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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$7.62
$6.18 (used)
Red 30th Anniversary Edition RemasteredRed 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$8.12
$6.89 (used)
Starless (Deluxe box set)Starless (Deluxe box set)
Box set · Limited Edition
Discipline Global Mobile 2014
Audio CD$225.98
Larks Tongues in Aspic - 30th Anniversary Edition RemasteredLarks Tongues in Aspic - 30th Anniversary Edition Remastered
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.62
$6.37 (used)
Elements of King Crimson -Tour BoxElements of King Crimson -Tour Box
Limited Edition
DGM 2014
Audio CD$27.98
DisciplineDiscipline
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.60
$9.81 (used)
Starless and Bible Black: 40th Anniversary SeriesStarless and Bible Black: 40th Anniversary Series
CD+DVD
Discipline Us 2011
DVD Audio$15.20
$19.98 (used)
In the Wake of Poseidon: 30th Anniversary EditionIn the Wake of Poseidon: 30th Anniversary Edition
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.62
$8.88 (used)
Three of a Perfect PairThree of a Perfect Pair
Extra tracks
Discipline Us 2006
Audio CD$7.62
$9.87 (used)
Lizard: 30th Anniversary EditionLizard: 30th Anniversary Edition
Discipline Us 2004
Audio CD$7.60
$5.70 (used)
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KING CRIMSON IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON - LP US $9.50 [0 bids]
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6h 31m
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7h 50m
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8h 18m
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KING CRIMSON IN THE COURT OF KING CRIMSON ORIGINAL LP 1969 US $159.99 Buy It Now 17h 14m
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17h 16m
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22h 13m
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22h 20m
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22h 23m
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22h 28m
Original 1975 Press~KING CRIMSON Person's Guide-2 LP+Book Prog Krautrock psych US $9.99 [0 bids]
22h 45m
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KING CRIMSON "EARTHBOUND", LP, 1972, RARE! US $35.99 Buy It Now 1 day
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1 day
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1 day
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KING CRIMSON shows & tickets


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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)

4.59 | 2963 ratings
In The Court Of The Crimson King
1969
3.79 | 1446 ratings
In The Wake Of Poseidon
1970
4.09 | 1461 ratings
Lizard
1970
3.78 | 1263 ratings
Islands
1971
4.40 | 1919 ratings
Larks' Tongues In Aspic
1973
3.89 | 1229 ratings
Starless And Bible Black
1974
4.52 | 2286 ratings
Red
1974
4.10 | 1307 ratings
Discipline
1981
2.97 | 787 ratings
Beat
1982
3.23 | 781 ratings
Three Of A Perfect Pair
1984
3.62 | 731 ratings
THRAK
1995
3.17 | 168 ratings
Space Groove (ProjeKct Two)
1998
3.09 | 546 ratings
The ConstruKction of Light
2000
3.50 | 141 ratings
Heaven and Earth (ProjeKct X)
2000
3.97 | 842 ratings
The Power To Believe
2003
3.61 | 375 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 | 299 ratings
Earthbound
1972
4.02 | 345 ratings
USA
1975
2.79 | 21 ratings
Strange Tales of the Sailors
1991
4.52 | 268 ratings
The Great Deceiver: Live 1973 - 1974
1992
3.72 | 126 ratings
B'Boom. Official bootleg - Live in Argentina
1995
2.58 | 154 ratings
THRaKaTTaK
1996
3.77 | 132 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes One & Two
1997
4.38 | 209 ratings
The Night Watch
1997
3.72 | 95 ratings
Epitaph, Volumes Three & Four
1997
4.45 | 218 ratings
Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984
1998
3.58 | 83 ratings
Heavy ConstruKction
2000
3.93 | 93 ratings
VROOOM VROOOM
2001
3.60 | 73 ratings
Level Five
2001
4.03 | 115 ratings
Ladies of the Road
2002
3.56 | 62 ratings
EleKtriK
2003
4.63 | 61 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
3.41 | 13 ratings
Live In Japan (The Crimson Projekct)
2014

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

3.75 | 29 ratings
The Noise: Frejus
1984
4.44 | 116 ratings
Deja VROOM (DVD)
1999
3.67 | 103 ratings
Eyes Wide Open
2003
3.88 | 62 ratings
Neal and Jack and Me
2004
3.88 | 15 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)

3.88 | 75 ratings
The Young Persons Guide To King Crimson
1976
2.07 | 50 ratings
The Compact King Crimson
1986
3.64 | 40 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
3.78 | 68 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
4.68 | 67 ratings
In the Court of the Crimson King, 40th Anniversary Edition (5CD's + DVD)
2009
3.51 | 16 ratings
Lark's Tongue In Aspic (the complete recordings)
2012
4.42 | 17 ratings
The Road to Red
2013
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Elements
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 | 104 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
 Larks' Tongues In Aspic by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.40 | 1919 ratings

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Larks' Tongues In Aspic
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by Mutante

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 orbital station, while watching the Yesyears documentary, I decided I would have to check this band for which Bill Bruford left Yes. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks later, in my local prog supplier shop, I listened to the music being played in the shop's turntable (with a chorus that went "cigarettes, ice cream...") and asked the owner what was it, being quiet impressed with the energy in the music. He replied pointing to a record with a crescent moon circumscribed into a sun and told me 'King Crimson'. Even though I was not a mystical, back then, the astrological iconography immediately caught my eye. When I finally had the money to purchase it, I tool the LP (a second had, pretty worn out one) and carefully listened to throughout it, kind of expecting the Ice Cream song, that never came*. Nevertheless, I was not disappointed. Although it didn't reach the peak of appreciation I have for this record today, I could see the brillance of it since the beginning.

Recently it has risen to the top of my preferred music, I have been exhaustively listening to this record during the last year in my car and out of it.

I, having keen interest for percussions and being a Brazilian, would be most grateful for a COMPLETE list of the different percussion intruments, experiments and objects being played in the unique piece of experimental rock recorded for the intro of the opening track, LTiAPI. Then come in the mystery violin and the father of all heavy metal guitars as the thundering ensemble comes together into this instrumental number of pure pioneer exploration into music. The whole drama is followed by the lyricism of BoS, with beautiful acoustic guitar by Fripp. Then the tapes being played at different speeds create the atmosphere for the grandiose Exiles. The song that was, then in 1992, my preferred, today is the least interesting, which doesn't mean it isn't groovy, showcasing Muir's brief, but deep and influential (see the 2014 3D - three drummer - Crimson), Crimson contribution. Then comes the hypnotic Talking Drums, which steadily mounts as a crescendo until the schizoid screams that lead into the closing track, the second part of the title track. Not difficult to understand why Bruford moved along, to form that that would be one of my favourite incarnations of one of the most creative, fearless and aggressive rock acts ever. Long live the King.

*As the informed reader might figure out, he was playing Starless and Bible Black and pointed me to Aspic, referring to the band, but not necessarily the exact LP.

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 Larks' Tongues In Aspic by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.40 | 1919 ratings

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Larks' Tongues In Aspic
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by stefanblazanovic

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 for the next 3 albums after larks' tongue in aspic (john wetton, David cross, robert fripp, and bill bruford who just retired recently from Yes after "close to the edge") some say that this is king crimson's best band lineup and I would have to agree. Not only does this lineup stay together for a short period of a time. But we get to see them evolve into better musicians in the next few albums after larks' tongue.

Larks' tongue in aspic part 1 (B+)

The book of Saturday (A)

Exile (A)

Easy money (A-)

The talking drum (B+)

Larks tongue in aspic part 2 (A+)

Overall rating (A) or 4.5 stars

The overall verdict of the album says that this is an excellent album. It's solid album and it's an experimental album gone right. Although king crimson does experiment with every album he releases (with the exception of in the court of the crimson king and the wake of Poseidon) I would say that this is a masterpiece for 2 reasons.

1. The Larks' tongue of aspic part 2. If you knew me in real life you would know I hate instrumentals. I get bored easily. But larks part 2 was prefect. The instrumental was melodic, heavy, and complex which what every progressive rocker would like. A must listen.

2. The vocal songs (exile, easy money, and the book of Saturday) John wetton's voice is actually really good. After listening to "in the court of the crimson king" I though to myself that Greg lake's voice was prefect for king crimson and nobody was going to match his vocal range. But boy was I wrong, john wetton's voice was unique and it brought that same feeling to me when I listened to ITCoCK for the first time. Exiles is a great example of what wetton's voice is capable of doing. Exile is such an amazing song that it always brings me shivers up my spine the last 2 minutes. Easy money is a king crimson classic and one of their most memorable songs. And the book of Saturday is a short ballad but it still deserves recognition for wetton's voice.

So to sum this up I think larks' is a great album which should be in every prog collection. Although it isn't ItCOTCK or red I believe that larks' deserve much more credit and recognition because it's often seen as pretentious.... So give this album a try... It's one of those albums where I would buy the box set of this album.

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 Starless And Bible Black by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.89 | 1229 ratings

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Starless And Bible Black
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by thesameoldfears

4 stars "Starless and Bible Black" is perhaps the misunderstood second act of a glorious trilogy. While "Larks Tongues" and "Red" are focused and methodical, this album is a little bit more meandering, heavy on improv and has dramatic shifts in style and temperament over the course of the disc.

This albums ends about a million miles from where it starts. The first two tracks are more straight-ahead rock (which I think is the least interesting part of the album) whereas the entire second side of the album is completely instrumental, and actually pretty scary and intense. "Fracture" closes the album and is one of the most well-structured instrumentals I've ever heard. Starts of curiously quiet and dissonant and explodes to a thunderous crescendo with overlapping time signatures. Pretty thrilling.

The improv "Trio" is a Crimson classic and the fact that they made up such a well-structured piece on the spot is really mind-blowing. I really like "The Night Watch" too, and I only learned later that the first half is live, and was spliced with the second half in the studio (the reason for this was that the mellotron broke down halfway through the song). But it sounds fine even with this edit and you don't catch it if you're not listening for it. See the Rembrandt painting on which the lyrics are based for context.

There are a few uneven parts on this album. I still don't understand "The Mincer" since it is very unsettled and meandering, and just kind of drops off because the tape ran out. But I like it that they put this strange track on the album because even though it doesn't work for me, it shows the band trusted the listener enough to follow them on the journey.

Great stuff.

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 Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984  by KING CRIMSON album cover Live, 1998
4.45 | 218 ratings

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Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal, 1984
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by thesameoldfears

5 stars What can I say that hasn't already been said? This album dispels any doubt that the 81-84 lineup accurately carried on the Crimson legacy. I'd say it's one of the finest live albums currently available by the band from any lineup. When you think of studio albums you think of "polish" and when you think of live albums you think of "raw energy." But Absent Lovers has both, all the raw energy of a live album, but all the polish of a studio album, both in that it was well-recorded, and performed with great precision. With most bands (and even some earlier Crimson lineups) there is the occasional off-key note here and there, but I can't really identify any clams on this disc, and Adrian Belew's voice sounds great.

They play the big "hits" from the 81-84 era and really do them justice, but I love that they also play some of the "weird stuff" as Adrian Belew refers to, such as "Industry" and "Dig Me." Also, the only pre-81 tracks on here "Red" and "Larks Tongues in Aspic" are totally menacing, which works to dispel any notion that this lineup is the most pop-oriented Crimson lineup. I personally love the rendition of "Disclipline" here, which is clearly a very complex piece of music played perfectly, but also with a little bit of a bounce that is missing from the studio version. Essential stuff.

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 In The Court Of The Crimson King by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.59 | 2963 ratings

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In The Court Of The Crimson King
King Crimson Eclectic Prog

Review by inkblowout

5 stars Was this the first prog rock album... I would disagree. Was this the first prog rock album to be labeled as progressive rock? Yes it is.

In The court of the crimson king should be in everyone's album prog rock collection considering the fact that this first "started prog rock" but it's an undeniable classic and definitely a masterpiece in the progressive rock universe in many different ways. First, that cover art. Even when I was a kid who didn't listen to music at the time. I somehow remembered the cover art and when I first listened to king crimson on YouTube I was like " oh my god this is the picture I seen as a kid". But for some reason it would take me a while to like a progressive rock song with a couple of listens. but king crimson's in the court of the crimson king got my attention the second I heard. "In the court of the crimson kinggggggggg ahhhhhhhh" it's one of those albums that changed how I listened to music.

21st century schizoid man (A+)

I talk to the wind (A-)

Epitaph (A+)

Moon child (C-)

The court of the crimson king (A)

Overall album rating ( somewhere between A and A+) which it is almost prefect.

While there were 3 prefect songs in the album (except for the court of the crimson king was a tad repetitive) I talk to the wind felt like an oddball because it was different. It didn't catch my attention right away and it feels like it shouldn't be in the album. But it still a great song but it doesn't feel right in this album's set list. And moonchild would have gotten a D- if it wasn't for the 2 minute vocal portion of the song which was great but weaker then "talk to the wind" but the worst part about that song which almost everyone can agree with me that the 10 minute "jam" was included. This was probably the most disappointing song in the album. It should have been 2 minutes long instead of 12. But I do admit I like the last portion of the jam, but nevertheless the jam felt lifeless, pointless, and more importantly it shouldn't have been added. This is the song that makes my rating go from a 5 star album to a 4.7 star Album, I don't care if it was experimental, this is the kinda stuff that should have been added to an "special edition" of the court of the crimson king.

But overall I see a brilliant album with some flaws which is why I would give this album a 4.7 which is almost prefect. Sure king crimson must have taken credit for the "first prog rock album" but this album plays a important role in the progressive rock universe and this is the album that should be in everyone's progressive rock collection.

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 Red by KING CRIMSON album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.52 | 2286 ratings

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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
3.41 | 13 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 | 1229 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 | 1263 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 | 1229 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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