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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2126 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is really somewhere between 3.5 stars and a full 4 stars, really. Perhaps 3.75 stars?

You know, again, I didn't give this a fair chance. It comes off as pretentious, and occaisionally just pointless, but it's not bad. In fact it contains some very good music, but then again it has some worse stuff as well. Let's look:

"Jerusalem" is an okay song. It is very, as previously stated, pretentious, its lyrics are taken from a hymn! Not my favorite on the album, but not my least favorite either. The main focus on this song it seems would be the drums of Carl PALMER, whose intricate and speedy drumwork shows up even EMERSON, whose keyboards seem to be just pinning down keys. "Toccata" is a very good song, mainly consisting of thudding percussion and keyboards. It's very avant-garde, a reinterpritation of some Ginastera's First Piano Concerto. I don't pretend to know who he is, but in any case ELP's version is very good, and highly recommended.

"Still...You Turn Me On" is a mediocre love song. Probably my least favorite here, actually. LAKE's guitar sounds a bit like Steve HACKETT in places, and some wah in other places. Ho-hum, not too much special. "Benny the Bouncer" is another out-of-place tune, but this one is easier to swallow. It is really my favorite of the first four songs that have lyrics, as a short, fast, bar piano number in a weird 30s style that is much more successful than the other bar piano joke "Jeremy Bender" on "Tarkus."

Now we come to the best song on the album which is, of course, "Karn Evil 9 (First Impression)". From start to finish it is an instant classic. Parts one and two are equally good. If you buy this album, buy it for this song. The second impression is a big instrumental track, and a fairly good one too. Nothing breathtaking, but worth a listen. The third impression is a bit awkward, with the computer voice and cliched "man vs. machine" situation. Very pretentious, and the concept is fairly laughable and overdone. But after a second look, the music is phenomenal, ending in a big, spiraling moog loop sped up and up until it explodes. A great song, just ignore the lyrics.

This is the first prog album which had tracks not thouroughly enjoyable after a few listens and attempts to understand them. But where it lacks in some places, it makes up for in others, especially "Toccata" and the first impression of "Karn Evil 9." Suggested for those who don't mind pretentiousness.

penguindf12 | 3/5 |


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