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King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 2020 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Many find this album to be something of a second attempt at In the Court of the Crimson King, but I find it has enough identity of its own to stand as a very strong album.

While it is true that, when the whole of King Crimson's discography is examined, this album is much closer in sound and idea to the band's debut, assuming that it features the same kinds of music is a sorry mistake. Rather, on the whole, this album is lighter, less dark and melancholic. More instruments are toyed with, more sounds created. Beautiful interludes tie tracks together. The vastness of the sound is reduced to a more band-oriented feel on most of the album, and while that does make it suffer on the whole compared to its predecessor, it still gives this album a sense of individual strength. The first side hearkens back towards In the Court more, but the second side features some highly progressive leaps forward (and a good bit backwards, if you will, but I'll get to that).

The three bracketing tracks, Peace, gently provide a sweet melody to properly place each song where it needs to feel. The album proper starts with Pictures of a City, a song stylistically similar to 21st Century Schizoid Man but quite different. There is a good bit of aggression, but the brass is largely toned down and the guitar turned up quite a bit. Here is probably the first example of Robert Fripp's guitar skills, from highly distorted power chords to something very akin to early shredding. The vocal lines are quite fun and fairly dark. On the tails of this piece is the soft and mildly weak track Cadence and Cascade. It's a traditional ballad built on acoustic guitar and piano, sounding nice but being mostly unmemorable. The title track comes next, and it is here, I fear, that the music hides behind their previous success. It sounds mostly like the title track to In the Court of the Crimson King. Especially coming off the tails of Cadence and Cascade, which is a nice Lake piece, this is about as close as possible to being a standard King Crimson tune. This song alone keeps the album from five stars, though personally it's one of my favorites.

The second side begins again with the Peace motif, segueing to the rather suddenly different Cat Food. Instead of melancholic or haunting strains of aggression like we have gotten used to with the band, instead we end up with a slightly goofy piano-driven rock tune. While sometimes the piano sounds like someone laying down on the keyboard, it still gives this Beatlesy a fair bit of experimental fun without sacrificing melody or enjoyment. A personal favorite of mine, though I understand a lot of prog enthusiasts find it obnoxious. Either way, it moves on to the remarkably different Devil's Triangle. This piece builds off Holst's Mars suite, creating probably the darkest and most horrifying soundscape ever to be found on a Crimson record. Absolutely stunning. This song is a must, in my opinion, being one of the most fascinating pieces the band put on a studio album. The menace gently is assuaged by the concluding Peace bracket, this time featuring Lake's vocals instead of a guitar or a keyboard, letting you settle down just enough to breathe again after the album has ended.

While the first side is unfortunately a good bit weak, this is still classic (and possibly essential) King Crimson. While I absolutely recommend listening to the band's debut before this one, I find this to be a wonderful record and one that fans of almost any musical style can find something enjoyable in.

LiquidEternity | 4/5 |


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