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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3220 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The least jazzy, and the nearest to rock, of all KING CRIMSON'S early albums, 'Red' is a triumphant conclusion to KC mark 1.

Carrying on in the tradition of insipid KING CRIMSON vocalists, JOHN WETTON nearly spoils the show again. But there are very few vocals on this album, fortunately. 'Red' is mainly a vehicle for FRIPP and BRUFORD to lay out their 1974 vision of where rock might go next - a vision not picked up for 15 years, until it was incorporated into Seattle's grunge sound. 'Red', 'One More Red Nightmare' and 'Starless' are outstanding (almost) instrumental excursions deep into a dark and distorted universe, the door to which was prised open five years earler by '21st Century Schizoid Man.'

The excursion starts right from the first note. Unlike the experimental 'Lark's Tongue in Aspic', 'Red' slams you with a full-body press. 'Red' is simple (for KING CRIMSON anyway) raw power, but no less effective for that. 'Fallen Angel' is relatively anonymous, and 'Providence' is the obligatory experimental noodling track. Compartmentalising the music like this helps the new listener assimilate the album more easily, meaning that 'Red' is possibly the most accessible KING CRIMSON album, but in the end it is the first KC album listeners usually tire of.

I like this album much more than 'In The Court of the Crimson King', but for the purposes of this review I will not rate it as highly. By now the progressive rock beast had become a lumbering dinosaur, and the small punky mammals were assembling to take the behemoth's place. KING CRIMSON'S 'Red' did nothing but accelerate the process. Though the music is better, there is no compelling reason to recommend this album as deserving of a place in everyone's music collection.

The next time we see KING CRIMSON is in the tame Jurassic Park of the early 1980s, a resurrected dinosaur that would better have been left to rot.

russellk | 4/5 |


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