Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Emerson Lake & Palmer picture
Emerson Lake & Palmer biography
Formed in London, UK in 1970 - Disbanded in 1979 - Regrouped between 1991-1998 - Reunited briefly in 2010

ELP revolutionized the 70's rock scene by introducing a new line-up format. This fact really mattered due to each musician's geniality and unlimited talent that, put together, generated a level of music never achieved by anybody else as of yet. All of the musicians came from established bands before joining forces together: Greg LAKE came from KING CRIMSON, Carl PALMER came from ATOMIC ROOSTER, and Keith EMERSON came from THE NICE.

They explored their capabilities to an extreme, even with the technology limitations of the early 70's, breaking ground, setting the new parameters for a new vein in the english pop music (at the time) which would be called progressive music. ELP released 10 outstanding albums during the 70's, and after a long break, they got back in the 90's with a new approach, but still making good music. In 1986 Cozy POWELL replaced PALMER and they put together EMERSON, LAKE and POWELL, a good effort as well.

They've pushed their ambitions over-the-edge. On "Tarkus" the title suite was an inventive and edgy suite revolving around jazzy textures. Their most popular album "Brain Salad Surgery", was their most grandiose and refined. Next, the more adventurous listener might try "Trilogy" or ELP's self-titled first album. In my opinion, these four albums form the core of ELP's best material. Other good ELP albums include "Pictures at an Exhibition", their provocative, fiery and intense take on a classical work. and "Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends", a triple-live album (now on double-CD) with some absolutely stunning playing.

2016 was a sad year for Prog fans, because Keith and Greg left us, Rest in Peace and thank you for everything

Being that some albums belong to a different band with only two members of ELP, we have to make this addition:

Emerson, Lake & Powell (Active between 1985-1986)

Emerson, Lake & Powell, often abbreviated to ELPowell, were an offshoot of a classic prog band Emerson, Lake & Palmer with Cozy Powell taking over the drumming duites in place of Carl Palme...
read more

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Videos (YouTube and more)

Showing only random 3 | Show all EMERSON LAKE & PALMER videos (2) | Search and add more videos to EMERSON LAKE & PALMER


Bmg Rights Management (Uk) Ltd 2016
$15.02 (used)
Bmg Rights Management (Uk) Ltd 2016
ELP Live at the Nassau Coliseum '78ELP Live at the Nassau Coliseum '78
Imports 2014
$8.06 (used)
The Best Of Emerson Lake & PalmerThe Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
Rhino 1996
$17.89 (used)
Emerson Lake & PalmerEmerson Lake & Palmer
Bmg Rights Management (Uk) Ltd 2016
$11.09 (used)
Brain Salad SurgeryBrain Salad Surgery
R M 2016
$16.86 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER BLACK MOON 1992 LP Picture & Lyric W/In NM ~ MINT- Promo USD $99.99 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER KEITH EMERSON 1991 LP W/Insert NM- ~ NM Promo USD $14.99 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER LOVE BEACH Edit 6Track 1979 LP EX+ ~ NM- Promo USD $9.99 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER THE WORLD OF Unique Album 1991 LP EX+ ~ NM USD $12.99 Buy It Now
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Tarkus - Vinyl LP album (Manticore Pressing) USD $6.22 [0 bids]
LP/GF Emerson, Lake, Palmer Pictures P6363A ATLANTIC Japan Vinyl OBI USD $22.28 Buy It Now
Emerson Lake & Palmer Extended Versions CD USD $6.97 Buy It Now
Emerson Lake & Palmer Concert Ticket 18 June 1977 ELP USD $6.22 [1 bids]
Emerson Lake & Palmer Concert Ticket 2 August 1974 ELP USD $6.22 [0 bids]
Emerson Lake & Palmer Concert Ticket 9 June 1977 ELP USD $6.22 [0 bids]
1972 Emerson Lake & Palmer "Trilogy" 33 1/3 RPM Record USD $8.99 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER 45 " From The Beginning " COTILLION Canada 1972' USD $6.88 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Pictures at an Exhibition g/fold FREE UK POST USD $18.65 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works Free UK Post USD $18.65 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Pictures at an exhibition US PRESS g/fold Free UK Post USD $19.89 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER In Concert with inner Free UK Post USD $17.40 Buy It Now
Emerson Lake & Palmer-Works Vol.2 (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $25.36 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER - Live At Royal Albert Hall - CD - **Mint Condition** USD $24.75 Buy It Now
RARE: VHS: "Live '77" EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Hendring USD $31.06 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER - Trilogy and works lot of 2 great hits USD $8.95 Buy It Now
Emerson Lake & Palmer : Works Vol.2 CD USD $7.72 Buy It Now
Emerson Lake & Palmer Self Titled RARE original vinyl LP record '71 USD $9.99 Buy It Now
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol.1 USD $24.86 [1 bids]
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol.2 USD $24.86 [1 bids]
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol.3 USD $24.86 [1 bids]
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol.4 USD $55.94 [10 bids]
Emerson, Lake & Palmer by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (CD, Mar-2013, 2 Discs, Razor & USD $17.99 Buy It Now
USD $6.00 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Pictures At An Exhibition 1972 COTILLION CLASSIC ROCK LP USD $10.00 Buy It Now
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER ?- TRILOGY LP - Atlantic - SD 9903 - EX - ELP - 1972 USD $5.99 Buy It Now
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - In the Hot Seat (CD, Oct-1994, Victory Records (USA)) USD $8.49 Buy It Now
Emerson Lake & Palmer Works Volume 2 LP Album Vinyl SD19147 Rock 70's USD $9.92 Buy It Now
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Fanfare - The Best Of ... Live - classic prog USD $4.96 Buy It Now
Emerson Lake & Palmer Works Volume 1 Double 2 Vinyl LP USD $1.23 [0 bids]
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER - Works Live - 2 CD - Import - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $72.75 Buy It Now 3m 7s
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER lot of 2 x 45rpm singles "Fanfare for common man" Ak232 USD $16.00 Buy It Now 12m 3s
Live in Switzerland, 1997 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Vinyl, Apr-2016, 2... USD $36.19 Buy It Now 13m 8s
Keith EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER lot of 2 x 45rpm singles Ak233 USD $13.00 Buy It Now 17m 16s
Emerson Lake Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery USD $12.99 [0 bids]
18m 14s
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Anaheim 1975 CD USD $12.00 Buy It Now 23m 50s
Trilogy by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (CD, May-1996, Rhino/Warner Bros. (Label)) USD $3.99 [0 bids]
27m 27s
The Nice - Elegy - Keith Emerson Lake & Palmer - reissue U.S. 12" LP vinyl USD $8.98 Buy It Now 35m 42s
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - The Anthology (4LP) USD $75.45 Buy It Now 42m 52s
1977 LP Album EMERSON LAKE & PALMER (ELP) ~~ WORKS Volume 2 ~~ (Excellent Sound) USD $5.25 Buy It Now 55m 23s
Emerson Lake & Palmer Love Beach Lp USD $17.00 Buy It Now 1h 10m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer "Love Beach" LP with insert USD $2.47 Buy It Now 1h 19m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer [Limited] by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (CD, May-1996, Rhino. USD $1.80 [2 bids]
1h 27m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Works I, 1977, 2xLP, SD 2-7000, EX/VG+, Play Tested EX!! USD $4.00 Buy It Now 1h 39m
PINK ISLAND cassette *1ST PRESS* EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Pictures At An Exhibition USD $9.93 Buy It Now 1h 51m
Emerson,Lake & Palmer LP USD $8.00 Buy It Now 2h 18m
Emerson Lake & Palmer, Works Volume 1, Atlantic SD 2-7000, 1977, 2 LPs Prog Rock USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2h 29m
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works 2xLP Promo ATLANTIC Embossed Cover WLP NM USD $15.99 Buy It Now 3h
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER TRILOGY LP SD 9903 USD $3.95 Buy It Now 3h 14m
Emerson Lake & Palmer Vinyl LP Cotillion, SD 9040 1971 Record! USD $14.99 Buy It Now 3h 15m
Emerson Lake & Palmer / Brain Salad Surgery / CD / 1973 USD $2.49 [0 bids]
3h 27m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer rock LP Tarkus Cotillion Promo mono only USD $290.00 [4 bids]
3h 29m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer rock double LP Works volume 1 Atlantic USD $25.00 [0 bids]
3h 34m
Emerson Lake & Palmer Trilogy LP 1972 Vinyl Cotillion Records USD $9.00 Buy It Now 3h 40m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer ?- Pictures At An Exhibition vinyl USD $6.22 Buy It Now 4h 13m
ELP Emerson Lake & Palmer Ultimate Collection 2 CDs 2004 Superb Fair Fast Post USD $2.49 [0 bids]
4h 27m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer BRAIN SALAD SURGERY Die-Cut Cover LP Vinyl - VG/VG+ USD $8.76 Buy It Now 4h 40m
Rock 2-Disc Lp Emerson Lake & Palmer Works: Volume 1 On Atlantic USD $8.99 Buy It Now 4h 41m
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Works Atlantic Records 2 LP Set NM USD $11.99 Buy It Now 4h 44m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Fanfare For The Common Man / Atlantic - K 10946 / 7" NM USD $2.49 Buy It Now 4h 57m
1980 The Best of Emerson Lake & Palmer Lp Atlantic Vinyl (1st Press) prog rock USD $12.00 [0 bids]
5h 7m
Rock Lp Emerson, Lake & Palmer Pictures At An Exhibition On Cotillion USD $8.99 Buy It Now 5h 8m
ELP Emerson Lake & Palmer Love Beach LP Album - 1978 USD $9.98 Buy It Now 5h 28m
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER - SELF TITLED - Original 1971 LP Record Album USD $10.97 Buy It Now 5h 46m
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER "Tiger In A Spotlight/Peter Gunn" 45rpm PROMO 7" NM USD $8.00 Buy It Now 5h 53m
K-17 EMERSON LAKE & PALMER ............ SD 9040 ..... 1ST PRESS 1971 USD $31.95 Buy It Now 6h 7m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Fanfare For The Com... - Emerson, Lake & Palmer CD 67VG USD $14.23 [0 bids]
6h 9m
Emerson Lake & Palmer Trilogy SD 9903 ST-CTN-722557BBB-1 LP Album Vinyl USD $2.99 Buy It Now 6h 19m
Emerson Lake & Palmer "Pictures At Exhibition" - Reel to reel- 7 1/2 IPS Tested USD $325.00 Buy It Now 6h 35m
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Trilogy cd 1973 Austrian KOCH MANTICORE Keith Greg ELP USD $77.00 Buy It Now 6h 40m
1972 Trilogy Emerson, Lake & Palmer SD 9903 Cotillion Records LP Vinyl (1972) USD $8.49 Buy It Now 6h 54m

More places to buy EMERSON LAKE & PALMER music online Buy EMERSON LAKE & PALMER & Prog Rock Digital Music online:


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

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.24 | 2014 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.05 | 1747 ratings
4.13 | 1547 ratings
4.13 | 1811 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery
2.93 | 736 ratings
Works Vol. 1
2.43 | 610 ratings
Works Vol. 2
2.07 | 649 ratings
Love Beach
3.13 | 455 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Powell: Emerson, Lake & Powell
2.84 | 455 ratings
Black Moon
1.79 | 376 ratings
In The Hot Seat

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 938 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition
4.24 | 543 ratings
Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends
2.74 | 209 ratings
Emerson Lake & Palmer In Concert
2.94 | 161 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall
3.33 | 153 ratings
Works Live
3.36 | 51 ratings
Emerson,Lake & Palmer - King Biscuit Flower Hour (AKA "Live")
3.44 | 73 ratings
Live At The Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
2.78 | 69 ratings
Then And Now
2.83 | 15 ratings
The Show That Never Ends
4.07 | 36 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 1
3.73 | 31 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 2
3.28 | 23 ratings
Original Bootleg Series From The Manticore Vaults Vol. 3
3.26 | 44 ratings
Live In Poland
2.33 | 20 ratings
Best of the Bootlegs
2.91 | 10 ratings
Lucky Man (Live) (Re-released as " Fanfare: The 1997 World Tour")
3.72 | 20 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: Live In Concert - Lakeland Florida, 1986 (An official bootleg)
3.14 | 16 ratings
Emerson Lake and Powell: The Sprocket Sessions (An Official Bootleg)
2.43 | 13 ratings
The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2.79 | 15 ratings
Original Bootleg Series from the Manticore Vaults, Vol. 4
3.44 | 29 ratings
A Time And A Place
2.61 | 42 ratings
Live at High Voltage 2010
3.71 | 43 ratings
Live At Nassau Coliseum '78
4.22 | 60 ratings
Live at the Mar Y Sol Festival '72
4.00 | 9 ratings
Emerson, Lake and Powell - Live In Concert and More...
1.19 | 2 ratings
Live in California 1974
2.65 | 21 ratings
Live in Montreal 1977
3.29 | 7 ratings
Once Upon A Time In South America
3.74 | 16 ratings
Live at Montreux 1997
3.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Pocono International Raceway, USA, 1972

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.75 | 19 ratings
Welcome Back
3.77 | 41 ratings
Live At The Royal Albert Hall (DVD)
3.55 | 84 ratings
Pictures At An Exhibition - 35th Anniversary Collectors Edition
3.19 | 18 ratings
Inside Emerson, Lake & Palmer 1970-1995
4.57 | 33 ratings
Works Orchestral Tour/Manticore Special
3.61 | 54 ratings
Live At Montreux 1997 (DVD)
4.09 | 30 ratings
Masters From The Vaults
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live In Concert (DVD)
3.83 | 75 ratings
Beyond The Beginning
2.63 | 32 ratings
The Birth Of A Band - Isle Of Wight Festival 1970
4.45 | 11 ratings
Rare Broadcasts
3.88 | 51 ratings
40th Anniversary Reunion Concert (High Voltage Festival 2010)

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.40 | 67 ratings
The Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
0.00 | 0 ratings
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of ELP
4.22 | 49 ratings
The Atlantic Years
3.60 | 69 ratings
The Return Of The Manticore
1.72 | 9 ratings
Classic Rock Featuring "Lucky Man"
3.88 | 37 ratings
The Best Of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1.45 | 12 ratings
Extended Versions: The Encore Collection
2.58 | 14 ratings
The very Best of Emerson, Lake & Palmer
3.44 | 13 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man [The Anthology]
0.00 | 0 ratings
History Of Rock
1.38 | 24 ratings
3.72 | 13 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
3.67 | 12 ratings
An Introduction To... Emerson Lake & Palmer
4.34 | 26 ratings
From The Beginning (5CD+DVD)
3.58 | 15 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
3.29 | 9 ratings
Come And See The Show: The Best Of Emerson Lake & Palmer
2.11 | 9 ratings
High Voltage
2.69 | 7 ratings
The Essential Emerson, Lake & Palmer
1.20 | 5 ratings
From the Beginning - The Best of ELP
4.63 | 8 ratings
The Anthology
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Anthology (4LP)

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 21 ratings
Lucky Man / Knife Edge
3.40 | 19 ratings
From the Beginning
4.11 | 38 ratings
2.55 | 17 ratings
Brain Salad Surgery/ Excerpt From Brain Salad Surgery
3.07 | 11 ratings
C'est La Vie / Hallowed Be Thy Name
2.52 | 10 ratings
Tiger in a Spotlight / So Far to Fall
3.35 | 17 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man
2.36 | 15 ratings
4.13 | 10 ratings
Peter Gunn
3.46 | 14 ratings
Touch and Go
1.96 | 11 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
2.53 | 11 ratings
Black Moon
4.25 | 4 ratings
Farewell to Arms (promo)
1.77 | 7 ratings
Affairs of the Heart
2.75 | 4 ratings
Affairs Of The Heart (limited edition collectors doublepack)
4.00 | 4 ratings
Gone too Soon (promo)
2.56 | 26 ratings
I Believe In Father Christmas
4.38 | 8 ratings
Fanfare For The Common Man


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Brain Salad Surgery by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1811 ratings

Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by patrickq

2 stars There's an impressive amount of talent here, both in the performances and the arrangements. Other than a best-of CD, Brain Salad Surgery is the only Emerson, Lake and Palmer album I own (I'm reviewing the 2014 remaster). So my impression of the group is based on a limited sample, although Brain Salad Surgery isn't a departure from the other ELP works I've heard.

As a musical act, Emerson, Lake and Palmer is based on a piano-led jazz trio with occasional vocals. Nearly all of the time, the keyboards are front and center. Since there are just three instruments, the drums are more important than they would be in a larger combo. The bass is a supporting instrument whose role is often to expand the dynamic range, not to add tonality. Works for me. But the bassist/singer and the drummer also get their names on the marquee, and that seems to have created a need to alter the framework of the trio. Drummer Carl Palmer needs a solo every so often, and Greg Lake should get a vocal showcase. Right?

Of course, all three of the musicians here are excellent. But as the keyboardist, Keith Emerson is by far the best suited to be the main instrumentalist - - and Brain Salad Surgery works reasonably well when the bass and drums are there to support the keyboards. Although I wish more of the album was structured this way, my main complaint is not the musicianship or the arrangements.

The issue to me is the quality of the compositions. It seems like the group had a shortage of ideas when they entered the studio to record Brain Salad Surgery. Thus, they adapted a hymn and a piano concerto to account for about ten minutes of runtime, stretched 'Karn Evil 9' to nearly half an hour, and wrote two other songs whose brevity might excuse their lack of inspiration. The compositions do have their bright spots; for example, parts of 'Karn Evil 9, First Impression, Part 1' are very good.

But to me, Brain Salad Surgery is three bona fide stars of progressive rock demonstrating their chops - - and in the case of Keith Emerson, displaying his skills as an arranger. To employ a cliché, there's plenty of style here, but not enough substance.

 Brain Salad Surgery by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1811 ratings

Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars To me it seems like almost every big classic prog band from the 70s had that one album in which they pushed their ambitions far beyond anything else to create something truly grandiose and excessive. Genesis had The Lamb, Yes had Tales From Topographic Oceans, King Crimson had... well, most of their output, and Emerson Lake and Palmer had this album, Brain Salad Surgery. To be honest, while this definitely has more qualities of excess than previous works, I do find this to be much less of a drastic jump than what many other bands had, although a lot of that comes down to how bombastic this band already was. Despite the fact that Brain Salad Surgery does in fact attempt to take on even more ambitious concepts, I do feel as if just with a lot of this band's output, even from their prime, that the execution ends up being somewhat off.

The first issue I have with the album is the mixed grab bag that the first 4 tracks are, ranging so drastically not only in tone and style, but in terms of quality as well. While Jerusalem is no doubt an incredibly powerful sounding song, some impact is taken away by the fact that this is simply a rendition of an actual hymn, and does feel kinda dull by the end, despite its very short length. Toccata on the other hand is likely one of the band's best remakes of a preexisting song, showing their more avant garde tendencies to create a track that both sounds extremely dense, and also relatively empty at other points, in either case being the clear highlight of the first 4 songs. Other aspects of this song that impress me are the only Carl Palmer drum solo that doesn't bore me to tears, and the gradual build up from there, starting off quietly with bells ringing, and eventually sounding like the soundtrack to a crisis ona spaceship, the various synths sounding like an array of alarms, all signalling imminent danger. Still... You Turn Me On isn't bad, but I find it to be a fairly mediocre love song all things considered, Lucky Man is still their crowning achievement in terms of ballads for sure. Benny The Bouncer is the most overtly ridiculous joke song in an Emerson Lake And Palmer album, but it also manages to be the most enjoyable, being the only one that I actually find to be amusing in any way whatsoever, the extremely goofy ragtime sound crossing the line twice, becoming so on the nose that it manages to be entertaining.

The biggest issue I have with this album, despite the fact that it's definitely not the worst part of it, is that fact that I just cannot even consider Karn Evil 9 a proper epic, it's just a collection of extremely energetic prog songs that turn up every element of the band to their absolute peak, but honestly, they don't even try and make this a proper epic in any way other than possibly lyrics, not even having proper transitions between each movement. I also feel as if there is a disparity in quality between these sections. With this said, the entirety of the first movement is the greatest thing ever written by the band, and is definitely a major highlight of classic prog all together. The energy present here is utterly astounding, and what makes this even better is the relative lack of unnecessary instrumental breaks that can disrupt the flow of the song, most of them sticking to the central themes established. Despite the fact that the song has a combined length of over 12 minutes, I also find this to be amazingly catchy,especially with the keyboard melodies throughout being as good as they are. There really isn't a best part to this song, as every moment in it is near flawless, but the second half once the pace increases really highlights the playful nature of these tracks, with a lot of smaller moments such as a brief moment of silence to highlight a particular vocal line, the occasional insane drum fills just thrown in, and a brief moment of dramatically increased temp, all coming together to make a near flawless song brimming with energy, character and charm. The second movement unfortunately is a large step down from the previous song, being entirely instrumental and taking on a distinctly jazz approach. While the song does indeed display incredible skill from Keith Emerson, with his frenetic piano playing that jumps around to an insane degree, quite a bit of it ends up feeling less spectacular than what it feels like it should, although there are occasional moments of absolute greatness within, especially when the drumming is briefly accentuated, revealing more of the energy that the first impression had so much of. The worst aspect of this by far is quiet middle section, as it goes absolutely nowhere and pointlessly extends this track by about 3 minutes. The third movement is somewhat better, although I personally couldn't really get behind the extremely anthemic nature of this one for some reason, although the robotic voice strongly reminiscient of a Dalek was definitely a great touch. This song is uplifting and powerful for sure, but to me it's just missing something, not quite sure what, but whatever it is does stop it from being the impactful masterpiece that felt so close to hitting, and instead just being an all around decent prog song, but nothing truly mind blowing.

All in all, this was a very difficult album to solidify my feelings on, as there are some truly incredible moments to be foud here, but then there are others that either feel ill conceived or poorly executed, such as the fact that Karn Evil 9 just sounds like 3 loosely connected songs, with 1 of them being an utter masterpiece, one being great and just not for me, and one that I find to be incredibly flawed and more an exercise in technical playing rather than composition. The first half is mostly forgettable, with only Toccata really being a song that I wholeheartedly recommend, although it's another absolutely incredible one. I still personally believe that Emerson, Lake and Palmer's best album is Trilogy, as the band works far better when their excess is kept more in check, but certain moments of this definitely surpass it, despite the fuk package being one I can't always wholeheartedly enjoy.

Best songs: Toccata, Karn Evil 9 First Impression

Weakest songs: Jerusalem, Still... You Turn Me On

Verdict: This is Emerson, Lake and Palmer at their creative peak, it's just unfortunate that their songwriting didn't always match up to these grandiose concepts. If you are a big fan of this band, you'll definitely get a massive kick out of this, but I personally found a lot of elements that didn't work particularly well, despite portions of this being astounding.

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 1747 ratings

Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the success of their first studio album and tour, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer had to come up with something that would imprint itself into everyone's mind so that critics and fans would know they were more than just another supergroup. One of the biggest complaints of the debut album was that it wasn't concise enough and uneven, even though the performances were amazing. Personally, I love their debut album and the variety of sounds and use of dynamics. However, for this 2nd album, the band was a bit uncertain which path they wanted to take. Emerson, being classically trained and a lover of classical styles loved experimenting with that, but he also agreed with Frank Zappa that music didn't need to have meters. It was just too hard for them to understand why they had to fit their music into these organized bars. This was the direction that Emerson wanted to follow for this 2nd album.

Palmer was also leaning in the more progressive direction too, and even though Emerson and Palmer were both working independently in their own homes during the initial stages of this album, they were both coincidentally working with complex rhythmic ideas, so they were able to mesh their styles into a singular direction, and so it was pretty much decided at that point that the band would go into a full-fledged progressive style, at least with the album's centerpiece composition. In the initial stages of the musical creation of this song, Emerson was inspired by Frank Zappa and Albero Ginastera. Albero is the classical composer from Argentina that originally wrote the piano concerto that 'Toccata' (from 'Brain Salad Surgery') was based on. Emerson said that there was no plagiarism of any kind in the music, but there was a nod to Prokofiev in the opening movement of what would be known as the 'Tarkus' suite.

Finally, Emerson presented the almost finished composition to Lake, who immediately hated it. In fact, Lake almost left the group at that point because he felt the composition was pointless and had no direction. The record company talked Lake into staying, but Emerson had to think of subject matter for the piece so that Lake could write the lyrics. The interesting thing about all of this is how Emerson finally got the idea for the subject of 'Tarkus' after seeing the artwork of William Neal, who had just dropped off some of his artwork. Emerson was impressed with the armadillo on tank tracks and finally came up with the name 'Tarkus'. The concept was to be about the power that is sought by warmongers. The subsections were going to be about the different creatures that Tarkus fought and finally killed which would end with the death of Tarkus from one of those mutated creatures, the Manticore, who would sting Tarkus in the eye. Lake was finally sold on the concept because he liked the idea of it being an anti-war message and even wrote the 'Battlefield' section as his contribution to the centerpiece of the album. Thus 'Tarkus' was born.

The album is divided into two sections, with the first section being the first side of the album with 'Tarkus' taking up the entire first side and lasting almost 21 minutes. This 7 part suite starts up with the instrumental 'Eruption' which, as mentioned earlier, has a short section inspired by Prokofiev. This depicts the volcanic eruption that would produce Tarkus' egg. This section produces the familiar theme played by the various keyboards with the usual complex drumming and basswork done by Palmer and Lake respectively. The meter is, of course, non-standard, but it mostly follows a 10 / 8 pattern. The second section 'Stones of Years' begins when the music settles down and Lake's vocals begin. This tells of the voyage of Tarkus to meet his first enemy. The spider-like creature is represented by Emerson's staccato notes and the tempo speeds up to represent the fight and Tarkus' winning of this first battle before the vocal returns. 'Iconoclast' is another instrumental, again with complex drumming and rhythms, dark keys. This movement represents the 2nd battle of Tarkus, this time with a pterodactyl like war mutant. The fourth movement is 'Mass' as Lake's vocals start again and represents the 3rd battle, this time with a lizard / grasshopper / rocket launcher. Again, Tarkus is the victor. It is also full of religious undertones and a developing melody that gets extremely intense by the end. 'Manticore' is the final enemy and the one that finally kills off Tarkus. This battle is represented by an instrumental clash of the Tarkus main theme and the separate Manticore theme. 'Battlefield' is the section solely written by Lake and features a rare electric guitar solo by him. Lake has said it was inspired by the song 'Epitaph' that he cowrote and sung while with King Crimson. 'Aquatarkus' is the last movement based on a march based on the theme from Battlefield. Aquatarkus is the creature created by the dead body of Tarkus, or maybe another morphing of the creature born from the water, and this is represented by the sudden reappearance of the original Tarkus theme after the march section fades.

The overall feel of 'Tarkus' is chaotic with the melding of several themes throughout the track. It can be hard to listen to, especially in the first listenings when one is not familiar with the story or the multiple themes. The music is complex and thick, but when divided up into it's respective parts, and having the story explained, then the layers of music and complexity start to peel back and make more sense. It is quite an undertaking and it is definitely the center piece of the album. The remainder of the album is made up of short tracks that make up side 2.

'Jeremy Bender' is a honky-tonk style track with the subject ELP would come back with several times throughout their time together. 'Bitches Crystal' is more complex after the style of their more rock style similar to 'Knife's Edge'. The song features a lot of fast piano passages. 'The Only Way (Hymn)' uses themes from Bach's 'Toccata in F' and 'Prelude and Fugue VI' played on top of each other on an organ to give it a cathedral type feel. The lyrics are more anti-religious, which was also a theme Lake used a lot. Both Emerson and Palmer thought it was a bit too harsh, but left it the way it was. If you really listen to the lyrics, you will see what I mean.

The next track is 'Infinite Space (Conclusion)' written by Palmer. This one is a piano and drums led instrumental with alternating meters and the best track on this side of the album. 'A Time and a Place' returns to the heavier progressive rock sound that sounds similar to the theme on 'Living Sin' from the 'Trilogy' album. 'Are You Ready, Eddy?' is inspired by the 1956 song 'The Girl Can't Help It' by Bobby Troup and retains the 50's rock n roll style. This track closed the original album and according to Emerson, it was an impromptu song celebrating the completion of work on the album. The Japanese version of the 2010 SHM-CD reissue included another track 'Prelude and Fugue' which was written around the same time and previously only available on the 'Return of the Manticore' box set. It is a piano solo of a composition by Friedrich Guida, very difficult to play because of it's many thematic lines, performed amazingly by Emerson, of course.

On the 2012 remix edition of the album, there were three additional bonus tracks that were recorded during the same sessions and previously unreleased. First is 'Oh, My Father' written by Lake. It is a slow and pensive piano ballad with Lake's lyrics and vocals. There is a sparse use of drums and acoustic guitar. There is also a choral effect and a electric guitar solo in the middle. It's a nice track that could have easily been a single. 'Unknown Ballad' is written by Emerson with vocals. I am guessing it is Emerson singing because it definitely is not Lake, though he might be involved in the harmonies. It is a simple piano ballad. The last bonus track is an alternate take of 'Mass', the 4th movement of 'Tarkus'. It is a bit sparser than the original and seems a bit unfinished.

For many, this album would be their favorite ELP album. I don't agree so much because I don't like the unrelenting feel of the over-the-top bombastic feel of the title track. Though I have come to appreciate it and the genius behind it, I still have a hard time with it, just like I have a hard time with the 'Karn Evil' suite from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. I tend to like the ELP albums of the 70s that were less bombastic like the debut album, 'Trilogy' and the 'Works' albums, not because they are less progressive, but because they are not so flashy. Strangely enough, this always seems to be the case for me with ELP, and I don't necessarily recommend Tarkus as an album for beginning listeners for the band. Nevertheless, there is no argument that Tarkus is an amazing composition. But I am unable to give the album more than 4 stars; 3 stars for side 2 and 4 stars for the Tarkus suite but tipping the scales in favor for the album because of the complexity (not the bombast) of the track.

 Live at Pocono International Raceway, USA, 1972 by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Live, 2019
3.00 | 1 ratings

Live at Pocono International Raceway, USA, 1972
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

— First review of this album —
3 stars This album, released on colored vinyl by Manticore/BMG for Record Store Day 2019, appears to be more of a collectors item than a carefully crafted live release.

It appears to be a sound board recording, with the bass a bit too far out front, and the keyboards a tad too faint. The entire sound level on the records is very low as well, making me think this was just slapped together by some record company people trying to make a few extra buck without much effort.

Nonetheless, it is a far better recording than the bootleg sets the band put out some years ago.

Tarkus is the highlight of this album. Emerson plays fair amount of riffs that don't appear in later performances, when the band seemed to settle in to nearly note-for-note identical performances in show after show.

The second side of the album is the Take A Pebble/Lucky Man medley with the piano improvisation that was a concert staple of the band. The piano improv is essentially the same as on Welcome Back..., but does vary more than most of the other recordings of this that I have heard.

Pictures at an Exhibition is another highlight, although it is the truncated version that ELP used throughout the rest of their career.

And a side-long version of Rondo, now correctly titled Blue Rondo A La Turk, giving Dave Brubeck his due credit.

This was a great performance, and if the record company made an effort to adjust the sound levels, it might be a 4-star recording, or better.

 Trilogy by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.13 | 1547 ratings

Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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

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

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

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

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

Weakest songs: The Sheriff, Abaddon's Bolero

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

 Tarkus by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 1747 ratings

Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars When it comes to my enjoyment of an album, I need consistency in order to want to listen to it, I want a more complete listening experience in which everything fits together cohesively, not necessarily a concept album, but something that feels properly planned out and conceived. This is a big reason why Emerson Lake and Palmer's Tarkus fails so miserably, it doesn't matter how great your side long epic is guys, the rest of the material sucks and greatly drags everything down. While I found their debut album to be quite rough around the edged with a lack of polish and tight songwriting causing to to be much less enjoyable than it could have been, this album feels more like an ill conceived mess, with a single good song in its entirety.

To be fair, this one good song happens to be Tarkus, so it's not as if this album is completely worthless, as despite the fact that I don't find this quite as good as other epics of around the time such as Supper's Ready, Plague of Lighthouse Keepers and Close To The Edge, this is nonetheless an excellent track all the way through. One aspect I really love about this song is how it manages to control the bombast and relentless desire for showing off, making for a technically impressive song that doesn't go overboard with wandering jams, instead moving between each section seamlessly, with a strong jazzy tinge to Keith Emerson's playing. Furthermore, the song has a great progression to it, continuously switching between quiet, beautiful moments, and chaotic, bombastic instrumental sections that sound like an off kilter war march in certain respects, especially in terms of the wailing moog. One of my favourite moments of the song is definitely Mass, which is just so wonderfully groovy and energetic, building up to a drum solo that impresses me every time, which is balanced out by continuing to push the melody and rhythm, stopping the isolated, dull feeling that the drum solo of Tank created. Honestly, this is one of ELP's crowning achievements, being able to create a 20 minute epic without a single moment of filler.

The unfortunate thing is that after this absolutely monumental track, the rest of the album is without a doubt extremely painful to listen to. For one, most of the songs are quite generic, with barely anything of interest to be found at all. At the very least, both Bitches Crystal and The Only Way (Hymn) feel like there was an effort made in them, although the latter, while somewhat nice to listen to, is extremely boring, although the church organ and the way it picks up at the end stops it from being bad. The former feels rushed with parts that feel unnecessary, like, in such a bombastic, insane song, there is no need for the quieter moments, it's Emerson, Lake and Palmer, excess is everywhere and in spades, so I find it annoying that a time where this could be used to their advantage ends up being wasted. Time and a Place and Infinite Space (Conclusion) are both songs I have very little to say about, as they are simply beyond dull and unneccesary, further damaging an album that is already slipping. The final nail in the coffin is that this album has not one, but two comedic songs in them, both of which are awful. Jeremy Bender employs a sort of ragtime style to a very simple melody, and it's just really bad all around, especially since it comes straight after Tarkus. Are You Ready Eddy on the other hand is nothing short of utter garbage, and definitely one of the most unbearable songs the band has ever put out, trying to take a more classic rock and roll approach, but falling on their face so embarrassingly with every step. Furthermore, this is the song the album closes off on, leaving a sour taste in my mouth afterwards.

Honestly, if the band decided to maintain the same kind of magic and focus as Tarkus displayed, I think I'd absolutely adore this album, but as it stands, it's by far my least favourite of the peak of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's career. It's amazing just how different in quality the two halves of this album are, and just how obnoxious and bad I find the second half, making me treat this album as a single, 20 minute track instead most of the time, as I just have no desire to listen to it in full. If not for the masterpiece of the first half, this would be an easy 1 star, but I'll rate it 2, since I can't call this album good, but would be horribly wrong to completely write it off.

Best tracks: Tarkus, which is definitely a high point in the band's meterial

Weakest tracks: While the second side is all bad, Jeremy Bender and Are You Ready Eddy stand out immensely in this category

Verdict: An uneven mess of an album with its first side being incredible, but it's second side being borderline unlistenable. I only relistened to anything the second side had to offer in order to be able to give this a fair review.

 Emerson Lake & Palmer by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.24 | 2014 ratings

Emerson Lake & Palmer
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars After an onslaught of Dream Theater reviews that honestly left me burnt out on everything to do with the band for the time being, I decided to just stop with them for the time being and move onto a band that I have extremely mixed opinions on, Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Overall, I find the band to have a very particular sound to them unlike much other prog at the time, with much more on the nose classical influence to the point of reimagining various classical pieces, an extreme focus on keyboards and drums, and an all around more energetic, chaotic, jam focused sound to them. Out of all the classic prog bands, this is easily one of the most pompous and excessive of them all, only issue being that it only works some of the time, an issue present through every one of their albums. Their debut is definitely their most restrained work by an extremely wide margin, but even here, there is still a lot of time dedicated to simply showing off the incredible talent of the band members, rather than on making enjoyable music. Both Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer are extremely skilled at their respective instruments, and Greg Lake is one of my favourite vocalists, but the music itself is quite a mixed bag, with a lot of it sounding like more work could have been done in order to polish things significantly.

Despite the band largely providing its riffs and melody through the keyboards, The Barbarian kicks off the album with a sludgy guitar tone, before increasing in speed, starting off slowly before the beat evolves into a gallop. I love the way everything cuts out in order for the frenetic drumming and tense piano playing to come in, providing the mental image of being chased, at least to me. I love the intensity of this song, and it's without a doubt one of my favourite songs on the album, and is at the very least, what I'd consider to be the most perfect. Take A Pebble is a very different affair however, starting off very strongly, highly reminiscient of the earlier King Crimson ballads such as the first couple of minutes of Moonchild, with similarly amazing vocals and an overall powerful beauty to it. The issue here is that a lot of the middle instrumental section feels very unecessary, being quite dull with what I consider to be fairly unappealing country - blues section that feels as if it comes out of nowhere and lasts far too long. In a way, I guess I can compare it to Moonchild, both starting out excellently before devolving into pure boredom, with any magic the song contained being drained away. Knife Edge proves to fare far better, being a pleasant, bluesy song with much more restraint placed upon it, with nothing getting too out of hand, and some really great concepts explored, especially the baroque section, which is simply to die for. The song feels a bit stilted in placed, but is definitely enjoyable.

The Three Fates feels like the polar opposite of Knife Edge, with it sounding like the band just decided to abandon all restraint and see how much punishment their instruments could take before they broke. What is created from this is a wonderfully chaotic instrumental that switches between mildly dull to downright awesome, the latter being much more prominent in the third movement of the song, and at the very least, it's simply more proof that Keith Emerson is incredible on his respecitve instruments (if it was somehow not already extremely obvious from everything else here), but once again, the song could have used a bit of trimming. Tank is definitely an interesting song, having some of the greatest instrumental interplay that the band has ever composed in my opinion, with an amazing driving energy behind it. The issue here is that once again, the excessive, pompous side of the band ends up getting the better of it in the form of a 2 minute drum solo which becomes almost painfully dull by the end. I honestly want a version of this song with a shortened version of the drum solo, as this would otherwise be one of my absolute favourite songs by the band if not for how much the energy is ruined. Lucky Man is definitely a beautiful track and one that I can quite easily see how it became the most popular, well known song by the band, as it's peacful, melodic, and absolutely beautiful. There is nowhere near the same amount of chaos and intensity as previous songs, but does close off in a way that sums up the whole album very well, with a poorly conceived moog solo that disrupts the beauty, although the song is still incredible despite this.

Overall, while 5 of the 6 songs on this album are good overall (Take A Pebble, not so much), almost all of them are flawed in the same general way, with the exception of The Barbarian. Each of them could have used further editing and polishing to make for some really great listening, as the songs all have incredible potential in one way or another. As it stands though, while I do really enjoy listening to this album, I often end up becoming mildly irritated at the many flaws it has, which is definitely enough for me to knock this down to 3 stars. I'd highly recommend this album to those who enjoy heavily classical influenced music and also can get behind a lot of excess. This is definitely their most restrained album of their peak material, which is honestly a good thing in certain respects when looking at some of their later efforts where they allowed their pretentiousness to go unchecked.

Best songs: The Barbarian, Knife Edge, Lucky Man

Weakest songs: Take A Pebble

Verdict: Highly technical, complex muwsic that has a habit of becoming too overtly complex for its own good. Songs can both have moments of genius, and moments of ill conceived noodling, but for the most part, it's an entertaining album overall, albeit very flawed in certain respects.

 Brain Salad Surgery by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.13 | 1811 ratings

Brain Salad Surgery
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ELP's fourth album "Brain Salad Surgery" is a very important album, no doubt about it. To some, it is one of the best progressive albums ever, and it is the favorite of most ELP fans. I am one of the exceptions. I definitely love ELP, but I always seem to love the wrong ones, like the debut album, "Trilogy" and both "Works" volumes. I consider those four their best albums, but not this one. I know I have been cursed by the Prog Gods for this, but I find it lacking in versatility and dynamics. Most of that is because of "Karn Evil 9" which takes up most of the album. Even though I am very familiar with the epic track, I have always thought it was over 30 minutes of bombastic music that doesn't let up much. It is dense, it is mostly unrelenting and it seems to go on forever.

I apologize to those that love that track, but I find that I enjoy their music that relies more on the classically inspired music then I do the rock jams. On this album, my favorite track is "Toccata", and yes it is another quite "over-the-top" track, but there are probably more dynamics in that 7 minute track than there is in the entire "Karn Evil 9" suite. "Still You Turn Me On" is a great ballad by Greg Lake also. But, other than that, I continue to have a hard time with this album. I recognize the fact that the music and performances are stellar, and I completely understand that people love this album, but its just too much of a good thing for me, or something.

I'm not going to go into anymore detail than that, most people who love Prog are quite familiar with this album, as am I. But I usually only listen to it when I am listening through their entire discography as a whole. At least it's not as bad as "Love Beach" and beyond however. There is that at least. 3.5 stars for me, but since it is a prog staple and because the performances are so excellent, I will give it 4 stars.

 Trilogy by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.13 | 1547 ratings

Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Black Moon by EMERSON LAKE & PALMER album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.84 | 455 ratings

Black Moon
Emerson Lake & Palmer Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After 14 years without a studio album and following up the mostly horrendous "Love Beach" album, Emerson, Lake & Palmer finally try again with a their 8th studio album "Black Moon". Fans were hoping for a return to form, but unfortunately, a complete return to form would not be happening as this album, though heavier than "Love Beach", the sound stays with a more popular straightforward rock sound.

The album starts off with a lot of hope however. The title track leads off the album with a heavy and driving song. It even opens with Emerson showing off on the piano a bit, and you automatically start to get your hopes up. A heavy beat is established, and you get a pretty much straightforward hard rock song, with some nice hints of their glory days, and right away it seems like, even if it is pretty standard, it is at least better than anything on "Love Beach".

Following this is another organ heavy "Paper Blood", again a track that stays on the heavy side, yet different enough from the opener as the organ is heavier and you even get a nice harmonica solo. It is still quite standard again, but at least it has a great rock edge to it and Greg Lake's vocals are quite good. Unfortunately, the next track is co-written by Geoffrey Downes, and when I saw that the first time, I lost all hope. Downes has been known to be the downfall of many great classic Rock and/or Progressive acts. The track is "Affairs of the Heart" starting with a nice strummed guitar and an okay, yet somewhat schleppy, ballad. But, it's back to the pop sound. Lake's vocals are still top notch and at least it's still not as weak as the music on the previous album.

Unfortunately, things go even further down hill from here and continue to do so. Its like they made the track list to go from the most interesting track to the most boring at the end.

"Romeo and Juliet" is a rocked-out version of the Prokofiev modern-classical work which utilizes one of the melodies and turns it into a rock march. Not too bad, and somewhat reminiscent of the re-workings of other classical music themes the band was famous for, but it's short and doesn't feature a lot of improvisation or ingenuity. It is really only a slight step above "Hooked on Classics". After this instrumental comes "Farewell to Arms". This is where I start to lose interest, as this track is just too much like something from "Love Beach", corny and overly sentimental.

"Changing States" is an instrumental written and led by Emerson. Again, it has some semblance to his earlier instrumentals, but offers nothing really challenging like in the past. Just pretty much a stately melody, but nothing very fancy. "Burning Bridges" is a boring pop song. "Close to Home" is just Emerson trying his had at new age solo piano in a piece that steals from Rachmaninoff but not giving him credit. I'm not sure what happened to emotions or dynamics in this track, but it's like Emerson had forgotten what that was. "Better Days" is a bad attempt at being current with a funky vibe, but ends up just sounding dated. "Footprints in the Snow" is as dumb as it sounds as Lake is contemplating following in the footsteps of Rod Stewart and that his next solo album is going to be a collection of old standards that the blue haired ladies will go crazy over. Thank goodness it didn't quite come to that. Some editions also contain another bonus track which is just more new age piano.

So, the album is only slightly better than "Love Beach" and their next awful album "In the Hot Seat" which has no saving grace. Listening to these albums is like listening to a bad imitation. Emerson had become one-dimensional, Lake was becoming a lounge singer, only Palmer really held on to his amazing ability and you hear some great drumming on here, unfortunately, the material doesn't support his talent. ELP's glory days were over and now they seemed to only be in it for the fame.

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives