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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Trilogy CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1582 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Probably here 4.50 stars would be a better rating. I hesitate to give it 5, even if this album is in a way more consistent (not to mention more accessible) than its powerful follow-up, "Brain Salad Surgery". In my opinion, "Trilogy" is the least self- indulgent of ELP's 'golden age' albums, containing more high-quality music and not so much filler as, for instance, the otherwise magnificent "Tarkus" - a potential masterpiece spoiled by a weaker second half.

"Trilogy" is possibly Greg Lake's finest hour. His singing is superb throughout, even in the untypical "Living Sin", a rather sordid tale with rather odd, half-sung, half- spoken vocals. However, the first part of the title-track is the real highpoint, where he sings to the sole accompaniment of Emerson's piano, sounding poignantly wistful and intensely romantic. Then, after the last, melancholy note has been sung, all hell breaks loose, in the form of Emerson wringing all kinds of weird sounds from his vast array of electronic keyboards, backed by Palmer's metronomically precise drumming. Quite schizophrenic, perhaps, nevertheless one of prog's best moments - the calm before the storm.

The initial, three-part mini-suite "The Endless Enigma" is another of the album's highlights, an excellent example of symphonic prog at its best, while not as movingly beautiful as "Trilogy" 's first half. Lake sings masterfully here as well, as he does on the sweet "From the Beginning", easily the best of his acoustic ballads. Emerson sounds somewhat more restrained here, while he gives his Hammond a brisk workout in Aaron Copland's lively "Hoedown" (which was for some time a regular concert opener for the band). This leaves "The Sheriff", a much better stab at irony than the notorious "Jeremy Bender" and "Benny the Bouncer" - obviously far from being ELP's most memorable track, but undeniably more genuinely humorous and musically valid than the aforementioned songs (good singing from Lake too). Then, Emerson's take on Ravel's "Bolero" theme, titled this time "Abaddon's Bolero", while nothing earth-shaking, is a more than adequate instrumental, with good synth work.

Even if, in some ways, ELP (unlike, for instance, the more accessible Genesis) can be said to be an acquired taste, "Trilogy" - together with their magnificent debut album - would doubtlessly be a good introduction to the band for those who don't know them yet. At least, it was for me: I liked it so much that it left me wanting more - and I've never gone back since then.

Raff | 4/5 |


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