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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4188 ratings

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5 stars By the time I post this review there had been 75 entries that talked about this seminal album (and some people called it as the first prog rock album on earth) of legendary band: King Crimson. I am not going to raise an issue whether or not this was the first or not; as for me personally, the first prog album was Yes "Fragile". Full stop. It does not matter if in fact the other album(s) came first. Well, .. it matters only when you try to review an album on the basis of "influence" of other bands. Let's put aside that.

So, why should I give the 76th entry then? As a matter of statistical vote to prove that this is a masterpiece? Or, to counter review for those reviewers who have given less than 4 stars? (Ahem . I always view that people have different views based on taste and background. So I have no problem with it at all). No no no no ..Not all of that things, my friends ..My reason is simple. I've just read a great story about the band from its inception (embryo stage) until "The Construction of Light" album through a well- researched book by Sid Smith (got nothing to do with Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd) titled In The Court of King Crimson (Helter Skelter Publishing, 2001 - reprinted 2003). It's a great book as it was written by a die-hard fan of the band. As Mr. Fripp put at book cover: "Sid Smith's opinion is worthy of respect".

Of course I won't tell you about the book in detail because it's 346 pages and also what would be "my view" if I take everything from the book? I don't want to be in the circle of plagiarism. But, the book has given me a powerful nuance and reference to review any album of King Crimson. (If you notice, this is my first review about the band and I want to do it right, with the best available references).

It's gonna be boring if I review track by track as I used to do it with other prog albums. This time I would do it at album level because you know it well track by track. Let's do it this way .

The result of a struggling band. This album was a culmination of concerted effort by the band members from the embryonic Giles, Giles & Fripp until it was formalized under the name of KC. It's important to notice how the band members were not aware at all that they did a great job. In the a.m. book it was mentioned that the making of "21st Century Schizoid Man" albeit it's the first track but was recorded the last. The song was made through collective efforts by its members and they did not feel that they accomplished something great that rocked the music industry later on. Each member did not pat others for example "Hey great, we did it one". No, not at all. They just said "OK, that's it". (page 59).

The Change master that inpires ... Yeah .. We know it that this album had created major change in music industry. At that time people never thought a music with powerful riffs and "very" distorted vocal as in the opening track "21st Century .". Even the first time I listened to this song (sometime in 1976) I thought that my cassette was in trouble. Couple months ago, our local newspaper in my country featured this album in a great details (reviewed by my colleague Tom Malik). What interesting was the prog discussion that followed after the article. It was discussed that the riffs have inspired many heavy metal bands. You may or may not agree with it.

The Music. Now, let's talk about the music. The overall album has a strong structure offering a variety of styles: progressive rock, ballad with classical touch and avant garde- and overall album offers dark nuance. The music demonstrates catchy and memorable melodies that still valid thru the passage of time. Having listened to "Epitaph" or "I Talk To The Wind" in decades I'm still touched by their melodies. Wonderfully crafted!

If I may advise, it's not a matter of recommendation. But, if you want to explore prog music, this album is must in your prog collection. Don't step into prog wagon if you do not own this album yet. Keep on progging! GW, Indonesia.

Note: With an earthquake disaster happening in my country and neighborhood, "Epitaph" might be best to play as condolences for twenty three thousand brothers and sisters who have lost their lives tragically ."Confusion will be my epitaph ." ..South East Asian countries are crying now .(Jakarta, 28 Dec 04)

Gatot | 5/5 |


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