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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3220 ratings

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5 stars Mean, portentous, dark, brooding, verging on schizoid, insane, outrageous, completely inspiring and modern after nearly 35 years of presence. There are few recordings before and ever since that thrusts a listener beyond the pale, throttling wildly into the deepest sonic chasms. "Red" is an iconic slab of progressive rock concrete, with a trio of destructive power mongers in Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Robert Fripp. Their pedigree needs not to be even broached, as it has now entered legend. I have surreptitiously played this album to uninitiated youngsters convinced that Metallica were the prophets of hard edged rock music and their collective jaws are still lying in some drool-drenched puddle somewhere. This is a black and red experience, the rage from the buzz saw guitar is ominous, the grimy bass pummeling with brutish abandon while Bruford bashes boldly. "Red" conjures images of bleeding violence, slashing with crazed fury and eruptive decadence, an outright musical lesson to all fret aces, bass babies and drummer boys. The volcanic brew verges on tectonic fractures, profoundly harsh and disturbing. "Fallen Angel" is a much needed respite from the preceding turbulence with some soft reeds, acoustic guitar and a wispy Wetton vocal , all held together by a hardwood staircase guitar riff that uses the feral sax as a railing and some inventive BB percussive drumming that keeps the premise intricate and bizarre. "One More Red Nightmare" I guess says it all in the title, a simply amazing ICBM prog workout that has hissing gases spewing from the boosters, BB plowing manically in polyphonic glee, cymbals splashing wildly, while Fripp and Wetton keep it all focused on the ground zero target. A bestial slice of ultra-modern progressive rock that deserves an even wider audience of admirers, the main riff is unrelenting in its sonic carnage. (I had the kids gaping on this one!). Red marked the end of a career for this devastating crew, surely one of the top line-ups anywhere, issuing three bona fide jewels that still stand the test of time. Again, breathing space is needed after such an onslaught, "Providence" gladly obliging with David Cross shining on violin, sinuously carving gentle pools of cat gut frenzy, disjointed and oblique at first until the hyper-trebly bass cattily establishes its torture. King Crimson at its most experimental (or just plain mental!), Fripp scratching and clawing his black and venerable Gibson Les Paul giving the green light for some serious jamming and colossal interplay between the lads (I just follow the growling bass, lest I get too lost in maelstrom). A classic piece of genius, though not exactly easy listening or romantic candle light music (darn I should try it next time, see if I can get slapped earlier!). The closer is arguably KC's finest moment (with Epitaph), a brooding epic loaded to the gills in phosphorescent melancholia, a scintillating opus that has all the needed atmospherics, with massive torrents of mellotron and a whimsically despondent saxophone wailing away the pain of the universe as expressed by Wetton's lush voice. The instrumental section is utterly preposterous, Fripp's jangling guitar keeps things emotional and intense, Wetton's subtle bass foraging a path into the sonic forests where Bruford drops assorted percussive acorns. When the binary beat kicks in, the rapture is complete. Hectic, paranoid, manic, disturbing, chaotic and magnificent. The sax solo is one for the ages and the crashing exit that recalls the main theme, mellotron ablaze and smoking. A monument of perfection for the ages. 5 Cigarettes, Ice Cream and Portraits of the Virgin Mary.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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