Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2129 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Emerson Lake and Palmer- Brain Salad Surgery

I am sure that for most ELP fans, this album is "THE ONE" in the same way that "Close to the Edge" is "THE ONE" for Yes fans and "Dark Side of the Moon" is "THE ONE" for Floyd fans.You know when an album is considered to be "THE ONE"- it invariably gets the deluxe treatment every time it is re-released.

I am one of those fans who see this album as their definitive statement even though I find the relentless bombast a bit too much at times and I definitely would not recommend introducing a potential fan to ELP by way of this album. Maybe the more subdued "Trilogy" album might do the trick.I made the mistake of thinking I could win over a friend by playing "Karn Evil 9 1st Impression" as loud as possible and he ran from the room in horror.So yes- it is incredibly brutal and intense and is imbued with an almost macabre ambiance -including the token light hearted song, "Benny the Bouncer"(check the lyrics) and yet there is something darkly beautiful about the album as well.The thundering Toccata is positively dripping with atmosphere and reminds me of being flying through a very dark and damp cave. The futuristic "Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression" is pure fantasy Prog at its best.I just love the way that track begins with the keyboard fanfare blasting over the top of an incredibly deep fuzzed base line which seems to growl out of the speakers.

The production on this album is truly extraordinary- slick, loud and powerful.Surprisingly,despite the massive sound, the album was in some ways stripped back as far as overdubs go so the trio could re-produce the tracks live. "Trilogy" by comparison is full of overdubs which is why apart from the albums' "Hoedown," most of the tracks could not be reproduced live the same way.

I do have have some reservations about this album. 'Karn Evil 9 1st Impression" starts off brilliantly, but seems to go on for too long, I could have done without that synthesized drum solo on Toccata which robs the track of its momentum - sorry Carl- and some of Keith's soloing during Karn Evil 9 9th Impression does sound a little cheesy. In other words there is a fair bit of excess- the sort of thing non Prog fans and Critics complain about when dismissing Prog Rock generally.But I still love this album and have no hesitation giving it two thumbs up. 5 stars

Lupton | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this EMERSON LAKE & PALMER review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.