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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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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
5 stars King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King [1969]

Rating: 10/10

In the Court of the Crimson King does not need my commentary. This is the album that is most often labeled as the first progressive rock album. Although artists such as The Bealtes, Frank Zappa, and Pink Floyd built a heavy foundation for prog, this is the album that catapulted rock music into a new level of creativity and artistry. In the Court of the Crimson King was so radically ahead of its time that if it were to have come out yesterday, I think that this description could still be applied.

Every track here is a separate entity in and of itself. Each is stylistically unique, with distinct compositional styles and musical dynamics. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is one of progressive rock's most recognizable songs; the vocal hooks, inventive guitar work, staggering rhythm section, and jazz-rock insanity make it a true classic. "I Talk to the Wind" calms things down quite a bit. This is a pastoral, folky song centered on flute and soft vocals from Lake. "Epitaph" is a Mellotron-laden epic with some of my all-time favorite lyrics. Lake sounds emotional, Fripp's acoustic guitar is gorgeous, and the entire song is quite an experience. "Moonchild" is one of the most controversial songs within this genre of music. It begins fairly normally, with soft vocals and vibraphone, then transitions into a ten-minute-long minimalistic improvisation that I won't even try to describe. Many people see this song as ramblingly overlong pointlessness, but I enjoy it quite a bit. Both the vocal section and the abstract portion manage to create a distinct atmosphere; I envision a full moon overlooking a gnarled oak tree whenever I listen to this. The title track brings back the Mellotron and the grandiosity. This song moves seamlessly between epic passages and quieter, more subdued sections - all with a distinct Renaissance feel.

In the Court of the Crimson King may be innovative, historical, and revolutionary, but these factors are not what make it such a masterpiece. Even if this wasn't the first progressive rock album, it would still be one of the greatest. Every moment of this album is memorable; the composition, musicianship, lyrics, and musical textures are some of the best ever recorded. This is one of those excessively-praised albums that actually deserves all of the love it receives; it is essential to anybody who is a fan of music.

Anthony H. | 5/5 |


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