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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3248 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 8/10

"Red" is one of King Crimson's highest peaks.

"Red" is considered by many one of the band's greatest albums, and certainly it is one of their most successful ones. It didn't take me too much to appreciate this: everything in this album is perfect, and nothing needs to be listened again: love at first listen, basically.

It is hard to not notice that the sound is a lot rougher, heavier, less dreamy and more rockish ( if we exclude "Starless", the album's zenit) than the previous albums: the jazzy, refined and delicate sound of the first albums, or the more bizarre and eerie sound, from the " Lark's Tongues In Aspic", another masterpiece by the band, are the two sounds that so far the band was able to create. Now, like I said, the sound is impressively changed: more guitars, less keyboards and mellotron ( once again "Starless" is an exception), the bass is pondering more than usual, and Bill Bruford's drumming is at it's peak. Special mention for Cross, on violin, which makes the atmosphere more tense and suspended when played.

the title track opens the album. It is rather simple to listen to, compared to other prog songs: it's an instrumental piece, but it could easily have lyrics. Generally, the song is brilliant, with a great, but studied melody and awesome passages from different parts of the song. Truly a KC classic.

"Fallen Angel" is the song that least impressed me. John Wetton's voice is good, even though not as much as Greg Lake, and he shows himself well in this piece. It might sound like a sort of ballad,even though, you can't technically define it that way. But nobody prohibits me for saying that it is slower.

"One More Red Nightmare" has a similar melody to "Red", although this song is little less creepy, thanks to the addiction of vocals. Personally, I love this song, and I think it's one of those songs that you'll always remember. Bruford's drumming here is sublime, and Fripp shows what he's got as well.

"Providence" is an eight minute improvisation, where the atmosphere is always incredibly tense, and always seems like it will turn into an explosive and violent riff. The violin here is absolutely amazing, a brilliant piece of music, one of the band's greatest, most impressive, and most successful improvisation pieces.

"Starless" is the masterpiece of the band: a melancholic, mellotron driven piece is hearable in the beginning, with a stunning vocal performance by John Wetton. the sax gives a wonderful touch to it. Initially I wasn't crazy about this song, I admit it: I realize now how powerful and wonderfully done it is. A second part comes in after a few minutes, where the guitar plays a few notes, as some creepy surrounding is quite hearable. The ascending climax is inevitable, as the bass comes in, as well as some strange, LTIA like percussion. At the culmination of this part, the band is going pretty much wild, until a new part arrives, a lot faster, where a great sax solo takes place, while the rest of the band keep the rhythm. The main melody is soon after repeated, but the atmosphere now is a lot more tense and wild. The last minute is a reprise to the mellotron driven melody of the beginning, only with a pondering bass and guitar that accompanies. So ends a wonderful piece of music.

OK, I'll admit: it wasn't quite love at first site, especially because of "Starless", which seemed at the time a little excessive. I am proud to say that I now love this album, and that it definitely is an essential part of your progressive rock collection, because of its historical importance.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |


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