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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Trilogy CD (album) cover

TRILOGY

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1583 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer's third album is the definition of mediocrity. There is no masterpiece like "Tarkus" to save the album, and the songs that are here range from excellent to poor. I don't see this as a Keith Emerson solo album, as some others have derisively commented, any more than any of ELP's other albums were Emerson solo efforts; as Greg Lake and Carl Palmer consist of the rhythm section, it is to be expected that Emerson will be at the musical forefront of the trio. Unfortunately, though, composition takes a backseat to extended soloing and repetition.

"The Endless Enigma (Part One)" The album begins with the sound of a heartbeat and some lonely, spacey synthesizer. There are moments of jarring bass notes played on a piano before the song proper begins. The piano then doubles the organ runs, and soon it's classic ELP we're hearing. The vocal section sounds similar to a hymn. Sometimes Lake sings over Emerson's quiet organ, and sometimes over the explosive sound of the full band. This is the tightest composition on the album.

"Fugue" This is a lovely piano interlude (accompanied by the bass guitar later on), and has the task of bridging the two parts of "The Endless Enigma."

"The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" The second part starts with a jaunty little introduction featuring piano, bass, and drums. After a brief synthesizer interlude, Lake reprises the melody from the first part before the song comes to a grandiose end.

"From the Beginning" Of all the acoustic pieces Greg Lake ever wrote for ELP (perhaps aside from "The Sage"), this one is the best. It has a numinous feel conjured by acoustic guitar, lazy electric guitar, spacey synthesizer, and sparse drumming.

"The Sheriff" This far sillier song begins with Carl Palmer drumming (and cursing, if you listen closely). It is one of ELP's few narrative songs, and quite frankly, isn't very good, particularly with Lake's singing, which is all over the place. The organ playing in the middle is decent, but the honky-tonk piano that ends the song is simply ludicrous.

"Hoedown" The final part of Aaron Copland's Rodeo is given the ELP treatment, full of synthesizer and organ. It makes for a great opening track for a greatest hits collection or a live album, such as how it was used on Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends... Ladies and Gentlemen, Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

"Trilogy" The title track begins with a short synthesizer section, followed by virtuosic piano playing and Lake's singing. Three minutes in, the song begins its Moog-heavy theme in 5/4, during which Emerson takes center stage. Lake eventually begins singing again, but the music almost borders on ridiculous. It is a stark contrast to the beautiful piano-laden music heard in the first three minutes. After the second vocal section, there is additional synthesizer soloing. In a final moment of ridiculousness (for this song, not the album, sadly), the band ends the piece with an old-time stripper riff.

"Living Sin" Insane organ music and Lake singing in an unsettling deep voice are what this song is all about. It's fairly bland, really, without much going for it, save that halfway through, the song begins to sound more like ELP, and in that respect, makes it tolerable.

"Abaddon's Bolero" One might be tempted to label this lengthy piece repetitive and uninteresting, since it does replicate the same riff over and over, only layering it with more and more instrumentation as the music progresses. For much of the piece, Palmer restricts himself to a lone, marching snare drum. Lake's bass is barely a part of the music. The additional instruments added on to the music do lend it a modicum of appeal, but not nearly enough to make this fresh. It is, I'm afraid, a weak closing piece, perhaps used as an opportunity to show off Emerson's wide array of Moog sounds.

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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