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King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

3.93 | 1754 ratings

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Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Progressive rock doesn't get much better than this, unless of course it's another album by King Crimson, Lizards or Larks Tongue for example. No formulas and very few clichés, Fripp and company explore restlessly and combine all manner of musical styles into a unique mix that is all their own. All the favorite Crimson flavors are here: blistering urban jazz rock on Great Deciever, bizarre avant Brit-funk on We'll Let You Know, fierce driving Bartok/metal proto-math rock composition on Fracture and rare glimpses of sensitivity and beauty on Trio. The best thing about Crimson is despite their intellectual approach, when they decide to rock, they really rock, and in an over the top aggressive way that is only matched by other supreme hard rockers such as Deep Purple or The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Crimson also keeps it real and gritty, unlike other prog rock bands of their era there are no fairies, dragons, capes, boots or dungeons, just honest hard rock influenced by jazz fusion, modern composers and avant- garde improvisation.

The interesting lynch pin in this group is bassist John Wetton. Faced with the unbelievable challenge of fitting in between the humongous talents and egos of Bruford and Fripp, Wetton rises to the challenge and plays in an aggressive heavily distorted funk/metal influenced style that I have never heard him recreate since. The poor guy was probably exhausted after a couple years with this all star cast that tours endlessly and always sleeps with one eye open.

This was probably the last classic progressive rock album that I really felt enthusiastic about. Crimson's follow-up, Red, sounded like it was rushed out for release and relied too much on repetitive formulas and a bigger sound that was getting far too close to stadium rock. The Trans-Am crowd was never Crimson's domain as KC was far too jazzy and avant-garde for the crowd that was eating up other prog rock bands who were starting to shift to a more radio friendly sound. Soon after the release of this album the world of progressive rock would slide into arena rock influenced conformity and predictability, but fortunately the jazz funk elements in Crimson's music pointed the way towards a huge wave of creativity that would soon come from the worlds of jazz fusion and P funk.

Easy Money | 5/5 |


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