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King Crimson

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5 stars You have to buy this disc!!!!! The recording quality is not very good, but the music is incredible strong. Red is a amazing song.... Very hard and scaring Fallen Angel is a sort of ballad, with a lot of guitars with heavy distortion on it. I can't understand how the beauty of the song remains untouched. Another Nightmare is Ok Providence: Filler. And one of the finnest moment of the band: Starless. The melody of the beginning is pure beauty, the lyrics are inspired, the middle section is very crazy and the grand finale is one of the best I heard on prog, besides the ending of Close to The Edge (Yes).
Report this review (#15158)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Seeing Red, Robert??

This album is a posthumous album, since the group had disbanded on "god-knows-what" whim from the omnipotent master and guardian of the faith Fripp. An unusual album cover for a group that had placed a strong emphasis on album illustration (if you'll forget the Live albums and the previous SABB), maybe indicating that the album was dumped on the market as an afterthought. But if every afterthought was so thoughtful as Red, we'd never end a debate.

Red (the title track) is probably the most over-rated number from Crimson and the fact that the title track is the most often covered Crimson tunes only confirms this to me - it is one of the simplest one also. As the previous album line-up had been reduced from a quintet to a quartet, David Cross also had left reducing Crimson down to a trio, by this album, pushing Fripp to think about his "small mobile units" concept ramblings about his group.

As stated before Red is a very popular track both among fans and other groups, and although I loved it back then, I now have grown a bit tired of it since I heard it too many times. Providence is unfortunately similar to Moonchild in its free jazz noodlings but Moonchild at least had some evident structure in its start. Fallen Angel is excellent and one of my favourite of Crimson all tracks but the real treat here is the Crimson Finale that even Fripp thought it would be the appropriate swansong for KC, Starless. This number brings you back to ITCOTCK with McDonald, to Lizard and Island with Collins and to Aspic with Cross. A fitting adieu and a masterful closing of the loop! Too bad the guys playing on it did not know (except for Fripp that is) that this would be the final track of KC for a while!!

That track closed every night at the only bar I ever really hung around as it was the only prog cafe to my knowledge and a fitting goodbye to every one of the buddies and the excellent night spend there. Patrick Joly, this review and Lark's Tongue review are dedicated to you!!!

Report this review (#15165)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The album in which all the elements of Krimson come together, the best example in which the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. "Starless" is a beautiful, dark, yet (in the secon half) wild, quirky, and exhilarating experience. Kind of like the Abbey Road of Krimson's first period.
Report this review (#15166)
Posted Wednesday, February 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Although the debut album "In The Court Of The Crimson King" is difficult to overcome in terms of quality, "Red" comes closer to it. The work is incredibly gloomy and closer to hard rock for the heavyness of distortions, yet melodic and full of magnificent textures (winds section is beautiful). One of the best dark progressive albums together with "H To He" from VDGG and "Ys" from Balletto Di Bronzo.
Report this review (#15157)
Posted Sunday, February 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars King crimson...are you mad? I grew up with these guys!! In my early years i listened to King Crimson´s :" In the court of the crimson king" and what a great experience it was!! Now several albums later i sit here with: "RED" ..OOoooohhhh this is great! First track : "RED" by the one an only Robert is a master tune indeed!! The heavy theme...the darkness ...the ultimate black song....and its wonderfull!!! Never has the world (progworld that is)seen /Heard such a heavy themesong!!! But hey.... King Crimson is more than that!! Well of course they are!! King crimson is (are) the kings of prog in extreme!!Never have you heard such sounds... never have you heard such energy in music!! I dont know what to tell you about this fabulous album...except..its a fantastic thing.....prog music was never the same... John Wetton´s voice is beautiful and so is the music!! Im lost for words...this is ....the prime of intelligent progmusic!! In short... King Crimson are prog in the extreme!! Get this!!! Listen to " In the Court of the Crimson King"...then get this......GEM!! I dare´ll never hear another prog record such as this!! This is the ultimative prog songs......"Red" and " Starless". OOOOooohhhh its so beautiful it hurts!!!

Report this review (#15159)
Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars inferior to LTIA and SABB as an album. Providence is a killer improvisation, Starless is amazing, no words can describe it. But Red(despite it's cult status), Fallen Angel and One More Red Nightmare sound like they were cut offs from SABB sessions. Still this is a superb music, only a bit overrated and like I said inferior to preavious works by this lineup. Best album to start with KC!!!
Report this review (#15161)
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars definitely most overrated Crimson album, and one of the most overrated prog albums ever. Nightmare, sometimes of course band tries to play MUSIC , but it's rather like supplement for Islands or something, but as long as other critics are pleased this exaltation will go on.
Report this review (#15193)
Posted Sunday, February 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply the King Crimson`s album that made the total influence in the actual music related to progressive, hard, pop and heavy rock. We must remember Kurt Cobain...he said "When listened RED from King Crimson I decided to introduce my life in a musical career...". So RED is the fundamental basis of actual rock musicians......EXCEPTIONAL. "Starless" is one of the songs more beautiful and strong I have ever heard in my life. John Wetton play it with his both, angelical and male voice.
Report this review (#15181)
Posted Friday, March 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars My favourite " CRIMSON album", an excellent piece of intelligent music for all seasons, whose moods will be partially emulated by the superband "UK"... "Red" (the title track) is exceptional. "Starless" instead is probably the best track of the album, a stunning mini-suite, characterized by the crepuscular vocal interpretation by John WETTON, but also an incredible final instrumental excursion by BRUFORD and FRIPP. Thanks to a memorable crescendo!! Despite of being more accessible, in comparison for example to "Lark's Tongue in Aspic", this album is always stunning, even when WETTON leads the band to some more melodic fields of exploration (the most accessible song "One more Red Nightmare" is a remarkable example).

Highly recommended!!

Report this review (#15174)
Posted Saturday, April 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A surrealistic & distorted atmosphere prevails along this album. There's a lot of original ideas here... each track is different from an other. The title track delivers a straight progressive instrumental improvisation built around a reccurent theme lead by Fripp very personnal guitar playing. The second track is a more melodic rock structured song, sustained by well found sax & guitar arrengements. "Providence" is near to contemporary and dodecaphonic music with a nice 'Zappa' flavour. Finally, "Starless" which closes the album is a nostalgic tune with an intense sax solo part. This album hasen't aged and is a good start for beginners.
Report this review (#15182)
Posted Monday, April 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I do not like when FRIPP sounds his rhythmic guitar like that! It's almost grunge: listen to "Red". Awful! He should have put some cleanness in his sound! IMO FRIPP always had some problems with his rhythmic sound.

"Falling Angel" is decent, despite they have made better smooth songs. "One More Red Nightmare" is totally awful! WETTON sings really bad on it! Even his bass is grunge! The violin on "Providence" is particularly irritating! "Starless" is probably the best one: more conventional CRIMSON stuff full of relaxing mellotron and the usual FRIPP's tender and melancholic high note guitar sound.

Ancestor of the grunge, it's one of their worst albums. I cannot listen to it entirely!

Report this review (#15183)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars What a great album! Innovation with respect for traditions, that's the secret of a great work! IMHO In this album we start to hear the beginning of the new KC's sound, every song is incredibly easy-listening but non-commercial, a strange sensation that I felt only with this work. A must for every KC fan
Report this review (#15184)
Posted Monday, April 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Less is more on "Red", where the trio of BRUFORD, FRIPP and WETTON execute lucid arrangements of top-shelf material. The opening title track picks up where "Fracture" left off, an angular, instrumentally daunting composition that presages the style expounded on in 1981's "Discipline". "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare" move with purpose, a pair of songs that rank with CRIMSON's best. On side two, violinst DAVID CROSS and a handful of ex-Crimsonites are re-admitted to the fold for the experimental art jazz of "Providence" and the brilliant song, "Starless." This last track reveals a restraint not found in the band's earlier work -- from FRIPP's deceptively simple guitar solo to BRUFORD's studied manipulation of percussion, "Starless" proves the pinky of God is more powerful than the hands of man.

Not everyone is enamored of "Red" - one critic called the final track "listless" -- but for those that have been watching Crimson closely to this point, it's a near-final step in evolution.

Report this review (#15185)
Posted Saturday, May 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars If I had to choose one adjective to describe this album, that adjective would be 'thick'. 'Red' is the thickest King Crimson record to date ('The Power to Believe' comes close at times) and doubtless one of the thickest, heaviest albums ever recorded by any band. Combined with Wetton's melodic vocals, Fripp's increadible sustained guitar, and the occasional string or horn accompaniament, the thickness achieves a certain unique beauty. Jazz elements can also be heard, especially on 'Providence' and 'Starless', and keep the pieces from being overwhelmed by their own weight. Every track on this King Crimson masterpiece is fantastic: thick, heavy, melodic, jazzy, beautiful.
Report this review (#15202)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wow, KING CRIMSON really knows how to open an album! The first thundering notes of "Red" put it right alongside "Lark's Tounges" (any part) and "Fracture" as a classic KC style sonic blast. The song, and the album overall, is a bit more focused than previous efforts; having pared down the lineup and the chaos a little works well for a closing statement to this version of the band. "Fallen Angel" is a lovely melodic composition, in the same realm as "The Night Watch" or "Book of Saturdays"; the refrain wears on me just a little but I'm always transfixed by Fripp's beautiful, restrained lead playing on this one. "One More Red Nightmare" is less appealing to me, but like "Providence" contains some memorable instrumental moments among the improvisation- largely from the guest players, who sound unexpectedly at home in the mix (Mel I have to tell anyone where else to find him?). This pair of songs is where I sometimes lose a little bit of interest, though, as they do not rise to the standards of the rest of "Red". Forget about the complaints, though, because the album climaxes in "Starless", arguably one of the band's finest works; from an instantly lovely melancholy opening to the minimalist and funky/noisy sections (elements of the "Discipline" era can be heard in their prototypical form) and finally to a short but stirring conclusion, the band and guest musicians are nothing less than magnificent. It is simultaneously the culmination of everything the band has done before and also notably unique among the band's songs. If only the recording quality were a little better...but if you like "Starless and Bible Black" as much as I do, you'll find "Red" full of wonderful moments, a few surprises, and maybe the best KING CRIMSON song ever recorded.
Report this review (#15203)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red may not be a mind blowing phenominon but its still great as hell! I don't know why this album wasn't more raved about then In the Court of the Crimson King becauseI think that this album was even more marketable for being on radio etc. They definately could of have several hits off of this album. Don't get me wrong because I love In the Court of the Crimson King and also gave it a 5 but this one could of and should of had better success.
Report this review (#15204)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Crimson or red?

I've never really got past "In the court of the Crimson King" with King Crimson. After that, they moved more and more towards jazz, with increasingly less rock in evidence. "Red" redresses the balance slightly, and thus I found it more enjoyable than most of their output.

John Wetton's influence both in terms of songwriting and performance enhanced the finished product considerably. With only five tracks in total, they are inevitably pretty long, with "Starless" being the longest at 12 minutes. It's probably also the best track, with the mellotron sound which made their first album so distinctive much in evidence. This gives the track a welcome retro feel. The jazz influence is however still very much there, with improvised sax and guitar rather outstaying their welcome.

The other tracks range from the more rock based "Red" and "One more red nightmare" to the softer "Fallen apart" and the rather uninspired "Providence".

Overall, the rock aspects of the album are reasonably enjoyable, but personally, I'm left cold by the improvisational and jazz inspired parts.

Report this review (#15205)
Posted Sunday, July 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Red" is not only essential listening for Prog fans, it's a blueprint for quality Rock music. From the storming title track opener to the unsurpassed beauty of 'Starless', each note played reminds the listener what exciting music is all about. True, the sound might not be up with today's digital standards, and yes, 'Provindence' would probably make more sense on a session/live set, but the sheer velocity of the playing, the professionalism of musicianship and the intricate compositions reward every repeated listening. "Red" is the logical zenith of 70s King Crimson, if not of 70s Progressive Music on the whole. No one can overrate any album that contains a true masterpiece like 'Starless', with its dreamlike melodic introduction, a minimalist, yet powerful centre piece and a grande finale Beethoven would be jealous of. And you'd even be forgiven if you get this album for this track only, but own it you must!
Report this review (#15206)
Posted Tuesday, August 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A very strong album and while more simplified in parts RED has the distinction of also probably being the most popular KC album. Well that's what most people tend to suggest! The title track for me and ' providence' the most likely gems on an excellent release. 30 Years young or old depending on how you want to look at it :-)
Report this review (#15207)
Posted Sunday, August 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Man With Hat
Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars Red. It is a very good album. The band really puts forth great music. Fripp is insane with some of the songs, but it all comes out good. Red is an incredible song, as are the next two. Then Providence comes along. A very pecular song. But, that is why it is great. It is one of the strangest arrangments i have ever heard, but it comes off beautifly, and one the first improv since their previous album. The final song is one of the best pieces of music in all of progressive rock, nay, all of music. Starless is a masterpiece...the slow build, the great bass and drum work, the quiet starkness of the beginning, and then...everything explodes. Literally. Frantic. Exciting. Exhilerating. The entire band lets the music soar off their instruments. A climax like this one has never again been replicated.

All in all, this may not be thier best album, but it's very good. It is essential for the mere fact that it contains Starless, a song every proghead needs to hear. A great example of progressive rock. Every prog fan should hear this album. Highly Recommended.

Report this review (#15208)
Posted Wednesday, August 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The colour red conjures up images of angst, aggression, anger. Looking at the back cover of this album and seeing a gauge where the needle is in the red, I was sure I knew where King Crimson were going and I was certainly infatuated by the tone of this monstrous album. Stripped of the overindulgence of earlier albums Red is a raw and bruising album that takes it's cue from Larks Tongues In Aspic and it's followup, Starless And Bible Black but it moves ahead of those two and seeks out a darker and more undertone identity moved through swathes of distortion and hypnotic repetitive riffing, but that is not just the story. Red has the ability to turn on and turn up and pull back on the power where necessary and no more so than on the standout 12 minute plus opus "Starless" which starts of with a layer of mellotron augmented with some sympathetic guitar before the mood turns and brutality returns. John Wetton's raw voice brings a realism to the music and though "Starless" is a song of epic proportions there is no large scenes of pomposity that graced and flooded earlier King Crimson songs, and certainly no medieval grace that tarnished others. Everything is saturated and built with layers of intense distortion which makes Wetton's bass sound quite menacing along side Fripp's guitar but rather than thrash out big loud riffs much of the material on Red is well composed and each section is coherent and tautly conceived, Bill Brufords's drumming and timing is as potent as ever adding his own texture to the music. Listen to the very moment that the opening song "Red" starts. The big crashing chord starts on a half beat sounds almost discordant, yet harmonious, and gives the listener the direct intention for the rest of the album. Red is King Crimson stripped down to three piece and playing with dark brooding music with splashes of wood wind that actually drive that menacing feeling where the opposite might would have been assumed. It's a well crafted piece of music, heavy complex, stinging and sympathetic. Essential.
Report this review (#15226)
Posted Saturday, August 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember reading a review about Red when it came out saying that it was a shame that when Robert Fripp finally got the right progressive balance in his music, he chucked the whole thing soon after. It was a shame that after this classic progressive album, he disbanded the original version of King Crimson, thus they were not able to build on this direction. The first side (Red, Angel & Nightmare) is the perfect match of progressive music to go with minimal, but effective John Wetton vocals. While Providence drags a bit, Starless is another excellent mix of music and vocals. Even though, In The Court of the Crimson King deservedly gets the most recognition, Red is a very worthy number two.
Report this review (#15210)
Posted Thursday, October 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have heard a lot of anticipation about this album but didn't know what to expect after i finally got it. Obviously the line-up has changed quite a bit, with only Robert Fripp surviving from the original line up of the debut album which completely blew me away. It is a shame to say goodbye to David Cross but i think King Crimson proved they could manage brilliantly as a three piece.

Bill Bruford gives an immense performance on the drums throughout the whole album, whether its him whacking away on the powerful intro track or his quiter drumming to fit in with the mellower sections of the album. It really looks like he has settled in well after leaving YES, and he managed to record on masterpiece albums with 2 of the biggest prog bands ever.

This album opens with the title track, "Red". This is a powerful and menacing instrumental. I cant get over how lush their style of playing and their distortion is. I think this sound has had a strong influence on bands to follow. I also saw a strong grunge sound with Robert Fripps guitar on this album, so i am guessing they inspired bands like Pixies and Pearl Jam. This opening instrumental really grabs the attention of the listener. I guess it does show some similarities to the opening track on their debut, "21st Century Schizoid Man" as it uses distortion to its advantage. This is one of the main influences to set King Crimson aside from other prog bands of the time. The use of saxophones and violins also made them stand out and they used these features to their maximum ability on this album.

"Fallen Angel" is an excellent piece. The vocals just blew me away. I love the way the mellow opening with the lush acoustic picking (it sounds like it anway) comes in after the opening verse (around 50 secs i think). This progresses beautifully into that lush distortion and the mixture of this, the vocals and sax absolutely blows me away. This is one of the albums most incredible music and is probably my favourite track on the album.

"One More Red Nightmare" is a close contender and another excellent piece.Again there is a perfect blend of the three main members and the additional saxaphones, oboes and so forth. This song tries to expand that sound furthur and it works wonderfully. One of the most emotional parts on this song, and the whole album is when the distortion comes in at 2:05ish and is followed by a lovely drum rumble by Bill.

"Providence is one of the most progressive pieces on the album and rather experimental. It kind of reminds me of the last 9 odd minutes of "moonchild" which was track 4 on "In the Court of the Crimson King". The distorted guitar is less apparent hear but there are some interesting experimental effects used and the additional musicians really get to show off their stuff here. It is a beautiful piece and very good to listen to.

"Starless" is a dark, expansive piece that closes the album, i found this piece to be excellently arranged. I am not sure if it is a continuation of the last album or anything but i love the way the lyrics link to their previous effort, "Starless and Bible Black". This piece is the most progressive on the album, which makes it rather captivating. It kind of sums up by combining all the different sounds and moods on the album and is a real wonder.

Red offers immense musician work, vocals, lyrics, production and arrangement. This album sounds a lot more stripped down and simplistically arranged than their monster debut but it has just as much depth, which makes it so special. Red is a defining album of King Crimson as well as progressive rock and an essential purchase for any rock collection as there is a little something for everyone on this album.

Report this review (#15214)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, one of the great King Crimson albums of the mid-seventies (like Larks or Starless) is a great achievement by the most fascinating King Crimson band of all times. Wetton's voice is perfect and so the musical carpet displayed by Fripp and Bruford, in an electrifying attempt to create the thinking man's heavy-metal. Red stands still alongside some early masterpieces (KC's first album overall) but, in time, seemed to open new directions, unfortunately interrupted in the continue changes of teams Fripp tried (with ups and downs). these new directions were seeds to the Discipline era in the early 80s. The fiery ballad of "Fallen Angel" is a great song, similar to the epic sound of "Nightwatch" (from "Starless"LP).
Report this review (#15218)
Posted Saturday, January 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is their best, and possibly one of my 2 or 3 favourite albums. "Providence" is just a jam , but it is a pretty good one (better than "Moonchild" and those one their previous album), which keeps me entertained for its 8 minutes. Still, it's the weakest song here. The rest is perfect: "Red" is probably the best instrumental I've ever heard, which a couple of amazing riffs. "One More Red Nightmare" also has a great initial riff, and Bruford plays perfectly. It also has a nice jam with a saxophone, which I really love. "Fallen Angel" is a much softer song which I love. But not as much as the closer: "Starless". This could be the best KC song ever (or maybe the best song ever done by any band): it starts with a sad and beautiful melody and some mellotrons (it has a simmilar style to "Fallen Angel" and songs from their previous albums, such as "Exiles" or "Epitaph"), but at about 4:30 it suddenly changes, and what follows is one of the best moments ever recorded, which I won't detail here. An amazing and hard-rocking album. It has great saxophone jams, Fripp and Bruford play perfectly, while Wetton puts a really good performance with his bass and sings much better than in their previous 2 albums. I think this is the place to start: if someone tells you that prog rock is "boring pretentious self-indulgent music", tell them to get this one.
Report this review (#15221)
Posted Saturday, January 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I discovered King Crimson as a result of the Asia debut album in 1982 (even horrible taste can be cured!) and have been a diehard fan ever since. "Red," along with "Starless and Bible Black," are my two favorite works from Crimson, with Red getting the nod as the better of the two. The raw power of the music, coupled with the lyrics' exploration of the more inhuman areas of humanity, make this work one of the standout efforts of 70's prog. Simply glancing at the cover of this album should be notice enough of what is in store: the three artists are lit from the left side in black and white, with touches of gold and red breaking the starkness of the photo - very reflective of the precious-metal vocals from John Wetton, the drive of "Nightmare" and the pain of "Fallen Angel," which accent rather than relieve the soul-darkness of "Starless" and the intensity of "Red." "Providence" is often (and rightly) tabbed as the weakest cut on this album, yet it is still listenable and well- executed, and it fits well with the darkside-of-humanity theme by being a place in this music where nothing much happens and nothing much changes - without in any way lessening the oppressive, brooding tone set by Fripp and Co. It is impossible for me to imagine what grunge would have been without this album's trailblazing. It is obvious to me that it would never have been nearly as good at its best, because the standard set in "Red" is high indeed. If I had to listen to only five albums for the rest of my life, this would be one of them.
Report this review (#15224)
Posted Saturday, January 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Great heavy KC album. Though I preffer LIZARD, I must addimit that RED is as good as. In my view, the only mistake here is the track called Providence, that consists of 8 minute piece of absolutely nothing. Sadly, it's the only track in the album that contains David Cross on violin, and it's really a waste. Of course, the highlight here is awesome Starless, I mean, WHAT A SONG! Great mellotron, great melody, great guitar-bass work, great atmospher and of course a suberb sax solo on the very end... Really great!
Report this review (#15225)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars well this is considered to be the kings at their best and i starts of with the title track and you can almost see fripp rocking!this song reminds me of progressive metal,almost.but the best track on here has got to be fallen angel.the singer really carries off that "faaaallen "well.i think OMRN a bit too long.same with starless.but they really have played very well on the track.the most underrated song on here is providence. if you listen to the songs seperately you know on a greatest hits or something you won't get them as you would on the album.
Report this review (#15228)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Of all three masterpieces that King Crimson recorded during the brief Wetton-era, this is my favourite one. Following in the same harsh road of its predecessor "Starless and Bible Black", "Red", while not portraying the massive sophistication of "Larks' Tongues", nevertheless manages to enhance the red hot energy that the band already mastered, taking it up to a higher level of excitement and compositional inventiveness than the band had ever known before: and of course, the level was kept evenly according to high standards from day one (that is, the release of "In the Court of the Crimson King"). It may sound a bit ironic since the group's line-up was reduced to a trio format in these "Red" days, but yes, KC found its way to retain their frontal rocking power and make it stronger while decreasing in size. The opening title track is a lesson in hard rocking and clever dissonances, taught through a strategy of inventive chord progressions, effective interplaying, and a fluid connection between the reiterated main motif and the sinister intersection. This same harsh approach can also be found in many passages included in the remaining repertoire, but the track 'Red' is the most emblematic of the album's overall direction. 'Fallen Angel' combines the clever hard rock ordainment with beautiful acoustic guitar based sections for the verses: there is a notable contrast between the controlled textures played by the mellotron, oboe and lead guitar during the verses and the freer lines played by the cornet during the choruses, which establish a frontal counterpoint to Fripp's minimalistic riffs. Things again get harder, and also a bit jazzier, in 'One More Red Nightmare': once again, a wind instrument - this time, a tenor sax - serves as an accomplished guest in charge of adding fuel to the fire of rock'n'roll during the subtly complex instrumental passages. 'Providence' is basically a reminder of the "Starless and Bible Black" days. A testament of Cross' input to the band during this era, the 'Providence' jamming is initially led by him on violin until Fripp assumes the leading role, a status that eventually both will share during the last portion; the rhythm duet plays beautifully, paying close attention to what is demanded from them and how it is demanded. It's really amazing how this improv stuff can sound so ordained in a way. But the breathtaking gem is yet to come, and that is the closure 'Starless', arguably the best KC song ever. This song starts as a typically Crimsonian ballad, with a mellotron that leads the way by displaying haunting harmonic layers and a slow tempo delivered with absolute distinction by Wetton and Bruford: the guitar leads serve as a counterpoint to the mellotron, while the soprano sax flies as a counterpoint to Wetton's sung lines. No other melody could fit better the lyrics, which compellingly portray the absolute darkness of the inner self in contrast to the shades of light exposed in the outside world during the last minutes of twilight. After this enormously beautiful passage, here comes the most famous minimalistic guitar solo in prog history: Fripp's one color musical picture is ornamented by Wetton's wicked bass and Bruford's percussive implements, until the drums join in for the explosive partial climax that soon leads to a fiery jam. After the alternate solos on sax and guitar during the jam, the initial motif is reprised for the definitive climax. So captivating and so disturbing at the same time. a perfect ending for one of those KC perfect masterpieces --- 5 stars!!

[I dedicate this review to my beloved "Starless" friend Beatriz]

Report this review (#15230)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
4 stars In some ways better than "Larks..." and "Starless..." in other not. While "Red" in not as complex and hasn´t got that many solos as "Larks..." and "Starless..." it is in some ays a better , because the whole album creates a special mood like the first albums ("In the court...", "Lizard", "Islands"). All the songs are fantastic , but I specially don´t like the saz parts in "One more red nightmare"...I find them a litle bit too long. "Red" (the song) is the best track, with al least 3 very distortionated guitars and good drums by mr. Bruford. Almoust perfect...almoust
Report this review (#15235)
Posted Wednesday, March 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars i suppose this is best 'progressive-rock' album they have made! Other albums have more melancholy compositions and haunting melodies, so does this but with more rocking style. I like the new style a lot because crimson always had the rumbling potential in them but doesnt have used it so often (as Rush for example) and that makes this album so spectacularly good. Buy it and listen it trough few times and you should get the idea. But REALLY something i dont understand is: those Crimson fans whining about the new style or the lacking melody side of the album because i think this is one hell of a rocking ride for an progressive album and it doesnt lack melodies or beautiful slow-mo-moments at all, i think it has them in plenty! And i suppose even them are done better than ever before and with a superb new style and sound! Crimson's arguably best effort with Court in its side.
Report this review (#15236)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is my favorite Crimson album. The tracks are dark and heavy, but remain symphonic, nonetheless. This album can probably be called progressive metal, seeing how chops heavy it really is. I love every track on this record save for Providence, which is only mediocre. Some of these tracks could've made it onto the radio--they are very accessible-- if disc jockeys were a little more openminded and not so darn commercial and worried about money. I recommend this album to anyone who does not consider themselves a KC fan. For anyone looking to get into Crimson or progressive rock in general, this is a great place to start, as there is some great riffing on this record that can serve to transition you're rock sensibilities to a more progressive format.
Report this review (#15237)
Posted Monday, March 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of the main albums that turned me on to prog, everything about it seemed to fly in the face of the music id previously heard (odd time signatures, diminished 5th's, classical structuring). Not only this but the album is also home to the best King Crimson track ever in Starless. Almost in a sonata form, and with an extremeley intricate middle section that resolves back into the original melody, this song is one of the best peices of music i have ever heard.
Report this review (#15239)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is easily one of my favorite albums of all time. It was metal before metal existed. King Crimson was always known for releasing albums that never sounded the same. This album sounds very different from the first album, this album is very different from Discipline. Anyway, this album is the culmination of all the hard work from Guitar Maestro Robert Fripp, bassist John Wetton, and drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford.

The opening track is a killer instrumental with some very powerful guitar riffs from Fripp, an enjoyable bass line from Wetton, and a killer drum track from Bruford. This like most instrumentals has its ups and its downs, its loud moments, and its softer moments. I remember listening to it for the first time and thinking that this was the best thing I've heard in a while. The next song "Fallen Angel" has some very strong guitar from Fripp, some enjoyable violins from David Cross, and an all around good performance from the rhythym section. Going from quiet gentle guitar to a crunchy distorted sound, the song pulls it's weight around. The next track, "One More Red Nightmare" has some of the best drumming from Bruford ever heard of record. Each fill is precise and is incredible every time you listen to it. A very enjoyable bass line and riff are encased in this excellent song. After that, the second instrumental "Providence" comes through the speakers. Most consider this just to be album filler, but I really enjoy the gradual intensity, starting out quiet and slowly picking up pace. The final song "Starless" is considered to be the gem of the album. With some emotional guitar and mellotron from Fripp, some great drumming from Bruford, and a great vocal performance from Wetton, this song carries its weight. Starting out as a vocal track, the song quickly turns into an instrumental jam, comprising of the final 5 or 6 minutes.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable album. No progressive rock fan should be without it. This gets my highest recommendation.

Report this review (#15241)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unlike most people here I will not talk about technique but concentrate on the feelings I have, listening to this album. The first piece is REd - a very strong instrumental that makes me feel the sense of caos, terror & horror. then comes Fallen angel which is beautiful and sad and seems to me as an elegy of the state of mankind. One more red nightmare is a cinical desperate say of where we stand. Providence is the weird piece of the album - tunes that does'nt fit to a melody but listening to it carefully gives me the feeling of waiting for the bomb to fall, not welcoming it but paralized by the thought. The last cut is the longest and complicated one, named only starless because the full name (starless & bible black) was used in a previous album with that name. It starts with a liric lament sang by wetton and then turns to an instrumental theme that rises to let us feel how the end of the world will sound (and to warn us it's about to come). Remembering this album was made at 1974 when the detant was at it's peak and many people were building atomic shelters we can easily understand what this album is dealing with. Red is after all the colour of blood. The use of dissonant tunes was never so massive and it emphasise the feel of despair. For me this is King Crimson's best album and the one I will choose if I have to hear only one album for the rest of my life.
Report this review (#15242)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars That's what I mean by MODERN PROG. I don't care if it was made in 1974, nobody, nobody sounded like this again. This should have been the way, not metal prog or hyper prog and all that .... well. Not mentioning all the european electronic crap or cross over or , well, I'll shut up. It's very simple stuff to play , but complesx MUSICALLY, there's actually a modern thought behind the sounds, ooohh those crounchy sounds..... they come out from a human choiche, not from keyboard transistors. Lyrics actually matter!!! Songs are so well written that actually help an average singer like Wetton. It's a good album to start with King Crimson. A great one to get inspired if you want to make some seriously innovating popular music.
Report this review (#15244)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Old friend charity Cruel twisted smile

These words have resounded in my head for years. Contrast is such a powerful resource. The other thing that keeps sounding in my head is that melody with a minor sixth and dwelling on a semitone. Simple but poewrful polyrhythms, Wetton´s beatiful voice and Brufford´s unique drum. his record is not presicely the work of virtuosos, but it is original and beautiful.

Report this review (#15245)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was the final album from the '73-'74 (Fripp, Cross & Bruford) whoever-period and it shows a harder-rocking sound, completely finishing the transition that started on Larks' Tongues In Aspic and was stabilized on Starless & Bible Black. The title track is a great instrumental rock-song with a great bridge in the middle, Fallen Angel and Starless are nice ballads in Crimson style, the latter of which features some great instrumental work near the end. Providence is a nice duet between a violin and the rhythm section and One More Red Nightmare is a dark song revolving around innovative percussion and a great alternative theme.
Report this review (#15250)
Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I first heard Krimson, I didn't like them. They were too trippy, no structure, nothing. How wrong I was, for sure. King Crimson has since become my second favorite band of all time. Their songs are daring, fun, trippy, and heavy and sometimes very mellow. This album ahs everything. The dominating opening riff in Red gets your attention right away...then they hook you with crazy drum fills. The next song, Fallen Angel, is a great ballad that really builds to something awesome. It starts off with some cool, evil sounding harmonies, then goes into a mellow section with some great lyrics. Great song, although not overly memorable. It does meander a bit in the beginning, but then begins to kick ass.

One More Red Nightmare is probably my favorite song. It features the best drumming...ever. Period. The chorus is marvelous with clapping and all and great singing. The solo sections are also a great listen. Providence is a strange one, with about half of it leaving you going...WTF? But then it picks up halfway through with some crazy soloes and musicianship. It's an alright song, but it kinda brings this album down.

Starless is an awesome closer. It starts out fairly mellow with catchy singing that's very beautiful. It builds a ton throughout the song and makes for a great listen. At some points it feels experimental, others psychadelic, and others symphony. There's really no hard rock in this one unlike Red and One More Red Nightmare. This song has EVERYTHING you could ever want in a song. Perfection. a must-have. Buy it.

Report this review (#35697)
Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Woow this album is heavy, its almost a metal album, it must definitly be crimsons heaviest album i have ever heard if you thought larks toung in aspic part 2 was hard rocking wait till you have lisened to this. And its allso my #2 favorite crimson album, Its imposible to give this anything else then 5 star this is a complete masterpiece, my god why in hell did this fantastic band split up after this fantastic record yust imagine what the follow up to this culd have been, its realy sad. Well on to the songs the title track kick start the album realy hard rocking instumental and a great opener, then we have Fallen angel and this track i yust love it start with some creepy sounds then comes a fantastic melody that must have been made in heaven and then some heavy great parts and back to the softer melody a masterpice of a song. After that we get oOne more red nightmare a metallic song and a very good one hard rock at its best, and after that comes a much softer but very strange and spooky Providence and its anothere winner fits perfect for the album and gives it some varition, its an instumental jam a very good and creepy one. And the comes the last song for the album and for this line up of the band and its the swan song of the album. Start as an mindblowing beautiful ballad, it allmost makes me cry somtimes its yust so god dame beautiful, then comes another part that builds and builds and then we got the final part on the song and its stellar, yust perfect ending to this monster of an album the saxophones are great and everything is realy tight and heavy, then its over and your left breathless...
Report this review (#36747)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A wonderful, dark artifact immortalizing the magic which King Crimson managed to conjure in the early 1970's. This album succeeds conjure that even better than their classic "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" album, as it has much stronger material on it, even some live improvisation from the concert stage where this band truly hit their top notes. Before this album's studio takes were recorded, the band had started to disintegrate as David Cross has quitted from the group. He is still present at the mysterious and nightmarish improvisation "Providence". Many dislike this blow, but I think it's very good, not as constructive as the jams from 1973, but it sounds more like a modern classical music played with rock instruments. The opening title track "Red" is also a classic, as it is so pure, constructed force of sound. Next two composed pieces "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare" are then artistic and jazzy hard rock tunes, which never got to be played on the stage as Fripp quitted the band before touring. The final track "Starless" was a familiar number to the audiences of their earlier concerts, and it's recorded here with slightly fixed lyrics and Mel Collin's saxophones. If You like this album, I recommend seriously to get some of their live albums from the 1973-1974 periods for Your listening.
Report this review (#37361)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think that this album is the highest masterpiece in their various works. An outlook on the world assumed to be a mope thoroughly heavily and an overwhelming improvisation were touched. The perfection of all musics is high, and "Starless" is especially a famous piece of music that should be listened.
Report this review (#37762)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This one took a little bit for me to get into: it's the only whole King Crimson album I have, and despite its short running time it contains some truly amazing progressive pieces.

1. Red 10/10 This is in my opinion what Black Sabbath should have sounded like, and if they had they would have been even better than they already were. A thundering prog-metal instrumental that is seemingly quite simple on the surface with its repeated verse/chorus type riffs but the riffs are varied in repitition, and along with some clever overdubs and leads it makes the piece much more complex. A brilliant way to begin the album.

2. Fallen Angel 10/10 Absolutely beautiful song that takes a little while to get to you, but for me at least this is the best song on the album. The haunting intro crescendos in with a little mellotron (? maybe bass?) backing a dark and beautiful guitar lead from Fripp. Two complex verses pass before a foreboding slow heavy riff and Wetton's bellowing of "fallen aaaaaaangel..."; when that first explosion of saxophone hits on the next repition of "fallen" I get a massive uncontrollable chill. Amazing saxophone work on this song. Even after just the first chorus there's already a jam, with a really dark and apocalyptic feel, finally crescendoing to another awesome riff and several solos that sound strangely like slow Metallica solos from the 80s, only better. Truly an amazing piece.

One More Red Nightmare 9/10 Another fantastic piece, this is in some ways kind of like "Red" only with vocals and the slow arpeggios/sax playing parts that really make this piece stand out. Bill Bruford's drumming on this song is absolutely phenomenal, you really have to listen closely to it and you gain a hell of a lot of respect for the man.

Providence 6/10 Not much to say here, this is the only real disappointment on the album. It's a good piece, but doesn't fit with the otherwise rocking vibe of the album. It sounds a lot like a track for a film soundtrack; good but not worthy of this album IMHO.

Starless 9.5/10 Outstanding; people say it best when they say its a two-part song: the first half is a slow and haunting mellotron-driven ballad and the second half is haunting progression driven by arguably the most effective minimalist guitar solo in history. It all progresses to an absolutely amazing explosion into a saxophone solo near the end, then up to a slow haunting oboe (or maybe an alto sax or something) solo while Bruford maniacally taps the cymbals. Then everyone goes crazy on their instruments, then reprise the melody, backed by washes of haunting mellotron. Truly an amazing song.

A fantastic album worthy of all the praise, and one that deserves more respect I do say. Exquisite.

Report this review (#38487)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I respect Fripp and all he has done for progressive music, but I have never been a fan of King Crimson. 'Red' however is a fine prog rock album, with emphasis on the ROCK. From the chaotic and exhilerating instrumental title track that opens the album, to Wettons grungy vocals on 'Fallen Angel' you can hear why Kurt Cobain thought this to be the best album ever recorded.

The line up at this stage was just a trio; Fripp, Wetton and Bruford (and a few guests of course) and its works perfectly. 'One more Red Nightmare' is a classic, with funny lyrics about Wettons apparent fear of flying, and some excellent funky drumming from Bruford. 'Starless' is what I would call a 'Mellotron' classic, slow, moody almost sinister but with an undercurrent of beauty, thanks mainly to Fripps slow melodic guitar part.

A good album to coax newcomers to prog into the genre! Unlike alot of KC's work, this album is quite direct and listernable. The indulgence and, what I regard as the lack of direction, of 'In the Wake of Posseidon' and 'Larks...' is not really in evidence here. A good solid rock album, with prog sensitivity.

Report this review (#38575)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars In my personal opinion the best crimson album. i know that is very difficult to say, but this si muy favorite, despite the marvels that it is albums like ITCOTCK, DISCIPLINE, ISLANDS, and the most recent POWER TO BELIEVE.

Red has everything, excelent vocals, amazing music, produccion, impresive complexity, intense feeling.

Every instrument is a delight; Wetton with a very hard sound in his bass, something i have never heard before, Bruford that in my oppinion offers his best work ever!!, even better than in his works with yes, he brings a percusive complexity that you have to listen to his drums many times to fully appreciate it, listen carefully to the drums on one more red nightmare and you will find out what i am talking about. and master Fripp, playing one of the most intresting guitars i ever heard, and also one of the most beautifull, just listen to the begining of starless.

is an album full of rage, very violent, with tons of distortions, some people could consider it to be pionneer of grunge, i have no idea if thats completely right, but if i am sure of something is that this is a essential album for every one who consider to be a music listener or a muscician.

i proudly give 5 stars, it is a masterpiece, at every sense.

Report this review (#38610)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Rhythmicly, this album lacks so much- The lyrics are interesting, but nothing to write home about- "One More Red Nightmare" is one of the worst prog songs I have ever heard- tied for 1st with YES "Close to the edge" I enjoy other albums from this band- but I cannot stand this one- I can not listen to the whole album in one sitting- its sound just isnt anything special, rather, annoying. It burns me to give this band a bad review- but I can't help it.
Report this review (#38685)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars An album half the normal price but worth at least twice of it.

Too good to be true?

Well, in my case, regarding this album, that is what actually happens. I bought the CD brand new at a big record store in Jakarta for an improbable price (only five bucks!) and yet, as I already knew from my past collection of cassettes version, the music it kept inside is of high praise effort.

This album features five incredibly solid songs that can be described as a last-gasp effort of a band in its death throes (Robert Fripp, its founder, disbanded this version of King Crimson after recording this album). This fact alone makes it impressive. Few bands, as far as I know, could have produce an album as good as this when they were in the path to be buried.

We can only guess what factors contributed to that particular achievement. Probably, among others, it was the fact that, beside the core members of the band, Fripp also successfully assembled those from the group's past -- Mel Collins, Ian McDonald and Marc Charig. Why? Because their performances put colorfully surprising sounds into the overall heavy and noisy (Metal? Grunge? Whatever you name it) materials played by Fripp, John Wetton and Bill Bruford.

The name King Crimson and the "legion" of musicians involved supposedly speak for itself. However, if they are not enough, there is of course another better way to for you to check out: try the first track "Red" (you can download it here for free), which is pretty much sum up the whole of the album. For devoted fans, surely there is no other way than go to the record store and buy the CD.

Report this review (#41355)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is easily King Crimson at their best I believe (I do not own the majority of their albums). Still, I am confident that this band had not achieved better music than here. This is probably their heaviest album.

Red 5/10 : This is an instrumental song that is very good in moments. The problem is that the guitar sound is not my taste, some riffs are not that good, and it overstays its welcome.

Fallen Angel 9/10 : Now, this is what a song should be like!! This is King Crimson at their very best, creating a piece of art that contrasts heaviness with tranquility. The heavy spiraling guitar riff is mesmerizing, and the drumming here is something to pay attention to.

One More Red Nightmare 6/10 : This is a good long King Crimson track with a good rhythm section.

Providence 4.5/10 : This is like Moonchild, but somewhat better and less messy. It is basically a jam.

Starless 10/10 : Ok, it is strange not to call this a work of art. Starting as a mellotron drenched ballad ... it is unexpected that it will change into one of the wildest, most creative, and scariest instrumental breaks ever put on record. It has a bass line and a rhythm section following what I think is a time signature of 13/8, and a 'two-note' guitar solo... yes! two notes! (G and F#). As crazy as it sounds, it actually works and Bill Brufford played some of the best percussion ever. The ending of the song is the band going berserk on a breathtaking loud jam.

In conclusion, I have to say that this is King Crimson's overall best album, even if it has spotty songs like Providence, and Red.

My Grade : B-

Report this review (#41751)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now this is what I really like! At this time King Crimson had slimmed down to a three peice with Robert Fripp(guitars, keyboards etc),John Wetton (bass and vocals) and Bill Bruford (drums).Now I've never been the greatest Bruford fan and tend to think him a little overrated but his drumming here is fantastc.All three peice bands need a great drummer and in fact the ablity to hold your own in a three peice line up is the measure of a great player IMO (think Carl Palmer,Neil Peart,Phil Collins(late seventies post Hackett)) and you get my drift).Bruford plays with superb control and is very heavy.He drives this album mostly.The exception is the song 'Fallen Angel' which for me is one the most beautifull songs ever written.There is also the more experimental 'Providence' which I like.But prog wise the other tracks are exceptional and on their own warrant giving this album 5 stars.Strange to think that Fripp almost gave it all up after this! Easily in the top ten best prog albums.A must have for any serious prog lover.
Report this review (#41811)
Posted Saturday, August 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A lot of people's favourite Crimson album and you can see why - down to a three peice of Fripp, Wetton & Bruford (though David Cross and others including Mel Collins and Ian MacDonald contributed), it featured some of their harder edged, more accessible material, as well as an improvisational peice and a prog classic. The first side as was featured three shorter tracks, about 6 - 7 min each. "Red" is a Fripp composition, a guitar led instrumental with a powerful rif; "Fallen Angel" is a song with lyrics by David Palmer-James about two brothers living and dying on the streets of New York; and "One More Red Nightmare" has Wetton adding a touch of dark humour as he dreams while asleep on a Greyhound bus. Side 2 opened with one of the best Crimson improvisations, "Providence", with discordant bumps and squeaks building atmospherically until Fripp's guitar breaks loose. The final track, "Starless", actually fetaures the lyric "Starless & Bible Black", and I've never been sure why it wasn't on the album of the same name. It is a great track, although (minor criticism) it takes a little to long to build up to its climax.

I think on balance I would take "Lark's Tongues" for my desert island (Crimson) disc as it's got that little bit more scope and depth in the quality of the compositions, plus with Jamie Muir and David Cross in place the band sounded more complete. However "Red" is still a great album and should form part of your record collection - that's my advice, in the unlikely event anyone logging into a prog rock web-site hasn't already heard it!

Report this review (#42227)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 9/10, but it really is a "masterpiece of progressive music"

I am usually very spare in giving 5 stars to an album. In fact, I used to believe that there would be only one album in my collection (which is not all that expansive) that deserves my highest possible rating, a 10/10. I've since changed this policy, and I would so love to give Red what is basically a perfect score of 10/10, but alas, it is not flawless.

The title track/instrumental starts off the album in grand fashion, with a catchy melody and classic Crimson tension and dissonance. The song goes through a sort of "swing," alternating between a crunchy guitar riff and beautiful, sweeping strumming. The middle section is frightful, ominous and fits the song perfectly. All in all, this is one of if not the best tracks King Crimson ever recorded.

"Fallen Angel" is a desperate balled of sorts, with a sublime melody through the verse graciously enhanced by one of the woodwind instruments (i'm not an expert in that area.) Tension quickly builds and boils over into the chorus with some excellent, truly emotional singing from Wetton.

"One Red Nightmare" is, no matter how bad this may sound, a song that could hold it's own on a rock radio playlist if were a tad shorter. This is not a complaint though, rather a compliment. I like to able to remember riffs and good drum beats from the songs I listen to (humming them during work makes it a little more bearable ;) and this song is great for just that. I'd be a bit more satisfied with the song if it were shorter, for the extended woodwind solos can be a bit irritating. But otherwise, "Nightmare" is a solid tune.

And now we come to the reason why this album did not get a 10/10. "Providence" is just plain annoying. The introductory violin bit is nice, but it all melts into a meandering mess of out-of-place instrumentation, kind of like parts 2 and 3 of "Sysyphus" on Pink Floyd's Ummagumma. But what good I can say about "Providence" is that it does have that classic Crimson tension, which saves it from being abysmal. If only there were a evocative and truly inspiring end to the jam to relieve us of the tension, i would be far more forgiving with this "song."

But we arrive at "Starless" and all is redeemed! This song is so sad and so emotionional that words really cannot express it. Let me just say that you should buy Red if only to own the album that this song originally appeared on. The violin really, really fits the song so well, and only enhances the emotion to a level I have never heard before. Then the tension sets in. Slowly, more and more instruments add to a simple yet disturbing one-line guitar riff courtosy of Fripp, all of which comes to a head in the ending jam. Before it is all over, the violin melody chimes in again, reminding us that if we haven't felt some kind of emotion by the end of this song, then we are devoid of any human qualities.

I still haven't decided if Red is better than In The Court of the Crimson King. Each have their faults, but ultimately, there are so many redeeming values in each one that you can ignore the missteps completely.

The Gist: Buy this album. If you don't like it at least a little bit, then there is absolutely no hope for you at all.

Good day.

Report this review (#42559)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red, along with In The Court, was my introduction to King Crimson, and while I find the latter somewhat overrated musically, this one hits the spot dead-on.

Much of this seems to be centered around Fripp's darker, heavier guitar tone, which, along with Bruford's usual pristine drumming and Wetton's ridiculous bass distortion, serves as much of the foundation of this album. The title track is an absolute beast, which more or less completely ditches the improvisational aspects of Larks' Tongues and especially Starless and Bible Black, instead opting for 3 or 4 calculated, cruching riffs that will make you feel like your face is getting sandblasted off. And the spooky "middle 8" is a perfect contrast in atmosphere - that guitar wafting in and out of the strings might just give you chills. I've heard that this song in particular is definitely one of the cornerstones for modern day "grunge," but I'll be damned if grunge ever produced any music as good as this.

As tough an act as the title track is to follow, Fallen Angel not only does it well, it manages to be not one iota less awesome. The "ballad" of this album, Wetton gives probably his best vocal performance in Crimson - the lyrics are really good for once, and his coarse, husky voice fits the bill perfectly. The overriding feeling of darkness and tragedy makes itself felt, but in a much more emotionally resonant form than most other Crimson work.

One More Red Nightmare is where the album comes down into the realm of mortality, but that hardly prevents it from being great - Wetton gives another effective vocal performance here, and Bruford's inventive drumming (is he drumming on sheet metal during some parts?) ensure it's a fun listen, even if the funky, jazzy saxophone breaks last a little too long for my tastes. Providence is the obvious low point of the album, a live improvisation that wanders a bit too much for my tastes, but it picks up into a cool atonal jam towards the end, so it's nothing I disrespect.

The last couple of songs may not have been immortal greats like the first two, but the closer here, Starless, is what pushes this album over the top - it's probably my single favorite rock piece of all time, bar none. It starts out as absolutely gorgeous balladeering, with Wetton again giving a wonderful performance, and sports some of the most beautiful, breathtaking mellotron and saxophone work I've ever heard. Just listen to that melancholy mellotron melody start out beautifully subdued, then suddenly go up to that quivering note at about the 1:20 mark, and try and tell me it's not the most beautiful thing you've ever heard. Crimson isn't going to go out with a 12-minute ballad though (especially not this incarnation, and not this album), and so they go out with two of the greatest musical passages of all time - first, a 4-minute crescendo built on Fripp's strident 2-note guitar line, which is stunning in its simultaneous simplicity and complexity (it's in 13/8...13/8!) But unlike, say, The Talking Drum, it reaches the breaking point and then peaks for a whole minute, absolutely crushing anything in its path. And then there's the free-form outro, which sports brilliant musical passage after passage - dig that sax improv! Listen to thath ridiculous uptempo 13/8 two-note jam that holds together and completely blitzes the listener! And then the last, indescribable minute - an unreal saxophone reprise of the opning mellotron line, but I'd just be wasting my breath (fingers?)

This review is probably far too long anyways, because trying to describe Red while doing it any sense of justice is a futile effort. It's been my favorite album in my cd collection from the day I got it, and a year or two later, it still holds up as such (I'm only 16, so I haven't been listening to this kind of music all that long.) Get it, and wonder how you ever lived without it.

Report this review (#43495)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm giving this five stars because I do believe that it is essential, and everyone should listen to it. It's not absolutely perfect, but the good qualities outweigh the bad ones.

There isn't much I could say about the first three tracks that hasn't already been said, they are all good songs. "Red" is a heavy instrumental, "Fallen Angel" is a wonderful ballad. "One More Red Nightmare" takes some time to get used to, as it is probably the most pop oriented song on the album.

"Providence" is an extremely underrated track. A lot of people consider it to be this albums "Moonchild", and that's basically how it starts out, with everyone making random quiet noises on their instruments. However, the patient and open minded listener is rewarded later with a very impressive bass solo from Wetton.

"Starless" starts out slow, with some nice lyrics and vocals, and after about 4 minutes goes into an excellent jam. Everyone plays very well, except for Robert Fripp, who kind of fails to impress. When it's finally his turn to solo, he repeats the same note many many times. While this one note is well played, there are non-prog guitarists like Neil Young and Lou Reed that are much better at the "one note solo". You kind of expect more from Fripp. His disappointing solo doesn't hurt the song too much, the jam is still very well played with a lot of energy from the other members.

Like I said before, this album is something everyone should hear. It's the perfect introduction for metalheads who want to become interested in King Crimson or other prog rock.

Report this review (#43815)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I'm not lying when I say that "Red" by King Crimson is my all time favorite album of any genre. This piece was originally intended to be the final King Crimson album, and what a finale it would have been. Hard, emotional, almost grunge like even. The simple black cover, with the trio (Fripp, Bruford, Wetton) and a speedometer on the back seems to fit the album perfectly. These songs are essentially the last words of the Bruford- Wetton era Crimson and a testament to everything the band had achieved before this release. I warn however, do not purchase this album expecting what you heard on "In The Court Of The Crimson King", because it is completely different. Try to accept that a band can change styles to avoid stagnation, and why would you buy something new if you wanted it to be exactly the same as something else?

What happens if you take King Crimson and put them on the streets for a year? You get "Red". The songs are much more rhythm based than they ever have before, and have a much more violent and angry tone to them. The drumming and bass together are viscous enough to break your nose, and Fripp plays appropriate riff like guitar to go along for the most part. There is of course still the horn sections, mellotron, violin and a couple of other instruments so as to retain the "symphonic" rock feel. Crimson proves they can rock as hard as any mid seventies metal band, and still retain a respectable level of writing and fusion on this one.

The level Muscianmanship on this album is excellent, and easily puts Bill Bruford into the contenders for best rock drummers of all time. The lyrics are all powerful and fit perfectly with the music and Wetton's style of singing. The most astounding part of the album though is that it manages to break the barrier that makes prog unacceptable with normal music fans. Its catchy, its concise, its easy to swallow, and it is instantly memorable (all with the exception of "Providence"). All that and it still manages to be full out progressive rock.

There are a few problems with the editing, sometimes its hard to make out some of the drumming intricacies. Other times the vocals don't sound 100% clear. Generally though its well done.

All of the songs but "Providence" are exceptionally strong. "Red" opens the album with a bang, with some impressive trio oriented patterns. Sets the mood for the rest of the album perfectly. "Fallen Angel" begins comparatively gentle, and becomes heart wrenching as Wetton cries "Fallen Angel" while what's probably my favorite guitar riff of all time plays and the horns come in, culminating into a scream to the heavens for revenge. "One More Red Nightmare" gains points for the only prog song I can think of effectively using clapping as part of the percussion. Its upbeat, and has a great chorus. Sounding nothing like King Crimson ever has. "Starless" is the best song on the album, and is an alternate to an older King Crimson track. Its more similar to old Crimson, yet at the same time translates to the style of this album flawlessly. Has incredible buildup, and one of the most impressive instrumental rock sections of all time. The different movements of this song mold together seamlessly, and is the best possible way to send off the band. "Providence" is weak in comparison to the rest of the album, and it reminds me very much of the King Crimson song "Moonchild". It begins with a jam like section, with some interesting violin and comes into a beat nearing the end that's quite good. Unfortunately it doesn't hold together all that well as a song, and is mostly used as a buffer to let one relax before starless.

This album is truly worthy of a 5 star rating, if you like any music at all you'll find at least one thing you like on it. I can honestly say its the most essential piece of music in my collection, and would be the first thing to save in a fire after living creatures.

Report this review (#44295)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is another album from King Crimson which fails to do much for me. There is no doubting the quality of the musicians, the rhythm section being one of the best around, several excellent guest musicians appear and Fripp can certainly play too. However, the material does not inspire. Providence and One More Red Nightmare are awful and bring back memories of Moonchild. Starless and Red are fine but Fallen Angel is the one highlight which rescues the whole album and just raises it to 3* - but not by much. I wouldn't buy it again.
Report this review (#45600)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Between 72 and 74 KC brought to World three albums. Well, Red to me is the less experimental and appealing of them. Apart of the opening track, a masterpiece itself, the other songs lacks of the fresh inventive of LTIA and SBB. At least if you compare Starless live version of the Great deceiver box set concerts and this studio version you will understand my refrain to give a high rate. This song is great, but in the studio sounds artificially conteint, like it could not deliver the intense energy of the live performace.

No doubts that KC is a LIVE band, therefore their best albums mantein this innocent, spontaneus approach that is tipical to live gig which those excelent musicians were so confortable to. Red didn't went through this process, and it pays for it. My opinion is to begin the 72/74 period of this great band with the album Larks' tongues in aspic.

Report this review (#45931)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Red" is a perfect album, going from aggressive and powerfull metallic riffs to soft and beautiful melodies, from well-structured songs to improvisation, but keeping a unity and a soul that few albuyms have. There is nothing weak here, even the most experimental part ("Providence") keeps the listener interested (unlike in the majority of KC's improvisation on "Starless and bible black").

The title track "Red" sets up an anguished mood with this opening riff, and the break in the middle section is impressive. The style reminds of "Lark's tongue in aspic part II". It's a hallmark of the music of this era of King Crimson.

Things lighten up a little in "Fallen Angel", with a soft beginning, but the choruses suddenly break that angelic atmosphere, with that angry guitar constantly playing the same note and the saxes making their entry...and the drums are amazing, particularly at the last reprise of the chorus. We are really falling with the angel. The fade-out in the end is one of the most beautiful and emotional ever made.

"One more red nightmare" then offers some fun in the music and in the words. A good tune with good rhythm, good instrumental passages, and some interesting arrangements (a little strange).

"Providence" could have been a weakness of the album. But the great news here is that it is not another "Moonchild"-like song. It has a kind of build-up you can get accustomed to, with a great bass and violin work. It's quite expressive and the title has been well chosen !

The last piece, "Starless", is one of the best prog piece ever written. From the soft mellotron overture to the marvellous winds-driven ending, not forgetting the anxious rise of tension in the middle, one can't get bored of those 12 minutes !

Report this review (#46351)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Beautiful, dark, heavy, melodic, aggressive, this is RED. What an album to disband on! This is sure some ass-kickin prog! This incarnation of KC ('73- '75) of core members Fripp, Wetton, Bruford is IMO their best, and while I won't say this one is their best (I like all three), I will say that it is their most powerful. Fripp is his usual self, and Wetton adds to the mix some melodic bass lines and a great voice, while Bruford shows why he left Yes with his syncopated grooves and dexterous jazzy style. "Red", as "overrated" as many say it is, is still damn good. "Fallen Angel" is almost a ballad, as it has that signature melodic sound and Wetton's voice, though it doesn't let up any on sheer power. "One More Red Nightmare" follows in the same vein, similar to "Red". That's side one. Side two switches it up with the 8 minute improv session "Providence" that is a bit lackluster, much like though a little worse than the live jams on the previous album "Starless and Bible Black". Definitely not on par with the rest of the album (which without this is quite consistent). While the other songs show a very structured and condensed Crimson, this one is drawn out too long and doesn't really go anywhere. While it's not bad, it's just a big contrast to the actively engaging, dense, and orchestrated sound of side one, and, like "moonchild" from the debut, you grow to appreciate it. Now, for the finale: Starless harkens back to the mellotron sound of ITCOTCK and is friggin' awesome all around, moving from extremely relaxed to incredibly tense and then back. I give the album 4.5 stars for the unsatisfying "Providence", rounded up to 5 for its influence and historical importance.
Report this review (#46900)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Although I am an admirer of Fripp's commitment for fine rock works, Red is not the best specimen of KC works. May be the recording I had was poor (I recorded it from a noisy LP from a music store in Dhaka, Bangladesh-- if you know what i mean). the mid-tone of Fripp's guitar sounded too noisy, overshadowing the structural works of the songs. Fallen Angel is instantly likeable. However it has the signatures of masterly works. Someday I would like to have the original CD of this album to change my rating of this album.
Report this review (#47034)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Not perfect - but almost there - this CRIMSONian masterpiece was meant to be their last album (being "Starless" their to be final epic), but FRIPP changed his mind and returned to action on the 80's on a series of several weaker albums that honestly don't make justice to their golden 60's and 70's times, with huge influence from Adrian Belew (who was a member of a band called TALKING HEADS, which influenced a lot to the new KC a not so good way i could say).

Ok, returning to Red, i have to admit that this album took me by surprise because i was never friendly to heavy music, and this is perhaps their most violent work, with several strong guitar riffs and noisier parts that differ a lot from the mellower songs from LTIA, for example, like "Exiles" or their whole romantic era from the debut to Islands - being Lizard not so mellow and a bit heavy but not so much as this one. The title track is a clear example of this. From the opening riffs to the middle eerie section reaching several guitar horizons that don't get annyoing and in fact they bring some catchy "futuristic" sounds or something along those lines all i have to say is that i love the song. Then we are led to a mellow "Fallen Angel" which becomes a bit violent on the ending to maintain the album's true soul. See the difference? Each KING CRIMSON album sounds very different from each other, just like PINK FLOYD's ones. This may be due to the constant line-up changes of course, but if FRIPP was / is the mastermind all i have to admit is that the guy is a genius for sustaining such a project as KC during more than 30 years and still making great music, not being locked to an alienated formula as some prog bands so "umprogressively" did (like YES, always sounding the same on each album...). Those two first songs showed the very different pace of style again made by Fripp and his mates, and it only gets confirmed on the third track, "One More Red Nightmare", containing both a catchy melody and also some awful vocals by WETTON, though they aren't important, since the melody makes the song very superior (what a great drummer Bill is! And what great arrangements - vocal + sax and some "claps", truly addictive music!). From the first three numbers this one is the best , but their magnum-opus from the Wetton era called "Starless" will come soon making this sound very inferior. Yes, after "Providence", an experimental track that works perfectly where "Moonchild" failed, we are led to the amazing beauty of "Starless" with a passionate guitar playing by Fripp and some amazing vocals by Wetton (i wish that he sang well like that on the other songs) driven by a mellotron. Touchy music. After the vocals the music starts getting heavier again gradually rising the tone until it reaches a climax making an amazing outro jamming guitar and sax in a dramatic and beautiful ending which is pure magic, and then the album ends.

This in my opinion is where KING CRIMSON stops being interesting for me in terms of full albums. I enjoy some stuff from the following eras but none of them match the amazeness contained in this first decade of career. From 1980 on i think i'd only like a "best of" with songs like "Elephant Talk" or "Sleepless" but nothing that would be for the faint of the heart as this initial years were.

Essential prog, as most of the preceeding albums by the kings.

Report this review (#47374)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Ah Red My third favorite album behind "Close To The Edge" and "The Snow Goose" this is truly amazing. The fact that the band was on the edge of clloapse makes this albums even more impressive. The album begins with "Red" a six minute instumental that is mostly based around Robert Fripp's electric guitar. This songs sets the pace of the album. (9/10)

Number 2 on the album is "Fallen angel" excellet song with good lyrics and instrumentation which makes is good to listen to. (9/10)

Next we have "One more red nightmare" the sequal to "Red" not as good as its cousin but still good. (8/10)

Providance is good(8/10)

Starless is the star of the album and probably the best king Crimson Song. (10/10)

Report this review (#48903)
Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now, although I give this the same rating as Larks' and Lizard, Red is undoubtedly better than those two. However, I cannot give this masterpiece status: that is reserved for the incredibly select few, and this album lacks something to fill it out all the way. Fantastic album, though. Definitely worth your money if you are a prog fan.

On Red, King Crimson was narrowed down to 3 people, their core from the 73-74 period. Wetton's vocals are great here, especially on Fallen Angel and Starless, and Fripp's guitar is the same menacing work it always has been. Bruford proves that he could be the most intelligent and creative drum player ever. This tight pack of 3 delivers a fantastic album from beginning to, well, almost.

Red: Legendary instrumental track by King Crimson. For pretty good reason, too. That thick bombastic riff is terrific, although I can't help but feel that it becomes slightly repetitive. Maybe over 6 minutes was a bit long for this song, but it is great nonetheless.

Fallen Angel: As Red dies down, one of KC's loveliest songs comes on. As I said, Wetton's vocals are very strong here. I find that he shines best on the slower-type songs. Exiles is a good example if this too. Fallen Angel is a fantastic composition, but not yet the best on the album.

One More Red Nightmare: Another strong song on this album. There is one part that absolutely MUST be noted: BRUFORD'S DRUM FILLS ARE INCREDIBLE. That has to be noted. It proves how strong he was. Like Red, it gets a little repetitive, but not so much to complain about.

Providence: Hehe. Yup. King Crimson always has a song like this. They certainly were experimental, and this here proves it. I mean, it is good, but it can't measure up to other songs around it. And then...

Starless: Is it KC's best song? Boy, tough question, but the question might very well be yes. I mean, the emotion is pounded out here, and the chills set in every time. And, when it can get no better, it enters the ending instrumental section, and it multiplies even further. The horn work is phenomenal. The theme in this song is beyond chilling. You should know this song, period.

Definitely a fantastic album, but not like their debut. Give it a listen if you fancy the prog genre. 4/5 stars.

Report this review (#50203)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is album, is an essential listen for anyone interested in prog, and even more for anyone interested in King Crimson. Track by track:

Red - The title track. They've played this song live a million times, and it never gets old. It's been covered by many bands, that I consider it a standard. Robert Fripp's guitar in this song is simple, yet effective. John Wetton and Bruford are also terrific, and the song is one of the most famous instrumentals in this genre. However, the song has been released on at least 5 of their live albums, and it is ALWAYS better live. After hearing the live one, I just don't like the studio version much anymore. The fact remains that it is a powerful peice of music.

Fallen Angel - Nice softer track, with heavier bits thrown in. Very nice acoustic guitar work from Fripp during the verse, and Wetton's vocals are prettier than usual. The band is very subtle and they work together to create a nice peaceful atmosphere for this piece. Then, Fripp hits his distortion pedal, and the chorus explodes. The song switches time signatures very well, and the horns, guitar, and bass are melodic and powerful. Bruford also adds some very nice fills, and keeps the rythm section very interesting. It is a very nicely constructed peice of music of music, and one of the more melodic tracks they've released.

One More Red Nightmare - This song is the opposite of the track that came before it. The band members are really rocking here, and we have a very upbeat track, that is easy for anyone to enjoy. It has a very jazzy feel to it, and the horns definetely emphasize that. Fripp busts out some interesting guitar here, while Wetton and Bruford create an almost groovy rythm section. The band as a whole give this track an incredible vibe, and it's one of the more accessible tracks on the album. Only problem is, it ends abruptly. This sort of messes up the flow of the album for me.

Providence - King Crimson are known for fantastic improvs. The musicians in King Crimson have always been able to communicate, and feed off each other to create wonderful, and listenable improvs. Providence is easily one of their worst improvs. It's definetely one of their weaker improvs, and easily the weakest track on the album (fortunately the only weak track.) The track isn't that bad, but the first half of it is just noodling, and filler. The song starts of quiet, and builds up, but it never truly climaxes. It just gets noisier, and the drums kick in, but suddenly dies down. It fails to take off anywere, so I usually skip this one (and you probably will too.)

Starless - This song is a mix of all the different moods the album has to offer. The album can rock (Red), it can be pretty and melodic (Fallen Angel), and it can make you want to tap your foot and dance (One More Red Nightmare). This song, does all of these things, and also ends the album extremely well. A very pretty guitar riff from Robert Fripp, and some very nice horns during the verse. John Wetton is at the top of his game vocally. Then, the song dies down, and slowly (but surely) builds up, and explodes (which Providence failed to do.) The ending of this track is worth the price of the album alone, and this is arguably the best song in the King Crimson catalogue.

All in all, the album is great (with the exception of Providence). In only five tracks, a good variety of sounds and moods are present, and the instrumentation and vocals are fantastic throughout. The lyrics are also straightforward, and do not take away from the music. This has influenced countless bands (Tool, Primus, etc.) and is essential listening for anyone interested in prog. 5 stars, easily.

Report this review (#52069)
Posted Sunday, October 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Truly one of the majestic album in the history of prog rock. Definitive an album you must have in your collection if you are dedicated to prog no matter witch genre you prefer. It test you as a listener in different ways. There are a lot of elements on this recording these three guys presents here. It needs several listenings before you learn it, to understand it completely on the other hand, may take years! And I say thank you to that! I still find it very challenging and interesting and certainly never get tired or bored from this true masterpiece. Just listen to the work "Starless", it will be on my personal top ten list of all times. Highly recommended.
Report this review (#53977)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars While I did like this album the first time I heard it, I could never really get into it. I kept telling myself I liked it, but the whole album is above average. Nothing throws itself at me to the point of complete awe. The effort is there and it is well planned out.

Red, Fallen Angel, and One More Red nightmare are all more or less equal in my opinion. Actually, One More Red nightmare rocks pretty hard. The vocal melody does make me satisfied. A good A side, not great but good.

Providence, I'm not very fond of that one. The awful distorted strings rub me the wrong way (much as they poor instruments were rubbed the wrong way) Starless I enjoyed a lot. I then read that some consider it a quintessential prog song with which I cannot agree with. I'm not particulaly fond of the spacey interlude, but I do like the bluesy finish that follows.

'Red' is remarkable from the standpoint that it came after such lineup changes as we all know befell King Crimson.

Report this review (#56478)
Posted Tuesday, November 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars A monumental album that blends the best of both worlds - the romantic grandiosity of King Crimson's Mellotron-soaked first, historic line-up, and the jagged, improvisational feel of the Wetton-Bruford-Cross era - "Red" is an undisputed masterpiece. Easier on the ear than its dark, brooding predecessor, "Starless and Bible Black", it showcases the individual abilities of the musicians involved while at the same time emphasising the seamless results of their teamwork.

The title-track opens the album in true KC style with one of the greatest instrumentals of all time, in which Fripp's strident guitar is pushed aggressively to the fore on Bruford and Wetton's pulsating rythmic background. "Fallen Angels" starts in a rather low-key mood, making immediately clear that Wetton has taken gigantic steps forward as a lead singer; then climaxes with a jazzy, horn-filled section. Wetton's vast improvement as a vocalist also comes across in "One More Red Nightmare" , an out-and- out rocker that he carries off with panache. The instrumental, heavily improvisational "Providence" is the only track here that could be termed as filler - or at least part of it could. It's undeniably a bit too long, and its unstructured, loose feel clashes with the rest of this superbly constructed album.

"Red" ends with the bang which is "Starless", 12 minutes of pure prog heaven, one of those tracks which deservedly top many people's all-time favourites lists. Introduced by wistful Mellotron strains, it sees Wetton's best-ever Lake impersonation (and I mean it as a compliment), followed by a tense, almost menacing mid-section which culminates in a reprise of the main theme, a heady, majestic blend of horns, Mellotron and violin. Utterly fantastic.

KC split after this album, only to reform seven years later with a new line-up and the excellent "Discipline". It is rare for a band to end its career with such an unadulterated display of greatness, but KC have always proved the exception to any rule.

Report this review (#57324)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has some good points but i think they were so disheartened by the impending breakup that they didn't have the creativity or sound of Starless and Bible Black or Larks Tounges in Aspic. The title track is okay, but gets annoying. Fallen angel has some okay parts, but lacks Crim energy. Another Red Nightmare has classic layering of Wettons vocals and awsome fripp guitar, but its just the same riff over and over, not very crimsonesque. Providence is classic 'Crimprov' with excellent violin via David Cross. Starless is awsome, especially when the go into a 13/4 time signature, just wow. Its a pretty good album, missing the crim vibe, but good nonetheless.
Report this review (#57496)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson's ''Red'' was the very first King Crimson album I bought, and I am glad I did.

1) Red - I really like this song, the tone on Fripp's guitar makes this song sound a bit grungey, I do not like the tone on his guitar much -- BUT I do like the progression in this, and the song in general.

2) Fallen Angel - This one i have a love/hate relationship with , I like alot of it, but I am not too fond of some of it as well. All in all, it's a good track.

3) One More Red Nightmare - I really like this track, I found it very catchy and the clapping in the percussion ACTUALLY suited the song -- I find that very rare. Great song.

4) Providence - Weakest song on the album, Ialso have a love/hate relationship with this song. I absolutely ADORE parts of it, but sometimes it goes get BORING and tedious in other parts.

5) Starless - A very good song, every musician did extraodinary on this. I wouldn't go as far to call it the best prog song ever, but it's a fairly good song.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Report this review (#59057)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The V.U. meter's in the red, ya know.

To me, any project including Bill Bruford is a seal of instant quality. Could this guy be involved with an half-assed record, knowing his sense of judgment and his tendency to 'rule' in studio? Sure, ego trips made a ton of genius band go berserk, but bizarrely, this works well!

Bruford's drum signature is as big as Moon, Collins or Peart, and frankly his work is nothing short of perfect on Red. Bruford is precise, furiously fast and logical so the timing and the gap fillings are well supported. The drums are a huge part (perhaps the biggest) of the success of Red, thanks to him. Fripp is there to conduct (I suppose) and his playing is easy to follow. I do appreciate Wetton's voice although it's not as pushed as Asia. His bass lines needs a good listen to analyse, and I'm planning to invest more time on that later. I never thought of it, but this could be the birth of heavy metal as we know it. But this is a primitive form of metal, waging more on tension (mellotron, single note guitar and saxophone) than brutal force. Somebody told me this was cacophonic at times and hard to follow. Man, maybe I'm a better listener than I thought or this is much easier material to handle than I heard!

And what's with the Ankedoten gang claiming their allegeance to this album. Did their identity is only based on Providence (which in my case, did not gave me a hard time to tame) ?

In a way I'm kind of a wee bit disappointed, expecting more heavier, distorded and chaotic material. Oh well, I'm growing more and more a fan of the Crimson King these days. What an amazing band, despite the constant changes!

Report this review (#63489)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is probably one of the first metal albums ever recorded and is much better than the Symphonic albums, sorry guys the Jazzy, Metal-ish albums by King Crimson do it for me!! Heavy Guitars sounds and Jazz elements show they are will ing to progress onwards and just good Rock music by a well known Prog band.

The lenghy track can be tiresome but the closer of the album "Red" is the coolest track on the album, Heavy Metal Jazz music and all of a sudden this drony dark gothic starts then a couple of minute later we are back to squre one, until the tempo slows and the track closes to an end.

This is highly recommended, King Crimson are better as a trio: a talented crafty guitarist Fripp, a well trained professional drummer Bruford, RECOMMENDED 5/5 - 100% score scale!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#65412)
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My opinion is that a perfect album has to have the energetic and pure emotinal side , this album has it all.Red and one more red nightmare hold the energetic part the rest you can find in starless. The song Starless is one of the songs you wont hear every day , it has unique harmonies and the most important it is 100% emotions.
Report this review (#66156)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is fantastic album. It is tehe last one in first Crimson period. Mostly dark with a lot of guitar. The last symphonic masterpiece by the King. I love each song on it. Red is great heavy distorted guitar track done by Mr Fripp. Fallen Angel is beautyful ballad with very nice cornet backing part in verse and good guitar versus sax part. One More Red Nightmare is next good song with great insrumental part in the middle and at the end. Great sax work. Providence is an interesting band jam. And the last track on the album. Starless. Wow. Real gem. Probably most beautyful song ever done with excellent sax main theme. Full of sadness and... I don't know what to say. It's takeing my breath away. Real beauty. You have to listen to...
Report this review (#66285)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red is a fine album, a bit silly to call it their very best, but still, a nice way to mark the end of the first period of King Crimson. David Cross, having parted with the band a few months before (Or was he sacked? In King Crimson i'm not sure there's a difference) the albums making had reduced the group to a compact three piece, with some musicians from previous Crimson incarnations guesting on saxophone, violin etc. The album is slightly less 'Progressive' than other King Crimson albums, nothing new or stunningly original is tried here, and the album does have one very weak link 'Providence', an uninteresting and slightly boring 'jam' that fast outstays its welcome, the song does pick up towards the end thanks to Brufords nice drum work but it does show that King Crimson were always better at improvising and jamming live, see the album beforehand 'Starless and Bible Black'. So what is then that makes this album such a fan favourite?

Well, the album opens with a punchy call to arms, the title track 'Red', a gloomy piece led by Fripp's powerful guitar and some excellent backing in the rhythm department from Bruford and Wetton, the track remains one of the bands most acclaimed instrumentals, and what's more, you don't have to be a 'progressive' rock fan to enjoy this, six minutes of raw, edgey guitar riffs, stunning drumming and ominous sounding basslines, I doubt it would sound out of place on any heavy metal radio station. 'Fallen Angel' follows and begins in a lighter, more melodic mood. Here Wetton's vocals remain the highpoint for me, and as he sings 'Westside skyline crying, Fallen Angel dying, risk a life, to make a dime' I become lost in the mood, Wetton's vocals really sound so bluesy in these lines, even nostalgic, there is a lot of magic here. However, Fripp's edgey guitar sneaks back in after a couple of minutes and the song turns into another rockier number, and still very enjoyable, with some nice oboe work (or is it a cornet?) also. 'One More Red Nightmare' is another fantastic track, some might be surprised to hear hand clapping and an almost dancable rythm to the verses, but for me, it was a nice surprise. Here Bruford sounds like he learned a couple of things from Jamie Muir as he hits very strange sounding objects that give the track a nice edge, a complete gem. The real stunner of the album though is the closing track, 'Starless', harking back to what had come before and a great listen over twelve minutes. The song begins in a gentle, sombre mood. Fripp using the mellotron to add some beauty to the song, and there is a sense of sorrow in the air as it plays. The track goes through a guitar led build up and a wonderful saxophone solo from Mcdonald (Who would have became a full time member once again had Fripp not split the band up) kicks off a stunning rocky workout that could only be King Crimson, perfect.

Red is a great album but not without it's flaws and King Crimson were capable of much more creative and wonderful things. If you like this then you should get the album that I consider to be King Crimson's finest moment and a true masterpiece 'Larks Tongues in Aspic'.

Report this review (#69327)
Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I don't know if it's because this album only contains five songs compared to "Starless And Bible Black", but I find it more focused on recognizable melodies and less on improv.

The title track "Red" is a great rock instrumental. Here the guitar is really in front and plays in an almost metal fashion. "Fallen Angel" is a beautiful soft track - great melody, great vocals. "One More Red Nightmare" is another strong track (and yes the fact that it contains the word "Red" really makes the song look toward the title track). "Providence" is the boring improv on the album - too bad it's ruining the great rock feeling of the other songs (and with a five song album it sure ruins the rating of the album). "Starless" is the centerpiece of the album - four and a half minutes of soft vocals/mellotron followed by an instrumental part that grows again as time passes, starting from minimal percussives and then adding bass, guitar and all the instruments to burst into flame on the main melody again - a great way to end an album.

Rating: 78/100

Report this review (#70538)
Posted Sunday, February 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I've just realised. I've never reviewed this album before. Strange, as it's one of my favourites. Firstly, this album should be praised by metal fans over the world. King Crimson played an integral part in creating such music styles, and this album is perhaps the obelisk at the centre of it. We've had 21st Century Schizoid Man, Larks Tongues In Aspic 1 and 2, The Great Deceiver, and Fracture. Now we have this. The opening track, Red, is one of Crimson's most famous, and with good reason. The album explodes into your bedroom just as it did back in 1974. You're thinking "woah...this is heavy" Heavier in fact than anything else made in 1974. A remarkably simple, yet effective rock song, Red only uses a standard rock line-up of guitar, bass and drums, written in a very common and easy time meter. This track has Nine Inch Nails written all over it, especially some of the middle sections which have very creepy disjointed staccato melodies which I think is played on the low strings of a violin. This track pretty much carries on where Fracture left off, with John Wetton's superb distorted bass and Robert Fripp's grungy guitar tone. Kurt Cobain, after all, cited this as the greatest album of all time. The following track, "Fallen Angel" reminds one of Epitaph or Exiles...with balladeering lyrics and unsettling, dreamy music. Quite poppy in places, but a lot of people's favourite song from this album. Robert Fripp plays some of those beautiful harmonics only he can pull off. Quite melancholy. Mellotron in there somewhere too! One More Red Nightmare. Now here's a track that's worth a listen. It rocks, hard as its namesake predecessor (the title track) yet...if I asked you what type of music it was, what would you answer? It sounds like King Crimson for the first few seconds, but once the vocals take over...wait for it...this track sounds like...early hip-hop! The vocals are excellent, shaky and terrifying, but there is an underlying funk in the music with the Santana-esque notes form Robert Fripp and the oh-so-hip-hop sounding percussive sounds. Wetton's bass work is once again steady and perfect in every way. Providence. Why, Why, Why? They do this on every album; they throw in a worthless song of noises. Moonchild, The Taking Drum, Starless and Bible Black...why do they do it? It's a waste of time. I suppose every album has its folly, and this is it. Here we go. The best Crimson song of all time. Starless. Whether or not this was written as an "apology" or "replacement" for the boring title track on Starless and Bible Black I don't know, but it sure as hell is amazing. The track starts out as a mellotron based ballad, Epitaph style. There are beautiful interjections of soprano sax which give the song a melancholy, almost gritty feel. The band plays as tight as a blues band here, Bruford's steady jazz drumming matches perfectly with Wetton's unusually clean bass. Fripp provides some coherent melody interjections in counterpoint to the sax, which sound beautiful and oh-so heartfelt. Then the vocals come in. Wetton's gritty, Bowie-esque voice comes in and sings the most beautiful set of heartfelt lyrics Crimson ever produced. The way Wetton sings the line "Starless and Bible Black" is quite frankly sublime and cannot be appreciated until you have heard it. After three verses, there is a long, minimalist jam in 13/8. Superbly enjoyable but only after a few listens, this part of the song is fascinating as Robert Fripp picks out a single note over and over again in perfect rhythm, almost as if he were playing bass, and Bruford plays his quirky percussion instruments only on the 3rd, 8th and 11th beat. Eventually he pitch goes up until finally the drums stop, Fripp plays some higher, screeching notes to some steady bass notes from Wetton until all hell breaks loose into an incredible, jazz style jam, still in 13/8 but at about twice the speed, with an incredible sax solo! This then slowly turns back into the opening riff, with all original instrumentation returned (the sax taking lead) whcih erupts into my favourite Crimson moment ever...the final two chords which opened the song, but this time with Wetton's bass note held tremblingly on the D as if slowly bursting into tears...this moment, between around 11:35 and 11:50...can only be described as heart rending. It honestly will make you well up and stop your heart on the spot. A remarkable end to a remarkable album...which gives one a strange nostalgic feel that this is the end of the original Crimson era. A truly heartbreaking moment. Needless to say, this album is beyond words. I've done my best to describe it but you just can't do music justice with words. Buy it and let it blow you away.


Report this review (#71384)
Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This must be one of the most over-rated prog albums of all time. A difference of opinion on the level of enjoyment received by listening to an album like this is one thing, but to hail this as a musical masterpiece of any kind is a dreadful mistake. Yes, this was one of the early influences on the development of metal; however, KC were not the first to introduce heavy guitars in their music. It's influential significance is minor at best.

The title track is awful, as it repeats the same painful distorted riff through just about the entire song. Fallen Angel at least has an attractive melody and is probably the best song on the album. One More Red Nightmare, again showcases a metal-like riff that's mediocre at best and repeats it tirelessly. Starless is the only other bright spot on the album but it's not enough to make up for the tremendous lack of flavour through out the half-hour that precedes it.

The bottom line is simply that the album is repetitive and directionless. It has little emotion and fails to complete any significant musical thought. Red is for KC collectors only.

Report this review (#72071)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I love this album, but i dont see how so many people call this "Prog Metal". Did anyone stop to think that this is the most mellow King Crimson album, and that there are no loud screams or an overabundance of annoying typical metal powerchord riffs?

But that aside, I love to listen to this album whenever I'm feeling iritated or angry, because it never fails to sooth me. This album coupled with anything from The Moody Blues always cools me down after a rough day, or any kind of arguement. Fallen Angel is the best song of the album. And Red, the title track is balanced on a knife edge between tolerable and headache inducing. Luckily, all the other tracks are quite enjoyable. I almost always skip Red when I listen to this album.

This is a must have for any King Crimson fan. But if you havent heard anything from the band, you should start with In the Court of the Crimson King, their debut.

Report this review (#73277)
Posted Monday, March 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent album by all means.Fripp, Wetton and Brufford supported by old pals, among them also founder member Ian Mc Donald, closed with this work an era in prog which made history. The opening title track with its heavy structured riffing brings us to 'Fallen Angel', almost a ballad in Crimson terms but a very nice one, ; 'One More Red Nightmare' reminds us on intro but now with Wetton singing and some variation. 'Providence' is atonic improvisation with touches of this album typical tune in its second part.Closing 'Starless' is to me one of the most impressive numbers in their entire opus.It begins slowly, gently introducing leading theme with Wetton emotional singing and with sax and mellotron in the background; then powerful bass and sparkling guitar are turning the mood in something like the calm before the storm;the tension grows as tempo is speeding up and then explosion with furious sax which brings us to leading theme once again; then tremendous grand finale with mind blowing sax and mellotron.Although this album sounds heavier than any of previous Crimson work, it still has this charming King Crimson beauty, and as such had an huge impact on many prog bands which emerged later on.This was also the last album of King Crimson I like(d) and love(d).
Report this review (#74438)
Posted Saturday, April 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What can i say about King Crimson? One of the best bands of progressive rock ever! Despite line-up changes, inner problems between Mr. Fripp against another member, different ideas, nowadays King Crimson is still alive, and making excellent music.

Redis an album from 1974, what a great year in prog scene, the line up here is Robert Fripp, Wetton ,Bruford as members of KC, with Mel Collins on sax and David Cross on violins, this is another transition era, before Red, there are 2 beautiful albums, Starless and Bible Black and that masterpiece called Lark`s Tongues in Aspic, so after both albums, whan can we expect?, of course another masterpiece, and with Red, they gave us what we wanted, A Masterpiece!.

The opening self titled track "Red", wow, that incredible and powerful song, i really love it because it is really powerful, guitar is incredible, excellent Mr. Fripp as always, another thing, if you have any doubt about Wetton`s bass playing, believ me, he is great , bass sound can be maybe crude, but its perfect here, what a musicians, the quality of this music is simply awesome, Red is an instrumental song it is the perfect song to open a perfect album. "Fallen Angel" : What a great song, here we can listen for the first time Wetton`s voice andof course Mel Collin`s exquisite sax, it makes an special sound that i cant really describe, i dont knoe if this is symphonic, or jazzy influenced, why not avant - garde, but what im sure is that is a superb sound. "One More Red Nightmare" is my less favorite, not as strong as Red for example, with nice bass lines , great drums, Bruford work is great here, always with his particular style of drumming, and the song with some good changes. "Providence" is maybe the strangest song here, is probably the most special and difficult song to appreciate, at the beggining it sounds like an improvisation, maybe it was , (turn off the lights and close your eyes, this song makes you shake ) its a bit dark but its amazing, David Cross with his beautiful violin sound makes it great . And to finish a great album, "Starless", the great and Beautiful Starless, this is my favorite King Crimson song it is simply awesome, first of all, mellotron intro its marvelous, i cant move while i listen to it, then the guitar with the most excellent sound, the first part is beautiful , mellotron, voice, guitar and a necessary and beautiful saxophone, next a soft moment, and suddenly a perfect harmony between bass , sax, violin, drums and guitar playing amazingly until the end.

So whats next?, if you havent heard Red yet, run to a store or buy it online, its necessary, great album, absolutely recommended. Of Course im going to give it 5 stars.

Report this review (#75539)
Posted Wednesday, April 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album was special for me because by the time it was released it became rarities at my country for one reason: it's difficult to get the cassette while I could not afford to buy an LP. What happened then I was having my blank cassette recorded with this album from an LP collection of my friend in Bandung. By then it was already 1980. But it's okay, at least I got the full set in my cassette. Couple of years later I upgraded to CD format.

As far as John Wetton concerns, this was his last album with King Crimson. The band entered the Olympic Studios in Barnes to record the eighth King Crimson album. Some industry critics reckoned that this was going to be the heaviest Crimson album todate. Wetton had been thinking about asking Crimson founder Ian McDonald to do some playing.

The opening track, "Red" is quite interesting stuff. I can hear clearly the influence of the band's later work. Key characteristic of the track is Bruford's powerful drumming that drives the whole song forward. Of course, Fripp's guitar work is as usual . stunning! "Fallen Angel" is very memorable to me as it was one of radio hits in Bandung at typical rock programs by Radio Bonkenk (now defunct). It's basically a ballad but it moves forward into a bit of complex pieces with excellent brass tones that remind me to "Lizard" album. "One More Red Nightmare" is a cheerful track with blistering Fripp's guitar work augmented with clapping hands. It's so dynamic and energetic. There are some nice trilling sax notes during the interlude part..

"Providence" is an ambient style with David Cross' violin puts angular notes, combined with Fripp's guitar. Each instrument makes an entrance to the music in a seemingly unrelated fashion and it goes into a jazzy style. Fripp and Wetton collaboratively make their efforts with their respective instruments. Excellent track.

"Starless" is the legendary track that has characterized the music of early King Crimson. It has a gentle mellotron work that provides a foundation over which melodic guitar notes are entering the music in a smooth way. Nice voice of Wetton comes in, accompanied by soprano sax. This is a great track! It's definitely a dark song, despite Wetton's melancholic vocal delivery. This has become one of my King Crimson's favorite tracks.

Despite not so good sonic quality of the record, this is an excellent album of the early King Crimson sound. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#75733)
Posted Friday, April 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of KING CRIMSON's best! They know how to make ground-breaking and innovative albums. This is maybe the first (proto) prog-metal album. The guitar sound is distored and the overall atmosphere is dark. This music must have sounded very heavy for that time.

All tracks are strong except "Providence". I prefer deeply emotional and well structured songs over longish directionless experimental songs or exaggerated jams (lacking the beforementioned two quoalities). The same problem is already with "Moonchild"...

The mellotron classic "Starless" is an amazing masterpiece! The melancholic atmosphere is chilling and the main guitar theme is unforgettable! Sax parts and WETTON's voice also fit in nicely... The depressive middle section with interesting drumming has an excellent building up to the explosive jazzy climax and it all ends with a powerful recapitulation. Perfect!

Darkish music is usually not my cup of tea but "Red" somehow captivated me. I had a hard time getting into KING CRIMSON because of the experimental edge and frequent harshness and I still can't enjoy their albums on the whole... but some of their albums clearly show their creative force and musical genius throughout. "Red" is such an album thus deserving 5 stars!

Report this review (#75974)
Posted Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've put off this review for a while, for a couple of reasons. I have not owned this album for several years, and I was never crazy about it. It does feature a couple of the best Crimson songs, namely the title track and Starless. Unlike many reviewers I liked Providence just fine, though it is not as good as the other two songs I mentioned and there were far better improvs on the Starless and Bible Black album. But I could never get in to Red Nightmare or Fallen Angel. Perhaps I need to hear them again to reevaluate them, based on what I read here. Not sure about that. I had always found them a bit too "safe" for this version of Crimson, a bit too "normal" perhaps (whatever that is.........I suppose I mean a bit too much like other bands of the period, not as uniquely Crimson as the previous two albums and the other songs on this one). In any case, this album is obviously essential for the Crimson fan, and I would even consider it essential to every prog fan to hear, if not to actually own. For myself, I'm going to go with 3 stars, though 3.5 would probably be more accurate.
Report this review (#76128)
Posted Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the first "goodbye-album" for King Crimson. Robert Fripp decided to leave fans with one of the most memorable instrumental tracks ever. The self-titled opener is what any musician and songwriter wish to compose, one day. A strong effort, well performed, with stunning dark passages and with that famous crescendo! Visionary rock from the genious of the band's mastermind.

I see many people sayying this is the best Crimson's album after their miliar stone of the '69. The first side is the best, indeed! I cannot judge the second at the same level, though. The main problem with it is the second part of both Providence and Starless. Too much noises. In my honest opinion, these two songs (excellent by the way) lack in coherence.

And that is the problem with the rating. Five stars are not assured, even if the opus almost reaches the goal. "One More Red Nightmare" is my most favourite sung-track from Red. The dark guitar riff is its precious trademark.

Report this review (#76208)
Posted Tuesday, April 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Last week I noticed that Thick as a Brick Part1 lasted my entire commute from my driveway to my parking spot at work and that Part 2 ended at the traffic light one block from home on the way back from work. So I thought "how many of my CDs are like that?" Therefore, yesterday, I started an experiment in which I test if a CD is long enough to last my commute to and from work and then once I got home I could write a review for PA.

The first CD on the official experiment is Red. The seventh of KC's studio records Red brings a heavy feel to their discography. This is not a bad thing. Reading the liner notes after I got home, I was very impressed that such a tight sounding record was surrounded by so much conflict. I read an interview with Bill Brufford on Drum Magazine a few years back and he described the sessions as "pulling teeth". I would've never thought that at all just listening at how "together" they sound here.

The title track, even though is somewhat repetitive, seems very fresh. The bass solo in the middle is played with lots of taste. Fallen Angel has a great melody and I love the arpeggio guitar right before the chorus. It adds good tension. One More Red Nightmare has the funkiest sounding china cymbal at the beginning of the song. It sets the mood for the rest of the song. I would have taken out the weird sounding hand claps, but then this IS KC, you know. Providence is improvised and it sounds it. This tune alone drops a star off from the review, even though I have to admit David Cross is fabulous. Now, Starless is an amazing track. So many moods and changes, great vocals and what I consider some of Fripp's best playing. This is an awesome album closer!

Now the question is, did I get home before the last track ended? No, three traffic lights to go. So, I listened to the title track again.

Report this review (#79135)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson's classic era's final hoorah...and what a way to go.

Red starts off with the title track...perhaps the band's best instrumental track...with some hard rocking riffs...just a brilliant introduction. The next track, Fallen Angel shows exactly why John Wetton's voice was a perfect fit for the band...the raspy sorrow he exemplifies when belting out the chorus is just phenomenal...and Cross' violin adds a perfect symphonic feel to this great song. One More Red Nightmare, from what I've heard, shows some very early punk influences and is Bruford's best work on the album...the drums are so fast, yet so coherent. Again, Wetton sings with almost, a great sense of urgency and franticness, making this track a great bridge into the next one...Providence - put down by many as meandering and pointless improv. While I would have agreed when I first listened to the album, my opinion has changed greatly, as somehow it's begun to make sense.

The final track, perhaps my favorite song of all time, Starless, just leaves me at a loss for words. It's soft and chilling intro, beautifully drenched with Fripp's mellotron, with Wetton's even more chilling vocals just sets the mood perfectly..a great song to listen to late at night-the calm before the storm. Next begins a series of riffs of increasing pitch and tempo, leaving the listener hanging and waiting for what's to come...Then it hits - what many call the greatest minute or two in prog - the amazing crash of noise, and Mel Collins' really shines on the sax and ends the song and album on a fantastic note.

As high as it's rated on this site, I think it deserves better. KC's finest effort.

Report this review (#79468)
Posted Friday, May 26, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars David Cross left the band after their last tour, previous to the recording of this album, but he appears as guest in this album in some parts. So, the band`s last line-up of the seventies was a trio, Bruford-Fripp-Wetton (drums-guitar-bass) augmented by some guest musicians. It is maybe the "heaviest" album released by this band in the seventies, and it is maybe the best from their 1972-74 period.

"Red" is a heavy instrumental piece played by the trio, with several guitars and very good drums by Bruford.

"Fallen Angel" is less heavy than the previous song, but it is also good.

"One More Red Nightmare" is another heavy song, composed by Fripp and Wetton, and it has interesting bass, drums and percussion.

"Providence" is a song which sounds improvised, not very interesting for me.

"Starless" is a very good song, a sad song in parts, a heavy song in other parts, with saxes and mellotron. it sounds like King Crimson`s "Swan Song", a "Farewell song", like the band knew that it was their last album. Ian McDonald appears playing saxes, with Mel Collins too, two former members of the band as guests. It is curious that this song is only called "Starless" because the lyrics say in some parts "Starless and Bible Black", which is the title of an instrumental piece released in the "Starless and Bible Black" album! Wettn also performed a brief version of this song during ASIA`s 1990-1991 reunion tour, and he maybe also has played this song in his concerts as a soloist.

It seems that Bruford and Wetton were expecting to go on tour after the recording of this album, but Fripp said that the band was finished.

Apart from the "USA" live album released in 1975, I consider this album as being the last very good album from this band. The music of the next line-ups of this band, with Adrian Belew, was not as interesting for me than the music they recorded between 1969 and 1974.

Report this review (#81780)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars By this point, King Crimson had been reduced to a power trio: Fripp, Wetton and Bruford. Red is the last hurrah for Crimson until the 1980s. Actually, this wouldn't have been a bad way to go out forever. Red is very dark, melancholy and heavy (almost grunge-like on the title track, too). The album opens with a bang before Fripp plunges into the demonic tritones of "Red." Two somewhat regular songs ("Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare") follow, continuing the dark vein set by the first song. An the improv "Providence" (a la "Starless And Bible Black" and "Fracture") would have been more at home on Starless And Bible Black, but it lightens the mood a bit, a kind of concession before the monster "Starless." Arguably the highlight of the album, "Starless" begins with a melancholy mellotron led ballad with some haunting lyrics to only "help" the mood. Things slow down a bit before Fripp begins a single note solo, slowly repeating it, as if kind of teasing the listener. The bass gradually comes in as do the drums. Things build to a frenzy as Fripp's single-note "solo" only increases the tension. Mel Collins then comes in for a wicked sax solo before a reprise of the main theme and the madness is over. You really just have to hear it for yourself. Enough guest musicians are abound (Collins, Cross [yay], to name a few) to really take away the so-called "power trio" feel of the band- but officially, I guess they were. An essential album for Crimson fans.

Report this review (#81787)
Posted Thursday, June 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the better King Crimson album but... a little bit overrated.... One think when comes to my mind hearing the word RED is Starless... It`s definitely masterpeace. This very premeditated and beautiful composition really shocked my heart. John Wetton sings beautifully but I don`t think if he is irreplacable. Starless may resamble Epitaph form IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING and there Greg Lake`s voice was more pleasant to listen. I`m curious how would it sound if Lake sang this song.... Starless is not only singing but also beutiful gituar, bass and magnificent saxophone played by Ian McDonald and Mel Collins. That`s all about Starless, if you want to know something more about this composition read othe reviews or just simply listen. As far as Providence is concerned I consider it as a very good and climatic improvisation and excellent introduction to Starless. The title composition is like train, heavy and slow... Very interesting but not impressive. Fallen Angel is just very nice ballad which one again is wrapped in beutiful Wetton`s singing. And now un fortunately the worst song of the album.. One More Red Nightmare... Just pseudo dark pop song with iritating simple BEAT, this one really brings the whole album down. This few lower points don`t change the fact that this album is really worth heaving(not only due to Starless) and is a must for any who is interested in proggresive rock.


Report this review (#82576)
Posted Monday, July 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In the Olympic Sound studios, on the months between July & August, 1974, a crazy unusual band have continued to break the volume limit, who was indentified with the color red. In the end, they came out with a record that was milestone in the prog music, and symboled the end of the hippy generation. Her name was King Crimson. The album called "Red".

King Crimson, one of the pioneers of progressive rock, have gone through a lot of changes. The trio of 72'-74' (Fripp-Guitar, Wetton-Bass, Bruford-Drums), was the most unified & innovative of them. Fripp just got better on his playing & compsing skills, Bill Bruford had bought a lot of exprience and got on a meteoric learning course & John Wetton had invented a bass sound that destroy everything near to very little pieces...The three during the recording was at their best and "Red" is definitely their victory.

Musically, "Red" is a sequel to "Larks Tongues In Aspic" & "Starless & Bible Black". The constant stress between freestyling and sticking to the plan, had produced a high & interesting level of interest. Fripp, as a composer & as a performer, had totally personified his vision as a musician - the complete combination between Hendrix & Bach. A unite of Rock, Modernism & Classic music.

The two jewels on the crown in my opinion are the opener & the finale: "Red" - The instrumental track, with a threatning violin (played by David Cross) & a "distortion contest" between Fripp & Wetton. "Starless" - One of the best prog tracks ever recorded, a true wonder of production & structure. Former "Crimsons" have collaborated like Mel Collins, Ian McDonald & Robin Miller that contributed the wind instruments, when Wetton's friend, Robert Palmer James, who wrote those tragic lyrics. "Starless" includes three parts that combine wonderfully all the moods of the "Crimsonist" atmosphere ever: Melancholic sadness, Jazzy Happiness, Improvisated wildness & dramatic nobelty.

After the album was released, Fripp has lost his mind and decided to retire from music, due to mental reasons that no one really understands till today. Wetton & Bruford was furious about his desicion, but managed to survive and to found their own bands. Fripp has retired from music also, and came back with the album "Discipline" in 1981, When he came back with the "Crimsons" several times later in the 80's & 90's.

King Crimson tried to re-create this enormous sound that came out in this album, unsuccessfully. Maybe it's because great albums cannot be re-created. 5 stars.

Report this review (#83463)
Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This record has been reviewed a great deal already, so I probably can't say what hasn't already been said. Instead I'll reinforce. If you only get one King Crimson album, you should strongly consider making it this one. This is the record that has it all, a true prog rock essential. From the thick and heavy guitars in 'Red', to the dissonant ambience of 'Providence', the perfect one note solo in 'Starless', to the mournful chourus of 'Fallen Angel'. King Crimson continues to evolve their sound and progress and break genre, all the while staying true to their mission of making great progressive music. This album should be a mainstay for all fans of progressive music, whether you are into symphonic, metal, experimental or otherwise, this record has influenced them all.
Report this review (#84287)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My personal favorite from the Crimson King. From beginning to end. Their heaviest, most concise output from the 70's. Very avant-guarde for the era, very dark. It's as if Lark's Tongues and Starless were only preparing the ground for this one (I still love both, but they seemed to be made more of improvisation sessions rather than writing sessions). Fans of Voivod will discover one of Piggy's greatest influences in Robert Fripp, especially on this album.

Bill Bruford is equal to his formidable self as always, creative and tight. Wetton's bass playing on this album is my favorite from him (though his playing on U.K's two albums are not far behind) and I also enjoy his singing (not always on pitch, but intense) and Fripp's work is amazing, both on guitars and mellotrons. Every guest musician is used wisely also.

I love every song, album closer "Starless" in particular (my favorite KC song, period). From the gentle mellotron intro to the climactic finale which gives me goose bumps EVERY TIME I hear it. A good album closer, and a fitting ending, if KC had not rebanded in the 80's.

Five stars.

Cheers to all !

Report this review (#85110)
Posted Saturday, July 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red- Well King Crimson is my favourite band of all time and this album is easily one of their best. The title track which introduces the album is a high energy song that grabs you by the balls and keeps them their until you reach Providence where you can finaly take a breath. One More Red Nightmare is the best song on this album and features a repetitive but cool guitar line which leads into a nice chorus then a wicked mid section. There is some beautiful wood wind instrumentation. Sometimes music that is overly complex loses some of its emotion like I find with Yes sometimes. This album however retains its feel even with the complexity of some of the tracks. But I do have to admit with this album that it seems to be missing something. ITCOTCK and LTIA all made me feel something induced by the music and this one just seemed to fall short. However this album is still a masterpiece of the genre. If I were to introduce someone to this band, which is a difficult task as it is, I would show them In the Court of the Crimson King instead.
Report this review (#86561)
Posted Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The thing I find most impressive about "Red" is that it was made while King Crimson was on the verge of separation. Violinist David Cross walked out half way through the making of "Red", though he left a very noticeable impression in the music. King Crimson was reduced to three members, Fripp, Wetton and Bruford, who did a remarkable thing creating this album.

"Red" is quite a dark album and the overall mood of it is sullen and pessimistic, but at the same time it isn't. The music alternates between the two moods; "Fallen Angel" is good example of this. Fallen Angel may seem like a dark song, but if you figure out the lyrics, then you will see how it makes sense. "Red" is also a bit heavier than most other King Crimson albums and the title song, "Red" is quite a heavy number. It consists of a relatively simple theme which is repeated several times in higher positions. There is a violin interlude before the main theme starts again.

David Cross really left an impression in "Providence", the opening two minutes is basically a violin solo. The song then gradually breaks out into chaotic music which rises and subsides throughout the song. "Another Red Nightmare" follows a similar path to "Red", but it also has vocals on it. Most of the song is again instrumental. The closing track is quite possibly the best song King Crimson ever wrote. "Starless" is a beautiful twelve minute progressive wonder, whose second section is a large crescendo before a fantastic finish. Personally I enjoy the first four minutes of the song a lot, this section is made exceptionally good by the wind instruments. David Cross, again left his mark in this song.

1.Red (3/5) 2.Fallen Angel (3/5) 3.Another Red Nightmare (3/5) 4.Providence (3/5) 5.Starless (5/5) Total = 17 divided by 5 (number of songs) = 3.4 = 4 stars Good, but non-essential

"Red" is a very solid effort and it goes to show that bands under pressure can sometimes produce good works. I recommend "Red" to basically all prog fans, though I think it lacks creativity to be a masterpiece.

Report this review (#87378)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Like said before me this album is unforgettably magnificent. It holds creativity superior. It's an album of much contrast, many moods and atmosphere most powerful and great. I'm not a King Crimson specialist, I only own two of their albums (this one and the great ''In the court of the Crimson King) but having read about their other efforts I deem this is their best album. Many complain about flaws in it but for me there's none. True, the colourite changes with each track and usually albums of much contrast have the tendency of being plainly non-satisfying for me. On this one on the contraire there are five songs of brilliance and still, however it may be that the songs differ from eachother in many ways compositional, throughout it there is an atmosphere of sheer exceptional feeling. The atmosphere of powerful, creative (a little insane) beauty (that's whats prog about,isn't it?). The details on the compositions brilliant, brilliant. It, ''Red'', is one of my favourite albums of all time. I'd give the album 9 out of 10.

1. ''Red'' is quite fascinating. The jazzy structure of this instrumental is not simple but at the same time the tune is easily comprehensable. 9/10

2. ''Fallen Angel'' is more dramatic and emotional. Grandiosious atmosphere and good musicanship. Wettons vocals give it grandour. 9/10

3. ''One More Red Nightmare'' is powerful. Brufords drumming is as written before me, excellent. 9/10

4. ''Providence'' is a piece I wasn't able to comprehend at first. Later I realised that it was a great dodecaphonic composition, I found it to be a song very much to my liking. It is different than other songs on ''Red'' but in my oppinion it fits fine with the rest. The strongest and the greatest song here along with ''Starless''. I, with my love towards modern classical music and dodecaphonic structures like ''Providence'' above all other astonishing songs on this album. 10/10

5. ''Starless'' is the second highlight of this album. Considered by many as the only great song on this album, ''Starless'' is good indeed. A softer song but great as the other on ''Red''. Like ''Providence'', ''Starless'' is much different from the rest of the album. But in comparison to ''Providence'' it is very unsimilar, yet there is the same atmospheric line running through ''Starless'' also. It is beutiful in an other way than ''Providence'' and yet they fit together. In my imagination ''Providence'' is on one side of the scale of musical positive emotions and ''Starless'' on the other. And the rest of the songs are somewhere in the middle. Anyway it is the most widely appreciated song on this album and my second favourite. 10/10

Report this review (#87383)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Last opus from the 73-75 incarnation of King Crimson. The band is reduced to a trio after David Cross' departure. However, Cross and old members such as Mel Collins and Ian McDonald appear on this album. After a disappointing release which contained more live improvs than actual studio work, they changed their album format and included only one live improvisation and four studio tracks. This album, however, is everything but disappointing.

It seems that with every album this line-up put out, their tightness as a band increased. Their musicianship is again nothing short of awesome but we can feel that these guys have walked some way together. Wetton's vocals upgraded in the same way. On Lark's tongues in aspic, his voice sounded not always convinced of his own potential. On Starless and Bible Black, it was already ten times better and on Red, he masters his vocal ability.

The album opens with its title track, Red. This essential piece of instrumental progressive rock from King Crimson is nothing short of awesome. A killer riff, drumming and bridge makes this song eternal. By eternal, I mean that this song hasn't aged at all. It still feels new. It is simple, yes, but still terribly good.

The second track, Fallen Angel, is a very successful ballad from this mature King Crimson line-up. Wetton delivers a great vocal performance. The chorus is pretty emotionnal. Let's notice the excellent guest appearances by Mel Collins and Ian McDonald on saxophones.

On to a rocking track, One more red nightmare. I especially adore the drumming on this one and once again the vocals on this one. This song may be the weakest of the 4 studio tracks but it's still really enjoyable. Great musical performance by all of the band members.

Providence is the only live improvisation in this album and in many ways, it is reminiscent of Moonchild from King Crimson's debut album In the Court of the Crimson King. First, it is a jam full of experimental noises and stuff. Second, it creates an interesting atmosphere. Third, it kinda brings the rythm of the album down before you are mindblown by the true showstopper of the album.

In this case, the showstopper is Starless. There's no words to describe the perfection of that song. It's been a long time since Fripp used the Mellotron but in this song, its use is absolutely stunning. The vocal performance is basically the best that Wetton ever put out. The whole song gives instant intense emotions. The one-note guitar solo is awesome. The ending is simply orgasmic. The progression from start to finish is amazing. The drumming is perfect. The guest musicians deliver an incredible job. I'm all out of adjectives to describe that song.

Overall, I think I would give this album 4 stars but it's one of those case where one song is sooooo amazingly good that you can't give the album anything less than 5 stars. So, a masterpiece it is. Highly recommend.


Report this review (#89021)
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me this was the best incarnation of King Crimson and this is their best album. It is much heavier than the albums preceding but this is combined with several very well worked quieter passages. One of the things that I really like about this album, as opposed to a lot of their other stuff, is that it has dated really well. In my opinion a lot of their other stuff sounds a bit dated but this is not one of them. I don't think there is a weak track on here and I would recommend that anyone wanting to get into King Crimson buy this album over In the Court of the Crimson King.
Report this review (#89255)
Posted Friday, September 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars So many reviews that there is little left to say. A fantastic album with overdriven bass tone from Wetton, great vocal perfomance, and first-rate work from Fripp and Bruford along with the guests. Since everyone else had pretty much said what I think about this album, I thought that I would offer a technical/emotional opinion breakdown of "Starless," for those of you who are interested.

The beginning is in a slow 4 in G minor, and is one of the most gorgeous pieces of music ever set to record in any music genre. I've played this track for several friends who are relatively unfamiliar with KC and prog in general, and nearly all couldn't hold back tears, and the ones who could were in absolute awe.

The mid-section can be tough to take for many. It's a slow C minor blues in 13/4 (over the C min and F min) that goes to 4/4 over the V chord [G7(#(9)]. Fripp plays a series of adjacent-string unisons that slowly build in intensity and also demonstrate the effect of using different notes over the same chord progression. It took me a few listens to get it, and now I'm digging this section as much as the rest.

The final section starts with a fast, aggressive section in 6/8 that is rather brief, and a bear to count, but it's there. This segues to a recapitulation of the mid-section blues bit, only in a furious 13/8 with the V chord again being in 4/4. There is a recapitulation of the opening melody in the saxes, followed by one more run-through of the 13/8 before they go back into 4/4 for the apocalyptic ending. I have to admit, I'm a bass player, and Wetton's bass tone on this last minute of the tune is so amazing, so dirty and loud, that I can't get over it. Another great feature of the ending is that it is not drawn out with scrubbing and histrionics like many bands do at the end of a live show, for example. Just an amazingly loud, driven line that crashes to a perfect G minor conclusion. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to this song, and every time I do, I have to turn the stereo off and think "well, there's really not much point in listening to anything else, now is there?"

I hope you enjoyed the breakdown...

Report this review (#94008)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#95341)
Posted Saturday, October 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Classic Crimson.

Arguably their best release, King Crimson's Red is a polished effort that is signified with class and grace. The album opens with a bang, with sonic tension that KC had become the masters of. This is my favorite work from Wetton, who's playing really shines through here. Significantly less rocking here in favor of a more artistry is change for the better, however, we still have some fairly heavy and intense moments, especially the end of Starless and much of the title track Red.

The track that really bothers me here is Providence, which is similar to a worse version of Moonchild. The free rolling nothingness brings no satisfaction to me, and I can't help but skip to the last and significantly better final track.

Starless can only be described as "majestic like" with moving passages and a lusious middle section. This is my favorite Crimson song, the most polished and a great culmination of their overall effort. A jazzy feel, with wild saxes towards the end sets up for the chaotic closing. A superb effort. The last real great Crimson album.

Report this review (#95620)
Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a good effort on part of the Crimson trio. I do miss cross on violin though. He makes a brief guest appearance on providece, but to no real effect. Track one, red, is a distorted instrumental. It's a bit repetitive, but on purpose I would imagine. It builds tension. It's a good opener for the album. Also has some cool percusive clanking on part of bruford. Track two, fallen angel, may just be my favorite on the album, though starless is a close contender. Fallen angel has a good melody and is memorable. Also has some interesting trumpet work on it. The heavy chorus is good for listening too. It adds balance to the song. It's a really nice song with some good lyrics. One more red nightmare is a heavier tune that I personally like very much. Good lyrics, good music, good instrumental passages, it's just a good song period! Providence is a creepy instrumental with some starless and bible black-like jamming. Wierd and experimental, which is good. And finally, we have starless, the longest piece on the album. Starts off with a beautiful melody and has excellent singing by wetton. The song then goes into a long repetitive, slightly annoying, but appropriate middle section which leads to and builds up for the fast jazzy passage at the end. It then returns to the melody, with the sax playing it. Also, some nice mellotron is present here. I almost want to give it a 5, but for me it falls just shy of that. Probably because of the fact that they have become a trio and thus became a tad bit more straightforward with this one. Essential for crimson fans, 4/5.
Report this review (#97281)
Posted Sunday, November 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Full five stars masterpiece here!

This is one of three favorite albums of all times to me, but it has nothing to do with reader's musical taste, right? Why I think this is masterpiece? There are many reasons, fist one is songwriting which is exceptional, for example in song Fallen Angel, and this great lyrics are everywhere followed by grinding, juicy, heart full guitar. Fripp plays music that will influence many great musical acts for long time period. This is where they slowly leave their symphonic period and begin experimental metal-like futuristic sonic adventures. Guitar riffs in composition called Providence are atonal and explorative, not to mention the heaviest bass of all times.

Album starts with weird and beautiful instrumental track; King Crimson plays metal for the first time and riffs are so damn inspiring and infectious, those that can destroy listener with its beauty. Whole track is in form of some heavier psychedelic trip, and this composition probably influenced track called Wedding Nails by Porcupine Tree, and possibly some others.

Fallen Angel has one great mood shift created by guitar and followed by chorus and some horns. Lead melody gets played by these horns and this sound devastatingly beautiful. Then we have short solo and great drumming, and again grinding riffs that make change in rhythm, and playing of all instruments that is very hard to describe: everyone plays his own melody and all pieces perfectly fit: Brilliant.

One More Red Nightmare rocks! There are some powerful percussions and unique guitar sound. I can even dance with this one. But still song has dark name and one excellent mood shift, from funky to dark, and whole song is so linear that nobody can describe it totally, as it is complicated but still accessible. It ends suddenly, like awaking from a dream (in this case from nightmare).

Next song Providence begins with some mystical violins and introduces interesting atmosphere. Than there come some heavy guitar notes and mind blowing bass line. It is wonderful atmospherics instrumental, the most futuristic of all tracks.

Starless is giant song. It made me cry several times, it is dark but warm, sad but full of hope, melody just killed me. First part is slow, melodic orchestrated, and second one starts with sudden repetitive guitar notes that grow and change discontinuously, and there go fascinating drums around, with bass that just beats down all bass players I ever heard. This song than runs to ecstasy, total trans, mind disintegrating delirium. I have no more words.

This album has soul, has image, has great production, exceptional playing. I hope I will hear this few hundred times more in next fifty years or so :-)

Report this review (#98431)
Posted Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red was the last Crimson album of the 70s, and was intended to be the final KC album period. Thus, Robert Fripp went to great lengths to craft a fitting swan song. The result was one of KC's greatest works. Red marks the first time the King travelled with so few minstrels: David's departure reduced Crimso to a trio. However, each member works overtime to fill the gaps. The album also is perhaps the heaviest in Fripp's discography. The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal dubbed Red the greatest heavy metal album made by a non heavy metal band. The album seems to be founded upon the tritone, which had been successfully resurrected by Sabbath's Tony Iommi.

The title track opens with a very Sabbath like tempo and a profound heaviness. It is one of Fripp's best instrumentals (IMO trailing only behind Larks' Tongue).

"Fallen Angel" features great vocals by Wetton and is a beautiful track that balances the heaviness of the opener. Very effective use of horns.

"One More Red Nightmare" has an addictive percussion pattern with a great riff. This is the most accessible song on the album, but even that is too weird for most.

"Providence" is a misstep. The in-studio improv tends to drag in some sections. It is still a decent track and worth a listen, but the versions of Great Deceiver are better in my opinion.

The album closes with the mighty "Starless". John Wetton is usually ignored for his bass skill since he was replaced by the greatest prog bassist ever, Tony Levin. However, this track should disprove any opinion that he is lacking. His vocals are powerful as well. This is on of KC's finest tracks, and it was a fitting send-off

Red is probably KC's third best album after the debut and Larks' Tongue. Providence's meandering jams prevent it from being a five star album, but it comes oh so close.

Grade: B+

Report this review (#101506)
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my second favorite KC album, although I prefer the first three songs on this to ITCOTCK. Red is a very dark, deep album.

1)Red This is probably my favorite non-vocal song of all time. I go around humming this one all day. The drums are great, but the guitar and bass lines make the song.

2)Fallen Angel I love the opening to Fallen Angel. You know right away what song it is. Wetton sounds great on this particular piece. Very catchy. I like the smooth transition to the chorus; the listener barely notices it. This is an extremely relaxing work.

3)One More Red Nightmare Love the power guitar here, and John Wetton is absolutely PERFECT for this song. It wouldn't have been the same with Lake or any of the other singers. Definitely one of the greatest songs of all time. The entire harmony, the drums, the bass, all works so seamlessly, forming a beautiful sound.

4)Providence Decent in the late middle when the actual music starts... I know, I know, it's PROG, but come on, who can honestly say they enjoy listening to an orchestra tuning for 5 minutes?

5)Starless Some people love this song. I think it's alright, nothing more.

If you don't have Red, you should definitely get it. It isn't a five star, but it is an essential.

Report this review (#102678)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red has been widely recognized as Crimson's greatest 70s output, and often their overall best album. It's definitely a fantastic album, but not perfect my any means.

Starless is a personal essential, and the other tracks are memorable. The rockers are very well done, but sometimes repetitive and (towards the end) demanding. The Crimson feel is back after it took a leave on 'Starless and Bible Black'. It's got classic Crimson experimental partly-improvised segments, catchy riffs, and really great feel and instrumental skill. From the first note of the somewhat simple opener to the last note of the emotional, dark thrill ride of Starless, this album captivates, intrigues and rocks out.

Report this review (#105088)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Red" is generally considered a masterpiece and I would hardly make a case for the opposite. However, if I compare it to a previous masterpiece of the same line-up ("Larks Tongues in Aspic", in case you wonder), I find this slightly less interesting. It may be due to overall, too dark and metallic sound on this album, which is sometimes raw as a bloddy steak. That's fine, but I would prefer slightly "well-done" meal in order to digest it. Be sure, I am talking about finesse things, while "Starless" and "Fallen Angel" would alone deserve 4,5 stars. This is an excellent album and in view of it being the last studio effort of the classic CRIMSON can only add more value. But, as I said, I will not rate it "masterpice" only because a general sensation of its production and sound.
Report this review (#111152)
Posted Friday, February 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I love how heavy this record is. I'm a huge fan of their "Power To Believe" album too, but what is special about this record is the liberal use of mellotron. And being a big fan of ANEKDOTEN I can hear that they were influenced big time from this record especially when listening to the song "Starless".

"Red" is one of the best instrumentals I have ever heard. Over 6 minutes of bliss ! Fripp is nothing short of incredible. Check out Bruford too, simply amazing ! I read where Bruford said he left YES because he felt he had learned all he was going to learn from being in that band. And he jumped ship to KING CRIMSON in part to learn from the genius percussionist Mr.Muir, who stayed with the band for "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" only. Bruford seems like a much better drummer at this point in his career, much better then I thought he was anyway. "Fallen Angel" is where we get to hear Wetton for the first time on this album. I really enjoy his singing and maybe it's just me but he always seems so happy in all the pictures I see of him with KING CRIMSON, like he's died and gone to heaven or something. Some beautiful mellotron, flute and sax in this one. The song gets more intense at the 3 minute mark.

"One More Red Nightmare" opens with heavy guitar and bass.Nice. And check out the drumming ! Sax 3 minutes in followed by some more great drumming. The long sax solo is incredible. "Providence" is an improvised jam that works for me. Opening with violin we start to hear KING CRIMSON's experimental side as we hear various sounds like flute, violin, guitar etc. slice through the soundscape. The drums and guitar start to take over and it ends beautifully. Nice bass solo from Wetton as well. "Starless" could be the best track i've ever heard ! Opening with light drums and mellotron, it sounds so beautiful. Sax and violin come in and I love the way the guitar and soundscape builds until Fripp sets it on fire.There is another great sax solo after 9 minutes as the mellotron from the beginning comes back, but only it's all more powerful than before. What an ending !

Another masterpiece from Fripp and company and "Red" just might be their best.

Report this review (#116385)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The mature King Crimson. This album makes a couple with Starless And Bible Black, but is more complete. A concrete sound in some themes, a experimental searching in others. The perfect join of the three former members (Fripp, Wetton, Bruford) in complementation with the "guests" with non traditional rock instruments. Just because of this, the album sounds deep, envolving, mysterious, charming. The changes from melody to hard sound and to melody again, the construction of a theme from free sounds to a complex structure (a wall of music) made Red a real avant garde creation (in his time, of course) that has not left his progressive character through the time. I mean: the time demonstrates that this album has passed the years pure and untouched. In don't know no one King Crimson album in the following years that have this quality. Red and In the Court of the Crimson King are the two great masterpieces of the group. The have more great albums, but none like this two.
Report this review (#117238)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the interesting things about King Crimson is that despite many lineup changes and Robert Fripp's desire to always change the sound of the band, they always had consistently good output. Red is one of the best examples of this. Red was a pretty dramatic experiment at the time, even for King Crimson. Robert Fripp reduced the band down to a trio (though there is still a strong presence of woodwind instruments). As a result there was a drastic change in sound. Despite all these changes, the band played very well together, and Fripp was able to create one of the bands finest albums.

The opener Red is powerful to say the least. Fripp's distorted guitar sounds great with the bass which both pulsate throughout the song. Bill Bruford does an outstanding job on the drums as usual, in this song and throughout the album.

Fallen Angel changes the new sound up a lot, for example this track has vocals. The vocal peformance is outstanding as well. The song also starts out rather mellow before exploding into the same frenzy heard in Red and to be heard in the rest of the album.

I absolutely love the drumming in One More Red Nightmare, in fact it was probably the track that encouraged me to start paying attention to rhythm sections in the first place. This would be my favorite if it wasn't for the amazing closer Starless. The track shifts from one part that includes vocals to a distorted jamming part, both of which sound excellent. Towards the end, there is some great sax playing that plays over the rest of the music until the close.

Providence is my least favorite track on the album, though in its defense it is rather hard to digest and I haven't listened to it as much as I should have. It often draws comparison to Moonchild from the debut. It is also the fourth track out of five and deals with some intense experimentation. In the case of Providence however, the experimentation actually has a point and doesn't seem like the pointless noodling showcased in Moonchild. It gradually builds up from beginning to the end where it gets as frenzied as the rest of the album.

The amazing Starless begins with a more mellow emotional side, very similar to the beginning of Fallen Angel, but this lasts much longer. Another excellent vocal performance by Wetton is made during this part. The second part starts out soft but builds up over a few minutes. Towards the end of this part the loud Frippian guitar sounds very similar to Red. Then it seamlessly transitions into the last part of the track, as well as the album. There's some more oustanding sax playing over great bass. Bill Bruford keeps up his great job of drumming with lots of use of the cymbals. As this part progresses it brilliantly replays the beginning of the track with a much less mellow feel and does the same with Fripp's guitar in the second part. This is one of KC's best and classic tracks.

This really showcases the less symphonic side of King Crimson, very different from the magic of their debut album. They may never exceed the quality of In the Court..., but Red is the closest they came. And don't get me wrong, it comes very close.

Report this review (#118094)
Posted Wednesday, April 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The KC before their split. Shall I get another feeling about this album ? If I except "ITCOTKK" and "ITWOTP", I have never been really enthusiastic with their work to say the least.

The title track is a good number : very scary like KC could be (sounds pretty much similar to "Fracture"). Strong guitar for this hypnotic number. The whole band is very strong, and at least I can find a structure to this song. One of the best KC song ever. I must say that the next track, "Fallen Angel" is also very pleasant. Very nice vocals, and again the symphonic side of the band is explorated here, which is fine as far as I am concerned. These two tracks bring me back years ago, I must say. What a good surprise !

I wouldn't joke too much with the following "One More Red Nightmare". Not that it is a bad track; no on the contrary : this is another decent number. The little brother of the opening track "Red" and therefore maybe a bit useless. Same scary and repetitive mood. But, hey ! I far much prefer to hear these type of songs than the usual jazzy and improv stuff which KC produced too often for my ears. Great sax in the finale. Another good song (three in a row) !

In comparison by most KC album, this one is easier for the casual fan (who I am). Some purists might argue that this is not KC at their best, but my opinion differs sustantially. This album is close to be their best one, only surpassed by "ITCOTCK" to be honest. Just a shame that a track like "Providence" took its place here. It is almost eight minutes of boredom and completely useless. Fortunately, it will be the only song of this caliber here. Dull, dull, dull.

The closing number is probably one of their most symphonic and beautiful number. On par with "Epitaph", "ITCOTCK" and "ITWOTP". By chance, it is also the longest composition. The mellotron is just sublime. It is a shivery track. Full of emotion and beauty. What a great track, my friends!

This is one of the good reasons to keep on listening different KC albums, sometimes with lots of difficulty. But my patience has been rewarded and this track only should please any music lover.

The melody is just fantastic. The sax is great and Wetton is very good (both on the vocals and on the bass). The middle part is a bit weaker (for about two minutes) but this is definitevely one of their best number ever (at least on my scale). The finale brings me really close to paradise (well, I guess this is paradise...).

Four stars.

Report this review (#118564)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

What is there to add that haven't been written before? not much, i am afraid! We have on the cover just 3 members left of this line -up. A grinning J.Wetton and 2 serious looking Bill Bruford and Robert Fripp. But David Cross is still credited with '' thanks to'' . Also guess who is back? Not only the brilliant IAN MCDONALD is back to the nest ,but his successor , the great MEL COLLINS is present as well. How can you have CRIMSON betterthan that?

I am not here to detail the songs of this album; you know them by heart and most of you love them to death. From the metal symphonic of ''RED'' to the Crimson anthem ''STARLESS'' we're going from wonder to wonder. There are no simple songs; just listen to FALLEN ANGEL or ONE MORE RED NIGHTMARE, the musicianship of all the players is incredible, original, creative. (listen to Bruford on ONE MORE RED NIGHTMARE) .Fripp is absolutely top form and what else to say about J. Wetton.

I know, I know! there is also PROVIDENCE! It won't be definitely part of any ''Best OF'' album. But Crimson has always been on the inpredictable side. You wouldn't expect anything else from them. If PROVIDENCE is not on par with the rest of the album, this is still listenable starting slowly with Cross Violin and buiding up with a mean Wetton bass and the entrance of Bruford and Fripp. Just listening to it, now!! not bad.

I was very, very diasappointed back then when i heard that Fripp was closing the shop. Bruford and Wetton were eager to keep going and wanted I McDonald to stay in the band. But Fripp decided otherwise. God knows what would have this line-up brought us. We'll never know. R. Fripp will reform K. Crimson 7 years later for new adventures ( but not too pleasant to my ears)

If i have to go on exile on a desert island with only one CD to take with me, it will be this one! So i can only give 5 stars to the greatest prog CD IMO.

Report this review (#119223)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I saw this version of King Crimson during the Starless and Bible Black tour and as much as I like that album, I like this one even more. Red: I always like to hear a barn burner to start an album out and this one didn't let me down. You know this is Crimson from the opening seconds, the use of dissonant chords and intervals screams Fripp and his lead tone is a classic sound that has served him well. This track also has a combination of odd & even meters that shows what a brilliant drummer Bruford really is. There's a nice change of pace at 2:45 that last's for exactly one minute, slowing things down, letting you breathe a little before going back to the opening lick and ending. They are known for doing at least one instrumental per album, and this is the perfect way, IMO, to kick this one off.

Fallen Angel: K.C. were also known for ballad's, but with a twist. Masters of the soft verse and loud, powerful chorus they showed their stuff on this track. In the verse I hear shades of Greg Lake in the vocals with Wetton's voice having more character and his bass having more depth and meat in the tone, no veggie bass sound here people. The song is about a brother lost to a knife fight on the streets, fairly straight forward lyrics here. The dark sound of the chorus helps convey this story line, it reminds me of Lennon's heavy line at the end of "I Want You". During the last verse at 4:00, Fripp weaves a beautiful lead line in and around the vocal that gets me every time I hear it. There is some great cornet playing throughout this song by Marc Charig that fits perfectly.

One More Red Nightmare: More blending of odd/even meters with the even metered sections so syncopated that even they sound odd, more great work from Bill Bruford in this track. I don't even mind his over use of the upside down "china" cymbal, which he used freely throughout this time period. It's a dated sound but the handclaps fit this song nicely also. The lyrics borrow a well used theme with a twist, of course. A bad experience on an airplane or just a dream (nightmare), only to wake up on a Greyhound bus. More ominous guitar from Fripp with Wetton adding to the fray. Great sax playing by McDonald in the middle section brings back a little of some of their earlier sound.

Providence: A typical change of pace track by Crimson, Starts out slow and although it does get going about halfway through, it never really goes anywhere. I don't dislike this song but it's just filler to me and if not for the greatness of the other tracks would bring my rating down to a 4.5.

Starless: This song, IMO, is a true progressive rock masterpiece. After a tasteful mellotron opening, Fripp comes in with a hauntingly beautiful guitar melody line that is the motif for this song. His mellow tone and sustain create a trance like mood as he moves up an octave and repeats this amazing melody before the vocal comes in. Wetton's voice is rich with emotion and fit's perfectly with this darkly colored track. Fripp repeats his stunning guitar line in between verses, this time playing it all on one string, sliding up and down the neck, a nice variation. Around 4:20 we get the change we knew would be coming, because it's King Crimson, and there starts one of the best examples of tension and release in modern music that I've ever heard. This interplay between guitar and bass builds slowly and may be hard for most non-prog fans to listen to, but for those of us that know and love this band, this is what we have come to expect from them. This part builds and builds and finally comes to a climax at 7:52 when we get a series of lead bends that would even make an AC/DC fan sit up and take notice. Ah............. you finally say, the payoff. It dosen't end there though and at 9:08 this whole section get's double timed with the sax taking the lead in a frenzy that reminds us of a certain track that opens their first album. The vocal melody is repeated by the sax before going back to the opening guitar melody, also played by the sax this time. The guitar then does an abbreviated double time version of the tension and release section complete with even wilder bends by Fripp. We finally get a reprise of that beautiful melodic motif from the beginning played full force for a couple of rounds before a grand ending. The bass is especially strong throughout this part and I, for one, could hear this part repeated a couple more times, oh well, I guess 12 minutes is long enough.

There is an interesting inner sleeve with lots of press clippings about the band breaking up (in the cd anyway), which sadly was true. I'm just glad I got to see this band live, even if it was to support the album before this one.

Report this review (#119349)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2007 | Review Permalink

After the listening of a big part of this great, revolutionary and evolving band, I've noticed the big musical ability headed mainly by Robert Fripp's master mind, and even when they have low rated albums, it's a band that has survived through the years in spite of the changing and sometimes ungrateful that this can be. After having one of the most amazing debut albums in contemporary music, the difficulty of holding that kind of pressure sometimes can destroy a band; even though this British band releases their seventh effort, and they showed they were more than a first album group. "Red" starts and grows with the same majesty we got used after "Lizard". Unlike to "In the Court of The Crimson King" which has a little trip in the second part of "Moonchild" , this release looks stronger with a much more dark and depressive orientation, developing a harder Progressive Rock. The collaborations by the guest musicians are pretty relevant and enhance ever single track in this job.

"Red" is the opening track in this work and it does it pretty well, every arrangement and every change fit perfect and are performed in a notable form by each band member, the musical understanding that they've reached through time is amazing, and also the melodies are very clear and easily swallowed.

"Fallen Angel" follows the same mysterious line on the album, the tempo is slowed a little bit, but it doesn't break the dynamic showed. The narrative on the song contains the intensity and the touch of suspense it needs, perfectly performed by John Wetton. This is one of my favorite songs ever.

"One More Red Nightmare" can be the continuation of "Red" because it follows the same harmonic structure developed in fifths and returning to the same root note, only that John Wetton explodes his voice adding power to the song and the rhythmic fills made by Bill Bruford with his drum kit bring a special nuance to the track.

Following their tradition and being faithful to their roots, "Providence" is the second instrumental theme that opens the door for one of the most diverse sound experimentations, which has given King Crimson a special place in the Progressive scene.

"Starless" floods with melancholy every place, one of the best pieces made by this band that culminate in a tornado of musical adventures. There is nothing else to say except, this was the perfect finale for this record.

At the end of the day, it's impossible not listening to it over and over again, because it's so perfect and charming, this is my favorite King Crimson album as conceptual as musically. This is absolutely another masterpiece to enjoy.

Report this review (#119529)
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
5 stars I think this is the best album that Crimson have created by far. It is consistently dotted with melodious licks - vocally and instrumentally - that are extremely satisfying to a prog rock ear. Furthermore, the musicianship is good: from the unique technique of Fripp's guitar playing to the technically perfect drumming of Bruford to the thick, solid bass of Wetton. The simple - yet astounding - arrangements, marvelous musicianship and great melody lines make this album a must have on any self respecting prog fan's shelf.

The opening song has the word PROG written all over it, with shifting 4/4, 7/4 time signatures and its "loop" song format, this is by far the best instrumental that Crimson have ever come out with (Level Five from "The Power to Believe" album is questionable). Gaps between riffs leave Bruford space for some elaborate drum fills whilst Fripp's snappy riffs and Wetton's bass lines keep the song steadily intact. This may not be the strongest song from the album, but it is a cracking opener and portrays the heavy atmosphere of the rest of the disc perfectly.

The tracks "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare" are my personal favourites, and could easily pass as regular rock tracks from the 70s. Fallen Angel is a nice ballad with flowing melodies and not a bad idea in sight; it even leaves the prog trend and actually has lyrics that mean something! This not only could appeal to most prog fans but even a few mainstream music fans as well. One More Red Nightmare is a heavy jazzesque number with Fripp's guitar powering the most of the song and a very good sax solo within the outro section. Bruford's drumming, once again is also to be noted for.

The penultimate track - Providence - is probably the weakest track of them all, with absolutely no melody, no structure and no appealing qualities whatsoever. It was blatantly created merely to fill up space on the album, and in my opinion should have been replaced with another decent song to match up to the master levels of the rest of the album. However, the final and best song on the album - Starless - is an absolute masterpiece of prog rock and is highly underrated amongst musicians. The opening 4-5 minutes is an excellent piece of work with a catchy, mysterious melody and some beautifully simple guitaring from Fripp. The build up, by far, is the best part of the song and should be respected and looked up to by all prog musicians nowadays. Some may criticize that Fripp's one note solos are extremely tedious, however, if you are paying attention to the theme of the song, then you would realise that the quite, atmospheric minimalism is the whole idea, and it begins to pick up considerably when the drums kick in. Finally, to finish the song and the album, there is the huge, heavy, jazzy, proggy, complex movement that everyone anticipate at the end of the song, and is filled in with a 13/8 time signature and a kickass sax solo from Mel Collins on Soprano. A true gem to finish off an album.

All in all, I am giving this album a 5/5 not because of the album in general, but because of the high and supreme quality of the good stuff within the album (all bar Providence) and is a vital album in prog rock history.

Report this review (#126146)
Posted Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Red' is the quintissential album of the early incarnations of the band. I have small issues with nearly all albums from their early catalog, even the highly-regarded ITCOTCK. 'Red' is the one album with which I can find nothing to complain about, despite repeated attempts on my part to find something wrong with it.

On 'Red' we hear a band that has reached their peak in terms of power and compatibility - ironic that Fripp decided to end the band at this point, placing on a 10-year hiatus. Although I am also a big fan of the 80s lineup of Crim, they never recaptured the raw power they attained on 'Red'.

Whether you like King Crimson or not, this album is an absolute must-have. The profound influence of this record for years to come is substantial.

Report this review (#126906)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If one were to write off 'Red' simply because the Crimson number is down to three, then they would be missing out on some truly wonderful music.

I will say that I was initially skeptical when a friend presented me with the concept of a three man Crimson. It was he who had introduced me to the music of King Crimson, and I always held the opinion that the variety of musicians in Crimson albums past lent greatly to their unique sound. David Cross' violin and Jamie Muir's wild percussion made 'Larks' Tongues In Aspic' a remarkable album in it's own right. But, from the moment my friend played me "Fallen Angel", I knew 'Red' had plenty to offer.

For the three man lineup, Crimson puts out some tremendous sound. Some of the heaviest guitar I've ever heard from Robert Fripp came courtesy of this album. Bill Bruford does a wonderful job on the drums, and John Wetton will always be my favorite of the Crimson vocalists. Two of my favorite Crimson songs ever come from this album, those being "Fallen Angel" and "Starless". The title track "Red" caught me right off the bat and made me a fan of it, which can be a hard thing for me personally for an instrumental. It is no ordinary instrumental though, as it is the most hard rocking track I've ever heard from King Crimson. "One More Red Nightmare" is similar in that hard rocking theme, but what stands out to me in the song are John Wetton's vocals. There is a power and energy behind them that adds to the lyrics themselves, and makes for another fantastic track.

The one song the band could have used a mulligan on is "Providence", but like other reviewers here, I won't penalize the overall fantastic effort the album puts out due to one mediocre song. And the album just isn't complete without it's masterpiece, "Starless". It represents a true fusion of what Crimson has been, and what it has become by 'Red', and serves as the perfect finale to a phenomenal album. Again, I can't say enough about Wetton's vocals on this track, but those last seven minutes show any prog music fan just what King Crimson is capable of when at their best. Truly a must have.

Report this review (#128053)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars MARVELLOUS!!

This is the last and probably the darkest of King Crimson's albums. The band is now a trio but the fusion between the musicians is simply perfect and they have the collaboration of many ex members of the band. A variety of styles are mixed, but it was very easy for me to get into this album. I loved the music from the very first listening.

"Red2 is an instrumental song with a great job of Mr. Fripp's guitar The second track, "Fallen Angel", is a lovely sweet song with very sad lyrics and great sax playing. "One More Red Nightmare" is in the same line of the title track and show us how powerful is the sound of the band. "Providence" is basically an improvisation number in which we can appreciate the skilful of all the musicians. Finally, the album has a great, great closer: "Starless". All the opinions that other reviewers have written before, are not enough to describe the magnificence of this song, one of my all time favorites.

A few more words for Bil Bruford. His work as percussionist in this album is excellent, maybe his best performance. Red is a masterpiece, a perfect ending for the brilliant career of one of the greatest bands of the prog scene.

Report this review (#128098)
Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a masterpiece in my opinion, Starless is one of the best prog track i have ever heard!!!, Red and One more Red Nightmare are very heavy track, fallen angel is also great, Providence is weak, but, i just skip the song , but they are excelent!!!! Superb stuff, go and buy it
Report this review (#128464)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars RED 4.5 A number heavy on the guitars (excellent work from Fripp) as well as the other two (Wetton and Brufford). Some think of this song as of an ancestor to grunge. The track is great, the band plays really tight., even if the track is somewhat repetitive. Fallen angel 5 A calmer number with vocals from John Wetton. A melodic ballad to calm things down. Typically Crimsonesque. However, it soon becomes much more heavy and it´s great. Fripp plays marvelous guitar parts on this one. Mel Collins adds his saxophone as well, he becomes dominant in the track´s coda. One more red nightmare. 5 The song is introduced by heavy guitars (much in the vein of the title track) and Bruford plays gorgeous drums on here. John Wetton´s vocal introduce a slightly lighter passage and add to the variety of the track. Fripp plays some nice rhytm guitar parts and Mel Collins adds some of his best solos he has ever made made for a Krimson song, before the number sudddenly fades out. Providence 4 An improvisational piece with dark guitar work by Fripp and dissonant violin playing by David Cross. Sounds somewhat boring, until the track gets heavier again after the violin led part, where Fripp gets one of his usual solos. Starless 5 Starts off very atmospheric, with Fripp playing some nice high guitar notes and a lot of mellotron . Brufford and Wetton provide subtle backing. The vocal melody is very reminiscent of the early Krimson (especially the first two albums). Mell Collins adds his saxophone again as well. In the next part Fripp´s guitar dominates the rest of the piece, sometimes interrupted by a jazzy solo of Mel Collins and the song ends in a tone similar to its opening melody, although in a faster and heavier version. A marvelous track.

Overal:23.5:5= 4.7= STARS


Report this review (#130522)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very listenable and good album for Crimson but I would have to say I prefer the Lake era...his vocals are just better. This is a very very good album to start rock and roll fans out on King Crimson because it has some fantastic riffs. Even some kids from my school loved it, which is a good can sense where Tool and The Mars Volta got their famed "King Crimson influence"

Red of course, is one of the most "Metal" after a series of Symphonic and Experimental works, and holds up very well. I would advise to fans of the band who do not have it yet, but for prog fans looking to get into this band...the debut works best. For fans who do not listen to much prog but want to try it this is a good place to start. 4 Stars for a very good album, but nothing quite essential or groundbreaking here.

Report this review (#131416)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This one is so far the best King Crimson release I've heard. This one also belongs to my top five albums of all time.

The title track was the first track I heard from this album. At first it sounded "just good" to me but after active listening I fell in love with this dark instrumental track. It didn't last so long when I had already purchased this album.

The second track, "Fallen Angel" impressed me as soon as I heard it for the first time. It has a beautiful singing melody sung by bassist John Wetton and brilliant use of wind instruments.

"One More Red Nightmare" is an energetic one. I like the way that Bill Bruford uses his china symbals. Robert Fripp's guitar playing is excellent.

"Providence" has often been called boring and vain, but I think it has a great haunting dark feeling on it. About at four minutes begins the greatest part of this improvised song.

"Starless" is one of the best songs ever recorded. Maybe the greatest composition I've heard. The song begins with a sad mellotron and a brilliant guitar melody. Wetton soon starts singing a lovely melody. Then bass starts to play a 13/8 riff, Fripp plays a one-note solo and Bruford's percussions are magnificient. A long part, which culminates to a fast-paced bass riff and a saxophone solo. The greatest goose bump moment is when the melody from the beginning of the song closes the track, the album and the King Crimson's 70's era.

Report this review (#132101)
Posted Monday, August 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The historical importance of this album may be underestimated by some, but it was highly influential to diverse personalities with very different ideals and lifestyles, such as Maynard Keenan, Roine Stolt, and Kurt Cobain.

Opening up with one of the heaviest riffs in history, RED showed prog metal in its embryonic state. We see the line-up that started eroding after Larks' Tongues, stripped down to but three members, yet David Cross still managed to contribute on "Providence" before he left, and the album utilized many of the regular guests on woodwinds and brass. Bill Bruford makes up for the absence of James Muir with his harsh poly-rhythmic metal sheet banging on the super heavy pieces "Red" and "One More Red Nightmare". About the latter one, the ending section with the guest sax work has to be one of the most stupefying passages in the history of prog rock - it can put a person in a trance-like state, with the grim distorted arpeggios and the hypnotizing percussion work by Bruford . On the more sedate side of things we have the mandatory ballad "Fallen Angel", with beautiful oboe, and one of the best vocal performances by Wetton. There is also "Providence", a fascinating improvisation, with very clear development, but not as accessible as the rest of the album. Finally we reach the gloomy mellotronic intro of "Starless", which subsequently takes four full minutes to crescendo into a furious jazzy jam, and then ends with an ecstatic restatement of the main themes played by oboe and sax. "Starless" is recognized as one of those sacred masterpieces of prog rock, and for good reason!

Report this review (#133541)
Posted Friday, August 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The least jazzy, and the nearest to rock, of all KING CRIMSON'S early albums, 'Red' is a triumphant conclusion to KC mark 1.

Carrying on in the tradition of insipid KING CRIMSON vocalists, JOHN WETTON nearly spoils the show again. But there are very few vocals on this album, fortunately. 'Red' is mainly a vehicle for FRIPP and BRUFORD to lay out their 1974 vision of where rock might go next - a vision not picked up for 15 years, until it was incorporated into Seattle's grunge sound. 'Red', 'One More Red Nightmare' and 'Starless' are outstanding (almost) instrumental excursions deep into a dark and distorted universe, the door to which was prised open five years earler by '21st Century Schizoid Man.'

The excursion starts right from the first note. Unlike the experimental 'Lark's Tongue in Aspic', 'Red' slams you with a full-body press. 'Red' is simple (for KING CRIMSON anyway) raw power, but no less effective for that. 'Fallen Angel' is relatively anonymous, and 'Providence' is the obligatory experimental noodling track. Compartmentalising the music like this helps the new listener assimilate the album more easily, meaning that 'Red' is possibly the most accessible KING CRIMSON album, but in the end it is the first KC album listeners usually tire of.

I like this album much more than 'In The Court of the Crimson King', but for the purposes of this review I will not rate it as highly. By now the progressive rock beast had become a lumbering dinosaur, and the small punky mammals were assembling to take the behemoth's place. KING CRIMSON'S 'Red' did nothing but accelerate the process. Though the music is better, there is no compelling reason to recommend this album as deserving of a place in everyone's music collection.

The next time we see KING CRIMSON is in the tame Jurassic Park of the early 1980s, a resurrected dinosaur that would better have been left to rot.

Report this review (#134129)
Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red Is the culmination of the "Hard" phase of the Band from 72'-74'. While it gets rated the highest, I personally find it the weakest of the three albums in this period. Red is a good album, it just has a very noticeable Achilles heel. Red is probably more accessible then Lark's Tongues and Aspic.

The title track is a rocking instrumental. The highlight of the album for me, this kind of rock is something King Crimson does so very well, mostly due to Robert Fripp's guitar playing. This eventually leads into Fallen Angel. This song is a fine one. It's more relaxed and jazzy then Red, which helps level of your nerves. We wont be returning to Red's hardness. This jazz rock state leads us to Fallen Angel. The more melodic song features a great vocal from John Wetton. On first listen, this will be the track that sticks with you.

Now, here is my problem with Red, because we have been having good tracks so far, the slow moving live improv that is improvidence becomes even more sub par. The track features violin, carried over from the last two albums. The problem is it moves to slow. It's Moonchild all over again. Once we stomach that, we get the big Jazzy piece Starless. This helps cleanup after providence and finishes the record with a bang, albeit not a massive one.

Red is not Crimson's best album. However, Red is still a good album I think all King Crimson fans and general prog fans are probably better of having.

Report this review (#135159)
Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably, the best KC album. Dark, intense, heavy, melancholic, groovy, eclectic, progressive after all! Recommended for beginners as well – you won’t find here anything shocking on side A, “Fallen Angel” is even a bit poppy, while “Red” is another public’s favourite preserved till our times in KC live repertoire. “Providence” fits well here, IMHO, much more than “Moonchild” in ITCOTCK. Closing “Starless” epic is a Mesiterwerk of 69-74 Crimso, the most appropriate song to finish with…and I guess they were aware of this too. At least, Bobby was ;).
Report this review (#135371)
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson goes heavy, and I like it! A year ago this would have been a masterpiece in my book, but my prog pallette has expanded, and parts of this album have not aged as well as others to my ears.

Red. Some absolutely gruesome (in a good way) bass and guitar tones here. In the right mood, these distortions can be just what I need, though be careful how often you listen to this, because it can grow old quickly with overplay. Played in the dark, especially while alone or driving at night, this one can be spooky and frightening, especially the creepy middle section.

Fallen Angel, One More Red Nightmare. Heavy, grungy and jazzy, these songs are a strange brew of more distorted guitar and bass, rather catchy melodies, with some banging and clanging of "devices" to keep you awake. Solid tunes that can get a bit stale over time, and little virtuosic playing to keep your attention, though they do contain a unique array of drones and tones.

Providence. More Crimson improv--either you like it or you don't. I usually resist the urge to skip it, thinking I'll eventually "get it", but I'm still waiting on that revelation.

Starless. If you like prog, you NEED this song. A haunting mellotron intro kicks things off with Wetton's best vocals. Then things drop into plodding 13/4 time. Don't be fooled: as opposed to many epics that slow down, this song is definitely going somewhere. I can't get enough of Wetton's distorted bass here, and all the instruments build in intensity. This is one unstoppable freight train once it gets rolling, and double-time jam is simply amazing every time. Of course, once the mellotron sweeps in for the ending refrain, your mind has been blown and face has been melted by the sheer prog insanity. I'm quite confident that I will NEVER get enough of this song.

Great album if you're in an angry mood, and Starless is breathtaking any time and worth the purchase by itself. Unfortunately one song cannot make a masterpiece album, but Crimson are certainly to be commended for this effort.

Report this review (#136595)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Together with "Lark Tongues in Aspic", RED is part of the quintessential 70's KC stuff. You couldn't expect too much similar to other previous album, since its predeccessor didn't seem a good enough follow-up to the marvelous Larks; however, one thing is pretty clear: this CD is a masterpiece.

With the self-titled opening track, this album rocks. And rocks hard. Perhaps not as much as Larks self-titled (both) tracks, but still in a nice way, and (as in this song as in the whole album) also a better drums/percussions work from Bruford than on previous releases.

Take a brief breath with "Fallen Angel", a slower tune but also distorted and with insane percussions at the chorus; another great track.

"One More Red Nightmare" keeps the hard formula, with nice vocals work by Wetton and excellent instrumental interludes. The riffage is as outstanding as on the opening track. Maybe the highlight, at least that I can spot here, where every track is a definite classic, "Providence" being an exception, not because it isn't that good, but due to its extremely experimental direction (say Moonchild, SaBB self-titled and The Talking Drum, from previous works) it's not suitable for everyone... for many it's in fact simply cacophony.

This album couldn't end better with Starless, a depressing and slow-paced tune. My personal favourite, and surely most of fans will agree that it's a masterpiece. Twelve minutes can pass on in a while when giving it a listen..... trust me. Just because this song, RED cannot get less than three stars. It also has the best crescendo I've ever heard ;)

Amazing album. Both as prog lover and as KC fan, whatever you are, you won't be dissapointed with RED, unless you aren't capable to get into this band (it uses to happen... but in that case you're missing half of your life! And this CD is enough =)

Five stars. No less.

Report this review (#137809)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars A welcome increase in the band's intensity and dark inklings, creating one of the most memorable KC albums with stellar performances from every member. Fripp cranks out especially savage guitar shrieks and intricate solos, Wetton's bass dances in a dark miasma of thundering intensity and Bruford's busy drumming is in peak form. Incorporation of woodwinds and mellotron is smartly done as well. Easily a highlight in the group's career and a great starting place for fans interested in learning more about classic Crimson (I recommend working backwards from here).
Report this review (#138855)
Posted Monday, September 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is one of King Crimson's heaviest albums and also one of their best although it does have some fairly major flaws.

The instrumentation on this album is superb, Bill Bruford puts in one of the best performances of his illustrious career on this album with some very interesting heavy, technical and jazzy drumming, Fripp is up to his old tricks with his distinctive guitar technique and John Wetton on bass holds it all together with some fat grooves.

Red is a fantastic opening track, very heavy, excellent riffs and the band just gels together really well easily one of the best tracks on the album. Fallen angel is quite a mellow song, fairly poppy, not bad although nothing really worth writing home about. The band then ventures once again into heavy territory with the appropriately named One more red nightmare and it is easily the best song on the album, Bruford is in blistering form, there are some excellent riffs going on here and some great severely flanged clap sounds before it all descends into a slow groovy jam with some weird and wonderful wah action from Fripp, the highlight of the album.

As i mentioned earlier this album has some major flaws, the main one being the song providence, nothing much goes on here, nothing at all really it's a waste of 8 or so minutes, this is one thing I really dislike about King Crimson, these long avant-garde songs (like moonchild on ITCOTCK) where nothing really happens, it just seems a waste of time, 5 minutes worth of Providence is practically silence and then it eventuates in nothing but a mindless disjointed mess at the end where everyone pretty much does what they like.

The album is the finished off with starless which starts off as a melancholy song with that famous mellotron sound in the intro, it's very reminiscent of earlier works I quite like the main song part of Starless which goes for around 4 minutes before another 4 minutes of building before the song launches into a high speed jazz groove to finish the album in spectacular style, a very well written song.

Overall this a good album it has some fantastic songs and is well worth listening to for any prog fan, it's just there are a few weak points that hold it back and one or 2 songs that you might want to skip.

Report this review (#139248)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album to me is the best one released during the Wetton era, in fact it is better by far than "Starless And Bible Black", since it's more homogenous and personally I find it more interesting than the splendid "Lark's Tongues In Aspic". The title track is an istrumental piece, to be honest one of the easiest ever written by the band. Track number two and number three ( "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare") are two excellent songs sung by a very inspired Wetton, whose bass sounds incredibly great and heavy on this album, expecially on "Red" and "One More Red Nightmare". Providence surely has a very creepy, dark feeling, with a lot of noises coming out of nowhere; it has been called boring and useless...surely it's controversial, but not bad to me. The level returns to be very very high with the closing song: "Starless", once again a great vocal performance by John Wetton, on this dark and melanchonic song, which features superb mellotron a là "Epitaph", and very intense lyrics, not to mention the long coda which explodes after 9 minutes in a instrumental section featuring saxophone solos in what could be considered like the prosecution of "21st Century Schizoid Man": Brilliant, absolutely, one of the best track ever released by King Crimson and one of the highest peaks in Progressive music!

This album is the "In The Court Of The Crimson King" of the Wetton era: a perfect album, one of the finest moments in progressive music ever... Not to mention it contains some songs which became later on truly classics, like "Starless".

A must have for every prog head!

5 Stars.

Report this review (#139864)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permalink

The Crimson King delights us one more time with this fabulous album, keeping the "Lark's..." line. The thing that I would like to to put emphasis in is the instrumental section of Starless, but first a review of the previous 4 songs.

Red: really don't like much, but is well made. It has some brilliant moments, but generally speaking it works as sample of what we are taking about when we talk about KC's RED. 3/5

Fallen Angel: it has an interesting opening. When Wetton starts singing it feels very confortable. The bass guitar and Bruford's drumming fit in the first verse perfectly, the sound is great. The chorus is a magnificent creation to, the sustained voices gives the tedious aspect, like if realy the angel was falling. The bass riff collaborates with that unfortunate scene and the high note on the guitar does it to. The union of the final of the chorus with the beginning of the second verse is the moment that I like the most in the song. Then keeps rollin' to get to the secont chorus and then fades out. If we take a look of the structure of the song we get: intro/verse/large chorus/verse/final chorus... an interesting structure. Not very common. 4.5/5

One More Red Nightmare: Great takeoff!!!The drumline of the beginning is another of my favorite moments in the album. Even when the lyrics start the sound effect for the snare drum simulating a clap seems exelent to me. An exelent idea too is the whole sung section, very atractive. Another enjoyable section is the instrumental. Is not as creative as the one from Starless but is good. Anyway ... I like this song! 4/5

Providence: I don't have much to say about it, just that is beautyfull. Very crazy, but it has some nice elements, mostly when Bruford gets in the song... and that bass guitar!!!! It shakes my bones... what a sound!!.. very progressive guitar solo too. 3.5/5

Starless: WHAT A SONG!... Absolutely the best one of this record. Let's split it in three sections. The first one and the harmonic one. The guitar riff in the beginning is such a delightfull melody, it's quite charming and relaxing. The verse: a complete work of art. In a scale of 1 to 10, being 1 the most unconfortable situation ( like being wet, covered with sand in a little car full of people heading nowhere on a road in the meddle of the desert) and 10 the most confortable one (heaven) I give this section 9 points, just because I don't know how the heaven is, but I asume that is quite confortable. So, summary for the first part: just magnific.

The second section, the instrumental one. Bass and guitar doind some of the most rare melodies that i've ever heard, but also one of my favorite instrumental sections too. So progressive! I like a lot the note played by the guitar in two strings (if I'm not wrong, that's a way to get that "different tone" effect for the same note in a guitar), and the 13/8 bass riff. We wait a little and Bill enters with the jam blocks in 4/4. With it, the thing acquires a little more of movement. When the hole drumkit gets in accion is really agressive but in a particular way. Anyway is lovely. The song is getting gradually more powerfull, until the saxophone solo comes into the scene, WHAT A MOMENT!! a great outcome.

The third section, it keeps beign 100% instrumental, but with a variation: it comes back to te first idea. Exelent reprise of the primal riff


So, doing the maths....

3 + 4.5 + 4 + 3.5 + 5 = 20 20/5 = 4

4 stars for this one fellows!

Report this review (#141891)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is the greatest King Crimson album, this is where it all came together for them, even more so than on Larks' Tongues and Starless. The title track is one of the most powerful pieces of music ever recorded and is truly heavier than any metal band could ever be. Fallen Angel is an epic ballad about street violence and features some of Wetton's best singing. One More Red Nightmare has a great riff and this supercatchy part where the sax is soloing over the guitar and handclaps. Providence is an eerie improvisation that gets into this great heavy jam by the end of it, some people don't like it but screw that, if you like Crimson, you should like this track, it has some great tension. Starless is in my opinion the greatest Crimson song and one of the greatest songs ever. It goes from a universal epic lament to what is perhaps the greatest tension build in any song ever, which is released in an apocalyptic meltdown of sax and burning guitar and rumbling bass. When it comes to a close I picture the end, the last peak covered in molten rock... the planet left to start over differently. If I had to take one album with me to a desert island, it would probably be this. Truly a masterpiece of music.
Report this review (#144389)
Posted Sunday, October 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is the final studio album from this incarnation of KC. What's unique about Red is that final albums are usually throwaways, meant to meet some contractual requirement. But in Red we have yet another five star KC release. They seem to have put their all into this one. There are some longer cuts -- Red and Providence -- similar to those found on the previous album, but here they are more fully developed and seem to have more purpose -- the overall composition and playing is superior. Another Red Nightmare and Fallen Angel fulfil the usual rock and ballad tendencies. I don't mean to elide over these songs; they are all of usual KC quality. However, there's the one song that stands out, which is fittingly the final one:


The best song KC has recorded, before or since. Fripp felt this was the end of KC, and wrote a stirring Epitaph, play on words obviously intended. Think about it:

Q: What is starless (and Bible black)? A: Death. Q: What supposedly happens as you die? A: Your life flashes before you in a matter of minutes (it takes about 12:18, apparently (at least on my edition).

The song starts out at a dirge-like pace and tone, completely drenched in Mellotron and Fripp's guitars, all with a ambiance that is a throwback to the first album. We haven't heard this since those first few albums; we seem to be reliving something here. Then in the second verse we get a little saxophone thrown in. Haven't heard much sax since the early era either; we seem to be reliving something here. KC's life is sonically flashing before our eyes (ears). The song wends its way to Fripp's initial solo, which resembles nothing so much as the repetitive pealing of church bells, announcing the funeral, or perhaps memorializing the passing, of KC. This then evolves into a virtual reiteration of the innovations unvealed on 21st Century Schizoid Man. The pace of the song suddenly picks up, the jazz influence exerts itself in blaring saxes and guitar riffs. It's a completely self-contained alternate realization of the first song on the first KC album. KC is reliving it's life, just prior to death, which comes, sadly -- for who wants to lose an old friend -- with the final fade out. I cannot think of any other way to interpret this song, or to explain the impact it has on me. Wetton and Bruford are summoned to evoke 6-7 years of KC history, and both deliver impeccable performances, with Wetton's vocals and bass driving the song and Bruford completely unleashed to play what he will. Both deliver standout performances. Mel Collins sounds like he never left the band. The lyrics are self-explanatory in this context.

With hindsight, we know that Fripp believes in reincarnation, at least of KC. But at the time, this was KC's farewell, and it is for an opportunity to spend an hour or two of our existences with music such as presented on Red that we listen to progressive rock at all.

Report this review (#147863)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is hands down my favorite Crimson album. I love how this album is so dark and this is crimson at their best no doubt. The album kicks off with Red a metal instrumental that is just heart pounding, a great opener. Fallen Angel is a also a a great Hard track, great sax playing on this track also. One More Red Nightmare displays some great drumming by Bill Bruford, a very solid track. Providence is the weakest track on the album but that does not mean it is a bad song lots of noise at the start of the song the it builds up to great bass playing by John Wetton. Next is Starless a classic Crimson Track , this song is just amazing 12 minutes of great Art Rock at its best. The Wetton era was the best time for King Crimson and this was the last album Fripp, Wetton,and Bruford created. 5 stars a masterpiece any Art Rock fan should own this.
Report this review (#148081)
Posted Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album evokes a sense of tremendous sadness but also a sense of closure in this reviewer. Interestingly, it suggests new beginnings. The fact that Ian McDonald appears on this recording signifies, in some ways, a promise of reconciliation and in some ways, indications that a more human side of Fripp is beginning to emerge. Similarly with the return of Mel Collins on this set. The return of key members of the Keith Tippett Group (Mark Charig and Robin Miller) suggest as-yet unresolved jazz inclinations though the context of their play on this recording is strikingly different than the Lizard and Islands records on which they previously appeared. The fact that David Cross appears as a session player on this recording even though he had left the band also suggests that on a personal level, Fripp might be toning it down a bit. Not so with the music. This is a heavy, dark and intense record." Red" is a thick instrumental featuring a chromatic guitar riff, booming base and crashing drums. The middle section is an eery modal melody carried on Wetton's bass. It sounds supernatural and sinister- absolutely magical. It could play in a horror movie or in Hell. The title "Fallen Angel" suggests that you may really be in Hell. It features a nice melody but the high notes are too high for Wetton who sounds strained and thin on the vocals. It is really a good thing, then, that his bass playing as well as the guitar playing of Fripp and Bruford's drums more than make up for the shortcoming of the vocals. The sidemen do a nice job with adding additional atmosphere to the track. "One More Red Nightmare" features a grooving intraductory bass line by Wetton and a nice bunch of work by Bruford to keep it going rhythmically. Fripp's guitar on this piece, interestingly, serves more of a support role to Wetton's fine bass play on this cut. "Providence" is a very provocative experimental cut again featuring a lot of fine bass work by Wetton. Starless is a melancholy and slow song that feature's warm contributions from the reeds and brass and some squeaky violin from Cross. It represents a sad end to a sad tale. Wetton eventually winds up briefly in Uriah Heep and Roxy Music before rejoining Bruford again in U.K. and then on to supergroup Asia with Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes. Bruford went on to various collaborative and session projects, many with a jazz bent as well as his own Bruford Group (which featured ex-Canturbury Scene David Stewart on keyboards) before the reformation of King Crimson around 1981. Ian McDonald, of course, became a founding member of Foreigner. Mel Collin's would turn up in Camel during their peak period. Fripp went on to continued and inimitable non- commercial greatness in his own solo efforts, collaborative experimentations with Brian Eno, as a session musician and producer, guitar guru in the League of Crafty Guitarists, and, again in the reformed King Crimson of the 1980s and 1990s. This recording has many fine moments but not quite a masterpiece. Wetton's vocals are flawed (although his bass playing is superb). And, while the concept of bringing back McDonald, Collins, Miller and Charig is an interesting one, their contributions on this record as frankly pretty bland and limited. The recording represents an important document of the musical wanderings of the mid 1970s but is not the musical statement that Larks' Tongues in Aspic or Starless and Bible Black were. It rates four stars.
Report this review (#151119)
Posted Friday, November 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
5 stars For my first KC review around here, I chose this record because it happens to be one of my all times favorite albums. I discovered "Red" a long ago within my inner progressive pursuit, I would say I first put hands on it maybe ten or twelve years ago and I must say it blew my mind right away. Although it wasn't my very first encounter with the band commanded by eternal Robert FRIPP, it seemed quite different to me from the previously heard. Off the get-go, one of the most revealing things on the record that caught my eye, was the featuring line-up. And indeed I wasn't impressed in vain.

Title song is as harsh as soft on the ears. It breaks out of this strident guitar that announces the scent of a solid rock song. But as the passage flows, the ambiance turns kind of mysterious and creepy thanks to the low spoken voice of this eloquent cello which captures the scene in a morbid, acid way. The song retakes from where it was left behind and carries on through pure rhythmic music just to the point where it crashes irremediably marvelous onto this unexpected ending. Great parte prima.

Next song on the road to earthly holiness would be "Fallen Angel". I could even say I fell in love with it out of the first spin on my old, dusty turntable. The canvas depicted in here blends perfectly along the leading sounds coming out of the sax and the upbeat drums played modestly by Master Bill BRUFORD. I think of this wonderful piece of music as one of those smooth danceable ballads rarely found within the depths of Prog Rock. The track distills heavenly rich, relaxing all your senses into unconsciousness and further on. It really gives me the spiritual creeps.

If it wasn't enough, the album increases its perfection as it moves on to following episode. "One More Red Nightmare" is in my humble opinion, the suitable pretext to Mr. BRUFORD to show what he's got under his sleeve. The execution of that drum kit appears to be somehow hidden behind an unspoken genius. I picture this track as this kind of enticing, seductive scene were the instruments meet face to face with the leading drums and cymbals, unable to do nothing but to surrender to the spell of the mystic rhythm.

"Providence". It is indeed providential. An almost mute violin held in hand by David CROSS starts to clear the air into this anguishing mood that slowly invites the rest of the instruments to this melodic soirée. The unease display of virtuosity gathers in expectation just to leave the listener floating around his self-created thoughts, wondering if there will ever be a finishing line drawn between unrevealed feelings and apparent reality.

The best come right at the ending for those who can wait. The perfect epilog to a marvelously crafted masterpiece. "Starless", briefly detailed, is entirely from beginning to end, a post-modernist waltz exquisitely arranged and executed. The lyrics intertwine smoothly with the instrumentation in this sort of musical conspiracy that's given to birth once in a lifetime. The ravishing melodic composure is unrepeatable and perpetual. It manages to shake you off any unpleasant feeling juts to find yourself wandering around your very insides up to the tip of your fingers reaching for a dreamlike state of mind. Many times, I've found myself spending entire evenings spinning this track back and forth just to untangle my head off the rest of the thoughts swirling inside me to stretch my mind and to quench my thirst of complete relaxation. A real Progressive Rock cornerstone that would never stop twanging off through your ears, straight to your skin.

Any respectable collection should proudly display this album. Top class compliments to KING CRIMSON and top ratings for "Red" that has shown for over thirty years, nothing but constant amazement. No less.

Report this review (#151815)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is absolutely, utterly, and undoubtedly AMAZING. As one of the two Crimson albums that I own, it, along with ITCOTCK, is one of few discs that actually achieve musical perfection!!! That's right... PERFECTION!!!

This album could be described as heavy, but not in the conventional sense. Yes, it does have its hard rock moments, but its true heaviness lies in its darkness and experimentation.

The line up couldn't be better. Fripp is a master of prog guitar, and can twist the instrument in such ways that sometimes you forget that it is indeed a guitar. Bruford is an amazing drummer, and here he lets his jazz influences flow into the music in such a strange, beautiful way. Wetton is a great bassist and like Fripp can produce a vast array of unusual and unconventional sounds. His voice is strong as well, and conveys a sense of power that can be moulded to fit any mood he wants to (although on this albu,m don't expect this mood to be cheerful). But this band is more than the sum of its parts. The chemistry between the musicians is unprecedented, and not even the members of CTTE era Yes, could compliment eachother this convincingly.

The title track kicks the album off immensely, utilising some of the best riffs ever to come out of a guitar. This track really does manage to accurately describe its namesake: the colour of red. Then we have 'Fallen Angel', initially a softer and quieter song, but it soon picks up the intensity that is characteristic of this album. 'One More Red Nightmare' is one of my favourite songs on this album. It's strange lyrics about fear of flying(?) sit the music very well, and Bruford never ceases to amaze with his relentless jazzy drumming. 'Providence' holds the proud title of the 'Most horrible piece of music I've ever heard'. That is not my point of view but that of my mother. This is the most interesting song on the disc. It starts with a solitary violin, courtesy of ex-member David Cross. Soon the rest of the instruments build in, adding several layers of dissonant music, eventually leading into total chaos in the climax. Genius! On 'Starless' KC really pull out all the stops. Several ex-members join Fripp & co. to create an epic avant-garde jazz epic. The beautiful melodies of the verses build up into this experimental and mesmerizing piece, before reaching an excellent climax. Top marks.

I cannot bring myself to give this any less than 7 stars, but sonce that is impossible it will have to settle for 5 as I can't fault in any way.

Report this review (#152813)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best. Fripp performed many experiments under the name King Crimson, and this is one of his freshest. With just John Wetton and Bill Bruford left, King Crimson could still kick ass with some guest horn and string musicians. This was, for many fans, the final King Crimson album, as Discipline and beyond was such a departure from their normal style. So, in their death throes, Crimson performed an impossible feat: ending with a masterpiece. In my opinion, these 5 songs cover alot of Prog genres in general, not just eclectic.

Red: Heavy on riffing and distortion, this song kicks ass. Bruford Pounds away, Fripp Shreds, and Wetton Smashes out a heavy bass melody in the middle. This song represents how heavy prog can get, with Metal and raw punk elements here and there.

Fallen Angel: The ballad of the album, starting with a great mellotron solo, heavy on acoustics contrasting with electrics, this song is beautiful. Wetton sounds strained as always, but we're used to it by now. The verse is in a major key while the chorus is sad and evil sounding. the horns in the chorus are courtesy of Mark Charig, playing the cornet, and Mel Collins and Ian MacDonald add sax flourishes during the verses. Fripp shows us the lighter side of his playing here, with some cool acoustic riffs and harmonics. this reminds me a lot of I Talk to the Wind. the chorus bangs in with a heavy electric arpeggio, and Wetton cries for the Fallen Angel. the fadeout is creepy, with hypnotic guitar notes blaring into the distance. this song covers the poppier side of prog, as well as the sad, dramatic side.

One More Red Nightmare: Quite Possibly Bill Bruford's finest moment on drums ever, this song rocks. an interesting bass riff gives us some amazing fills from Bruford, and the verses are though provoking, with Wetton at his best singing ever. The the guitar notes under his voice are so unique, I loove it. the guitar work leading into the sax solo is so typicallyt fripp in that there is no discernable riff or pattern. the Sax solo in the middle is courtesy of Mr. Ian MacDonald of "In the Court of the Crimson King" fame. he adds great touches to Fripps great guitar work, along with the ever unique drumming of Bruford. the verse gets repeated once more, and more saxing is in order. This song represents the rockier side of prog, with its catchyness and repeated riffs.

Providence: The imfamous improv song. i dont know why it gets criticized so much. people complain about lack of melody, but what would you expect from an improv song? David Cross returns here on violin and shines very well, especially the intro. Bruford attempts to remind us of the Jamie Muir days with his use of unique percussion like the woodblock. Fripp and Wetton are interweaving with their respective instruments, and this song is 8 minutes of slow building madness. This song represents the crazy, waaay out there side of prog.

Starless: IMO, the best song Crimson ever did. From the shimmering mellotron in the background to the acrobatic guitar lines, the intro is simply mesmerizing. Bruford is restrained, as he should be, waiting for his moment to shine. he does nice work with the ride cymbals though. Wetton sounds good singing the Ballad-like vocals, and doesnt strain himself much. the chord progression here is genius. The sax fills from hell are back again, only this time sounding almost flute like. its funny how the chorus here takes the name of the previous album. i don't know why. the sax frills are so perfectly placed its a crime. after the third verse, things start to get less melodic. the bass comes out with a slightly off riff, making use of the devil's interval. Fripp then enters, picking a single note that changes with the chord. the woodblock is back to help us find the time signature, but I still don't know what it is. from here on out, the song merely builds for the last 8 minutes to a perfect climax. The drums grow in intensity, as does the single ascending guitar note, a genius solo from Fripp. Cross comes in when it starts going fast. the melody of the verse is reprised in the violin, and the electric guitar screams all over the top of it all. again, the time signature is hard to tell, and it may be several pieced together. This is the perfect closer, and represents the, "epic", of the album.

Overall, One of Crimson's best, and I have several favorites, so I cannot pick my absolute fav. After this, Adrian Belew and Tony Levin would change the face of Crimson forever.

Report this review (#155802)
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Anyone who is interested in good drumming should own this album. Bruford rocks the set very hard of this one.

This album catches King Crimson at their most accessible, and at their most dark. This album is a sort of fusion between jazz and heavy metal. The title track is really hard hitting, but for some people it is boring. Not so by any stretch, as a few listens should confirm. The motif is not the whole song, but it might be all you hear the first time through. This song drives fast and hard, and is great fun. This is the closest that king crimson ever come to the heavy metal style, their other work is not straightforward enough. The guitar intro to this song is brilliant, by the way. Next is a ballad with a strong beat, like a power ballad with a twist. It is a very good power ballad though, even though the power ballad genre is rightly despised. It features som unusual instrumentation, and goes a bit off the deep end into uncharted territory, before returning to the central melody. The third song is a masterpiece of the drumset, featuring the infamous broken cymbal. It has a very poppy melody, and very aggressive music. It has a saxophone solo in the middle, which fit the music very well, but was a bit tame and cliche. The fourth song is an improv, and is very nice. It is one of the most accessible king crimson improvs from this era. I love the starting interactions between bass and violen. I guess a word to describe them is cute. I love when it gets heavy all of a sudden. The bass lines get very groovy. The final song makes this album a masterpiece. It is simply beautiful, and rather then describe it, I'll just leave it at the fact that words don't do it justice.

This album gets 5 stars for the drumming, and the last song. The rest of the album might get 4 stars.

Report this review (#157593)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red is the first King Crimson album for me to get into, and what a delightful album it is, though it seems a bit overrated in the progressive arena, or at least to me. It is quite heavy for the band, excellently dissonant guitar chords and great variation from song to song, both in instrumentation, mood, and structure (especially the eccentric Providence). Most of the music is written by the trio of Fripp, Wetton and Bruford, with some additional musicians for the recording. The album title track is probably my favorite on the album, though even it seems a little repetitive at times, but interesting to listen to nonetheless. I can almost close my eyes and see swirls of colors while listening to it (not on drugs or anything either), as the album appeals to my sense of musical imagery quite strongly. It is particularly astounding to find that this album was made in only 1974 when heavier music had just barely surfaced, but then again it's King Crimson we're talking about. Certainly heavier than most of their earlier works, it is rich with guitar overdubs ( IMO, overdubs could have been used more often for the band) and it's aggressiveness rarely lets up. Even the more subtle parts are musically aggressive, such as Starless. Though the majority of the album is great, there are times that it seems like they could have written certain sections a little better... I don't know how else to describe it. There are moments that remind me a bit of my own song-writing, which I don't think is much of a good thing. While most of the material is great, it doesn't strike me as quite a masterpiece, but relatively close to one. As well I would've liked to here Fripp's soloing more on this album. Another classic album for progressive listeners, and a great album to have for anyone who isn't allergic to heavier guitar with older progressive elements.
Report this review (#159384)
Posted Sunday, January 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars You know, I do love King Crimson. I believe they have alot of great tunes, especially from In The Court Of The Crimson King to Lizard. But this album really never did it for me. It seemed as though the members tried to fill the whole CD space, but didn't have the creative capacity to keep the listeners attention. I realize there are some fine tracks on here, like Starless and Red, but this album was too dragged out for it's own good.

Report this review (#159451)
Posted Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album contains three of Crimson's best works. Red, Providence, and Starless. Each one great for it's own reasons.

The overall album doesn't seem to have a totality to it though, like it's missing something to bridge some missing gap.

They go from Red, to Fallen Angel, to Another Red nightmare. So far so good. Then Providence comes next (it's so weird that it may have to be my favorite tune by them). It creates a void by jumping as far as it does, right into the unknown world of nearly atonal. Then Starless shines, so beautifully in fact. But it doesn't quite fill the void, it's as if they just we're trying to make a best-of album of some sort.


Amazing tunes, not so perfect overall theme.

Report this review (#159479)
Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is my favorite Crimson album of the six or so I've listened to so far. Each song is a masterful piece of art in its own way, and each track is unique from the others, yet they work together logically to form a concrete album. Red is not without its flaws, and I had considered giving it only four stars, but upon further reflection and comparison to the other works in this subsphere of progressive music, I realized that this album is essential to any serious collection of progressive music, if not for a purely aesthetic reason, than for one of perspective.

Red: The album begins at full force with a ripping guitar ascension, followed by the simple yet thrilling riff that marks this song. King Crimson would not be the same without its dinstinctive edgy, crackling, distorted guitar tone. John Wetton compliments the fantastic guitar work with a running bass line that keeps the momentum. Bill Bruford is right in tune with the others, playing exactly what the music asks for. Whoever thought of adding the string bass in the middle of the song is an unquestionable genius. The track never loses energy.

Fallen Angel: This is a somewhat somber and nostalgic piece, which I think adds a well-appreciated contrast between the more agressive tracks Red and One More Red Nightmare. The melody in the verses is pretty catchy but not pop-ish in any way. The acoustic guitar is a lovely addition to the distortion-driven sound. The entrance of the trumpet I think is just perfect for the timbre of the song.

One More Red Nightmare: Bruford employs the china cymbal to its maximum potential. The odd meter riff is pretty catchy and not awkward like many odd meters can often be. The saxophone solo is a great addition, and again, the clapping is a little-used device that really spices up the music here. GENIUS!

Providence: Scattered as it is, Providence is my favorite track on the album, just as Fracture and Starless and Bible Black. It's just so weird! One can really hear the fusionistic influence here. I love the dissonance, the unconventionality of it all, like Fripp is giving the music industry the figurative middle finger. It takes a really open mind to like this stuff, but as a big fan of atonal and bitches brew alike I really enjoy it.

Starless is actually my least favorite. I find the majority of my qualms with Red in Starless. It's good in some parts, but on the whole it just seems too long and drawn out, like butter stretched over too much bread.

Even so, I would consider this album on the lower end of the five-star range, I definitely recommend it to anyone serious about listening to Prog.

Report this review (#159591)
Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
Italian Prog Specialist
4 stars Being my first whole album exposure to King Crimson, Red feels very dark and atmospheric. The music is far from minimalistic, but it has a pleasant stripped-down take on the music. As if it was played in a vacuum. Every note truly pierces the listeners ears, making it really hard to lose attention. It's also one of many few albums in which the saxophones are one-hundred percent enjoyable.

The five songs (a total of 40 minutes) are all good in their own way, although Starless must be considered the true masterpiece here. The strings (guess it's mellotron) and saxophones in the beginning, accompanied by Wetton's vocals and bass takes this song up to ethereal levels before leaving room for the rough bass sounds (reminds me of Entwistle) and spooky guitar that transports us to the finale of from time to time jazzy improv (that's how it feels). Great tune!

Providende has some serious problems to recover after the way too long 'intro' filled with squeaky violin noise, and Red, although I loved it the first times, grows repetitive with time.

One thing that baffles me when listening to Red is its heaviness, and it's not heavy as in 'heavy metal', for those of you who might interpret it that way. No, its heaviness lies both in the instrumentation and in the deeply emotional maelstrom the albums develops into. It's hard not to be affected by its starkness and I always feel vaguely apathetic (in a good way...) when the last tone fades out.

Even if this isn't your music, you should at least try it once only for the experience.


Report this review (#161541)
Posted Monday, February 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is another masterpiece brought to us by the Crimson King .First of all : In which genre would you put this album? I´d say that this is heavy jazz , but even that weird term does not describe the record as a whole .If i had to talk about the individual performance of each musician , the word superb may sound even insultating, David Cross fills the album with insane violin textures (mostly the black sheep Providence , which I love) , and Wetton , Fripp and Bruford they prove a statement that the drummer said 20 years after : When you wanna hear where music is going in the future , you put on a king Crimson album . Well it is easy for bands nowdays to sound harder than this but , who on earth has done an album as dark as this one !!! , and in 1975!! and not sounding as deppresive as porcupine tree or cliched as grunge albums!!.Just the crimson king.
Report this review (#161662)
Posted Tuesday, February 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars What a great conclusion to an amazing King Crimson era! Red is an essential album not only for fans of the band but almost everyone who loves rock music. The sound of this music is universal and sounds as fresh and exciting today as it did the year it was released.

What makes this album so special to me is its vintage 70's-sound and dark atmosphere, which can partially be attributed to the album cover, that makes the record a very fulfilling experience no matter when you listen to it. The album quickly takes the dark tone with the opening title-track and features some of the classic King Crimson music during the course of the mere 6 minutes. Fallen Angel is as beautiful as a John Wetton-sung ballad can ever get while the quirky One More Red Nightmare and live Providence show a broader scope of the band's ability without diverging too much from the overall mood of the previous two tracks. Finally it's Starless that hits the last nail into this solid classic of an album.

I want to keep things short since there is really no point of even trying to prove to anyone that this is an essential album. If you have not yet heard it then you're clearly not a big fan of rock music to begin with!

***** songs: Red (6:16) Fallen Angel (6:03) Starless (12:16)

**** songs: One More Red Nightmare (7:10) Providence (8:10)

Total Rating: 4,62

Report this review (#162575)
Posted Sunday, February 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Essential heavy progressive! King Crimson certainly decided to rock out on this album. It's certainly a bit minimalist when compared to Larks Tongues in Aspic. It's like they said, "hey guys, let's cut the crap and just rock out!" Bill Bruford's drumming in this album may be his best ever (and maybe the best ever in progressive rock). The bass is crunchy as hell and certainly conjures up visions of the work Geddy Lee would later do with Rush. The guitar and mellotron on this album are Robert Fripp's gift to the progressive rock fan who likes a little grit in their water. A masterpiece! Highly Recommended!
Report this review (#163228)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Last essential release for King Crimson is nearly a Masterpiece by the trio ( Fripp , Wetton & Brufford ) . Apparently , David Cross had his finale share before leaving the team . Still , in my humble opinion this album is a twin with In the court of CK , in many ways these two releases are similar . Wetton 's vocal is dominating on all tracks specially Fallen Angel , as well as fripp's touch of various strings , also the drumming kit of brufford . Violin ,oboe & saxsophones are matching with the idea of the lyrics & concept of the tracks in general , and makes you feel reliefed . This album is one unit following one concept and tracks cannot be separetely reviewed . Best two tracks of this excellent album ( Starless & Fallen Angel ) gives you back the feeling that KC moved a step backward to create a twin to In the Court of Crimson King , just after the experimental Masterpiece of progressive Lark's Tongues in Aspic . Proudly from my behalf a 5 Super Stars to this amazing Work in 1974 . Essential to all proggers by all means ......Tracks Toni ........
Report this review (#166131)
Posted Wednesday, April 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson's Red is the last album from the Wetton era, and is one of the best and most influential albums of the band. This album shows a heavier sound, compared with the band's previous albums. Red, the first song, is quite simple for King Crimson's standards but is a really good song that represents the overall heavy sound of the album. Then we have Fallen Angel, the first song with vocals in this album, brilliant song with nice arrangements and lyrics, followed by One More Red Nightmare, a kind of danceable song at times, and obscure and heavy at times. The next song, Providence, is the less accessible song in the album. This song was taken from live improvisations of the band. Kind of empty in a beginning, turning great in the second half. And last but not least, Starless, an awesome track that serves as the finale of this King Crimson era. Awesome instrumentals in there, with nice and melancholic vocals.

This is such a great album, the most accessible from the Wetton era, almost a masterpiece if it weren't for some empty spaces found in the transition between songs, especially in Providence. But again this is an awesome album, and a must have for any prog fan.

4 stars.

Report this review (#168982)
Posted Tuesday, April 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Red is King Crimson´s seventh album and the last one of the second era in their discography. The band is cut down to a trio of Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Bill Bruford but with the assistance of Mark Charig, Mel collins, David Cross, Ian McDonald and Robin Miller on winds and strings. This might be my favorite King Crimson album. I have made some harsh reviews of Larks´ Tongues in Aspic and particularly of Starless and Bible Black as I felt there were way too much instrumental avant garde noodling instead of structured songs and with Red it seems like King Crimson have listened to my criticism ( for the most part anyway).

The album consists of five songs and three of them are nearly masterpieces, one is very good and one is unfortunately useless to me.

Red, One More Red Nightmare and Starless are some of the best songs in King Crimson´s discography and well worth your money. Fallen Angel is a pretty good song too while I can´t stand Providence that sounds like the jam like songs on Starless and Bible Black. I´m sorry but to me it´s a waste of 8 precious minutes of my life.

The musicianship is astonishing on Red. It´s like they knew this would be their last album together, because every last juice is pressed out of those instruments. They play like their lives depended on it. It´s so enjoyable to be witness to. This is one of the best perfomances on any prog rock album I have heard so far.

The production is really impressive too. It´s clearly the best production on any King Crimson album up until then. It´s dark but still every instrument is clearly heard in the mix. Even John Wetton´s voice is better than on most of the albums he appears on and that´s a positive thing coming from my mouth as I´m not a big John Wetton fan. I´m of course only talking about his vocals here as his bass playing is of high quality.

This is a very good album even though it has flaws like Providence. It deserves 4 stars in my book. It´s no doubt one of the most groundbreaking prog rock releases ever and highly recommedable even though I wouldn´t call it a masterpiece.

Report this review (#169594)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Red Alert

It's quite well known that over the years King Crimson has produced music that has been ahead of it's time. Indeed, the band gets credited for inventing genres decades away from when they started. The band has been influential to countless artists thanks to how fresh edgy their music has always been.

Of course, the band itself has also shifted and evolved. For the first decade of their existence no two albums had the same line up of musicians attending, with only Robert Fripp remaining by the time the band reached it's fourth album. Musically as well, by the time 1974 rolled around the band had shifted dramatically from the jazz-hard rock prog they started playing on albums like In The Court Of The Crimson King and In The Wake Of Poseidon. Since their reincarnation that started with Larks Tongues In Aspic the band had moved onto a much more ''improvisational'' approach, their albums ripe with long, drawn out instrumental bouts of musical wizardry which was somewhat abused by the following album Starless And Bible Black.

History lesson aside, Red is the end of this era of the band, after this album the band wouldn't release another album until 1981's Discipline. What this album represents is Crimson's creative zenith from that time. Somewhat unlike previous albums in that this one houses much less instrumental tracks than it's older brothers, this one finds Crimson hitting a niche. While Starless. felt loose and flexible, Red feels very tight in structure.

Still with a few instrumental tracks (something Krimson always excelled at), tracks like the explosive opener Red and the mellow yet intensely dramatic Providence provide the feeling that links this album to their last couple, with excellent musicianship close in tow.

The rest of the songs are somewhat different than the Crimson most people remember. The melancholic Fallen Angel shows that Wetton actually has a lot of emotion behind his voice while the beatarific One More Red Nightmare shows a heavy and rockish side of the band not seen since Cat Food (although much better played and less radio-friendly sounding than that song). Starless has to be the album's standout however, as a song that is seemingly brethren to Moonchild with it's opening emotional vocals leading into the long and drawn out jam session (this one noisier than the very very quiet Moonchild).

Likely the heaviest album by Crimson to this point in their career and one of the best, this one is recommended to all, especially those who like a little bombastic power behind their music. Being such a monumental landmark of an album that has many modern artists claiming influence by it (and for good reason) it would be hard to give this one any less than 5 stars. Not Crimson's easiest album to get into by any means, but certainly the best since their debut.

Report this review (#170061)
Posted Tuesday, May 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson is more a band I artistically respect rather than listen to with immense infatuation. RED is a King Crimson album that has everything that I could ask for in prog except for a good replayability factor. With songs like the proto-metal fests in the title track and ''One More Red Nightmare'', the delicate ''Fallen Angel'' and the classic ''Starless'', anyone interested in the prog rock world should discover the album. It has Wetton's unique bass sound, Fripp's guitar wizardry, Bruford's precise drumming and a smattering of other odd instruments like sax, violin and cornet. In my mind, all of these songs are very good, but none reach the heights of ''great'' other than ''Starless''; plus, it's one of those albums I simply overplayed to the point of boredom. Don't get me wrong, this is a powerful prog rock album that shouldn't be missed out on. Get it with the warning that it might get old if played way too much, although that should apply to every album.

Also, I happen to like the live improvisation ''Providence'', featuring Wetton's commanding bass performance.

Report this review (#170186)
Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
3 stars Review 29, Red, King Crimson, 1974


Three features mark this album very prominently. First, Fripp's decided to be 'more of a guitarist' for the album, and thus contributes some shrieking and powerful work, even if the smaller line-up gives him less opportunities to strut his stuff in solos. Second, the trio have some difficulties in handling a rich sound without occasionally repeating themselves, and guest musicians are a limited help. Finally, it's consistently pretty heavy, for a Crimson record, which may be more pleasing to some than to others. Personally, I really like the album, but it simply never reaches (even on Starless) any of the glorious heights of Larks' or Fracture. Providence, Starless and One More Red Nightmare are great tracks, but the opener and Fallen Angel drag a little. It comes highly recommended, but is by no means the high point of Crimson.

Red launches off the album in classic style, with a screaming Fripp guitar and rolling percussion from Bruford. Fripp begins the song with his continued riff, while Wetton changes what the bass is doing often and without much notice. Bruford contributes with an excellent, varied drum part (of course), and the warping nature of all three musicians is consistently interesting. After an unusual slower break, with just as much edge as the main song, the riff kicks in again. The problem with this song is not the composition or the playing, which is top notch throughout, but the feel, which is simply as if you are listening to the same thing constantly, and the lack of any imagery associated with the song. As much as I intellectually reason that I'm not, it feels as if I am simply hearing the same idea for 6:20. I think the sheer musicality of the piece just makes it difficult for me to connect.

Fallen Angel is another similar dose of music. I like just about all of the components, but the end result doesn't actually affect me that much. From the throbbing, thick guitar and mellotron of the opening, Fripp's acoustic and a characteristic soft Bruford-Wetton rhythm section spring out, foreshadowing a later line of the chorus. John Wetton's excellent vocal carries the song neatly, with the acoustic supplementing the ideas. A rather noisy burst, particularly from Bruford, gives way to the chorus-line (a rather awkward 'Faaaaalleen Aaaaaangeel'), and an interesting oboe-cornet duo. The core trio dominate the song again until the return of the vocals with electrics and oboe instead dominating it. Fripp does a good job of mocking a sax. Again, all the components are here, even if I'm not a great fan of fades or that tiresome chorus-line, but the emotional resonance is lacking.

One More Red Nightmare is where the album really takes off for me, with its slightly more upbeat tune and political sarcasm. A saxophone shows up for the extended instrumental break, which is dominated by Bruford's rolling percussion and Fripp's combination of 3-second solos and rhythmic playing. Very nicely done, because as well as being great music in and of itself, it contributes to the militaristic, yet sarcastic atmosphere of the song and leads up very neatly to the return of the vocals. An obscenely thick bass sound hums throughout the remainder of the song, while the sax, probably McDonald, continues to throw out a stream of notes. Very abruptly, it simply stops. Great, high energy Crimson, with matching lyrics.

Providence is another of the extended Crimson jams that you might well find on Starless And Bible Black. Fortunately, it's more of the Fracture kind, with a steadily increasing power and violin and thick, very powerful playing from Wetton and Fripp combined with occasional atmospheric touches from Bruford. For the first five or so minutes, it's constantly almost spinning out of control, yet constantly being reigned in. Cross provides an unusually anarchic lead-in to the monstrous main theme, with Wetton then standing out in the improvisation with several improvised solos while Fripp and Bruford hold the piece down. Rolling Bruford percussion leads up to a couple of lightning-fast Fripp solos, which in turn lead to a chaotic cooperation from everyone, which in turn leads back to Cross. Everything flows perfectly, with duets, solos and group moments combining effortlessly. An absolutely superb piece of work, improvisational or not, even if it may take some time to grow.

Starless is the album's obvious choice, with its combination of a very nice, intensely melodic opening, with humming mellotron, a high emotional guitar part, a deeply moving vocal from Wetton (with accompanying, excellent, if very dark lyrics from Richard Palmer-James), and a softer rhythm section that moves the song and holds up a basic, gentle feel at the same time. Saxophones (and David Cross, on violin, though he's somewhat quietened by the mix) glide along with the verses, combining in perfectly.

After the third verse, almost five minutes into the song, the extended jamming session begins, with the shrieking violin from Cross reaching an emotional height not yet handled by the album. The clopping and tingling percussion and cymbals from Bruford are superbly timed and handled, while Fripp pulls off some surprisingly convincing two-note solos. Wetton's overwhelming bass continues hold up the basic framework of the piece together. After this slow escalation has reached a steady climax, a punchy, almost-electronic bass-guitar duo leads us back to a much faster section with a fast, spinning sax, which eventually echoes the vocal melody before leading us back to another brief fast-paced monster jam, with some brilliant playing from Fripp and Wetton, shrieking out of control, as well as some very neat foreshadowing. The overwhelming bass part moves on powerfully to a final conclusion, with the saxophone slowly leading us to a humming close.

Not an easy album to describe, because it just isn't. The sounds and combination are sometimes difficult to recognise, and the music is top notch throughout. The only way this fails to grip as fully as possibly is emotionally and experimentally, with Fallen Angel and Red not conveying really any imagery at all. Pleasant to listen to, but not nearly as enjoyable as Larks' or Starless And Bible Black, and not as interesting to me, either. It is, however, essential for any collection, and I'm sure there are many who consider this a full-fledged masterpiece.

Rating: Four Stars

Favourite Track: Providence

Edit: well, down to three. It's all in the general cuts and the so forth. Yes, well, I haven't listened to this once in a long time, relative to the huge number of plays Starless and Larks' have got... I suppose that's because I feel they have something more to offer me... this doesn't really do that, though it is a good album.

Report this review (#170865)
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Sinking of the Tritonic - Captain Scuttles the Ship

As far as I can tell, this was the last 70's King Crimson album released before Fripp disbanded the entity to allow him more time for 'head shopping' at Mystical Apocalyptic Visions R'Us (G. I. Gurdjieff - prop).

'Red' - The tritone (augmented 4th) interval has been exploited by many rock musicians over the years and is particularly beloved of the cartoon subversives who currently inhabit the metal domain. However, when used with originality, there are great examples of it's disorienting frisson on Symptom of the Universe by Black Sabbath, YYZ by Rush, Purple Haze by Hendrix & Black Sabbath by erm...Black Sabbath.

Unlike Tony Iommi however, Fripp & Co are not remotely stirred by the boyish blasphemies of those utilizing the diabolus in musica as outlawed by the church music authorities in medieval times. There is a leanness and acuity in Red that seems to be borne of a new found economy in much of Fripp's writing. Everything is very concisely structured and the innate extemporizing instincts are tightly reined in, which gives this track a brooding malevolent power that you feel if completely unleashed, would probably pull hats from rabbits and blood from a tax inspector. The first hint of the metallic slant that would be further explored on their later output eg Thrak - Power to Believe etc

'Fallen Angel' - Not more references to the horny goateed one lads? (tsk...) Another moving vocal performance from the infallible Wetton in a song that exploits more traditional harmonic structures to marvelous effect. It's amazing how Crimson can inhabit territory that is not a million miles away from say, Rush, and make the latter sound like field mice still stinging from their first shave. The middle section where Fripp and Wetton duet on a tightly woven instrumental passage is unnervingly beautiful with exemplary balance between the electric band and the various horns that weave their way throughout the song. In many ways perhaps this is what 'Lizard' side two was SUPPOSED to sound like?

Switchblade stings in one tenth of a moment, Better get back to the car

PS Note to Peter Gabriel - When writing from the perspective of a Puerto Rican street punk from New York, it is not mandatory to affect a laughable American accent to approach authenticity. (see The Lamb Gives Up the Ghost on Broadway)

'One More Red Nightmare' - I am always struck by Bruford's percussion arsenal on this track as it seems he has taken a leaf (or in this case, a very heavy piece of sheet metal) out of Jamie Muir's book and employed same to mesmerizing effect. The drumming on this record is incredible and if any proof were needed as to how innovative and 'musical' a player Bill is, just point the doubters towards any track on this album. Like many Crim tracks from around this period, it veers off after the song section into what on first listen, appears a completely unrelated area, but somehow they conspire to make these devious tangents all reach a satisfying destination in the end. Uncanny. Trivia Fans - the only brilliant song I can think of that features hand-claps.

'Providence' - Oh lordy...having recently lauded the lads to the heavens for their inspired improvs on Starless & Bible Black it is with a heavy heart that I have to say this is the one wet eggy fart in the lovely shiny red space suit. There MUST have been scores of alternative improvisations they could have used surely? As ever the playing and dynamics are faultless but it's an unstructured mess. The furious filling of air pockets by oxygen thieves. Like Moonchild I am sure if you had been there, you would have exhaled softly and muttered 'incredible' with a far away look in your eye, (before promptly exiting the studio via an upstairs window on hearing the playback).

'Starless' - Given that it's a mighty crowded area, this is shoving its way to the front of the queue as best Crimson track EVER. Fripp's sobbing guitar lead on the opening is so beautiful it audibly aches. The 'song' section is the finest melodic construction in the Crim catalogue and manifests a finely honed refinement of what Epitaph and In the Wake of Poseidon etc only hinted at.

Sundown dazzling day, Gold through my eyes, But my eyes turned within, Only see, Starless and bible black

The slow building crescendo section that follows features our old buddy the tritone in Wetton's pensive bass-line over which Fripp contents himself with a skeletal 'one note ostinato' that is transposed accordingly to suit the harmonic progression in an edgy an increasingly spooky transition. As far as controlled dynamics, pace, texture and suspense are concerned, this should be compulsory listening to the prog/math metal wannabes who fashion light and shade out of 'fast very loud' and 'faster louder still.' What follows is a passage in what sounds like double time using the same (or very similar) musical material with the addition of jazzy flourishes from sax, trumpet and flute. This culminates in the denouement of the piece where the whole band embark on a majestic reprise of the main theme to a very satisfying conclusion. The band delay slightly their rejoinder to telling effect here, and the resultant weight and 'oomph' of the result is a climax of indefatigable beauty. (oooh you naughty man)

Were it not for the freeform widdley chops wank lapse represented by Providence this would have been a 5 star effort. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a very fine album by a band at one of their many creative peaks during a 40 year roller coaster career.

Report this review (#171986)
Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars It seems that KC fans come in different flavours. There are those who arrive there from a hard rock angle and are probably keen of prog metal bands like Tool, there are those who come to KC from the jazz rock camp (Miles, Return to Forever), some who love melodic prog and symphonic rock (a la Yes and Genesis) and finally, people who just love adventurous music that strives tries to forge new ground (eg. Zappa, Gong).

This is no surprise because KC has always been such an eclectic and brilliant band that it can provide something to dazzle people from any of those groups. It also provides music that scares or bores the bejesus out of just about everyone else).

The prog metal fans will generally say this is KC's best album; it's more accessible and structured than most and you can bet your booties that they'll basically say Great album, pity about Providence. I think there are lot of these people here. I disagree completely but there's no hostility; some of the most pleasant and down to earth people I've met like metal sounds.

When I first heard this album I'd been leaning towards really adventurous music that avoided standard musical devices, and keener on jazzrock than I am today (I still like but I'm much more fussy).

So I still far preferred LTIA ... except for Starless which has everything and seems to combine all of those elements of KC, the band starting the song wearing its melodic/symphonic hat, then shifting to quirky/unique mode, then heavy rock mode then combining jazzrock, melodic symphonic rock, heavy rock and weirdness in an outrageously energetic burst of brilliance. As a whole it's the most unique and satisfying piece. There's never been anything like it before or since.

Some think the title track is the best rock instrumental ever. Yes, it has its good points but I find it a bit repetitive, but I love the spooky middle bridge. I see it as Discipline's aggro older brother - a hint of what that tidy math rock that was to come in the 80s and, IMO, the Belew-Levin crew did it 100% better. Still, if you like raunchy guitar, then you'll prefer Red. Something for everyone :)

Fallen Angel is melodic enough but I have generally found KC ballads to be lacking sophistication in their communication - a bit naive, overwrought and emotionally clumsy both lyrically and in vocal delivery. A nice melody and some neat instrumental parts, especially the clever transition from 3/4 to 8/8. Not a bad track but far from essential.

One More Red Nightmare has a daggy metal riff but Bill Bruford's drumming is stunning in an acrobatic sense, if not musically. The weird fills he does twice which seem to overlay 5 on 4 are so original and fresh and his funky parts using a faux pang cymbal (apparently a bent cymbal retrieved from a studio bin) are a joy. I love Bill to bits and if he was younger I'd want to have his babies :) The verse is a tad clumsy but the instrumental parts feature a great sax solo. The song's ending is fun, sounding like the tape just got chewed up.

People call songs like Providence, which opens side 2 on this album and it's sister song, Moonchild from ITCOTKC, experimental but they aren't. Providence is just highly improvisational free jazz-cum-rock, which is shorthand for a structured jam (Moonshild was improvisational free jazz-folk - much lighter).

The only new ground Providence breaks is that it introduces elements of a jazz idiom into rock, and KC had already done that on LTIA and SABB. Whatever. Like any structured jam, when excellent musos are involved, you get moments that are ho-hum and inspired moments. This one is no exception. I love the David Cross improv early in the song, where he and John Wetton make the listener think they are about to break into a structured melodic song and then pull it off-the-air again. As with Moonchild, on its own it is probably a less rewarding listen than the other songs on their respective albums but they sit nicely in the context of the other tracks and have something enjoyable to offer to those who can cope without structured melody or rhythm.

As for Starless, as per earlier in the review, it's just a magnificent work of art. Worth the album price alone or you could just buy the one MP3.

Red isn't not my favourite of KC's catalogue. I prefer Discipline, LTIA, ITCOTCK, and Lizard (I disagree with Bob Fripp's view that Lizard was a failure with brilliant tracks like Cirkus and Bolero).

Still, I will still give Red 5 stars because Starless is not just a masterpiece of progressive music, it is quite possibly THE masterpiece of progressive music. Without Starless this album is worth a 3 to my ear.

Report this review (#173321)
Posted Monday, June 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars One more red nightmare

King Crimson is not among my favourite bands and in my opinion they never again did anything that compares with the groundbreaking debut album from 1969, a seminal Prog recording. Red is among the better albums though, but the 12 minute closer, Starless, is the only song here that deserves the masterpiece status that this album has received (and the only song with which King Crimson again reached the high standards set by In The Court Of The Crimson King. The band is now down to a trio with John Wetton and Bill Bruford accompanying the ever present Robert Fripp.

The opening title track is an instrumental primarily based variations on just a single riff. The guitar sound is heavy and quite unique. Fallen Angel and One More Red Nightmare are the more melodic tracks of the album, nice but nothing that blows my mind. Providence is a pointless experimental piece that goes absolutely nowhere. This is the kind of thing that the band (sadly) would do more of on the other Wetton-era albums.

I find Red a bit overrated and it is hardly the masterpiece people say it is. The inclusion of Providence alone guarantees this album a less-than-four-star rating. But with some good songs in the middle and a fantastic ending, this album is still a good one; recommended for the wonderful Starless alone.

Report this review (#177341)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars In 1973, King Crimson found itself with it's first stable lineup since 1970. After a succession of vocalists, bassists, keyboardists, and drummers, with only guitarist Robert Fripp being the constant member, the band started anew with former Family bassist John Wetton on bass and vocal duties, violinist and keyboardist David Cross, percussionist Jamie Muir, and former Yes drummer, Bill Bruford.

This new lineup recorded one of King Crimson's most well regarded albums Lark's Tongues in Aspic. Muir left during the tour for that album and wasn't replaced. The next year, the band released Starless and Bible Black which was made up mostly of songs recorded live in concert. At the end of 1974 however, David Cross left the group reducing the quartet to a trio with only Wetton, Fripp, and Bruford remaining. This band recorded one of King Crimson's heaviest and darkest albums yet, "Red".

The album opens with the heavy face melting instrumental title track "Red". It is a great demonstration of Fripp's guitar techniques, Bruford's perfect timing, and Wetton's rythmic bass lines. The power of this opener is a cold hard slap in the face, but one that will make you want a punch next! "Fallen Angel" the second song on the album begins with a far eastern guitar riff before going into Wetton's fiery vocals accompanied by mellotron and acoustic guitar, eventually entering a heavier mode, this time paired with saxophone. The lyrics seem to be an observation of the futility of gang warfare and violence in general.

Song three is the explosive "One More Red Nightmare". After a crunching distored guitar intro from Fripp, machinelike drums kick in along with Wetton's paranoid rumblings on nightmares and dreaming.

The fourth song, "Providence" is an instrumental which was recorded at a concert in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a nod towards the previous album "Starless & Bible Black" which was mostly made up of live tracks. As it was recorded on tour before Red was released, David Cross is featured on the song. His soft violin playing starts the song before entering a more sinister sound joined by shaking percussion and guitar lines that sound like they would fit well with a gothic horror flick. Fripp's guitar sounds like it's being strangled and bent and the song itself could work quite well with any chase sequence in a suspense or thriller movie.

The final song "Starless" is the album's longest. Clocking in at 12 minutes, this song opens with another creepy mellotron intro along with Fripp's mournful guitar playing. The song gives the listener images of a wind tossed beach with shipwrecks lining the coastline. It is a great closer to the album and sticks in your mind.

After the release of this album, Robert Fripp disbanded the group, vowing to never return to King Crimson. The band would return anyway several years later with a completely different lineup (Bill Bruford would return to the drum stool) and sound.

Report this review (#180523)
Posted Friday, August 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars I have never hidden that KING CRIMSON, specially after "Larks Togues in Aspic" is not my cup of tea, I like experimentation as any Progressive Rock fan (If not, I would be listening Rap), but always believed that Fripp and Co. went too far in some occasions.

Albums as Thrak sound to me as if a group of workers from a moving company were throwing the instruments to the floor, but at the same time I can't stop recognizing the genius behind this cacophony, mainly in albums like "Red" which have a solid melodic structure and learned (not without effort) to enjoy.

Some people ask me: Why review an album from a band that you don't like? The answer is simple, only being free from the heavy burden of being a fan, a reviewer can give a totally impartial opinion, I try to do this with bands as GENESIS or ANGLAGARD, but you never leave the subjective component behind, so in the case of KING CRIMSON is easier, because I respect them, but I'm not remotely a fan.

The album starts with the title song "Red", after a short distorted intro, the warm and familiar voice of John Wetton receives the listener friendlier than usual, no elaborate arrangements or complex structures, just John's voice, Fripps extraordinaire guitar work and Bill drums with the guest creating a Jazzy background. Of course we would be talking about a different band if the song didn't got more elaborate as it advances, but this time I find coherence and logic, special mention for Bill Bruford's work in the drums, is simply outstanding. Sometimes less complexity is better and this is one of this cases, love this track from start to end.

"Fallen Angel" continues in the jazzy vein of the previous track, but this time Ian Mc' Donald's subtle sax adds extra beauty, while Fripp creates a solid sonic wall and John Wetton delights with a fantastic bass performance. It's interesting to see how the song goes in crescendo but in a determined point always gives a step back and starts all over again, magnificent work.

Having a strong case of aerophobia, "One More Red Nightmare" has a special meaning for me, Robert Fripp has to be a genius to musically demonstrate exactly what I feel when I climb to a plane, the conflictive sound with distorted vocals describes perfectly the terror I feel.

I believe that if an artist must be judged for something, is for his ability to transmit what he's playing, and "One More Red Nightmare" does it perfectly. The haunting and repetitive guitar section is simply breathtaking, leaves me extenuated each time I listen it as if I was leaving a plane.

And the lyrics are just perfect, I heard myself repeating similar words hundreds oof times at 10,000 feet, only a person who feels what they play and say can appreciate how accurate this track is. Call me masochist.maybe I am, but I love this song.

"Providence" is one of those tracks that make me dislike most KING CRIMSON, maybe I'm too close minded for this kind of experimentation, I don't know, but I always believed a song needs a melodic structure, some coherence and logic, for me "Providence" is just a collection of random sounds that say nothing, sorry, but I can't deal with this.

Now we go to the opposite side of the musical spectrum, from cacophony without sense (for me), to one of the most beautiful melodies in Progressive Rock history, so sweet and nostalgic that is hard to believe KING CRIMSON is responsible for such a masterpiece.

Doesn't matter the difficulty to catalogue it in any known genre, being that we have a lot of Jazz, elements of the Power Ballad, radical changes, aggressive guitar and bass collision with the most melancholic keys and winds and Bill Bruford keeping a low profile and allowing Fripp and Wetton to be the stars, everything conspires to make of "Starless" the best KING CRIMSON song ever (IMO of course).

Before "Providence" I was ready to rate "Red" with five stars, but after the same song my personal rating went down to three, only "Starless" is able to rise it to four solid stars.

Report this review (#181089)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
The Whistler
4 stars (Starless and 4.5)

Okay, serious time. There are some bands that have an album that really define art in rock at the time. Tull did it in 1972; Pink Floyd in 1979. King Crimson revolutionized the concept of art in rock in 1969, and again in 1973, and then fully cemented that revolution in 1975. To strike with lightning once is hard enough, and most bands can't even try. To strike with lightning more than once is...almost impossible.

Simply put, Red is an amazing album. It's not perfect; it's probably not as good as Larks Tongues, lacking the earlier album's consistency. However, it holds just as well written material, and perhaps hits even harder (made all the more impressive considering that Fripp and the gang had just ridden off the heels of the scattered, confusing, and thoroughly unsatisfying Starless and Bible Black, which I've largely erased from my memory).

We open with the title track, something which you might not even associate with Crimso. "Red" is a fully instrumental riff-fest, almost Sabbath-esque in its slow, crushing heaviness. However, Sabbath was never this complex, deep, or COLD. In fact, "Red" stands as one of the coldest tunes I've ever heard, especially when the cellos pick up towards the center.

Even better is "Fallen Angel," a gorgeous, gorgeous ballad with a wonderful, hard-hitting melody that hits all the harder when it picks up in heaviness. Wait a second...gorgeous ballad...heavy? Fear not! "Angel" is one of those rare, rare occasions when something is both beautiful AND rocks. And it really does, when the complex-as-get- out/layered-to-death instrumental section takes over in all its blazing glory, and not a SHRED of emotion is sacrificed. Pretty much perfect.

"One More Red Nightmare" closes the first side with another brutally evil riff, wonderful percussion and fantastic lyrics about a plane trip gone wrong. But then, it all speeds up, and turns into a great excuse for some good old fashioned saxophone jamming. Ha! When's the last time you heard a sax on a Crimso record, eh? Too long, right?

However, just in case you forgot that this was King Crimson, we have to have at least ONE lousy improv ala Starless and Bible Black. "Providence" is the tune that keeps the album from ever getting higher than a solid 4.5. Now, I dig improv as much as the next guy, but only when it's attached to an actual melody. You can get largely the same effect by watching somebody scratching a bird cage with a coat hanger for eight minutes, only "Providence" is slightly less interesting; the only part that sounds halfway decent is the end when Bruford kicks in, but by then, it's all over.

Luckily, we close with "Starless," which has nothing to do with Bible Black. Well, except the lyrics. It opens as a beautiful mellotron drenched sax ballad, with one of Wetton's finest vocal performances. Then, it quietly shifts to a fascinating build, where you have the choice to focus on Fripp's ever angering guitar riff, Wetton's ever changing bass melody, or Bruford's ever weirdening drum effects. In the end, all the tension is released in a heart pounding sax solo, where the original tune is replayed with EVERYONE busting their guts out, and never once losing sight of the tune's beauty. Basically, a prog rock orgasm. Hmm...rocking but beautiful? Isn't that the second time I've said that this album? The last time that happened was Thick as a Brick...

Like I said, Red's not perfect, but a landmark nonetheless. And I DO have trouble choosing a favorite song; I'm pretty sure the best is "Fallen Angel," but "Starless" is just so damn strong! Oh well. Emotions will certainly run high spinning this record. It IS possible to overrated it, but only a fool would deny the overall importance of the album.

Half the reason it's so good, and I think this is vital, is the fact that it was the last King Crimson album. It's sort of like The Doors' L.A. Woman, another amazing swan song. The core trio is in top form here: Fripp is as impressive as ever, Wetton sings like his life depends on every line, and this might be THE Bruford album; and, realizing that no one, let alone themselves, cares, the band pulls out all stops: art metal rockers and jazz ballads, whistling up session players and old friends for guest spots. I mean, even "Providence," as dull as it is, is part of the formula, and Red wouldn't be Red without it.

Love it or hate it, Red is an important part of prog rock history (and music history in general; it invented grunge, didn't it? And I HATE grunge, but I LOVE this. Go figure). The fact that it's also a really, really good album chock full of amazing like a wonderful side effect.

Report this review (#184244)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Though King Crimson made some terrific albums before and after, I wholeheartedly believe that this is the band's strongest release, the apex of their progressive discography.

The energy, the aggression, the creativity, the talent, the unique blend of melody and dissonance, the haunting soundscapes--all are here, and all are at their best here. Robert Fripp is at his ultimate best playing the guitar, from deadly riffs to power drill solos to gentle melodies to wild improvisations. John Wetton's voice not only sounds wonderful here, but it fits the music exactly like it should. Bill Bruford drums like an absolutely madman when he should, and I can't think of any drummer who grooves and slams as tastefully as he does here. A few spots from guest musicians rounds out the sound, blessing the fans of King Crimson with a wonderfully well rounded album full of inspiring melodies, explosive musical action, and what I believe is the best song the band ever wrote.

The first side opens with the title track, an aggressive (some would even say it's the first progressive metal song ever recorded) instrumental with darkly distorted guitars and wonderful harmonies. The drums fairly annihilate standards of rhythm, though not always in a manner as obvious as it would seem they should. As much as I love this track, it's very easily summed up and hard to keep talking about.

Fallen Angel sounds at first like it might be one of those standard King Crimson ballad bits, but that would be a grave error. What we have here is, after a fair bit of wonderful vocal extravagance from Wetton (and yes, he sounds absolutely amazing here), a heavy middle section. In this section comes Fripp on the guitar, rocking the power drill and absolutely tearing up his guitar in pursuit of what may be the most impressive solo in his career. It wraps up nicely with the vocals carrying out the melody, sounding so melancholic and haunting yet not depressive at all.

One More Red Nightmare draws a lot of flak from people, though I can't see why. What we have is an interestingly laid out riff that gives Bruford massive amounts of room to groove. Give it a high-energy verse with a catchy melody and (gasp!) handclaps, and you've got an exciting tune that even someone not so into progressive music can sit down and enjoy as a quality song. The saxophone here lays down some wonderful counterpoint and syncopation as it concludes the song with an extended solo section. Very much a fun, rocking song.

The weakest track on the album is the experimental and slightly noodly sounscape Providence, which, I think, when compared with the other same sorts of songs by the band, is second only to The Devil's Triangle in terms of compositional structure and overall effectiveness. It builds with some spectacular bass by Wetton (and I mean spectacular), grinding to a very awesome conclusive climax, preparing the listener in the only way possible for the album closer.

Starless wraps up Red quite effectively. I do consider this to be the best song the band ever wrote. The first four minutes are a gentle sort of throwback to earlier Crimson spacey tunes, with the mellotron backing John Wetton's strongest vocal performance that I have ever come across. After the third chorus, however, the song switches into a minimalist soundscape. Bruford then takes over, with the guitar and bass locked in a groove, and he kicks some serious funk into the song for a good length. It all comes to a head with some interesting delay effects on the guitar and an absolutely sick bass riff that would make just about anyone who tries to write parts for that instrument jealous. It is a song that must be heard, and it must be heard multiple times.

This is, in my opinion, the strongest album that King Crimson every wrote, as well as being powerfully accessible. People who are not very familiar with the band can dive right in and enjoy the first half of the LP for sure, and the second half eventually. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys progressive music that isn't just the standard sorts like Yes and Genesis. King Crimson were still the prog rebels in this era (in truth, they are now, still), and this aggressive album does dramatic and powerful things with music without being too pretentious or painfully indigestible.

Yeah. As highly recommended as I know how. Probably the best-constructed album of the 70s.

Report this review (#185143)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is it! The pinnacle of all King Crimson's career, the probable pinnacle of progressive rock, the last chapter of King Crimson as we knew it and an undeniable piece of art of a splitting-up band

Being the last King Crimson release during the 70's, and only being released one month after Robert Fripp disbanded a band that is a fundamental pillar of progressive rock as we knew in the past, today and probably in the future for generations to come, Red is the ultimate proof of Fripp's and Crimson's brilliance in almost every aspect, as far as progressive rock goes. Uniting the band's traditional innovation, experimentation, jazzy improvisation, music writing skills and musicianship, Red took both King Crimson's albums from 73 and 74 and upgraded them to a never seen before display of recorded jam sessions, with unmatched professionalism.

However, Red was only able to be so good because the band got smaller, their songs became less unnecessarily complex and more focused. Actually, that is exactly the greatest flaw of Lark's Tongues and Starless and Bible Black: they lacked FOCUS. Wile both albums were great, its excesses compromised their final objective, which was to deliver great music, because, lets face it, without focus music is nothing but random notes being played, something that can be seen a lot in Starless and sometimes in Lark's Tongues. So when King Crimson made their music more focused they were able to surpass all albums they did before, because in Red all notes played and all drums or percussion hit are meaningful.

A lot of that band focus in Red may be due to the leading role that Robert Fripp's guitars have. I mean, here the guitars have the highlights in almost every music instead of that answering-questioning game between the guitars and saxes / violins or between the saxes and the violins or between any other instrument. Here, the music is pretty much straightforward, having the guitars in the main or leading role and all other instruments are supporting the guitar, though it may not look like so sometimes.

And that is exact reason why i love Red so much. That is why Red, alongside with Gentle Giant's In a Glass House, is my favorite progressive rock album of all time: it's simple, straightforward, spontaneous, innovative, traditional (because it still bares the traditional King Crimson style), focused, beautiful and sounds forever fresh and edgy. Also, the songs are all great, almost reaching perfection, showing that the band was able to deliver a wondrous musical experience throughout the album with great constancy and balance (though with the help of some invited musicians), what some other traditional bands lack in their albums released at the same year as Red. The instrumental work is also amazing, much like in other King Crimson albums. As a side note, i would like to sign Bill Bruford's exceptional drum work, as always.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Well, i don't think that there is another way to express why i appreciate and love this album so much. i mean, the songs just can't get much better that this, the instrumental work is fantastic, the album has a big number of exceptional qualities and, to top it all, is the last Crimson document in the 70's, closing the initial part of their careers the best way the possibly could with a studio album. I seriously cannot understands how can someone rate this below 5 stars or, even worse, below 4 stars.

Report this review (#187453)
Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson - 'Red' 5 stars

The ultimate jam record.

This album is pretty much a set of jams in my mind. In that case, this is the best collection of jams I have ever heard. A good amount of this was recorded live, so that contributes extra to that true jamming feel. The songs are extremely tight, and have some fantastic vocal and bass work by John Wetton.

This album featured plenty of guitar overdubs, which was virtually impossible to deal without since King Crimson's sound has always been so big, and there were only three members here. An important adds on was Mel Collin's who contributes his best work in the closing epic 'Starless'. Wetton's sound on this album is probably my favorite bass work of any musician. There has never been a louder and heavier bass in a mix before, and I find it to be incredible. The end of 'Providence' in particular, brings the instrument into its height.

'Starless' has to go down as the best Crimson track hands down. From the somber beginning and slow rhythm section, leads to one of the biggest build-ups. Haunting, yet beautiful, it finally goes into a jam where Mel Collins illuminates his signature sax style like never before. Wetton's heavy bass with Bruford providing back-up brings this behemoth to its end.

Any fan of music in general can find promise in this record. I would even call this album to be Crimson's most accessible due to it just having lots of rock elements, but turned the volume and virtiousticity up about twenty notches.

Report this review (#190374)
Posted Monday, November 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is, hands down, my favorite studio Crimson record. My one recommendation to anyone who wants to get into Crimson is to check out their live stuff. The Great Deceiver set is awesome, as is Vroom Vroom. The ProjeKcts box set is also a favorite of mine simply because of the fact that it pushes the boundaries of music very far in an incredible improvised setting. Anyway, this album just has really great songs on it. I love John Wetton's bass work on this album, especially on Providence and Starless. Providence is one of the weirdest jams I have ever heard, and I love it every time I listen to it. Wetton's bass is so present towards the end of the song, and it's just so growly. I absolutely love it. Wetton's vocals are also significantly improved over Larks' Tongues. I can't say too much about this album but that I think it is the best that the seventies Crimson put out. Check it out for yourself and you'll see what I mean. Impeccable album.
Report this review (#192253)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Why frighten the little children with such a thing?

Oh yes, this is definitely a frightening album in King Crimson's grand scheme. Frightening not only for the mass discarding of lush classic prog, but for the wholehearted acceptance of this dreary and driving atonal bleakness that permeates each track. This is KC on anger and depression. The themes evoked are both scary and dark, as the tone goes with haunting prevalence.

We begin with the title track, a fiery and dissonant instrumental. The note progression is fantastic, and the band crafts a very violent and enthralling track. The guitars are dirty and aggressive, while the entire band wraps itself around one main theme and chokes it venomously. Fallen Angel is still melancholy and downtrodden, but in a much more build and release fashion. The beginning is almost calming and Wetton has a fitting voice to the music.

This song is special, though. I consider it the album's peak, for many reasons. It is one of the most diverse songs to be found herein, and it also has one of the most terrifying segments heard iin all music. The sheer horror and emotional jarring the dissonant solo evokes is staggering. It takes my breath away each tie I hear it, and Wetton is vocally drifting with haunting lines of "Fallen angel". King Crimson have easily surpassed most of their previous material with this single song.

One More Red Nightmare is the closest to a "standard" rock song. The catchy jazz trotting leads to quite the enjoyable experience, and the quality never sags. I must take care to make special mention of the rhythm section, here. It is unconventional and erratic, in the best way. Highly original and musically demanding.

It seems that each King Crimson album has included a controversial song on each of their most lauded albums. This one takes the form of Providence. I can see why some would find this song to be of lesser quality than the previous tracks, but really, it preserves the atmosphere, is highly adventurous, and doesn't really give me the feeling of weakness or shallow nature.

In closing, we are treated to another album masterpiece in Starless. It recalls themes from the previous album, slightly. But in general, it is a highly original and serenely dark affair. The winding epic goes through calm and anger, and winds along beautifully for the 12 minutes it occupies.

King Crimson release their arguable masterpiece in one of their most unstable band member moments. Truly a showing of grace under pressure, and we as listeners are graced with a blistering atmosphere that in the short duration, is diverse and violently brooding. A masterpiece.

Best Moment - Fallen Angel/Starless

Worst Moment - Providence, but I like it.

***** Crimson stars

Report this review (#198420)
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album gave all the members of the (perhaps must legendary Crimson line up) the change to shine one more time. This resulted in an album that I think is mainly hailed as such a classic because of one song, and that song is Starless. This, song is an ironic piece of work.....that the last studiosong they ever recorded is also regarded as their best is indeed very interesting. I remember a interview with John Wertton once where he was talking about the way music in this age came together. 'All of us were just doing something, while no one really knew what we were doing, but it all came together magically while we stood on the stage improvising. We named the song after the local bear and had another song for the next album.' I don't know if that was the case for Red....cos Starless In Bibble Black always sounded to me as a bunch of songs that came together the way Wetton is describing it. Red, really sounds to me as songs that were really written while they sit down for it, and created something. Something certainly true of Starless. In 1996 Wetton was headlining the Planet Pul Progressive Rock festival, and there he played the full version of Starless again. When I talked to him, that was the other night and he was still so extremely overwelmed by the he said, 'The croud went balistic.' This can only lead me to the conclusion that Starless indeed is hailed by most KC fans as one of their finest moments.

The songs in between never got much attention.....I do not even know or can remember if any of them were ever played extensively....except Red itzelf, that is still played by the many new formations and revivals KC ever since those days. As one reviewer is stating...for a song that is indeed soounding so simple that is indeed quite remarkable. As being the opening song of the album I always felt the albums kicks in quite agressively, Red is quite heavy and in that way perhaps a glimpse on what was yet to come with later revivals of KC. One more red nightmare is very much the same path as Red, while the song in between, Fallen Angel, is another beautifull and soft composition with beautifull and sensitive Mellotron, that sounds quite like the beginning of Starless. Providence however is theb most experimental part and is very much David Cross's moment to shine.....where its mainly violin you hear untill about half of the song....where Fripp begins to join, with some distorted and rather experimental guitar....The violinplaying of Cross is both beautifull and experimental as we are used of him.

With That red really is an album that is or quite agressive or quite sensitive but never gets somewhere in between. Like it or leave it.......But atleast give it a fair chance.......

Report this review (#200176)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars It took some guts to try another KC album after the huge disappointment of Lark's Tongue for me. But after hearing the streamsong Red that was still on our site a while ago and reading some comments that Red was something totally different where the overall sound and style is concerned I gave this one a try at last.

I always liked Red, a song that is about the opposite of the dull and a-melodic Lark's Tongue songs. Red is fierce, kind of hard rock you might say, great song. So that's at least a good opener bringing me in a more positive mood than the predecessor. Next song, Fallen Angel, is more of a regular song, in between the two mentioned styles. Nice track but nothing great. One more Red Nightmare is again more in the style of the opener, albeit less rough and more melodic even. Good track. With Providence alas we go back to Lark's style or even worse. This is the kind of experimental music I detest, it's wasted on me completely. Still slightly better than the average Lark's Tongue standard. The album closes with Starless, a famous song but new to me. I can't say I missed out on something outstanding or magnum opus like all those years but I don't think everybody will agree with me. It's a good epical song no doubt but better epics have been written in those days and then this is only a bit of a pale one.

All in all Red is a lot better than Lark's Tongue to me but that is not a surprise really. Anybody who knows my taste knows that the more energetic stuff has my preference. And that is what is present on this album. A well deserved 3 stars this time.

Report this review (#200803)
Posted Tuesday, January 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
4 stars The Career of the band King Crimson has known several style's, eclectic, experimental, jazzy. This album is one of the three metal albums, together with Larks' Tongues In Aspic and Starless and Bible black. I don't think these albums can be called metal, though they often are. The albums do have some heavily overdriven and distorted guitars, but I rather call it heavy prog. Red is made up of five different songs, most of them are pretty heavy.

Red: The first track on the album is an instrumental which is based around Robert Fripp's distorted guitar. The song has a catchy riff, and a slow, heavy solo. the song is pretty good, though it is a bit too much of the same, compared to other King Crimson guitar based instrumentals as Fracture, from the Starless and Bible Black album, this one isn't very strong, but still a nice opener of the album.

Fallen Angel: One of my favourites of the album. It's a ballad which starts with a violin intro and is mostly acoustic guitar driven. After a while Robert Fripp starts playing a very catchy, strong riff. The song is based around Wetton's vocals, but also has a jazzy interlude. One of the most beautiful heavy songs i've ever heard, definitely one of my favorites.

One More Red Nightmare: Just as the previous two songs, this one has a strong and catchy riff. The verses of this strong aren't really that strong, the lyrics don't really interrest me, though John Wetton has great vocals in this song (as always). The middle section of this song is kind of jazzy, compareable to the jazzy interlude of Fallen Angel.

Providence: By far the least good song of the album, it's an improvisation which can also be found on the live album The Great Deciever. The song opens with creepy violin and guitars, bass and drums will join the violin later in the song. I love the violin as an instrument, I also love the violin used by King Crimson in songs as Exiles, but I don't seem to like it in this song. The song lacks structure, and I know KC can give improvisations structure, several live album contain those.

Starless: The longest song of the album, and probably the best. it starts out with a overdriven guitar with tone turned down, so it has a very characteristic sound. The guitar in the intro is often replaced by violin in life performances. the vocal part of the song sounds pretty sad and the lyrics are nice, too. after a while, the calm part is over, the song turns into some sort of improvisation. Robert gives a way a guitar solo... of two different notes. The chaotic, instrumental Starless goes on for a few minutes and then the song is finished, just as the album.

39 minutes are pretty short, definitely for a great album as Red, I would have loved to hear some more songs of this King Crimson style. The final album of the 70's King Crimson is one of their best.

Report this review (#201988)
Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is one of two instrumental tracks on this album, and Robert Fripp makes his presence known right out of the gate with this one. Ominous riffs backed by a fierce rhythm section that combines Wetton's aggression and Bruford's precision perfectly. Fallen Angel is almost a straightforward rock ballad, until the Mellotron flares up and the various horn-playing guests launch into blistering solos. One More Red Nightmare is another straightforward piece, with a powerful bassline and John Wetton letting out his amazing trademark vocals. Providence is a four-piece improv, the only song on the album to feature former KC member David Cross. This was probably recorded during the Starless and Bible Black era and they just waited until this album to release it. It's less aggressive than the rest of the album, having a creepy atmosphere in places. This is probably the weakest track on the album, but it's certainly not terrible. The best song is the next and last song, Starless. It was a staple for their live performances at the time. It starts off with a moody slow section with dark, introspective lyrics, and a tension building instrumental section before the band lets it rip full blast. The song reprises its intro, but in a more powerful form to give the song a dramatic close.

This is probably my favorite King Crimson album, and it comes with a hearty recommendation from yours truly. For those looking to get into 70s-era King Crimson, this is probably a good place to start.

Report this review (#202024)
Posted Saturday, February 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red stands as KING CRIMSON's third best album (behind ITCOTCK and Lizard) mainly on the stregth of it's brilliant second and third tracks. While Fallen Angel and One More Red Nightmare carry the album, with their spot of lyrical quality and delivery there of (these are 6 star tracks and among my prog favorites), the other tracks don't show any real drop off in quality and all carry the dark more serious mood of this album rather effectively. The opening track Red builds a strong foundation for the mood of the album with its rich deep sound, if I have one complaint about this track is that its a bit repetitive. I can't really get into the composition and musical layout in depth, as this isn't my strong suit, but all the technical perfection you'd expect from anything Robert Fripp touches is here, in abundence, and that's always a marvel to listen to. I almost consider Providence to be a piece of classical music with more modern instruments in use, at least untill late in the track when a very heavy jam is brought into play. It certainly isn't a song you would want to listen to late at night in a pitch black room, scary. Starless has some very underrated guitar work, along with killer wind sections, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Bruford's drumming (you all know its top notch but a mention is obligatory). Wetton's vocals fit the lyrical content exquisitely on Starless, as they do throughout the album, but this is a King Crimson album we are talking about and nobody was better adept at piecing together the jigsaw puzzle that is music (I hope that makes sense). You can't even see the lines! 4.75 stars rounding up to 5.
Report this review (#202512)
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars This album ranks among my favorite King Crimson albums. The title track, which stands with my favorite instrumentals, is powerful and exhibits exceptional musicianship right off the bat. Overall the album is extremely good, but one lengthy track really fouls the whole affair.

"Red" The title track is one of the greatest progressive rock instrumentals ever written, better than either part of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic," and "The Devil's Triangle." The main sections are genius, and rank among King Crimson's best. Bruford's drumming here is phenomenal. The music features the perfect blend of dynamics, managing to work together the loud, cacophonic interplay of instruments and quieter, more refined moments. It is harsh, grating, and explosive- everything one would expect from the perfect King Crimson instrumental.

"Fallen Angel" Opening with a synthesizer and stringed instruments, this had been my favorite on the album for a long time. Wetton's voice is most pleasant here, as is Fripp's guitar. The dynamic horn and static electric guitar work against each other in such a way that the end result is very satisfying. The music transitions from calm to harsh and many places in between.

"One More Red Nightmare" This song has a menacing introduction but groovy verses. It has a similar sound to the title track, and a great guitar part that gets smothered by hand claps (even the drumming and bass playing get drowned out a bit). An alto saxophone solo occurs during this section, as well as in the end. The cheesy hand clapping almost ruins this song, though.

"Providence" It seems King Crimson can't put out an album without messing around. Why it has to be the second longest track on the album is beyond me, but it is. David Cross's violin very beautifully begins this eerie piece of nonsense. It is a tad more coherent than "Moonchild" from the debut album, but that is saying very little. The band jams a bit towards end, with Wetton's distorted bass, Cross' violin, Fripp's guitar, and Bruford keeping beat, but it's not a pleasant track to listen to in my opinion.

"Starless" The title of this one comes from the previous album. It hearkens back to several other King Crimson songs, having Mellotron, saxophone, and a verse-chorus structure. Fripp satisfies himself with a mere two notes during the rather lengthy section in 13/8, during which Wetton employs a distorted bass and Bruford builds the rhythm with creative drumming. An amazing saxophone takes over with impressive drumming thereafter, also reprising part of the vocal melody. While not my favorite King Crimson track, this one does deliver.

Report this review (#202639)
Posted Friday, February 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars IMHO, the best KC album. After constant musicians changes , mr. Fripp found in Wetton and Bruford two real phenomena, and Red is a worthy conclusion for this fantastic trio. All songs are wonderful, but two songs are to be highlighted: Red is perhaps the first progressive metal piece in rock history, with its atmosphere almost horror. Starless is one of the candidate songs to represent the whole progressive movement: fantastic melody, dreaming guitar and mellotron phrases, one disturbing central part with an indefinable drums time, one ending with an unrepeatable sounds explosion. We must also remember the beautiful melody of "Fallen angel" and the enthralling final of "One more red nightmare". 5 stars and much more
Report this review (#207351)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
5 stars Believe the Hype - this is RED hot!

An excellent album and one of the best of the Krims. An album that delivers on every level from the incredible musical virtuosity of the title track to the inspired mini epic length Starless, the CD is all that we love about King Crimson - complex musical genius and lyrics that transcend the norm, lots of jazz fusion and weird drum patterns, and strange instruments mixed with guitars and drums. Every track on this CD is a bonafide classic. Fallen Angel is beautiful and mystifying, One More red Nightmare is a catchy 7 minute little gem that is one of the best from the band, Providence is what it is - lots of kanoodling with strange instruments that is highly intriguing music. Then there is the absolutely brilliant Starless! Flawless, from end to end of its 12 minute length.

Unlike the disappointing content of Starless and Bible Black, Red is essential Krimson. Incredible guitar from Fripp is complemented by the intricate time signature patterns of Buford and Wetton is at his best. This lineup of Krimson is about as good as it gets and many fans would agree that it was these musicians that formulated the best material in the huge repertoire of the band. Many of these tracks found their way to the best of Krimson Cd collections available and for good reason.

As usual the booklet is excellent with lots of interesting info about the making of this album, the live shows and the songs. There is little else that needs to be said except this is one of those CDs you will not want to miss out on. So try it as soon as you get a chance and I am sure you will be absolutely delighted.

Report this review (#208448)
Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Easily my favourite King Crimson LP, this heavy album still rates in many magazine polls as amongst the best heavy rock LPs of all time. It was such a pity that this proved to be the swansong of the Wetton, Bruford, and Fripp incarnation of the band, and indeed the '70's incarnation, as Fripp called it a day soon after.

The title track absolutely blasts out of a decent set of speakers. Thundrous riffs intermingle with incredibly paced drumming, this is as hard as KC got in this period, and it certainly still holds its own now.

I really enjoy both Fallen Angel, especially Wetton's vocals, and One More Red Nightmare again moves at a cracking pace, with a great sax solo put in to boot.

The disappointment, and the track which prevents it from being a perfect five stars, is Providence, a pointless piece of noodling, especially the Cross violin parts, it really feels out of place in all around it.

This is a shame, because the actual KC swansong, Starless, is one of the finest prog rock tracks ever written, and still my personal favourite mellotron moment at the end of the track, when the instrument blasts out to the accompaniment of woodwind and a huge bassline from Wetton. His vocals are extremely delicate, and Fripp, who knew he was disbanding the outfit, puts in a really thoughtful guitar piece, which extends for many minutes without ever losing the listener's attention. This, of course, is simply the buildup to one of the most explosive ends to a track ever written.

Four stars, but, if you forget Providence, one of the most essential purchases for any prog collection, and worth buying for Red & Starless alone.

Report this review (#212382)
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, this is an absolute masterpiece, a wonderful piece of art, an excellent work, and all that beautiful words I could say.

This really makes my top 5 albums ever, for sure.

What can I say?

1#Red: One of the best instrumentals I've ever heard. AMAZING. 2#Fallen Angel: Wow, what an incredible voice, Wetton... Wow. 3#One More Red Nightmare: Dudeeees, this is a riff I'll always be glad to hear. 4#Providence: A very good song, I find it very similar to Moonchild, still great. 5#Starless: Oh, how can a human being dislike this song? Fabulous.

Lol, I look like a big fan? Not, I like this album very much :)

Report this review (#213447)
Posted Saturday, May 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to start out by saying that King Crimson is one of my favorite bands, and this album, red, has an excellent arsenal of musicians, which include John Wetton (bass, vocals), Bill Bruford (drums, percussion) and of course Robert Fripp (guitar & mellotron); as well as some guest musicians. We start with the heavy and breath taking title track: "red", which is an impressive instrumental song that portrays Fripp´s abilities as a composer and guitar player, as well as Bruford's unique drumming style, and the band's ability to feature multiple time signatures in one song; it's hard for me to believe that this song was written in 1974, as it sounds very futuristic. The second track is "fallen angel", which is more mellow than "red"; "fallen angel" has beautiful arrangements that include reverse delays and mellotron lines, which give it a unique flavor, the song starts a bit soft, but gets tighter in the chorus and sax solos, Wettons singing is impeccable. Continuing with "one more red nightmare", we again reprise the caotic feel of "red". Starting with an unforgetable guitar riff with an octave fuzz effect, the song features different time signatures, an impresive alto sax solo by guest and former band member Ian McDonald, and again we can apreciate Wetton´s singing and his ability to maintain notes for a long time. We finaly get to calm down on the beginning of the fourth track, "providence". This incredible piece is an 8 minute long improvisation recorded live. We can see the incredible connection the band members have, while this song takes us in an unexplainable voyage to another dimension. We can appreciate Dvid Cross' beautiful violin playing through out the whole song, which starts of by being very soft, but builds up to a very heavy and dissonant jam. Finally we arrive to the majestic final track, "starless". We start off with some mellotron strings and one of the most beautiful melodies I´ve ever heard, played by a soprano sax and a guitar, there isn't a word that has the beauty to describe it. We then continue to the verse, in which Wetton sings in an incredible melancholic state. We then fall into a still very sad chorus and repeat this verse/chorus structure once more. Wetton's singing is beautiful and in the chorus we can see again that he can hold notes for a very long time. We then go to the build up of this song, wich consists on a bass line in 13/8 and Fripp playing only two notes throughout this whole part, which gradually gets heavier and heavier until it erupts into chaos and we hear Bruford's insane drumming, until we abruptly fall into an impressive soprano sax solo which makes my mind swirl around at an incredible speed until finally, we reprise on the soul-eating melody from the beginning with a heavier rhythm base, leaving us in a state of ecstasy until the song ends.

I find the lyrics on this album great. In "Fallen angel" we can see very poetic writing, telling the story of someone's younger brother who is killed in a gang fight. The Lyrics on "one more red nightmare" are very ad hoc to the music in my opinion, the lyrics is about an untamable nightmare in which a man thinks he's flying on an airplane that's going down. Finally we have "starless", which has very beautiful words describing the fall of a night without stars. This lyrics can be interpreted in several ways and I exhort each listener to find his own meaning to the words. I think it describes the way society is becoming each time more distant, more cold, more gray. Overall, great Lyrics in the 3 songs that are not instrumentals in this album, the singing as stated before is great, John Wetton's voice is close to perfect. Concluding my review, I have to say I think this album is a one of a kind experience, as many other King Crimson album. I find every piece excellent.

Report this review (#215486)
Posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like "Q" magazine once stated - 'Red' is a heavy album - but it's heavy in an atmospheric crushing way. It's very different from past KC albums - whereas this is played as if it's the last album they'll ever record, which I guess in a way, it was. It sounds terminal - in a 'Swans' kind of way. Now that's the way I like music to sound! Forget about the poor cover. Crikey... I bought 'Islands' thinking that it would be a great album, solely on the sleeve design. How wrong could I be!

For what seems like a simple record on first listen, this is actually an incredibly difficult score which is coped with brilliantly by Bruford's drums (he appears transformed after the help of Jamie Muir on Lark's Tongue...) and John Wetton's vocals which fit perfectly this kind of music.

This seems to be the Crimson record you guys over there in the United Snakes of America seem to love. It certainly has a 'rockier' edge to it than other King Crimson records. The undoubted highlight is "Starless" - the last track - and probably the best track they ever laid down. Surprising really when you consider that half way through - there's a one finger guitar solo by Robert Fripp. In a mere 12 minutes I'm left bewildered - not knowing if I'm sad, depressed or elated. An excellent album.

Report this review (#218920)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red by King Crimson is known as one of the band's most heavy albums to date. This album is KC at their heaviest and most creative period out of all their incarnations. Unfortunatley, this would be their last effort of what I think was their finest and most talented line-up, but all the line-ups were great. The line-up consisted of John Wetton on bass/vocals, Bill Bruford on drums and Mr. Robert Fripp on guitar. The band hired a nice handful of former members to fill in on some instrumental parts such as for violin, some horns and a couple of saxes. The band played heavily on this particular album and this may have been a blueprint for most heavy rock acts to this very day.

The album opens with one of their heaviest songs, "Red". This song starts off with an interesting chard progression with the bass and guitar. The main riff of the song itself is kept in a doomy-sounding melody which is why it comes out to be such a heavy piece of music. The middle part which includes some nice guitar and chello work makes the song itself sound amazing.

The second song is the nice and calm "Fallen Angel". The song starts off with some nice bass sounds as well as chello work. Wetton's voice is very warm in the song throught and gives it a nice ambience. Fripp's acoustic to electric guitar work sounds amazing and still manages to keep it's ambience throught. The heavier parts has some nice trumpet work included in it as well.

The next tune we run into is the doomy "One More Red Nightmare". The song starts with some heavy riffing from Wetton and Fripp. The drumwork given to us by Mr. Bruford is really something to listen to on this tune especially. Wetton's singing in this one sounds very heavy and anxious just like he is in the lyrics itself. The song then shifts into another gear for a more down tempo part which has some nice sax work. The song then goes back to the main riffing and again into the down tempo part where it ends.

Next is the very calm and interesting tune "Providence". This song has the same "jazzy" feel that is very reminescent of "Moonchild" from their debut album, "In The Court Of The Crimson King". The song starts off with some nice violin which builds itselfs out through the song. A great piece of prog music.

The final song on this amazing album is the epic "Starless". The song starts out with some nice mellotron and guitar ambience. Fripp's guitar work on this particular song is very sad, as if they knew it would be the final song they would dish out before going their separate ways. An excellent closer to the last album of a great era.

In all, this album has to be one of their most heaviest albums and a perfect way to close the door on a great era of their band.

Report this review (#227710)
Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the declaration of the dissolution of the band had been formally announced by Robert Fripp, this work that hit their totaling 8 work eyes was released. The work of KC until this time was famous because the member's composition was different every time the album was announced. The fact with the flow that neither belongs to the band like KC is interesting though the member who was on the register to Larks 'Tongues In Aspic also did the activity of music in various fields.

How to repulsion to Fripp by the member and music to catch might have differed in no small way. However, they always catch the flow in the age and have evolved. After having ended the tour in the contract, the line of Burrell-Collins-Wallace-Fripp faced the state of the division of the band. It is guessed also that it is an event received at the same time by relations of a black magic element of Fripp. Sinfield might have been puzzled to such an event, too.

However, the flow of the band that changed it radically did not arrive at the member's continuation either. The flow of the band from Larks 'Tongues In Aspic might have been a flow with the tension indeed. And, the band had formally announced the declaration of dissolution before announcing this album.

Five guests' in addition to the line of Fripp-Wetton-Bruford musician is participating in the recording in this album. Dissolution was declared by Fripp though the rumor said that Ian McDonald that participated in the recording of the album would return to the band was circulated.

The photograph of the meter is adopted on the back side of the album art. And, the photograph of member's face comes out in the art in the table. In these events, it is one of the topics to have called various guesses among listeners.

Report this review (#228130)
Posted Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red (1974) is the last album recorded by King Crimson in the 70's, it was also supposed to be their last ever, as Robert Fripp ended the band "forever" before the release of the record. It's the third album by the '72/'74 line up of the band, featuring Robert Fripp on guitar, Bill Bruford on the drums and percussion, and John Wetton on bass and vocals. Even though the band was only a power trio (the only track recorded in this format is the title track) the album features a lot of guest musicians, most notably Ian McDonald, Mel Collins and David Cross. So... you might find yourself wondering what a dying crimson can record, in a word? a MONSTER. Red is by far the heaviest album of its generation. Millions of light years away from Yes's sunny pseudo-mysticism, or Jethro Tull's folk flavored rock. No... Red is as dark as a prog album can get. One of the best things about this album, is it's production: it's flawless! Great editing of the tracks, perfect overdubing. It makes shock when compared to the raw Lark's Tongues in Aspic and Starless Bible Black (wich was recorded live, but edited in the studio). Another great thing here is the songs, although there are only two conventional songs (Fallen Angel, and, One More Red Nightmare) both are extremely well structured. They work great without falling into a lenghty (or tuneless) improvisation. Speaking of improvisation, the album has one! The track Providence, wich was recorded live with violinist David Cross. If you ever doupted the power of the Wetton/Bruford rythm section (wich Fripp called a "Flying Brick Wall")...check out this beast. Wich leaves us with Starless. Now my friend, this tune is by far the best thing that got out of the 70's prog scene. Perfect in every senses of the word: top notch musicianship, beautiful lyrics and melodys, Starless has it all, Wetton never sang so well (at this point...Carrying no Cross...), Fripp plays like it was the end of the world, Bruford is at his best, easily going from a ballad to a heavy jazz part! The final part features a sax solo by McDonald that reminds me of the intensity of 21st Schizoid Man. Then it's more music, no more Crimson. The King is gone (at least this King) leaving this brillant album as its Epitaph.

Report this review (#228331)
Posted Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Mean, portentous, dark, brooding, verging on schizoid, insane, outrageous, completely inspiring and modern after nearly 35 years of presence. There are few recordings before and ever since that thrusts a listener beyond the pale, throttling wildly into the deepest sonic chasms. "Red" is an iconic slab of progressive rock concrete, with a trio of destructive power mongers in Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Robert Fripp. Their pedigree needs not to be even broached, as it has now entered legend. I have surreptitiously played this album to uninitiated youngsters convinced that Metallica were the prophets of hard edged rock music and their collective jaws are still lying in some drool-drenched puddle somewhere. This is a black and red experience, the rage from the buzz saw guitar is ominous, the grimy bass pummeling with brutish abandon while Bruford bashes boldly. "Red" conjures images of bleeding violence, slashing with crazed fury and eruptive decadence, an outright musical lesson to all fret aces, bass babies and drummer boys. The volcanic brew verges on tectonic fractures, profoundly harsh and disturbing. "Fallen Angel" is a much needed respite from the preceding turbulence with some soft reeds, acoustic guitar and a wispy Wetton vocal , all held together by a hardwood staircase guitar riff that uses the feral sax as a railing and some inventive BB percussive drumming that keeps the premise intricate and bizarre. "One More Red Nightmare" I guess says it all in the title, a simply amazing ICBM prog workout that has hissing gases spewing from the boosters, BB plowing manically in polyphonic glee, cymbals splashing wildly, while Fripp and Wetton keep it all focused on the ground zero target. A bestial slice of ultra-modern progressive rock that deserves an even wider audience of admirers, the main riff is unrelenting in its sonic carnage. (I had the kids gaping on this one!). Red marked the end of a career for this devastating crew, surely one of the top line-ups anywhere, issuing three bona fide jewels that still stand the test of time. Again, breathing space is needed after such an onslaught, "Providence" gladly obliging with David Cross shining on violin, sinuously carving gentle pools of cat gut frenzy, disjointed and oblique at first until the hyper-trebly bass cattily establishes its torture. King Crimson at its most experimental (or just plain mental!), Fripp scratching and clawing his black and venerable Gibson Les Paul giving the green light for some serious jamming and colossal interplay between the lads (I just follow the growling bass, lest I get too lost in maelstrom). A classic piece of genius, though not exactly easy listening or romantic candle light music (darn I should try it next time, see if I can get slapped earlier!). The closer is arguably KC's finest moment (with Epitaph), a brooding epic loaded to the gills in phosphorescent melancholia, a scintillating opus that has all the needed atmospherics, with massive torrents of mellotron and a whimsically despondent saxophone wailing away the pain of the universe as expressed by Wetton's lush voice. The instrumental section is utterly preposterous, Fripp's jangling guitar keeps things emotional and intense, Wetton's subtle bass foraging a path into the sonic forests where Bruford drops assorted percussive acorns. When the binary beat kicks in, the rapture is complete. Hectic, paranoid, manic, disturbing, chaotic and magnificent. The sax solo is one for the ages and the crashing exit that recalls the main theme, mellotron ablaze and smoking. A monument of perfection for the ages. 5 Cigarettes, Ice Cream and Portraits of the Virgin Mary.
Report this review (#229307)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here is the seventh album from British band King Crimson, an album full of details, metallic, with very clear and dense compositions while, the ambient sound is so dark, we listen to the best version of Fripp, Wetton and Downes, this RED is maybe of the 2nd stage of the Crimson King, including "Larks Tongues" and "Starless" ... leads to a deep abyss, that opens the doors to a vacuum that has no end. Start with a heavy riff that perhaps discover what will come ... An album with only 5 cuts, all exceptional, rising and falling like a tide into a tailspin.
Report this review (#232390)
Posted Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, I have lisen to this album many times. What I remember, I remember the first track "red". This track is very good, but it is not fantastic, it is however very interesting. . Then I remember "Fallen Angel". It is good, not even very good. Then I also remember "Providence. This is very interesting, I should listen to it more times, since I do not rember it very well. I do not remember nothing else except "Starless", this is just maybe the most fatastic track in all progressive rock ever done. It is twelve minutes. Therefore, five stars.
Report this review (#235911)
Posted Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Red was not my favorite KC album, and still I heard it till it wore out. My cousine gave me as a birthday gift when I was 15 and she didn´t like it at all, which was predicable. But I loved it! It had a bitter/sweet taste for me because by the time i got it I knew that the great King Crimson was no more. And at 15 you think they´d be gone forever (and, in a way, they were). But the music inside was marvelous. Probably the `heaviest´ KC album till then, it proved the magic between Fripp´s awesome and original guitar technique, Bill Brufford´s ingenious drumming and the down to earth bass and vocals of John Wetton. David Cross had left the band during those sessions but his violin playing is very present here.

And It is only ironic that this final work had the presence of such legendary bandmates of the past as guests: from the initial period we have founder member Ian Mcdonald, from their jazz period of Lizzard comes Marc Charing and from the chaotic Islands, Robin Miller. All to give their farwell to the Crimson King (no hard feeling!). The music inside is very inspired and powerful, with the title track becoming one ofo the most well know nCrimson tracks, even if it is totally instrumental and a bit too heavy for their style. Fallen Angel is one of their most poignant numbers and One More Red Nightmare is a personal favorite of mine. Second side was not really my fave at the time but now with the CD edition I can see they as good as the others.

While I still think that Lark´s Tongues In Aspic is their best of that period, Red is an excellent work that any prog lover should have. A strong album that closes one of the many phases of one of the most important prog bands of all times. RAting: soemthing between 4 and 4,5 stars. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#241930)
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the last of King Crimson's golden era. I try not to think of the devastation I would have felt if I were alive at the time to discover this news. While Red is a strong finish to a great career, it is also the most overrated of all Crimson's efforts.

I feel like I have spent too much time in the past with the first three tracks which caused me to be a bit weary with them at the time of writing this review. With that in mind I can't really do them justice now and I'm trying to remember how I felt about them before the scores of listens which now leave me somewhat numb.

The titular track comes out with guns blazing. "Red" is the showcase on this album for Fripp's mastery of the guitar. Extremely memorable riffs and hard-hitting sound propel this fierce instrumental into the hearts of many. 8/10

To take things down a bit after the blistering "Red" we have the ballad "Fallen Angel." It's the song on side 1 that I get least tired of but it sounds like it would belong better on the previous album. There's not much to say other than it is King Crimson's take on a ballad with excellent playing all around. 9/10

"One More Red Nightmare" is a fast-paced song based in rock with a few reed instruments blended in. I often compare this to "Red" but with vocals. Bill Bruford brings some of his best drums to this while the other instruments are at the traditionally superb level you have come to expect from them. 8/10

"Providence" is a great song which took me a long time to finally appreciate. It's sort of the evil twin of "Moonchild" and this is not meant as an insult. I'm not a fan of "Moonchild" by any stretch of the imagination and if I saw any song compared to "Moonchild" I would do my best to avoid it, but give this a chance. There's a lot more cohesion to this. The first couple minutes are mainly a violin experimenting while a few bits of flute and long distorted notes from a guitar are peppered in. The guitar then takes more of a center stage while building upon the mood established by the violin. Something that resembles a traditional song while still being highly experimental takes form at about 5:30 and continues to the end. These final few minutes bring "Providence" down a bit but it still makes for a unique and overall interesting piece. I'd rate this higher but the similarities between this and the song "Starless and Bible Black" make me subtract a point for unoriginality. 7/10

I really have no idea why this is called "Starless." It doesn't remind me at all of "Starless And Bible Black." This starts out as a pretty good ballad for the first 4 minutes. The next few minutes are a slow build with the bass practically doing the same 8 notes while the guitar and percussion go off and do what they feel like. It builds to about the 8 minute mark where things really start to seem like they're about to burst. Things break down shortly thereafter but in a far more anticlimactic manner than you would expect. While you are left somewhat disappointed, a blaring sax comes out of nowhere and leads a final 3 minute assault taking variations on the entire song up until this point. 8/10

This is a little less than 4 stars for me but I still have no problem recommending this.

Report this review (#243229)
Posted Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Only Recently I've started entering the world of "King Crimson". Red is the ultimate Progressive Metal for me only because its sound. The "dirty" and heavy sound capture beautifully the real essence of metal, very few bands been able to mimic this amazing and godly sound. The real gems here are the title track "Red" - the opener, is a great instrument track which will follow King Crimson for many here. And of course King Crimson's best track, "Starless" - It is amazing, from the very first note until the closing echo. It start softly and finishes with bombastic jam until the end. Get a copy of this masterpiece! i recommend the newly remastered 40th version with the 5.1 mix. a real pleasure and great bonus stuff.
Report this review (#244012)
Posted Saturday, October 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Red' - King Crimson (74/100)

King Crimson's Red has long reminded me of another classic prog record from 1974, that being Yes' fantastic Relayer. Although the sounds of the two bands are little alike, both albums share a similar role and place in their native discographies. Superficially, Red and Relayer are the seventh LP for each band; more importantly however, they structurally reflect and intensify each band's longstanding masterpiece. In the case of Yes, Close to the Edge was (and arguably still is) that band's institutional zenith, and Relayer sought to take its three-song structure to new heights and chaos. In the case of King Crimson, there's no doubt that the magnum opus in question was In the Court of the Crimson King, and while Red has long since earned a wide following unto its own, there is the far-reaching sense listening to this album that Robert Fripp and company were, in part, trying to see how much further they could push that structure of album. It wasn't King Crimson's first attempt to reinvent their debut (their sophomoric In the Wake of Poseidon was an obvious copy of In the Court) but it's certainly the finest. The dark, progressive proto-metal heard on Red is undoubtedly years ahead of its time, but many of the stylistic and structural flaws of the debut have leaked into the sound here. Prog rock fans from here to sunset will attest that Red is a masterpiece tier godhood, but it seems to me like the album's glaringly inconsistent pace and quality has held it back from the excellent record it could have been.

Yes, I have the audacity to call Red- one of this genre's most beloved albums- less than a masterpiece. If you haven't seen fit to track down my home address with the hopes of poisoning me with anthrax yet, I'll assume we're able to agree at least that even the most historically acclaimed albums should be open to scrutiny and criticism. In the case of Red, it is a tricky situation, because parts of the record are groundbreaking to the point where the rest of the world wouldn't catch up to them for years. The oppressive title track and opening instrumental "Red" is precursor to progressive metal by over a decade. The gorgeous and mournful "Starless" is blessed with one of the richest guitar tones I've ever heard on a record. The ecstatic fusion blow-up at the album's end conjures almost as much awe as the glorious mid-section to "21st Century Schizoid Man". Like I said, there is the brilliance of a genius present here, but something's still missing.

Unlike In the Wake of Poseidon, I don't think Red is held underneath the shadow of King Crimson's most obvious achievement. In the Court of the Crimson King is still a far better album in my books, but Red sees King Crimson taking a totally different route with the structure. In this case, the debut's structure I've been referring to so often relates to the five song formula, wherein the first song will kick things off with an explosive bang, the second track will be soft, the third will try to strike a balance, the fourth will be long and experimental, and the fifth will be an epic that finally seeks to knock the first off its throne. "Red" is nowhere near as monumental as "21st Century Schizoid Man", but the impressive effect is still there, and the almost dystopian atmosphere sets the tone for the rest of the album. The soft quasi-ballad "Fallen Angel" draws a strong, darker parallel with "I Talk to the Wind", and so forth... Further comparisons between the two albums may only serve to take the focus away from Red as an artistic work of its own; it is enough to say that Red follows the same arc, albeit on a much darker wavelength.

The title track and "Starless" are easily the best things the album has to offer. On top of the foreboding timbre, "Red" is a superbly written track: it is meticulous, calculating and offers none of the symphonic warmth offered by other progressive acts of the day. On the other hand, "Starless" embraces that warmth; the guitar tone and central melody is heartbreaking the first time you hear it, and while the track eventually deteriorates back into the dissonance of "Red" for a time, it ultimately peaks with an explosive saxophone solo that brings all of the life back at once.

The other three songs here are unfortunately far less impressive than the masterpieces that bookend the record. "Fallen Angel" starts off as a good change of pace from the title track, but plain vocals (offered here by John Wetton) and painfully irrelevant lyrics keep this ballad from ever striking an emotional note. "One More Red Nightmare" definitely reflects the first song in the guitar tone and generally jarring atmosphere, but once again, John Wetton's vocal parts feel underwhelming and needless; the purely instrumental sections remain as compelling as ever, but the rest of the song feels half-baked and fails to reach me. "Providence" recalls the puzzling boredom of the extended "Moonchild" off In the Court of the Crimson King, except in this case, there is no beautiful song buried within the meandering to make it really worth it. It's not so irritating as "One More Red Nightmare", but it's generally uninteresting and seems to serve no purpose on the album, save as a way to build up anticipation for "Starless".

King Crimson have musicianship and guts enough to survive in virtually any incarnation, with any number of musicians. Outside of Rush, it's uncommon to see a trio playing prog rock, but listening to Red, it usually sounds like Fripp, Wetton and Bruford actually benefited from having less cooks in the kitchen. If anything feels out of place or less impressive, the finger should be pointed at Wetton's vocals. He's a decent singer, but lacks the softness in tone or charisma to have compensated for King Crimson's otherwise unfeeling nature. Greg Lake did a noble job of it- I cannot say I feel the same for any of the vocals here, those on "Starless" included. Maybe it's that his voice and demeanour here are a little too severe. Greg Lake balanced out King Crimson with sensitivity, and Adrian Belew (KC's next vocalist following their hiatus) had wild humour and charisma in his delivery. Could Red have truly existed with either? I'm not sure, but the way things have been left, Red feels awfully dry.

King Crimson's defacto 'other great album' is cold, unfeeling and ominous. Those are some of its best qualities. Whatever its flaws, it's a vastly memorable album. Yet, try as I might, I can't dissociate my impression of the album from the perceived format and structure of the band's debut. It's not necessarily a bad thing to revisit a structure that 'works' (I actually think of Yes' Relayer more highly than Close to the Edge) but in doing so, it's brought the flaws of the debut along with it. That's not counting the problems it made on its own.

Report this review (#245688)
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The most heavy KC album from their seventies! Real rock and real prog!

Now as a trio, the band missed their over loaded constructions, their not often very successful mixtures of prog and jazz. And they got a drive and more clear structure. So, some kind of power trio plus highest level jazz section. The result is what you're expecting: perfect progresive rock of high energy.

Possibly one of the best KC line up recorded this last album of the decade and they put in this music everything they collected during some years of their activities.

I can hear many moments from KC great debut album there, but at the same time, there are some new sounds, which will be realized only in "Discipline"! What a great work!

This album is very popular between KC fans, but some of them don't like it because of it's simplicity and heaviness. It's difficult to comment these points of view, it's more question of taste. As for me, I think after their fantastic debut album, KC first time rich so high point with their music after some years of experimenting and all the line of successful and average albums. Their final work and the best result of first period of activity.

Report this review (#246485)
Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars With Red comes an end to Crimson's most highly valued period for many fans. And it's sure a fine way to exit.

I must be one of the few who never cared much for the two preceding releases with Wetton. Those albums always sounded detached and disinterested to me. Even though I devour every live album from those years, the studio albums didn't do it for me. No so with this one. It is sharp, vigorous and uncompromising. And those songs, so dark and heavy, even though the distortion knob is hardly on.

The debut excluded, KC never needed a wall of sound to make their point. Red is the ultimate exercise in stripping down progressive rock to its bare essence. And such a dry sound can only be pulled off by the best possible musicians. Indeed, for me a true virtuoso knows when less is more, when silence works better then plastering every whole, when his instrument should lead and when he should step down. A good musician will try to overwhelm you with his skills, a great one has the self-aware confidence to just give you that one progression that is genius and throw away everything else.

Only at the very very end they let go of their restraint and conclude with an ecstatic finale soaked in mellotron. It's one of the last great moments of the instrument and the end of an epoch. At least till a bunch of nerdy Swedes hit upon one in an antique store in the early 90ties and decided to form a band. But that's another story.

In the Court of the Crimson King was a key album in the birth of prog and could boast an impressive offspring consisting of ELP, Yes, Genesis and VDGG. In 1974 most of those bands were past their prime but not King Crimson. They simply produced their second crucial prog masterpiece and ignited a next generation of progressive rock bands. Its repercussions in rock music are still felt today.

Report this review (#247154)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson at its best!!!

I'm listening to the seventh studio album by King Crimson - Red - with great pleasure. I truly believe this album is band's best one. It contains a lot of special ideas. If we back in 1974 it's we won't listen to any metal music, because it still doesn't exist in it's real term of the genre; but this album is direct predecessor to the metal music, combined with intelligent jazz rock fusion and some other totally unknow elements for the commercial market, which seems great in my opinion. This magic number - 7th album is the answer this time. The 7th album = the best album. The experimentation with the sound is very well balanced and measured, without needless and strange sounds like in other King Crimson's albums. The line-up is... historic in my opinion - Robert Fripp, John Wetton and Bill Bruford with some exceptional session musicians. All songs are interesting, memorable, catchy and well-structured.

All around the album you can feel the dark mood and the low-pitched tunes of the guitars. Everything on the album reveal a dark and grief picture of human consciousness. The variety of the instruments is remarkable.

Flaws (reasons) for not giving 5 stars rating (despite Red is very close to 5 stars rating):

1. The presence of solid number of repetitions.

2. The presence of scraping sound.

3. Unpolished sound.

Final rating: circa 4,25 stars, but surely over 4!

Report this review (#247282)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red is the third album by King Crimson during their 73-74 "resurrected" period. Red is the least experimental of that 73-73 period, showing elements of their previous work, along with metal and rock. By now, the band has only 3 official members- Robert Fripp, John Wetton, and Bill Bruford. To understand the music on this album, simply look at the cover art- dark and mysterious, almost otherworldly.

Red begins with the title track, a six-minute, not-very-strange guitar jam- no synths, no effects, just drums, guitar, and bass here, resulting a heavy, out-of-control instrumental. Then is Fallen Angel, a lamenting song that seems to be about a person whose brother is killed in a gang battle. It's a beautiful, moving song, and the lyrics are very good, the meaning not cloaked in metaphor or buried under lines and lines of nonsense. Third is One More Red Nightmare, the second-best song from the album, a bruising, intense song that is exactly as the title says- a big red nightmare of a song. The instrumental parts are very complex, being in 15/8, 12/8. and 7/4, while the vocal parts are in 4/4. There's lots of pure, meaty instrumentation here to enjoy, for fans of such things. After that is Providence, which becomes pretty cool after a bit, but for the most part, it takes anything to really become that- most of the song is aimless experimentation, akin to the last 3/4 of Moonchild- however, this is a live improv, so at least they have a reason. And finally, to finish the album, is Starless- one of the best songs I've ever heard. Everything combines perfectly to create an atmosphere of crushing loneliness and depression- only made better by the lyrics, which remind me of debilitating sadness that seems to twist an otherwise normal day into a pointless exercise in misery and futility. It eventually morphs into a somewhat jazzy yet experimental instrumental festival, and the sadness of the first 1/3 of the song seems to become more like seething anger here. A great big slab of negative emotion Starless is, truly a great accomplishment. This album is great, but I wouldn't say it's essential; even without Providence, Red would probably not make 5 stars. However, a 4 star rating is still an honor, and I can honestly say that I consider Red to be an excellent addition to any music collection. Thus, four stars it is. Recommended to fans of heavy music, experimental prog, and dark music.

Report this review (#247737)
Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the post-psychedelia of their groundbreaking debut, 1974's "Red" is surely the next best thing Crimson have produced in the long and varied career of their enigmatic leader Robert Fripp. Featuring John Wetton(bass) and Bill Bruford(drums) as the only two other core members of the group - but with contributions from several members past including David Cross(violin) - "Red" is a ultra-heavy, proto-metallic, operatic prog masterpiee that has more in common with the discordant soundscapes of Van Der Graaf Generator than with likes of Yes and Genesis. The eponymously-titled opening track features a crunching metal riff that souds like you've heard it a thousand times before, and that's because you have been hearing the likes of Metallica, Black Sabbath and Tool all mimicking the blistering guitar conjured up by Fripp. Compared to their aforementioned debut, and albums such as "In The Wake Of Poseidon" and "Lizard", "Red" does show some simlarities. The epic-yet-maudlin instrimental sections the band are famed for juxtapose almost perfectly with this new, streamlined, metallic incarnation of King Crimson, with this mixture beautifully evident on the yearning "Fallen Angel". "One More Red Nightmare" rocks things up a bit more, throwing a faint hint of boogie rock 'n' roll into the sonic blender and stylistically reminiscent of their early single 'Cat Food" which was released post "In The Court...". The one disappointment on "Red" is the indulgent "Providence", a track that forgoes melody in favour of eerie experimental noises, seemingly-random drum licks and lots of pointless noodling. However, the albums closing track, the superb "Starless"(a reworking of a track from their previous album" amps up the progress-o-meter to the hilt, throwing a violent jazz-rock workout into a dramatic twelve-minute- plus operatic epic that features achingly-beatiful vocals from Wetton. Despite their longevity, and the fact that Fripp has continued to make albums well into the 1990's, King Crimson's peak was from 1969 to 1982. During that period they produced a series of classic albums filled with Fripp's trademark flourishes that appealed to Progressive Rock fans AND fans of Indie, Metal and Jazz. Undoubtedly one the grouo's finest achievements, "Red" is a darkly-honed classic and a key album in the development of both metal and prog-metal that saw Fripp stripping down, vamping up and rocking down.... STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009
Report this review (#252956)
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red (1974) is one of those albums that should be in the dictionary under progressive rock. The three main members Robert Fripp (guitar and mellotron), Bill Bruford (percussion) and John Wetton (bass, vocals) were on the brink of imploding and in the midst of a creative summit while recording this session. Unfortunately they did break up after this important work and a new lineup would not emerge again until 1981.

Although the core trio made the King Crimson machine complete, they had some genuine professionals that made their overall sound more interesting and progressive bent towards the jazz fusion side of the equation. David Cross (violin), Mel Collins (soprano sax), Ian McDonald (alto sax), Robin Miller (oboe) and Marc Charig (cornet) were all major contributors to the embellishment of their prog rock jazz fusion sound that they mastered so completely on Red. Make no mistake about it; there are three men on the cover of this album for a very good reason. What they created could be classified as many things including prog rock, metal, jazz, fusion, and any combination thereof. Mainly this was a power trio having their way in the studio and then using the other instruments as window dressing.

John Wetton did a superb job with his vocals considering that the music's time signature was exceptionally difficult to sing along to much less play and how he ever held his notes and delivered the lyrics on key and with plenty of rhythm amazes me. This was nothing like the vocal parts he would provide for the super group Asia for instance, it is worlds away. Bruford was spot on as usual and the brilliantly talented leader Robert Fripp offered up some amazing guitar playing to constantly challenge his mates to step up to the plate and reach his level of proficiency, and of course they all did and that is why this album is so brilliant.

Fripp is well known for being a taskmaster and difficult to understand (check out Bill Bruford's biography). Being a musical genius and reticent to boot made his approach a bit interesting to decipher for his contributors. Nevertheless sheer brilliance was the end result of Red.

This double disc 40th anniversary edition gives fans a special package to covet this time with many sound options, videos, and a specially prepared booklet with commentary and pictures. In 2000 this was remastered as well however it did not have all the goodies that this version does. The CD now includes bonus tracks of "Red" (trio version), "Fallen Angel" (instrumental trio version) and "Providence" (full version), which in their own right are exceptional takes that are fully realized and quite enjoyable.

On the DVD you have many different options for your listening experience including 5.1 surround sound, DVD-A, High Resolution Stereo Mix 24bit/48khz and DVD-A players can access a 5.1 Lossless audio mix and Lossless Stereo Mix 24bit 96khz. Confused yet? The choices are as complex as the music! I listened to the CD first then popped the DVD into my PC and discovered a folder that popped up with the contents of the disc that did not allow me to play the music so I had to go look at my drives and choose the one the disc was in then click on it and it finally launched my Windows Media Player. Once I did that I thought I was on my way but could not click on any of the menu choices displayed on my screen so I had to click on the sidebar links to initiate any of the audio tracks or any of the four rare videos from a 1974 French TV program. I did get to take all of this in but it was not a seamless process to say the least. The video content was typical for the time frame and fans have been yearning for this footage for years now so it is big bonus. The videos include "Larks' Tongues In Aspic: Part II", "The Night Watch" and "Lament" and "Starless". All the technical issues were forgiven once I was able to listen and view all that was available on this set. Perhaps it was only my copy that suffered from these inadequacies from a technical aspect but it did happen every time I put the DVD in.

Red remains a monumental progressive rock accomplishment to this day and one hell of a way to kick the series of 40th anniversary reissues that will be coming our way. If it wasn't for the technical issues I would have given this a perfect 5/5 star rating.

I can still hear Fripp's guitar lines from "Red" as it has taken up permanent residence between my ears, which makes me want to hear it all even more. This one will never leave you once you hear it and if you love prog rock you probably already have a copy but maybe not this one yet.

4.5/5 Stars

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


Report this review (#253414)
Posted Sunday, November 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here's a not-so-tough question for prog fans- If a music fan has never listened to King Crimson before, which album do you recommend?

The obvious answer of course, is either ItCOtCK or Red. Of course, if you don't think that they would actually like progressive rock, you could recommend one of the '80s trilogy, but that's a different discussion altogether.

It's no coincidence I think that King Crimson's finest albums came at the bookends of their progressive period. The frst album is a statement of the bands intent, an expession of what they're all about and the result of everything they've been doing up to that first explosion into the recorded music world. The debut often makes or breaks a bands reputation, and with KC it made such a huge impression they seemed unable to follow it up properly for many years.

Then as the band poised for its final breakup of its prog period, all bets are off and the band can return to the state of mind of that debut- lets put down the music we really want to make, pour what's in our minds and hearts onto the grooves of the vinyl and go out with a bang. And Red is one of the most well executed 'bangs' ever to be put into a record sleeve and sold!

The album stands apart from its forebears in constant sheer agression. In its first three tracks it barely lets up at all, from the dissonant rising whole tone scale of the title instrumental, through the highs of 'Fallen Angel' to the noisy, swirling improv outro of 'One More Red Nightmare', the King Crimson on display here is demonstrating its ability to make memorable, catchy tunes that do not sacrifice its artistic individuality in the slightest.

Side two is only a slightly different story, 'Providence' being easily the weakest point of the abum (as often is the case with King Crimson improv tracks, I find), as usual setting a mood well enough but failing to do anything worthwhile with its length. But despite the compositional lacking inevitable with improvisations, it is exceedingly effective in instilling the sublime terror that can only be acheived with King Crimson music.

And of course, there's the closing track Starless. It's all too easy to trot out the phrase "best King Crimson track ever" but unfortunatly it happens to be true! everything King Crimson had been trying to do in the previous five years seems to have been magically condensed into these frankly perfect 12 odd minutes. It remains to this day, despite god knows how many repeated listens, able to send shivers up my spine every single time! It wouldn't surprise me if people bought this album for this track alone.

Its a bit of a case of come for 'Starless' and 'Red', stay for 'Fallen Angel' & 'One More Red Nightmare'. And tolerate 'Providence', it'll grow on you. Probably.

So in closing, there is no real reason to be looking at this review, on this webite, and not own this album in some form (or at least are going to get it sometime soon).

Red and Godbluff have become my 'black duology' of albums that are heavy and agressive but still 100% 5 star progressive rock abums (and two CDs I'm always trying to push on people...)

Report this review (#258160)
Posted Sunday, December 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Any difference in Red and Goodbluff cover album?

So another review for this Great Masterpiece of Prog Rock? Yes, sadly I can add anything new in this review.. This album is probably the masterpiece of KC in their 70 albums, perhaps this one is my favorite cause the line up here is just superb including David Cross without him KC line up is not the same you will have to agree with me the violin was a great addition to the 70´s KC sound i think it was add replacing the Sax sound in the past line ups...

The four studio songs are amazing, I have to admit the first time i heard Red I didn´t like it was very loud and darky but after severals listenings it blew me... the rest of the songs are ammm incredibly addition to this album , and we have a little gaze to the past with Providence...It remembers me to Moonchild 5 years ago.. this song is the last goodbye of David (this song have an amazing violin on it making the song a bit jazzy and avant-garde).

And then the final song (Masterpiece) Starless the peak record of KC in the 72-74 line up someting like 21th Century" in the first line up. Oh this song has been reviewed many time so I can add nothing new ,, I was amazed when i read that Ian Mcdonald intended to rejoin to KC line up.. wow it would be an amazing return to this former member and this line up would be my favorite but sadly Fripp take the choice to split the group. By the way I love both Sax in this one.. This album is a MUST-have in any prog rock collection. I would suggest you to get the 40th anniversary version, it contains 2 disc with a mixsound and 4 videos of this line up including an early Starless.. Epic, Beautiful, Dark and Heavy this album have all these descriptions!!

Note: Both cover albums are almost the same Van der Graaf (Goodbluff) and KC (Red) are the darkest albums in their discography the way both covers are superb!!


Report this review (#258576)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I never thought of RED as one of King Crimson's top albums. When it comes to the Bruford-Wetton incarnation of the band, I find LARKS' TONGUES far more satisfying. It must be admitted that RED's opening and closing tracks (the title tune and "Starless") are two of KC's most memorable pieces, but the rest of the album seems a bit of a mishmash. "Providence" is a delightful improvisation which keeps getting stronger every time I play it, but it feels out of place among some much poppier songs, you can tell it was only meant as filler, it only comes into its own when you hear in in its proper context (on THE GREAT DECEIVER box set). "Fallen Angel" and "One More Red Nightmare" are fairly conventional and rather noisy rock songs, not half as charming as "The Nightwatch" or "Easy Money".

However, all Crimso freaks will find the 2009 "40th Anniversary Edition" of this album an essential purchase, for at least two reasons:

1. Two of the bonus tracks, the so-called Trio Versions of both "Red" and "Fallen Angel", sound incredibly powerful and pure. These stripped-down versions have never been released elsewhere, and I assume they were used as base for the official album recording, but you can hear Messrs. Fripp, Wetton and Bruford far more loudly, crisply and distinctly than ever. It's as if the three of them (without cellos, this time) are laying down "Red" right in the middle of your living room. Flabbergasting!

2. The 1974 French TV footage (included in the second disc) may be in mono, but it offers you something many of you will have longed to see: Fripp, Cross, Wetton and Bruford performing all of "Larks' Tongues pt. II", "Lament" and "Starless" absolutely live in the TV studio, with great gusto. ("The Nightwatch" is there as well, but it is spoiled somewhat by primitive video trickery.) It's a pity the French cameramen mainly focus on Cross and Fripp, especially during the first half of the performance. They must have thought: "Who cares about rhythm sections?" But during "Lament" and "Starless" you at least get to see Wetton singing (and what a magical vocalist he is!) and it finally dawns on the cameramen that Bruford, too, is someone they should keep an eye on.

Anyhow, strongly recommended!

Report this review (#263926)
Posted Tuesday, February 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Now THIS is some serious improvement.

After two semi-disastrous albums, Fripp proved once again that he still had it in him to write actual songs with something resembling a structure and a musical goal. The leap in quality experienced in "Red" over what occured in "Starless and Bible Black" and "Larks' Tongues in Aspic" is nothing short of gigantic. It actually seems like if the band had suddenly waken up from a long, dreadful opium dream and decided to write music.

From the beginning, the album shows what a capable musician Fripp really is with the fantastic "Red", a glorious instrumental with a terrific riff and actual development of ideas. Probably the best song (instrumental piece really) KING CRIMSON ever released since the days of their legendary debut. What follows is an extremely competent song with Wetton in top form, reminding us that, given actual musical material, he could perform at a very high level. Another success comes next, called "Another Red Nightmare", much in the spirit of the title-track, with a tremendous drum work by Bruford.

Of course, Fripp couldn't be Fripp if he didn't include a more "experimental" side to his music on every album. "Providence" has the now customary strings opening the track in true atonal fashion, again, bringing back awful memories of the past, with little sense or purpose. I guess he just HAD to have his "uber-prog" moment, which most likely would have got him rave comments from rock fans who had never heard music of the kind before (too bad they hadn't tried music written over 50 years earlier). The good thing is that the good side of KING CRIMSON returns for a final tour-de-force in "Starless", which despite its name has nothing to do with the terrible album that preceded this one and which includes some seriously haunting, dark, thoughtful rock music.

It's a pity that the band would never be the same again after "Red", because with this album they proved they actually could make good music together. A fantastic album marred by one "let's-jam-again-we're-prog-after-all" track, worthy of 5 stars if "Providence" wasn't there to reminds us that, after all, Fripp and Wetton and Bruford were just normal, error- prone human beings.

Report this review (#269034)
Posted Sunday, February 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

"Red" is one of King Crimson's highest peaks.

"Red" is considered by many one of the band's greatest albums, and certainly it is one of their most successful ones. It didn't take me too much to appreciate this: everything in this album is perfect, and nothing needs to be listened again: love at first listen, basically.

It is hard to not notice that the sound is a lot rougher, heavier, less dreamy and more rockish ( if we exclude "Starless", the album's zenit) than the previous albums: the jazzy, refined and delicate sound of the first albums, or the more bizarre and eerie sound, from the " Lark's Tongues In Aspic", another masterpiece by the band, are the two sounds that so far the band was able to create. Now, like I said, the sound is impressively changed: more guitars, less keyboards and mellotron ( once again "Starless" is an exception), the bass is pondering more than usual, and Bill Bruford's drumming is at it's peak. Special mention for Cross, on violin, which makes the atmosphere more tense and suspended when played.

the title track opens the album. It is rather simple to listen to, compared to other prog songs: it's an instrumental piece, but it could easily have lyrics. Generally, the song is brilliant, with a great, but studied melody and awesome passages from different parts of the song. Truly a KC classic.

"Fallen Angel" is the song that least impressed me. John Wetton's voice is good, even though not as much as Greg Lake, and he shows himself well in this piece. It might sound like a sort of ballad,even though, you can't technically define it that way. But nobody prohibits me for saying that it is slower.

"One More Red Nightmare" has a similar melody to "Red", although this song is little less creepy, thanks to the addiction of vocals. Personally, I love this song, and I think it's one of those songs that you'll always remember. Bruford's drumming here is sublime, and Fripp shows what he's got as well.

"Providence" is an eight minute improvisation, where the atmosphere is always incredibly tense, and always seems like it will turn into an explosive and violent riff. The violin here is absolutely amazing, a brilliant piece of music, one of the band's greatest, most impressive, and most successful improvisation pieces.

"Starless" is the masterpiece of the band: a melancholic, mellotron driven piece is hearable in the beginning, with a stunning vocal performance by John Wetton. the sax gives a wonderful touch to it. Initially I wasn't crazy about this song, I admit it: I realize now how powerful and wonderfully done it is. A second part comes in after a few minutes, where the guitar plays a few notes, as some creepy surrounding is quite hearable. The ascending climax is inevitable, as the bass comes in, as well as some strange, LTIA like percussion. At the culmination of this part, the band is going pretty much wild, until a new part arrives, a lot faster, where a great sax solo takes place, while the rest of the band keep the rhythm. The main melody is soon after repeated, but the atmosphere now is a lot more tense and wild. The last minute is a reprise to the mellotron driven melody of the beginning, only with a pondering bass and guitar that accompanies. So ends a wonderful piece of music.

OK, I'll admit: it wasn't quite love at first site, especially because of "Starless", which seemed at the time a little excessive. I am proud to say that I now love this album, and that it definitely is an essential part of your progressive rock collection, because of its historical importance.

Report this review (#272656)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow. This album would be perfect if not for "Providence" which does too much Moonchild-like noodling for my taste. Maybe if it was cut down to 3 minutes or so I could take it better. But the rest of the album? "Red", "Starless" "One more Red Nightmare", etc...are stunning compositions which showcase the awesome talent among the 3 guys (plus some usual KC additions like MacDonald and Cross). This is my second favorite KC after In the Court of the Crimson King, but it doesn't miss by much. Like I said, perfect except for 1 long track which brings the whole down to 4 stars. Bummer.
Report this review (#276633)
Posted Tuesday, April 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I recently got into this album and it's instantly become one of my favorites. Having known King Crimson only from the debut and ITWOP, I've always been interested in getting to know their slightly later stages more well. This is a perfect example of keeping a band going despite frequently-changing lineups.

It's dark and mad, but still beautiful in it's execution. The riffs are serious and brutal, and the occasional jazz additions to the music only enhance the variety. Never better is this combined in my favorite track "One More Red Nightmare", which is just fantastic. Not to say the rest tracks are even slightly flawed in comparison, not at all.

Overall, this album is so good that it's motivated me to check out more of King Crimson's later work, and I suggest you do the same, starting here.

Report this review (#279385)
Posted Sunday, April 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rock'n Roll here we go, the album starts out with three tracks, taking up the entire A Side, all of them very powerfull. Not lacking on the tempo change, strange meters and tone combinations. The mid track "Fallen Angel" starts out as a ballad, but develops relatively fast into a more complex texture, even though the tempo is slow compared to the others. One of the best ballands they ever did, seen from a prog. view, so complex, but on the other hand, lacking the classical sweetness from the earlier, "Cadance and Cascade" "Lady of the Dancing Water" and so on. "Red" and "One More Red Nightmare" both wild and heavy, wonderfull tracks perfectly combining complexity with accebility, melodic in a sence, but yet made out of those strange parts, seemingly impossible to connect. Bruford hammering on those drums, with those wonderfull fills. Fripp's disorted guitar, all over the place. Sax here, violin there. Bass runs, rythms, riffs. On "Red Nightmare" topped by a Wettons vocals. Though lyric forgettable, the mood is fine.

Side B, two very diffrent long tracks take up the side, "Providence" (live) opens with a nice violin solo, the band sneaks in behind, slowly lifting the level of cosmic caos, you sence the danger, when will this explode, tension building and building, at around the 5 min mark, the track opens up into a rock feel, still building though. At around 6, the eruption. Fripp firing aggressive maschinegun solo notes, Wettons bass soloing at the same time. Bruford hammering the Drums. This is good ! Violin again, to end the jam. One of the best instrumentals, I just love it.

"Starless", creme de la creme, the one single track telling the hole story of 70's crimson. The melody behind the ballad style vocal piece, appealing, amasing, yet so bible black. The Sax soloing, the guitar soloing on that first part, so perfect. Guitar riff, building up the mid section instrumental, on a odd meter bass layer. This section grows and grows, then a full band, supporting a very wild Jazzy Sax solo. Back to the opening theme, but now at a lot higher speed/voltage. Moment, need to vipe a tear from my eye. The song is over, and im sitting with the feeling that all other songs will now be a waist of my time. I did this before, I know i'll get past that, sooner or later.

If you have never heard 70's Crimson before, this is the last recording they did, still not a bad place to start, You might say "In The Court" beeing the first is more essential, yes it is !. "Red" though shows a diffrent Crimson, at a time where those idears formed on the "Court" was fully refined. Starless if not the best prog. track ever recorded, we are very close.

Report this review (#279943)
Posted Friday, April 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Hiding behind a not very good cover design is one of the grandest prog albums ever created. This, the heaviest King Crimson album of all, marked the end of this period of the band. Robert Fripp actually suffered some sort of mental breakdown while recording this album (in interviews, he described it as "the top of my head blew off"), and the pain actually elevates the music to another level. While Fripp's guitar rips through each composition, Bruford and Wetton play as amazingly as I have ever hear either play (and I have more than a few album of each).

The vocal songs, Fallen Angel, One More Red Nightmare and Starless still rank as my favorites of all Crimson songs with vocals, and Wetton's bull moose voice actually sounds good on each of these. Red, song that Fripp like enough to play in later KC groups, is also one that I've heard covered by more different bands than any other of their compositions (The version by Either/Orchestra is worth searching for). and Providence is still one of the best improvs by this band (although the longer edit of it is still preferable).

One thing to note: shortly after this album was released was when Fripp committed the unforgivable sin of announcing that the seventies crew of prog bands were "dinosaurs", giving the music journalism toadies fodder for their tirades against the genre in favor of the simplistic pap that they could more easily understand.

Despite that, this album is still a work of brilliance.

Report this review (#286041)
Posted Friday, June 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars If there is killer, melodic, dark and raw track out there in the world of Prog, it's Red, piece of eponymous album. Fallen Angel is different, pleasant track which has all best Pop elements balanced the finest attributes that forms mild/calm Prog songs. So much that only Pop feeling you'll get will be in the first part (little tingling of Caravan). I don't have to say that this tracks comes as complete surprise after darkness of of first track. It's dark anyway, but not from beginning, as Red shoved. Actually, forget about Pop element completely (I'm not sure why I get this feeling every time I listen first minute of the song. Probably because of unequally set paces of songs confuses me). Fallen Angels ends in beautiful saxophone/guitar moments.

One More Red Nightmare continues what previous song's second part set. Cleverly. Providence is atmospheric track, reminding me twisted version of Moonchild a bit. Not exactly my cup of tea, but it works anyway (a little bit). Starless with its mellotron and equally mellow saxophone and all these other elements that makes King Crimsons KC.

5(-), high standard.

Report this review (#288950)
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is one of the cornerstones of progressive rock. King Crimson are the style pioneers for some people, at least the first that became famous for doing this kind of music.

After lots of line up and musical direction changes, King Crimson (aka Mr Fripp and co) went through their most stable phase with one of the most imaginative and cohesive rhythm section formed by Bill Bruford and John Wetton. The latter being a musician that has become a part of lots of important bands along the 70's with his unmistakeable bass lines and his very personal voice.

Red is the ultimate King Crimson album. Five songs that point at different prog points of view. From the heavy side of the title track, improvisation on Providence and symphonic essence on Starless. A key album to understand the hardest, more energetic and more complex prog being made nowadays.


Report this review (#291375)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson - Red (1974)

The birth of modern progressive metal.

The second period King Crimson had already released two good albums in the heavy metal King Crimson style, opposing to their symphonic/avant style of the first four albums. By now King Crimson was reduces to a trio, Fripp, Wetton and Bruford. With Collins, Cross and McDonald on board during the recording sessions this team can be rightfully called a super-group.

This record has a few elements that make it almost perfect. First of all, the modern heavy metal guitar sound of Fripp. It would take others (and perhaps even KC themselves) a decade before they could recreate this amazing dissonant distorted metal sound, which is actually pretty accessible. The bass-lines of Wetton are amazing and I even like Bruford's drumming on this album, normally I dislike his sound/style.

The element that makes this a masterpiece is the perfect balance between innovative/progressive/avant factors and accessibility. There are little disturbing moments and the experimental parts are all very good. The form of the album is also amazing. Three great heavy metal prog styles tracks on side one, an extended improvisation and a long epical track on side two.

Opening track 'Red' stands out as THE prog-metal track, a blueprint for the genre. Fallen Angel is a very strong metal track with great vocals and wide variety of emotions. The instrumental parts still sound very modern. This is also the case with One more Red Nightmare, which also has some first period KC influences with a wind-section etc. Providence is an improvisational styled track with much dissonance and little logic for the common listener. This is perhaps the hardest moment of the album. I myself like it, because is almost fires us into the last track: Starless. Starless is an epic with such an emotional value it can stand on it's own as being a farewell to King Crimson's second period. This twelve minute track has a sound and feel that reminds me of the epics of the first two King Crimson albums. The mellotrons are back, the wind-sections are strong and the guitars are pleasant. An essential track for the progressive genre and a favorite for many fans of the band.

Conclusion. It's hard for me to believe this album was recorded in the same year as Camel's Mirage, Genesis' Lamb and Yes' Relayer. This albums sounds way more modern and it's sound hasn't aged at all. This album is a breakthrough and it's a pity the band had fallen apart before the recording sessions were finished. There was no tour and the album became a commercial flop. Still it is rightfully regarded as one of the most important albums of the genre. Five stars. A masterpiece.

Report this review (#293456)
Posted Thursday, August 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is the best, the masterpiece, the giant, a killer, the one and only, the super, the über, the mother of all progalbums, the crimson to end all crimsons... it's a beast!

Sorry for the introduction but I like this album a lot. All the songs, except maybe One more red nightmare, really standout:

Red, it is still a stunning peace of guitar work. Guitarists of all ages and from all over the world are trying really hard (youtube!) to play this themselves at home.

Fallen angel. The acoustic guitar, the electric guitar, the trumpet. Execellent!

Providence. It's really hard to believe this is actually an improvisation. This is probably the track I play the most.

Starless. O no, this the one I listen to the most. Out of this world.

5 stars. off course.

Report this review (#301985)
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Without question, this is King Crimson's Magnum Opus. With arguably the groups finest line-up on board following a very strong album in Starless and Bible Black they were on top form and it really shows. No matter how many bands I listen to, I can always tell when King Crimson are playing simply by the unique bass notes of John Wetton. A strong album throughout with no clear weak link, but one absolutely clear high point. The song 'Starless' is progressive music in essence, beginning with an almost balladesque quality, the song then ends with a testament to each musicians abilities. An instrumental finale which still brings the hairs on the back of my neck to a standstill. If you do not own this album, you have not yet begun to live. The album also carrys the sad reality that the band could have gone on to record more albums like it. We will never know.
Report this review (#303510)
Posted Monday, October 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here it is. This album is almost as legendary as ITCOTCK, and it's no surprise as to why. Because it is a marvelous album. The only flaw it has, is the flaw that SABB had, which is its live improvisation. Once again just another boring track. I don't know how anyone can enjoy people playing random notes at random times where there is no structure and no meaning. Getting that out of the way the rest is great and makes it worthy of a five start rating. I'll start with Starless, which is my favorite King Crimson track, and I'm sure it's allot of peoples favorite King Crimson track. A song about hopelessness. "Sundown dazzling day, gold through my eyes, but my eyes turned within only seeing starless and bible black." Who can't relate at times? The riff that Fripp plays in the beginning is so simple yet so perfect, just listen. It than goes to an instrumental jam and than back around to play some parts of the melody over again but much stronger as a finale, and it is a very good finale. Fallen Angel is brilliant, the structure to the song is very interesting. One more red nightmare is known for it's drums, in paticular its cymbal crashes.

And of course the big great instrumental which is the title track, the assortment of riffs in this song are the strongest I've ever heard. Awesome song Red is. Overall Red is an album that is very essential, everyone into progressive music needs to own this album.

Report this review (#306816)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my favourite King Crimson album! It's so unfluencial that nearly all the avant -garde bands from the 90's have traces of this record in their sound. It's a very curious record because when it was released the band was no more, but still it manages to be a dark but still very playfull record. One of their best!! I don't know what it is but this record for me sums up what this fenomenal band is all about. It's also problably the only KC record from the 70's that can be played now and doesn't sound dated. No pun intended to the other extraordinary records they released throughout the years. But this records stark production values makes it timeless.
Report this review (#307082)
Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10

The album which anticipated an entire genre. In other words, the creator of the progressive metal.

When the first notes of distorted guitars explode in your eardrums, you already know it's not a normal disc, after all we are King Crimson, the band that gave meaning to the words "progressive" and "eclectic". But ironically Red is perhaps the strongest album that the band has done, and no less revolutionary than his debut, or so many other albums. Highly heavy and dark, this album has an influence on the metal and grunge bands of the '90s and one of the best of all time.

The title track opens the album with a series of aggressive riffs than ever before. It's my favorite KC instrumental (next to Larks Tongues in Aspic pt. 2) and could be the first progressive metal song in history. The middle section, where haunting cellos take the lead role and is a distorted guitar in the background, is powerful.

When Fallen Angel begins, leads us to think, "Oh, this will be more a 21st Century Schizoid Man and I talk to Wind " but after melancholy vocals of Wetton (whose voice is undoubtedly higher than it was in the two previous albums) - that tell the story of the death of a motorcyclist in New York, and Fripp's acoustic guitar (which was the last time an album would be played in KC), the song explodes into a section "kick ass" that really explodes with an amazing Bruford drums, heavy guitars and trumpets furious, bringing music to another level.

The heavy sound back with One More Red Nightmare, which deals with Wetton´s fear of flying. The song is a musical nightmare: not because it's bad, but because it is frightening to the extreme, with an opening riff followed by a complex drum. Oh God, I love what Bruford is doing here: the cymbals, the resounding drum, the sound highly developed - for me this is the culmination of his genius. After the vocals, the music enters the best part: a powerful instrumental section repeated three times (and is repeated later to end the album) where we have to return more than welcome Ian McDonald on sax. Actually this song is unbelievable.

But it would not be King Crimson King Crimson is an improvisation not put in your albums. And here's Providence, which is also an incredible song... that is so horrible. Why do you do this to me, KC, and why?There is no sense in this song, and it is a non-return welcome David Cross, whose violin irritating my ears bleed. This song reminds me of Moonchild (the song I hate most of King Crimson), but at least there is a kind of structure evident here.

But do not worry, Fripp and company, for all his past mistakes are forgiven with Starless, the 12-minutes´ grand finale of this amazing album. This song is for the King Crimson that Supper's Ready is for the Genesis and Close to the Edge is for Yes: the best song of the band. Man, this is music! The introduction with melancholy mellotrons and a smooth guitar leads us to the best vocals ever Wetton, and remains so until the 4:24 minute music changes to a jam like never before and never will, as a guitar remains the same tone while the bass provides the variations and the battery slowly rises. And you're so involved with the climate and the rising trend of music that takes ium scare when the music explodes and goes to a section dominated by the fusion-jazz sax MacDonald. After a quiet new section, section the music comes in heavy and then the sax and mellotron conclude it in an epic finale.

Every time I hear this album, I'm stunned. Red was supposed to be the perfect swan song - but the band was back in the '80s with a sound that had nothing to do with what he had done in his first year, unfortunately. I wonder what would happen if Fripp had not dissolved the band and perpetuated the sound found here - although its experimental character would lead him to perform other types of music. So I am satisfied with this masterpiece here. I think it's enough!

Report this review (#307591)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As Ivan Melgar stated, I appreciate the genius behind (or within) the cacophony. There is definitely genius--and often even melody--among KC outpouring. Here it is brimming, but I'm so sorry to report that I believe the voice of John Wetton to be a down-point to anything he ever touched--even UK. He has such trouble finding the center of a note and slides so awkwardly from note to note it's . . . almost embarrassing. Needless to say, the songs on this album with less singing stand out for me.

Red (8/10) is KC approaching its best. Not enough Fripp experimentation, not enough Bruford wildness. The band is waiting the talents of Tony Levin in order to really go to places no other band can ever go.

"Fallen Angel" (6/10) has moments--instrumentally. But, Wetton's voice.

"One More Red Nightmare" (9/10) is a great song, despite Wetton's vocals. Bruford gets to really play--as do the adjunct band members.

"Providence" ( 7/10) begins as a variation on the 'five men in five different rooms' approach of "Moonchild" et al. before going into a jazz-funk thing. Some now-signature Frippisms are contained herein. Bruford and Fripp must have really loved this. Wetton's bass sounds awful. How can people complain about Genesis' "The Waiting Room" when there is KC?

"Starless" (9/10) starts with mellotron, Giles-like drums, and some heavy-on-the-sustain guitar soloing--harkening back to the In The Court of the Crimson King album. . . Until Wetton begins to sing. He is no Greg lake, though there are definite similarities in voice. Maybe that's why so many people 'like' or even praise his singing?! The addition of sax is an innocuous addition. Then the music and mood change at the 4:25 mark. Is this where Post Rock/Math Rock came from? I certainly lose a little respect for ANEKDOTEN's masterpiece, "Hole" when I listen to this: its the same! Just when Bruford's really having fun, the song switches (8:45), bridging into a fast jazz/Canterbury-type of thing. 10:05 turns to a JAN GARBAREK-like break before breaking out into full jamming until recovering with the opening melody/theme, albeit a lot heavier, with a minute to finish.

Certainly an experimental and seminal prog album, however, IMHO, denigrated mainly by the presence of John Wetton. Therefore, I can give it masterpiece status--iconic though it may be.

Report this review (#330921)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I checked this album out quite a bit ago, and I'm incredibly happy with it. I wasn't too big of a Crimson fan before since the debut was my first taste, and even though I warmed up greatly to it, I felt that there was nothing more to explore. So, one day I happened to find this in the store and remembered how highly revered this album is in prog circles, so I decided to get it. Now, I'm pretty happy about that, and I've gotten more KC albums, all of which are of pretty high quality. Of course, they don't really match up to this one.

To start, each and every track merits high praise; from the opener instrumental Red, to Fallen Angel, to One More Red Nightmare, to the improvised live Providence, to the closer Starless, this album boasts quality. Providence is my least favorite, and I hear the least favorite of nearly everyone else, but it's still very good, especially considering it was a live improv. The first three tracks are all great, containing some of Crimson's most famous and well-composed material. Of course, the finale is the best on here, though. Starless has everything: a quiet, moody intro, a creepy mid-section with an eerie guitar riff, a chaotic instrumental, and a terrific ending that wraps it up splendidly. One of the best tracks I've heard from the band.

Report this review (#334414)
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first ever King Crimson listening experience came with this album, back in April of 1998, during my senior year at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (a 3-yr residential high school). One Saturday night, my theoretical girlfriend and I planned to watch The Blues Brothers in her dormitory, but I had some time to kill before then. One of my friends, a guy by the name of Andrew Baran who was into Crimson and Zappa, popped over to my room with a copy of Red in hand, insisting that I had to listen to this ASAP. He popped it in, and for the next forty minutes, this album scared the living daylights out of me - everything was so loud and distorted and unconventional in so many ways that it blew my Moody Blues-addled mind (NOTE: I still love the Moodies) - this was back when I thought that Led Zeppelin was the hardest music imaginable. I was scared off Crimson for the next two years or so - eventually, I could get into Court, but it was still a long time before I could enjoy any other King Crimson.

Time heals all wounds, however, and I can tell you now that, if you're going to buy only one King Crimson studio album, it should be Red. Released a month after Fripp "permanently" broke up the band, consisting mostly of outtakes from the previous sessions, this is just about the perfect melding of the initial incarnation of the band (ie Court and Wake) with the mid-70's version. By this time, the band had officially dropped down to a trio - Cross had formally left - but the album contains several "featured players" from King Crimson's past - besides Cross, there's Mel Collins, Marc Charig, and even Ian McDonald (who supposedly was going to become a fulltime member again, before Fripp decided to blow the band up) to give the new stylistics a healthy dose of the past.

This album also features a relatively trivial, yet very important new aspect for the band - this album is loud and distorted and heavy in a way that the music world had rarely seen before. While Black Sabbath and company had firmly staked out their claim by this time to defining heavy metal as we know it, Red is arguably one of the first albums to take heaviness and move it in a direction that can be described as "proto-grunge." The heavy parts are distorted into oblivion, and the riffs and melodies are such that this only enhances the experience.

It also helps greatly that this album consists of actual, you know, songs. Much of it consists of improvised jamming, of course, but the framing of the improvs is, at the most base level, regular rock songs and ballads. Sure, it's tweaked and messed with far more than would be normal songs, but the framing not only makes sense, it's danged accessible! Heavy and complex as hell, but accessible!

Indeed, the opening title track, a Fripp-written instrumental, is everything "Fracture" wanted to be but failed to achieve. It's, well, it's a rock song, with verses and a chorus and a "middle 8" and all - it's just that it has no vocals. The various riffs RULE, the distorted guitar-bass interplay will make you feel like your face is getting sandblasted off, and the middle section, with what I guessed was Cross working with Wetton's bass (my brother informed me that it is actually Marc Charig playing bowed double bass, but others have told me it was somebody else) over Fripp's riffage, is one of the spookiest themes ever conceived by the band. In some ways, I prefer later live versions of the track - I like it when the guitar in the middle is louder and more echoey - but no other version quite has this level of intensity.

Up next is a mournful ballad, the eerie-as-hell "Fallen Angel." The lyrics are actually quite nice - a sad tale of one's younger brother getting stabbed to death by street thugs in New York City. Wetton's vocals give both a warm sense of longing and a cold, detached stately feel, particularly in the chorus, and that's definitely nothing short of remarkable. As for the music, the main melody is impeccable, while the instrumental parts, from distorted backwards violins to creepy guitar arpeggios to free jamming by whatever instruments were available to Bruford's masterful drumming (this is not a trivial statement - Bruford's work on this album may very well be my favorite studio performance by any drummer ever), successfully make this an emotive experience not routinely found on a Crimson album. Hell, even Fripp's parts are potentially tear-jerking, and the last time that could be said was on, sheesh, "Epitaph."

The next track is a slight, slight letdown, but it still rules pretty fiercely. "One More Red Nightmare" is a paranoid diatribe about being afraid of flying, with a good but NOT great riff serving as the foundation, yet it manages to still be great thanks to (a) Bruford's drumming (take note especially of the parts where it sounds like he's drumming on sheet metal) and (b) Wetton's vocals that depict the paranoia as well as anybody else in the world could. Damn, damn, the drumming on this track rules - the syncopated rhythm that Bruford uses again and again is one of the coolest things I've ever heard in my life. The midsong jam is a bit excessive, but still, I guess it does a plenty good job of depicting the nightmare foretold in the title, and again, the drumming! And yeah, I'm not quite sure why there's rhythmic handclapping during the jam, but whatever - the drumming! SHEESH.

The next track also doesn't help matters much, but it could still be much worse. "Providence" is a full-fledged improv, based around Cross' violin, but superior to most of the previous album in that it really has a dark, deathly mood to it that makes it creepier than anything there. 8 minutes is a bit excessive for such a piece, but the manner in which the violin crashes into the distorted bass and Fripp's various lines is such that the flow of the album doesn't seem affected for the worse much at all. Put another way, I could listen to "Providence" ten times in a row and not get as tired of it as I would to one listen of "We'll Let You Know."

All of this, however, is childsplay to the fifth and final track, the 12:18 "Starless." This track has grown on me to the point where it is, by far, my favorite King Crimson piece ever - the rest of the album could be outtakes from Lizard (which I hate) and I'd still give it a high *** if it contained this here track. Nowhere else on the album does the Court+Larks feel come across stronger, and nowhere else in their whole catalogue does Crimson come up with something so emotive and yet so complex at the same time. The opening theme is simply gorgeous - some lovely mellotron laying the foundation, Fripp playing lines as beautiful as the ones in "Epitaph," and solid basslines and subtle percussion giving just enough color. The vocal melody is the best this incarnation of the band ever came up with, Wetton's singing reaches its peak, approaching Lake levels of bliss, and even the lyrics are good this time around, matching the imagery of the music so very very well. Yet this opening is only just the beginning - after John has gone through the three verses, all singing stops, and a a lengthy instrumental passage begins to close out the song. But how does the passage begin? With some unnecessary, perfunctory assault of complexity for its own sake, the kind I'd fear Fripp would want to embrace after SABB?

Nope - as if to play a sick joke on KC fans, Fripp begins playing ... a one-note guitar solo. Again and again and again and again. Around this, though, the band builds the tension to a level unheard of in rock music to that point, not even within their own "Talking Drum." Wetton underlays Fripp with an interesting repeated theme, there's some bits and pieces of eerie violin scrapings in the background, and eventually Bruford starts banging on a woodblock at seemingly random (but actually quite calculated) intervals. Slowly but surely, things start getting a little louder - Fripp starts climbing the scale very very slowly, Wetton's bass increases in volume, and then Bruford starts using his regular drum kit. And so it keeps going like this - everything slowly gets louder and louder, more and more distorted, more rhythmic, and your brain wants it to resolve so badly but it just keeps going and going ... until Fripp stops playing around, and we get a sequence of Fripp playing call-and- response with his own distorted playing, building up the tension even MORE. Finally, the band breaks into a saxophone-led jam, with Wetton and Bruford holding down an incredibly intense and tight rhythm. This slows down a bit, Ian plays some more while Bruford rides his cymbal, and then the one-note solo starts again, only this time distorted to the hilt and with everybody going balls out. And then, the grand reprise - the part coming out of the jam, where the saxophone begins playing the guitar theme laid out by Fripp at the very beginning, while the mellotron comes back into play, is quite possibly the greatest passage ever conceived by the band. Complex, sure, but emotional as hell in its complexity - hell, even Bruford's drumming in that part makes me want to cry.

So yeah, this is the best studio album Crimson ever did. There's enough here and there to slightly annoy me, but make no mistake - that's just nitpicking. I am dreadfully fond of this album, and hope that you will join me in that assessment. If Crimson had never reformed, this would undoubtedly be one of the greatest farewells of all time, and that is not something to be taken lightly.

Report this review (#339292)
Posted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well this is indeed my first review, and I wanted to start with my favorite album of one of my favorite prog bands. This is quite a well written album! There is no possible way to go wrong with Robert Fripp on guitar and Bill Bruford on drums. So yeah, the album is extremely depressing. In Fallen Angel lyrics like "risk a life to make a dime" are sung beautifully but make you feel rather remorseful. Starless starts with a slow guitar solo by Fripp and once again the lyrics are depressing. The melancholy feeling you get is okay though because with most other prog bands you will get this feeling anyway. I mean this isn't Moon Safari or Willoglass. All in all the album is absolutely amazing! Great use of the mellotron, guitar, and percussion. The saxophone is also well played at the end of Starless! I would be surprised if you haven't heard such an album, but if you have not heard this album, I completely recommend it!
Report this review (#349943)
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars I don't know, don't these guys care about vocals at all? Is it like they just expect the vocalist to 'do his best' and try an fit in some big words in some complex songwriting and try then focus mostly on the instrumental section.

And as for the instrumental sections. Yeah, it's really good. But it's not like they weren't doing something similar since the Lizard album. It seems they make very eccentric sounding music, which sometimes is brilliant, but often their music ends up same samey.

John Wetton basically has to rush his vocals out the way quickly so the Fripp and co can proceed with their instrumental work.

Report this review (#359346)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Featuring possibly the lamest album cover in Crimson's entire discography, this is a very heavy album for the mid-70s. David Cross is now gone and the band are left as a "power trio". Fripp ended the band after this was recorded but before it was released. Oddly enough, some former members of Crimson appear here as if the whole thing was planned as a swan song to begin with. Crimson co-founder Ian McDonald plays sax and in fact wanted to rejoin the group and continue without Fripp. Wetton and Bruford wanted to continue as well, but Fripp decided there would be no KC without him. Bruford would be a session musician for a few years; Wetton joined Uriah Heep; and McDonald ended up in Foreigner.

Besides McDonald, Mel Collins also plays some sax. In addition, some of the reed players from the Sinflield-era are present as well. Not only do some of the guest musicians recall earlier Crimson, but Red has some similarities to ITCOTKC as well. Both have 5 songs, one of them being a pointless improvisation. The first tracks on both albums are also the most rocking. The second songs on both albums are ballads. The last songs on both albums are the most varied. On Red, Bruford is getting more interesting as a drummer and Wetton's singing is improving.

In some ways you could call the title track one of the very first "prog metal" songs. One of KC's best instrumentals. Love the riffs here. The cello(?) part in the middle is sublime. Apparently, Fripp did not like Bruford's drumming on this song; he wanted more of a typical hard rock style drumming. "Fallen Angel" is the only song to feature acoustic guitar. Basically a ballad with more upbeat drumming. A good song but it's the least 'proggy' on the album. Nice use of guest musicians here. Fripp seems to be inspired by the Beatles' "I Want You(She's So Heavy)"; he uses different variations on that riff on the album.

Next to the title track, "One More Red Nightmare" is my favourite song on side one. Bruford's drumming here is very inventive. I like the oddball handclap sounds(supposedly that is Bruford hitting a broken cymbal). Nice sax solo during the middle section. More "I Want You" inspired guitar playing towards the end with some more sax. "Providence" is actually an edited improv recorded live in Providence, Rhode Island. The full version can be heard on the box set The Great Deceiver. As that box set proves, KC did much better improvs at the time than this. This is similar to the more avant and experimetal improvs on Starless And Bible Black. Being a live recording, this is the only song to feature Cross. It stands out like a sore thumb to the rest of the album. This album loses a whole star because of this track.

An earlier version of "Starless" was supposed to be the title track of SABB, but Fripp and Bruford didn't like it. Supposedly Wetton wrote some of the lyrics to the final version, in addition to the lyrics of Richard Palmer-James. This version is the highlight of the album and one of Crimson's best songs. The guitar and Mellotron melodies at the beginning and end are just fantastic. The addition of guest musicians makes this the definitive version. I love how the Mellotron dies out and is replaced by a cello(?) for a moment. Later a repeated bass part sets up the piece for some minimalistic guitar playing and odd sounds. This part becomes more intense and louder as it progresses. After 9 minutes goes into a jazzy section with sax. The main theme is reprised on some wind instrument briefly and the band comes back full throttle with Fripp doing an amazing solo on one string. Main theme comes back at the end in a very majestic fashion. Superb - one of the greatest endings to any song ever.

Basically a trio, Fripp overdubs his guitar a lot on Red. This album was definitely a major influence on later, more harder-edged prog bands. It's hard to say what they could have come up with after this...with or without Fripp. It may have been better than this, or alternately, nowhere near as good. Overall, this is a great album but "Providence" stops everything dead in it's tracks. Of all the improvs they recorded at the time, why did they choose that one? 4 stars.

Report this review (#410521)
Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the less than satisfying Starless and Bible Black, King Crimson come in very strong with Red, definitely one of their best albums. This is one of early King Crimson's heaviest albums, with a direct focus on hard rock and metal immediately coming through on the strong instrumental title track that features superb musicianship from the whole band. Along with the title track, this album brought some of King Crimson's most popular material, such as "Fallen Angel" and "Starless", two absolutely beautiful tracks. "One More Red Nightmare" is rather heavy and rhythmic and sounds like a definite precursor and influence for bands like Zu.

This is a highly recommended masterpiece by King Crimson. Every track is pure gold.

Report this review (#429384)
Posted Friday, April 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Anthony H.
5 stars King Crimson: Red [1974]

Rating: 9/10

On paper, Red should have been a disaster. King Crimson was in its final stages during this album's recording (although Fripp would reform the group nearly a decade later with a different lineup); in fact, the band was officially disbanded months before this album was released. The band is reduced to a trio here due to Cross's departure, although his violin does appear on the album and many session musicians were employed, including former band-mates Ian McDonald and Mel Collins, both of whom have a strong presence on this album. Regardless, it's clear that Red was recorded by a band that seriously lacked cohesion. One would thus expect it to be somewhat of a mess. On the contrary, Red turned out to be one of King Crimson's greatest. This is the band's heaviest album, with many moments having a downright metal feel. The entire package is full of energy and emotion, creating a fitting swansong for what may be King Crimson's most esteemed era.

"Red" is an intensely energetic opener with a legendary main riff and an absolutely stunning rhythm section. Bruford is at his finest here. Wetton's vocals enter on "Fallen Angel." This track begins in quite a mellow fashion, building up to intense guitar riffing and sax soloing. This is yet another masterful composition. "One More Red Nightmare" continues with jaw-dropping drumming. Wetton lays down some incredibly catchy vocals in the verses, and the sax sounds wonderful during the instrumental sections. "Providence" is a lengthy experimental improvisation. Cross's violin takes center-stage for most of this track, but heavy bass, drums, and guitar enter in halfway though. This track is most often compared to "Moonchild", but as much as I love that track, I find "Providence" to be far superior to it. The closing track "Starless" is absolutely flawless. Mellotron and sax accompany Wetton's vocals on the mellow first section. The intensity slowly builds, and fantastic energetic jazz-rock takes over.

Red is an absolutely sublime piece of work, and is probably the second most essential King Crimson album after ItCotCK. It's unfortunate that this was the last album to feature this spectacular lineup; I would have liked to see this style progress further. Every musician plays together seamlessly here. This is probably one of the most intense prog-rock albums of the 70s, as well. In fact, this is a strong contender for the first prog-metal album. This is a creative height for the band, and is certainly essential for anybody progressive/art rock fan.

Report this review (#448651)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As perfect as any prog album I've ever heard. The watershed title track alone has inspired no less than two generations of musicians to following in Crimson's footsteps. The album "Red" was one of my very first exposures to King Crimson and I still feel its impact after all this time as this is an album I return to time & again. Those of us who have had the pleasure of hearing the 40th anniversary remaster of "Red" know that in terms of sound quality this album doesn't even begin to sound dated. Despite the intensity of the title track and "One More Red Nightmare", the album's highlight to me will always remain "Starless". This track (in my humble opinion) defines the true scope of this particular King Crimson lineup...which in my heart will always be the greatest Crim lineup ever assembled.
Report this review (#455148)
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the very best album from my very favorite band.

While I think everything has already been said about it and I don't think I've got anything to add that hasn't been said by someone else in these reviews, I'll just say this: -In the Court is certainly a masterpiece, but there's no way on earth it matches this one. -Fripp / Bruford / Wetton were the heart of the very best formation KC has ever had, and there are wonderful guest performances by Mel Collins, David Cross and Ian McDonald. -Starless might just be my favorite song in the world, and Fallen Angel is not that far behind. -Go get it if you don't own it already

10/10 (I'd give more if only I could)

Report this review (#461438)
Posted Tuesday, June 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Quite possibly the last great complete progressive outing by the forefathers of the very genre.

That hardly makes it their very best, though.

Indeed, "Red" was the last album released under the King Crimson moniker before "Discipline" heralded in the '80's. The decent song lengths already pulled me in from a standstill, and I figured this would be just like albums such as "Court Of The Crimson King" and "Starless And Bible Black". Well, after turning the volume up on track #1, "Red", I got a mixed result.

It may have been only a 5 year separation, but the sound is drastically different from "21st Century Schizoid Man". Instantly, my audible canal was bombarded with a harsh, heavy sound, quite possibly the band's take on the hard rock sound the 70's were mostly famed for. However, further listens lead me into a slow chugging of a string section, something I would've expected from King Crimson, but it's darker. A darker sound I hear. Through that, however, I take notice in Bill Bruford's exceptional drumming while still yearning for more out of Robert Fripp's guitar, and out of it all, just like the very last chord, I'm left hanging over a cliff, expecting more.

Thus, the smooth touch of "Fallen Angel" plays, and John Wetton's smooth voice changes the mood in an uplifting ballad of sorts. But at this point, I notice a huge change in the sound of King Crimson, and it's only 1974! The bland synthesizer chords and electronic drumming of the 1980's haven't kicked in yet, so why does it feel like I've already lost touch with the band? Luckily, the blaring cornet of Mark Charig snaps me out of it, and I continue to listen to Bruford's playing, as I, a drummer myself, continue to take notice. Fripp's 5 chord progression towards the end of the piece lightens my spirit, although Charig's cornet makes me feel like I just listened to a slow ballad by a Californian ska band. Hmm....

"One More Red Nightmare" begins in a dark, foreboding tone, instantly grasping my attention in the thought that this track will bring me to terms with this album and that I haven't lost touch with King Crimson. However, Wetton's voice brings with it a sort of cheesy chorus and stupid clapping that makes me feel like the '80's came early, but once the singing stops, I feel the energy from Fripp's guitar again in another dark and heavy tone. Thus, the song begins this "tug-a-war" effect, where the musicianship of Bruford and Fripp bring the progressive tone, and then suddenly Wetton drags me into this funky 2-step that seems to be quite out of the ordinary, even for King Crimson's standards, which were quite out of the ordinary.

Then there's "Providence", which really is dark and foreboding. Although I'm not a huge horror movie fan and not too big on ambien soundscapes, the instant cutoff from "Nightmare" wakes me up to a lone violin. This could be the King Crimson I heard from albums past. And then...the squealing of the violins, and the slow drone. I'm literally shivering at this point. By this point, I'm also sold on this album. However, the errie xylophone somehow brings me to a quandry: How come it took me 20 minutes and half of the album to come to a favorable conclusion? Usually an album by a band that pretty much began the genre of progressive rock in 1969, especially only after 5 years, should automatically be a hit. It just seemed like the filler tracks were the first tracks, and the real treats were hiding in the back. 5 minutes in, "Providence" already has me sold, with Bruford backing another eerie bass line and Fripp just, well, playing whatever the hell he likes.

That brought me to the fifth and final track, "Starless", which obviously meant something: This album was entertaining enough for me to listen the whole way through to the final track, which was entirely true. Of course, by the slow intro, and due to the fact I naturally think way too far into things sometimes, I've pretty much come to a conclusion that this album is indecisive to me. I don't love it, but I don't hate it, and for a music lover like me, that decision is a rare one for me to make. The smooth jazz feel of "Starless" already has me hooked, but I'm still stuck on the first three tracks. The progressive style is there, but so too is the creeping white elephant that is, was, and always will be "commercialism". Naturally, during this point in time, every rock band at some point submitted to the 80's and created garbage for their record labels, but King Crimson still breathed some life into prog with "Theela Hun Ginjeet" off of "Discipline" and "Three Is A Perfect Pair" off the same album, before dying with a gasp of coroded ash with "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Pt. III".

Of course, that being said, I don't hate this album. Far from it (I still am listening to it occasionally), but the disc still pales in comparison to "Court" and "Starless". In fact, it is that fifth track that I still bear a smile to, especially the last 3 minutes. However, putting it all into perspective, it was the last two tracks that hailed back to the wonderfully progressive days of 1970, but it was the first three tracks that already foreshadowed the doom of so many heavy hitting rock and roll bands, a fate that King Crimson would soon endure and, unfortunately, never recover from. Sure, the atonal chords of "The ConstruKtion Of Light" were interesting, about for a good 5 minutes. But it just seems to be "Red", that last great epic to be released under King Crimson, a band name that, in my humble opinion, will forever go down as the single forefather to the birth of progressive rock.

Report this review (#471624)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is a near-perfect album from a band who rightly decided to stop their career while they were at a peak. It attempts to blend everything unquestionably King Crimson from the previous six albums to create a big, special finale. Due to the line-up, it sounds more like Larks' Tongues in Aspic than anything else, but that is by no means a bad thing. If nothing else, it is easily Robert Fripp's best album, for he has let go of some of his nervous 'subdued' playing and is happy to unleash layers and layers of metallic guitar lines. This, combined with John Wetton's typically punchy bass warbles and Bill Bruford's eclectic drum patterns, makes for a very heavy, "proto-metal" album that nevertheless contains some beautiful and tranquil moments.

The title track is an instrumental workout built around a sequence of tri-tone riffs (what a surprise, Fripp) played through four times with a dark cello solo in the middle. Of the songs of this type in the Crimson catalogue, it isn't the best, but it certainly opens the album with a bang. 'Fallen Angel' is a very decent number that juxtaposes heavy guitar chords and sweet oboe melodies, with John's singing at its very best. The closer to side one, aptly titled 'One More Red Nightmare', is a more upbeat offering with a focus on Bill's percussion (big sheets of metal and flangey hand-claps) and what I think is a Mel Collins sax solo. It is one of KC's most rocking songs, but of course, the lyrics remain dark and devilish.

Side two offers an improv in 'Providence', which is not my favourite improvised piece but it makes good use of the timbres in the bass, guitar and David Cross's violin. When the drums properly enter, it just sounds messy. 'Starless and Bible Black' is a for menacing improv to me, which people seem to overlook, not that many people are fond of 'Providence'. The comparison's to the vibraphone noodling on 'Moonchild' are way off though. Then there is 'Starless'.


By far King Crimson's best song, and my personal favourite progressive rock song that isn't 20 minutes long, 'Starless' offers on a plate every single musical trick that this band is capable of. It starts as a beautiful Mellotron ballad, which there has been one of on every previous KC album, but none quite so moving. Fripp turns off the distortion and delivers a chilling melody that reminds us of the 'Court of the Crimson King' days. Wetton shines again in the verses, which he wrote, and is helped along by subtle sax and cello. When we modulate to C after the final epic chorus, things quieten down and we are treated to some 'Lark's Tongues' style tension-building. Once again, there have been long, drawn-out crecendos on previous KC albums, but this one is the best. The thick bassline is in 13/8, and Fripp's minimalistic guitar notes are the most tense thing ever, especially when you know what it is building up towards. Bruford showcases his percussion arsenal here, but just as things reach a 'Talking Drum' level of chaos, everything stops, leaving a few clean guitars stereo- panning on the dominant note, ready to......

.......unleash the most monstrously explosive saxophone solo you will ever hear, over the same riff but about 5x faster. This thrill ride tops the battle-section of 'Lizard', and is even more climactic than 'Fracture'. After the speedy jazz rock section, more distorted guitars come in, and soon we are hearing that same Mellotron from earlier in the piece. Talk about a recapitulation! Woodwinds give us that beautiful melody, but the volume remains high, and it all winds down to a halt soon enough, leaving us totally exhausted.

I could talk about 'Starless' all day long. It is a masterpiece. The other songs on this album are very close too, making for a rather easy five stars. Fripp wanted to move on, but it's clear that he also wanted to go out on a high, and just make the best album he can. Red is not particularly progressive; all of the styles and song structures are things that have already been developed on previous albums. But this one executes everything perfectly, and is rightfully considered to be this band's peak.

Report this review (#516666)
Posted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Robert Fripp's decision to bring King Crimson to a close following this album (at least until it regenerated Doctor Who style into the avant-New Wave beast of the 1980s) was baffling at the time to those around him - not least remaining band members John Wetton and Bill Bruford. But I think with the more time passes, the more the decision looks like a stroke of genius. Fripp's predictions about the "dinosaurs" of rock music coming to a bad end turned out to be all too true when the punk revolution happened.

Sure, we might bemoan the lack of respect given to musicianship and technical accomplishment during the white heat of punk, but both of those important things crept back into rock afterwards, and the DIY ethos of the punks - which held that anyone could and should be able to put together a band - recalls Fripp's own belief that it would be "small, mobile, intelligent units" that survived after the fall of the dinosaurs. And it has to be said that Fripp chose precisely the moment to cash his chips, selling up just as the peak of prog's mainstream success was passing by. This decision saved King Crimson from the humiliating fate of many of their contemporaries in the late 1970s or early 1980s - not for them the commercial pandering of 90125-era Yes, or Invisible Touch-era Genesis, or Gentle Giant's last three albums. Fripp's decision saved the band from a situation in which they would have to choose between their musical integrity and commercial success; his subsequent revivals of King Crimson have come about because he had a sound that needed to come out under the KC name, not in response to crass commercial considerations.

Robert's predictions about the music industry as a whole took longer to come true, but the dawning of the Internet age and their shambolic response to it also appears to have proved Fripp right. The fact is that if you want to make experimental, cutting-edge, avant-garde progressive music, you're much better off following the mobile unit approach, and whilst Fripp might have arrived at these realisations through a somewhat cranky route, it's hard to deny that his predictions were right - and came years before anyone else saw it, with the possible exception of Peter Hammill (as seen on Nadir's Big Chance).

It was against this background that Red was produced - with Fripp undergoing this enormous personal change, having the unintended and beneficial side effect of Fripp exerting less control over the recording process which he had previously been inclined to. Not that he needed to; it's clear on here that his collaborators are as much in tune with what needs to be accomplished on the record as he is. A classic from beginning to end, from the furious instrumental Red to the hauntingly beautiful Starless (which others have pointed out is rather like a potted history of the band from 1969 to 1974 in its musical structure), Red more than any other album from the 1973-1974 lineup of King Crimson showcases a powerful vision of the future of music, one which in some respects we still haven't caught up to. In the Court of the Crimson King set the blueprint for most of the progressive rock scene, particularly the more symphonic end of it. Red, quite simply, is the peak of the form. There have been new albums since then that have added their own spin to the genre, but I can think of precious few that reach this level of accomplishment.

Report this review (#526459)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Lets face it people... This album is the weakest of the Larks/Starless/Red line up. Of course, it was hard to follow up the sheer schizophrenic music displayed on the previous two albums. Both albums had provided the avid listeners with a whole new methodology to the Crimson music. But Red did not and does not continue this new methodology. The experimental edge was gone, and what was provided was a half hearted effort to keep the listeners listening. This is the album where I switch off.

Gone are the truly eccentric time signatures, the complex layer upon layer of sounds. King Crimson had been reduced to three members and the music shows it. The hard edged guitar riffs are not characteristic of Fripp and his guitar playing is effortless (in the negative context). He doesn't sound in any way interested in what he is playing. The bass is over-fuzzed to the extent that the basslines sound sloppy. And Bill Brufford obviously wanted to call it a day, having only properly displayed his excellent skills on "One More Red Nightmare". Worst of all is the phaser effects that were added to the music. It doesn't add anything and it definitely doesn't settle well, considering the ideas that the band were incorporating previously. Good music is not based on the effects that are added, but the riffs that are generated and written to challenge the listener. I like music that challenges me and this album does not challenge me in the slightest.

Look back on the King Crimson discography: 1. In The Court of the Crimson King, 2. In The Wake of Poseidon, 3. Lizard, 4. Islands, 5. Larks Tongue in Aspic, 6. Starless and Bible Black, 7. Red...

This album falls into the same category as "In The Wake of Poseidon" and "Islands"... Music that could be generated by any band, with no clearly inspired style or substance. Every band is allowed their downfalls and it appears that this album was one downfall too many. King Crimson disbanded for their own good, and I am left with the memory of their classic albums: "In The Court of the Crimson King", "Lizard", "Larks Tongue in Aspic" and "Starless and Bible Black". Those were the days when Crimson were dancing to a different beat and standing out as a force to be reckoned with. Yes, they weren't popular. But, they were musicians writing the music THEY wanted to write and recording the music THEY wanted to record. There was no pressure because they could be who they wanted to be. But their need for recogniting obviously got too strong a hold over their music. Thankfully, Crimson returned in 1981 with a whole new sound and were once again dancing to a different beat.

In conclusion, this album should be listened to last, in order to avoid disappointment. Collect it if you must have them all (much like myself), but do not expect to be stunned.

Report this review (#548526)
Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, released in 1974, is nothing short of amazing considering that KC were barely functioning as a band at this point but then again most of their albums were made with an unstable line-up. Red: A great instrumental to start us off. It has a nice driving riff that pre-dates grunge with its sound but that's not a bad thing. It shows how much Fripp likes distortion and experimenting with what his guitar can sound like (Frippertronics). Wetton and Bruford hold up the rhythm section well and they seem to dominate this album mainly. Overall, a fantastic song with some great moments. Fallen Angel: A mellow ballad that starts out soft and grows in intensity as it goes like all great ballads or balladesque songs. Has some good guitar work from Fripp and great vocals from Wetton who I always had a soft spot for. One More Red Nightmare: Interesting lyric on this one but still has energy and drive. Bruford works his famous China cymbal at this point and does his usual excellent job. Providence: A live improvisation made when David Cross was still there. It starts slow and dull but doesn't fully recover. Sometimes it seems the song kinda shows then leaves and doesn't leave much impression Starless: The longest and arguably best song on the album. Great vocals and instrumentation all around. Starts out slow and gets jazz crazy in the middle like Schizoid Man but still does an original fantastic job.

Overall, a great album by KC and the last for awhile but if they ended with this one, I wouldn't be disappointed. 5 Stars. Highlights: Red, One More Red Nightmare and Starless

Report this review (#552374)
Posted Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you haven't heard King Crimson, you haven't heard prog. And if you haven't heard the Red album, you haven't heard King Crimson. I don't mean to say by this that you would and should by all means rate the Red album a superlative effort as much as I do. But, from a more detached standpoint, a fan of 60s and 70s rock would revise his opinion of rock's reach and possibilities once he gets to know the Red album.

Personally, it is my favourite King Crimson album and also my favourite prog rock album bar none. There is a timelessness about this album that only the best of music captures. Heavy metal crush meets jazzy laziness. Robert Fripp's textures at times point the way to the punk years that lay ahead, grunge even. But mellotron, saxophone and cello are also employed on this album. The everlasting appeal of the album lies, partly, in that the band embraces a wide, diverse and sumptuous palate of sounds.

They are also surprisingly effective in projecting emotion, for a band often regarded as cold and clinical. Perhaps, it is the absence of dramatic baggage compared to the other prog heavyweights of the time Genesis, Yes, Jethro Tull and ELP. It is something that can sometimes make their music come across as self indulgent, if intriguing, jams. Here, it enables them to render downbeat pathos like Fallen Angel delicately in a manner that Yes or Genesis may have found tougher to capture with their wall of sound approach. Because they are not habituated to emoting a whole lot, they seem to be secure from the perils of overemoting and there is a down to earth quality about this album that I have rarely come across in prog.

By far, though, the most unique aspect of this album is its construct. I was not born in the 70s but reproductions of newspaper clippings on King Crimson album sleeves nevertheless drop clues to how the musicians went about it. Bill Bruford mentions, ostensibly at the time of the making of Larks Tongue in Aspic, that they are attempting to marry improvisation and composition. That approach is brought to its most satisfactory fruition on Red album. Instead of jams, the band treats us to songs, to tunes that you can wrap around your head and feel compelled to put on repeat for days together. But an element of improvisation is still accommodated within this more formal approach, leaving ample room for the unexpected. It also brings about a feeling of listening to a band actually performing the music and not just well processed recordings. If the Red album is brilliantly conceived, it is even more brilliantly executed. Arguably the most outstanding ensemble in prog rock pulls out all stops here and Bruford especially shines, casting a shadow over his days with Yes.

Onto individual tracks now. The title track makes for an electrifying opener. Fripp casts a spell of doom and menace on the listener from the get go with some crushing heavy guitar. Not content with that, we have some cello in the middle. What is this it riffs or melodies or both? Fripp refines the approach employed on Larks Tongue in Aspic Part 2 and turns riffs inside out while simultaneously developing a coherent musical theme. Metallica before Metallica came into being?

I have already dwelt on Fallen Angel. Moving onto One More Red Nightmare. Another menacing riff and a simply irresistible bass growl. I am not the biggest fan of John Wetton's singing and especially not with King Crimson but there's fortunately not much for him to do here other than iterate the short verse. Bruford's furious drum strokes compete with Ian McDonald's languid saxophone. The track captures for the first time on this album why this ensemble is so incredible as the band shuttle from trippy doom to languid jazz and back. More intriguingly, the whole saxophone solo is underpinned by a bassline that strongly evokes Warpigs! It's a wonder that they complete the puzzle so comprehensively but the outcome appears entirely natural and apt.

Providence sticks out like a sore thumb. It is not necessarily the cacophonous mess it is sometimes made out to be and I think it is more organized that it is taken to be. Nevertheless, this is clearly their most overt stab at modern classical music since Moonchild. And it simply doesn't gel with the rest of the album. Where the other tracks on Red album are more immediately intelligible and reveal intricate detail upon closer listening, this is prog of the "needs to be be sorted out" variety. By itself, it is not a bad piece of music but it feels like a throwaway in how incongruous it is in the context of the album. Fortunately, at eight minutes, it is not too long for a proghead to endure!

And those eight minutes are well worth enduring because they give way to Starless! Can you really ask for more from twelve minutes of music? There is a lovely vocal melody at the start accompanied by very sensitive playing by the ensemble, moving onto a slow but suspenseful crawl that leads into a blowout with the band absolutely on fire to close with a powerful re-iteration of the opening theme. In short, a kaleidoscope of emotions. Other than the vocal parts, the rest of the track once again appears loose with scope for expansion and contraction. And yet, there is not a moment too many of music in there, the entire track is very purposefully organized and performed brilliantly once again. Wetton's flat delivery fails to endear me again but with melodies this great, it is hard to go wrong. The above perhaps does not capture everything or even much of what makes this track so unforgettable but I am also anxious not to spoil it for you in case you have never heard it before.

Time for the rating. Five stars are generally reserved for albums that are absolutely flawless and beyond reproach. But I have a different take on this. Firstly, I don't really know how to define flawless in a style of music where flawed is often beautiful and flawless is robotic and sterile. Secondly, when I look at album ratings, I take four star albums to be excellent ones that I need to get around to sooner or later and five star albums as the ones I absolutely need, the ones that will define the genre for me even if I choose not to dig deeper. And it seems incomprehensible to me that by any rating system, the Red album would be an album that anybody interested in prog should not have to listen to. If I were to list 10 albums that I would introduce to somebody new to prog to give him a good idea about its possibilities, Red album would most certainly be on that list.

The flaws of Providence are easily forgiven, Red album is one of the brightest stars in the prog rock universe. Five stars.

Report this review (#581130)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.5, actually, but I wouldn't be willing to give it all five stars.

The Crims are now blowing the fuse on a record with a greater focus on metal than prog. If you really think about it, this record in the overall style sounds a bit like those that came out in '71-'72, even though the line-ups are different too. The only things that make the difference are the fact that "Red" is more guitar-driven, the tracks are better structured because they are built around riffs, and they are darker and gloomier in mood, particularly because the melodies are doomy and hardcore. This album is probably a must for every metal-head out there who hasn't heard this record yet.

Here is one more thing I want to add in this review. I noticed that lots of people on this website hate 'Providence'. I'd like to know why, but I would also like you to know why I like it. The way I see it is that the first half of the track allows the listener to take a break from all the noise one had experienced from the previous three tracks. I hear the violin and the percussion deliver a sentimental short story of a mouse followed by a thousand mice running away from a human killing spree against the rodents. I know that this may seem like an odd and funny concept. Then, Robert Fripp sends signals on his guitar, which is followed by an accompaniment from the entire band; "prepare to die, you little rascals." Again, that's just the way I see it. I'm just very tolerant of the first half, which is way better than the improvisation on 'Moonchild', and Bill Bruford with John Wetton really do justice to the second half with their rhythm attack.

But there is a song where there is a better attack than that, and this song would be 'Starless'. It features Fripp & Co. just freaking out in the second half of it after letting John Wetton sweeten things up with his vocal to the Mellotron in the first half. Even if this song does not have the madness that Genesis' 'The Musical Box' and the tracks on Yes' "Tales from Topographic Oceans" possess, it is actually cleverly structured and holds a kind of musical genuineness, particularly in melody. Thank you, Mr. Fripp. As a matter of fact, thank you all, boys.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

1. 'Red' - ****

2. 'Fallen Angel' - ****

3. 'One More Red Nightmare' - ****

4. 'Providence' - ****

5. 'Starless' - *****

Stamp: "Highly recommended."

Report this review (#613953)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.8 stars

This might be my favorite King Crimson album, along with Larks Tongues in Aspic. It is heavy at times, soft at others. This album is utterly amazing, and it's obvious why. This album truly represents what it means to be "progressive". This is probably one of the pinnacles of progressive music, and represents the start of math rock and even a tad bit of heavy prog or prog-metal (although Larks Tongues probably beat it to the punch).

"Red" is in my top five KC songs. It's really a simple song for progressive rock, but it is amazing in it's simplicity. That guitar line is something to behold, and in the whole tone scale? How many people can come up with an insanely addictive guitar the whole tone scale??? Robert Fripp, a true genius, that's who. 5/5 stars.

"Falling Angel" is a great song, as well, and my personal favorite part is the saxophone that Mel Collins and Ian McDonald add to the group, something that was missing in the last few KC albums. The only song on the album that contains an acoustic guitar, it has soft points, but builds to a dramatic climax. 4/5 stars.

"One More Red Nightmare" has some of the most creative drumming that I have ever heard. Bill Bruford has some of the craftiest drum fills ever, but this song might be one of the best ones to hear them in. This song is also built around the whole tone scale (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong), and is also catchy! What can I say, Fripp knows how to make things that shouldn't be catchy....well, catchy! Great sax, as well. 5/5 stars.

"Providence" is the let down (in my opinion) on the album. A live improvisation, it truly defeats the built-up climatic energy that the first side has created. The bass line is good, but not one of Wetton's best, and the violin is weak compared to that heard on Starless and Bible Black and LTIA. 2/5 stars.

"Starless" is utterly flawless. The ending to this song is one of "those endings" that really makes sense. The repeating melody, the epic, yet simplistic two-note guitar solo provided by Fripp, almost as a joke, and Bill Bruford's very adventurous drumming makes this song one to remember. Commonly hailed as one of KC's best songs, I agree wholeheartedly and include it in my personal favorites as well. If only Fripp hadn't disbanded KC after this album.

4.8/5 stars, easily. No debate. While Providence may be a huge let down (in my opinion), the rest of the album is amazing. If I were to stress getting one King Crimson album, this would be it.

Report this review (#647026)
Posted Monday, March 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Red" is one of the best King Crimson albums. Better than its two predecessors in my opinion, and only inferior to "In The Court Of The Crimson King". The title track is a classic and a dirge of heavy metal. Definitely one of the main highlights. There's a lot of truth that the sound here influenced the 90's band Nirvana, as at least one other reviewer has stated. It was extremely advanced for the mid-70's. Noone else rocked with such a powerful grunge rock sound at that time as far as I'm aware. This album has some fine classical/hard rock fusions as well as some great jazz-rock grooves. "Fallen Angel" and "Starless" display the best softer sounds. The last track is a personal favourite of all. Excellent album. Rating: Four very solid stars.
Report this review (#682755)
Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I enjoyed this album. Each of the members showed amazing skill and technique. However, each song had a certain flaw which I could not ignore, with the exception of the title track, which is not only throughly enjoyable, but also very catchy.

Favorite picks from the album:

"Red" Really good hard rock instrumental. Throughly enjoyable and catchy.

"One More Red Nightmare" I love the instrumental passages, but the verses seem out of place.

"Starless" Great song! But I wish Wetton's vocals were less distorted.

All and all, I'd say it's a three star album. My favorite of the mid-70s Crimson albums (the others go WAY over my head). Not the best in my opinion, but still good. Three stars.

-Update- Sense the writing of my review, I've grown to like "Red" alot more, finding each song to be really fantastic.So, I'm changing my rating to 4 stars.

Report this review (#740226)
Posted Sunday, April 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars The last of the Crimson glory-trio albums, Red, represents the harsh end of, not an era, but a musical be-ing. There's no point in analyzing the technical or musical side, I think that's already been covered thoroughly.

So, I'm gonna write some remarks on the meaning of this one. Red is that album that captures the feeling of the end, the end-ness of what means for a human to be human. No wonder it's called Red.

The creative, uncommon person, will always live the moment of end, this crude natural delimitation between what is as his own and what was as his own, in a very unbalanced way. Red, the colour, not of passion (this would be a cliche), but of living, of inner movement, of inner tension... is most adequate for this album.

The end is clearly what we would normally call a requiem. But it is a requiem not in the sense of awaiting-death, but a requiem in the sense of one's crumbling of inner horizons.

If existence (being one's ownmost) begins with images like the ones in Islands, continues with moments of existential moments of overcoming one's own burdens like in Larks', existence ends like King Crimson's "Red" shows us.

Report this review (#748953)
Posted Saturday, May 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Red is probably King Crimson's heaviest album, and one of their best at that. Structurally, this is pretty similar to their debut album, as it contains five songs with one being the experimental instrumental, and the longer "epic" song at the end. The music is what you' expect from the band up to this point; heavy, moody, rhythmically intense, and experimental.

The album kicks off with the title track, 'Red.' This song only uses a few bone-crushing riffs, yet it is still made interesting throughout.

I've always enjoyed how the band is able to blend two very different sections in a song so beautifully. Fallen Angel is a great example of this, as it alternates between a calm, softer section with Wetton's angelic vocals and a rather ominous, heavy riffing section.

One More Red Nightmare is decent. The guitar riffs are nice and heavy, but Wetton's vocals and the some of the backing music are less than amazing.

Providence is the equivalent to their debut album's 'Moonchild,' with its free form jam style. Again, I still believe there is too much noodling for it to be any good in my eyes, but at least it's a tad better than 'Moonchild.'

How could I adequately describe the closing song? Starless is everything the band is about up to this point. From the gentle mellotron led intro, to the heavy guitar riffs and experimenting in the middle, and the hectic sax section at the end. Nothing quite gives the same feeling as this song. It has a very uneasy atmosphere, with a build-up and tension that could rival some of the best classical music.

Red is a solid album, but unfortunately nothing they've done has quite reached the same mark as In the Court. I would say this is the second best, and despite my relatively low rating, I still believe this is a great album to pursue.


Report this review (#866991)
Posted Monday, November 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars King Crimson's best album! As much as I like their other albums, this is one of the few where every single song is great. The album starts off with the hard rock song "Red". Very catchy, and the bridge is a good addition, but I think the song is a little repetitive. Nevertheless, it's overall a good song. Then there's "Fallen Angel", which talks about the death of someone's brother in a gang fight. The lyrics are great and it fits the dark theme that exists throughout the album. One of the few times the acoustic guitar is used on the album, the verses are slow and calms things down a little after the opener. Next is "One More Red Nightmare". John Wetton's vocals could use some work on the verses, but Bruford's great percussion and the sax solos more than make up for it. Arguably the best song on the first half of the album. Then the experimental "Providence", which works much better than "Moonchild". Great violin which at times is almost scary and then the song builds in intensity with the electric guitar kicking in. For me, the experimental songs can be hit or miss, so I'm happy I like this one so much! Finally there's "Starless", the album's masterpiece. It's starts off slow with John Wetton giving better vocals than earlier. After Bruford gets a lots of time to show off his great percussion skills, the song builds up with the saxophones joining in and Fripp giving great power chords. What a brilliant ending, and despite being very dark like the rest of the album, there's also a strange sense of beauty to it (for me at least).

An amazing album, and a great place to start off with King Crimson (especially if you like darker or heavier rock music). Highly recommended!

Report this review (#878133)
Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hey everyone, time for yet another prog review. What album is it now? Well, if you are looking at your screen correctly you will see that it is the 7th studio album by King Crimson and the last one before Robert Fripp decided to disband the band until 1981's Discipline, the album's name is of course Red. Just like on my previous reviews, I will again point out what I like and don't like about it. However, before that I will be giving a bit of a background to the record and its players or musicians. So, the album was released in 1974, with essentially the same lineup as the previous albim (Bruford, Fripp and Wetton all came back) but Cross did not (he does make a guest appearance on the album though) as I believe that they decided it was best for him to leave the band (not so sure why and if it was a good idea). Sonically, I feel that there were some similarities (guitar, bass tone, violin and improv) to the previous 2 albums but also some differences (jazzy bits). Musically and approach wise, King Crimson is and was always changing but also staying the same (if that makes any sense). Enough of my talking, so what do I think of the album??? Let's get the review going no??

Here is the track listing for 1974's Red by King Crimson

1) Red - Musically, this song sounds like it could be a precursor to grunge rock (not a fan of the genre though) as it really sounded pretty modern for 1974. The guitar riffs are a bit too repetitive but it has a bit of a groove and it's a good instrumental. Surprisingly so the repetitive nature of the song doesn't really bug me. I don't think it is perfect but it certainly is not a terrible way to start the album. 8/10

2) Fallen Angel - I am not really a big fan of this track (with the exception being Wetton's vocals and Bruford's drum fills). It's a decent song but the jazzy bits seem a little out of place for me. The chorus has a rather out of place jazzy bit as it doesn't sound particularly good to my ears (maybe it's the fact that Crimson's jazz fusion sound never really appealed to me??). Not a bad track though. 7/10

3) One More Red Nightmare - This song used to be a favorite on the album for me but now it seems rather dull (the percussion sounds a little cringy to my ears). The jazzy bits are kind of annoying. It too is not a terrible track but it is also not something that I am particularly fond of. 7 /10

4) Providence - Experimental improv recorded live in Providence, Rhode Island (hence the name of the track). It is yet another jam session gone terribly wrong (at least to my untrained ears lol). Some parts actually sound like a cat is getting strangled (maybe that's the point? I don't know). It does nothing to or for my ears. It straight up rips from Starless and Bible Black. 2/10

5) Starless - Ahh, this one. The epic song of the album (can one actually call a 12 minute song that? Probably, a mini epic perhaps?) but it is not a real favorite of mine. The first half is actually pretty darn good and memorable but the second half of the track is a bit iffy for me (sometimes I enjoy it and sometimes I don't really enjoy it, don't know if that makes sense, music is weird like that lol) because even though it builds up in intensity it is also really repetitive and full of cacophony (maybe that was the point of the track??). I don't like this track as much as say The Cinema Show by Genesis but I can certainly see why someone would. Not a bad track or way to end the album and 1970's King Crimson. 8/10

Overall, Red is a pretty good album but to me it is definitely not a masterpiece as many claim it to be. It also strayed somewhat away from what King Crimson is supposed to be about (aren't they supposed to push the boundaries??). Robert Fripp decided to disband this band after this release (gee, I wonder why??) Yet another 3 star and lukewarm album for the Crimson King (6 of 7 the albums in the 1960s/1970s were 3 stars) for me. Peace out!!!!!!!!!!

Report this review (#885600)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars If anybody were to ask me to name one single album that epitomizes what I love about not just progressive music, but music in general, Red is that album. This is the album that made me want to pursue a career in music. This is the album that stirred my emotions in a way no other has yet. This is the album I have loved, respected, and regarded as my favorite album of all time for years, and no album I have heard since has yet to steal that title. An album supercharged with emotion, a dark atmosphere that pervades every track, and the absolute pinnacle of progressive compositional prowess in the form of the most monumental musical moment of all time. Which track could I be referring to? If you've heard the album, you know...

King Crimson as a band by this point had released a dizzying array of albums, each with a unique and innovative character all their own. Nobody with a respect for progressive music could deny that the band contained some of the most technically talented musicians in the game and had a strong influence within the genre. Every time a new album came out, listeners could notice a certain amount of change with the passage of time. Granted, every fan is guaranteed to have a different album or era they prefer. This album was released at a time when the group was imploding upon itself. The albums immediately preceding this one were solid, don't be mislead, but band leader Robert Fripp was no longer interested in continuing on, so this album became a swan song, released posthumously after the band had already disintegrated and the other musicians started dusting off their resumes. As a result, the album contains a dark, menacing, even angry sense of disillusionment and spite that really hits home. It seemed as though Fripp needed one last chance to condense his emotions into one final effort to validate everything he had worked for up to that point, and the end product was this heavy, chaotic, melancholy monolith of an album. It commands your respect and forces you to formulate a strong opinion about with each new, wildly original track. Here's the breakdown:

Red immediately grabs you in your most vulnerable place with that powerful opening 5/8 riff and forces you into submission. What a way to start an album! Fripp's biting, forceful, atmospheric (three adjectives I never thought I could use appropriately together before hearing this song) rhythm part pervades the track, with each new repetition and ornamental addition adding to the already peaking level of menace. The bass and drums provide a solid rhythmic foundation while introducing their own level of variety that makes this a truly memorable, interesting instrumental. An astonishing cello feature over a dissonant guitar background provides a nice contrast after the initial assault without losing any of the established energy. When the principal material returns, it seems revitalized, and a final recapitulation of the introductory material before a slight ritard and decrescendo gives the piece a nice sense of rounded completion. Not too long, not too short. Just right. Such an effective blend of repeated motives and variety made for a truly wonderful opening instrumental.

Fallen Angel by contrast contains a much broader emotional palette. After a brief segue from the first track, John Wetton's voice floats in over a subtle accompaniment of light drums and bass, oboe, and acoustic guitar. Once the verse ends though, Fripp interjects a powerful, focused arpeggio, and after a few accent hits by Bruford, the most stirring chorus in any King Crimson song in my opinion begins. If the primary emotion of the first track was menacing anger, this is cathartic lament, as expressed in the repeated howling of the words "fallen angel". The addition of the cornet catapults it over the top, emotionally speaking, and after a transition into a more focused passage, a contrapuntal saxophone and guitar introduce even more color into this already wonderfully evocative tune. This really is a standout track, one that proves the band can adhere to more traditional songwriting formats without sacrificing their unique brand of musical variety or raw power.

One More Red Nightmare is a much less traditional offering, featuring a dizzying array of bass and guitar riffs trading off the spotlight with Bruford. His drumming in this tune is arguably the best, most technically demanding part ever played in his entire tenure with King Crimson. The verse sections offer a sense of pseudo-stability between the the more virtuosic trading passages, but even this is heavily challenged by Wetton's punchy vocals and Fripp's cascade of raw aggression. The dark atmosphere of this tune is further perpetuated by a B section with wild saxophone trills, a tremendously prominent bass line, a syncopated amplified clap sound, and the notes Fripp rains down over the mix to provide a full mix of sound without oversaturating the listener's ears. After another lap each for the A and B section, the track quickly wraps up and we immediately are led into the next.

Providence is a live improvisation that showcases just how strong a contribution David Cross had on the band's overall sound. True, improvisations aren't everyone's thing, and other reviewers have docked this album a star rating based on this track alone, but it still has something special to offer the listener willing to immerse themselves in its atmosphere and appreciate the experience of being immersed in the unplanned chaos as it emerges and develops around them. The sheer power of each instrument's tone is enough to provoke a strong emotional response. The murky bass, the metallic percussive sounds, and the eerie violin seem right at home on this already oppressive album. The sheer aggression of the amplified violin's slices and Fripp's guitar work prove they weren't just trying to fill up time. They had something to say here. It might take a few listens to hear, understand, and appreciate that message, but each subtle detail can bring the listener something new. Something you might miss on the first couple listens. By the end, you feel refreshed and ready for whatever the next track has to offer.

But nobody could've seen this coming...

Starless is the best, most inspiring track I've ever heard. My absolute favorite song. Every time it starts, I'm instantly reduced to tears. How a single track can stir every emotion within me with so few words is a truly miraculous feat. My passion for music might have remained forever undiscovered if not for having the privilege of hearing this astounding work of art. But enough fanboy talk. Everything from the opening mellotron to the subdued, lamenting vocals makes you immediately don a sense of reflective melancholy. Fripp's delicate, sorrowful guitar line floats lightly above the mix, until the voice returns to deliver an emotionally driven reflection that evokes images of a definitive ending. After a final tear- jerking mellotron swell, the bass begins a repetitive bass line in an asymmetric 13/4 meter that foretells the coming of something sinister. Fripp lightly enters, playing a mere two notes for measure after measure. Bruford adds percussion little by little as the bass steadily builds in intensity and the guitar progressively becomes more biting and aggressive. Before you know it, you're consumed by these ever-building performing forces, and you know whatever you though might be approaching is almost there, with every passing progression drawing closer and closer. The final progression stops with a drum fill, and you're left in a sense of static limbo, but by no means has the intensity subsided. The guitar and bass interject a tense, dissonant transition that builds your sense of anticipation even further than you thought possible after the preceding passage. The guitar rises higher and higher, and just when you think you can't wait any longer, a literal explosion of activity. The most driving solo passage imaginable emerges, the saxophone belting out notes that cover a wide span of the instrument's range. The 13/8 meter here really sets it apart from your garden-variety solo passage, and the reemergence of the buildup passage's bass line appropriately reduced to fit the new meter proves this was more than just an elaborate, energetic improv. There was compositional intent and preparation behind this section. This was no mere coincidence. After the sax solo, the listener is treated to a brief reprise of the opening vocal theme played as a duet by alto and soprano sax over bass and rapid hi-hat accompaniment. Drum fill to exit, the three sickest chromatic descending bass notes you'll hear this side of the musical world, and it's Fripp's turn to bring about the end of the world. This is the absolute peak here. His solo...there's just so much power and aggression behind it...It's almost as though he's literally having to beat and rip the notes out of the instrument. I can't do anything close to doing it justice by attempting to describe it on purely analytical, technical terms. All I know is he must have known the end of the era was approaching, and this solo was his last chance to give voice to his artistic passion. If this was his closing argument, he has indefinitely shut up any who might debate his status as a master musician and brilliant composer. Once his solo concludes, the listener is lifted up with a powerful reprise of Fripp's opening guitar theme. The mellotron swells again, moving between tonic and dominant chords, until one final restatement of Fripp's theme, and the song ends, leaving the listener in a state of wonder as the final note from each instrument trails off. The song is over, but its impact will live on. No track I have heard thus far reaches the emotional peaks this one did. It is an absolute work of art and rightfully serves as one of the pieces by which the relative merits of other works are judged.

This is a truly magical album. It stands alone as one of the crowning achievements in the entire King Crimson canon. It soars to new heights of emotional depth that no other Crimson album has been able to match for me. It contains the absolute best the band had to offer, and considering this was clearly a highly accomplished band, that speaks volumes for the material packed into this collection of five unique tracks. This is a must-have for anyone, and if you're reading this review and haven't yet heard it for yourself, I can't insist enough that you act at once to remedy the situation. I couldn't be happier to give this album the highest possible rating. 5 stars for a truly monumental musical achievement.

Report this review (#895044)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#899526)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red was the album that followed Starless and Bible Black, and the core of the group is still there - Fripp on guitars, Bruford on drums, and Wetton on bass and vocals. They also have guest appearances of former Crimson alumni - Collins and McDonald on saxophones, and Cross on violin. There are also appearances by Charig on coronet and Miller on oboe, who both had guested on Lizard. So what we have here is ovbiously a King Crimson family reunion, right? Wrong!

What we have is a band in its death throes. Fripp was tired of the way Crimson was heading and was preparing to end of the band (for the first time). Of course we know that this would be a lengthy hiatus, but at the time we thought they were gone.

The title track is probably the most covered track in the Crimson repitoire - for good reason. This song COOKS! Any cover version pales in comparison tothe original. One More Red Nightmare puts voice to the feelings of Crimson at the time. Providence is one of the band's best improvisations (recoreded in Providence, hence the title), and Starless could easily have fit into the themes from the previous album.

As with most people, this is my favorite iteration of the band, and I wish they would reunite, maybe even adding Cross back into the mix. But for a goodbye album, well...gosh, this is near perfect!

Report this review (#906021)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well... here we are. King Crimson's other magnum opus. Now, KC had traversed many ideas of progressive rock, with their symphonic debut and smooth jazz outings on Lizard and Islands. However, the fabled MkII lineup (the most stable one yet), created a grinding, almost metallic atmosphere. This idea reaches its peak on Red.

The album starts off with a bang. The title track is a simple instrumental, revolving around a riff that has inspired many prog metallers to come. Wetton's bass work is phenomenal, and always seems to be overlooked by Fripp's nasty guitar sound and Bruford's pounding drums. It truly grabs you in, and sends you on a wild journey.

Fallen Angel is my second favorite Crimson song, trailing the fan favorite Starless, which is also on this album. The intro begins as a slow, relaxed ballad with Wetton's famous pipes leading the tune. As the chorus comes in, things get a tad bit heavy. Suddenly, we're back to the ballad! It's truly a strange tune, with lyrics about a Hell's Angels member whose brother has died. Not your typical fare. A blasting cornet line from Keith Tippett's Mark Charig demolishes the last chorus, and the song ends.

The last song to end side one is plodding. It's jazz-metal, really. The angry saxophone lines and Fripp's searing guitar create the terrifying atmosphere of One More Red Nightmare. The lyrics really add to the song, which are about a terror on a red-eye flight. (Twilight Zone, anybody?) Mel Collins truly shines here, and blasts out one heck of a sax solo that would make the late jazz greats King Curtis and John Coltrane seem like 5th grade band students. A wonderful track, and a great side closer.

Side two is a bit of an anomaly. Providence, a live improv piece performed in the city of the same name, opens here. It's a strange atmosphere. David Cross appears on violin here, so we know it's the LTIA/S&BB era Crimson. The sounds are very cool, and Fripp lays out some awesome soundscapes. Then Bruford comes in. What we had as a cool improv piece, completely killed it. Not really a brilliant track. I feel like it's a little unnecessary on such a heavy album like Red, but hey. It's King Crimson.

The album closes with a 12 minute monster. Starless is one of the most hallowed progressive rock songs, and with good reason too. Fripp's melancholy mellotron (see what I did there?) line opens up the song, and Bruford plays a small beat. Wetton's soulful singing brings out the wonderful lyrics about insanity, making them seem more beautiful than ever. After the intro finishes out, Wetton lays down a bassline. It may be a very simple bassline, but man. It's tense. Bruford eventually adds in some drum hits. Fripp brings in a very simple guitar pattern. Bruford starts to get a little crazy. David Cross brings in some screechy violin bits. Suddenly, the song blows up. Ian MacDonald scorches the earth with a brilliant sax solo. The solo ends, and the main theme from the beginning comes in for a little bit with Bruford's quick hi-hat hits accenting it. Heavy guitar notes come in, and we're back to the nasty bassline that came in during the sax solo. The oboe comes in, and signals the song to stop. A very cool plodding bassline by Wetton dominates the end, and the opening mellotron is back. This ending, in my opinion, is one of the most iconic moments in progressive rock history. Period. Actually, scratch that. This entire album, is a cornerstone of the genre. If Providence was left out or cut down a bit (8 minutes is a stretch, don't you think?), I would award this album 5 stars. 4.5 stars should suffice though.

Report this review (#928426)
Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I hate Kurt Cobain, but knowing he worshipped Red is at least something I can identify with. This is the best King Crimson ever made and it's all the more inspiring to know they were on the edge of the cliff and that Robert Fripp withdrew his opinion shortly after having his head blow off by J. G. Bennett: it sounds like it and it doesn't.

What I find the (to use those dreadful superlatives) most unbelievable about this period of KC and which separates it from all others is the role live improv played in the music birth, out of the five cuts, three were informed by live improvs ("Red" - Felt Forum '74, I believe; "Fallen Angel" - late '72; "One More Red Nightmare" - Toronto '74) and one is recorded live ("Providence" - Providence '74), not only that, but the improvs themselves were darker and more intense than they were previously and would be afterwards.

Red is one of those albums which something new is discovered after every listen and all of the elements inside it contribute to the lasting effect it produces. It is as beautiful as it is nihilistic and sombre, and why it cannot be overrated ever, it is one of those albums which is as good as it is claimed to be, and this one is excellent!

Report this review (#931218)
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars So this is the big King Crimson album of the 70's. The band was a trio at the time, but cleverly, they used guest musicians to complete their final masterpiece. OK, enough with the history class. Let's get to business!

Red starts with it's title track, the instrumental, powerful, and highly-influential-on-other-Prog-bands-to-come "Red". The riff is simply great, Fripp is doing his finest. Bruford and Wetton are also an excellent pair. You might complain about the length of the track, and yes, listening for the first time I felt the same thing. But as you listen more and more to it, you start to feel the song is no more lengthy.

Next song is titled "Fallen Angel". A good song. The small intro makes me feel like I'm in a Chinese restaurant. The rest of the song progresses with Wetton's great vocals on this one. We hear McDonald's sax on this one, and the combination of Wetton's excellent vocals and McDonald's powerful sax makes this song a treat.

"One More Red Nightmare" is a funny song. But don't get me wrong. It is also very beautiful. Bruford is doing some intense drumming on this one (Is he smashing his drumsticks on a piece of metal? or maybe a pan? It sounds brilliant and aggressive, anyway). and the lyrics makes me smile. As far as I know, the lyrics are about one of Wetton's nightmares. And they're just hilarious.

Next one is a live improvisation: "Providence" made at Providence, while on USA tour with David Cross still on board. despite all the negative reviews on this song made by other reviewers on this site, I like this song very much. IMHO, This, alongside the "Asbury Park" improvisation, are King Crimson's best improvisations. I strongly recommend the reader to listen to this track on headphones so he/she can hear every single detail.

Now, we reach the killer song, the final song: "Starless". King Crimson really scored with this one. Mellotron, Violin, Drums, Oboe, Sax, Guitar all perfectly fit in their right places. Wetton provides a sweet bassline and great vocals. Fripp changes between mellotron and Guitar in the middle, Bruford's every single beat is solid and on the right time, and McDonald and Cross join the show on the right time. The ending is just epic. By epic I mean EPIC. Don't miss this one.

Overall: This album is one of King Crimson and Prog Rock's finest creations, and with songs like "Red" and "Starless", it gaurantees itself an eternal place in prog rock history.

Report this review (#932917)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was shocked reading tags like "stupid" at Robert Fripp's Last Fm page. Stupid? He's a badass, and he could do whatever he wants, since his music have been influencing generation after generation, including everyone labeling him as stupid, because if they are looking for Fripp's page in our days, of course they are into King Crimson and stuff. My favorite guitar player, Dennis "Piggy" D'amour (Voivod) was highly influenced by Fripp -Red and Exposure at most- chords and style.

King Crimson's Red, marks the end of an overrated era. And no one can't deny: The riffs from Red (the main song) are not complex, but catchy, creative and a relevant sonority for the things to come into the worldwide music. Listening to this opening track, I can travel through space and time, is like being sucked by a black hole. Fallen Angel's progression is flawless and that guitar repetitive note according to the song's base works perfect. One More Red Nightmare seems to be a sequel to Red. And it's awesome too. The B-Side really carries a conclusion atmoshpere, a GREAT CONCLUSION atmosphere with Providence and Starless. Wetton's vocal seems a Greg Lake wannabe, but I like it. Well, Greg Lake would be better here...

It's hard for me support the hype, but it's okay. 5 stars crimson red.

EDIT: Wetton's voice fits perfect.

Report this review (#971443)
Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Dang. Solid Crimson once again.

The title track of this album is a cool jam with signature jamming between Bruford and Fripp (I'd consider Wetton signature if he had a longer time with the band). It starts out in a 5/8 - 4/4 riff with fills before entering into a dissonant riff. The song gives off a dark impression and gives a very complete sound full of grit and, as usual, neat cymbal patterns and guitar work from Fripp.

"Fallen Angel" is just deceptive. The beginning fools you with a false mood that suddenly turns into a tune that reminisces a more In the Court-sounding verse, but this song still establishes itself in the newer style of the band and doesn't recall too much to the earlier work. It has a neat chorus and finally recalls the guitar line at the song's intro (thank goodness, thought those first seconds were for nothing). It's all melancholy while still a good jam track. Bruford's eclecticism shines here, as it does all throughout the album.

"One More Red Nightmare" is excellent. More use of tritones like the first track had, and there are lots of neat effects. The clapping sounds overdubbed. It's an odd effect and almost reminds me of the water sloshing on "Easy Money" from Larks'. This song is one of the greatest on the album, probably sitting at #2. The instrumental side of the music just keeps getting more and more exciting.

"Providence" is like "Moonchild Part 3". Thankfully it doesn't find itself as masturbatory as the original or "The Devil's Triangle". But I don't feel as amused as the improvising on Moonchild. The structuring was a backwards plan: "Moonchild" gets out the more cohesive side out of the way at the start, while "Providence" starts with all the wackiness and then becomes more accessible (or listenable in the first place). I don't exactly have words to describe this piece. I don't mind it because it is a change to all we'd heard before. I guess it's just the calm before the storm(?), which happens to be...

The ever so wonderful "Starless". I absolutely love this tune. Only vocals in the first section, and it's soothing to really hear Wetton purr in this tune. Gorgeous melodies all around on vocals and guitar, too. Then the song submerges into the haunting bass line in 13/8, alternated upward/downward strum of the guitar, and polyrhythmic flams FEATURING COWBELL. This section alone could send me away for twenty minutes or so before I realize "Hey, this has definitely gone on for twenty minutes or so". The drum beat comes in, and the tension rises and finally climaxes with an intense sax solo and great overall whole band performance. The rest is history.

Great great album.

Report this review (#993865)
Posted Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me start my review of Red with a question for my fellow reviewers. Does anyone else out there hesitate to review their favorite albums? Perhaps it's because I want to pick the right words, and it's difficult to describe absolute brilliance. It has taken me a while to get around to reviewing Red, which is Kiing Crimson's best album IMO. I considered the warning about posting 5 star reviews on this site very carefully. But this album rates 5 stars as much as any album I've ever heard.

I thinik what makes Red so great is that it encapsulates the various elements that make up King Crimson. The mellotron sounds that originated with their first album are here on "Starless". David Cross' violin, last heard on Starless and Bible Black, is also here. But we also hear the aggresiveness of the Discipline album in the song "Red". As other reviewers have also noted, it's almost metal.

"Providence" is almost free jazz in the style of Beat's "Requiem". If I had to pick one track that doesn't measure up to the rest, it would be this one; it's TOO free form to love unconditionally. That's a minor complaint in the grand scheme. I love the woodwinds (I guess cornet is a brass instrument) on "One More Red Nightmare" and elsewhere. I wish KC would incorporate more of them in their music.

Then there's "Starless". As cerebral as King Crimson tends to be, I'm sometimes surprised at the beauty of some of their music. "Starless" incorporates KC's various elements into one 12-minute track. It's one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. The range exhibited in this short 40-minute album is what puts Red at the top of the list; In The Court Of The Crimson King and Discipline come real close. For my money, though, Red reigns supreme!

Report this review (#1016231)
Posted Sunday, August 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars First released on:

King Crimson is one of those mythical bands that unfortunately haven't got the fame that other bands of their time did. Although this can be said of many bands from the 70's, King Crimson is a special case. Their music has been so influential along the decades, and their songs have reach such level of reverence among the progressive rock community, that it's difficult to understand how they haven't reach the levels of popularity some of their contemporaries have.

Red (1974) is the third installment of what has been referred to as the "heavy metal trilogy", a series of albums beginning with the 1973 release of Larks' Tongues in Aspic and followed by Starless and Bible Black (1974) that experimented with jazzy improvisations, heavier riffs and dynamic changes of pace and volume. Red is the one with less improvisational material and more compositions from the trilogy, and is probably the most focused work. This is an astonishing accomplishment as the band was about to split when the album was in the making, and was already defunct by the time of its release.

From the first riffs of Red until the climax of Starless the listener is taken for a ride through all the influences this band has shown across years. Their classical background is displayed in the structure and composition of the songs, while their jazzier side becomes evident in the most climatic and heavy moments, especially in the percussion department. Being one of the founders of the progressive rock movement of the 70's, all these elements take a very complex turn, with unusual tempos and featuring the musicians' talents as crucial elements.

Brufford shines throughout the album, showing how talented a musician he is, and why he is such an important figure in the music world. He gives the album its jazzy undertone with his magnificently diverse percussions. The bass, played wonderfully by Wetton is the backbone of the album, creating its menacing atmosphere. Finally, Robert Fripp with his innovative and heavy guitar work is the essential player in this album. He gives substance to all tracks, creating fantastic dissonant melodies and amazing layers of sound in each of them.

The songs here are some of the most memorable in the vast King Crimson catalogue. The instrumental composition Red is probably the most well-known and maybe the most influential song, mainly because of the heavy guitar lead, and its violent riffs. It has elements from previous instrumentals like Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part II and Fracture, but with King Crimson at the top in composition skills and musicianship. It shows a band in their peak of maturity, able to write compositions that seem chaotic but have a structure within them, unlike previous experiments.

The importance of the wind section is very big in Red. This is noticeable in songs like Fallen Angel, a track that owes most of its dreamlike feeling to the oboe and the saxophone in it. What starts as a nice dream becomes a nightmare when Fripp's weeping guitar comes in and Wetton's voice calls for the fallen angel in the title. The saxophone plays a big part in this transition, which is as sudden as beautifully performed.

One More Red Nightmare continues the nightmarish and threatening dynamic with its violent bass riff and incredible percussion. The saxophone plays a crucial role here as well, working along with the guitar to create the plane crash effect of the song's instrumental sections, which go along with its lyrics written by Wetton.

The second side of the album features the instrumental Providence which is a live track, and features David Cross on violin, as he was still part of the band then. It is a minimalistic track, featuring delightful percussion from Brufford and menacing guitar work from Fripp. Wetton then comes in as the band jams until the improvisation ends.

Finishing the album is the epic Starless. This track is the ultimate King Crimson experience being one of their most accomplished compositions and probably the best one in the album. Divided in three parts, the first section has one of the most gorgeous mellotron melodies ever and has Wetton almost crying the lyrics out with his melancholic voice. The second part is a very jazzy and avant-garde build-up, with Brufford in the forefront and Wetton and Fripp delivering hypnotic sounds until it gets to the climax. The apocalyptic ending of Starless is probably one of the most impressive existing musical sections, featuring as tight a musicianship as you can get, with all the musicians playing at their top.

What this album shows is a band in top form in every sense possible, and some of the best compositions in the rock realm. This is an album that deserves the mythic status that it has, a work of pure art by three of the best musicians in the business. Though Fripp would reform King Crimson in the 80's, the band never got their 70's sound back, and I can think of no better swan song for that King Crimson generation than this album. Red is no question a work of genius that should be remembered for its creativity and its elegance as an essential album in music history.

Report this review (#1090187)
Posted Sunday, December 15, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to admit (but without trying to sound ashamed about it) that my 'progression through music' did not result in my love of Prog until about 5-6 years ago. I am 36 now, so I missed living through the glory years, but benefit from being able to discover a pre-written library of greatness that is going through an exciting revival. I discovered Prog after around 16 years of being into various genres of metal (Goth/Industrial at the fore) and feeling like I needed something 'extra' in my music. Prog delivers that.

King Crimson's 'Red' was my introduction to Prog and this great band. I can honestly say that I love all era's of KC equally, and can't wait for the new album.

Red is quite simply an absolute gem. The title track is probably the heaviest thing I have ever heard with it's intensity (Please don't quote me on the likes of SYL / Morbid Angel etc - I am talking about an album from the 70's and a sound that echoes through bands like Al Jourgenson's 'Ministry' years later!), and those drums....... 'Awesome' does not even begin to describe - although 'Bruford' is a good starting point. The whole album is riddled with greatness and enviable quality.

This is a true 5* offering

Report this review (#1135964)
Posted Sunday, February 23, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars The rules for a five-star review do not say "you are a fan of the band" or that "you are a fan of the album"...they say "essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music."

There is absolutely no question that this particular piece of art qualifies as a masterpiece of progressive rock music. I could go do track by track review of this disc but it really is not needed--if you like progressive rock at all you simply must hear this album.

This is heavier than a lot of progressive rock and could be grating to listeners that love the major key symphonic style music. That is not a reason to avoid checking this out...this, along with The Court Of The Crimson King, are essential albums to show what King Crimson was.

The title track is pretty much flawless as a progressive/rock/metal tour-de-force instrumental. Starless is one of the best songs to show how soloing doesn't have to be about note to be emotional--and it also features mellotrons, symphonic structures, odd times, and playing that has to be hear to be believed. And the rest of the album is pretty darn amazing as well (especially the drum/bass interplay on One Red Nightmare).

Get this album. You might not like it...and it could change your musical life. Either way, if you are looking at posts on this site you need to hear this one.

Report this review (#1250550)
Posted Friday, August 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Red is one of those albums where you wonder if this or ITCOTCK is the best album by king crimson. And in my opinion Red is the winner here by a close one. It opens up to a strong instrumental which is the opening track, it provides a powerful instrumental (and a damn good instrumental too) and the listener which will keep them listening to the end of the song. Fallen angel Is a different story whereas it's a ballad where wetton's voice is at his best. One more red nightmare is a catchy track which has a nice jazz fusion throughout the song and it's one of my favourite song in the album. The only problem is that it ends abruptly which confused me at first and the ending could have been changed, so it's an A rating instead of an A+. Providence is an improved piece and at first I was scared to listen to this track (with the hopes of providence being the same as moonchild in their debut and I don't want to explain again how terrible moonchild was) but providence was different, it caught my attention and I was entertained. But the violin portion tends to bore me which leaves me to give this album a C+.

And starless.... What a song, it's hands down the best song in the album. In fact it's one of my favourite songs of all time. Starless is an example of the definition of progressive rock. It starts off with a short ballad with wetton's vocals being great as always, then it turns into a 2 note guitar portion which focuses on wetton's bass throughout the 5 minutes. And the last 3 minutes..... It's the best part about this song. The epic climax which makes you change your pants every time you hear it. And the last minute is one of the most beautiful endings I've heard in a song.

Red (A+)

Fallen angel (-A)

One more red nightmare (A)

Providence (+C)

Starless (A+)

Overall verdict : (A+) or 4.7 stars

Overall verdict of this album is definitely the best album king crimson have produced, it's the album that got me hooked me into king crimson music and this album will remain one of my best album if all time. Give it a listen, if you like jazz and progressive rock you will like this album. But if you don't like jazz/heavy rock then I would suggest skipping red, one more red nightmare and providence. And go listen to starless or fallen angel.

4.7 stars rounded up to 5 stars

Report this review (#1298441)
Posted Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'll admit right up front that King Crimson has yet to really sink in for me. I have four albums now, and none of them move me to the point that I feel that I love them and that I can listen to them any time from front to back. Strangely enough though, each year that I have bought a King Crimson album there has been one song that has made it into my top ten most listened to songs purchased in that year. Since 2012, I have been making a playlist for all my purchases of each year and at the end of the year I can check to see which songs got the most play. In 2012 one song was "One More Red Nightmare" from this album here. In 2013 it was "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part One" and in 2014 it was "Thela Hun Ginjeet" from "Discipline". So even though I still don't get King Crimson like some people do, I can find something to love from each album I've bought so far.

"Red" was my second acquisition after the classic debut. "In the Court of the Crimson King" still leaves me wondering. I like "21st Century Schizoid Man" and the title track, but the rest of the album hasn't yet sunk in. So, what was it that prompted me to get "Red"? One was the reviews that I read that said "Red" had lots of good proto-metal on it. I'm a big fan of late sixties and early seventies heavy metal, or what they call these days "proto-metal", so that was a strong selling point for me. But more than that is the appearance of Bill Bruford on this album. I had recently been listening carefully to his drumming with Yes, especially on the first album and "The Yes Album" and I wanted more.

Now I said that I haven't really been able to get into King Crimson and until the other night, "Red" was no exception. I loved "One More Red Nightmare" for almost everything about it. I don't like that sound that resembles an electronic handclap but the heavy guitar rocks and Bill Bruford gives such a fantastic performance here. Even John Wetton's vocal performance is actually quite suitable. I say this because one thing I do not like about "Red" and "Larks' Tongues" and even the UK debut is Wetton's singing. He does very well on Asia's debut but he doesn't strike me as having mastered control of his voice with King Crimson or UK. And that might be the main reason why the two KC albums of the seventies that I own have not left me in spasms of joy.

But wait! I did say until the other night I could not get into King Crimson albums. The other night I gave this album my full attention and working around the vocal performances that sometimes made me wince ("Fallen Angel" and "Starless and Bible Black") I found that there was some excellent music and very cool sounds to enjoy. Of course the title track, an instrumental, is easy for me to like because of the heavy guitar and Bruford's drumming. A great start! "Fallen Angel" might not be so bad except for the vocals. A weak track for me though I'll admit the music is pretty good.

I've already sung praises for "One More Red Nightmare" but I'll say again, Bruford's drumming is his best post Yes performance that I have heard. "Providence" actually was a third choice for me because of where the music gets to after 4:50. Up to then there is a slow building of scritchy scratchy violin, random percussion bits, some bass rumbles and hiccoughs, and a general feeling that the musicians are all playing extremely remotely from each other and just sending out signals to locate each other in deep space, working slowly towards getting together to finally actually make music. When this happens after 4:50, the effect is a great highlight of the album. John Wetton's bass and Bill Bruford's drumming really make this track. Robert Fripp adds some feedback and distortion and there's more violin and a bit of flute in parts, but I love the music mostly for Wetton and Bruford.

"Starless and Bible Black" I had written off as another semi-ballad with Wetton's unimpressive vocals; however, I found that as the song gets moving along the music becomes really captivating. There's some great stuff happening there. As a result of my discoveries, I have come to think of this album not only as a remarkable piece of work for its reputation as one, but I have come to actually feel it's a remarkable piece of work. Hey, I'll give it four stars at least for what this album is to prog history, but now I'll give it four stars because I sincerely feel it deserves it.

Why not five stars? Well, there's Wetton's vocals which for me at least have not come into full bloom yet. And in "Providence" the 4:50 of waiting for the musicians to coalesce their individual squawks, peeps, patters and rumbles is actually a bit long unless one is in the mood to have the patience to let it develop. I understand what they were doing. But it can sometimes seem like what I call "being weird for the sake of weirdness". But that's King Crimson, isn't it?

Report this review (#1363489)
Posted Friday, February 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a gem in progressive rock. It is as good as In the Court of the Crimson King, if not, better. This is King Crimson's seventh studio album and last for a seven year period. The line up on it is a trio of just Fripp on guitar, Wetton on vocals/bass, and Bruford on drums.

The album starts with the title track of "Red". This is instrumental and is heavy on guitar. It has multiple riffs and is known as one of the greatest guitar songs. Wetton also does a superb job on the bass in this song as Bruford is drumming.

The second track is called "Fallen Angel." on the album opens with some violin and fades into Wetton singing. This song is also known to be the last song featuring acoustic guitar. It's lyrics talk of brotherhood in New York City. The middle section has a repeating lick with trumpets and singing. It then goes into my personal favorite guitar section. Fallen Angel is a beautiful and slightly underrated prog rock song

The next song on the album is "One More Red Nightmare." This starts out with heavy guitar and drumming. The lyrics talk about a man having a nightmare about a crashing airplane. What's really amazing is Bruford's drumming. He makes a sound that sounds like a whip and I often pretend to whip things while listening to it. The song has a few superb sax solos which are mind blowing.

The b-side starts with what i think everyone would agree is the worst part of the album. "Providence." This was a live improvisation with audience noise edited out like on "Starless and Bible Black" However this takes five minutes to build up unlike the good improvisations. Although the last three minutes are probably one of Crimson's finest improvisations.

And so we get to the fifth track on the album, the twelve minute swan song, "Starless" It starts with mellotron and a small melody on the guitar. The lyrics are about depression, making it a good song to listen to for if you have a bad day. The sax is quite beautiful within these first four minutes of beauty. After the first four minutes, the song sets you up for a build up with a strange riff running the whole thing. As it builds up it gets better and finally goes into a jazz section-then a quick melody reprise-then more jazz, and then it hits you-the beautiful guitar riff from the start is played and melotron slithers in, with heavy guitar, and goosebumps every time. Starless is known to be Crimson's greatest achievement.

What I realized about this album is how much it echoes "In the Court of the Crimson King" The first song is a heavy guitar song with a different middle section on each, the second song is a more relaxing multi-insterment song, the third song is a more intense and popular song on each, the fourth song is an improvisation on each, and the last song is a beautiful long song on each. It's interesting if you think about it. Overall, "Red" is an amazing album and a must have for anyone who loves prog rock.


1. Starless 2. One More Red Nightmare 3. Fallen Angel 4. Red 5. Providence

Favorite album quote: "Old friend, charity. Cruel, twisted smile, and the smile, signaled emptieness, for me." -From "Starless"

Report this review (#1400712)
Posted Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Edit: As with a lot of King Crimson stuff, this one has grown considerably since my initial review (the very first review I wrote for the site, in fact!) over a year ago. Here goes.

If you've read this far down the album's page, you should already know the history behind "Red". After David Cross left, King Crimson was left as a trio and Fripp had come to terms with the fact that by the end of 1974, King Crimson would be disbanded. This wasn't permanent, of course, but I always consider it to be the end of the "true" King Crimson. That probably sounds a little pretentious, but I really feel that with "Red", King Crimson had left their true swan song, and none of the albums under the KC name that have followed have been able to produce as much of a cohesive, immersive musical experience of we hear on this one.

After the patchy half-studio, half-live "Starless and Bible Black", the hard-hitting title track opens up this one with the amps cranked to 11 and we know right away that Fripp & co. have a vision in mind with this album. The dark, brooding atmosphere, coupled with the stark album cover, tells us that this is going to be a different kind of King Crimson album. This is a more human, more moving collection of songs. Gone are the days of the idealist, escapist exercises in imagination of "In The Wake of Poseidon" or "Islands". Indeed, you won't find yourself daydreaming to "Red" the same way you might to "Cadence and Cascade" or "Formentera Lady", but the choice by King Crimson to make their send-off very down-to-Earth was an effective choice, and this is perhaps one of the first times that we can really empathise with a band who, to many, sounds very cold and impersonal.

The highlight of the album, aside from the sombre "Fallen Angel", with its beautiful acoustic guitar and wind arrangements intertwined into Robert Fripp's domineering distorted riffs, is, of course, "Starless". There was really no better way to end the album than this one. I can't help but notice, when I listen to this one, that there are many callbacks and quotes of earlier King Crimson works. Indeed, Mel Collins' main saxophone melody is actually taken directly from the Bolero section of "Lizard", albeit rearranged for a 4/4 time signature. The tense middle section reminds me of a similar build-up in "Pictures of A City", only this time expanded out to a more complete potential. And the jazzy uptempo saxophone jam wouldn't seem out of place in "Larks' Tongues In Aspic, Pt. 1". The sum of the parts, of course, is more than just a collection of past ideas; it truly stands on its own as an independent unit. There's really no question why it's become as popular as it has among fans.

My only complaint with this album is, as many others have stated, "Providence". Not because it's dissonant, though; King Crimson pulled that off with great success many other times on their earlier studio albums. Many are quick to compare it to "Moonchild", but I don't feel that analogy is apt. Where the jam in "Moonchild" was meant to lull you enough that the vast opening chords of "The Court of The Crimson King" would hit you like a freight train of sound, "Providence" does little to set up "Starless", except maybe for the fact that it makes you desperate to want to hear "Starless" start. The 8 minutes of this live improvisation are tense, but the tension is never released, the idea never develops into anything. Compared to many of the brilliant improvised works the band had been doing around this time, this was probably one of the poorest they could have chosen from.

With the inclusion of "Providence", I can't bring myself to give this album a 5-star rating, as it isn't a masterpiece. Having said that, I really can't recommend it enough. "Red" is not just a treat for King Crimson fans, but it's also a fantastic introduction to the band. The fact that it sounds very modern (along with Van der Graaf Generator, this album is probably directly responsible for the "dark, edgy prog" aesthetic that's so prevalent today) might even make it more approachable to new listeners than "In The Court of The Crimson King". And if you're a metalhead, this is THE starting point to getting into prog. In all, a 4 star rating. An excellent, excellent, excellent addition to any music collection.

Report this review (#1433437)
Posted Wednesday, July 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars The rating is not important. This is a masterpiece, but it's not perfect. When i first listened to this album i coud feel my ears and mind expanding.

-Track 1: very dark and heavy, really, more than metal. The feeling i get every time i hear this track is like a revelation of the darkness of my soul. -Track 2: excellent "song". With dark atmosphere. Wetton's timbre fits perfectly. -Track 3: rocking song with solos. Awesome sax solo and guitars. -Track 4: An avant-garde jam that doesn't have anything in particular that i like. -Track 5: The epic. It is a great epic. Unforgettable guitar melody on the intro. Depressive mood. Mellotron and strings give more emotion. The instrumental section starts mysterious and goes in crescendo, ending with that unforgattable melody of the intro.

Listen to this album, it is essential. I gave 4 stars just because of the track 4 which doesn't fit well among the other pieces.

//EDIT: Considering how important this album is for me, i have to upload my rating to 5 stars. However, i alredy declared it is a masterpiece. Now it's fair.

Report this review (#1435822)
Posted Sunday, July 5, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars King Crimson: a pool of ever-changing talent rarely ceases to amaze. Most of the time I disagree with Mr. Fripp's ideas of the structure of his band, however I like to forget background information of something and just listen to the music sometimes. Red was one of these instances, and without thoughts of the details the music simply sounded better.

1974 was the year were metal was starting to spring up all over the place. Much credit was due to King Crimson for their early work to the creation of the genre, however by this time they seemed to be more of another hard prog band.While other bands like Scorpions, Sabbath, and Judas Priest all started experimenting with this newly founded genre, King Crimson continued to write elaborate compositions with much flare and musical brilliance. I will admit that I disliked much of their pre-Red content, but when this album came around everything changed. It was less about being art for arts sake and more about playing what they willed. Mind you, changes were still made and lineups were constantly fixed and re- ordered, so much chaos still happened there. The beauty about Red however is none of that translates to the music. In the recording studio, all was forgotten.

The title track is a wonderful opening, probably one of the more themed tracks as opposed to jamming, but it's utilization of ambiance and heavy guitar with no vocals bogging it down (one of the few songs where I feel like it would). 'Fallen Angel' translates to me more of a ballad, and marks one of the weaker points of the album. Fripp intended it to be more "emotional", but I found it to be rather weak in comparison to the rest of the album. One thing that never really changes is Wetton's amazing vocalizations which seem to fit into every musical circumstance. He is definitely a singer that brightened up any weak part the album has. 'One More Red Nightmare' is one of the aforementioned jams. Although the term 'jam' may not be exactly fitting, the song's length does lead to many tangents that the band members expound on briefly. Much like 'Red', this song has some fantastic riffing and great clear drumming from Bruford. Wetton's vocal skills are probably on peak at this point, along with his bass-work. Violins bring in the next track, 'Providence', most of which is much adventurous work of different instrumentations that come in at different parts. Slightly uncomfortable due to it's erratic nature; very reminiscent to Ummagumma-esque Floyd if you enjoy that sort of music. 'Starless' is a fantastic mix of everything you've heard prior in an orchestral style all in a clean twelve minutes. Shifting constantly, it never ceases to lose your attention and also does a great job closing shop.

As a final verdict, Red is undeniably wonderful. Wouldn't exactly call it a masterpiece due to some of the weaker aspects but it still shines wonderfully with what it does well and I applaud Crimson for being able to accomplish it. I think a healthy 4-4.5 stars is fitting.

Report this review (#1437179)
Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review Nº 18

King Crimson was founded in 1969 by guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Michael Giles. King Crimson is probably the most innovative and experimental group that ever existed. The band is considered the founder of the progressive rock music, with their debut studio album "In The Court Of The Crimson King", released in 1969. The group's sound incorporated various musical influences, during their long history, ranging from jazz, classical, experimental, psychedelic, heavy metal, new wave, hard rock, folk and electronic. In my humble opinion, beyond King Crimson be the most experimental and innovator group in the progressive rock scene, it's the most eclectic too. In one occasion, someone even said that sometimes, the group makes a kind of an intelligent heavy metal sound.

"Red" is their seventh studio album and was released in 1974. It was their last studio album in the 70's, before Fripp temporarily disbanded the group, in the same year. The album has been released later, in the same year, after their split and without the usual world live tour.

The line up on the album is Robert Fripp (guitar and mellotron), John Wetton (vocals and bass guitar) and Bill Bruford (drums and percussion). The previous fourth band's member David Cross (violin), left the group in 1974, reducing the group as a trio. Nevertheless, the trio recorded the album with the help of Cross, as a guest musician. The album had also the participation of five other guest artists, Ian McDonald (alto saxophone), Mel Collins (soprano saxophone), Mark Charing (cornet), Robin Miller (oboe) and Richard Palmer-James (lyrics). McDonald and Collins are two other ex-members of the group. This trio is formed by three of the most brilliant musicians and instrumentalists who ever existed. Fripp, beyond the founder and leader of King Crimson, is considered one of the best musicians and guitarists. He also has collaborated with many other artists, all over the time. Wetton was one of the founder members, the front man and the principal songwriter of Asia. He was also member or cooperated with so many others bands and soloists all over the time, such as, Family, Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, UK, Steve Hackett and Wishbone Ash, beyond his solo musical career. Bruford, was one of the founder members of Yes, and has been a prominent figure in the progressive rock movement. He made the live tour of "Seconds Out", as the drummer of Genesis, and has also a solo career of great success. Bruford is also considered one of the greatest drummers of all time.

"Red" has five tracks. The first track "Red" written by Fripp is the title track song. It's an instrumental track, very powerful and heavy. It features heavy guitars, an incredible bass line and a unique drumming style. It shows clearly the band's ability to feature multiple time signatures in only one song. Despite being a song written in 1974, it sounds very futuristic, even now. The second track "Fallen Angel" written by Fripp, Wetton and Palmer- James is a very beautiful ballad with great vocal performance by Wetton. It has beautiful musical arrangements that include reverse delays and mellotron lines, which give to it a unique flavour. The third track "One More Red Nightmare" written by Fripp and Wetton is a very dynamic and energetic track with great guitar work. It has also an interesting sound, clapping hands. It features different time signatures with an unforgettable guitar riff, an impressive saxophone solo and the great ability of Wetton singing. The fourth track "Providence" written by Fripp, Wetton, Bruford and Palmer-James is other instrumental track, very experimental, and it's probably the most progressive song on the album. Here, we can appreciate the incredible communion between all band members. "Providence" was recorded live, and is the only live piece on the album. The fifth track "Starless" written by Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, Cross and Palmer-James is the lengthiest track on the album and is, for me, a really masterpiece, and is one of my favourite King Crimson songs. It's a great dark song with the Wetton's melancholic voice. This is a truly classic song, and I'm really glad that it has returned live on the Wetton's solo set list, in its full version. "Starless" represents the perfect end to a perfect album.

Conclusion: "Red" is simply one of the best and most important albums in the history of the progressive rock music. "Red" is my second review of King Crimson's albums, after "In The Court Of The Crimson King". For me, these two magnificent albums are undoubtedly their best, and two of the best albums ever made. To Q magazine, "Red" is one of the fifty heaviest albums of all time. So, it's very common to consider "Red" as one of the most influential albums in the progressive metal style. So, because of that, King Crimson can be considered the pioneer of that type of music. If you don't have yet this pearl in your musical collection, buy it now and rapidly. Any King Crimson fan will want to add it into their musical collection. And after all, it has been reissued and remastered a few times, and all over the years.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#1464633)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'Red' is the seventh studio album by progressive rock band King Crimson. 'Red' marks the last album of the John Wetton-era, and the last King Crimson album until 1981's 'Discipline'. I don't think I've made it any secret that I loathe Robert Fripp with a passion. To me it seems he's stuck in the past, and refuses to accept that it isn't 1974 anymore with his opinions on streaming and the like. However, credit is due when credit is due, and that credit being 'Red' is a pretty decent album.

The opening instrumental title track is easily my favorite from the album, keeping a nice hard rocking riff throughout the song yet having a menacing bridge with various string instruments. It goes on a bit too long in my opinion, as it doesn't change much, but a great song nonetheless. I would really enjoy 'Fallen Angel' if it wasn't for the saxophone which honestly ruins the song for me. Once the song builds up, the guitar has a nice dark vibe and John Wetton gives some great vocals while singing 'Fall-en Ang-el'. Unfortunately the saxophone just sounds out of place, disrupting the dark atmosphere of the song. I'm not a fan of brass instruments, but I do know that they can fit in rock songs as heard in Heart's 'Even It Up' or Gentle Giant's 'Peel the Paint'. However, The saxophone isn't really an instrument that can fit into a melancholy song like 'Fallen Angel'.

'One More Red Nightmare' is my other favorite from the album, and is only slightly ruined for me with the saxophone. Like the opening instrumental, it opens with a nice rocking riff with some impressive drumming from Bill Bruford. Next up we have the avant-garde 'Providence', which I believe to be the most annoying song on the album. While towards the end there's some nice bass from Wetton, there's just too slow of a build up and guitar noodling that drives me nuts. It honestly seems too "art for art's sake" to me as there is no real rhythm, structure, or melody that you can follow along to, but I suppose if you're a fan of improvisational music you may enjoy it. Finally comes 'Starless', which is often called the highlight of the album, yet I find to be one of the weaker songs. It takes way too long to build up, taking more then half the song, and once it does it's an okay fast jam but nothing mind-blowing.

Overall, I'm probably the only one who thinks that King Crimson's best work didn't come until recent years with the post-THRAK albums, but this is certainly one of the better albums of their 'classic' era. While not being to my tastes, I can see why this is a widely regarded masterpiece. The musicianship is excellent and it was an influence on the rock and metal world, this is just one highly-rated album that I don't enjoy much.

(Originally written on

Report this review (#1532191)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Fripp. Bruford. Wetton. 3 geniuses working together to create one of the most influential and epic albums of all time. The band was (seemingly) in a state of disrepair at this point, yet were able to create this masterpiece. I hate giving albums 5 stars because, lets face it, nothing is perfect. Yet I have to give Red 5 stars because of the talent, instrumentation, and emotion put into this album. This is one of those albums that grabs you by the balls and doesnt let go until the very end.

The album begins with "Red" - This title track kicks things off instantly. No bull[&*!#], just a crazy Fripp riff with some frenetic drums and bass. One of the best KC instrumentals, it kicks this godlike album off with a scream.

The second track is "Fallen Angel" - One of the few KC songs featuring Fripp on an acoustic. Wettons vocals are the star of the show here, telling us the story of a biker in a gang who gets killed. The narrative is told from the viewpoint of the bikers brother. This has to be one of the most depressing and heartbreaking songs of all time. A great followup to a classic album opener.

The third track is "One More Red Nightmare" - Yet again, Wetton carries the narrative with his amazing voice. This track is about a man who dreams of dying in an airplane crash. (Fear and death are a constant narrative of the album, almost making it a concept album). The song length, which is 7:07, is possibly a reference to the Boeing 707 airplane.

The fourth track is "Providence" - An improvised instrumental that was recorded live at, you guessed it, Providence, RI. Some regard this as the weakest track on the album, although its still a great track. I personally love improvisational KC, so this may be my favorite song on the album, though its hard to pick.

The fifth and final track is "Starless" - a 12 minute end to a near perfect album. Hands down, this is the best song on the album. Wetton comes back with an amazing vocal performance, probably his best. After the vocal part is just sheer King Crimson instrumental goodness. A [%*!#]ing epic guitar build-up pays off as the mellotron screams its way into the track for an epic solo. This song even rivals "Epitaph", which in my opinion, is the best KC song.

Track Ratings 1. "Red" - 5/5 2. "Fallen Angel" - 5/5 3. "One More Red Nightmare" 4.5/5 4. "Providence" - 4/5 5. "Starless" - 10/5 (what did you expect).

Overall Rating - 5/5

Report this review (#1596242)
Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars "In the Court of the Crimson King" stands tall as the father of all modern prog, but I think it's "Red" that takes the title of best KING CRIMSON album. There are no dead songs, and yes, I'm including "Providence." KING CRIMSON albums often have a similar structure of Big Heavy Song, Quieter Song, Memorable Rock Song, Another Quiet Song, and then Giant Epic Song; "Red" is the best expression of this formula. Fripp's guitar playing never sounded crunchier or more powerful, Wetton is the most interesting bass player and best singer they ever had, and Bill Bruford, well, is Bill Bruford. "Fallen Angel" is the best track on here, both for its proto-grunge aesthetic (wouldn't surprise me if Chris Cornell and Kim Thayall loved this song) and slick lyrics, but just about every song is essential. And of course, what review of "Red" would be complete without a paragraph lauding "Starless"? Oh, wait. This one. I'll do fine with just a sentence: it's cooks.
Report this review (#1638907)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't know about you guys, but I have my own personal musical "moments", a precise event within a song that really send shivers down my spine every time, even though I've known every single note of it for years. For instance, there's that moment when Viv Stanshall whispers "plus... tubular bells" and the bells kick in. Or the end of the introductory speech when the singer bellows "Mekanïk... Destruktiw... Kommandoh!" and the whole Magma band launches into the number. Or (I bet you don't know that one, check it on YT) the moment the bombard kicks in in Gwendal's "Panxty-Birke". Or again, and to come back to King Crimson, the explosion of sound that marks the start of "Fracture"'s final section.

Well for me there's one of those in "Red", and it's not (although it could do as well) the moment when the sax opens the end section of "Starless". No, it's really the bridge in "Fallen Angel" that makes me want to cry every time. Maybe it's only a personal thing, I don't know.

Well they already told you, "Red" is a masterpiece, the best album by the best KC lineup. It's really hard (and actually pointless) to make a decent comparison, but I rate it significantly above "In the Court of the Crimson King" in Crimson's discography, even if their first release is also a "chef d'oeuvre", and one that opened the way for the whole of prog rock.

Now, "Providence" is often considered the weak link of the album, but I think it's there to remind us, forever, that Fripp, Bruford and Wetton were (and still are!) fabulous musicians who never hesitated to improvise, in the studio but also on stage. Name another rock band of King Crimson's fame who ever did the same!

Report this review (#1669769)
Posted Monday, December 19, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Essential Crimson Masterpiece.

The culmination of this incarnation of Crimson, this represents the songs that this version of the band wrote and played live for their last year before Fripp broke up the band. It is a stunning set, and for me the definitive Crimson (I also like the 80s incarnation, but I don't think that band could have existed without this one having come beforehand). Every piece here is excellent. Fripp was in discussion with Ian MacDonald about possibly rejoining the band (an idea with support from other members), and he plays on it to great effect. His soprano saxes on Fallen Angel, One More Red Nightmare, and the totally amazing Starless, provide that extra bit of sonic difference that helps them transcend the usual standards of rock music. The band here is officially a trio though, as Fripp felt Cross was not making sufficient contributions. Yet, we still hear Cross play on this album in multiple places, and his contributions to the improvisation "Providence" are essential. While the title track is iconic in itself (and continued to be played by each iteration of Crimson since then), it is the songs "One More Red Nightmare" and "Starless" that standout here. The other pieces are already in the 5-star category, but these two are at the very top of the ranking scale. They are so essential to the history of progressive rock. These are the two Crimson songs with the best Wetton vocals (and lyrics), and Bruford's drumming here set a bar that few drummers have ever surpassed, even 40 years on. Starless is one of the best songs ever written in my opinion. Starting with a mellotron intro that sends shivers down the spine, the words seem deeper than anything Crimson put down before or since, with a beautiful and memorable guitar melody that sticks in the head. The long section part of the song is in 15/8 time, beginning with a slow syncopated (in 15/8) bass line and Bruford's quirky yet totally musical drumming, which gets layered with the building Fripp guitar and Cross violin lines to a climax in which the speed doubles (again in 15/8) with MacDonald's sax solo over top. The final is just amazing, a mind-blowing experience. I was even more impressed when I learned that Bruford was the one that came up with this second section (the bass line, etc), making this piece a true band composition, and showing what could have been if the band had continued to work together like this. One of the best ever albums. I give it 9.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is a high 5 PA stars. This is in my top 10 albums of all time, and the very best Crimson album.

Report this review (#1696032)
Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say that hasn't already been said? This is one of the true masterpieces of the prog rock genre and one of my favorite albums. This album the 7th and last before a long hiatus, and as well as being the the 3rd album in the trilogy of the Bruford/Wetton lineup. So it has "finale" written all over it, and boy does it deliver. Red takes all the distinctive elements of previous albums (the heavy guitars, the improv, the wind instruments, the mellotron) and wraps into one package. The last song Starless is one of my favorites of all time, the last two minutes of this song are incredibly moving. Essential listening.
Report this review (#1824386)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Two Mellotrons on stage during the Red tour in 1974"

On this 7th studio album (1974) you can hear that King Crimson had done a lot of touring in the last two years, the band sounds more tight and powerful than on their previous two efforts Lark's Tongues In Aspic (1973) and Starless And Bible Black (1974). After the departure of first Jamie Muir and later David Cross, King Crimson became a trio (although David Cross is mentioned on Red as a guest musician): Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford and John Wetton. The album Red turned out to be commercially unsuccessful but it was a great inspiration for many bands like Nirvana, Living Colour and Tool.

The music on the opener Red is in the vein of the cover: dark and ominous featuring a kind of Heavy Prog, very compelling with propulsive drums, powerful bass work, a fiery guitar sound and melancholical violin play by David Cross. The climates alternate between mellow and agressive, it generates a hugh tension in the music.

Next Fallen Angel, this track sounds a a blend of jazz, symphonic rock and Heavy Prog. The one moment dreamy with Mellotron violins, and the other moment sumptuous with fiery brass, in a dark atmosphere.

In the following One More Red Nightmare it becomes even more dark, heavy and compelling featuring fat guitar riffs, a screamy saxophone, hypnotizing twanging guitar and a propulsive rhytm-section. This is topped by John Wetton his distinctive vocals, with a melancholical undertone.

And now for something completely different, the long composition Providence: pretty experimental with violin and percussion, culminating in a heavy climax with blistering electric guitar and powerful bass.

The final composition Starless is for me one of the best King Crimson ever wrote. First dreamy with intense Mellotron violins, sensitive electric guitar and saxophone, a melancholical cello and tender vocals. Then follows one of the most exciting build-ups in Classic Prog history: Bruford's propulsive percussion and Wetton's growling bass, fueled by an ominous, razorsharp guitar sound from Fripp, gradually it becomes more and more bombastic, wow, what an ultimate exciting and compelling musical experience. After a break with a saxophone solo the climax is heavy and powerful, the interaction between the trio and the dynamics are overwhelming. In the end the dreamy atmosphere from the first part returns, with wonderful Mellotron work and tender vocals, goose bumps. This was a long and captivating musical journey between ultra contrasting atmospheres, unique and pivotal progrock!

Bonus items on my Red 40th anniversary edition.

The bonustracks are 'trio versions' from Red (impressive bass sound) and Fallen Angel (instrumental with jazzy guitar play) and a 'full version' from Providence (all pre-overdub versions by Steve Wilson).

The DVD is my highlight of this remastered version, especially the video with four tracks from the French tv in 1974.

Lark's Tongues In Aspic : Part II : More powerful and tight than the 1973 Beatclub version, and without Jamie Muir, a big plus, I never liked his contributions.

The Night Watch : The same irritating images as on Pictures Of An Exhibition from ELP but interesting to see Robert Fripp sublimating his infamous passive agressive nature into his fiery guitar play.

Lament : A young and inspired Bill Bruford experimenting with assorted percussion, that's why he left Yes for King Crimson.

Starless : A mindblowing version, for me it's also breathtaking to see two white Mellotron M400 models on stage, on the left for David Cross and on the right for Robert Fripp. To be honest, I prefer David Cross here with his violin, rather than the original saxophone. This is top notch legendary progressive rock and showcases why Classic Prog still rules.

More info from the record company.

This 40th Anniversary edition on CD/DVD-A features new stereo & 5.1 mixes by Robert Fripp and Steven Wilson plus high resolution stereo mixes of the original, extensive additional audio material and representative video. It also contains new sleeve-notes by Robert Fripp and King Crimson biographer Sid Smith, a newly designed booklet with rarely seen photos and other archive material and presented in double Digipack format with outer card slipcase.

Report this review (#1920580)
Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars An absolute masterpiece

King Crimson did not take long to recover from the (mildly) disappointing "Starless and Bible Black" as their next album, Red, is one of their finest. Despite only being a three-piece, the Crim is rocking hard as ever in this masterpiece.

Red| 9.5/10 One of the finest album openers of all time. Seriously, this song is an amazing song on its own, let alone being surrounded by the amazing works of this album. The polyrhythms make it an interesting listen every time, no matter how much I listen to it.

Fallen Angel| 8.5/10 One of Wetton's finer moments as a vocalist (R.I.P). Also, one of Palmer-James' finer lyrical works. "Lifetimes spent on the streets of a city / Make us the people we are / Switchblade stings in one tenth of a moment / Better get back to the car". Definitely not normal "progressive rock" lyrics (sometimes its good to not hear about crimson kings or moonlit knights).

One More Red Nightmare| 9/10 Fripp's standard rock (with a Fripp twist) riff abilities are on full display, but what really does it for me is Bruford's drumming. It is tight, professional, and complex. Wetton's voice fits the lyrics and overall attitude of the song perfectly.

Providence| 7.5/10 The definite ugly duckling of the album. It has a pretty standard Crimson improv feel to it. Bruford's interaction between the hi-hat and the side stick present themselves very well here, and the song is pretty well put together for improvisation. If Crimson rep this song with Fracture, this album would be even more of a masterpiece than it is. (I know the time period is a bit off, but one can dream)

Starless| 10/10 Holy [&*!#]. At the time I am writing this, this is my favorite song of all time. I am happy to give this masterpiece a 10/10. Talk about a perfect demonstration of cohesiveness and structural brilliance. This song is a timeless masterpiece. i can not even begin to explain the emotions I go through when that ending sax solo begins. The lyrics are concise and effective. One of the few good prog "epics" that does not require fancy lyrics with weird phrasing.

Average: 8.9/10

Weighted Average: 9/10

Report this review (#1938312)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars Hello - I'm back. It's been a long time...! I have just played Red by King Crimson, and I just simply had to come back and write a review... Well.... OOOOAAAHHHHRRRPHHWWFF!! What can you say?? This album is beyond description of how good it is! It feels like Wetton and Bruford grabbed a hold of this and made it one of our masterpieces of all time. Featuring contributions from various members of the past it felt like Crimson were on the road to superstardom. Each track seems to better the last. With each number you think 'how can this get any better?'. And so it closes with 'Starless' ' which has got to win many votes for the greatest progressive rock track of all time. It has everything ' atmosphere, an absolutely stirring vocal melody that Wetton truly delivers, metal, beauty, jazz ' the flippin lot! And then Fripp builds with a most peculiar rising climbing guitar that feels like an eagle rising on a thermal up to the stars ' and then it bursts! In come Collins and MacDonald playing together for perhaps the first time with some of the greatest sax playing you'll ever hear ' what a climax with the melody reprising. You've got to play it LOUD! No wonder Bruford and Wetton wanted MacDonald back in ' they were on the starting block to a world of amazing music. And then' Fripp folded the band ' possibly the most incredibly stupid thing that happened in the history of progressive rock. Ah well'
Report this review (#1940788)
Posted Saturday, June 23, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Red" is yet another crowning achievement of KC and of the progressive rock landmarks of the 70's. As the album is most accessible out of all KC 70's output, no doubt that was easier to influence generations of aspiring musicians and listeners alike.

The musicianship is tight, playing well executed and synchronised and the compositions are less experimental - which means it is still more adventureous as some other bands encounter in their entire career.

The first song belongs to the most famous KC tracks, a dramatic and purely instrumental tour de force. The air gets sultry, the tension is rising. There is an instrumental heavy symphonic intermezzo reminiscent of Electric Light Orchestra 71-72.

The next track "Fallen angel" allows to breathe out for a while in a less dramatic and intensive spirit to soak the vocal melody featuring warm Wetton's vocals. The instrumental break in the middle is easy to digest and retains the soothing feeling of the composition.

What I like most about "One more red nightmare" is the rhythmic patterns, not overly complex but highly original and also the saxophone solo veering into jazzy waters. Heavy and softer parts are fluently interleaved.

The only jam-session based and very experimental track is "Providence", not of a high compositional value but shows how good musicians understand each other.

The last epic track is the swan song in KC's catalogue, eagerly awaited in each concert's set. No other tracks epitomizes KC's contrasts so well - long smooth delicate sung sections combined with gradually heavy guitar-led riffing. The fusion- like comes in after 9 minutes. All these three sections are of incredible quality and blend together very well. You won't feel that 12 minutes have flown after the track is over.

A masterpiece of progressive rock and one of the most influential progressive rock albums.

Report this review (#2108977)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars At the time of its release, King Crimson's seventh studio album sounded like a posthumous album, since a few days before release guitarist Robert Fripp disbanded the band (to the surprise of other band members, who were already preparing for a new tour in the United States) and entered a spiritual retreat at J. G. Bennett Foundation, a follower of the mystic Gurdjieff. Some say that the band was on the verge of repeating the success of their debut album, In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969), but it can also be argued that King Crimson ended at the right time - not only because Red was a great farewell record, but also because progressive rock began to lose prestige among critics and audiences in subsequent years, to the point of being the scapegoat of the punk movement as "all that is wrong" in rock music. After the end of King Crimson's first incarnation, Fripp would become a much sought-after musician, performing on tracks by artists linked to art rock and new wave such as Brian Eno, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel (another former progressive rocker), Blondie and Talking Heads. When he resurrected King Crimson in 1981, the band would point to other stylistic directions, as interesting as those adopted in the 1970s, showing how it was one of the bands that most took seriously the proposal to make progressive music, i.e. not clinging to the past and always moving and reinventing itself aesthetically. In this "metamorphic" aspect, KC (and Fripp in particular) has only two equivalents in 20th-century music: Miles Davis and David Bowie. "Red," the song that opens the eponymous album, is one of the most powerful and dark in the King Crimson catalog. According to musicologist Eric Tamm in his book "Robert Fripp: From King Crimson to Crafty Master", partly this is due to the use of the tritone, which in the Middle Ages was called the "devil in music" ("diabolus in musica"), because the interval between notes creates a dissonance that evokes an effect of grim tension on the listener. The title track has the distinction of being one of the few songs that has been played by all subsequent lineups of the band. "Fallen Angel" has lyrics about gang violence in New York. The lines evoke a certain delicacy (in fact, it is interesting to note that every King Crimson album has a kinder and more melodic track than the others), but in the chorus the song gains weight, with a shrill horn and a disconcerting guitar solo. "One More Red Nightmare" is vocalist and bassist John Wetton's first and only lyrics for the band (although the initial lyrics for "Starless" were also wrote by him). It's about a nightmare of a plane crash. To evoke the sense of despair, it was crucial the ferocity with which Bill Bruford plays the drum plates that he found in a trash (in fact, it is worth checking the excitement with which he reports this in his autobiography). "Providence" is an improvisation performed at a concert in Providence (Rhode Island, USA) on June 30, 1974 - incidentally, it was the penultimate gig of the band before the breakup. It's the only song on the record featuring violinist David Cross, who was fired for "artistic incompatibilities" between the end of the US tour and the album's recording in July. At first glance "Providence" sounds a bit out of place with Red (although it continues the live experiments already on the previous album, Starless and Bible Black), but it works very well to create the mood of tension that will precede the last track, as well as a short of breath after the intensity of the previous three songs. "Starless" is possibly the masterpiece of King Crimson. It's a12-minute song that synthesizes all of the band's previous stages: the beginning (until about 4:30) is symphonic and melancholic; the middle part (between 4:30 and 9:00) is an improvisation that generates increasing tension - specially the repetitive rhythm of the guitar; and the ending (from 9:00 onwards) is an explosion that oscillates between jazz and metal, reminding "21st Century Schizoid Man". According to Eric Tamm, this tripartite structure is similar to that of a sonata, as it contains exposure, development and recapitulation (the two last minutes resume the initial melody). The studio version replaces the violin that David Cross used in the live version with one of Fripp's most beautiful guitar solos, which also anticipates the atmospheric style he will adopt in subsequent years on tracks like "Heroes" (David Bowie). Palmer-James's great lyrics are brilliantly sung by Wetton, who also contributes substantively with his bass, which in combination with Bruford's drums makes up what Fripp called the "flying brick wall". All of these elements make "Starless" a worthy ending to the first phase of King Crimson. Red, for the lack of a tour and the disappointment of being a defunct band album, did not sell well (it reached only #45 on the British charts and #66 on the American charts), but in return it was King Crimson's second most influential album (the first is their debut album, after all it nothing less than invented progressive rock). It nspired from progressive metal bands (such as Tool) to grunge (Kurt Cobain included Red in his legendary list of 50 favorite albums, and In Utero is certainly an heir to its dynamics between calm verses and raging choruses). Also, it is one of the progressive albums that has aged the best; one might think that it was released in the 1990s, perhaps by combining the heavy sounding power trio Fripp, Wetton & Bruford with the sophistication of wind instruments (in particular Ian McDonald's sax in "One More Red Nightmare" and" Starless" - incidentally, this was a more than special guest appearance, as McDonald is a former member of the band, having been the lead composer of In The Court of The Crimson King).
Report this review (#2201410)
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars The third and final album of King Crimson's second (or third? or fourth?) phase, which began with Larks Tongues in Aspic (or with Islands?), "Red", can be considered as a middle ground between LTIA and Starless And Bible Black both as sound and as a composition and musical score. "Red" is not as geometric and slow, and redundant as LTIA, it's not even live and erratic and improvised like "SABB", of which it doesn't sound dry and fatal. The live songs here are only one, "Providence", and otherwise the work has been done in studio with very studied and stryted pieces, which collaborate Ian McDonald to the saxes (already appeared on the first record of KC), which gives a greater variety in the arrangements and evokes the sound of "Islands".

"Red" (6:20) is an instrumental opening track built around a powerful guitar riff, doubled thanks to the overdubbing. The middle section includes an overdubbing cello performed by an uncredited session-man. The song is more conventional and predictable than the ones of the previous Lp, here Fripp follows a precise melody with his guitar. The track is good but lacks originality in his development and arrangement. Rating 7,5/8.

"Fallen Angel" (6:00) contains the last acoustic guitar track recorded by Fripp with King Crimson and the cello of the anonymous musician of the previous track, but even the oboe (Robin Miller) and the cornet (Mark Charig): both previous collaborators of KC on Lizard (1970) and Islands (1971). Wetton's singing is good and the structure of the piece is conventional: verse-chorus (instrumetal break)- chorus - verse- chorus but here the musical score is more original than in the previous one and the arrangement is disturbing and dissonant, less conventional, and touch the climax in the instrumental section. Masterpiece. Rating 8,5/9.

"One More Red Nightmare" (7:04) has got a frighteningly terrifying atmosphere, sounding similar to the previous one, centered on bass and guitar. The instrumental piece at the center of the track has something of the song "Larks TIA" but here is the McDonald's sax that produces a sound that also resembles "Sailor's Tale", from Islands (where at the sax there is Mel Collins). Anyway, here yuo can listen to a great musical orgasm. Masterpiece, 8.5.

Rating Side A: 8,5.

Side B.

"Providence" (8:08), instrumental, is a live improvisation, it starts slowly, with Cross's violin painting chromatic lines worthy of a classical sonata, then performing in virtuosity, while behind it you can hear Fripp's heavy guitar, Bruford's percussion, describing a completely improvised abstract sound, until around the fifth minute Wetton's bass took the lead, followed by Fripp's abrasive guitar, the drum snare arrives and the song takes off for a pyrotechnic ending, which softens in the last 30 seconds. Masterpiece, 8.5.

"Starless" (12:18), in the beginning, seems an epic melodic ballad as the ones on the debut album written by Ian McDonald, here on alto saxophone. Fripp's mellotron embellishes the sound that proceeds with Wetton's singing until four and a half minutes, when the structure of the song ends and begins an instrumental moment (that lasts 8 minutes) very dissonant with an atmosphere of terror, thriller mood, an obsessive and paranoid sound played by Fripp's guitar creeps into a devious progression dominated by Wetton's bass, until at the ninth minute the track becomes a free jazz - hard rock piece, thanks to McDonald's and Collins saxes; for a moment the initial melody appears again, before the ending, triggered. Fripp considered this piece as definitive, emblematic of the end of an era, and in fact after Starless he disbanded the group. Absolute masterpiece, Rating 9+.

Rating Side B: 9.

This album is a real masterpiece of progressive rock. The "weakest" song is the first: and I've said everything...

Rating album: 9,5. Five Stars. Absolute masterpiece.

Report this review (#2239804)
Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2019 | Review Permalink

KING CRIMSON Red ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only