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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover

BRAIN SALAD SURGERY

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1800 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Amid all the furiously positive reviews, a poor one. But only because I find all of ELP alientating and feel that for some first-timers the opposite side of the equation needs to be stated. Seminal or no, ELP play possibly the most over-the-top, in your face prog rock ever committed to vinyl. This is no holds bombast, even on the supposedly gentle songs, even on the playful songs like 'Benny the Bouncer'. If you are a fan of relentless displays of technique over form, of crushing arrangements that, to me, offer little scope for any dynamic other than a headlong rush towards ear- bleeding bludgeoning then you will be right at home here. For those whose prog leanings are towards more song and melody-oriented fare then EL:P and BSS in particular may be a bridge too far - it is for me. From the opening assault and vaunting ambition of a dreadful cover version of the hymn 'Jersualem' (in which the vocal is particularly poor) to the fury of Emerson's scorched earth take on Ginastera's 'Toccata' to the faintly ludcicrous 'Benny the Bouncer' in which a little 'light relief' simply feels like pointless filler, BSS is furious assault on the technology of the time and a furious assault on your ears. That's not to say there aren't moments worth hearing. The First Impression - Part 2 and 3rd Impression of Karn Evil 9 are superb, for the melody of the former and the skill with which the song is excuted and for the instrumental fireworks of the latter. Still You Turn Me On has a spiralling wah-wah'd guitar figure that is clever and cachy. But overall, this is hard, hard work. It is not progressive rock for beginners. It is progressive rock driven at full steam up a cul de sac of overblown pretention and over- reaching ambition. My two star rating does not suggest it is just for fans or collectors, but simply because I find it a deeply flawed exercise, which, while it may have perhaps represented an interesting artistic endeavour for those involved, is for me a sprawling failure on an epic scale. A landmark perhaps but not necessarily for the best of reasons. Approach with caution.
arcer | 2/5 |

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