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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2128 ratings

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2 stars I rue the day that Greg Lake walked from KING CRIMSON to join up with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer, sending KC down the path to jazzy and metallic glory. Lake's voice, properly deployed, is a joy to behold, as in the first couple of KC albums and a handful of ELP tracks. But for the most part he was buried in Emerson's keys that were beyond bombastic. While ELP redefined the makeup of a rock band, their best material was that which more closely followed the dicta of the genre, which was seldom on display.

By the time of "Brain Salad Surgery", the dinosaur was flailing big time. This is an even more polarized effort than the uneven "Trilogy", with few examples of even the level of songwriting and restraint shown on that effort. Apart from a reverent version of "Jerusalem" and the emotional ballad "Still You Turn me on", here we have virtually non stop histrionics and grandstanding that helped to epitomize what a few loved but most hated about progressive rock, even some of its biggest fans. The absolute low point is Lake disingenuously screeching something about "rock n roll", as if to say, hey we're elite intellectuals but we still have machismo.

I do feel a twang of regret at the idea of rating such a historically significant group so poorly, but then I force down a mouthful of this salad and realize two stars is all I can muster. Too much processed cheese.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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