thrash, Gordon Haskell and Family. Violinist David Cross made his debut here and fresh out of Yes, drummer Bill Buford found a new home in one of prog's early powerhouses adding his extraordinary drumming talents and taking KC into new music territories. Also joining ranks was percussionist Jamie Muir of The Music Improvisation Company projects (with Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and Hugh Davies) who only played on this one album. While the only one of the team who didn't continue on with KC, it was his interest becoming a Bhuddist monk that led him to leave the music world for a monastic lifestyle.

For once Fripp took a little more time to craft the next phase of the KC's career. After stuffing four extremely demanding albums into a three year timespan, Fripp was more than ready to take a deep breath and plan the next move carefully. The new incarnation of the band crafted yet another masterful album that got back to the band's progressive rock origin's after "Islands" ethereal space music. LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC may have been more rockin' but still as eclectic as ever with lots of inspiration of both Easter and Western European classical traditions, jazz and free improvisation. LARKS' TONGUE is also unique in that it has two full time percussionists with Bill Bruford handling drums, timbales, cowbells and wood blocks and Muir adding different styles of ethnic percussion and a wealth of assorted items not normally associated with music. The result was an interesting mix of more accessible elements mixed with avant-garde strangeness much like the debut album.

The original release of LARKS' TONGUE IN ASPIC consisted of only six tracks with the opener and closer creating a two part suite of sorts that was interrupted by the creamy filling in between. The two title tracks would ultimately continue on to other albums. "Part III" would emerge on "Three of a Perfect Pair" and "Part IV" on "The Construction of Light." "Part I," the longest track on the album is the most intense as well as it starts with a series of metallic clangs and what sounds like those wind chimes before the track shifts into a series of varied passages that showcase Robert Fripp's angular guitar antics along with David Cross's virtuosic violin playing. While the many shades of percussion are many, the driving force of both parts is clearly the heavy metal guitar riffing that provides a groove to latch onto before Fripp dives headfirst into the world of avant-prog weirdness. Another thing i have noticed about the LARKS' suites is how the main percussive drive seems to have inspired the modern day drumming style of sludge metal with its sparse percussive bombast that punctuates certain rhythmic timings.

The mid-section is just as varied as the title track suites themselves. Of the four tracks, John Wetton provides vocals on "Book of Saturday," "Exiles" and "Easy Money." The first track which is perhaps the most accessible track with an easy to follow vocal melody backed up by jazzy psychedelic meandering but obviously crafted into some sort of avant-groove. "Exiles" while starting out in the clouds and venturing through murky atmospheric turbulence ultimately lands and creates another vocal led number that alternates with the orchestrated space effects. In some ways, this track is the only track that resembles what appeared on the preceding "Islands." The track "Easy Money" bursts out some of the best guitar tones in the entire KC canon with grungy hisses emerging in fully distorted power chords while Wetton does some sort of vocal dance around the pounding bass and heavy percussive drive. The track which is about the antics of a snake oil salesman finds a way to incorporate a funky rock beat within a greater jazzified complexity with somewhat lighthearted lyrics that keep the album from drowning in darkness. In all honesty, the vocal tracks have always proved less compelling but add the human touches to keep this album from drifting out into space.

My favorite track has to be the excellently packaged "The Talking Drum" which masterfully weaves together tribal percussion with Eastern violins and a mean dirty avant-counterpoint of the guitar that dances around the dominant groove which hypnotically ratchets up the tension with a frenzy of sounds growing ever louder until the track merges with the second LARKS' TONGUE suite that takes the album out with a bombastic metal guitar, screeching violin and incessantly caffeinated percussion that climaxes in a purely cacophonous din. Wow. What did i just hear? This album is not the easiest listen for sure. In fact it's taken a long time for me to appreciate it. While some tracks stood out at first, others took their sweet time gestating in my soul but after a ridiculous number of listens, the complexities of KC started to settle and make themselves at home in the musical rolodex in my mind. This is a very weird and charming album to say the least. Inspirational for jazz, metal, prog and the avant-garde noise rock bands to come. Fripp had already shown his true genius at this stage but on LARKS' TONGUES IN ASPIC he clearly showed that there were no limits in its sheer magnanimous nature. Jelly or lavender? I still don't know. Knowing Fripp and his KC project, it will remain an eternal mystery just like how this album came to be. Maybe the LARKS know.

Review by Wicket
4 stars "Larks Tongues In Aspic" begins probably the most highlighted phase of King Crimson's career, the "free improvisation" period, with Yes drummer Bill Bruford leaving commercialism for a darker sound, percussionist Jamie Muir, bassist and singer John Wetton and keyboardist and violinist David Cross. It marked a big change, not just in group formation, but also writing and composition in general.

Gone was Peter Sinfield and his softer, melodic compositions and thought out lyrical writing. In was Wetton's friend Richard Palmer-James, whose sole purpose was lyric writing. The fancy production and synths was made way for more raw instrumentalism.

Part one of the title track emphasizes that in spades. After a meditative, almost gamelan-esque intro (probably to mock Sinfield), the track lunges forward with frantic Fripp riffs, manic drums and toys and constant time shifts, before the meditative violin and atmospheric sounds close out the track. Each of these sections are a good few minutes long, so they have time to develop and run their course before it transitions into a sharper texture. Fripp's experience with past records has codified and produced a sharper and more cohesive sound.

"Book of Saturday" provides the token 'short track' role, with some lyrics, some violin and some guitar noodling and not much beyond that. And yet, it says a whole lot more, because it sounds more Sinfield-ian in sound, and yet because its Fripp's writing and composition, it's ok. It also most likely grew on him as well, that atmospheric style of music. It even continues in Exiles, which almost hearkens back to "Epitaph" from "Crimson King", just with a bit less pomp and circumstance. It's more restrained, softer, yes, but more cohesive, like it feels like one song, and not two mashed together on one track.

"Easy Money" has a bit of a Pink Floyd feel going. Once again, it starts off soft like most of the songs on the album, but halfway through the band starts to come alive, the instrumentalism becomes more defined, and Wetton does channel his inner David Gilmour towards the end. Which is good, since the "The Talking Drum" features instrumental prowess in spades, as well as the closing Part 2 of the title track. The whole album, especially these last few tracks, feature Muir in phenomenal ways. His avant-garde style of percussion breathes a new life into songs that otherwise would've been boring (I long to see more drummers use bicycles and toys as part of their drum kit). Sadly, he underwent some sort of spiritual crisis and became a monk afterwards, but then again, this genre wasn't for the faint of heart.

And it still isn't. Musically, this is one of Crimson's most instrumentally complex albums to date. Less songwriting and more composing, it's a musical balancing act combining the remains of Sinfield's softer transitions with Fripp's loud, gung-ho playing style, and while the jazz-bebop tendencies are surprisingly reduced on this album, it's still a raucous ride to the very end. A gem of the Crimson catalog.

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 321

"Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is the fifth studio album of King Crimson and was released in 1973. The previous King Crimson's line up had broke completely up after the release of their horrible live album "Earthbound", an album already reviewd by me on Progarchives, and Fripp was left completely on his own. He used some time to gather together a new line up that included Bill Bruford, John Wetton and David Cross. The first version of this line up has also included Jamie Muir on several percussions. The new King Crimson played progressive rock of a kind and in a way that no other band had done before them. Their new style was often based in very heavy and loud riffs built around raw and freaked out improvisations, and sounded very refreshing. So, this new incarnation of the band is also a key album in the band's evolution, drawing on Eastern European classical music and European free improvisation, as central influences.

The line up of this album is Robert Fripp (guitars, mellotron, electric piano and devices), John Wetton (lead vocals, bass and acoustic piano), Bill Bruford (drums), David Cross (violin, viola, mellotron, flute and electric piano), James Muir (percussion) and Richard Palmer-James (lyrics).

The album has six tracks. The first track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir is the first part of a multi-part epic song released over the course of three studio albums of the group. The part one and the part two are on this fifth studio album, the part three is on their tenth studio album "Three Of A Perfect Pair" and the part fourth is on their thirteenth studio album "The Construkction Of Light". "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One" is the longest part of the song and is one of the most experimental of King Crimson's career up until that time. It begins with a long percussion introduction before entering a hard rock section introduced by a slowly violin that becoming more prominent until the end of the song, with a dramatic final. We may say this is really and totally an experimental eclectic track which is clearly influenced by jazz, classical, heavy and Eastern music. This is probably the best experimental song in their career and is absolutely brilliant. The second track "Book Of Saturday" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Palmer-James is the shortest song on the album. It's the song where John Wetton makes his debut as a singer on the band. It's a very simple, calm and nice song with which we can relax, very well sung, but there is no longer anything remarkable on this song to talk about. The third track "Exiles" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp and Palmer-James is one of the highest points of this album. It has a very delicate and beautiful melody with the powerful use of the mellotron that reminds me strongly their second studio album "In The Wake Of Poseidon". This is a real must for those who like King Crimson's melodic side. The fourth track "Easy Money" written by Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Palmer- James, objectively speaking, isn't as good as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Exiles". Apparently the song turns up very strange but gradually it grows up and becomes on a very interesting, nice and curious piece. It's a very good song, but sincerely, it isn't at the same level of the other two songs mentioned by me before. The fifth track "The Talking Drum" written by David Cross, Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Bill Bruford and Jamie Muir is, in my humble opinion, better than the previous, but, nevertheless, I think it isn't also as good as "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" and "Exiles". It's, without any doubt, a very good King Crimson's instrumental song, but sincerely, it hasn't on me the same emotional effect as the other two songs previously mentioned by me have. The sixth and last track "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part Two" written by Robert Fripp is the second part of the epic and is also the second shortest part and the most familiar of all. It segues perfectly out of the previous song "The Talking Drum" and was usually performed directly after it. This is another one highest point of this album. It has an absolutely amazing guitar performance of Robert Fripp and is also where all band's members work together making of this song a very cohesive effort. It's really hard to believe how incredible this song is and how it's so perfect, to close this great album.

Conclusion: Despite "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is, in my opinion, one of the best King Crimson's studio albums, it isn't a true masterpiece as "In The Court Of The Crimson King" and "Red" are. Why? Because it has two songs, "The Talking Drum" and especially "Easy Money", with less quality, in relation to the rest of the album. Still, this is a great album with a fantastic line up of musicians, one of my favourites together with the line up of their debut studio album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", and it has also some of the best musical moments composed and performed by the group in their long career. Everything sounds great. Every instrument is being heard. It's not like some other artists around. The guitar must be the only thing you hear in the whole song. No, Fripp is more of a composer than a guitarist. Besides, despite some lower points, "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" is an album amazingly performed by these musicians.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
5 stars Masterpiece is a word that is perfectly sufficient to describe the hectic sonic Abaddon separated into six compositions that leave you sweaty, excited, and severely bewildered, right after finishing the last notes of the recording. Recorded in early 1973 and released in March, 'Larks Tongues in Aspic' is an album that crushes down all classifications and tags.

Right before this, King Crimson had released the more jazzy, romantic, and even a bit shy album 'Islands' but a musical incompatibility between the Crimson king himself, and the rest of the band members resulted in the departure of Mel Collins, Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace, in addition to the parting of the ways of the band and Peter Sinfield, just to be replaced by an entirely new line-up that was supposed to pursue an entirely different musical direction, and so it did. John Wetton on bass and vocals, Bill Bruford from Yes on drums, David Cross on violin (and viola), replacing the role of the wind instrument, and Jamie Muir, a free-improvising percussionist who was an underground legend at the time.

This line-up had the task to create compositions based on free improvisation while drawing influences on Eastern European classical music, most likely sparked by Robert Fripp's interest in the music of Béla Bartók. This was made possible heavily because of the presence of the very interesting figure of Jamie Muir in the band - his rig, often resembling a junkyard, featured bells, shakers, rattles, chains, and all sorts of random drums and found objects which could, of course, only add a unique element to the music.

The title track, or rather its two separated parts that bookmark the album are staples in King Crimson's catalogue, the first of which is entirely a band effort. 'Book of Saturday' and 'Exiles' are melancholic and somewhat gloomy, 'Easy Money' is a rocking, jazzing, throbbing masterpiece, and 'The Talking Drum' is pure cathartic chaos.

Pulsating, utterly full of suspense, dramatic, and unthought-of, yet invigorating and relieving in a strange and hard to describe way, this album has to be absorbed to be understood (well, partly understood, at least). An album that does not necessarily make sense, while it gives off a strong sense of inseparable wholeness; a record that will shock you, excite you, scare you, and finally perplex you, 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic' will also inspire you and it will demand your attention throughout every single second, just to give you the final blissful feeling of completion and nervous expectation!

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars Robert Fripp's ability to incorporate new musicians and yet always sound like King Crimson is significant to say the least. On the other hand, even without elements so present in previous works, such as Mel Collins' saxophone on "Island", the feeling is that the absences are not missed. Everything changes to remain the same seems to be the motto, and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic", the band's celebrated fifth album, confirms this, with a forcefulness that comes close to the brilliance of the debut "In the Court of the Crimson King".

The novel sounds of the kalimba, African-rooted percussion played by newcomer Jamie Muir, Fripp's distorted and pioneering metal guitars, the haemorrhagic drumming of ex-Yes drummer Bill Bruford, and the debut violin of David Cross, come together at the very beginning of the album, in the extensive "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part One" to structure a proposal that knows no labels and constantly redesigns its own musical cosmos, where there is room for the also recently incorporated John Wetton to deploy his melancholic voice in affable melodies, as in the brief and arpeggiated "Book of Saturday", or in the tenebrous and at the same time beautiful "Exiles", one of the album's great moments.

And as experimentation was always the fuel that stoked the fire of motivation in the Brits (rather in Fripp and his circumstantial band mates.... ), both the raspy "Easy Money" and its strange percussive sonorities along with Fripp's overlapping guitar solo in a weary gait, and the intriguing "The Talking Drum", a title taken from another African percussion simulating the sound of vocal strings and featuring Wetton's persistent bass and an instrumental base crackled by Cross's arabesque violin, are the prelude to the screeching "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two", with Fripp very active again on guitars and in conjunction with the whole band, bringing the album to a resounding conclusion.


4/4.5 stars

Latest members reviews

5 stars The result of this new quintet lineup was 1973's Larks' Tongues in Aspic. It is a harsh, austere record with no shortage of jazz and avant-garde influences. It's also the band's best album, for my money.  There's also an argument to be made for this being the first progressive metal record. Progr ... (read more)

Report this review (#3037487) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Monday, April 15, 2024 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 8/10 Sue me, I'm not a huge 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic' fan. I know, it's a good album, and I agree, it's a good album. It just doesn't click like 'In The Court of the Crimson King' or 'Red' did for me. The title tracks are great, very metal. 'Book of Saturday' is fine, good introduction to a new ... (read more)

Report this review (#2923595) | Posted by Frets N Worries | Wednesday, May 10, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #84! At first I could not stand King Crimson's 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic' at first listen, but all it needed was two for me to love it. Part one of the title track is full of surprises. Funky bass, mind-boggling percussion, and insane time signature changes are just a few of the elements ... (read more)

Report this review (#2905683) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Saturday, April 8, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Larks' Tounges In Aspic is the album that truly changed King Crimson. After their quartet of earlier albums, Crimson completely changed their sound from ambient symphonic prog to total eclectic prog metal, mixed in with European classical influences by adding bass guitarist and vocalist John Wetton, ... (read more)

Report this review (#2769883) | Posted by AJ Junior | Thursday, June 9, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Part of me wants to give this album the perfect score. All the tracks are amazing. But I can't ignore the fact I dislike Wetton's vocals. As much as I love his bass playing, the vocals put me off. Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Part One - This is a masterpiece. Unbelievable how everyone appears to fl ... (read more)

Report this review (#2655282) | Posted by WJA-K | Friday, December 24, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Since this album has so many reviews I'm just going to fire off my issues with this album. The talking drum and easy money. I've never been a fan of King Crimsons standard instrumentals which is something Talking Drum is. I find them boring, too much guitar ripping and devoid of anything memor ... (read more)

Report this review (#2522174) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Monday, March 8, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review #28 Absolutely amazing! King Crimson was totally reformed in 1973. Peter Sinfield left the band to join Premiata Forneria Marconi, Boz Burrell did the same to join Bad Company, and Mel Collins and Ian Wallace started to play as recording musicians with several artists; Fripp found himse ... (read more)

Report this review (#2477830) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Friday, November 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Alright, since I'm being bashed for my review, I'll go ahead and elaborate. Since I'm not a huge King Crimson fan, I decided to see if this album would change my mind. Unfortunately, I was mistaken and believe me I tried. I think that this would better suit someone who likes things with a bunch more ... (read more)

Report this review (#2377165) | Posted by Zoltanxvamos | Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After three good records, but which did not reach the level of the band's debut, King Crimson finally conceived a new masterpiece with Larks' Tongues in Aspic. This is possibly Crimson's most experimental album, largely due to the unpredictable percussionist Jamie Muir, but also to the new members ... (read more)

Report this review (#2201408) | Posted by kaiofelipe | Thursday, May 9, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 1973's Larks' Tongues in Aspic (which is, in fact, a fine English delicacy composed of said bird tongues suspended in a clear Jell-O like mold; those crafty Brits!), arguably King Crimson's finest hour of experimentation, albeit a slightly marred hour due to a few (minor) flaws. King Crimson ... (read more)

Report this review (#2138872) | Posted by Frenetic Zetetic | Saturday, February 23, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are many more better reviews than mine so I will refrain myself from repeating general observations. This album is one of the pinacles of progressive rock and therefore very influential to the bands from 70's until the 90's. The instrumentation is brilliant, experimental and full of energy a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2108723) | Posted by sgtpepper | Wednesday, December 19, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars REVIEW #6 - "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" by King Crimson (1973), 06/07/2018 King Crimson is by far the most illustrious band in progressive rock, having spearheaded the genre since arguably creating it in 1969. Headed by the eccentric guitarist Robert Fripp, the band has gone through numerous pers ... (read more)

Report this review (#1937710) | Posted by SonomaComa1999 | Thursday, June 7, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Highly Inventive. While Schizoid Man defined the originality of the first incarnation of Crimson, it is really only with this album that the new sound for which Crimson has since become known became fully established. While I love Sinfield's lyrics (and Greg Lake's singing) on the early albums, I ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696030) | Posted by Walkscore | Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Larks Tongues in Aspic is King Crimsons 5th studio album, and perhaps one of their crowning achievements. An album that only gets better with multiple listens, it only grows on me more and more every time I listen. The album begins with "Larks Tongues in Aspic Part 1" - A haunting, ever-changi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1594636) | Posted by Scorpius | Thursday, August 4, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My favourite KC - and certainly one of the greatest albums ever recorded! This album is insane. It takes many years to appreciate it fully, much like VDGG's music. The 6 songs included here all take their own form and please the listener with different emotions - whether it is chaos, confusion or ... (read more)

Report this review (#1565815) | Posted by RuntimeError | Monday, May 16, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Much has been said about this album. Let me add my five cents. Some 20 years ago I heard it for the first time and I didn't like it at all. Too experimental for my tastes it was, even depressing. Life kept on rolling. Time after time I was returning to LTIA and giving it a spin or two and then l ... (read more)

Report this review (#1470972) | Posted by Shad | Wednesday, September 30, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Listening to Robert Fripp speak, you can tell he has a calculating mind. It makes you wonder what's going on in his head when the band is on stage and wildly improvising for minutes at a time. I would guess that somehow he's got it all planned out. The parts he plays, even the parts the rest of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1336423) | Posted by Tombo2 | Friday, January 2, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This has to be the best ever prog record. It is experimental, avantgarde, visceral and it has a certain magic about it that starts on the mysterious cover... A funny thing about this album, personally for me was that back in 1992, when I dove into prog, departing from a Floyd lauchpad, via a Yes ... (read more)

Report this review (#1293727) | Posted by Mutante | Saturday, October 18, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is probably king crimson's weirdest album out yet. But weirdest doesn't also mean it's bad but definitely anyone who has listened to most of king crimson's album can agree that this is their most experimental album. And it also introduces a new set of band members playing for king crimson ... (read more)

Report this review (#1292638) | Posted by stefanblazanovic | Thursday, October 16, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This may very well be King Crimson's most experimental and consequently least accessible album. Being biased towards the more melodic side of prog, I find one hard to appreciate. Much of the experimental exuberance falls on flat ears, and mostly sounds like noisy drivel. Unfortunately, this is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1109240) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Tuesday, January 7, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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