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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3248 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The colour red conjures up images of angst, aggression, anger. Looking at the back cover of this album and seeing a gauge where the needle is in the red, I was sure I knew where King Crimson were going and I was certainly infatuated by the tone of this monstrous album. Stripped of the overindulgence of earlier albums Red is a raw and bruising album that takes it's cue from Larks Tongues In Aspic and it's followup, Starless And Bible Black but it moves ahead of those two and seeks out a darker and more undertone identity moved through swathes of distortion and hypnotic repetitive riffing, but that is not just the story. Red has the ability to turn on and turn up and pull back on the power where necessary and no more so than on the standout 12 minute plus opus "Starless" which starts of with a layer of mellotron augmented with some sympathetic guitar before the mood turns and brutality returns. John Wetton's raw voice brings a realism to the music and though "Starless" is a song of epic proportions there is no large scenes of pomposity that graced and flooded earlier King Crimson songs, and certainly no medieval grace that tarnished others. Everything is saturated and built with layers of intense distortion which makes Wetton's bass sound quite menacing along side Fripp's guitar but rather than thrash out big loud riffs much of the material on Red is well composed and each section is coherent and tautly conceived, Bill Brufords's drumming and timing is as potent as ever adding his own texture to the music. Listen to the very moment that the opening song "Red" starts. The big crashing chord starts on a half beat sounds almost discordant, yet harmonious, and gives the listener the direct intention for the rest of the album. Red is King Crimson stripped down to three piece and playing with dark brooding music with splashes of wood wind that actually drive that menacing feeling where the opposite might would have been assumed. It's a well crafted piece of music, heavy complex, stinging and sympathetic. Essential.
Philo | 5/5 |


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