Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover


King Crimson


Eclectic Prog

4.57 | 3717 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars AMAZING

Now, I know that many have reviewed this album, but I thought it at least deserved one person's praise, if not hundreds more's. The lineup has become a trio now, featuring Robert Fripp on guitar, John Wetton on bass and vocals, and Bill Bruford on drums. Fripp's edgy and unpredictable playing pioneered the genre of what was then called "art rock," and this album is a prime example of Fripp and the gang (which changed every album, it seems) blazing through more uncharted territory.

1. Red- Right off the bat, it hits you with a wall of distortion and Fripp's strangely atonal guitar line. For 1974, this is pretty distorted and heavy, much heavier than most music dubbed "metal" in that age. The song sets the stage for the rest of the album's tone, but manages to be a great instrumental all on it's own, with all characteristics of progressive rock in addition to what they brought to the table, i.e. the heaviness aspect which makes the album almost terrifying, which was totally unheard of before. 9/10

2. Fallen Angel- A change of pace now to a much lighter, more beautiful song, starting off with a few weird noises and a heavy wah noise in the lower register, as well as a pretty violin solo. For the first time on the record, we hear Wetton's voice, and I must say, it's quite good! This song is allegedly the last song Fripp ever played acoustic guitar on, although he switches frequently for his thundering electric throughout the song. A moving ballad apparently about street life (to be specific, someone being stabbed I believe...not sure), the chorus is so amazingly emotional, as is the guitar harmony part in the middle, where a slightly skewed violin maks its haunting return, and finally, the epic outro with the trumpet solo....marvelous 10/10

3. One More Red Nightmare- starting off in the same fashion as the title track, the drum work proves to be the most interesting on this one thus far (though at its best in Starless in my opinion). Easily the catchiest song on the album, this one starts off as a little more straightforward rock tune with a disturbed distorted edge on it, though it quickly progresses over the course of its 7 minute span. This song also features the excellent saxophone work of Ian Mcdonald, with a pleasant jazzy solo to contrast the main riff of the song, which soon returns at its end, quite abruptly might I add. 9/10

4. Providence- Yes it' improv jam. However, this track does not fail to be interesting in the least, even if it does lack the structure of the previous tracks. Setting out with eerie and strange violin noises, it quickly develops into one of the weirdest and most offkey/just plain off tracks I've ever heard, yet it develops into something. This is also easily the "scariest" song on the album, if it can be called that. Wetton does some of his best playing here, and Fripp just generally does what he always has: make weird/wonderful noises. It takes a little while to get started, but once it does, it's great. 7.4/10

5. Starless- one of the most moving and emotional songs I've heard in my life, there are no words to describe this song. So:

....just kidding. [/endbadjoke] Starting off with several layerings of strings(I think that's what those are...), it sets it up for an already epic feel, and Fripp's guitar comes in with the main melody, and Wetton's subtle but effective bass is not distorted at first, though this changes over the course of the song. McDonald returns with smooth, well thought out , and beautiful solos (I need a new word for beautiful, I'm using it way too much) The song moves into the middle section, which may come off as repetitive, but it sets up the building tension to the amazing climax of the song, with Wetton's bass having a more distorted and foreboding tone, and Fripp proving that he can evoke emotion by literally playing the same few notes over and over again. As the song builds, it turns into a distorted frenzy that builds up finally to the saxophone replaying the main guitar melody from the beginning, and the result is something I've only felt from a few songs, and never on first listen like I did with this.

End results: Superb work from all three instrumentalists (and the guest artists), setting a new standard for progressive rock (yet again) and also somewhat birthing, in a sense, the whole metal genre. Their influence can be found in modern prog all over the place, specifically, in The Mars Volta and to a lesser extent Tool. Fripp intended this to be KC's last album (though it clearly wasn't), and it was, it would have been one hell of a way to go out.

heyitsthatguy | 5/5 |


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 KING CRIMSON 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.