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

IN THE WAKE OF POSEIDON

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.83 | 2028 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
2 stars The King was getting too comfortable

KING CRIMSON suffered one of the hardest situations a young band can face, releasing THE ALBUM on their debut, the one that defined not only Progressive Rock for the first time, but which also created the parameters that would be used to define Symphonic Prog.

After the incredible and unexpected start, KING CRIMSON had no alternative but to make something even more radical, this is not the case of "In the Wake of Poseidon", after the magnificent "In the Court of the Crimson King", all the fans were expecting a release that proved the band was capable of anything, but didn't came. Their second record is just a failed attempt of repeating the formula that consolidate them at the head of the recently born Progressive Rock movement.

Some people could suspect that the loss of Ian McDonald, one of the developers of the fantastic atmosphere in the debut, but I don't believe it's a determinant fact, Mel Collins is at least as strong in his performance but the formula is the same, clean, polished, beautiful........................tame.

What really doesn't help is that Lake is limited to the excellent vocals, because Peter Giles is not able to complement his brother in the rhythm section as Greg did, something strange being so used to play together, but evident from the first listen.

Fripp and company try to repeat the formula of their debut track by track but they fail in each attempt, sounding more as a second rate copy than as an original album.

The album starts with "Peace - A Beginning" a short intro in which Greg Lake shows again the ductility of his voice and leads directly to "Pictures in the City", which from the first note tries to recreate in some way the fantastic "21st Century Schizoid Man", but they fail miserably, yes it's loud and strong, but lacks of that radical and revolutionary sound, this is an exhausted formula that they had to leave very soon before becoming a cliche.

"Cadence and Cascade" starts with a beautiful acoustic guitar intro where Gordon Haskel takes the lead vocals, his voice is very nice and soft, but there's something missing, reminds me a bit of "I Talk to the Wind" but much more predictable, this time Mel Collins¡ flute is delightful and the soft piano by Keith Tippett is a good complement, but again, this has been tried before, it's time to move to something different.

"In the Wake of Poseidon" is a contradictory track, even though I can listen advances from the "Starless" era, still they can't leave "Epitaph" behind, even Greg sounds tired and bored of the same sound. Yes, it's a good track, very dramatic and well elaborate, but all those innovations KING CRIMSON was able to create in order to define a new genre with their debut, are left in the past.

From this point until the end, we start to see the seeds of change, in the music, "Peace a Theme" is a good change, nothing too explorative and daring, but at the end it's only a short interlude where Robert Fripp proves how capable he is with the guitar.

Immediately we pass to the jazzy and vibrant "Cat Food", not spectacular (nothing is in that level on this album), but at least a step forward, they dare to be different, take risks, do something that they know won't be in the level of their previous release, but still leave the comfort zone. Now Greg Lake sounds interested, not tired of the same as in the first songs, it was about time.

Still not free of the In the Court influences, "Devil's Triangle" presents us a new perspective, extremely pompous and absolutely epic, if the long tracks from the debut had been mostly atmospheric and dramatic, in this case they add a touch of adventure, this may sound dated in the 21st Century, but in 1970 was really adventurous, another good change, mainly because the song gets more complex and elaborate as they advance, yes it's hard to understand and even too risky for some, but that's the name of the game, Progressive Rock means to expect the unexpected, not just beautiful tunes, we need some challenge and KING CRIMSON provides that attitude, still not the best we can expect from Fripp and his guys, but it's a solid advance.

The album ends as it started, with another Lake vocals based short track that seems created to give some conceptual background.

What else can I say? The album is not bad, by the contrary, well recorded, excellent sound, correct, clean and pristine, this would be OK for some bands who base their albums in a well known formula that they use over and over, but the name KING CRIMSON; makes you always expect something special that I can't find in this album.

I wish there was a 2.5 stars rating, because "In the Wake of Poseidon" is nothing more than an average album, but sadly we don't have that chance and I don't believe such a predictable release deserves 3 stars, so with not little sadness will rate a correct but anodyne album with 2 stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 2/5 |

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