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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2131 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I listen and read about prog rock since 1996. On those years it was unusual to find "sounds like ELP", at least when compared to Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, Van der Graaf, Rush and other classic bands in this genre. I know some groups from Japan, USA and Argentina that were musically influenced by them; on the other hand, the other cited bands made a wide and consistent influence in several countries through the decades. Does this mean that, despite their success on the 70's, ELP's musicallity didn't age well? And/or didn't spread so much around the world?

It's a complex question and matter to think about. First, it's not because their musical influence on other bands is medium or low that they lack originality and musicality. It can mean that their roots don't make much sense for the majority of other musicians.

Second. Very few bands assumed a relation to the diferent styles like they did. When making a composition with jazz elements, this part would be the main contribution on the execution. 'Benny the bouncer' is the example on Brain Salad Surgery. The same can be said with the more poppy songs. Verify, for instance, 'Still... you turn me on'. Prog seems to be in a 'lower' level, and there's more of the other style(s) present. About this feature, I'm confident to assure that it was a very, very tough task to achieve it as well as they did. How many bands you know that when they got poppy the result was almost always weak songs? And how many bands you can recall that was confusing when getting to close to the jazz? So, this album in particular, represents what I love the most about the group on the 70's. I don't know any other band that can/could blend rock, classical music, jazz and pop the way they did. I'm aware many prog fans don't like it; it's a fact that this caractheristic many times made them sound non-prog; or made them sound something that cannot be surely classified as prog. But that's the beauty of it all ? it's astonishing and good music that nobody else achieved.

Third. Another band, much more popular than ELP, delivers a musicality that is not so common to hear on further bands. Pink Floyd. I recognize that Gilmour's style is very influential, but there aren't much groups that released works you could say "sounds like PF". Does this mean that PF isn't so big? No! Hell no. It's a giant on prog rock.

Fourth. How many musicians you know that can play two complex and diversified tunes on two diferent synth/pianos at the same time, without becomming to dramatic and/or classical? Keith Emerson is one of these professionals we can call irreplaceable. I don't know how to explain why, but the same could be said about Carl Palmer. Because of that, it'll be hard to discover other musicians with those abillities.

I hope that my predecessor points of view can help the younger folks to understand a bit why didn't ELP go viral on internet and social network groups.

But now let's go back to the parts of the album I stil didn't comment. The first track is vibrating and sounds like a hymn. The second track, Toccata, I can never tell if it will be enjoyable or annoying on my next listening. Hence, I'll consider it the weakest point on the disc. Generally works well when I can turn off from anything that sorrounds me, in order to be entirely concentrated to listen him. On the contrary, the suíte Karn Evil 9 is a superb premium example of prog-rock.

Tracks 1-4 are 4.3 stars (it would be 4.6 if Toccata wasn't there), and the remaining tracks are 5 full stars, without any doubt.

arymenezes | 5/5 |


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