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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.63 | 4186 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars This album is probably one of the most defining moments in rock, period. I'll begin with that. In 1969, a band came out with a uniquely dark sound that had musical complexity like no other band had before. It had talent like Greg Lake (THE Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), Robert Fripp, Ian McDonald, and Michael Giles. The music made was like no other band I have been able to listen to from this early in rock's history. Maybe there is a band out there that did this kind of music but I haven't heard them.

'21st Century Schizoid Man' comes out very powerfully and continues it's power all the way to the end of the song. It's as if they combined the heaviest sounds from different periods. Distorted guitar and voice from the modern age, swing like raspy jazz from the early 20th century, and a snappy rhythm and disjointed syncopation that would have been used by composers of old to exemplify ire. The slow brooding guitar which clashes with the speedy jazz ensemble provide a genuine 'Schizoid' experience. This is a good strong opening for the album.

Next comes in 'I Talk to the Wind' which is a very, very mellow song and completely switches the mood in a shocking, but well executed fashion. The lyrics and the melody for the vocals are (if you are familiar with Emerson, Lake, and Palmer), very much dominated by Greg Lake's influence in retrospect. You can kind of see how his presence shapes the band in this song. Note the end of the song, there is some beautiful woodwind work here with the flute.

'Epitaph' is next and again, Lake's singing is excellent. His vocals rip though the music like a bullet directing the song in it's ebbs and flows. The string sounds from the mellotron make this song sound epic as they course though the music. The music brings you in and out of the throes of depression. You can imagine a man ripped apart by confusion and frustration. In fact, the song is so sad, if you get too much into it (which is easy to do) you'll go down with it. As a sidenote, after listening to 'Epitaph' and 'I Talk to the Wind', one wonders if Lake took a little bit of King Crimson with him when he began with ELP. 'Take a Pebble' which is from ELP's first album, is reminiscent of this sound.

'Moonchild' is a very dreamy song and is quite psychedelic in nature. Especially 'The Dream' which is a subpart of the song. When Radiohead names this band as an influence you can see it distinctly from this song here. This song is very spatial and trippy, Fripp's guitar work and McDonald's keyboard work are awesome in this song and you have to listen hard to tell that there are 2 different instruments being played for awhile. The two musicians are so together and so in sync that they make the experiments in this song sound as if they are being played by the same person. The drumming, which comes in later is very well done and never overpowering. This is an experimental song, which is not everyone's cup of tea. It's mine, however, so I pretty much would rave all day about this track if I don't cut it short here.

Then, immediately after all of the quietus of 'Moonchild' comes the very powerful and majestic 'In the Court of the Crimson King'. Like a king's army marching through your quiet village, unannounced, it makes it's appearance. The lyrics and music bring you into a fantasy world while the chorus of powerful singing and chords ring with the majesty and power you would expect from a king. There are no real intricate instrumentals or complicated guitar solos to speak of, which is good because it would actually pull away from the song too much if there were. There are a couple of good segues from the song though that, like the rest of this album, are masterfully constructed.

This whole album is an emotional roller coaster. It goes from frustrated, crazy, and angry to content and happy. From happy, to tormented and sad, and from that, to dreams and awe. This album has everything you need to make this a good album. You have all of the base human emotions, good music composition, talented musicians, and creative lyrics and structure. This is one of the best prog albums ever made and you most definately should have this album in your collection, no question. If you like prog, you'll love this album! I give it a well deserved 5 because there are only 5 stars to give.

Watcheroftheskies | 5/5 |


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