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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus CD (album) cover

TARKUS

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

4.05 | 1759 ratings

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strayfromatlantis
4 stars It's all there, yet there's something lacking. And it's not only the artwork.

This is a great album but not a complete masterpiece. First of all I think this album has a problem with its balance. There is this monster epic (in every sense of the word with Tarkus and Manticore) which blows people away (including me) until this very day. Then there come six tracks of very different atmosphere. I don't think they are all throw-aways but they provide no appropriate ending to the album, especially not the infamous Are You Ready, Eddie.

TARKUS: a suite in seven parts about the cycle of life and violence (as far as I understand it). Eruption (birth of Tarkus) is my favourite piece of the suite (has there ever been or more fiery instrumental intro to an epic than this one?). Except for Mass and Aquatarkus I think all parts of the epic deserve 5 stars.

JEREMY BENDER / ARE YOU READY EDDIE: both weren't really necessary, were they, guys? Jeremy Bender is at least cleverly placed to give us some time to breathe now the epic is done.

BITCHES CRYSTAL / A TIME AND A PLACE: both little nice prog tunes, way more aggressive than one would ELP expect to be. I like them a lot, especially the latter. In the same vein as LIVING SIN from the Trilogy album (a little devilish triad).

THE ONLY WAY / INFINITE SPACE (segue): The Only Way is based on two works of classical composer J.S. Bach and is therefore accomplished. There is an ironic tension between the music and the lyrics: Lake is obvíously very critic of religious beliefs - but Bach's music is that of a very religious man...

Infinite Space seems be there only to bring The Only Way to an end - and it takes them more 3 minutes to do so. They had an album to fill. And yet I think there's another reason behind this track and why it segues. Maybe the variations of the theme are a hidden tribute to Bach, the undisputed master of the art of inventing variations. I believe the title of the track hints at something similar (the infinte space of variation or so).

So, there are some shortcomings that keep me from giving the album 5 stars: the artwork, the strange tale of the epic, Mass, Aquatarkus, Jeremy Bender, Infinite Space, Are You ready, Eddie. But this album is nevertheless a must have for every decent prog household.

Favourite Tracks: Most of TARKUS, BITCHES CRYSTAL, A TIME AND A PLACE, THE ONLY WAY.

strayfromatlantis | 4/5 |

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