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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2129 ratings

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3 stars Intriguing title, fine cover artwork, great production but I think that this album should be named "Karn Evil 9" instead of BRAIN SALAD SURGERY, since the mentioned epic-lengthy piece takes 2/3 of the entire work leaving a sensation that shorter tracks are only filler stuff (and they sound like that). Bonus tracks on CD, used to write this review, softened a bit the feeling that we had back in the 70s that BSS was only and simply the KE9 album. Being so able to produce filler material, EL&P could extend KE9, add a couple of new songs and release 2 LPs or maybe a double album.

"Karn Evil 9" looks like an attempt to produce something spectacular, majestic, perennial and unforgettable but the final result isn't exempt of flaws - other previous EL&P long pieces like 'Tarkus', for instance, work much better. The almost half-hour of contradictory sounds and bounds is boring and few people are able to hear the entire track in a daily basis.
But here and there, one either may find pleasant parts and segments or also enjoy the notable and notorious skills and musicianship of band's members - although Greg Lake, who I consider one of the best vocalists of the entire rock scene, shouts more than sings in this particular track. And yes, 'Part 2' brings the emblematic phrase: Welcome back my friends/To the show that never ends, a kind of slogan that all fans of prog-rock know by heart.

Other songs are dimmed by the KE9 factor but they are not stripped of quality:
"Jerusalem", an old hymn adapted to shape band's reality opens agreeably the album (promises not accomplished, however), Lake's vocals are amazing and provide an extra colour to the song.
"Toccata", an adaptation of Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera's 'First Piano Concert, 4th Movement' is unarguably a Keith Emerson's sprout, a piece arranged in a way he could perform his excellencies and oddities at the keyboards. Noticeable in this track is Carl Palmer's outstanding drumming effort.
"Still. you turn me on" shows the balladesque face of the band, a grimace always inserted in each of one of the classical EL&P albums. Lyrics are a bit confused but once again vocals supply the peak of the song.
"Benny, the bouncer" is the weakest of album's short tracks, a skipping action doubtless.

Bonus tracks (on 2001 re-issue) add few to the entire work, a place to be visited mainly when it comes the will to hear the full CD.

BSS final consideration is totally attached to the highs and lows of main track, 'Karn Evil 9', in the same way it happened for TARKUS/'Tarkus'. However, while 'Tarkus', the song, saved its namesake album, here KE9 helped to bring an insecure navigation through album's tracks and at least two stars shall be extracted from the masterdom plateau - a good but non-essential output.

Atkingani | 3/5 |


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