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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.13 | 1881 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars I own 3 ELP albums, all three are some of their most ackowledged work, and this one, Brain Salad Surgery, was the first i got. It's not a bad album, not at all. It has it's good sides, and it can even rock out att certain points. Still, i feel like the only real reason for it's third star was the fact that it's such a classic.

When i first got BSS, which was one of my absolute first prog albums, along with The Snow Goose, Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick and In the Land of Grey and Pink, i was extatic over the album for a long time. I loved the artwork, i loved to sit back and listen to Emerson run that keyboard up and down with such speed and ferocity that it seemed out of this world, and with Carl Palmer banging away in all his glory, it really seemed like "The Bomb". I don't know exactly what happened since then, but somewhere during that year and a half or so my musical changes must have changed a lot, and nowadays the only track i can stand (along with Jerusalem, which i find slightly charming) at all is Karn Evil 9. And i'm not even talking about the whole thing, no, the only parts i find any REAL pleasure listening to is the first impression, due to it's extreme catchiness and ability to actually rock (especially the intro, which used to blow me away completely) and the third, which features some nice moog-soloing and a totally cheesy computer voice. 2nd impression never impressed me, with Keith Emerson's piano noodling and a completely atrocious steel drum part which is just as out of place as nothing i have ever heard before.

Besides that, i have never understood the chioce to call KE9 an "epic", since it is nothing more than one long song with 3 distinct part which bear no connections whatsoever to one another, lyrically, musically, or stylistically.

Lyrics are, as always with ELP, pretty stupid, and while i understand that it is not for the lyrics that you are supposed to listen to albums such as this, i have a hard timecompletely disregarding them when they are so outrageously corny as on Ke9: 3rd impression.

But more than all of this, there is one thing with ELP which prevents them from probably ever getting more than 3 stars from me on any of their albums. I have said it before, and i will say it again many times, as long at it still rings true; ELP's music is cold. Colder than ice. There is no emotion whatsoever in most of the notes they play (the exception being, curiously, the guitar solos by Lake on the first impression), and this is, to some, their main strength. They display great skill on stage, Keith is undoubtedly a great keyboardist, Carl Palmer is a wild drummer, and virtuosity is the main feature of the band. There rarely time for dreaming in ELP's music, it's almost always always 90mph which is the lowest speed allowed, and i understand that many people like this display of power from three gifter musicians, plus it's also a statement of sorts. Prog, "music for the mind". Well, it's certainly not music for the heart, but in this case, i am sure that, as well, it is not MY mind that it is suited for.

Still, i know that i am wrong, and i know that people will read this review and ask themselves "what'ya takin' about, boy, you on crack?" and that is alright, as i recognize that my experience of ELP is a purely personal one and that if you are new to prog and enjoy keyboard-driven music, you SHOULD get this album (after Tarkus, of course..) because there is a large chance you will like it, just like i did once upon a time.

And just do conclude this atrocity against prog that is my 2-star on one of the truly classic albums of the 70's, i will declare that me favourite song off the album is indeed.. Benny the bouncer. (and the whole crows breathes out, relieved in their insight that this man is indeed crazy)

Evans | 2/5 |


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