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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3218 ratings

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3 stars 'Red' is the seventh studio album by progressive rock band King Crimson. 'Red' marks the last album of the John Wetton-era, and the last King Crimson album until 1981's 'Discipline'. I don't think I've made it any secret that I loathe Robert Fripp with a passion. To me it seems he's stuck in the past, and refuses to accept that it isn't 1974 anymore with his opinions on streaming and the like. However, credit is due when credit is due, and that credit being 'Red' is a pretty decent album.

The opening instrumental title track is easily my favorite from the album, keeping a nice hard rocking riff throughout the song yet having a menacing bridge with various string instruments. It goes on a bit too long in my opinion, as it doesn't change much, but a great song nonetheless. I would really enjoy 'Fallen Angel' if it wasn't for the saxophone which honestly ruins the song for me. Once the song builds up, the guitar has a nice dark vibe and John Wetton gives some great vocals while singing 'Fall-en Ang-el'. Unfortunately the saxophone just sounds out of place, disrupting the dark atmosphere of the song. I'm not a fan of brass instruments, but I do know that they can fit in rock songs as heard in Heart's 'Even It Up' or Gentle Giant's 'Peel the Paint'. However, The saxophone isn't really an instrument that can fit into a melancholy song like 'Fallen Angel'.

'One More Red Nightmare' is my other favorite from the album, and is only slightly ruined for me with the saxophone. Like the opening instrumental, it opens with a nice rocking riff with some impressive drumming from Bill Bruford. Next up we have the avant-garde 'Providence', which I believe to be the most annoying song on the album. While towards the end there's some nice bass from Wetton, there's just too slow of a build up and guitar noodling that drives me nuts. It honestly seems too "art for art's sake" to me as there is no real rhythm, structure, or melody that you can follow along to, but I suppose if you're a fan of improvisational music you may enjoy it. Finally comes 'Starless', which is often called the highlight of the album, yet I find to be one of the weaker songs. It takes way too long to build up, taking more then half the song, and once it does it's an okay fast jam but nothing mind-blowing.

Overall, I'm probably the only one who thinks that King Crimson's best work didn't come until recent years with the post-THRAK albums, but this is certainly one of the better albums of their 'classic' era. While not being to my tastes, I can see why this is a widely regarded masterpiece. The musicianship is excellent and it was an influence on the rock and metal world, this is just one highly-rated album that I don't enjoy much.

(Originally written on

Pastmaster | 3/5 |


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