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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.55 | 3231 ratings

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4 stars So, Red. At this point my second favorite album by the Crimsons. This is the album that Kurt Cobain said was an influence and is probably their grungiest album in terms of production and sound. It almost sounds as if the guys recorded it in a garage; a bit muddied and gritty.

The title track begins the record and holds nothing back. A nice distorted kick in the teeth right off the bat! Red is a track that is heavy, ominous and driving. Fripp's genius is that there are no words. But no words are needed for this track. It speaks volumes with the instrumentation. The little twangy note at the end of the riff is very Nirvana-esque, so I can see where Cobain got his influence. The heavy section changes here and there, but really takes a turn around 2.45 and goes into a piece that sounds like the theme for Salem's Lot (1979) before taking a dive back into the main riff and finishing strong.

Fallen Angel comes in with an odd reversed guitar swell and then into a smooth, oddly upbeat verse that sounds a bit off (sort of like the Talking Heads a bit) until the heavy chorus takes over the song and recreates the entire atmosphere and feel of the song. The chorus is my favorite part, personally. The horns aren't irritating, but actually complement the song.

Next in line is One More Red Nightmare which is a collage of madness. Superior skills are showcased in the music here, but I really have two issues with this track: Wetton's vocals are terrible (imo) in this song and that silly clap sound at the end of the percussion in the verses irritate me to no end, but the music overall is just too incredible.

Providence is something that could've easily been a track on the Larks' Tongues In Aspic or Starless and Bible Black albums. It keeps the continuity of those albums within the Crimson sound and the element of (what appears to be) improvisation and experimentation. The guys have always been able to impress in this area and this is no exception.

Finally, but definitely not least, is the track that begins like Pink Floyd's "Careful With That Axe, Eugene", but doesn't keep the dark feel very long. This song is a very strange bird. It appears ominous in the beginning, but then segues into something almost spiritual and uplifting, yet uncertain. But, maybe that is just my take. Many consider Starless to be one of KC's masterpieces, but I wouldn't go that far. I think it is a very solid track that features Wetton's bizarre vocal stylings marvelously, but is definitely no Epitaph.

Overall, Red is my second favorite KC album (only to ... In The Court) for a good reason. The album is full of red meat for a Crimson wolf. Heavy music combined with beauty, strange melodies and odd timing make this album a definite KC classic, not to mention the pioneering of the grunge sound making this album a high 4.

PinkYesGongMachine | 4/5 |


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