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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Black Moon CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

2.77 | 546 ratings

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2 stars After 14 years without a studio album and following up the mostly horrendous "Love Beach" album, Emerson, Lake & Palmer finally try again with a their 8th studio album "Black Moon". Fans were hoping for a return to form, but unfortunately, a complete return to form would not be happening as this album, though heavier than "Love Beach", the sound stays with a more popular straightforward rock sound.

The album starts off with a lot of hope however. The title track leads off the album with a heavy and driving song. It even opens with Emerson showing off on the piano a bit, and you automatically start to get your hopes up. A heavy beat is established, and you get a pretty much straightforward hard rock song, with some nice hints of their glory days, and right away it seems like, even if it is pretty standard, it is at least better than anything on "Love Beach".

Following this is another organ heavy "Paper Blood", again a track that stays on the heavy side, yet different enough from the opener as the organ is heavier and you even get a nice harmonica solo. It is still quite standard again, but at least it has a great rock edge to it and Greg Lake's vocals are quite good. Unfortunately, the next track is co-written by Geoffrey Downes, and when I saw that the first time, I lost all hope. Downes has been known to be the downfall of many great classic Rock and/or Progressive acts. The track is "Affairs of the Heart" starting with a nice strummed guitar and an okay, yet somewhat schleppy, ballad. But, it's back to the pop sound. Lake's vocals are still top notch and at least it's still not as weak as the music on the previous album.

Unfortunately, things go even further down hill from here and continue to do so. Its like they made the track list to go from the most interesting track to the most boring at the end.

"Romeo and Juliet" is a rocked-out version of the Prokofiev modern-classical work which utilizes one of the melodies and turns it into a rock march. Not too bad, and somewhat reminiscent of the re-workings of other classical music themes the band was famous for, but it's short and doesn't feature a lot of improvisation or ingenuity. It is really only a slight step above "Hooked on Classics". After this instrumental comes "Farewell to Arms". This is where I start to lose interest, as this track is just too much like something from "Love Beach", corny and overly sentimental.

"Changing States" is an instrumental written and led by Emerson. Again, it has some semblance to his earlier instrumentals, but offers nothing really challenging like in the past. Just pretty much a stately melody, but nothing very fancy. "Burning Bridges" is a boring pop song. "Close to Home" is just Emerson trying his had at new age solo piano in a piece that steals from Rachmaninoff but not giving him credit. I'm not sure what happened to emotions or dynamics in this track, but it's like Emerson had forgotten what that was. "Better Days" is a bad attempt at being current with a funky vibe, but ends up just sounding dated. "Footprints in the Snow" is as dumb as it sounds as Lake is contemplating following in the footsteps of Rod Stewart and that his next solo album is going to be a collection of old standards that the blue haired ladies will go crazy over. Thank goodness it didn't quite come to that. Some editions also contain another bonus track which is just more new age piano.

So, the album is only slightly better than "Love Beach" and their next awful album "In the Hot Seat" which has no saving grace. Listening to these albums is like listening to a bad imitation. Emerson had become one-dimensional, Lake was becoming a lounge singer, only Palmer really held on to his amazing ability and you hear some great drumming on here, unfortunately, the material doesn't support his talent. ELP's glory days were over and now they seemed to only be in it for the fame.

TCat | 2/5 |


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