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KING CRIMSON

Eclectic Prog • United Kingdom


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King Crimson biography
" When you want to hear where music is going in the future, you put on a King Crimson album."
- Bill Bruford, 1995

For all its break-ups, periods of non-existence and fluctuating methodology, King Crimson remains one of the interminably compelling bands playing within the domain of rock music to this day. Widely acknowledged as being the harbingers of the art-rock genre with their monumental 1969 album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", they paved the way for innovative art-rock/progressive rock bands such as Yes, ELP etc etc. in the early '70s as well as providing a stimulus for more recent neo-progressive bands like Tool and The Mars Volta through their post-progressive work in the early '80s and '90s. More of a frame of mind than a style, the music of King Crimson has constantly sought out sustenance through amalgamations of existing forms of music, veering away from any contemporary mould, nullifying any notions that it is necessary to adhere to proven formulas in order to create commercially feasible music.

From its formative years in Bournemouth, England in the late '60s, King Crimson's unwavering guiding light has constantly emanated from the abstruse intellect of guitarist Robert Fripp (b. May 16, 1946). Although he maintains that he is not the band's leader per se, he attributes the band's enduring viability to the collective brilliance of its individual members even though it seems to disband and reform at the wave of his magic wand. Fripp began playing guitar at the age of eleven with 'Trad. Jazz' perfomer Acker Bilk providing him with early inspiration. By the age of 18, he was playing with a hotel band in his hometown of Bournemouth performing at bar-mitzvahs and weddings while developing his distinctive guitar style which incorporated many classical techniques. While other early influences included such diverse sources as Bartok, Debussy and Django Reinhardt, he was particularly drawn to the 1967 Beatles song "A Day In The Life" which, he claimed, affected him in similar ways as classical composers and it was around this time his designs for King Crimson began to take form. In early '67, after playing with other local pop outfits, he joined two brothers, Michael and Peter Giles on drums and bass/vocals respectively. By October 1967, having changed their name to Giles, Giles & Fripp, they found themselves in London where they recor...
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In the Court of the Crimson KingIn the Court of the Crimson King
Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.86
$6.59 (used)
Larks Tongues in Aspic - 30th Anniversary Edition RemasteredLarks Tongues in Aspic - 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.86
$6.66 (used)
Red 30th Anniversary Edition RemasteredRed 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.19
$7.18 (used)
DisciplineDiscipline
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.98
$10.91 (used)
Islands: 30th Anniversary EditionIslands: 30th Anniversary Edition
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.98
$7.98 (used)
Starless (Deluxe box set)Starless (Deluxe box set)
Box set · Limited Edition
Discipline Global Mobile 2014
Audio CD$225.98
Starless and Bible Black: 40th Anniversary SeriesStarless and Bible Black: 40th Anniversary Series
CD+DVD
Discipline Us 2011
DVD Audio$15.52
$22.53 (used)
Lizard: 30th Anniversary EditionLizard: 30th Anniversary Edition
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.15
$12.17 (used)
In the Wake of PoseidonIn the Wake of Poseidon
CD+DVD · Deluxe Edition · Extra tracks
Discipline 2010
Audio CD$15.26
$17.99 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
King Crimson / Elektrik JAPAN MINI LP CD NEW US $28.99 Buy It Now 40m 50s
King Crimson Starless And Bible Black Japan 1990 CD US $49.99 Buy It Now 51m
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King Crimson / Earthbound LIVE JAPAN MINI LP CD NEW US $27.99 Buy It Now 56m 35s
King Crimson - The Contrukction Of Light NEW CD US $11.92 Buy It Now 1h 28m
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4h 42m
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6h 4m
KING CRIMSON - Lizard LP Vinyl Record Album Polydor 230259 Robert Fripp - RARE!! US $35.00 Buy It Now 6h 44m
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KING CRIMSON -The Abbreviated King Crimson -Heartbeat, 21St Century Schizoid Man US $3.50 [0 bids]
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7h 11m
KING CRIMSON - The Compact King Crimson, 21st Century Schizoid Man US $6.00 [0 bids]
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7h 11m
KING CRIMSON -THRAK, Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream, VROOM VROOM US $8.00 [0 bids]
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7h 11m
KING CRIMSON -The ConstruKction of Light US $8.00 [1 bids]
7h 12m
KING CRIMSON -Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With US $5.00 [0 bids]
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7h 12m
King Crimson "Starless and Bible Black" Vinyl LP Atlantic Records 1974 US $20.00 Buy It Now 7h 42m
KING CRIMSON - ISLANDS 40th ANNIVERSARY SERIES JAPAN MINI LP CD BOX US $40.79 Buy It Now 8h 32m
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9h 11m
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King Crimson / In The Court Of Crimson King, Japan LP, Low Sale!!! US $29.99 [0 bids]
9h 27m
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The Great Deceiver by King Crimson, live 1973 -1974 (4 disc box set) US $54.50 Buy It Now 9h 42m
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KING CRIMSON - IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING 200GRAM SUPER-HEAVYWEIGHT VINYL US $26.10 Buy It Now 10h 58m
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11h 50m
King Crimson USA LP US $60.00 Buy It Now 12h 7m
KING CRIMSON IN THE COURT OF KING CRIMSON ATLANTIC SD 8245 US $6.99 [2 bids]
12h 17m
KING CRIMSON In The Court LP Textured Pink "i" label A2 B2 1st Press EX/EX RARE! US $408.11 [22 bids]
12h 23m
Adrian Belew King Crimson Atlantic Late Vinyl LP 1989 US $12.00 Buy It Now 12h 31m
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KING CRIMSON - USA: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION NEW CD US $21.28 Buy It Now 13h 23m
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Gordon Haskell (King Crimson) - How Wonderful You Are (2001 CD Single) US $0.99 Buy It Now 13h 47m
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13h 56m
King Crimson "The Construkction of Light" Japan CD obi PCCY-01455 1st Press rare US $29.99 Buy It Now 15h 18m
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KING CRIMSON THRAK CD *NEW* GOLD DISC PRESSING Ultra Rare Audiophile Gold Disc US $138.97 Buy It Now 16h
King Crimson , Audio CD, The Essential King Crimson - Frame By Frame US $60.08 Buy It Now 16h
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16h 35m
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Robert Fripp ?- Pleasures In Pieces UK orig' Lunar Tunes 2LPs 1978 King Crimson US $49.99 Buy It Now 17h 9m
King Crimson In The Court Of The Crimson King LP RARE PRESSING US $5.00 [1 bids]
17h 28m
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17h 47m
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18h 4m
In the Court of the Crimson King, King Crimson, New Original recording remastere US $15.26 Buy It Now 18h 37m
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KING CRIMSON - In The Court Of The Crimson King, NEW & SEALED 200gram ,lp album US $22.49 [2 bids]
19h 31m
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19h 50m
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19h 51m
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20h 41m
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21h 5m
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KING CRIMSON LIZARD JAPAN MINI LP HQ CD US $33.80 Buy It Now 21h 27m
KING CRIMSON In The Wake Of Poseidon JAPAN MINI LP HQ CD + DVD US $57.80 Buy It Now 21h 37m
KING CRIMSON STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK JAPAN MINI LP HQ CD US $33.80 Buy It Now 21h 39m
ORIG Caravan - Waterloo Lily LP Vinyl UK 1972 Deram King Crimson Archival MINT US $99.95 Buy It Now 22h 42m
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Gordon Haskell ( King Crimson ) - One Day Soon ( CD ) NEW / SEALED US $4.88 Buy It Now 1 day
KING CRIMSON IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON 1985 VINYL RECORD ALBUM EDITIONS EG EGKC 2 US $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
KING CRIMSON - THE DECEPTION OF THE THRUSH - NEW CD US $11.88 Buy It Now 1 day
KING CRIMSON - THE CONSTRUCKTION OF LIGHT 2004 JAPAN MINI LP CD US $32.63 Buy It Now 1 day
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KING CRIMSON-LIZARD-JAPAN ISSUE 200G VINYL +OBI J50 US $49.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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In The Court Of The Crimson King: 30th Anniversary Edition, King Crimson, Accept US $6.99 [1 bids]
1 day
King Crimson A young person's guide to King Crimson 1975 1st press Ex inc b'klet US $26.10 [0 bids]
1 day

More places to buy KING CRIMSON music online Buy KING CRIMSON & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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KING CRIMSON shows & tickets


  • King Crimson at Best Buy Theater, New York on 18 Sep 2014
  • King Crimson at Best Buy Theater, New York on 19 Sep 2014
  • An Evening with King Crimson on 19 Sep 2014
  • King Crimson at Best Buy Theater, New York on 20 Sep 2014
  • King Crimson at Best Buy Theater, New York on 21 Sep 2014
  • King Crimson at Vic Theatre, Chicago on 26 Sep 2014
  • King Crimson at Vic Theatre, Chicago on 27 Sep 2014
  • King Crimson at Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles on 30 Sep 2014
  • King Crimson at Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles on 1 Oct 2014
  • An Evening with King Crimson on 3 Oct 2014
  • An Evening with King Crimson on 4 Oct 2014
  • King Crimson at Moore Theatre, Seattle on 6 Oct 2014

KING CRIMSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KING CRIMSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.60 | 2929 ratings
In The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
3.79 | 1425 ratings
In The Wake Of Poseidon
1970
4.09 | 1443 ratings
Lizard
1970
3.78 | 1249 ratings
Islands
1971
4.39 | 1891 ratings
Larks' Tongues In Aspic
1973
3.89 | 1208 ratings
Starless And Bible Black
1974
4.52 | 2251 ratings
Red
1974
4.10 | 1291 ratings
Discipline
1981
2.97 | 775 ratings
Beat
1982
3.23 | 770 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair
1984
3.62 | 724 ratings
THRAK
1995
3.17 | 167 ratings
Space Groove (ProjeKct Two)
1998
3.09 | 541 ratings
The ConstruKction of Light
2000
3.47 | 148 ratings
Heaven and Earth (ProjeKct X)
2000
3.97 | 834 ratings
The Power To Believe
2003
3.62 | 370 ratings
A Scarcity of Miracles (a King Crimson Projekct by Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins)
2011

KING CRIMSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.46 | 293 ratings
Earthbound
1972
4.02 | 339 ratings
USA
1975
2.79 | 21 ratings
Strange Tales of the Sailors
1991
4.52 | 265 ratings
The Great Deceiver: Live 1973 - 1974
1992
3.68 | 129 ratings
B'Boom. Official bootleg - Live in Argentina
1995
2.58 | 154 ratings
THRaKaTTaK
1996
3.77 | 129 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes One & Two
1997
4.35 | 213 ratings
The Night Watch
1997
3.72 | 93 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes Three & Four
1997
4.42 | 222 ratings
Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984
1998
3.52 | 88 ratings
Heavy ConstruKction
2000
3.93 | 93 ratings
VROOOM VROOOM
2001
3.53 | 76 ratings
Level Five
2001
4.03 | 115 ratings
Ladies of the Road
2002
3.56 | 62 ratings
EleKtriK
2003
4.52 | 67 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson - Vol. 1. Live in Mainz, 1974 - Live in Asbury Park, 1974
2006
2.85 | 31 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson Vol.2
2007
3.73 | 38 ratings
The collectable King Crimson volume three
2008
3.37 | 24 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson, Volume 4
2009
3.62 | 29 ratings
The Collectable King Crimson: Vol. 5: Live In Japan, 1995
2010
3.38 | 10 ratings
Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct)
2014

KING CRIMSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.75 | 29 ratings
The Noise: Frejus
1984
4.41 | 121 ratings
Deja VROOM (DVD)
1999
3.67 | 103 ratings
Eyes Wide Open
2003
3.82 | 68 ratings
Neal and Jack and Me
2004
3.97 | 14 ratings
Inside King Crimson 1972-1975 An Independent Critical Review With David Cross
2005
3.02 | 37 ratings
Live In Japan 1995
2007
4.09 | 28 ratings
Live In Argentina 1994
2012

KING CRIMSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 78 ratings
The Young Persons Guide To King Crimson
1976
2.06 | 49 ratings
The Compact King Crimson
1986
3.61 | 42 ratings
The Essential King Crimson: Frame by Frame
1991
3.16 | 33 ratings
Sleepless: The Concise King Crimson
1993
2.89 | 18 ratings
Schizoid Man
1996
3.26 | 32 ratings
Deception of the Thrush: A Beginners Guide to ProjeKcts
1999
3.73 | 72 ratings
Cirkus - The Young Persons' Guide To King Crimson Live
1999
3.52 | 64 ratings
The ProjeKcts
1999
4.38 | 47 ratings
21st Century Guide: Volume One (1969-1974)
2004
3.47 | 30 ratings
The 21st Century Guide To King Crimson Volume Two: 1981-2003 (4CD Box Set)
2005
3.77 | 25 ratings
The Condensed 21st Century Guide 1969 - 2003
2006
3.17 | 12 ratings
King Crimson - 40th Anniversary Tour Box
2008
4.61 | 71 ratings
In the Court of the Crimson King, 40th Anniversary Edition (5CD's + DVD)
2009
3.45 | 14 ratings
Lark's Tongue In Aspic (the complete recordings)
2012
3.82 | 25 ratings
The Road to Red
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Elements Box Set Limited
2014

KING CRIMSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.30 | 47 ratings
The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
4.07 | 36 ratings
Cat Food
1970
3.68 | 19 ratings
The Night Watch
1974
3.54 | 32 ratings
Epitaph
1976
3.64 | 14 ratings
Discipline 12'' Sampler
1981
2.92 | 16 ratings
Matte Kudasai
1981
3.00 | 4 ratings
Thela Hun Ginjeet
1981
3.05 | 20 ratings
Heartbeat
1982
3.03 | 16 ratings
Sleepless
1984
2.00 | 14 ratings
The Abbreviated King Crimson: Heartbeat
1991
3.59 | 103 ratings
Vrooom
1994
3.63 | 16 ratings
Dinosaur
1995
2.95 | 19 ratings
Live at Jacksonville 1972
1998
3.17 | 16 ratings
Live at The Marquee 1969
1998
3.13 | 5 ratings
King Crimson - A Beginners' Guide To The King Crimson Collectors' Club
1999
3.77 | 20 ratings
The Beat Club, Bremen, 1972
1999
3.28 | 11 ratings
Live in San Francisco - The Roar of P4 (ProjeKct Four)
1999
4.47 | 17 ratings
On Broadway - Live in NYC 1995
1999
4.19 | 20 ratings
Live at Cap D'Agde 1982
1999
3.69 | 20 ratings
Live in Central Park, NYC, 1974
2000
2.57 | 14 ratings
Nashville Rehearsals, 1997
2000
2.47 | 12 ratings
Live at Moles Club, Bath, 1981
2000
4.11 | 26 ratings
Live at Summit Studios 1972
2000
3.16 | 20 ratings
The VROOOM Sessions 1994
2000
3.75 | 15 ratings
Live in Detroit, MI
2001
3.70 | 22 ratings
Live At Plymouth, May 1971
2001
3.94 | 24 ratings
Live in Mainz, Gemany 1974
2001
3.13 | 10 ratings
Live in Northampton, MA (ProjeKct Two)
2001
4.07 | 5 ratings
The Guide to Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Parts 1-4)
2001
3.18 | 17 ratings
Live at The Zoom Club
2002
3.38 | 67 ratings
Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With
2002
3.18 | 12 ratings
The Champaign-Urbana Sessions, 1983
2002
3.44 | 18 ratings
Hyde Park, London, 1969
2002
3.91 | 11 ratings
Live in Nashville, TN, 2001
2002
3.48 | 16 ratings
Live in Berkeley, CA 1982
2002
3.21 | 14 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct One - Jazz Cafe Suite, December 1 - 4, 1997
2003
3.71 | 17 ratings
Live in Guildford, 1972
2003
3.40 | 11 ratings
Live in Orlando, FL, 1972
2003
2.68 | 13 ratings
The Power To Believe Tour Box
2003
2.91 | 13 ratings
Live at Fillmore East, November 21 & 22, 1969
2003
3.95 | 11 ratings
King Crimson - CC - ProjeKct Three Live in Austin, TX , March 25, 1999
2004
3.94 | 13 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA , July 30, 1982
2004
2.60 | 11 ratings
Live in Brighton, October 16, 1971
2005
3.89 | 17 ratings
Live in Heidelberg, 1974
2005
3.63 | 14 ratings
Live in Warsaw, June 11, 2000
2005
3.69 | 13 ratings
Live at the Wiltern 1st July 1995
2006
3.90 | 10 ratings
Live in Munich
2006
3.08 | 3 ratings
ProjeKct Six - East Coast Live
2006
4.00 | 5 ratings
Projekct Two - CC- Live in Chicago, IL
2006
4.00 | 4 ratings
Projekct Three - CC - Live in Alexandria, VA, March 3, 2003
2007
3.70 | 10 ratings
Live in Denver, CO, March 13, 1972
2007
3.70 | 10 ratings
Live in Kassel, April 1, 1974
2008
4.20 | 5 ratings
Live at the Pier, NYC - August 2 , 1982
2008
4.00 | 6 ratings
Live in Philadelphia, PA, August 26, 1996
2008
3.79 | 10 ratings
Park West, Chicago, Illinois (August 7, 2008)
2008
3.56 | 9 ratings
Live in Boston, MA, March 27, 1972
2009
4.36 | 11 ratings
Live Zurich, Nov. 15, 1973
2009
3.79 | 10 ratings
Live In Milan June 20, 2003
2009
3.57 | 7 ratings
Live in Toronto, June 24, 1974
2011

KING CRIMSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Red by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.52 | 2251 ratings

BUY
Red
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by farmboy

5 stars The rules for a five-star review do not say "you are a fan of the band" or that "you are a fan of the album"...they say "essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music."

There is absolutely no question that this particular piece of art qualifies as a masterpiece of progressive rock music. I could go do track by track review of this disc but it really is not needed--if you like progressive rock at all you simply must hear this album.

This is heavier than a lot of progressive rock and could be grating to listeners that love the major key symphonic style music. That is not a reason to avoid checking this out...this, along with The Court Of The Crimson King, are essential albums to show what King Crimson was.

The title track is pretty much flawless as a progressive/rock/metal tour-de-force instrumental. Starless is one of the best songs to show how soloing doesn't have to be about note to be emotional--and it also features mellotrons, symphonic structures, odd times, and playing that has to be hear to be believed. And the rest of the album is pretty darn amazing as well (especially the drum/bass interplay on One Red Nightmare).

Get this album. You might not like it...and it could change your musical life. Either way, if you are looking at posts on this site you need to hear this one.

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 Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct) by KING CRIMSON album cover Live, 2014
3.38 | 10 ratings

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Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct)
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I was privileged to see the so-called Crimson ProjeKct in concert, before they adopted their current and more obvious composite moniker. At the time it was actually Tony Levin's STICK MEN supporting the ADRIAN BELEW POWER TRIO, with the two groups joining forces only during the extended 'Crimtastic Encore', quoting the breathless ad-work for the gig I attended, in October of 2011 (this set was recorded eighteen months later, and half a world away).

On paper the conglomerate band presented a lo-calorie update of the King Crimson "THRAK"-era double trio, combining two drummers (one acoustic, and the other Pat Mastelotto, plugged into his usual battery of digital traps and buttons); two bass players (assuming the Chapman Stick qualifies as a bass guitar); and two lead guitarists (neither one named Fripp). But in practice the ersatz ProjeKct was little more than a high-salary covers band, devoted exclusively to KC live repertoire from the '80s and '90s, right down to the expected fan-favorite encores of "Red" and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part II".

All good stuff, to long-standing Crimhead like myself. And yet there's lingering whiff of exploitation conflicting with the more adventurous KC "way of doing things" (in Mr. Fripp's oft-stated words). A cynic might even accuse the new band of cashing in on the Crimson King's name and reputation in order to attract more customers.

The original fractal ProjeKcts of the late 1990's were all about research and development, two objectives conspicuous by their absence in these recordings. Earlier Crimson gigs were notorious for sailing deep into uncharted waters, with the musicians daring the audience to follow. This new ProjeKct never takes the same risks, individually and/or collectively making no effort to adapt, interpret, or even remotely re-imagine the material.

But maybe that wasn't the point. Maybe, instead of thinking forward, the band was only configured to celebrate its legacy, while packing as little creative baggage as possible. Likeminded fans can certainly enjoy the album on the same, skin-deep level. But those of us with higher expectations for all things Crimson would rather see a group of this caliber stretching their musical tightrope a little higher off the ground.

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 Starless And Bible Black by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 1208 ratings

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Starless And Bible Black
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Crimson_King

3 stars I'll make this short & sweet, Only because "S&BB" is, yes, an indispensible addition to any Crimson fan's library.

However, There is a serious flaw contained within it that the original buyers of this album in March-April 1974 would never have been made aware of, and probably still aren't aware of to this day.......

The track "Starless and Bible Black", long known as an improvisational piece, was actually:

"edited due to the constraints of vinyl" (David Singleton's exact phrase)

Now, personally, I don't know what this means exactly,

EXCEPT for the fact that we as listeners are not hearing the COMPLETE track as it was performed by KC on November 23rd, 1973.

In other words, parts have been cut out presumably in order to "save space" for Fracture, which immediately follows the title track.

SOMEONE who was present at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, with a tape recorder, NEEDS to come forth and GIVE all of us RABID, frothing-at-the-mouth, King Crimson enthusiasts.

To this day, I ask........"WHY?.....Why did you do this to us?"

The improv sounds great on it's own, the way it was mixed/mastered onto the album, but.....

To KNOW (thank you very much D. Singleton) that the track lasted a few minutes longer than the released record portrays.....is.......simply.......Frustrating.

Otherwise, excellent album.

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 Islands by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.78 | 1249 ratings

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Islands
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by KingCrInuYasha

4 stars Another year, another line-up, another album, another style for Robert Fripp and King Crimson to tinker with.

After the Lizard lineup fizzled with the departure of Gordon Haskell and Andy McCulloch, Boz Burrell and Ian Wallace were brought in to fill in on bass/vocals and drums respectively. Burrell and Wallace aren't terrible by any means, but they're underused for the most part. Wallace's drumming is kind of standard (though from I've heard, his drumming on the band's live performances have a bit more punch), though I don't think an aggressive style would have fit on most of these tracks. The same can be said with Burrell's bass playing - as for his singing, he's a step up above Haskell and could easily pull off the old and new material when the band finally went back on the road.

For this album, Fripp decides to dial back on the weirdness the permeated Lizard and go for a calmer, lounge jazz type of sound, with Keith Tippet and his crew returning to contribute to the opening and closing tracks of the album. Not surprisingly, this type of direction would rub the wrong way with some listeners and critics, not to mention the band members themselves. Like Lizard, it's not an album that's praised among the critics I like to visit, but given my fondness for the album, it leaves me scratching my head on how this is considered another dud. Oh well.

The opening "Formentera Lady" effectively sets the mood for the album. I like the intro to this one, it sounds like something from the original Star Trek (1) and the song portion is quite good, with Tippet and Fripp delivering some tasty piano and acoustic guitar lines. For the second half, Fripp appears to have taken some inspiration from his production of Centipede's Septober Energy, incorporating bells, violins, random acoustic guitar, saxophone and vocalizations. Some say it drags, but I've heard worse in that department (including the aforementioned Septober Energy); at least the above elements keep things interesting. Sinfield's lyrics about a stroll on the island of Formentera are decent and Burrell singing is pretty nice.

After the final wails and chimes, the song then segues into the more energetic "Sailor's Tale". It's not as aggressive as most other Crim rockers, but at least the band successfully builds an aura of tension around it, particularly Mel Collins' saxophone freak out in the start and Fripp's guitar in the middle, where it punctuates the eerily quiet portion of the piece, like a bolt of lightning briefly turning night into day. The ending has the band abruptly returning to the main theme from the start and the band builds and builds, with Wallace's drumming becoming slightly more agitated, the humming of a synth (mellotron? VCS3? I'm not too sure) rapidly growing louder, like an oncoming storm threatening to overtake a ship (probably why the song is called "Sailor's Tale"). Just as the cacophony is about to overtake the listener, it stops and Fripp's guitar sends the whole thing into a free fall, ending with a distant, haunting synth rumble.

"The Letters" was based on the Court-era song "Drop In", and has the band going into some of neat beatnik jazz, going from quiet guitar into stomping blues as the piece progresses. The music is good, but I can't say the same for the lyrics, sounding like something you would read in a third rate romance novel. I wish Fripp had kept his original "Drop In" lyrics for this one, which would have fit the music much better.

The slightly misogynistic groupie tribute "Ladies Of The Road" opens the second side. (2) Burrell's voice is at his most aggressive and Collins and Fripp deliver some delightfully raunchy solos. Blues was never King Crimson's specialty, but when they dove into the genre, they've shown to be quite capable and this song is no exception. They even manage to throw in a little twist with the slightly carnival-esque bridge that sounds a bit like Queen.

In yet another curve ball, the next song, "Prelude: Song Of The Gulls", doesn't feature the main band at all, but a string quartet and Robert Miller on oboe during a classical rearrangement of the second part of Fripp's Giles, Giles & Fripp era composition "Suite No. 1". It's kind of weird that the rest of the main band didn't participate, but with Fripp, stuff like this is to be expected. At least he manages to successfully give the tune a new arrangement and fully flesh out the piece. The results are quite beautiful.

The somber mood continues on with the title track. I agree with John McFerrin's (aka Tarkus1980) view that this is an excellent pre-bedtime ballad, but my impression of "Islands" is somewhat darker and more depressing; whenever I listen to this one, I sometimes look at the album cover full of stars and feel how isolated we are and, given the vast distances, man will never travel to those little islands of light, at least nowhere near our lifetimes (not to mention the whole thing with the Sun expanding and frying the Earth into a crisp several billion years from now). If you're not interested in philosophizing, at least the music is nice, going from piano to harmonium to mellotron, while Burrell delicately delivers Sinfield's lyrics (probably the best on the album) of island metaphors. Chraig's horn is a nice touch, especially the triumphant solo at the end. It's a very beautiful way to close the album. Oh and there's a clip of Fripp giving the "Gulls" orchestra some instructions about a minute after the album proper ends.

Judging by my rating, I admit I'm probably being a little too enthusiastic about this one, but I can't rate this one lower than Court, especially with the whole "Moonchild" thing. On the other hand, I can see where some might have a problem with this. It's certainly the most low-key of Crimson's output, but at least it's not boring, at least to me.

Final rating: 4/5

Personal favorites: "Formentera Lady", "Sailor's Tale", "Ladies Of The Road", "Prelude: Song Of The Gulls", "Islands"

Personal dislikes: none

Notes:

1. A bit of Trekkie trivia: The nebula shown on the album cover is the same one shown in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Alternative Factor" whenever Lazarus has one of his freak outs.

2. On a personal note, I find it amusing that a lot of critics would disapprove of this song's lyrics, yet have no problems when The Rolling Stones do similar stuff on a similar level with their lyrics. Granted, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were better at writing about this type of subject, but I still find it funny.

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 Starless And Bible Black by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 1208 ratings

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Starless And Bible Black
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Unitron

5 stars King Crimson-Starless and Bible Black

Truly an underrated album, Starless and Bible Black has to be my favorite King Crimson album. This album shows King Crimson at one of their most experimental moments, even more so then 'Larks Tongues In Aspic' in my opinion.

The music follows most of what was explored on 'Aspic', in taking various percussion, heavy guitar, and Avant-garde compositions. There is a similar amount of classical instrumentation as in the previous album, and it still retains classical composition. The album begins with some shorter hard rocking tracks, 'The Great Deceiver' and 'Lament', the latter being my favorite of the two. 'The Great Deceiver' has a really catchy beginning but soon gets slower and really strong bass. 'Lament' starts out slow with traditional prog guitar work, but soon gets heavier with the drums and bass playing very well together. John Wetton's vocals are also very strong on this song.

The instrumentals on this album are among their best for me, with 'We'll Let You Know' being one of my favorite instrumentals of all time. The bass is at it's strongest in this song, with some very catchy bass/guitar riffs. Once the drums come in, the song really gets powerful. The classical-infused 'Trio' is very relaxing, and sort of gives you a nice change of pace temporarily. Of course, there is also the 11-minute masterpiece 'Fracture', with very menacing guitar throughout the song. At the end, however, driving guitar riffs come in with Bill Bruford really pounding on the drums. The classical instruments are a nice touch at the very end.

Overall, don't skip this album. It is just as essential as it's predecessor and successor. I highly recommend this album for any fan of classic prog rock, Avant-garde/experimental metal or proto-metal/hard rock.

Hope you found this review helpful

(Originally written on August 29th 2014 on MetalMusicArchives.com)

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 THRAK by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.62 | 724 ratings

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THRAK
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Blacksword
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I thought it about time I reviewed this album as I've been enjoying it a lot! This manifestation of King Crimson sounds very fresh and Thrak has barely aged since its release in 1995. This sounds like a young band, still progressing, learning, experimenting and trying something new. Thrak is a brash and heavy album. Fripps guitar sound is hard and grinding but not grungy and 'blurred' The album opens with VROOM a heavy instrumental , perhaps reminiscent of Red era KC in some ways, which slides perfectly into Coda Marine, which is mostly instrumental apart from some vaguely sinister hushed voices in the background competing with the wonderful Crimson chaos. Dinosaur is one of my favourite KC songs from any era. Another rocker with a fine vocal performance from Adrian Belew, where he muses on days gone by and mistakes he's made. Each chorus is 'screamed' with every increasing intensity "I'm a dinosaur, somebody is digging my bones!" The listener is given a short space to breath where the metal mayhem gives way to some softer sounds and mellotron strains before the final chorus. Other hi-lights for me include Walking on Air, a pleasant ballad presenting a well placed contrast to the albums overall general hard rock (but certainly progressive) feel. Bboom is a great and entertaining show off session for Mr Brufords talents, and People is very much a radio friendly offering with a catchy chorus, and some wonderful funky back beats and bass playing. Thrak is a fine collection of progressive rock songs, which worked at the time alongside all the mainstream music of the day and still works ? in some ways better ? today, and it certainly stands proud alongside the bands best KC albums from the 70's.

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 Heartbeat by KING CRIMSON album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
3.05 | 20 ratings

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Heartbeat
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I did not like the "Beat" album from King Crimson. In fact, I never was interested in listening again to this band after I bought that album. Some years later I watched on TV the video clip of a song (I even can`t remember the name of the song!) from their next album ("Three of a Perfect Pair") and I was finally convinced that this band with Adrian Belew did not sound as good as the very good old King Crimson from 1969-74. Adrian Belew`s King Crimson was a very different band, sounding more experimental and noisy, but not interesting for my taste.

Of all the songs from "Beat" I only liked two of them. One was "Heartbeat", a love song. More close to Pop Rock than to Prog Rock, with good lead vocals by Belew, and with "Two Hands" (the other song that I liked from that album) both are the most accessible songs from that album. Even if both songs were good, both songs did not sound for me as King Crimson`s songs, at least related to the old King Crimson. sound.

The "B" side, "Requiem", is maybe the song which I liked the less from that album. Noisy and "experimental" but not good for my taste.

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 In The Court Of The Crimson King by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.60 | 2929 ratings

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In The Court Of The Crimson King
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by thwok

5 stars Thank you to those who sent me messages about my recent King Crimson reviews. For some unknown reason, my new laptop isn't posting the correct star ratings; the ratings in the review texts are accurate. Thank you for taking the time.

In the Court of the Crimson King is widely considered to be the beginning of progressive rock. Does the fact that our favorite website includes Miles Davis, Meshuggah, and Tangerine Dream invalidate the claim that any one album could shoulder that claim? In the Court for short is, without a doubt, one of the most important records in the history of rock music. It's not my favorite album by King Crimson, my favorite band, but it gets 4 and 1/2 stars from me. I would be willing to round it up in deference to the opinions of others.

There are so many upsides here that I would use up a lot of ink trying to list them all. Therefore, I will just summarize. I really enjoy Ian MacDonald's contributions, and it's a shame that he didn't remain with the group for very long. Greg Lake is an excellent singer, more skilled than John Wetton. Am I in the majority here? Comparing King Crimson singers might make an interesting forum, now that I think about it. David Sinfield's lyrics, although they may be too English Lit for some tastes, do make sense. The same can't be said for a lot of King Crimson's later output.

I'll pick "21st Century Schizoid Man" as my favorite track for the present. I love the fact that even in the beginning, when KC were closest to symphonic prog, they could come up with something that's this metal. Genesis has never come close to rocking this hard. The only nit that I'm going to pick is that "Moonchild" is too meandering for my tastes. That's one minor complaint for In the Court of The Crimson King, a brilliant release.

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 Starless And Bible Black by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 1208 ratings

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Starless And Bible Black
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars Starless and Bible Black usually gets less love than it's neighbors, Lark's Tongues and Red. Although they're all brilliant - it's King Crimson - I prefer Starless and Bible Black to Lark's Tongues. The latter is a little TOO free-jazz for me; it's too unstructured. Starless and Bible Black finds a great balance of elements.

One of the reasons I love Starless so much is the way the songs are arranged. Whatever reason the band had for grouping the short songs on side one and the two long ones on side two, it works for me. It emphasizes the variety of material on the album. The aggressiveness of later albums is here in "The Great Deceiver" and "We'll Let You Know".

The symphonic influence is here in "Starless" and " Trio". It's a real shame that David Cross' string playing didn't continue as part of the band's sound. "We'll Let You Know" is as funky as you could ask for. "Trio" could be the most beautiful song King Crimson ever produced. It's hard to find things to criticize here; this whole album is better than 95% of what you're going to hear on rock music radio. "Starless and Bible Black" gets 4 1/2 stars.

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 Red by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.52 | 2251 ratings

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Red
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Kevman28

5 stars I have to admit (but without trying to sound ashamed about it) that my 'progression through music' did not result in my love of Prog until about 5-6 years ago. I am 36 now, so I missed living through the glory years, but benefit from being able to discover a pre-written library of greatness that is going through an exciting revival. I discovered Prog after around 16 years of being into various genres of metal (Goth/Industrial at the fore) and feeling like I needed something 'extra' in my music. Prog delivers that.

King Crimson's 'Red' was my introduction to Prog and this great band. I can honestly say that I love all era's of KC equally, and can't wait for the new album.

Red is quite simply an absolute gem. The title track is probably the heaviest thing I have ever heard with it's intensity (Please don't quote me on the likes of SYL / Morbid Angel etc - I am talking about an album from the 70's and a sound that echoes through bands like Al Jourgenson's 'Ministry' years later!), and those drums....... 'Awesome' does not even begin to describe - although 'Bruford' is a good starting point. The whole album is riddled with greatness and enviable quality.

This is a true 5* offering

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