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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Trilogy CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1587 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars "Trilogy" is a challenge to the status quo of popular music, a confident coronation of majestic tendencies seen on "Tarkus" and "Pictures...". Though Peter Sinfield had yet to join, ELP's lyrical vision is hardly clumsy here, suggesting a literate bravado. This combined with what handily represent the band's most artful arrangements ("The Sheriff", "Hoedown") take the band to a new level. No longer are they flinging arrows at the battlements of mediocrity and fear (as "Tarkus" did), but on "Trilogy" the trio has scaled the wall and assumed the mantle of the new musical vanguard that CRIMSON wore but briefly. On "Trilogy", we meet new feats that were later equalled but never bettered: the almost offhand genius of "The Endless Enigma" and "Trilogy", the compelling tale of "The Sheriff", a sublime ballad in "From The Beginning", and the energized interpretation of Aaron Copland's "Hoedown".

If "Trilogy" and the subsequent "Surgery" rank among the trio's great achievements, it's no accident. "Tarkus" took them in a new direction, and their musical styles flourished in this conjoined creative environment. It's not simply that they complemented one another, but that they drove one another to excellence. Listen to Keith Emerson's spacey solo on "From The Beginning", Carl Palmer's tireless rhythms on "Trilogy", or Lake's brave handling of "The Sheriff", and you'll hear how each member could push the dialogue past old boundaries. Though it proved to be an unsustainable level of activity, "Trilogy" remains one of ELP's finest achievements, and thus one of the great records in the annals of progressive rock. It's amazing to think that listeners would soon dismiss this music in favor of punk, when the same revolutionary sentiments are at work in each. Of course, prog (at its best) required superlative musicianship, while punk crashed down the gates to let anyone in. Both will become blips in the big musical screen with time, but with the distinction that punk coldcocked convention while prog (in the person of works like "Trilogy") outdueled it in a swordfight of youthful grace matched with an admirable cunning.

daveconn | 5/5 |


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