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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3248 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars A monumental album that blends the best of both worlds - the romantic grandiosity of King Crimson's Mellotron-soaked first, historic line-up, and the jagged, improvisational feel of the Wetton-Bruford-Cross era - "Red" is an undisputed masterpiece. Easier on the ear than its dark, brooding predecessor, "Starless and Bible Black", it showcases the individual abilities of the musicians involved while at the same time emphasising the seamless results of their teamwork.

The title-track opens the album in true KC style with one of the greatest instrumentals of all time, in which Fripp's strident guitar is pushed aggressively to the fore on Bruford and Wetton's pulsating rythmic background. "Fallen Angels" starts in a rather low-key mood, making immediately clear that Wetton has taken gigantic steps forward as a lead singer; then climaxes with a jazzy, horn-filled section. Wetton's vast improvement as a vocalist also comes across in "One More Red Nightmare" , an out-and- out rocker that he carries off with panache. The instrumental, heavily improvisational "Providence" is the only track here that could be termed as filler - or at least part of it could. It's undeniably a bit too long, and its unstructured, loose feel clashes with the rest of this superbly constructed album.

"Red" ends with the bang which is "Starless", 12 minutes of pure prog heaven, one of those tracks which deservedly top many people's all-time favourites lists. Introduced by wistful Mellotron strains, it sees Wetton's best-ever Lake impersonation (and I mean it as a compliment), followed by a tense, almost menacing mid-section which culminates in a reprise of the main theme, a heady, majestic blend of horns, Mellotron and violin. Utterly fantastic.

KC split after this album, only to reform seven years later with a new line-up and the excellent "Discipline". It is rare for a band to end its career with such an unadulterated display of greatness, but KC have always proved the exception to any rule.

Raff | 5/5 |


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