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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 1786 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars What a two faced release this is! We have Tarkus, the title track, a 20 minute epic piece of music sprawling out a full side of the record, and then we have side two, with a half dozen less inspired works. In any event, this is an absolutely essential album from the classic progressive era, even if it isn't the most well rounded creation.

After the successful and promising debut, the trio of egotistical though extremely talented (sans Greg) musicians have bigger fish to fry. The reason why I have never really been too warm to Greg is related to this album. On the ELP documentary "Beyond the Beginning" Keith tells about Greg's feelings about composing a larger scale piece of work for their next album. Apparently Greg didn't like this idea and wanted to stick two the song format type of record. Maybe Greg Lake was the oppressive force making this album so diverse in content and quality? Could this have been a 40 minute, incredible keyboard driven masterwork?

Side one certainly fits that description, but the size scaled down to about half. It is one of the most consistent works of its size I know of. The manipulation of keyboard instruments is just surreal. In points the Hammond organ sounds like a percussive instrument, in others a flowing orchestra. The solos are so well constructed and executed, conclusively incredible. Carl Palmer is generally excellent, though occasionally off time, his drums add to the exact accompanying nature that I greatly enjoy in percussive instruments. There are also some really great basslines from Greg, and a spine chilling guitar solo. I would have preferred it to be absent of vocals, but they aren't too bad either.

Side two is admittedly less spectacular, but I find much joy in the unfairly maligned Jeremy Bender. Whimsical lyrics and tight instrumental ideas. Classic! The rest of the record is sort of like a weaker version of songs from the debut. "Are You Ready Eddy?" is especially terrible, though.

Classic point of reference, this is a essential additon to all progressive rock collections.

OGTL | 5/5 |


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