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


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.07 | 2096 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars People often talk about the 'masterpiece' that is Tarkus but criticise the album for lacking on Side 2. Well this can very much be the case on first and even second listen but when you really delve into the whole album it is easy to see that they didn't get writers block after the albums majestic centrepiece.

Side 1 really needs very little discussion. A complex and beautiful Prog Rock classic that has become one of the very symbols of progressive music in the 70's along with the name of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. A conceptual fantasy world created in 20 minutes of fantastic music, which can be loved or hated depending on the listeners definition of the word 'pretentious'.

Side 2 is where review and explanation is required. Starting off with ELP's trademark comedy piece with HonkyTonk style piano music and typically ridiculous Greg Lake lyrics. Then follows one of ELP's heaviest pieces Bitches Crystal which is the only piece to be still played by ELP and remembered by the passive listeners of Tarkus. Bitches Crystal is one of Greg Lake's strongest vocal moments on the album and one of his best lyrics.

The Only Way is one of the often forgotten pieces on the album, The arrangement of a Bach hymn with lyrics written by Greg Lake which are not his best. The first half of the piece is performed entirely on Church Organ with Greg Lake accompanying vocally, which is often why it is disliked and seen as slightly pretentious. But when the drums and bass come in it is classic ELP with brilliant playing and atmospheric music leading into the fantastic improvisational piece Infinite Space.

The albums 2 closing pieces A Time and A Place and Are You Ready Eddy? are where the album picks up the most criticism. Both are by no means typical ELP with A Time and a Place showcasing a similar style to Bitches Crystal this time with fantastic Hammond Organ playing by Keith Emerson, but a slightly over the top vocal performance from Greg Lake. Are You Ready Eddy? is a strange choice for an album closer, a comedy blues shout out to producer Eddy Offord which finishes with the group laughably shouting.

This is definitely no 5 Star album but it has very strong music throughout that is a must hear for any ELP and classic Prog Rock fan.

topographicbroadways | 4/5 |


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.