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King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 2040 ratings

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4 stars Review Nš 31

This is my fourth review of a King Crimson's album. "In The Wake Of Poseidon" is their second studio album and was released in 1970. At the time, the group had already had the first change into their line up. One of their founder members Ian McDonald had already left the group, and two other members Michael Giles and Greg Lake were about to do the same. Michael Giles and McDonald left King Crimson to pursue solo musical careers. However, both recorded a studio album titled "McDonald And Giles" in 1970, before they dissolving their partnership. Lake, was the next member to leave the band, departing in the early of 1970, to join in what would become Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

So, the line up of the album is Robert Fripp (guitars, mellotron, celesta, electric piano and devices), Greg Lake (lead vocals), Mel Collins (saxophone and flute), Peter Giles (bass guitar), Keith Tippett (piano), Michael Giles (drums), Gordon Haskell (vocals) and Peter Sinfield (lyrics).

"In The Wake Of Poseidon" maintain much of the musical style of their debut studio album, "In The Court Of The Crimson King", released in 1969. Once again, all the lyrics were written by Sinfield and the music on the album was largely written by Fripp, with the exception of "Cat Food" written by Fripp, Sinfield and McDonald and "Merday Morn", which belongs to the track "The Devil's Triangle", which was written by Fripp and McDonald. Fripp's guitar isn't the dominant musical instrument on "In The Wake Of Poseidon". The mellotron, taken over by Fripp after McDonald's departure, still remains the main group's signature, in all over the album.

"In The Wake Of Poseidon" has eight tracks. The song "Peace" is divided into three tracks: The first track "A Beginning" which opens the album, the fifth track "A Theme" which opens the side two of the album and the eighth track "An End" which closes the album. About these three tracks, there isn't much to say, unless that they're three nice tracks, they're the smallest on the album, they're very quiet and they have only vocals and acoustic guitars. The second track "Pictures Of A City" is somewhat like "21st Century Schizoid Man" part two, completed with intricate guitar and saxophone lines and with a jazz rock musical arrangement. It has a great impact, because it was recorded much louder than the opening track. It's a typical energetic King Crimson's song, dominated by saxophone and guitar. It's a very well composed track, with excellent Lake's distorted vocal harmonies. The third track "Cadence And Cascade" is a mix of a folk and jazz song, with Haskell providing the lead vocals and a breezy flute solo of Collins. It may be the prettiest song that the group ever made. It's another calm song, very beautiful and is nicely sung. Some people compare this song with "I Talk To The Wind". But despite some similarities, I think that it's a different song, and a great acoustic theme. The fourth track "In The Wake Of Poseidon" is the title track song. It's a monumental and dramatic musical number, featuring waves of an ominous mellotron, and a Lake's poignant vocal work. It's the albums' answer to "Epitaph", and represents the masterpiece of the album. Sincerely, it's a beautiful and superb theme, which could perfectly to be part of their debut studio album. This is one of the greatest musical compositions released by the group. The sixth track "Cat Food" is a very original song, composed as something between the jazz and rock music, and that makes a very interesting musical fusion. It's a different song, it's very strange, but it's very curious too. It also features a neat vocal work from Lake and has also some tasty guitar work by Fripp. The seventh track "The Devil's Triangle" is an instrumental track divided into three parts: "Merday Morn", "Hand Of Sceiron" and "Garden Of Warm". This is the lengthiest song on the album. It's a very experimental song almost performed with free instrumentation. It's a massive track that builds some musical tension all over the song, with an effective use of mellotron, percussion and woodwind musical instruments. This is without any doubt, the most difficult and less accessible song of the album.

Conclusion: "In The Wake Of Poseidon" is often looked as the inferior sibling of "In The Court Of Crimson King". In a certain way, this isn't totally a surprise due to the monumental impact that the album had on the rock music world, even today. However, we can't forget that it was recorded at the time when basically the group was unstable, and with Fripp still managing to keep things together long enough to get the release of this excellent musical work. Despite some musical similarities between both albums, "In The Court Of The Crimson King" and "In The Wake Of Poseidon", I can't consider it as a clone of their debut. However, I don't consider "In The Wake Of Poseidon" as good or influential as "In The Court Of Crimson King", but still I believe that it's a very consistent album. So, in my humble opinion, I think it has enough quality, originality and song writing skill, to be considered a classic King Crimson's album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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