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Emerson Lake & Palmer

Symphonic Prog

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Emerson Lake & Palmer Tarkus album cover
4.07 | 2091 ratings | 181 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tarkus (20:43) :
- a. Eruption (2:44)
- b. Stones of Years (3:44)
- c. Iconoclast (1:16)
- d. Mass (3:12)
- e. Manticore (1:52)
- f. Battlefield (3:51)
- g. Aquatarkus (4:04)
2. Jeremy Bender (1:51)
3. Bitches Crystal (3:58)
4. The Only Way (Hymn) (3:49)
(Themes used in intro & bridge from Toccata in F and Prelude VI, composed by JS Bach)
5. Infinite Space (conclusion) (3:20)
6. A Time and a Place (3:02)
7. Are You Ready Eddy? (2:10)

Total Time 38:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Greg Lake / vocals, bass, electric & acoustic guitars
- Keith Emerson / Hammond organ, St. Marks church organ, piano, celeste, Moog synthesizer
- Carl Palmer / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: William Neal

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9155 (1971, UK)
LP Cotillion - SD 9900 (1971, US)

CD Atlantic ‎- A2 19121 (1987, US)
CD Victory Music ‎- 828 465-2 (1993, Europe) Remastered by Joseph M. Palmaccio
CD Shout! Factory ‎- 826663-10448 (2007, US) Remastered by Andy Pearce

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Tarkus ratings distribution

(2091 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

EMERSON LAKE & PALMER Tarkus reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!! Too bad that there are all those throw-away numbers on the second side because if there weren't this could have achieved the fourth star no problem. This could've been a major classic, IMO and the public , of course , thinks very highly of this one . The sidelong suite title track gets 4.5 stars by itself and is a textbook case of progressive suite. Edward Macan makes a good analysis in his book Rocking the Classics . But the rest is really just a filler. I never owned the cd version as I still have the vinyl but simply never listen to side 2 . Bender is the first of many tracks written in Ragtime piano. And Eddy is a dumb rocker done as if to prove that they could rock. And I already said in other reviews what I thought of reworking the classic so the Bach number does irritate me.

Stiil the title track alone is worth the price of the album. On with the next album , Are You Ready Eddy?

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Tarkus. Definition - Half masterpiece, half not.

A game of two halves this album!

Side one of the LP was occupied entirely by "Tarkus", a magnum opus representing the cream of ELP's entire work. It is structured as a number of sequential sections, but in reality, it is the whole which far exceeds the sum of the parts. From the inaudible, gradually swelling intro, to the final bursts of the synthesiser over 20 minutes later, "Tarkus" stands as a composition to match any classical piece. It also represents prog at it's finest and indeed purest.

Greg Lake's voice never sounded better, Palmer's drumming is inspired (only the briefest of solos!), and Emerson's keyboards create stunning landscapes of sound. Rest assured, "Tarkus" will be performed live in future times in the way classical music is performed now. A true masterpiece.

Side 2 of the album appears by and large to be filler. It has the odd inspired moment such as the upbeat and dramatic "A time and a place". On the other hand, "Jeremy bender" and "Are you ready Eddy" are lightweight songs, pleasant enough but hardly worthy of an ELP album. While most of the tracks are listenable, with the possible exception of the rather tedious closing piano section of "The only way (Hymn)/Infinite space", they pale in comparison to the title track.

While the title track is an undoubted Masterpiece of progressive rock, overall the album is flawed by undistinguished supporting tracks. Most owners of the original LP probably have a very worn side one, and a pristine side 2!

Review by lor68
4 stars Well the first side is almost perfect, above the incredible first section of "Eruption", characterized by a special 5/4 time signature and the fantastic excursion at the Hammond organ by Keith EMERSON; nevertheless the team work in "Trilogy" is more important. The second side is a bit disappointing and this "4 stars" is due to the grandeur of EMERSON and PALMER only, than the rest of the music team composition, here including the uninspiring ideas by Greg LAKE!! Every keyboardist within such Progressive music, still in the recent times, has got this one as one of the most important references of all time, concerning the manner of playing the keyboards, so I accept a "4 stars"evaluation and also something more!

Recommended, despite of the defects I have explained to you (according to my opinion naturally)..!

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Emerson seems to want to give us an overdose of dirty Hammond organ here! There are some piano parts (a few saloon piano parts too), but it is definitely less present an exuberant than on the "Brain salad surgery" album. There are many instrumental parts here. Greg Lake's voice is good though. The mood is as prog hard rock as symphonic: the dirty organ replaces the rare hard rock guitar by Lake, confirming its omnipresence. Like Eloy's "Inside album", "Tarkus" is a reference album for the organ sound treatment; nevertheless both albums have quite different organ sounds: "Tarkus" has less floating, more rhythmic, epic & melodic organ notes. Lake's bass is less elaborated here than on "Brain salad surgery". Palmer's drums are excellent, despite he is not at his best here. "Tarkus" has similitudes with the Triumvirat's "Illusions on a double dimple" album.
Review by Carl floyd fan
4 stars Tarkus alone deserves five stars but the rest of the cd is only three stars. Still, Tarkus is an amazing epic with a lot of mood swings and a killer drum solo 10 minutes into the song. This is a must have cd for the first song alone!
Review by daveconn
4 stars ELP heads into uncharted territory on "Tarkus", pushing the limits of music that a trio might aspire to (as opposed to achieve, where CREAM still reigned supreme). What it all means is anyone's guess, and it may be nothing more than a mosaic of highfalutin' instrumental workouts and pretentious pronouncements. Remarkably, none of that's really important. What is important is the faith that the music inspires in its musicians and, by extension, its audience. You get the sense that ELP approached "Tarkus" as their magnum opus (until the next magnum opus, anyway), and it's this spirit of elevated creativity that fuels "Tarkus".

The side-long "Tarkus" starts with a clear beginning, in the spirit of creation with a single sound that soon explodes into life, and from there the band fuses EMERSON's instrumental passages (often held together by improvisation) with Lake's songs (not far removed from his work with KING CRIMSON). The arrangements themselves are at best bone and sinew, Emerson's piano providing the color against Palmer's superlative, dry drumming and Lake's incidental bass lines. When the band does reach sublime heights, it's often on the strength of Lake's stalwart voice, resolute in a maelstrom of sound. Note that the inner gatefold features what purports to be a visual interpretation of the "Tarkus" story; if you can make heads or tails out of it, let me know.

The second side seeks to defuse the pomposity of the previous saga with the irreverent "Jeremy Bender", to be savored as a cherished oddity. "Bitches Crystal" returns to the haunting grounds of side one, and remains a favorite among fans. What follows next is a miniature epic: "The Only Way" (which questions God) and the instrumental "Infinite Space", which follows a more structured and restrained path than the explosive moments around it (they would revisit this style on songs like "Jerusalem", perhaps the remnant of some fiery country parson still in their blood). The wonderful "A Time And A Place" (file under epic) and "Are You Ready Eddy?" (which immortalizes engineer Eddy Offord) close the album, every ounce of energy drained.

By turns funny, profound and profane, "Tarkus" marks the arrival of greatness in the annals of ELP. That it's a self-proclaimed greatness seized by the sheer will of youth, and not the hoary crown passed down by the unclean fingers of doddering critics, no doubt hastened the band's downfall to its current, unenviable state of disrepute. But "Tarkus" is a reminder that ELP walked tall at a time when censorious hands had yet to stick a knife in their back.

Review by Menswear
4 stars WHAT??? Only 4 stars?! 'Sacreligious! Blasphemy!' Not quite. I notice that a lot of reviews includes the sweet memories of seeing Emo, Big Lake and Palmer thrashing instruments à la the Who after a concert. Maybe this is why there's so much ruckuss over albums like Tarkus or Brain Salad Surgery. I'm just not seeing why so many people get excited over an album with so few to offer. I'm just saying that: YES, Tarkus deserves a spot over your fireplace. YES, the song Tarkus is punchy, complex and showing a 6000 turns per minute on the RPM. All agreeding on Tarkus? Good. But what about the rest? Man, it's like the're sitting on their huge butts saying: 'Yep, we gave all we got on one song. Whaddaya want?' ELP is capable of writing more than, at least, 2 good songs per album. They blow your mind (more or less) only one time in the album. Hey, admit it! After Tarkus and Karn Evil 9, what song deserves a standing ovation? I'm still searching. ELP is a lazy band. If they have so much talent, why their careers sank like stones after Brain Salad Surgery? Lake is with Ringo Starr? Phhft. Emo? Palmer? Talent? More showing off instead. Triumvirat at their best (first 3 albums) beats ELP anytime.Triumvirat has credit 'cause they've been more constant in producing quality records. Triumvirat = ELP clone? Shhyeah right...
Review by richardh
4 stars After the promising debut album we now get ELP really delivering the goods big time....well on side one anyway.The Tarkus 'suite' is still one of the most innovative prog rock tracks ever.The interplay between all three players shows ELP to be the greatest rock ensemble of the early seventies.Emerson's mastery of the organ is self evident especially on the popping and clicking sounds that he conjures up.Keyboard wizard indeed! Palmers drumming never fails to impress at any point as he copes with all the tricky tempo changes as if it is second nature while Greg Lake has never sounded better on 'Battlefield'.I give this album 4 stars because of this peice.Unfortunately the second side (Vinyl wise) was and still is a big let down.Nothing reaches the peak of side one.Even the production standard takes a somewhat bizarre downturn.'A Time And A Place' sounds like a demo to me.Where was Eddie Offord when they did this?? And 'Jeremy Bender' and 'Are You Ready Eddie?' are jokey tracks that ELP seemed to have a penchant for doing.Oh well, buy it for the 'suite',forget the rest.
Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars My introduction to ELP, "Tarkus" stands as one of Progressive Rock's absolute classics, mainly because of the brilliant opening title track that clocks in at 20 minutes. This track is by far ELP's greatest song along with 1973 "Brain Salad Surgery"s "Karn Evil 9". It's not a single boring moments on this track! The rest is all from OK to excellent. The OK tracks beign "Jeremy Bender" and "Are You Ready, Eddy". The excellent ones are tracks 3-6, while not up to pair with the fantastic title track, they're still highly impressive.

Highly recommended. 4/5.

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ELP has always been the whipping boy for anti-prog diatribes, and with good reason; the music is most often characterized by emotionless virtuosity and an unflinchingly serious, if not pompous delivery. Luckily, Emerson seems to have backed off a bit from the "look at how talented I am" moments that bogged down the debut album, and "Tarkus" instead attempts to be a modern narrative symphony. Utilizing 1971's state of the art technology and a classical music repetoire that ranges from the romantics to modern atonal influences, Emerson sketches a grinding and tumbling sci-fi soundtrack that occasionally rocks and rarely bores. Both more polished than the first album and less accessible than the following works, this is probably the band's most intriguing piece. There's less carnival in the soundscape than in most of Emerson's works - in fact, "Battlefield" isn't too far from a PINK FLOYD style. Except for a bit of irritating synth noodling in "Aquatarkus", the shorter chapters within the piece keep the energy going and the approach to composition is appealingly unique.

Too bad about "Jeremy Bender"- this album's version of the goofy hoedown in "Take a Pebble" (or even the one in "Hoedown"). The barroom piano sounds like a joke, unlike the more realistically rollicking ivories on "Bitches Crystal". The latter is an interesting mix of scuttling drums and synth sweeps, but Lake's shouted vocals ride a fine line between expressive and merely harsh. "The Only Way"/ "Infinite Space" is another in a long line of synth classical adaptations, and honestly I don't even care for it when the more innovative Wendy Carlos does it. The musicianship is beyond reproach, but the lyrics are embarassing even for an agnostic like me and I'm relatively certain the deeply religious Bach would not have approved one bit. The harder "A Time and A Place" sounds much better, in fact sharing many positive qualities with the first side's epic. Unfortunately, the album closes with the really amazingly horrible "Are You Ready Eddy" which tries to be a lighthearted CREAM/ WHO rocker and instead sounds almost scary- and not in a fun way. I'm not even emotionally attached to the band and I feel bad for them for recording this song- I can't imagine how embarrased it makes hardcore fans feel.

Second side missteps aside, this is an important and innovative progressive rock album. It completely fails to move me on any emotional level, and virtuosity alone is rarely enough to do it for me, so I don't really enjoy listening to "Tarkus"...but on the other hand there's enough here to keep most progressive fans interested for a long time. It's much more consistent than the first album, and "Tarkus" is arguably more unique a composition than "Karn Evil 9" or "Pictures". Therefore, I'll give it three stars- the highest possible rating I can rationalize for an album that I don't actually care for.

Review by Watcheroftheskies
4 stars Well this is an excellent album. Tarkus is of course the main feast here. This side of the album is excellent and is one of their greatest works. Tarkus shows the development as a group they will later display in "Brain Salad Surgery", Karn Evil 9 the example of greatness here. Back to Tarkus this album would have been another 5 if it weren't for the screw ups on side 2. Bitche's Crystal, The Only Way and Infinate Space are good songs, but the others leave you wanting. These flaws make this album 4 stars instead of 5. Jeremy Bender and Are you ready Eddy made my ears bleed. My ears bled and that made me very sad. 5 start albums do not bring sadness. However the moments of joy far outweigh the sad parts and thus it is 4 stars, just skip those 2 tracks.
Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Without a moment's hesitation I can say that this is my favourite ELP album and, in my view, this is the band at their most innovative and creative. Unlike their first album, I find all three members of the group contributing equally and uniformly to a stunning album. The lyrics and Lake's singing really add to the music. This is progressive music in all senses of the phrase; remember that this album came out in June 1971, before many of the other progressive classics. At the time it reached no. 1 in the UK album charts and no. 9 in the US album charts.

Until I discovered this Web site I was not aware that the B-side of the LP (the track 'Jeremy Bender' onwards) is regarded by some - many, it would appear - as inferior to the A-side of the LP and in general. In fact I have since seen derisive comments about the B-side tracks on several Web sites. Well, if you have never listened to this album, please do not prejudge it based on any opinions you may hear or read. Listen to the album and make up your own mind. I have to say that I really like every single track on this album, and I hope you will see why from my summary of the tracks below.

The A-side of the LP is 'Tarkus', a twenty-and-a-half minute magnum opus comprising seven parts: 'Eruption', 'Stones Of Years', 'Iconoclast', 'Mass', 'Manticore', 'Battlefield' and 'Aquatarkus'. Three of these are songs interspaced between the other four instrumentals. 'Tarkus' is an allegory. As can be seen from the album's surreal cover and inner gatefold, the tarkus is half World War I tank, half armadillo, born from an egg that appears to have been spewed from a volcano. The tarkus fights and vanquishes three creatures that are half animal, half machine ('Stones Of Years', 'Iconoclast' and 'Mass'). But then the manticore appears, they do battle and the tarkus is vanquished and cast to the waters. A manticore is a mythical Persian creature, the embodiment of tyranny and evil, with the body of a lion, the face and ears of a human, and a tail with a sting at the tip like that of a scorpion. Lake's lyrics in 'Tarkus' are a diatribe against the futility of war, and apparently he stated that the lyrics are also about where past revolution has got us: nowhere, in his opinion. This would seem to fit with the defeat by the manticore at the end of the sleeve illustrations, although more recently Lake has said that 'Stones Of Years' has taken on different meanings for him over the years, and Emerson has said that the artwork was not purposely painted to fit the music. Anyway, the futility and misery of battle are certainly apparent from the lyrics of 'Battlefield'. Musically, 'Tarkus' is an amazing piece: the composition is complex, and certainly avant-garde for the time. The use of instruments is particularly impressive. Emerson's Hammond, Moog synthesizer and piano are (just) tools and, together with Lake's solid bass and guitar playing plus Palmer's percussion they produce a truly modern, sophisticated musical work which, to me, goes beyond the bounds of rock music. Several books (one having an 8-page analysis!) and at least one PhD thesis have discussed at length the 'Tarkus' piece. A superb piece of music.

'Jeremy Bender' is, in some ways, like 'Benny The Bouncer' on "Brain Salad Surgery" in the sense that it's a sort of flippant, seedy song that one could almost picture being sung around a piano in someone's vision (probably mine!) of a Victorian pub with bare floorboards in the East End of London. Described as "throwaway" by many, I still find merit in it. Emerson's honky-tonk piano and the band's hand clapping are the backing to bizarre lyrics about cross-dressing Jeremy Bender ("bender" being British slang for a homosexual man). What exactly Lake was trying to do with this track is a mystery to me, but it makes me curious as to his motives. Perhaps he was just casting around for words to fit Emerson's piano piece. Anyway, I like honky-tonk piano and the tune's fine by me, if no masterpiece.

'Bitches Crystal' is, to me, an excellent track and as good as any of the components of the 'Tarkus' piece. It starts with a very faint tinkling sound that slowly builds - I'm certain it's the celeste mentioned in the sleeve notes. The celeste is a small set of orchestral bells with a keyboard and sounds heavenly, hence the name, and it's used in other parts of the track too. Probably the most famous use of the celeste is in Tchaikovsky's 'The Sugar Plum Fairy'. This track also has plenty of honky-tonk and jazzy piano, some great, fat backing synthesizer, good drumming, and Lake's frenzied singing turning to guttural screams of angst as he belts out the lyrics: "Evil learning, People burning, Savage casting, No one lasting, Witchcraft, Sadness, Madness turning their minds." Just listen to Emerson hammering out the tune on the piano one minute, then gently tickling the ivories the next, then building up to a frenzied pace again with Palmer bashing away at the drums and one cannot fail to be impressed. This track rocks. And then a final honky-tonk tickle and a tap on a cymbal end the piece. Excellent.

'The Only Way (Hymn)' is, as the name states, a hymn. But it's a hymn with a difference: an atheist anthem using the organ of St Marks Church to provide an ecclesiastic introduction using Bach's Toccata in F before the organ launches into the tune and Lake's initially angelic-sounding tenor: "People are stirred, moved by the Word. Kneel at the shrine, deceived by the Wine. How was the Earth conceived? Infinite space, is there such a place? You must believe in the human race." And then his voice fills with contempt: "Can you believe God makes you breathe? Why did he lose six million Jews?" And then a short bridge of Bach before the final verses with the message: "Don't be afraid, man is manmade." Whether or not you are a Believer, the lyrics make you sit up and listen and are as vivid in my mind now as they were when I heard this album for the first time in the early 1970s. What a way to deliver a message: a bit like putting poison in a bottle of Chateau Lafite. A superb piece of music, irrespective of how one feels about the message.

'Infinite Space (Conclusion)' is really the end part of 'The Only Way (Hymn)' and is an ostinato that, at over 3 minutes, is nearly as long as 'The Only Way (Hymn)'. Lake's bass lays the repeating theme, and Emerson's piano repeats over it with Palmer's understated drumming alternately following one then the other. This track may appear pointless, simplistic or even irritating to some: it certainly doesn't to me. It's actually good music and done for a purpose - it creates a mood in this case - and I find it very pleasing. I also find it impressive that the trio can carry this off for over three minutes.

'A Time And A Place' is a heavier piece again, in the vein of 'Bitches Crystal' but even heavier, Emerson pounding and dragging his fingers along the keys of the Hammond, and Lake again raucously shouting out lyrics full of passion: "Save me from this shallow land, take me out of temper's hand. Drag me from the burning sand, show me those that understand." Emerson uses the Moog almost like a clarion in places in this track.

And so to the last track, 'Are You Ready Eddy', possibly the most maligned track on the album: "filler", "throwaway track", you name it. Well, it's only a bit of *fun* for Pete's sake. Eddy "Are You Ready" Offord was the engineer on this album and this was the band's way of larking around. Perhaps it was their way of filling the remaining inner grooves of the LP's B-side but, to me, it's a great way of doing it. This is Emerson tinkling away on the piano like an R&R master, with Lake and Palmer pumping at the bass and percussion in the background. The track is a great jive. And the lyrics are a gas: "Are you ready Eddy to pull your faders down. Well, are you ready, Eddie, to turn your sixteen tracks on? Eddie edit, Eddie, Eddie edit. Are you ready, Eddie, with your sixteen tracks? A bit of vibing is all it lacks." and so on. You try putting that to a jive! And one of the guys says half way through "I've missed my last bus home!". Then at the end they lark around saying "What you got: ham or cheese [sandwich]?" It's a bit of light relief and fun at the end of the album, and the band's not-so-in joke with their engineer.

Coming back to the A-side, B-side thing: All right, 'Jeremy Bender' and 'Are You Ready Eddy' don't have the weight of the other tracks. So what? That still does not make them rubbish. And the rest of the B-side is excellent. I hear nothing but good - no, excellent - music in 'Bitches Crystal', 'The Only Way', 'Infinite Space' and 'A Time And A Place'. They complement well the 'Tarkus' piece.

To those of you who don't know this album, two words: buy it! Ignore everything you've heard or read about the music (including this). Make sure you listen to it on a good hi-fi or decent headphones, and consider that this album came out in 1971. If this album is not a masterpiece of progressive music then I don't know what is.

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This album was recorded in 6 days in February 1971 (for more details about ELP`s history, see their official website).The most recent remastering of this album (re-issued again on C.D. in another label, Rhino Records) is so good that it shows some minor mistakes, and maybe the reason of these mistakes is that they recorded it in 6 days. But it is a very good album, with the musical piece "Tarkus" in the original Side One of the L.P. being the best song in this album. As I`m not a keyboard player, I don`t know how the Moog synthesizer sounds of the introduction were made, as the technology for this kind of keyboards was still "primitive" in the early seventies. But with keyboard players like Emerson, Wakeman, Moraz, Banks and others, who were experimenting and creating new sounds with this early synths, Progressive Rock developed a lot in creativity. Anyway, the main keyboards in this album are the Hammond organ and the piano. Emerson plays his Hammond organ with a lot of speed in his fingers. He really never needed a lead guitarist, but Lake plays some guitars in the "Battlefield" section of the song "Tarkus". Palmer is a very good drummer and percussionist. The song "Tarkus" has some instrumental parts and some parts with lyrics. "Jeremy Bender" is an humorous song, simply played with piano, drums and bass. Again, I don`t know how Emerson made his piano sound like a "Saloon Piano from the Old Western Pictures" (are there "special" pianos which sound like that?). "Bitches Crystal" has very good bass parts by Lake with a complicated time signature by Emerson and Palmer. In "The Only Way" Emerson plays a Church Organ, and he also shows his talent in this instrument. This song also has a "jazz section" after the Church organ part, played by the trio."Infinite Space" is the "conclusion" part of the previous song, an instrumental piece where the piano and the drums are the main instruments. "A Time and a place" has an "orchestral" synthesizer arrangement. "Are You Ready Eddy?" is a Rock and Roll piece dedicated to their producer (and also then YES`producer) Eddy Offord.This is one of their best albums.
Review by penguindf12
4 stars Okay, so ELP's songs on side two of the album aren't that bad. The "Tarkus" suite is a masterpiece, pure and complex. The other songs range from pure crap to mediocre, but aren't quite as bad as I originally thought.

"Tarkus" enters with "Eruption," an 5/4 barrage of keyboards which depicts the birth of the half-tank,half-armadillo creature that is Tarkus (as pictured in the album's little inner booklet thingy) from a volcano. This song is apparently about "de-evolution" or regression through primitive and thoughtless acts. Anyway, after the dramatic eruption, things calm down for "Stones of Years," where a sympathetic narritive entity sings of Tarkus' ignorance in ruthlessly killing for no reason (again as shown in the booklet). Anyway, after the instrumental barrage that is "Iconoclast" ("kill your idols"-- the punk "attitude", being made fun of by none other than the largest target of punks -- ELP), a catchy guitar enters courtesty of Lake, and we roll into "Mass," which could be called so for two reasons: the lyrics mention "the weaver and the web that he made," and "mass" could mean the mass of webs and traps Tarkus has set for himself; also, there is heavy religious imagery in this part of the song, and "mass" also means the Catholic gathering on Sunday. After this great song, we enter another battling instrumental, "Manticore," in which Tarkus is fights a creature and loses. This slows down into the sympathetic and sorrowful "Battlefield," in which the narrator mourns Tarkus' stupidity. What goes around, comes around, and this is especially true for Tarkus. After this is the quirky and muffled "Aquatarkus." This odd instrumental builds up, then a crash of the cymbals and we hear a reprise of "Eruption." Then the song closes after a huge instrumental buildup. Excellent.

...and now the filler material. "Jeremy Bender" is a half-hearted bar piano song, with obscene and nonsensical lyrics about some trailer trash guy. Luckily, this joke is very short. Afterwards is "Bitches Crystal," which, despite its name, is the best song on the second side. Rollicking keyboards and some haunting lyrics for a nice 3 minute song. Afterwards is the lyrically confrontational but instrumentally ho-hum song "The Only Way (hymn)," followed by the basic 7/4 instrumental "Infinite Space." "A Time and a Place" is another okay song, but nothing interest-grabbing. "Are You Ready Eddie" sounds like an Elvis song, another yawner...but if it is any consolation, this one is MEANT to be a joke -- a jest at their producer, Eddie.

Overall, the first song and "Bitches Crystal" alone are worth buying this album, but the rest is ho-hum. It serves as a fairly good introduction to them, however.

Review by Yanns
5 stars Well, I'm going against the common view on this one. It seems everyone here finds the song Tarkus a huge masterpiece, while side 2 disappoints. I couldn't disagree more about the second side. I mean, Tarkus is Tarkus, there isn't too much you can say about it, other than the fact that it is one of the greatest compositions ever. But side 2 is incredible. It truly is.

Tarkus: Like I said, it's hard to describe. a) Eruption: Hard to think of a better opening to an album. That 5-beat-per-measure riff blows you out of your seat. b) Stones of Years: The first time I heard it, I thought, "Oh man, why is it mellow? Eruption was awesome!" But then, maybe 4 or 5 listens later, I realized that this second section is as good as or better than Eruption. Lake appears here (and very well at that), and the organ solo in the middle is especially awesome. c) Iconoclast: Goes back to the Eruption theme. Perfect entryway into... d) Mass: Again, Lake sings again, with another keyboard solo in the middle. Both are perfect. It's tough to go too far into it, because a word has not yet been invented to describe it. e) Manticore: Another instrumental section, with a really cool 3-beat keyboard riff, and then into... f) Battlefield: Possibly.... possibly... the best section here. Maybe, I'm still not sure, even though I've listened to the album at least 300 times. All I know is that Battlefield, on its own, is a towering masterpiece. g) Aquatarkus: ELP goes out on a bang.

Jeremy Bender: Ah, here it is. Side 2. Well, JB is under 2 minutes long, but it is still better than 99% of music out there.

Bitches Crystal: No one can deny the quality of this song. Kicks off fast and never looks back, ELP having a good time.

The Only Way (Hymn): Very, very overlooked song. Organ and piano here are fantastic. Lake also delivers a very captivating performance here.

Infinite Space (Conclusion): Instrumental, with an alternating 3-beat then 4-beat per measure riff. Piano takes lead here (as always), and it follows up The Only Way well.

A Time and a Place: The rocker on the album. Nice contrast to the other songs. Rocks harder than the others, while maintaining the ELP quality.

Are You Ready Eddy?: This song makes me laugh every time I hear it. This is ELP having a blast playing their music, and it also shows Keith Emerson randomly hitting his piano, but somehow, it works. This is the ultimate contrast on the album. It ends the album differently than you would have expected, but eventually, you realize that it couldn't have been done any other way.

This is a 5 star album, no matter which way you slice it. 5/5 stars.

Review by frenchie
4 stars Tarkus is my favourite album by ELP. This is an essential piece of music for any decent prog compilation that so very nearly achieves the five star rating. This album is let down by "Are You Ready Eddy", although this is just a mess around track, I find it quite disturbing even if it was the early seventies and could probably have been left off. A very bad closer to such a good album.

"Tarkus" is one of the best epics I have heard alongside "Echoes" and "Supper's Ready". This piece has a very warm and uplifting intro which really pulls me in. This suite is a fantastic journey of great keyboard and bass sections. It doesn't get overblown or dragged down by extensive solo sections, which was my main complaint of the debut album. There are some very emotional vocal, guitar and keyboard parts on this track. This is probably the best ELP work I have heard and this track is a masterpiece.

"Jeremy Bender" is a nice piano tune with some great vocal work. It's very happy but compared to the incredible epic that it follows it definetly does not seem as good. "Bitches Crystal" and the other tunes before "Are You Ready Eddy" have the same fate although they are really good pieces of work. These are only short pieces so it is nice that they have been included.

Overall, this is an excellent piece of prog rock. ELP get an amazing sound from just a three piece band. The production is flawless. It can be a stretch to listen to but not really much more than any other major prog pieces. It took longer to click with ELP then when i listen to bands like King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Yes. Greg Lake is definetly the strongest member on this album but it is a great group effort. Just misses out on a 5 star rating because of the last track and perhaps if the shorter tracks had been placed before the epic 20 minute opener they would have seemed more impressive. Still this is very close to being a masterpiece and is essential for any good prog collection, don't listen to the doubters like I did.

Review by Snow Dog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The second ELP album is a far more cohesive effort than the first. First you have the master work of Tarkus on side 1. What can be said other than that it is essential keyboard led Progressive Rock! Side 2 though is the bone of contention for many! On first hearing I was also a little dissapointed, but theres gold in them hills if you listen! Ok Jeremy Bender is there obligatory jokey song, a minor piece, but fun nevertheless. Bitches Crystal is a rocker, with great performances throughout. The Only Way/Infinite Space I really love. It starts with Church organ accompanied by Lakes Church Choir voice and finishes in a piano/bass/drums played theme which is reiterated and explored.Brilliant! A Time and a Place follows, which is another good band piece with a howling Moog ending That reminds of Tarkus itself. Ok the last track Are you Ready Eddy? aint so hot, but Its not rubbish either as its nice to hear ELP loosen up a bit.
Review by Blacksword
4 stars The best ELP album, IMO, although I admit I have not yet experienced the much maligned 'Love Beach' Like many other prog bands ELP enjoyed the prog glory days, with a string of strong albums which staked their place in the genre. Tarkus, for me is where the classic Hammond driven sound of ELP, much in evidence of their their excellent debut album, meets the excitement of Brain Salad Surgery. The Tarkus suite itself is how I would selfishly like ELP to sound most of the time, and I guess this is why I'm not really a fan; too many ballards and throw away songs in their repetoire.

However, Tarkus is a triumph. It grabs your attention from the outset and leaves you breathless, wondering how on Earth Keith Emerson managed to play the whole thing from beginning to end, without sustaining some kind of injury!! Tarkus is a work for peace, taking us through musical chapters and a variety of moods and changes of style, and pace. It's one of the best prog epics there is, and sits alongside the likes of 'Close to the Edge' by Yes and 'Suppers Ready' by Genesis as an all time classic.

I award four stars for this suite. After the title track the albums takes an unfortunate nose dive IMO. With the exception of the excellent 'Bitches Crystal' and 'A time and a Place' the rest of the album is comprised of time wasters like 'Jeremy Bender' and 'Are you ready Eddie' and pompous innapropriate excursions into the realm of dubious taste and ill judgement with 'The Only Way' (a Hymn)

Tarkus is worth getting for the title track alone, which wont let you down, which with the other two good tracks is a respectable amount of material overall, to justify the rating for the album. It's a shame ELP were generally so inconsistent, their potential and talent was enormous.

Review by Philo
2 stars After seeing and hearing ELP'S version of "Fanfare For The Common Man" on TV one evening I swore I laughed and swore again that I would never purchase an Emerson Lake Palmer album. EVER! But curiosity has got the better of me and after all I was only 16 at the time and engrossed in the world of head banging bull[&*!#] for all my sins. Now, I'm not the worlds greatest progressive rock fan but as a fan of King Crimson decided to get Tarkus due to the presence of Greg Lake. I have always been drawn to his vocals and like the quality of his voice, as pompous as it may have seemed drenched in the orchestration and overblown arrangements of "In The Court Of The Crimson king", "Epitaph" to name but two. Tarkus is different. For me the quality of the music is not as strong and distinctive as the Robert Fripp envisioned King Crimson or even those other prog heads Yes. Some of the patterns on the first side were interesting, even enjoyable with some excellent keyboards and time shifts but as the album wore on the more bored I became and the less adventurous the music would drag. As has been noted many times before the second half of the album is an average minus. "Are You Ready Eddy" might have been a bit of farting fun in the studio getting ready for their producer Eddie Offard, but what was the point in adding this to the album? Point? None in my book. In stark contrast,"Eruption" starts us on what could have been a wonderful journey but by the time we get to "Are You..." I for one felt short changed, mugged in fact... Tarkus might have been a good idea but it is an unfinished and loosely thought out idea, very uneven. Sure they all may be great musicians but they might have went off a little here, even a bit out there. Just like the cover art work. What the hell is that all about? It might take a few years to get the point behind Tarkus but I think I'll let it pass me by.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quite good aggressive music on this album! I don't see this as a complete masterpiece, as there are some annoying numbers on this one like "Jeremy Bender", and also "Are You Ready Eddy?" sounds bit like a joke, though I'm not against good ol' rock'n'roll. "Bitches Crystal" is maybe the best track of this album in my opinion, it's quite short but it has good ideas and the piano playing is just so great! "The Only Way (Hymn)"/"Infinite Space" is a fine suite, and it's lyrics have caused some heated debates! "A Time and A Place" is again a fine aggressive composition. The title epic "Tarkus" is also very good, but not maybe the greatest epic that I have heard. There are lots of weird percussion sounding keyboards, and along with Carl's furious drumming these create a very violent and imaginative sound worlds. Some of the short middle parts sound like Weissmüller's Tarzan riding on the back of a rhino stabbing it. At the finale we can hear the legion of Daffy Duck clones marching to the sea, and we are left alone at the shore thinking what it all was about.
Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For many years I could not listen to ELP because I never considered them as really important artists partly due to this album. I owned this LP but never liked it and never really bothered to acquire the taste for it. I always considered Emerson as a technical showman rather than a musician or composer, and a sort of "hendrix of the keyboards" virtuoso who could appeal only to teenage fans starting to explore the prog music. Thus the sound of ELP never had an important dose of emotions and "poetic" touch that sported the works of say GENESIS or YES from their peak. However I liked the Lake's vocals and his easy ballads accompanied by guitars which gave more emotions to Emerson's technicality. "Tarkus" has both good and bad moments, the epic title suite is interesting but fails in comparison to "Suppers Ready" or "Close to the Edge", having best moments in "Mass" and "Battlefield". "Jeremy Bender" sounds like THE BEATLES piano- music hall tune, while the closing "Are You Ready Freddy" is a dumb rock'n'roll cliche. Again Lake saves the quality with "Bitches Crystal" and "Time and a Place". Overall, listening again today I can more appreciate some overlooked moments of this album, but still I cannot say this is essential piece of prog.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A masterpiece of prog that every one should NOT miss .

This album is definitely a masterpiece of progressive rock from the glory days of seventies. The epic Tarkus that opens the album is really the thing about this album. It comprises seven parts that connect beautifully as one cohesive whole. It stands out excellently as a legendary epic with twenty minutes plus duration. Amazingly, every time I listen to this epic I never feel that the track consumes that long as at the end I always feel like "Is that it? How come so fast it reaches the end of the epic?" And you can guess what I usually do. Yes, you bet! I repeat this epic for second time before I proceed with next track. Why? Simply put this epic delivers fabulous musical experience for me from first part "Eruption" where I usually amazed with the fact that it's played by three gentlemen - how can three people can produce a music with very high density? The Hammond organ and keyboard played by Keith Emerson is really stunning - dynamic and inventive. The bass line by Greg Lake is also excellent. Carl Palmer delivers his machine gun drumming flawlessly. Enuff to say that this is an excellent outfit. The music flows dynamically with frequent tempo changes to second part "Stones of Years" where Lake delivers his powerful voice with various style. This part is dynamic and energetic, composed and performed in symphonic prog style with soaring organ works and inventive drumming. It then moves dynamically to "Iconoclast - Mass - Manticore" with energetic style and it slows down in "Battlefields" with great vocal. The "Aquatarkus" concludes the epic wonderfully.

"Jeremy Bender" is a short track with piano as main rhythm section, performed elegantly with an excellent combination of vocal and drumming. It's not typical ELP song but I do enjoy this track. "Bitches Crystal" sounds like opening of Tarkus at the beginning but when the vocal enters it sounds differently; combined beautifully with inventive piano outfit. Greg Lake sings in unique style with high register notes. The piano solo is amazing, combined with solid bass lines and great drumming.

"The Only Way" is a mellow track with killing melody. It starts with melodic organ solo opening in classical style. When the tiny vocal enters the music, it even makes the music much more melodic with killing notes on vocal. In the middle of the track the piano solo turns into jazzy style. Marvelous! It continues seamlessly to "Infinite Space (Conclusion)" where the piano / organ expands its inventive work beautifully. It continues with "A Time and A Place" with great vocal and soaring organ sounds. These three tracks must be listened continuously as they form like a small epic if you listen to them eventually. Even, I recommend you to listen to this album in its entirety from first epic to last track.

The concluding track is the band's interpretation of rock'n'roll and an appreciation and tribute to Eddy Offord - the Engineer of this groundbreaking album. It's kind of loose leaf if we compare with other tracks but as I have listened to this album for years it finally has engrained as part of the overall theme of this album.


Progressively yours, GW

The Context: I remember vividly that I knew this album years after I was so familiar with Brain Salad Surgery where one of the songs "Karn Evil 9" really BLEW me away and has become my all-time favorite. I owned Tarkus through Monalisa cassette (which I still keep it until now even though I have the CD issued by Rhino). Whenever I listen to this album I always remember my childhood where rock music was like daily rice (bread is not common in my country, especially my childhood in small town Madiun) and nothing in life so interesting than rock music - not to mention the boring thing about studying uughh ... So, I must admit that even until today I'm still touched with this album. To put precisely on what I feel about the impact of this album to me, I would rather put it with my locality term: nggeblak! Yes, you bet! This album makes me stunned; my mind seems paralyzed enjoying the wonderful harmony this album has infused into my ears, my mind and my heart. Thanks ELP! You make me delighted.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars For their sophomore album, ELP had become a tighter musical ensemble, a factor that allowed them to create a more varied and more interesting album than its predecessor (which was quite brilliant, per se). The fact that the band evidently felt tighter was accompanied by the overall increase of their musical imagination - how can you lose when you've got solid companionship and excellent writing, all at once? You can only win, and a real winner the 'Tarkus' suite is, indeed. Labeled as one of the most definitive moments of the golden era of prog, I must say that there is no way that you can overrate this amazingly electrifying seven-part sonic monument: the only mistake you could eventually make is underrate it, and that I won't do, no Sir. Lyrically centered on the subjects of war, oppression and social alienation, this suite's structure is focused on its instrumental components - 'Eruption' provides from second one the incendiary spirit that will burn the air the listener is breathing for the following 21 minutes. 'Iconoclast' and 'Manticore', each in its own turn, will recapture that same spirit relentlessly and mercilessly, with the closing 'Aquatarkus' bringing an added touch of psychedelia and the ultimate 'Eruption' reprise. The sung parts, meanwhile, go flowing through different moods: contemplation ('Stones of Years'), subtle irony ('Mass') and sympathetic sadness for the fate of all mankind ('Battlefield'). These sung sections are not without bombast, although 'Stones' and 'Battlefield' obviously bear a more melodical structure; it is the instrumental interlude of 'Mass' that is more related to the explosive drive of the non-sung sections. To cut this long story short, the 'Tarkus' suite is the defining moment for ELP as a major prog statement, since it epitomizes the energy, the aggressive bombast and the challenging musical intelligence that this paradigmatic trio used to deliver at their peak. and let me tell you that this band has many peak moments in their overall repertoire. The second half of "Tarkus" is far less epic, finding the band exploring other musical trends that they gladly incorporated into their prog input. Unlike some other reviewers who find themselves a bit let down (to say the least) by what they find after the opening suite, I happen to think that side 2 is equally impressive, although in different terms. The diversity of sonic sources that are featured from 'Jeremy Bender' all the way to 'Are You Ready Eddy?' is delivered by ELP with ease and technical prowess, even when they leave seriousness behind and let themselves go in a sort of musical fun fair. The display of piano-based jazz rock that appears in 'Bitches Crystal' proves that Emerson doesn't necessarily need a Hammond or a Moog to create sheer keyboard energy. Also jazzy, but rooted in the old days of 50s beat clubs, and occasionally combined with Baroque nuances, 'The Only Way'/'Infinite Space' shows the band driving things down a notch, but still portraying a ballsy feel to it. A special mention has to go to the well ordained dialogues between the grand piano and the drum kit. 'A Time and a Place' sort of reminds me of The Nice at their best, but of course, since Emerson is a more matured musician and his companionships is more brilliant, you can tell that this song surpasses the boundaries of the seminal days of prog and gets allocated on a more robust realm. 'Jeremy Bender' is a down tempo Cajun number that serves as an excuse for some humor: this one should be enjoyed as a taster for the more accomplished (and equally frivolous) 'The Sheriff' and 'Benny the Bouncer'. 'Are You Ready, Eddy?' is ELP's 'Great Balls of Fire', making it a tribute to their hard-working sound engineer - now we've got humor plus a warm touch of camaraderie. Conclusion: "Tarkus" is one of the most relevant masterpieces of the essential era or prog rock, and as such, it deserves no less than the maximum ProgArchives rating.
Review by Zitro
4 stars A mediocre album with one of my favourite songs of all times (Tarkus). So, if you want to get this album, get it for that track alone, because the rest is not that memorable.

Tarkus (11/10) is my favourite ELP piece, and may be in my top 5 songs of all times. Starting with a great jam, it sets the tone of the long piece of art. Then it switches back and forth the overly beautiful Singing sections with great ELP jams. The second half of the song is my favourite, which has my favourite organ solo of all times (the hammond organ used in a percussive way, until it goes berserk and accompained by a screaming electric guitar line). This is also the first ELP song that has military-like percussion. Another highlight has to be the cheap-sounding keyboard riff that really works, followed by a funny sounding synth solo that is very entertaining over a military rhythm. The song ends with a reprise of the intro.

Side B (5/10) : All songs are really mediocre, and some are downright awful 'are you ready eddy' 'jeremy bender', etc. However, some songs are good such as the hammon-organ showcase of ''a time and a place'/ I barely listen to side b anymore, only the amazing Tarkus suite

My Grade : B

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I can remember the first time I had heard this. I was a young man then just starting on a quest to listen to the best musicians. I had been listing to the self titled and just had obtained Trilogy when my friend said "you have to hear this".

From the Eruption to Aquatarkus it just blew me away. I listened to it over and over for about 2 weeks. The first thing that struck me was how complete this piece of music was. The jazz overtones in Eruption to the almost perfect vocal line in Stones of Years the first two passages fit together like a lock and a key. Then the organ solo in Stones of Years made me first realize you can play rock without a guitar! To the Iconoclast to Mass with that torrid organ and percussion solo, outstanding, Building, Building until its release of the note held by the organ fading into a synth fading into a Guitar, Magnificent! Battlefield still as haunting today as it was then. Aquatarkus booming across the speakers to the final fanfare. Whew! What more do you need.

That song is for sure one of the top three examples of what Progressive rock is. The other 4 songs are ok but really have nothing to do with the fact that Tarkus is essential piece of prog history, development and a definition you could hand to someone and say this is prog. 5 Stars no question

Review by Progbear
3 stars One of the most lopsided albums in the history of prog. Make no mistake, the "Tarkus" suite is one of the defining moments of progressive rock, with Emerson's Hammond organ playing and highly inventive layers of Moog continuing on admirably from the first album, building their legend. It's not only their best extended piece, but it also shows that they could do long-form original works and do them well, showing that they were about more than rocked-up classics.

Still, there is the matter of the B-side to contend with.

It's not a total wash. "A Time And A Place" is a nice attempt at writing a new version of "Knife-Edge" based on original themes, and if it has any sort of fault it's that it's too short. And "Infinite Space" spotlights some wonderfully dissonant (he loves that tritone!) piano playing from Emerson. Unfortunately, you have to make your way through the dull, Bach-sweetened church organ ballad "The Only Way" to get at it. The infamous ELP bad lyrics rear their ugly head here, but not for the first time. That dubious honour goes to "Bitches Crystal", a morass of detuned toy-box piano and embarrassing screaming vocals from Lake (who is many things. A hard rock vocalist is not one of them). And the less said about the lame, unfunny "joke" songs that bookend the B-side, the better.

Sadly, it looked like the B-side was to become the rule rather than the exception for ELP in the future. Bad precedent to set, guys.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Tarkus" is arguably ELP's masterpiece and one of prog's finest moments. So, why a mere four stars, and from someone who's an unabashed fan of the group? Because, as many ELP records, it is a flawed masterpiece. The sheer magnificence of the title track, 20 minutes of pure prog glory, is somewhat marred by an excess of filler in the rest of the album - namely, the tracks called "Jeremy Bender" and "Are You Ready Eddy". Mind you, I find them both amusing, but also quite out of place on the same record as a career-defining tour de force like the awesome title track.

"Eruption", the first movement of the "Tarkus" suite, builds up until Emerson's synths literally explode from the amps, backed by Palmer's precise, intricate drumming; then things slow down for Lake's first showcase, the wistful "Stones of Years", in which he proves himself once again to be one of the greatest vocalists on the scene. After this moment of relative quiet, things heat up again with "Iconoclast", "Mass" (another Lake showcase, complete with bitingly ironic lyrics) and "Manticore", leading up to the two final movements, the real triumph of the album. In "Battlefield" Lake shows he can play a mean lead guitar (his solo reminds me in a way of Gilmour's style), though the track is best remembered for his utterly wonderful vocal performance. Then "Aquatarkus" (one of the greatest instrumentals of all time) brings everything to a close, with Emerson and Palmer again involved in a show-stopping demonstration of their respective skills.

I know opinion is divided on the remaining tracks on the album. Personally, I think "Bitches Crystal", "A Time and A Place" and "The Only Way/Infinite Space" are all more than adequate tracks, though no masterpieces. On the first one, Lake's vocals sound a bit strained, as the track would have been more suitable for a voice such as Ian Gillan or even Glenn Hughes - though musically it is a very interesting experiment of blending prog with jazz and hard rock. "A Time and A Place" is also quite good, though nothing earth-shaking; more interesting is "The Only Way/Infinite Space", with Lake singing his rather controversial lyrics while accompanied by a church organ! Of the other two songs, the so-called 'funny' ones, I think the less said the better.... As I stated before, they might sound nice on a completely different album by a different band. Why ELP needed to include that kind of 'light relief' in most of their records is quite beyond me. So, if I could I would give "Tarkus" 4,5 stars. As someone wrote on this website, the suite alone would deserve 6, but those two tracks prevent it from being the essential item it should have been. Nevertheless, you should get it, if only to lose yourself in the utter bliss provided by the title track!

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Let me express my great appreciation to the most classic ELP's album! Not the most coherent, though, since the six short tracks that constitute its second half. Nor my favourite one, by the way, being the best Trilogy.

I've heard it for the first time fifteen years ago and still having great pleasure every time I put my headphones on...

...the Tarkus suite was recorded in just six days... ...Tarkus...passion and turbulence!

4,5 stars!

Review by belz
5 stars 4.5/5.0

What, this masterpiece is number 97 in the top 100!? I just can't understand why this album is that underrated. This is clearly a masterpiece, whatever one could say! I mean: if in 100 years you wanted to show someone what the prog-music of the 70s was like, you have to listen to Tarkus!

There are many groups which took a lot of influence from Emerson, Lake and Palmer (groups like Pär Lindh Project, as an example), because ELP was original, creative, and there music is imaginative, with a huge drum, MONSTRUOUS keyboards and what a voice! I vae a DVD of them in a show in 1973 and it's simply amazing. ELP is not nly about music; it's an experience!

Musically speaking, my vision of a post-apocalyptic Earth is approximately what Tarkus makes me think of. And whatever some people may think, music is all about this: recreating emotions and travelling through music in mind or time. This music is emotive, rude, violent, yet in all its dysharmony there is some symphony in the chaos.

Tarkus is not only an album: it is an experience. Sure it is not perfect, but not many albums are perfect. However, on balance this is close enough from perfection to be described as a masterpiece!

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ELP is comprised of ex-King Crimson member Greg Lake, ex-Nice member Keith Emerson, and ex-Atomic Rooster member Carl Palmer. Together, they were at the forefront of the classically based keyboard dominated trios in the world. Their first album, a self titled debut, was a nice balance of group and solo efforts from each member. Their second album, titled Tarkus, featured one of the (arguably) greatest epics ever written. The first side of this album is comprised of the Tarkus suite, a song pertaining to lost soliders of war and a giant armadillo tank (sounds a bit bizarre, eh?), but the album is marred by a mediocre second side of somewhat silly material that really throws the mood of this album off a lot. The musicianship is superb here. Emerson continually shows that he deserves to be mentioned as rock's greatest keyboardist. His intricate and overly complicated organ patterns and soaring synthesizers are the main focus of the album. Greg Lake has always been a strong vocalist, but this album really shows his talents at their fullest. His bass work is also among his most intricate and interesting as well. And Carl Palmer is stunning on this album, keeping the band in time even during the most tricky circumstances. It's a recipe meant for success, but does it come out on top?

Tarkus opens the album with strong ascending organ runs and smooth bass lines all backed by precision drumming. The song goes through many different emotions, but the best part is definitely the Aquatarkus section, in which Emerson shows off his incredible synthesizer skills. The entire first side of the album is a masterpiece of progressive rock, in my mind at least. But the second side of the album is where things go from masterpiece to just good. Jeremy Bender has an interesting and winding piano motif, but a a bland Lake vocal and some uninteresting drumming really hurts the song from becoming a great song. Bitches Crystal is a pretty forgettable tune, nothing very special here. The Only Way and Infinite Space have this continuity thing going, where it would appear that the two songs link together. There are some recurring themes within the 6 minutes, but it's nothing terribly strong or memorable. A Time and a Place is another forgettable throwaway, expect nothing particularly special here, as well. Are You Ready Eddy? is the best song on the second side. It has this great feel to it that really shows the versatility of the group (as well as the jokey nature, as the song is dedicated to Eddie Offord).

Overall, Tarkus is a pretty interesting mixture of serious epics and jokey throwaways. If the album was solely comprised of songs in the vein of side one, I would have given it a masterpiece rating. But because that isn't the case here, and the songs on the second side are mostly forgettable, save for a few interesting tracks (Are You Ready Eddy?, and to some degree Jeremy Bender). In the end, most fans of symphonic prog should pick this album up solely based on the strength of the epic on the album. 3.5/5.

Review by Australian
3 stars "Tarkus", as a whole doesn't match up with its brothers (or sisters?) in that it seems to have two sides to it. One side is serious and epic like the "Tarkus Suite" and the other is kind of joking around with songs like "Jeremy Bender." These bear some resemblances to early, Syd Barret- era Pink Floyd and carry the same humour. Of Course, the "Tarkus Suite" is arguably the very first Symphonic Progressive Epic written at least a year before counterparts Yes and Genesis constructed their first epics. The "Tarkus Suite" in its self is different to most other epics as it is very heavily keyboard based and like many epics carries a vague concept. "Tarkus" is basically about a half- tank half-armadillo creature named Tarkus, and the suite shows some of his enemies and also the effects of war.

The "Tarkus Suite" is very moving, especially in "The Battle Field" in which Greg Lake shows us that he can play guitar. This section in particular conjures images of a revenged battlefield and fallen/massacred people strewn in the midst of war. Similar to Yes's 'Gates of Delirium', but in this regard "Tarkus" is more effective. The piece begins with an intro into Tarkus, which is rightly named "Eruption" and is the birth of Tarkus and of war. The song then moves into "Stones of Years" in which the first set of vocals come in as "Has the dawn ever seen you eyes." This section is accented by an electric organ and moog synthesizers and is quite moving. Following this is "Iconoclast", a violent instrumental section with furious percussion, bass and stabbing keyboards. Next comes "Mass", a sort violent jazzy section with flowing lyrics and grand synthesizers. Next is another short instrumental section called "Manticore", a Manticore being a half-human half-lion creature. Manticore is one of Tarkus' greatest enemies and what follows is a fight between the two creatures. "The Battlefield" comes next and brings with it a truly epic feel with excellent musicianship which must be heard to be believed. The closing section has two parts, the first is a military sounding march which is brought on by a snare drum and synthesizers, the second part is the re-birth of Tarkus and is a repeat of the beginning of the song.

"Jeremy Bender" is next, not much to say about it, very average and is one of two out of place songs. Next is "Bitches Crystal" another song following the "Tarkus" concept, except with no references to the actual creature. This song and the next three to follow seem as one song as they all follow a theme of war and destruction. Real Post-war music. Lastly is the comical "Are You Ready Eddie", the other out of place song, not bad though!

1. Tarkus Suite (5/5) 2. Jeremy Bender (1.5/5) 3. Bitches Crystal (3.5/5) 4. The Only Way [Hymn] (4/5) 5. Infinite Space [Conclusion] (3.5/5) 6. A Time and a Place (3/5) 7. Are You Ready Eddy- (3/5) Total= 23.5 divided by 7 (number of songs =3.357 = 3 stars

Good, but non-essential

In the end "Tarkus" comes in as a healthy three stars, good stuff and although "Are You Ready Eddy" may seem out of place on "Tarkus", it is a mood lifter from the rest of the album which is dark and mournful. "Tarkus" is truly a ground breaking and meaningful album and it has the potential to be a rewarding album to all, though many may not see it. I'd recommend "Tarkus" to Symphonic Prog Fans to get a glimpse of the very first progressive epic (to my knowledge.)

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars I had the opportunity to listen to TARKUS au complet probably 4 or 5 years after its release. Certainly the early hearing of band works like TRILOGY or BRAIN SALAD SURGERY, chronologically newer, may have affected my discernment, I think but it didn't impress me too much, then, and even today it says very few to me. Well, with age I've become more condescending and I've spotted some points in this album that are really pleasant.

First, the cover, impressive, haunting, well in accordance with the times when the album was released. The battle between the hybrid Tarkus and the hero Manticore is nicely displayed. Second, and more important, the suite which bears the album name: "Tarkus", a epic-like song that has grown intensely in my taste. The more I hear, the more I like the opening track. It contains fine moments, even discounting the intro, with its arrangement resembling a kind of soundtrack. As the song continues EL&P show their higher musicianship and the listener is introduced to a series of enjoyable parts, very melodic and symphonic, all backed by some of the most luxurious Greg Lake's vocals, who personally provides another great moment, with his rare guitar solo, in the segment 'Battlefied', a peak, doubtlessly.

Other tracks are less inspiring: "Jeremy Bender" has a mixed western-vaudeville atmosphere, which is funny, cheesy, and nothing more. "Bitches crystal", has good instrumentation, especially Keith Emerson's keyboard playing that disguises song weakness. Vocals are disappointing with Lake screaming more than singing.

"The only way", a hymn based upon some Bach's theme, is fair but lyrics are catchy and indulgent, even being beautifully soothed. Greg Lake compensates here greatly the flaws noted in the previous track. Maybe if this song should be extended it could be better appreciated. "Infinite space" seems more a rehearsal than a full track. The jazz connotations add few, the song is poor - a waste of time.

"A time and a place" brings again Lake screaming instead of singing, which is a shame, considering his marvelous and tuned voice. Emerson's keyboard acrobatics are a clear attempt to give some soul to a completely tasteless song. Final track, "Are you ready, Eddy?" brings some amusement with its rockabilly style, and that's all.

In the end, we have to recognize that "Tarkus", the song, saved TARKUS, the album. The splendid epic makes this album good, even not being essential. Final rating: 3.

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars As others have said, it's half an album.

Tarkus is a suite that represents some of the best ELP material, for 20 minutes anyways. The second half of this album is completely and utterly useless unless you're in a laughing mood. The well known themes combined with ELP's idiosyncrasies on the 2nd half may have been intriguing at the time, but are impossible to take seriously now. On the other hand, Tarkus is a wonderful little piece and quite possibly the best of all of ELP's material.

Greg Lake's vocal work really stands out here, and I believe it's what really makes this track even better than the intriguing instrumental interplay. The production makes the keys/hammonds have a distinct flavor, a sort of vintage quality to the music that's perhaps unreproduceable. I find Tarkus much better than Karn Evil 9, which I found more aimless (and not really cohesive as a suite to begin with).

If some elements of the debut had been incorporated into the B-side of this record, it is very possible it would be looked at as one of the defining pieces of the genre. Unfortunately, the 2nd half is marred with inexcusable rubbish. Good to have for one track and to see the genius the band did possess, as Tarkus is a hell of a song.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The progressive rock.

There it goes, my 100th review is dedicated to my desert island record - to an ultimate masterpiece: the immortal Tarkus. And I will rate it with highest possible rating without letting the side-long suite, "Tarkus" to affect my rating.

I discovered this gem in my late teens, and now at the age of 30 I'm still discovering new details and hidden chapters of this monstrously spectacular story. My first rendezvous (or shall I say: impact?) with this album happened when a friend borrowed me dull-sounding copy's copy's copy's copy of Tarkus on an old BASF tape. It struck me hard and changed my life.

And than it struck me again, when I finally obtained my own copy, I realised that the album cover (which I never saw before) is exactly the same as I expected it to be. Do you believe in coincidence, destiny or supernatural powers? However, this record changed my life indeed. I was convinced (well, still I am) that every note and sound on the album is telling the story and painting the picture exactly as I imagined them in my head. I would like to say: this album is mine, interacting with me in some parallel universe. I don't want to sound like Charles Manson, but I hope you get the picture how strongly this piece of art affected my life.

Armadillos, hymera, the battle between good and evil, war, science-fiction motif? Everything is here, and none of the above.

Thousands of Tarkus reviews are done in the last thirty (and more) years, with many of them utilising deep dissection of the plot, focus, musicianship, lyrics, concept and everything else that could possibly be related to the album. Thesis about Tarkus is not uncommon thing. More than half a dozen doctorates were written about Tarkus' length. That's right, people gained PhD title because of this record.

And all of them presented less then one percent of knowledge to an average listener who never had a chance to be purified by listening to the album.

Perhaps it's time for a philosophers to start writing reviews. Or lunatics.

The main motif of ELP's career is humanity and human being itself, and Tarkus is the core of ELP's career. That is precisely the same motif present in all the art that human race created during the history. The motif is often represented by demonstrating different aspects of human madness - usually through the typically human sociological phenomenon - the phenomenon of war. These two parameters are interacting, and the link between them could be considered a root, while occasional branches are questioning and examining all other aspects of human nature and society.

Why that war-madness relationship? I got that idea while listening thoroughly Tarkus, and later, when I discovered other ELP's albums, that theory was confirmed several times. Let's take a chronological look: on their debut, we have "Three Fates", for example - but finding the same motif there could be a huge stretch, and it will probably sound as "Paul is dead" theory during the Beatlemania; and if you want to find an ambiguous proof, you can find it anywhere. No. The picture is worth one thousand words, but the music can evocate an infinite number of pictures. But let's try with another example: Tank. It's not only the three-part showmanship, actually you can trace the development of a story of tank (and a tiny soldier-driver inside), where the first part is introduction and training if you want, drum solo is, of course, a battle with enfilades, and third part is discovering lunacy, the absence of fear, and a pure destruction. The similar motif reached its peak on Tarkus, and on Trilogy you can experience the same story while listening Abbadon's Bolero. Speaking of wars and battles, should I mention Karn Evil 9 too? Even during the days of ELP's reformation, when their inspiration batteries were worn off, you can find similar plot in Changing States, for example.

Considering the music itself: it's impossible to describe it. Before any possible jumping into conclusion that I am defending "Tarkus vs. rest of the world" attitude, I will say that every piece of music is indescribable; you can only describe your own impressions and emotions, or do the analysis of the matter or compare it and observe who influenced who - but for the music, even the best reviewer in the world will always be in the gray area. That especially goes for good music.

From the historical, and, I must say, mathematical point of view, I can't cope with this masterpiece. As I said, there are numerous analysis around, published on the web, in the books and elsewhere, with different amount of "dissection depth". I remember that I've found several sheet music transcriptions of Tarkus, each of them slightly differing from another. No surprise there's no many Tarkus sheet music books around.

The music on Tarkus is new, fresh, innovative and groundbreaking. The roots of it could be found in the works of THE NICE, of course, in the classical (and contemporary classical) scores, and in the jazz. I am often foreseeing traces of Thelonious Monk in Emerson's piano pieces. There is a perfect amalgam between classical and jazz approach in the "Infinite Space (Conclusion)", where bass and piano are playing the pattern that is almost entirely unison, except for the last note in the sequence which is played in the semi-note interval, producing brilliant dissonance and creating an extraordinary mood. "Jeremy Bender" is also worth mentioning, with a ballad mellow melody with an influence of music from a Romanticism period, but the whole thing was actually derived from relatively simple ascending chords with occasional spices of jazz.

There are many details that could be observed through the lenses and offer another proof that Tarkus as a whole is a piece done by three musicians, each of them undoubtedly bearing the title of genius. But since we, mortals, are seeing only the top of the iceberg, I wouldn't observe the piece in its entirety. I could mention "The Only Way (Hymn)" - where Lake did an extraordinary vocal performance, and lyrics once again fit into my theory of war-madness thread. Emerson's intro on organ, with hypnotic pedal tone and absolutely weird but gorgeous approach to the fugue is incredible. I really doubt I will hear something half as good in my lifetime. And they dared to overdub their vocals underneath the pedal tone (although quietly) and gave the song a scent of rock music and, I dare to say, banality? But I never heard anyone complained about it. And why complaining? It works perfectly.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This was the album with which I discovered ELP on my hospital bed in 1972. There was a very good programme called "Impédance" on the Belgian radio (thanks Jacques and Pierre). It was broadcasted very late on Saturday nights. To air numbers as "Tarkus" was rather audacious for the time (not only the lenght but as well the genre).

So, let's start reverse with this album : first B-side because there is also a B-side you know! About eighteen minutes long, so not too long to suffer as a lot of us have done while listening to this portion of the album (which is not too often in my case).

IMO, "Jeremy Bender" is the poorest number of the album (and one of the all-time ELP worst one). "Bitches Crystal" is a mix of the traditional ELP sound and jazz. It might well be one of the best number of this side. "The Only Way" is very pompous in the first part and jazzy again during the second. Not too bad an interpretation, after all. The jazzy mood also prevails in "Infinite Space". But the whole of this number is pure repetitiveness.

"A Time And A Place" is the first and only full true ELP number on this side of the record. Very powerful band with Keith playing at his best. Carl hitting the drum kit like a master (which he is) and Gregg singing a bit more rageously than usual. It reminds me the title track. Great number, really. The funny and revival (!) "Are You Ready Eddy ?" closes the album very strangely. Not really within the ELP standard to say the least.

Like most of us, I hardly listen to this side. I had completely forgotten that it held even average songs (not to speak about a very good one). At least, thanks to this review I have discovered the other side of this work again.

Of course, there is one number on side A. And what a number ! A fabulous and all- mighty intro featuring an explosion of sounds (hence its title : "Eruption"). ELP could not have found a better title. The band truely erupts the music with all their energy. Fabulous.

"Stones Of Years", on the contrary is all subtlety and harmony. ITCOTCK sits just aside. The instrumental section will, again be very energetic. Two wonderful moverments in this seven-piece suite. "Iconoclast" reminds "Eruption" and is all violence again. No time to relax so far.

"Mass" is a bit weaker, somewhat hectic. "Manticore" is again a strong and short piece. It takes some of the "Eruption" mood to give some consistency to the whole.

"Battlefield" features again some very nice vocals. I have always like Lake's voice. This track is a brilliant showcase for him. A good guitar break (there won't be many in ELP's work) will add a special flavour to this section.

These short parts flow brilliantly the one into the other; making this number a great piece of prog music. The band sounds very unified. This is really an exceptional number. What if, like Tull, they would have expanded a bit further on side B ?

Well, I'm not really sure it would have lead to something like TIAB, since there are some weaker moments during the last part "Aquatarkus" (the intro of it, actually). The finale is as powerful as "Eruption". This song which lasts for more than twenty-minutes is so great that the listener will never get the impression that it is so long. This is the mark of the greatest.

This number alone is worth five stars of course. It ranks to the greatest epics of the genre and defines ELP style perfectly. I could listen to this one endlessly. But I can honestly not rate the album so high. For stars for the whole.

Review by b_olariu
5 stars ELP revolutionized the 70's rock scene by developing a new standard in exploring the keys sounds.The geniality and unlimited talent have no borders here on this album, and put together, generated a level of music never achieved by anybody else as of yet. This is simply a masterpiece, a 5 star without question. This album stands in time, even now after almost 40 years, and an essential for many musicians from today. Tarkus made me opens my eyes in prog, was not Nursery Cryme, not Pawn hearts, not Aqualung not even Look at yourself (witch i love and respect all these albums), was Tarkus with his unbeliveble key parts. Absolut every track is mind blowing. If you don't own it, go get it NOW. If you have listened to ELP's other releases and didn't like them, give the trio another chance, you're missing the best prog-epic ever. This is a classic of classics of prog, the best ELP. 5 stars
Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars "Tarkus" is an mixture of epic excellence and head-scratching zaniness, the title track being one of the band's best songs ever while later songs range from bad to mediocre.

Starting with the good, "Tarkus" features all the soaring bombast and dynamic compositions one should expect from any classic prog band worth their salt, featuring some killer playing from all memebers. Lake's voice is featured more evenly throughout, but Emerson's dexterous keyboard dominates the melody and instumental passages... maybe a little overtly, but its hard to deny his talent.

As for the other songs, they may be fun for an occasional listen but don't come close to the quality of the title track. "Jermey Bender" and "Are You Ready Eddy?" are just fun for the sake of it, but hardly demonstrate the band's talent. This, and the sometimes overwhelming organ/keyboards of Emerson make for a good, but not great listen overall.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

Review by Chicapah
4 stars After bedazzling the music world with their brilliant debut, this terrific trio set out to do something even more challenging. Follow it up with an album that was just as good. And, to their credit, they almost did. "Tarkus" is a well constructed record that further advanced their reputation as progressive music trailblazers in the early 70s. You gotta admit, no one else was doing it quite the same way as Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Side one of the LP consists of the adventurous and legendary "Tarkus" suite. The first segment, Keith's "Eruption," is one of the most intense, jam-packed 2 minutes and 43 seconds in prog rock. The 5/4 track is tighter than Pavarotti's waistband and it is a textbook case of organ, synthesizers, bass and drums working together like a well- oiled, high-torque machine. On top of all that its extremely complex arrangement will make your head spin. Few albums start this splendidly so it's not a big surprise to find that the next phase, "Stones of Years," struggles a bit to keep the momentum rolling on that spectacular level. It's a heavy, slower-paced tune with Greg singing cryptic lyrics about a metallic armadillo but, while Emerson's organ solo is interesting, things take a much-appreciated swing upward when they rip into Keith's "Iconoclast" and tear it up again. It's got a supercharged riff that they steer through difficult and intricate changes, showing how amazing these guys are when they're in sync.

Next Greg sings "Mass" with conviction yet it's the staccato organ lead that gets your attention as the spicy interplay between Keith and Carl grabs the spotlight. After the short-lived "Manticore" section we get a brief taste of Lake's still-developing electric guitar skills that mark a low spot in the proceedings (He would get much better in the years ahead, thank heaven). The pity is that his amateurish noodling takes away from the majestic theme of "Battlefield" going on beneath it. An unusual Moog sound performed over a marching drum beat takes us into the finale of the piece, Emerson's "Aquatarkus," which also reprises the stupendous 5/4 power hook of the opening salvo that got things off to such a wild, driving start. The big finish is suitably flamboyant but somehow I get the feeling that the side-long saga just didn't come off as well as they had hoped it would. Having said that, however, if they would have had six weeks to polish it in the studio instead of six days I have no doubt that it would be near perfect.

Displaying what would become a distracting habit for this band, "Jeremy Bender" is a detour into corny playfulness that stumps me to this day. It's pretty much a nutty saloon-style drinking ditty complete with honky-tonk piano and silly limerick phrases that must have amused them no end. Whatever. At least the next song redeems them as it's one of the highlights of the album. "Bitches Crystal" is a jazzy piano-driven number that benefits greatly from tasteful synthesizer work and mood-changing dynamics to create a fascinating kaleidoscope of musical colors. On top of that, Greg's passionate and almost furious vocal is strikingly arresting and shows a completely different side of Mr. Lake.

"The Only Way (Hymn)" has Keith manning a huge cathedral organ as Greg sings some virulent anti-religion lines that include a strange reference about God losing six million Jews before telling us that we have to do it ourselves (or something). Emerson manages to throw in a little bit of Bach to liven things up halfway through but the best thing occurs when they segue into "Infinite Space," a 7/8 piano-led instrumental that moves at a fast clip. As much as I like Keith's organ virtuosity, his skill on the eighty- eights is often breathtaking and that's the situation here. Excellent job. The mighty Hammond B3 makes a triumphant return on "Time and a Place," a typical ELP tour de force that rumbles like a freight train for three thrilling minutes. "Are You Ready Eddy?" is a stress-relieving, spontaneous session outtake aimed at their burgeoning engineer, ending the album on a lightheartedly loose but undeniably rock & roll note.

I can't help but think that this record might have sold a few more copies if it weren't for the horrendous cover and inside liner art. It's ugly and it certainly made me (and probably others) think twice when I first saw it in the racks in 1971. When compared to the other beautiful and stunning pictures that adorned their debut and the incredible "Brain Salad Surgery," this cartoon-ish nightmare looks like it was done by a kindergarten toddler. Inexcusable. Anyway, as far as the dreaded sophomore jinx goes, "Tarkus" beats that superstitious myth to a bloody pulp. While it's not the acme of their career, it still has the ability to make your hair stand on end time and time again. You could do a lot worse than to spend forty minutes with this impressive collection of progressive rock, that's for sure. 4.2 stars.

Review by fuxi
3 stars Talking about 'a giant leap for mankind'. (Or at least for three of us!) TARKUS' A-side was almost as stunning an advance on ELP's debut album as YES ALBUM was on TIME AND A WORD. Keith Emerson's composing and keyboard playing (particularly his Hammond organ soloing) suddenly reached exciting new levels. You can tell how happy he was that he'd finally found a drummer and a bassist with whom he could develop his most audacious ideas. Many, many moments still leave me speechless, and even one of ELP's actual SONGS still sounds majestic ('Battlefield', in case you'd like to know) - in spite of those ghastly Lakean lyrics. Strangely enough there's little use of synths: they would really only come into their own in 1972.

I completely agree with most other reviewers that the original album's B-side is a bummer, so if you're just after the 'Tarkus Suite' and want virtually all of BRAIN SALAD SURGERY into the bargain (together with loads of other material), buy THE ATLANTIC YEARS (1992) instead. It's still available secondhand, but I warn you: it has one of the cheapest cover pictures I've ever seen...

Rating: Four stars for the A-side; two for the B-side.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I always believed it's unfair to use ELP as the example of the most self indulgent, excessive and pompous Prog, people like to blame them for how much mainstream critics and audience hate or ignore our beloved genre, but I tell this people get "Trilogy" and if you find it too complex, go and buy "Saturday Night Fever" because Prog is not for you.

But each time I listen "Tarkus" I feel closer to the people who believe ELP are sometimes excessive, after a soft but good debut and because people expected too much from the first Prog supergroup, they valued more complexity and empty virtuosity over musicality, Palmer and Emerson seem to be in a ciontest trying to prove how fast they are and lake has troubles with some tracks (Something I never expected from him),

Of course if they wanted to be a Prog band they had to do a pompous and overblown epic, better if multi part and better if they created an almost impossible to understand concept, this may work for Genesis because Peter Gabriel is a hell of a lyricist and has an incredible imagination, but that's not the strongest point of Emerson, Lake, Palmer or Sinfield when they recruited him.

The band starts the album with the supposed "Piece de Resistance" the overblown Tarkus, divided in seven parts all created to prove how proficient they are at their respective instruments, the Sci Fi mythological concept is secondary, it's only an excuse, I find no coherence or melodic support, the more complex the better, except for the vocal sections by Greg Lake, pretty forgettable.

They blend Symphonic, Jazzy sections, Crimsonian references and of course lost or organ and drum solos, they proved they are excellent performers but the composition is less than average IMHO, in some moments they seem to regain control but they loose it almost instantly in their desire of being better, louder and more complex than anybody else, goals that they never achieve.

Jeremy Bender is simply a nice saloon tune with a vertical piano, catchy but nothing special.

Bitches Crystal is the point where I use the skip button, no feet or head, they got lost between Pompous Prog and Free Jazz, even Greg who gives coherence to the most bizarre tracks is unable to make this track barely decent, Keith butchers the piano and maybe the highest point is Palmer who remains accurate as always.

The Only Way starts as a good (at last) atheist hymn paradoxically performed using the St. Mark Church Organ. They try to be original and irreverent but the phrase "Why did he lose six million Jews" would be laughable if didn't sounded so racist and disrespectful to the holocaust. What started strong ended being ridiculous.

The Only Way is a relief, very good track, martial, rhythmic, well developed and solid from start to end, a "rara avis" in this album without feet and head. Nothing spectacular either but above the level of the album despite is mostly a long introduction that leads nowhere.

A Time and a Place is another song that doesn't make sense at all, it's so badly done that he band plays highly above the vocal range of Greg Lake, letting us notice that his voice has severe limits, the rest is mostly organ and Moog masturbation with Palmer bombing us with his accurate but worthy of a better album drumming.

Are You Ready Eddy? is only a joke and nothing more, entertaining Rock & Roll just in the way any band from your local pub could have played, the album starts as it begins..weak.

Compared with "Love Beach" or "In the Hot Seat" , "Tarkus" is a masterpiece (well, almost any album wins with this comparison), so I can't rate it with one star, now compared even with the naïve and relatively simple self titled debut, "Tarkus" looses, so I have to go lower than 3 stars.

To be fair, it's an average album which would mean an impossible 2.5 stars rating in our system, so I will have to go with 2 stars, very disappointing, because average for other bands is poor for a supergroup as ELP,

Still I can't understand all the noise and praises I heard about it, but being that everybody seems to enjoy "Tarkus" except me, so i won't dare to say avoid it, only wiill say that for me is one of the weakest ELP albums and I wouldn't buy it again even if somebody steals my CD.

Review by jammun
4 stars Let's agree not talk about the amateurish album cover art, which has to be, to this day, amongst the worst ever created. It's sad: Yes, and for God's sake even Uriah Heep, had Roger Dean and his surreal 'scapes. ELP had this crap. Fortunately, there's the music...

The twenty-minute title track is about as good as prog ever got. Ya want some 5/4 rhythm ya got it, and they make it sound so effortless, just another little song they're playing for us. If you had a chance to see them live during this era, you know it WAS effortless. Man, were ELP dealing. Emerson's percussive C3 just drives the songs, Lake is as good a bass player as there was at the time, and Palmer is no slouch. A pompous critic would say something like 'this is arguably the first extended prog masterpiece." I'll forgo the 'arguably' and state, this is the first extended prog masterpiece.

As Hendrix was to the Stratocaster, Emerson was to the Hammond, but not merely in terms of mastery of the instrument. Emerson unleashes the catalogue of sounds that every organ player henceforth would strive to duplicate. It's that innovative, and that good. And it's that hard to duplicate, because not every Hammond player had Rocky as a keyboard tech. There's more synth on Tarkus than on the first album, but still it's the Hammond that dominates. I hadn't listened to this in a while, and it's my loss.

Unfortunately, as is common with ELP albums, things flag a bit on what was the second side of the LP. Jeremy Bender is fun, but nothing special. The Only Way is Emerson's obligatory pipe organ thang. But Time and a Place is ball-crushing hard rock in the vein of Knife-Edge from the debut. But basically most of this is filler -- wouldn't do to release a one-sided LP.

Once again, only a 4. But you wouldn't want to be without this one.

Review by sean
4 stars Quite a few people say that this album can be divided into two parts: the excellent suite "Tarkus", and the rest of the album being mediocre filler tracks. Let me just say that the "Tarkus" suite in itself is a masterpiece, and if that were the entire album, I would give it five stars. However, while I agree that the second half is weaker than Tarkus, I wouldn't go so far as to call it filler. While none of the songs are masterpieces, none of them are completely bad either. The standouts on this side are The Only Way (Hymn)/Infinite Space (Conclusion) and A Time and A Place. Jeremy Bender, Are You Ready Eddy?, and Bitches Crystal are all weaker, piano driven tracks with a pseudo-ragtime feel. Again, not bad, but in light of the fact that they follow a piece as magnificent as Tarkus, it's really impossible for any song to appear to be a masterpiece.
Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. Well I do like this better than "Brain Salad Surgery" and the title track in my opinion is one of their best ever composition. It's just too bad the final 6 tracks weren't a lot better.

"Tarkus" opens with some incredible interplay between Emerson and Palmer. Emerson is the star of this first section though. Just incredible ! When Lake starts to sing a calm arrives in the "Stones Of Years" section. This reminded me so much of KING CRIMSON's debut album when I first heard it. Lake's vocals had a lot to do with that, and how mellow it is. The "Mass" section is another amazing instrumental piece. Kind of cool to hear Lake playing some electric guitar on the "Battlefield" section, and he's not half bad either. Nice sound during this passage. "Aquatarkus" ends this epic track with Emerson again taking the lead.

"Jeremy Bender" is a silly song like the final tune "Are You Ready Eddy ?". "Bitches Crystal" is an uptempo song with aggressive vocals. Check out the piano 2 minutes in. Not a fan of the song though. "The Only Way(Hymn)" features church organ and seemingly anti-God lyrics. "Infinite Space (Conclusion)" is a tasteful drum / piano instrumental. "A Time And A Place" features some incredible organ.

This is certainly worth tracking down just for the title song alone. Another inconsistant record though.

Review by TGM: Orb
4 stars Review 2, 1971, Tarkus - Emerson, Lake And Palmer


Tarkus, though it doesn't (for me, at least) have the same consistent quality and emotional impact as their debut, is the album that really fixed the future of ELP, and the title suite is definitely vital listening for any progger. Although I can see where much of the criticism for the rest of the album comes from, I think it's not as bad as some make it out to be. Even the much-maligned "filler" Are You Ready Eddy and Jeremy Bender have charm, energy and sarcasm, which works for me, and only the fairly cold 'Infinite Space' and the organ intro to The Only Way fall down a little. Lake's sometimes guilty of producing dubious lyrics, and in particular the words to the atheistic The Only Way are too confrontational and feeble for me.

The second side begins with the whimsical Jeremy Bender. The light elements might grate a little with the dark, brooding title track just before it, but if you see the second side as a completely separate entity, it opens it nicely. Lake's lyrics are amusing enough, the piano is good. Palmer is obviously able to merge his drums impeccably with just about anything, and this track is no exception. Lake's voice is good, and the clapping doesn't spoil it at all.

Next we have a winner, the unfortunately named Bitches Crystal. It enjoys a twisted sense of humour, with the nursery rhyme introduction and reprise hilariously contrasted with the main drums, bass and heavier piano theme. Lake's voice, though not as sublime as usual, and occasionally overstretched, and bits of moog and overblown lyrics thrown in for good measure. It ends well, and is a great track in its own way, and perhaps the real proof for me that ELP did have a sense of humour.

The fourth track on the album is of a different sort. There's a classical organ intro, apparently Bach, but, as with most classical organ I'm not particularly fond of it. You then have a less showy organ part subordinated neatly to Lake's superb voice and slightly tacky atheistic lyrics (I don't care, if he can write Just Take A Pebble, he can do more than brief couplets and triplets :p). They're probably too strong/tacky for some people, I've learned to tolerate them. However, that's where it picks up. Palmer and Lake come in, and Emerson switches to piano, to create a beautiful, memorable trio. If it wasn't for the opening and lyrics, this would be ELP at their best. Still a great track.

The conclusion, infinite time and space is mostly a trio, with the briefest of drum solos, and a quick piano solo too, but, without Lake's voice, sort of cold. It also feels a little too deliberate at times, but Emerson's piano overlaying over an already stand-alone part nearish the end is quite neat. Compared to Emerson's usual prominence, it feels like Frippertronics. The song's got some character. Still good material.

Hammond organ, moog and drums drive the next song to a decent synth-and-drum based conclusion that sort of reminds me of some of Toccata. The lyrics are mostly nonsense, but sound good, and Lake's voice is again strong. Unlike in Bitches Crystal, the song is serious enough that Lake over-extending his voice to what basically is screaming doesn't help. The hammond riff is solid and overblown. The drumming here's particularly noteworthy, and the heavier keyboards provide a nice break from the acoustic-dominated second side. If you're a big BSS fan, this is probably the second-side track for you.

Are you Ready Eddy is a quirky rock and roll song with absolutely hectic piano, loads of energy, excellent drums and entertaining, sarcastic lyrics. It may not be the most complex, soul-searching prog song ever, but its fun (and partly inappropriate) to sing along to. The vocal effects only enhance this. This and Jeremy Bender sort of acts as bookends for the second side, and they give a relief from the pomposity of Tarkus much more effectively than some of their other light songs.

In conclusion, I like the second side. It's got a lot of great material, and nothing really intolerable. It's not as superb as ELP, or as progressive and overblown as Brain Salad Surgery, but it shows a lot of development in the band, and their musical direction, while never being really pretentious and humourless enough to lose the listener.

Oh, and the first side's quite good.

Rating: Tarkus is a masterpiece, the rest is good. Four Stars.

Favourite Track: Tarkus (surprise!), more specifically Battlefield

--- More seriously:

The Tarkus suite is really essential listening for any progger. It feels very deep, switches mood frequently, has Lake's best lyrics, nicely used vocal effects, great bursts of lead guitar on battlefield, changing Hammond sounds everywhere, moogs occasionally added in for good measure, and the unique drumming that fits this bizarre mix. Eruption begins with Lake's voice multi-tracked and slowly rising in number to meet the cymbal crescendo, Hammond organ to fit the track's name, moog that evokes the lava depicted in the album booklet. The bass is there, but only really as an atmospheric and rhythm section addition, and that works great for the song. This moves on the quieter hammond and bass section beneath Lake's beautiful vocals on Stones of Years. Everything is here, all working together, and nothing too dominant. The bass becomes a little more pronounced and provides the real rhythm while Emerson and Palmer overpoweringly provide the main tune. There's another similar vocal section. Iconoclast is solid and instrumental, while the following Mass is a bit acquired, but good once you get into it, and the trite Moog and low vocals defuse some of Tarkus' pretentious aspects. The instrumental section in the middle is great and Lake's guitar 'solo' is good.

Manticore is a fairly intense instrumental with masses of quirks, and music that suggest a battle more skilfully than The Gates Of Delirium (*beats off Yes fans with hammond organ*) ever did. Battlefield is the best section of a superb suite. Surprisingly emotional and dominant drumming, soul-wrenching lead guitar, beautiful singing with deep, war-related lyrics, and haunting organ-work that manages to somehow lead *as well*. Aquatarkus is a good return to the main theme, sprinkled with bits of moogage, and a great conclusion. This suite is essential prog listening.

Review by ProgressiveAttic
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Every time I listen to this one and read the reviews here I can't help asking myself, how can someone rate this album under 5 stars? Because for me this is the most impressive and best prog album in history + it is somewhat underrated .

Tarkus summarizes all the aspects that make prog what it is and takes them to the extreme: highly pretentious and pompous; meaningful and well written lyrics (both serious and humorous); top-notch and highly precise musicians; and a 20 minute suite (I think this fits the pretentious category...).

The lineup is really impressive: Greg Lake (King Crimson): with his distinctive and beautiful voice added to his strong bass support to the music; Keith Emerson (The Nice): the man who helped to revolutionize the use of keyboards and one of the founders of the symphonic prog genre; Carl Palmer (Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster): a highly skilled percussionist (almost orchestral) who is also capable of playing (as shown on this record) jazz and rock; and Peter Sinfield (King Crimson) as lyricist and lyrics play a major part on this album.

The Tarkus suite presents quite a mix of styles (as most prog does): here we have some 20th century classical music (mainly Bartok and Ginastera, both composers with which Emerson seems to be somewhat obsessed) fused with jazz ala Oscar Peterson and the rock element is always there (this is progressive rock after all!).

What can I say? here we have some of the iconic and most acclaimed musicians in prog at their best: It has some of the best vocals that I've ever heard, the legendary moog and organ sounds leading the music with some piano and a drummer/percussionist that changed the way I see a rock rhythm section. Added to all that we have some of the escence that made In The Court of The Crimson King a masterpiece(brought by Lake... but this is for another review), it has at least 20 over 5 stars in my book.

OK, the second side is nothing compared to the first but it isn't bad at all, from Bitches Crystal to Time and a Place we have a bunch of magnific tunes:

Bitches Crystal with its crazy atmosphere and vocals, great piano work and strong drum work deserves being hailed as a classic prog song.

The solemn The Only Way/Infinite Space combo is worth listening to experience the grandeur of Emerson playing a church organ and some jazzy lines on the piano; Lake's voice isn't bad at all , while Palmer is more on the background but still powerful. (this is the kind of pompousness that I love!).

A Time and A Place closes the "serious" part of the album with a great team effort that again is pretentious and pompous but well played and fun to listen.

The touch of humor provided by Jeremy Bender and Are You Ready Eddy? help digest the dense content of the rest of the album... and I think they are a valuable addition to the record because I think that nothing should be taken to seriously (and people such as Zappa, Wyatt, Hillage and Sinclair would probably agree with me)

This side might not deserve a 5 star rating but at least 3.5 (or 4...or maybe even 4.5....).

Lyrically its just amazing: antiwar message (Tarkus)+ "political" and religious criticism (The Only Way) + humor (Are You Ready Eddie and Jeremy Bender) + mysticism (Bitches Crystal) + confusing and apparently meaningless philosophical lyrics (Time and a Place)

The average between 20 and 3.5 (+bonus 1 for lyrics) gives 12.75....still a 5!

People normally assume that being pompous and pretentious is a bad thing... but I consider it to be a compliment when the artist delivers enough quality to match his pretensions and pompousness (which is the case with most ELP albums). And this is one of the reasons why I love prog....

If you like prog and don't mind it taken to the extreme this is an essential!

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
3 stars ELP's second album, Tarkus, suffers from the same problem their debut had, but there's more of it now. That problem is basically filling up an album with stuff when you don't have enough well-written material to complete the job. Probably the best example of this is the entire side two of Tarkus, consisting of six short tracks. The first side of the album contains the amazing seven-part suite, 20+ minute title track about the military-industrial complex and the futility of war. It's a bit deeper than that and worthy of a critical study by academia.

So what this album ends up doing is giving the listener the best and the worst of ELP on alternate sides. It really does have that Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde feel to it. But what is most disappointing about it is that when you are finished with the Tarkus suite, it's a steep downfall into mediocrity and at best laughable fodder from what are supposed to be skilled craftsmen of their art. Oddly enough, Greg Lake was not pleased with the Tarkus suite when Emerson first brought it to the group, as he apparently saw a different direction for the group. This conflict between Lake and Emerson would continue to grow.

Because half this album is sub-par at best, I can't really give this more than three stars. But I must say that the Tarkus suite alone is worth getting this as it is probably one of the best tracks ELP ever created. A must-have for ELP fans. Newcomers to the band should get their debut, Trilogy, and Brain Salad Surgery before considering getting Tarkus.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I took the Tarkus test when I first heard ELP many years ago doing their ultimate epic on a live album. I sought this album out to add to my collection as it certainly is one of the best this band has to offer. In every department the 20 minute Tarkus epic is mind blowing, and a prime example of the progenitors of symphonic prog with the virtuoso musicianship of the three band members. Tarkus is in many parts which makes perfect sense on each listen as there are defined breaks in structure as each movement begins. The track acts as a type of multimovement suite in the same way a classic piece of Vivaldi or Beethoven is structured. There are times of serene beauty and these are complimented by washes of synthesizer and cymbal splashes. The pace gets hectic with each movement progressing into jagged guitar solos and percussive showmanship. The vocals are memorable, and burst in and out of the cacophony of sound.

Tarkus is quite simply quintessential prog and if you have not heard it, treat your ears to a listen at your nearest convenience - you will be astounded by this bombastic masterpiece. The other tracks on the album are surprisingly ordinary when compared to the title track.

We have 'Jeremy Bender', a satirical piece of nonsense that is annoying at best, though is not as bad as the Elvis impersonation of "Are you ready Eddy?" - actually the less said about this the better.

'Bitche's Crystal' is a great track that rocks out. And the other tracks are passable. So it is a flawed masterpiece, experimental and, as most ELP albums are, full of brilliance and yet scattered throughout are cringe-worthy moments. I still think this is a worthy addition to a prog collection because 'Tarkus' is one of the best tracks I have ever heard, and in 20 minutes never manages to become boring.

Better than this album however is the brilliant album you must hear before you die, 'Brain Salad Surgery'.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars "Are your ears full?"

Emerson Lake & Palmer's second album was simultaneously more and less ambitious compared to their eponymous debut. The greater ambition is primarily evidenced by the 20 plus minute, multipart suite Tarkus that takes up the first half of the album. This is a wonderful piece of music and one of the band's greatest achievements even though my favourite version of it is the live version on Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends. The concept and the accompanying cover art picture is however more than a bit silly.

The second half of the album consists of shorter tracks and these are a bit of a mixed bag. Jeremy Bender was the first of its kind and is in the comedic tradition of The Sheriff from Trilogy and Benny The Bouncer from Brain Salad Surgery. The real throwaway here is however the album closer Are You Ready Eddie? which is a kind of ode to producer Eddie Offord. This simple boogie rocker should really have been left off the album altogether. The rest of the songs are all good even if not quite as good as the band's best efforts. Bitches Crystal also exists in better versions from live recordings.

Overall, a very good album but in my view the least good out of the group's first four studio albums.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is one of those cases where one masterpiece carries an entire album, not just making it worth having, but making it essential. This is not to say that there is nothing noteworthy on the second half, however.

"Tarkus Medley" Rivaled only by the incredible "Karn Evil 9," the title song is their musically tightest composition. Even though the title would suggest that the song features several distinct but related pieces strung together, it is sometimes difficult to know when one segment ends and another begins. The song begins in a deceptive way: A smooth wall of Greg Lake's vocals build tension until the volcano gives birth to Tarkus, a half-tank, half-armadillo monstrosity. This birth is represented by a bombardment of keyboards, bass, and drums in 5/4. The first verse is somewhat sedated and immediately memorable. Emerson's organ runs clicks away in a percussive frenzy. Lake's bass notes are appropriate for each and every chord. There are brief but pleasant electric guitar bends with a tone that would be heard again on their hit "From the Beginning." Palmer bashes away. When not relying solely on organ, Emerson pulls some attention-grabbing sounds out of his Moog. Thirteen minutes in begins what I would consider to be the most fascinating part of this song; the recurring motif between verses is one of the best bits of music ever composed in progressive rock history. A variation of that melodic idea is used to usher the song to its conclusion, which is a reprise of the beginning. While the mythology behind this song may not be all that clear, what is perfectly clear is that this piece is an extraordinary example of progressive rock of an epic magnitude.

"Jeremy Bender" This extremely short song has honky-tonk piano playing throughout, with Jim Croce-like lyrics, only more flippant. The words are about cross-dressing, and after listening to the giant wonder that came before, it makes one question how the band could reasonably follow it up with this.

"Bitches Crystal" Had the band put more effort into it, this song could have been reworked to be a shining example of progressive rock. The makings are there- groovy bass, ranting lyrics, powerful drumming, excellent keyboard work in between lines. Throughout the verses, the piano is repetitive, and would have worked better as an organ part. Most of the time, the band would have been better served if Emerson's contribution consisted mainly of organ and Moog instead of tacky chorused piano.

"The Only Way (Hymn)" Lake sings a pleasant melody over Emerson's church organ. The anti-theistic lyrics are cynical, almost to the point of being snide ("Can you believe God makes you breathe? Why did He lose six million Jews?). Soon after, the group plays together, a lively bass and piano part, but there's little more to this one.

"Infinite Space (Conclusion)" Compared to everything surrounding it, this "conclusion" is rather plain, mostly using a 7/4 structure for Emerson to tinker with the piano over. There are some interesting runs, both on the piano and the bass, but overall, this is a tedious track.

"A Time and a Place" Like "Bitches Crystal," this song could have easily worked as part of a longer piece. Emerson is back on his percussive organ, and they give a sound similar to the Tarkus Medley. This is a very good effort.

"Are You Ready Eddy?" This tribute to their producer is, frankly, a terrible way to conclude the album. If someone had heard this before anything else, they would likely assume that ELP were clones of Jerry Lee Lewis. With its boogie-woogie piano playing and cheesy reverb on the vocals, this song can't be taken seriously.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tarkus is the second studio album from symphonic prog rock act Emerson Lake & Palmer. I remember when I purchased the LP in a second hand store back in the nineties. I was drawn to the album by the strange Armadillo/ Tank cover artwork and I remember thinking to myself that it had to be some really weird music. As it turned out the music on Tarkus isn´t that weird, but it certainly was different from anything I listened to back then.

As on all releases from Emerson Lake & palmer Tarkus is dominated by Keith Emerson´s organ, piano and synth work ( Moog). Lots of bombastic classical influences and fast runs. Every keyboard players wet dream. Carl Palmer´s drumming is also extraordinaire and really exciting most of the time while as always with Emerson Lake & Palmers releases I don´t enjoy Greg Lake´s input much. His bass playing is good and he also shows some average guitar skills but his singing never suited my taste. Every time he starts to sing the music falls flat on its face IMO.

Tarkus is dominated by the side long title track which is by far the most interesting piece here. I really enjoy the fusion like opening. Greg Lake´s singing is tolerable on this song. The short songs on the album vary in quality. Jeremy Bender is an absolute horror. It´s ELP trying to be funny, but it seems a bit humourless to me. The last song Are You Ready Eddy? is just as bad. Again the so called humour is waisted on me. Bitches Crystal, A Time And A Place and The Only Way (Hymn) are all good tracks while Infinite Space (Conclusion) is a bit too repetitive.

The production is excellent and very enjoyable. I especially enjoy the sound of the organ and the perfect drum sound.

Emerson Lake & Palmer has never been my cup of tea. I´ll acknowledge their outstanding musicianship anytime, but their compositional skills are questionable IMO. I´ve always considered their music to be a bit cold and emotionless. Tarkus is one of their best albums though and it deserves a 3 star rating.

Review by crimson87
5 stars How to qualify an album like TARKUS? While the first side contains the best epic of all time , the other one is supposed to have the so called filler songs.Does the proficiency of TARKUS make it up for the B- Side , or is the B-Side as good as the opener? Stay tuned.

Actually , it's none of the above. The much maligned B-Side it's pretty good , it just does not feature a monster epic but 6 short songs that shows us all that ELP were capable to do at the time. This goes from joke songs , classical adaptations and hard rock numbers.

The album opens with a cute little song called TARKUS. This pompous , overblown , self indulgent and pretentious epic , has the quality that distinguishes the memorable ones from the forgettable ones: This 20 minute song feels like a 3 minute Top 40 hit single to me. And you know why? Because of it's cohesiveness , every note is where it should be , every section has a purpose and even Lake's vocals fit with the mood of every section perfectly. But... the story regarding Tarkus is quite dull actually , everyone knows it : A tankmadillo that was born from an egg from a volcano and is beated by a manticore. Even if it was made to be a critic about war and the cruelty of it ( which you can tell mostly from the Battlefield section) the quality of the story is sub par. But this guys are musicians , not novelists so I guess I can't blame them and I will not. Since their main concern was the music and it was exellent I will award side A with the highest mark.

Now to side B. After such an effort as TARKUS , did they have any fuel left in the tank? Not much , but it still well administrated. First joke song in ELP's career is called Jeremy Bender and I like it since it's relaxing and if I am in the mood ,may even sing it. It reminds me of the shorter songs of the White Album for it's western motif , probably Rocky Racoon or Don't pass me by. C'mon it's just a minute and a half , don't be so harsh!

Bitches Crystal , it's a fast hard rocker in which Emerson plays a great acustic piano solo. And Lake gives his most over the top performance ever , one thing is certain: He is not Ian Gillan. Fourth song it's called The only way/ Infinite space .Musically it's exellent , it features a church organ like the The Three fates but not as loud I think this makes the song more enjoyable. However , the lyrics are some of the worst in ELP's 70's period. I am lucky since I like in a spanish speaking country and nobody cares but I guess that hearing such cheesy lyrics in the UK or the US must be either pathetic or hilarious.

The album closes with two songs that run under the 3 minute mark: A time and a place and the infamous Are you ready Eddy. The first one is a hard rocker much like Atomic Rooster or Uriah Heep , nothing spectacular but still a nice track. The last one is just a joke song about ELP's album producer. Like I said with Jeremy bender , don't be so harsh!

Suming up , the B side can't be regarded as a landmark in progressive rock. I would award it 3 stars. However , the magnificence of TARKUS takes this album to legendary status. What would have been of our beloved genre without 20 minute monster epics?

NOTE: In Tarkus's case PLEASE don't judge a book by it's cover!

Review by Gooner
5 stars Personally, there aren't many prog.rock bands that can hold my interest for more than 10-12 minutes per piece of music. ELP, YES, GENESIS and RUSH are the few exceptions. The _Tarkus Suite_ is one of the finest examples of the prog.rock suite out there(over 20 minutes)...the others being YES's CLOSE TO THE EDGE, GATES OF DELERIUM and AWAKEN, as well as RUSH's _Hemisphere Suite_ and GENESIS's _Supper's Ready_. Others being Caravan's _For Richard_, _Nine Feet Underground_...and the 2 Matching Mole and Hatfield & The North studio recordings(collectively). Some of the German electronic bands can manage the 20 suite competently, as well(Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Ashra, etc.). Not much to add here about ELP's _Tarkus_ that hasn't already been written other than it's a keyboard lover's delight. I haven't heard anything since that has brought to that mysterious gothic place since. The only low point of this album is _Are You Ready Eddie?_, but it's joke track to begin with and they placed that turkey at the end of the album. Had they placed at the beginning of Side B, it would be questionable(as, you've just killed a classic album, guys!). The other classic here are the heavy duty _Bitches Crystal_ and the spacious _Infinite Space/The Only Way_ which reminds me of ELP meets Thelonius Monk. Nice time changes. The heavy rocker _A Time And A Place_ would not be out of place on something like Deep Purple's _Fireball_. Another great track. Jeremy Bender? A competent short track, sounding Pete Sinfield-influenced lyrically, but nothing amazing. Nothwithstanding the flaws of Tarkus, this gets a 5 star rating since the annoyance factor is very limited. Another great starter for those wanting an introduction to prog.rock. You can't go wrong with TARKUS>
Review by CCVP
5 stars Sometimes the involution can be pretty awesome

Tarkus is one of Emerson, Lake and Palmer best-selling albums and their best-selling studio album. Tarkus was one of the key albums that made the band famous, along with Pictures at an Exhibition, and, in my sincere opinion, is the band's best album, being followed by the also excellent and all-time favorite of almost every ELP fan Brain Salad Surgery.

Despite the importance of Takus, the album is seen today with indifference by many and, dare I say, as a frugal and minor release by the band. All of those opinions, which, I might add, are mostly erroneous, tend to support, overall, that this album was not so important because the only relevant thing it had was the epic side-long song with the same name as the album. Indeed Tarkus is, by far, one of the best songs ever recorded by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, but that does not outshines the other half of the album, which, I might add, is just as good as the said epic. The thing is that the second half of this very album is not as easy to listen or as catchy as the epic, so people tend to put the second part of the album aside and only value what they can get more easily, and as a result you have so many unfair reviews and ratings (to say the least) of the brilliant album.

Regarding the songs, musicianship and other features, there are somethings I would like to say

In Tarkus we have the debut of the classic Emerson, Lake and Palmer sound, as the music they presented in their debut was way too experimental, heavy and acid, when compared to their other albums. So it was in their 1971 album that the pace was set for their later albums such as Trilogy and Brans Salad Surgery. Blues and jazz influences, heavy classical music influences, moderate usage of dissonances and atonalism (though they were pretty common in their music), great deal of virtuoso playing, usually uplifting musical themes in major keys and western/country American musical themes.

The epic song Tarkus is a concept song that tells the story of a creature of some sort named Tarkus and its journey. It was born from an egg / stone erupted from a volcano. When the egg / stone hatches the armadillo tank starts its journey and fights and defeats a series of strange animals during it, including a manticore. At the end of its journey, Tarkus goes to the sea. This concept's main theme is the involution: life came from land (instead of coming from sea) and then went to the sea (instead of going to land), so its a reverse evolution, an involution.

In the second half of the album we have a series of small songs with varied themes, usually regarding small stories. The second half of the album also have a wide array of musical themes, going from traditionall rock and roll, like in Are You Ready Eddy?, to classical music, like in The Only Way (Hymn) and Infinite Space (Conclusion).

Grade and Final Thoughts

Tarkus is my favorite Emerson, Lake and Palmer album and one of my all-time favorite albums, so it shouldn't be hard for me to give a high grate to the album. Besides, Tarkus was a historical album for progressive rock whose importance MUST be noted at all times. For all those reasons, and many more, 5 stars to this fantastic and revolutionary album.

Review by Sinusoid
3 stars If you really think hard, everything you could possibly love about prog rock is all present on the title suite, and everything you could possibly hate about prog rock is here as well. Why such a paradox?

Listen to the ''Eruption'' theme and you'll see what I mean. Given any person, they'll either cry foul and say that ELP have lost their minds wallowing in pretentious excesses or become absolutely blown away by everything presented. Every last trait that any progger could love is presented on this piece; the length (barely over 20 minutes), an odd metre here and there, massive amounts of keyboards, an epic story, blistering drumming, intricate bass, powerful vocals, etc.

I really enjoy ''Tarkus'' simply because of how well I thought it was pieced together; the instrumental-vocal-instrumental type of setup may be typical, but it's enjoyable. My favourite bits are the instrumental sections as the vocal sections contain solos that drag out too long. And unlike most epics, I can't wait to get to the end of the piece (''Aquatarkus''), and when it's all over, I wish that it couldn't end. Even with all of the over-pretensions, even if I have wrote off other epic pieces, ''Tarkus'' just seems to grip me in nearly every possible way without explanation.

The rest of the album is just throwaway. Reminds me of Rush's 2112 album but with a stronger epic piece and overall weaker B side tracks. I admit to liking ''Jeremy Bender'', but everything else has either boring stuff, redundant ideas, awful vocals or outtake-like humour. It drags the whole album down.

Remember kids, overplaying anything is bad for your musical health. That's why it only gets three stars despite the awesome epic piece. Say 3.5 if you want to push buttons.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Tarkus, Emerson Lake & Palmer's second album is one spectacular, if flawed, piece of work. The title track remains, even almost forty years later, as one of the most fantastic, and most cohesive, prog rock epics ever recorded. Many long epics sound like many songs joined together to make them into one long song. But this one, with it's complex interwoven themes that pop up throughout the work, flows perfectly from one section to the other, often referencing back to previous ideas, or previewing sections to come. This is just a work of genius.

The second half (or slightly less than half) of the album is not bad either. While the songs are not as spectacular as Tarkus, they display the inventiveness and versatility of this remarkable band, whether in the honky tonk of Jeremy Bender, the more straight forward rock of Bitches Crystal, or the solemnity of The Only Way. And how can you not love the bravery it took to write a song espousing atheism, as the latter title did?

The only blemish I find on this album is the closer, the annoying Are You Ready Eddy?, an homage to the fabled engineer, Eddy Offord.

4.5 stars, rounded up.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Second ELP album isn't as good as the first was. First album part is all "Tarcus" medley - long 7-pieces composition in ELP classic tradition. It means, based on keyboards sound with some piano and bombastic drumming. Being a best album part, this composition for me isn't all bad, but is too cold and uninspired. And often too long.

Another LP side is filled by six short and more simple and rhythmic compositions. Still nice in some instrumental places, they are all r'n'r, jazz or even rag-time based,sometimes King Crimson alike sounding. Common sound in general and Lake's vocal in particular is more energetic,even aggresive, but it isn't for band's good.

Still strong album, but step back from great debut.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a hard nut to crack. It's nothing less then essential but it's not really very good. The band was sure at the peak of their game but didn't have much left to say after their defining debut. ELP was a tightly rocking but guitar-less unit: led by Keith Emerson on organ and synths, with ample room for drum demonstrations from Carl Palmer and with good bass and vocals from the ever adorable Greg Lake.

One of the remarkable aspects of the epic beast Tarkus that makes up the bulk of this album, is how rhythmic this music is. Especially from a band in the symphonic field, the cascading sequence of heavy marching rhythms and fast tempos is exceptional. It's nothing danceable of course; it's rhythm for the mind with unusual time signatures and whopping organs. But it sounds massive and entirely original. Good to hear a symphonic prog piece that goes so far beyond just melody alone. Greg Lake is the one that adds some melodic elements to it, with his commanding vocal hymns and even a bit of lead guitar, but the bulk of this piece is pumping organ, vibrant bass and Palmer's frivolous drums that dash all over the place.

Being a bit of a drum & bass kind of guy, I used to love this piece to death, but over the years, time has not been gentle to these baroque and fairly predictable war rhythms. There have been numerous more challenging bands working around rhythm since then. Magma, to name just one, has proven to maintain a more timeless and universal appeal. They could thrash this Tarkus armadillo with any of their söngz in no time.

Anyway, a monster epic it is and side B comes off disappointing in comparison. Only A Time And A Place rouses above the average filler around it. This album also really misses one of those typical amazing Greg Lake ballads.

Tarkus is a milestone of prog, few will argue with that. The question is whether we would want the classic prog style to be represented by this piece rather then by an epic from Floyd, Yes or Genesis. For me that choice is easy. Still, you got to own this one if you want to make any claim of being a prog fan. 4 stars but I won't be as gentle next time.

Review by progrules
3 stars Just did the review of the BSS release and referred there to this album. I compared the two epics for instance and concluded that the title track of this album suited me much better than Karn Evil as a whole. Well, in fact the difference in appreciation is not really black and white. Karn Evil also had good moments same as this Tarkus is far from perfect to me. But I agree this is a milestone in prog history. And the magnum opus for the band as well. This is a very versatile epic both in melodic aspect as in tempo shifts and alternation between vocal and instrumental passages. It all secures that this epic is far from boring. All things considered it scores about 4 stars in my book.

The short songs on the other side of the vinyl are a different matter though. Less experimental, so more mainstream than those on BSS but not much better I have to say. Some ragtime piano on Jeremy Bender, again piano on Bitches Crystal as main feature, the nice hymn tune The Only Way (my favourite of the short ones), Infinite Space proves that this album is mainly about Keith Emerson. I wonder when Mr. Lake steps up to take his turn (!?) , A Time and Place is a bit heavier than the others but the vocals are at least debatable, Are you Ready, Eddy ? is a short rock 'n roll track in Jerry Lee Lewis style. On average these short tracks score about 2,5* for me. So this can only result in a 3 star outcome for Tarkus (3,25).

Review by friso
3 stars Emerson Lake & Palmer - Tarkus (1971)

An evolutionary sound!

I'm not a big fan of ELP must I must admit side on of Tarkus is absolutely amazing. It's hard to find a better recorded album dating from '71. They key's play a centrol role, but they sound is extremely heavy on side one. It might even get heavy metal fans excited! The adventurious sound of the Tarkus suite is great. The vocals Greg Lake give me a warm feeling due to it's link to early King Crimson. The drums are great too, this is technical drumming on the right moments. The magical sound of the lyrical parts have that 'progressive' feel I really enjoy. Throughout the suite I can keep my attention on the music. The keysolo's are better then on most other albums and the bluesy guitar solo of Lake is nice too.

On side two their are a buch of weak B-tracks. This is the problem of this record: A great first side and a semi-amateurish second side. I'm not going to disuss the second side to much. The songs sound un-inspired, have losely gathered concepts, are recorded less intelligent and are never as interesting as the Tarkus suite.

Conclusion. This record will always be a mixed bag. The first side is legendary and esential for any progressive music collections, whilst the second side is an uncomfortable affair. I really don't like unbalanced albums, so I myself only listen to side one. I'll give this three stars as a rating, but those who actually reed reviews got the point of how interesting side one is.

Review by thehallway
3 stars Tarkus, for me, is not an album. It is a song (probably the best song ELP have to offer, but a song nonetheless). And this song happens to have six b-sides...

Looking at the overall package, it is clear that everything revolves around the title track: the name, the outer artwork, the inner-gatefold images, the fonts, even the name of the record company these guys would subsequently set up. Tarkus, the song, is worth 5 stars hands down, but I won't attempt to justify the merits of this prog epic because hundreds have done so already in previous reviews. Lets just say, for arguments sake, that it is perfect. Within ELP's catalogue it certainly is. But then theres the other 20 minutes.

Now most prog bands who have released a side- long song have at least focused some of their attention to the other tunes. Lizard, Meddle, Relayer, Foxtrot... all these albums (and many more) are great examples. Obviously the epics are intended to be the best songs, and they are, but there's always some good tunes on the other side as well. Some have filler, but the only "other side" that I've encountered which contains NOTHING BUT filler, is Tarkus here. After reading the recent forum thread about whether humour belongs in progressive music or not, the conclusion is that it does if it's actually funny. 'Jeremy Bender' and 'Are You Ready Eddy' are NOT funny. Thus, their purpose (other than for fulfiling Emerson's boogie woogie cravings and ragtime addiction) is rendered obsolete. On top of this there are two below-mediocre rock shorts, a stolen hymn, and another pointlessly repetitive instrumental. It's not just me who hates these tracks; it's fair to say that everybody with remote taste, ignores them.

Tarkus is a 5-star song, but this site its for rating albums, not songs. At best, this is half an album (or a very short album). It's like an extended single with too many b-sides. So, for an album which I consider to have one, albeit good song, the overall package has to be deducted accordingly.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars ELP 's second album could have been one of the very best prog albums ever made. It could have really: like the typical progressive rock album, there is a very long suite that occupies a whole LP side, all the songs are 100% progressive, all of them inspired by classical music, and the whole album is a concept.

So what went wrong?

"Tarkus" is probably the best ELP song of all time, and one of the best prog songs ever. That's how much I love. Every single second is pure genius, all three musicians do an outstanding work and performance as a group, but even each of them singularly (Emerson is absolutely wild, and so is The legendary Carl Palmer, one of my favorite drummers.). A fantastic song, I never get sick of it.

"Jeremy Bender" is just a kind of silly song without too many credits and acclaims.

"Bitches Crystal" is the best song of this album after Tarkus. Very catchy and original, with an awesome riff.

The rest is pretty forgettable (but I like the last song. "Are You Ready Eddy", even though it is pretty silly). The tribute to Bach is a little interesting, a Time And Place has some nice moments, but that's all.

I think it's pretty clear now what went wrong.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars Look at that cover! That, my friends, is an ARMADILLO TANK. Now, there have been many weird, weird album covers in the history of rock music, but for sheer psycho and bizarre effect, Tarkus has to take the cake. Plus, the theme extends to the pictures on the inner sleeve, which apparently are supposed to illustrate the 'epic story' told by the side- long title track. Basically, this creature is born on the side of a volcano, kills a giant grasshopper with a ... something-shaped head and a large robot pterodactyl, does battle with a metal manticore, and afterwards retreats into the safety of a nearby river....

But never mind all of the weird imagery and insane story, one that confused Lake so much that he came close to quitting during the album's sessions. What matters is that ELP solidifed their greatness amongst early prog bands by immediately following their best ever album with their best ever song, one that has had a longtime solid hold as my favorite ELP track. And it wouldn't be if it were totally faithful to this story (well, maybe it would, but I'm trying to make a point here). See, although the seven sections of the track have names like "Eruption," "Manticore," and "AquaTarkus" (?), the lyrics have almost nothing to do with the 'story.' Rather, the whole piece, when you get down to it, is (as stated in the intro) nothing more than three Lake ballads and pop songs highly augmented by complex and VERY interesting arrangments. Not that the instrumental themes are bad either. For instance, the opening "Eruption" has a terrific groove, with highly aggressive drum playing and Emerson's amazing keyboards leading the way and setting the tone for the rest of the piece.

Following that, we get the very solid "Stones of Years," which has yet another great melody, good singing, and of course lots more of Keith. Actually, come to think of it, that's probably what bothers people most about this song. The playing is fantastic, sure, but Emerson was in a highly experimental mode when it came to the various tones he could coax out of his mellotrons and other keyboards. This unfortunately causes many to denounce the piece as dated as anything can possibly be - I mean, these keyboard tones really have no equivalent to anything that had ever come in ANY format of music to that point. But dagnabbit, they're novel, and if you're a dork, they're so freakin' fun to listen to. And speaking of fun to listen to, next comes the instrumental "Iconoclast," which it does a great job of creating in your mind the image of a psychotic tank moving through the countryside and blowing things to bits (all of those tight rolling keyboard lines with fast martial drumming actually can create imagery, fancy that). Plus, it's short, so one can never accuse it of becoming boring vis a vis an overstay of welcome.

But then ... what the heck?? "Mass" has NOTHING to do with the story, but that's just fine with me. It's too bad that Greg couldn't be in a band with less, um, ambition, since with a less intimidating arrangment it most likely would have been a hit. I mean, that melody, regardless of how annoying Keith's synth tones might be at times, is SO CATCHY AND SO MUCH FUN. And besides, I don't want to give the impression that this part is an otherwise great track marred by Keith, because that's not how I feel at all; the insane amount of energy and intensity and energy that goes into the keyboard playing is quite a sight to behold, weird tones or no, and that gives it a license to stick around me as much as it would like. And besides, Lake gets in some really nice guitar licks in the middle (ah, Lake's guitar, the great forgotten ELP asset), so you can choose to listen to those instead.

After yet another solid instrumental reprise of "Eruption (Manticore)," we get piece number three, the majestic "Battlefield." The lyrics rule, Lake's voice makes them come to life, and his guitar (dig that weeping solo in the middle, especially when it doubles up!) complements Emerson's organ and piano chords perfectly, which present an enjoyable sort of bizarro dignity to the proceedings (a compliment, of course). Yup, Lake makes the words come to life in that good ole "Take a Pebble" and "Epitaph" manner once more, making total nonsense find a way to resonate in a way only he can. And, of course, no symphony (heh, rock-symphony) would be complete without an extended, grandiose finale, and for that we get the synth-fest "AquaTarkus." Now, if you want to punch a hole through your stereo while listening to Keith conjure up all of the most annoying synth tones possible (while Palmer plays his military rhythms, heh), I won't blame you in the slightest. I myself once felt that way, but now I wouldn't think of it. Maybe my tastes have just down the drain through the years, I dunno, but it's so funny. Genuinely funny. Besides, it ends eventually, and we close out with another short reprise of "Eruption" and the huge, important-sounding conclusion. And there you go; seven entertaining and short parts, with a good balance of original themes and timely reprisals, showing all of ELP's good sides and none of the bad (except for the key tones, but that's not so much bad as it is "just part of ELP.")

Oh, by the way, there's a second side to this album too. And it's good! The opening "Jeremy Bender" introduces to us a side of the band that we hadn't heard before, the lightweight cabaret-style piano band. I used to not be very fond of it, considering it too lightweight and even bland, but now I don't see much reason for that; the lyrics are amusing, talking about a guy who decides to become a nun, among other things, while the vocal melody and piano lines are perfectly enjoyable during its two minutes, so what else should I ask for? Well, actually, I guess I'd want something that sounds like a "Tarkus" outtake, like the very next track, "Bitches Crystal." Yup, the synth-drum-bass pattern is quite like "Eruption," but is also augmented with much more piano than the majority of "Tarkus" has, and whenever Lake brings out that insane "Knife Edge" belting, it's just ELP heaven for me.

Unfortunately, we finally crash into a low point of the album with the next two tracks. The seven minute "Only Way"/"Infinite Space" suite is quite on the dull side, and the anti-religion lyrics are absolutely pathetic and childish. In fact, I feel no choice but to subtract a full point from the album for this lame and dreary piece of crud. Sorry, Greg, you should've known better - if you want to put together an anti-religion rant, that's fine, but you'd better avoid such tasteless lines like the one about six million Jews. Give me "Aqualung" RIGHT NOW... To be fair, though, the "Infinite Space" part is alright on its own, with some low key discordant piano wanking that's pretty moody, so this part isn't as much a black hole as it could potentially be.

Let us forget the bad things of this world, though, and think of the good. The next track, "Time and a Place," RULES. Greg is belting his lyrics like there's no tomorrow, and Keith is playing his synths and organs LOUD and AGGRESSIVE (of course Palmer is great, but that just goes without saying). Like I've inferred before, I like the majestic Lake as much as anybody does, but when the band gets into a "Knife Edge" mode like this, giving Lake a chance to have screaming moments like "Show me those that underSTAAAAAAAAAAAND!" this is when ELP becomes a great band for me. Three minutes of aural bliss.

And finally, to remind us that they're not all serious, though, they close out with the absolutely HILARIOUS 50's R&B parody, "Are You Ready Eddy?." It's just neat to hear one of the most serious and majestic singers in rock belting "Bop me Eddy, bop me all night long." Or maybe it's just me. "Sock it to me"!

A great album this is. An acquired taste, yeah, and a VERY guilty pleasure, but once you can realize just how funny the title track is despite all of its pomp, and how neat these second half tracks mostly are, you should have a blast. Unless, of course, you can't get past all of those weird synths, in which case you should just give up ELP for good.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I honestly can't find another album in my collection that has such a weird mixture of material where the best songs are mixed with the worst. What makes it even weirder is the fact that it manages to come out on top in the end! The best comparison that I can think of would be that of Rush's 2112 album since it also features, what I consider to be, their best suite on side one while side two is a mixed bag. But unlike that release, Tarkus has an even worse side two and still manages to maintain its dignity when taken as a complete album experience.

I'm really not sure how much I should say about the album's title track outside of the fact that it's easily my favorite composition by ELP since it combines all of the collectives best qualities. By that, I'm not talking about the tight collaboration work between the band members, since that idea was lost even on this relatively early release. It's all about striking a balance between the erratic personalities within the collective and Tarkus is a perfect example of just that.

Even if the Tarkus suite wasn't the first progressive epic, Procol Harum's In Held Twas In I is the earliest really mature epic I've discovered so far, it is a definite milestone of progressive rock. So if you are a progressive rock fan you should probably have already acquired this album and shouldn't bother with my tedious review. As for you others I don't pity you since the album is a downhill slide from here on! Most of the remaining tracks are fillers. Keep in mind that almost anything feels like a filler when it's compared to the title track suite. Notable mentions go to The Only Way (Hymn) and its followup Infinite Space (Conclusion), but otherwise the rest of the tracks are not in the same league. On a side note, I do realize that Are You Ready Eddy? is supposed to be a joke, but it's not even close to some of the lesser Genesis/Zappa-jokes from the same era and that pretty much says it all.

With Tarkus you basically get 21 minute of solid music followed by 17 minutes of mostly filler but its that first part that weights up the album. In the end, this album is still an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection and a must have for all Symphonic Prog fans.

***** star songs: Tarkus (20:42)

**** star songs: The Only Way (Hymn) (3:49)

*** star songs: Jeremy Bender (1:51) Bitches Crystal (3:58) Infinite Space (Conclusion) (3:20) A Time And A Place (3:02)

* star songs: Are You Ready Eddy? (2:10)

Review by colorofmoney91
2 stars Tarkus is one of the best of early era ELP, and really shows their chops nicely. I've stated before that I'm definitely not an ELP fan, but the title track is a very enjoyable epic piece from the classic era of progressive rock. It is a bit noisy and random occasionally, but also contains some soulful vocals and catchy melodies. ELP has always had a way of writing technical music over musical music, which suits them well, but I definitely hate the pretentiousness of it. Most of the title track consists of the pretentious jamming rather than actual song structuring, and the following songs are ultimately forgettable in my opinion.

This is not very good progressive rock as much as it is a great album for people who like hearing people play pretentious technical nonsense.

Review by Warthur
4 stars If this album consisted of Tarkus on Side A, and then Tarkus again on Side B due to some sort of horrible manufacturing error, I'd give it five stars. The title track to this one is a classic, easily the best track ELP ever recorded, wonderfully original and a showcase for all the band member's talents.

But oh, that second side...

First off, the guys decide to include not one but two comedy songs. One is pushing it for any band which otherwise tries to adopt a serious tone. Now, comedy is a very personal thing and everyone has their own likes and dislikes. But personally, I find ELP's comedy songs incredibly grating. To me, they come across as though they are trying really hard to be funny, as opposed to just naturally being funny, and that's just fatal to comedy. Are You Ready Eddy is a simplistic rock and roll tune - if it took the guys more than five minutes to write and record it, it's bloody shameful. Jeremy Bender, meanwhile, is a corny piano ditty that's dated horribly not just in its style but also in its lyrical content - alluding to homosexuality for a laugh might have been socially accepted in the early 1970s, but these days it just comes across as homophobic.

Then there's The Only Way/Infinite Space, which isn't a comedy song but I kind of wish it was. Now, I have nothing against atheism - it'd be odd if I did, considering that I *am* an atheist myself - but the lyrics to this one sound like the sort of thing an angry teenager would write. "How did he lose/Six million Jews?" is not just a simplistic restatement of the essential problem of theodicy which is far too complex for the lyrical abilities of the band to really grapple with; it's also just plain crass.

The second side isn't completely meritless - Bitches Crystal is a good fast song, A Time and a Place is quite dramatic, and whilst the lyrics of the remaining songs bug me, instrumentally speaking they're still quite compelling. That said, it falls so far short of the standard of the first side that there is no way in good conscience I could give this album five stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I suppose I do agree with most reviewers here at PA about ELP´s sophmore studio release, in some aspects. There seems to be little doubt that the title track is one of their best - if not their very best - epics. The Tarkus suite is a stunning combination of fine songwriting, clever and tasteful arrangements and superb performances. One fo the few groups that were talented enough and skilled enough to produce a 20 minute opus and make it sound as pleasant and interesting as a three minute song. There is not a single boring moment in the whole seven movements (the band had yet to get into their self indulgente period). A real masterpiece of prog music and astonishing achievement for such young group. Greg Lake have never sang so good and the band is reaching their pinnacle as a team efford. A real classic that never seems to age.

However, I disagree with most of the other writers about the record´s second side. While nowhere near the accomplishment of side one, it is still quite good. I guess anything would pale when compared to Tarkus, but the short stuff is not filler in any way, as far as I can see. The group was accused of being too serious and forget the basics of rock, i.e., good fun. Well, they had their humurous stuff too. Jeremy Bender is a nice piece of fun among other more ´straight´ material. Even the obviously simple Are You Ready Eddy (their homage to engineer Eddie Offord) is not a throway song, thanks largely to Emerson´s elegant piano and the band´s great technique. When somebody tells me ELP has nothing to do with rock´n rall, I show them this track. Besides, I always thought that A Time And A Place, Bitches Crystal, The Only Way and Infinite Space were very fine songs on their own. Not up to ELP´s best stuff, ok, but that doesn´t mean they are bad or even weak. They are good, just not great. And quite versatile. People do expected too much from them!

All in all, Tarkus is a terrific album. The band proved they were no fluke and they came to make an everlasting impact on the musical scene of the time. Maybe its impact was not as great as their first album, but it was a milestone in prog music, no less.

Final rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars This time I'll start from the rating: a half masterpiece values 2.5 stars plus some good moments here and there on the B side leads to three.

This is a very synthetic judgement about an album that can appear overrated if you look at its entirety and underrated if you thin to the side long title track only.

Let's start from that: I'm almost sure that Emerson is not using a sequencer. He plays all these notes with his left hand while Lake plays the same on the bass. The keyboard's sound is the Emerson's trademark and one of the biggest source of pleasure in ELP music. This is how we wanted them to sound forever. Who could have imagined that just few years later they would have given us "Love Beach"? Everything in this epic is great. The melody sung by Lake with his unmistakable voice, the many changes underlined by Palmer's drums, the many instrumental solos of Emerson. Should somebody ask you how ELP sound, this is the song. All the best of the ELP music is in this epic track, even something reused, as a short sequence of notes taken from Nice's 5 Bridges Suite. Some sudden changes apparently break the continuity, but they are placed in the right place. What I think is a defect in Mike Oldfield's long composition which are often patchworks of short things recorded at home, is not under discussion with ELP. Tarkus is a consistent song made of different parts but all really connected and when a sudden change arrives it's because it sounds well in that place. There's also one of the very rare electric guitar solos played by Lake. Nothing special honestly, just a curiosity, but he's a master with bass and has one of the most beautiful voices of the prog world IMO.

Now the bad: "Jeremy Bender" is a short joke. Emerson will later become famous in the mainstream public with his incursions in ragtime and country-western music. This is I think his first one. Not the worst album's thing, precursor of The Sheriff which will appear on Trilogy but it's an ant compared to the Tarkus giant. I won't mention the poor lyrics.

"Bitches Crystal" is not bad, too. Relistening to it after long time I think I may have underestimated this B side, as this is still classic ELP. It's possible that my impression is conditioned by the greatness of the epic. Probably inverting the two sides would have been better even though an identically structured album like Pink Floyd's Echoes doesn't make me this effect.

"The Only War" is a song that I had forgotten. Now that I'm listening back to it, I'm surprised of how good it is. I thick I can consider it another ELP classic. "Infinite Space" is quite an instrumental follow-up of the previous song. In my tape memories they were the same song effectively, and I must say that I find this "second part" a bit boring, not so boring to skip it but not a listening pleasure.

"A Time And A Place" is the rock moment of the album and does here what "Living Sin" does on Trilogy. A heavy rock moment which plays its part effectively even if Living Sin is miles better.

If the epic on the A side hasn't helped me in appreciating the B side, a song like "Are You Ready Eddy?" as closer is the worst possible choice as closer. The album ends after this useless piece of RnR leaving the listener astonished. What is this song doing here? Eddy was a guy of the crew in the studio. I have read somewhere that he was eating a sandwich while he was at the mixer and the trio improvised this song as a joke. It should have been a bonus track, or a ghost track if we were in the CD era, but not the album closer.

Saying that a song like Tarkus is non-essential is a crime, but saying that Are You Ready Eddie is an excellent addition is a crime as well. Let's stay on the average rating.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars While Tarkus was introduced to my class upon its release by the music teacher at my middle school--and I was impressed--my subsequent purchase of it proved less than successful. At the time, my ears were not, I admit, well attuned to the sounds and stylings of classical music and, to my ears, Keith Emerson's work always felt steeped in "classical" traditions. It was when prog "died" and the techno-80s left me bored and void of the richesses that the 70s had nourished me that I did begin to explore and educate myself into the worlds of both "classical" music and jazz ("the American classical music"). Thus, upon revisiting ELP and other more-classically influenced or trained musics was I able to begin to grow in my appreciation and enjoyment of these 70s prog artists. But, the whole train of my personal evolution kind of backfired on me as my now classically-familiar "snobbery" made me feel disdain for the often electrified, bombastic transmogrifications of classical themes, pieces, and styles put to vinyl by Emerson, Wakeman, Jarrett, Tomita, et al. Classical music had now become, for me, relegated to the realm of the beauty and honesty of acoustic instruments and acoustic ensembles, was only cheapened and bastardized by the electro-pop world. Thus, I have had trouble getting comfortable, much less pleasure from the works of Emerson, Wakeman, and many of the Italian proggers. (Oddly enough, the works of John Tout within Renaissance never bothered me.) Still, I go back and listen; ELP has slowly climbed into my realm of approval and esteem and this album, though a sprawling mishmash of many styles and sounds, is one of the reasons. While I've never liked the songs on Side B much, I've always had a soft-spot for the epic title song. I just don't like the campy wild-West feel of those bouncy upright barroom pianos or the way Keith liked to use organ/church organs, though "A Time and a Place" is pretty decent. The effect that ELP albums have on me is quite similar to that of Steve Hackett albums--too much variety of styles represented. I'd love to hear more consistency in single albums. Yes, go for the campy cabaret-style--but on an album--or the jazzy, world, experimental, or theatric bombast or abrasive avant--but contain them to one album, please.

The beast that is "Tarkus" is worth everything. (36.25/40)

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars ''Emerson, Lake & Palmer'' was a marvelous and quite succesful debut for E.L.P., what though really established the trio as one of the most iconic Progressive Rock bands of the time was their brilliant performance at the legendary Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.With a heavier dose of ambition E.L.P. moved on to the recordings of a second, more complex album in January 1971.''Tarkus'' was recorded at the Advision Studios in London, featuring the paintings of graphic designer William Neal and dealing with the evolution theory in reverse.It was released a few months later on Island.

The eponymous 20-min. track, recorded in just four days, was the first attempt of the band to create a long and multi-part composition with lots of complicated themes and shifting moods.It is a great piece of music, quite tight and carefully structured, split in seven movements, really one of the milestone compositions of keyboard-based Progressive Rock.It is filled with Keith Emerson's frenetic and adventurous keyboard work with dominant Hammond organ pyrotechnics, often duplicated by his symphonic moog synthesizers, while the smoother and low-tempo moments have still an early KING CRIMSON aura, maybe because of Greg Lake's sensitive singing lines.However the band definitely moved away from the deeply Classical roots of THE NICE and had now fully established a virtuosic style of Symphonic Rock with impressive and unexpected changes.

The flipside of the album is pretty pleasant, but certainly not on the same level of the grand opening opus.It contains six very short tracks, often sounding a bit in the commercial side of Progressive Rock with ''A Time and a Place'' having a strong DEEP PURPLE influence on the Hammond organ work, while ''Are You Ready Eddy?'' is 100% Rock'n'Roll and ''Jeremy Bender'' has evident Pop/Psych influences despite Emerson's lovely piano work.The rest of the tracks are quite good and fairly based on E.L.P.'s established style of bombastic organ-driven Progressive Rock with powerful drumming by Palmer, nice, dramatic vocals by Lake and of course Emerson dual keyboard/piano exercises in full display, with even some grandiose Church organ appearing in ''The Only Way''.

To my ears the debut of E.LP. sounds more consistent with no weak moments.''Tarkus'' is highlighted by the very good eponymous epic, but the rather uneven second side leaves much to be desired.Still it remains a very good album, among the strongest releases of the time...3.5 stars.

Review by Necrotica
4 stars During the 70's, progressive rock was generally known as an "outcast" genre, despite occasional mainstream success from the most popular bands in the style. Critics generally cited it as being "pretentious" or "throwaway trash," while the public generally turned it down for more accessible AOR and disco for the era. All in all, it's really a shame that progressive bands were just thrown into this dark pit of rejection, considering there was much more talent to be had with these artists than with the mainstream work being played on the radio at the time. Emerson, Lake and Palmer are a big example of this fate (and they'd try to change their sound later, to negative results), and never does it shine more than on their sophomore album Tarkus.

At first glance, the trio's second album is very daunting, mainly because the first side is dominated by only one song: The title track. The second side of the record consists of shorter, generally more accessible arrangements. While the second side is a bit of a mixed bag, one thing can't be denied in all of this: The title track is truly one of the best progressive epics of the 70's, easily able to compete with the big guns like "Supper's Ready" (Genesis), "Close to the Edge" (Yes), or "Cygnus X-1, Book II, Hemispheres" (Rush).

The epic opens up with a choir-like crescendo into the main instrumental motif; The trio are all exceptional musicians, and they have the chance to really shine here. Carl Palmer's sweeping, swift drum work is complemented by Keith Emerson's melodic-yet-complex harmonies gracing the forefront, only to have Greg Lake's rapid bass work sandwiched in perfectly; It all creates a mesmerizing quality that is still just as powerful today as it was back then.

Everything soon slows down for the ballad-style section "Stones of Years." Greg Lake has quite a soothing voice, and the subtle bass/drum fills in the background give this portion a very dreamy, floating feel to it. Soon, a keyboard solo comes in, this time more subtle than in the intro. Keith Emerson shows a remarkable sense of variety and restraint here; This whole collective section is one of the best sections of the song, mainly because of how well-controlled and balanced it is. After this, all hell breaks loose; Every instrument clashes for a battle to the death in the most technical section of the song. The part doesn't last long, though, as it goes right back to a slower section, and so on.

The way the band control their dynamics and know when to balance out their sound is a huge factor in how this song is so good as an epic; Any musician can simply wank on his/her instrument for 20 minutes and slap the "epic" label on it, but ELP show remarkable compositional skill through the aforementioned control of their music. The themes are well placed, and the work building off of them follows suit splendidly. Overall, this song is a classic of progressive rock, and an outstanding track all in all.

Side two isn't quite as good, but has its perks as well. While one can do without the country-styled "Jeremy Bender" or the old time 50's rock and roll of "Are You Ready, Eddy?", other song pick up the slack nicely. Bitches Crystal is a technical piano-driven number with very fast percussion and a quick-rolling bassline; definitely a highlight of the album. "Infinite Space (Conclusion)" makes its case with a deeply somber tone mixed with subtle drumming and bass riffs. Overall, this side of the album is good, but simply not as fantastic as the title track.

Overall, this album is excellent for any prog fan, if just for the splendid first song. In any case, this album feels more complete as a full album than the band's debut and demonstrates a step-up from the meanderings of said first record. For a few albums, ELP would grow and grow; Too bad they eventually succumbed to commercial music...

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nº 65

This is my fourth review of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's album. The others are their eponymous debut studio album 'Emerson, Lake & Palmer' released in 1970, their fourth studio album 'Brain Salad Surgery' released in 1973 and their debut live album 'Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends' released in 1974. 'Tarkus' is their second studio album and was released in 1971. It represents my first contact with the group. 'Tarkus' was my first vinyl disk of them and is also one of my eldest vinyl records. I bought it in the distant years of the 70's. So, I know it very well.

This was a very important album to the band because after the huge success of their eponymous debut studio album, the band was under an enormous pressure to come up with something special. This was a hard task basically because of two reasons. The first was that the first super group in the rock history had the obligation to make a very special musical work with great quality. The second was that their first studio album was seen more like a collection of individual efforts and ideas than a collective musical effort. So, there were doubts about the result of the collective musical composition of the band. However, after the release of this album, all doubts were dissipated.

'Tarkus' was their first successful conceptual album and has seven tracks. It's a very special album divided into two parts. However, essentially everything runs around their first track who gave its name to the album. It occupies an entire side of the LP, almost making us forget the other half of the album, what would be a little bit unfair because it has also some very good songs with a certain charm. As I wrote before, the first part is entirely completed by their first track 'Tarkus', which is divided into seven parts: 'Eruption' (instrumental) written by Emerson, 'Stones of Years' written by Emerson and Lake, 'Iconoclast' (instrumental) written by Emerson, 'Mass' written by Emerson and Lake, 'Manticore' (instrumental) written by Emerson, 'Battlefield' written by Lake and 'Aquatarkus' (instrumental) written by Emerson. It's a very complex and a fantastic piece of music with great creativity, very experimental in rock music and certainly avant-garde for those times. This great progressive epic represents the lengthiest studio song made by the band, 20:35, until their song 'Karn Evil 9', 29:37, released on 'Brain Salad Surgery'. This remains a favourite song for the fans and was consistently played live by the group, and is also my favourite song of them. Namely, 'Battlefield' is absolutely superb, beautiful, memorable and an unforgettable song. The side B of the LP has the remaining 6 tracks. The first track 'Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff' written by Emerson and Lake and the sixth and last track 'Are You Ready Eddie?' written by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, are two comedic rocker songs on the same mould of 'Benny The Bouncer' released on 'Brain Salad Surgery'. Sincerely, these two songs are very pleasant to listen to, but hardly worthy of an Emerson, Lake & Palmer's album. The second track 'Bitches Crystal' written by Emerson and Lake is a song strongly influenced by jazz and represents a very good song. The third track 'The Only Way (Hymn)' written by Bach, Emerson and Lake and the fourth track 'Infinite Space (Conclusion)' are also two very good tracks with a fantastic piano and organ works. The fifth track 'A Time And A Place' written by Emerson, Lake & Palmer do a nice contrast to the other songs. It's the hardest song on the album and it shows the rocker quality of the band.

The art cover of the album was made about the first track of the album and was created by the artist William Neal. It depicts an image of a creature half armadillo and half a tank of the World War I. Inside the cover of the album there is a gatefold who features a sequence of pictures which show us the birth of Tarkus, from an egg erupted from a volcano, and others depicting pictures of some other battles fought between Tarkus and some other half mechanical creatures, until their defeats by a Manticore, the only creature totally organic on the story. It's interesting to note that the band later named their record company as the Manticore Records. To sum up, 'Tarkus' described a story about reverse evolution and speak to us about the futility of the war in general, and it's also about the religious hypocrisy.

Conclusion: Unfortunately, due to the profound musical differences between the two sides of the LP, 'Tarkus' is somewhat unbalanced and failed to be a masterpiece. The problem with this album is that on side A we have 'Tarkus', a truly masterpiece, but on side B, despite the songs being good, they're in generally with a slightly lower quality. Nevertheless, with this album the group made a great musical work and 'Tarkus' can be considered a landmark to the band's musical career and represents one of their best pieces of music. With it, they made a lasting impression on the music scene and to this day their musical influence can still be felt and their music still inspires bands from around the world. They simply became as one of the most influential bands to come out of the treasure that was the early 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars My conversation with God took place at an old (and I mean old), shoebox-sized roadhouse in west central Texas somewhere outside Abilene. It was hot, breezy, and the cicadas were out in full song. My host, a physically ambiguous presence wearing stained, ancient brown coveralls and nursing the butt of a near-gone cigarette between lips, spoke briefly of classic era rock and several favorites. A rusting reel-to-reel played some of the muddiest, rankest sludgerock I'd ever heard but at a volume we could talk over. "This is the sh*t", the nominal Ruler of the Universe commented. How could I disagree.

Of course what I really wanted to hear about was progressive rock, if it was the extraordinary artistic breakthrough it seemed to be, or a bunch of nonsense; smoke & mirrors easily lapped-up by a gullible rock market. "It's all smoke & mirrors, everything", came the immediate response, "that's why it's called show business". I blushed with embarrassment and began the interview.

A- What is your personal favorite prog album?

G- The one with the totem on the cover, the fetish. Y'know, the armadillo with the guns.

A- Tarkus?

G- Is that it? All I know it that the artwork and music were the closest anyone's come to a perfect match.

A- You believe the art and music of that record enhanced each other?

G- I don't believe anything, but that's my current thinking. And that would be the best example I can think of.

A- Let me just say we're all gonna miss Keith Emerson a lot, and hope he's in a good place.

G- I didn't know him and have no idea where he is or if he still exists. He's dead.

A- Right. What is it about the music of Tarkus that attracts you?

G- Y'know, I'm not even sure-- It is, man, and that's what counts.

A- Can you expand on that?

G- Not really, no.

A- Okay-- Tell me about your first time hearing it.

G- (with a grin) That would've been at Dan's, an old buddy who has the best record collection I know and he only owns maybe two or three hundred LPs. But somehow each one represents the distillation of a certain music. He goes by the cover as much as the content; in other words, he'll often buy an LP strictly based on the artwork. That's where I learned you can and should judge a record by its cover, if not a book. It was a used first issue so it had seen better days but he put it on this elderly turntable of his, the overture swelled up, and then that opening organ phrase. It had me like a mainline of high-quality heroin. Marvelous.

A- Could you be more specific?

G- Listen to it, that intro, 'Eruption', is it?

A- That's right.

G- Well there it is, all of it, the cerebral culmination of everything modern music had accomplished in the five-hundred years before they recorded. The very foundation of modern populist tonalogy; the classics; the advent of electricity; jazz; mid-20th Century; and folk. Emerson understood, and knew he was the right man at the right time to attempt what needed to be done. To do, if you'll forgive me, God's Work.

A- I've always felt the album is a sort of "Church of Prog".

G- If you like, but that opens up a big festering can of worms. It suggests worship and I don't care for that.

A- And the rest of the first side?

G- Yeah, great, I mean can you imagine a clearheaded music appreciator hearing that thing for the first time? It's almost beyond reason that some scruffy English rock trio would have, not the skill, but the balls to do something so beyond the scope of what rock 'n roll was. It was a sublime moment, you see. It was crash or fly and they knew it. Big risk. Music is a business and the possibility that Tarkus would've sat on shelves getting dusty was quite high. They broke something the day that record was released, a barrier, or maybe just a membrane, that had been between youth music and something more.

A- Great. Let's talk about side two, reviled by many as inferior; a letdown compared with the first half of the record.

G- Really? But you see if it had just been more of the same it wouldn't have had the same impact or been as important. You have to have the contrast, the difference, otherwise there's nothing to work against it all. Like fruit and cheese, coffee and cake. Besides those are some great tunes, melodic, straightforward, well-performed.

A- So in closing, what's the overall assessment--

G- Sometimes a piece of work is so great it can't be seen. I don't think I could explain it any more clearly than that. ~~

Review by Kempokid
2 stars When it comes to my enjoyment of an album, I need consistency in order to want to listen to it, I want a more complete listening experience in which everything fits together cohesively, not necessarily a concept album, but something that feels properly planned out and conceived. This is a big reason why Emerson Lake and Palmer's Tarkus fails so miserably, it doesn't matter how great your side long epic is guys, the rest of the material sucks and greatly drags everything down. While I found their debut album to be quite rough around the edged with a lack of polish and tight songwriting causing to to be much less enjoyable than it could have been, this album feels more like an ill conceived mess, with a single good song in its entirety.

To be fair, this one good song happens to be Tarkus, so it's not as if this album is completely worthless, as despite the fact that I don't find this quite as good as other epics of around the time such as Supper's Ready, Plague of Lighthouse Keepers and Close To The Edge, this is nonetheless an excellent track all the way through. One aspect I really love about this song is how it manages to control the bombast and relentless desire for showing off, making for a technically impressive song that doesn't go overboard with wandering jams, instead moving between each section seamlessly, with a strong jazzy tinge to Keith Emerson's playing. Furthermore, the song has a great progression to it, continuously switching between quiet, beautiful moments, and chaotic, bombastic instrumental sections that sound like an off kilter war march in certain respects, especially in terms of the wailing moog. One of my favourite moments of the song is definitely Mass, which is just so wonderfully groovy and energetic, building up to a drum solo that impresses me every time, which is balanced out by continuing to push the melody and rhythm, stopping the isolated, dull feeling that the drum solo of Tank created. Honestly, this is one of ELP's crowning achievements, being able to create a 20 minute epic without a single moment of filler.

The unfortunate thing is that after this absolutely monumental track, the rest of the album is without a doubt extremely painful to listen to. For one, most of the songs are quite generic, with barely anything of interest to be found at all. At the very least, both Bitches Crystal and The Only Way (Hymn) feel like there was an effort made in them, although the latter, while somewhat nice to listen to, is extremely boring, although the church organ and the way it picks up at the end stops it from being bad. The former feels rushed with parts that feel unnecessary, like, in such a bombastic, insane song, there is no need for the quieter moments, it's Emerson, Lake and Palmer, excess is everywhere and in spades, so I find it annoying that a time where this could be used to their advantage ends up being wasted. Time and a Place and Infinite Space (Conclusion) are both songs I have very little to say about, as they are simply beyond dull and unneccesary, further damaging an album that is already slipping. The final nail in the coffin is that this album has not one, but two comedic songs in them, both of which are awful. Jeremy Bender employs a sort of ragtime style to a very simple melody, and it's just really bad all around, especially since it comes straight after Tarkus. Are You Ready Eddy on the other hand is nothing short of utter garbage, and definitely one of the most unbearable songs the band has ever put out, trying to take a more classic rock and roll approach, but falling on their face so embarrassingly with every step. Furthermore, this is the song the album closes off on, leaving a sour taste in my mouth afterwards.

Honestly, if the band decided to maintain the same kind of magic and focus as Tarkus displayed, I think I'd absolutely adore this album, but as it stands, it's by far my least favourite of the peak of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's career. It's amazing just how different in quality the two halves of this album are, and just how obnoxious and bad I find the second half, making me treat this album as a single, 20 minute track instead most of the time, as I just have no desire to listen to it in full. If not for the masterpiece of the first half, this would be an easy 1 star, but I'll rate it 2, since I can't call this album good, but would be horribly wrong to completely write it off.

Best tracks: Tarkus, which is definitely a high point in the band's meterial

Weakest tracks: While the second side is all bad, Jeremy Bender and Are You Ready Eddy stand out immensely in this category

Verdict: An uneven mess of an album with its first side being incredible, but it's second side being borderline unlistenable. I only relistened to anything the second side had to offer in order to be able to give this a fair review.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars After the success of their first studio album and tour, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer had to come up with something that would imprint itself into everyone's mind so that critics and fans would know they were more than just another supergroup. One of the biggest complaints of the debut album was that it wasn't concise enough and uneven, even though the performances were amazing. Personally, I love their debut album and the variety of sounds and use of dynamics. However, for this 2nd album, the band was a bit uncertain which path they wanted to take. Emerson, being classically trained and a lover of classical styles loved experimenting with that, but he also agreed with Frank Zappa that music didn't need to have meters. It was just too hard for them to understand why they had to fit their music into these organized bars. This was the direction that Emerson wanted to follow for this 2nd album.

Palmer was also leaning in the more progressive direction too, and even though Emerson and Palmer were both working independently in their own homes during the initial stages of this album, they were both coincidentally working with complex rhythmic ideas, so they were able to mesh their styles into a singular direction, and so it was pretty much decided at that point that the band would go into a full-fledged progressive style, at least with the album's centerpiece composition. In the initial stages of the musical creation of this song, Emerson was inspired by Frank Zappa and Albero Ginastera. Albero is the classical composer from Argentina that originally wrote the piano concerto that 'Toccata' (from 'Brain Salad Surgery') was based on. Emerson said that there was no plagiarism of any kind in the music, but there was a nod to Prokofiev in the opening movement of what would be known as the 'Tarkus' suite.

Finally, Emerson presented the almost finished composition to Lake, who immediately hated it. In fact, Lake almost left the group at that point because he felt the composition was pointless and had no direction. The record company talked Lake into staying, but Emerson had to think of subject matter for the piece so that Lake could write the lyrics. The interesting thing about all of this is how Emerson finally got the idea for the subject of 'Tarkus' after seeing the artwork of William Neal, who had just dropped off some of his artwork. Emerson was impressed with the armadillo on tank tracks and finally came up with the name 'Tarkus'. The concept was to be about the power that is sought by warmongers. The subsections were going to be about the different creatures that Tarkus fought and finally killed which would end with the death of Tarkus from one of those mutated creatures, the Manticore, who would sting Tarkus in the eye. Lake was finally sold on the concept because he liked the idea of it being an anti-war message and even wrote the 'Battlefield' section as his contribution to the centerpiece of the album. Thus 'Tarkus' was born.

The album is divided into two sections, with the first section being the first side of the album with 'Tarkus' taking up the entire first side and lasting almost 21 minutes. This 7 part suite starts up with the instrumental 'Eruption' which, as mentioned earlier, has a short section inspired by Prokofiev. This depicts the volcanic eruption that would produce Tarkus' egg. This section produces the familiar theme played by the various keyboards with the usual complex drumming and basswork done by Palmer and Lake respectively. The meter is, of course, non-standard, but it mostly follows a 10 / 8 pattern. The second section 'Stones of Years' begins when the music settles down and Lake's vocals begin. This tells of the voyage of Tarkus to meet his first enemy. The spider-like creature is represented by Emerson's staccato notes and the tempo speeds up to represent the fight and Tarkus' winning of this first battle before the vocal returns. 'Iconoclast' is another instrumental, again with complex drumming and rhythms, dark keys. This movement represents the 2nd battle of Tarkus, this time with a pterodactyl like war mutant. The fourth movement is 'Mass' as Lake's vocals start again and represents the 3rd battle, this time with a lizard / grasshopper / rocket launcher. Again, Tarkus is the victor. It is also full of religious undertones and a developing melody that gets extremely intense by the end. 'Manticore' is the final enemy and the one that finally kills off Tarkus. This battle is represented by an instrumental clash of the Tarkus main theme and the separate Manticore theme. 'Battlefield' is the section solely written by Lake and features a rare electric guitar solo by him. Lake has said it was inspired by the song 'Epitaph' that he cowrote and sung while with King Crimson. 'Aquatarkus' is the last movement based on a march based on the theme from Battlefield. Aquatarkus is the creature created by the dead body of Tarkus, or maybe another morphing of the creature born from the water, and this is represented by the sudden reappearance of the original Tarkus theme after the march section fades.

The overall feel of 'Tarkus' is chaotic with the melding of several themes throughout the track. It can be hard to listen to, especially in the first listenings when one is not familiar with the story or the multiple themes. The music is complex and thick, but when divided up into it's respective parts, and having the story explained, then the layers of music and complexity start to peel back and make more sense. It is quite an undertaking and it is definitely the center piece of the album. The remainder of the album is made up of short tracks that make up side 2.

'Jeremy Bender' is a honky-tonk style track with the subject ELP would come back with several times throughout their time together. 'Bitches Crystal' is more complex after the style of their more rock style similar to 'Knife's Edge'. The song features a lot of fast piano passages. 'The Only Way (Hymn)' uses themes from Bach's 'Toccata in F' and 'Prelude and Fugue VI' played on top of each other on an organ to give it a cathedral type feel. The lyrics are more anti-religious, which was also a theme Lake used a lot. Both Emerson and Palmer thought it was a bit too harsh, but left it the way it was. If you really listen to the lyrics, you will see what I mean.

The next track is 'Infinite Space (Conclusion)' written by Palmer. This one is a piano and drums led instrumental with alternating meters and the best track on this side of the album. 'A Time and a Place' returns to the heavier progressive rock sound that sounds similar to the theme on 'Living Sin' from the 'Trilogy' album. 'Are You Ready, Eddy?' is inspired by the 1956 song 'The Girl Can't Help It' by Bobby Troup and retains the 50's rock n roll style. This track closed the original album and according to Emerson, it was an impromptu song celebrating the completion of work on the album. The Japanese version of the 2010 SHM-CD reissue included another track 'Prelude and Fugue' which was written around the same time and previously only available on the 'Return of the Manticore' box set. It is a piano solo of a composition by Friedrich Guida, very difficult to play because of it's many thematic lines, performed amazingly by Emerson, of course.

On the 2012 remix edition of the album, there were three additional bonus tracks that were recorded during the same sessions and previously unreleased. First is 'Oh, My Father' written by Lake. It is a slow and pensive piano ballad with Lake's lyrics and vocals. There is a sparse use of drums and acoustic guitar. There is also a choral effect and a electric guitar solo in the middle. It's a nice track that could have easily been a single. 'Unknown Ballad' is written by Emerson with vocals. I am guessing it is Emerson singing because it definitely is not Lake, though he might be involved in the harmonies. It is a simple piano ballad. The last bonus track is an alternate take of 'Mass', the 4th movement of 'Tarkus'. It is a bit sparser than the original and seems a bit unfinished.

For many, this album would be their favorite ELP album. I don't agree so much because I don't like the unrelenting feel of the over-the-top bombastic feel of the title track. Though I have come to appreciate it and the genius behind it, I still have a hard time with it, just like I have a hard time with the 'Karn Evil' suite from 'Brain Salad Surgery'. I tend to like the ELP albums of the 70s that were less bombastic like the debut album, 'Trilogy' and the 'Works' albums, not because they are less progressive, but because they are not so flashy. Strangely enough, this always seems to be the case for me with ELP, and I don't necessarily recommend Tarkus as an album for beginning listeners for the band. Nevertheless, there is no argument that Tarkus is an amazing composition. But I am unable to give the album more than 4 stars; 3 stars for side 2 and 4 stars for the Tarkus suite but tipping the scales in favor for the album because of the complexity (not the bombast) of the track.

Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars A few months after their debut album, EL&P churned out their most famous Lp, "Tarkus", released in January 1971 and containing a suite, "Tarkus" precisely, that lasts the entire first side (almost 21 minutes): again EL&P are confirmed as precursors of prog ( few before June 1971 had already made a suite that would last all one side: perhaps only King Crimson with Lizard) and in fact their ability to reinvent cultured music, turning it into jazzed hard rock, and now, with Tarkus, the ability to produce a suite written by Emerson's keyboards, it was fondamental in the development of progressive rock. In addition, with this suite EL&P build a mythological story around a monstrous animal-machine, which will then become their symbol thanks to the design of the cover.

Side A. After a first instrumental, pyrotechnic, hyperfast movement, which acts as an overture, begins the second, beautiful, thanks mainly to the voice of Lake, which remains the strong point of the formation, then takes a short instrumental passage of Emerson that leads towards a new melody, however, which soon breaks up to give the group the opportunity to make a hard rock passage with electric guitar and overflowing drums. Around the 11th minute, the fifth movement, also hyperfast and instrumental, begins. So far the suite has not had any time to breathe. It's impressive how many musical notes EL&P grinds, they almost seem like a writer who, in order to prove his greatness, has to write the world's longest book in a short time. The instrumental piece, in fact an exercise in virtuosity, ends early and gives the baton to Lake's voice for Buttlefield (written by him) which almost always has a relaxing effect for the group. Lake seems the only hippie, while the other two of the musical machine species. This piece, in fact, restores a certain harmony to a composition that seemed dictated by performance anxiety. The final piece, unfortunately, at a pace, and driven by little atmospheric synths, is perhaps the worst of the suite, and describes the escape of the monster Tarkus after the defeat. Just before the end, the initial theme is taken up and pumped beyond measure.

This suite is good for the compositional effort but is not a masterpiece that, compared to "Lizard" (KC) that precedes it, and "Plague" (VDGG) that follows it, disfigures for lack of memorable melody and for atmosphere and creativity. It remains virtuosity and good compositional ability and, most of all, good pleasure to listen to it. Rating SIDE A: 7.5/8.

SIDE B "Jeremy Bender" is a very short song, retro honk tonk style, cute, resembling some vaudeville pieces by Paul McCarteny, only that here lacks a whole sound, and a real unfolding. Rating 5.

"Bitches Crystal" has a hyperfast rhythm, basic is a boogie, which prosergue becomes more and more frantic and hard rock, with Lake forced to shout. Rating 6.5.

"The Only Way" is brave for Lake's text, which professes an atheism that believes in humanity by quoting the 6 million Jews who were victims of the Holocaust, and all with Emerson's church organ in the background. The song is suitable for a musical, very narrated. Rating 7,5/8

"Infinite Space" is a pedantic exercise, rating 6.

"A time and a place" is a short song, three minutes, is perhaps the only song with a sound in line with the first front of the album, it is a very forced hard rock, where again Lake finds himself forced to shout. Vote 6+.

"Are You Ready Eddy" is yet another retro song, this is a Jerry Lee Lewis-style rock and roll, short, smooth, perhaps the most casual of the side. Rating 7.

Rating side B: 6,5.

It's an album that suffers for the diversity between side A and B, which are actually little assimilated. While the A-side is very well-groomed for the Tarkus suite, the second seems ragged, putting together, often retro short songs that are a step back from the sound and song form they were experiencing already on the previous album. Lake's voice is not enough to revive the LP's fortunes. Overall, the qualitalist level is similar to the previous Lp, which is more whole coese album, while this Lp can boast the compositional effort of Tarkus.

Rating album 7+; Three stars.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars Emerson, Lake & Palmer's second studio album was released in June 1971 on Island Records, a label on which we can find King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Procol Harum, Jethro Tull and Renaissance, all releasing very strong albums. 'Tarkus' is undoubtedly one of the 70s prog rock classic albums, an absolutely mandatory listen for everyone who ventures into this obscure and broad genre of music.

The music, however, is quite difficult to categorize, which hints for the progressive nature of it. Still, 'Tarkus' was a tremendous commercial success for the scope of prog rock, surprisingly or not.

Side one, occupied by the sublime title track - a real 'model song' for many bands in the genre. One of the best side-long epics of all time, and also one of the first, a composition in seven parts and a concept piece, the band decided to make the odd-numbered sections instrumental, and the even-numbered ones vocal. Singing about battlefields and people dying from the consequences of their own sinful actions, the concept has always been open to interpretation - connected strongly to the artwork and the titles of the seven sections.

Side two is, on the other hand, the really weak spot in ELP's early 70s discography. A collection of shorter songs that have no connection to 'Tarkus', or to each other, quite well-known among prog rock's admirers but surely not so well received.

As mush as it is quintessential for the genre, 'Tarkus' suffers from the mediocre side two, which is in stark contrast with the aggressive and focused title track, with all the complex passages and insane keyboard fiesta, the lyrics that have become iconic and the manic drumming of Carl Palmer. Still, this would not be a reason to diminish the record as anything rather than an excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

Review by Mirakaze
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars If you thought the songs on Emerson, Lake & Palmer's first album were a bit on the long side, Tarkus sets the record straight: the title track that opens the album is no shorter than twenty minutes and forty seconds. But if that scares you off, let me also say right now that "Tarkus" is the most concise and convincing expression of all of this band's strengths, and indeed all the strengths of (symphonic) progressive rock in general.

The story of "Tarkus" (as far as there is one; the lyrics don't really tie into it at all so I'm just getting this from the liner notes) is centred around the creature on the front cover: an armadillo tank hybrid named Tarkus, who hatches from an egg and fights an array of mechanical foes before meeting his demise at the hands of a manticore. If that sounds goofy and nonsensical to you, that might be because you're not insane. Well, don't let this scare you off either because these guys manage to turn a story that's completely bonkers into an absolutely fascinating musical journey.

The first part, "Eruption", throws you right away into the heat of the action: a rip-roaring instrumental keyboard workout that's full of strange time signatures and tempo changes, but maintains a steady drive throughout and never feels like it's falling apart. The main thing that sets it apart from similar keyboard showcases on the preceding record is Keith Emerson's use of the Moog synthesizer: while the band already made some economic use of the synth on their debut, Tarkus is where the instrument becomes a definite staple of the band's sound, even if the organ is still the dominant voice.

"Iconoclast" and "Manticore" supposedly portray the battles between Tarkus and the other monsters, and mostly follow the same pattern as "Eruption", but they nonetheless sound unique and are no less enthusiastic. In between these sections however, the boys make sure to insert vocal parts that are more calm and restrained, so that the effect never becomes stale. "Stones Of Years" is a majestic heavenly ballad that goes for the same atmosphere as "Take A Pebble" on the last album, albeit with a bit more drive. "Mass" on the other hand is the most rock-oriented part of the suite: it's based on a solid hard rock riff and prominently features a cowbell, as well as a notably more aggressive vocal delivery from Lake, and it works excellently. Finally, "Battlefield" is sad and mournful, and gives Greg Lake a chance to shine on electric guitar for the first time. Meanwhile, Emerson plays some marvellous organ solos on both "Stones Of Years" and "Mass": the man is in top form, and his colleagues on the drums and bass provide an immaculate backing.

In the end, after the chaos of "Battlefield" subsides, the suite concludes with its final section: "Aquatarkus", a determined-sounding synthesizer-based march indicating Tarkus' resurrection (or something to that extent). The tension is supremely built up over the course of three minutes, and when the song finally ends with a reprise of its opening section, it feels like one reaches Nirvana?

So? Why does this album only get four stars, then? It's because the second half of it doesn't live up to the standard of the first half at all. It almost feels like the remaining six songs were added for the sole purpose of extending the album to standard LP length. The only one of these that I'd call essential is "Bitches Crystal", which, despite its dumb title, shows the most energy out of all of them. It's fast, frantic and features some really nice piano lines, as well as a really cool vocal delivery from Lake.

None of the other songs are bad, but they don't really say or do anything that the title track didn't do much better. "A Time And A Place" sure gives off a bombastic vibe, but it's a little too monotonous to be of much worth. The same can be said about "The Only Way", a not very successful attempt at writing a deep, philosophical protest song, and the piano-based instrumental "Infinite Space", which tries to create a more ethereal effect again but doesn't succeed too well either. Finally, there are two silly joke tracks: I haven't decided yet whether the lyrics to "Jeremy Bender" are horrible or just stupid, so just pay them no mind because the song itself is actually pretty funny, as is the boogie-woogie parody "Are You Ready, Eddy?", although it's kind of pointless for both of these songs to exist on the same record. Still, things like this aren't really enough to carry an album.

I first heard this album at the beginning of 2013, and to this day the title track still ranks as one of the best songs I've ever heard in my life, so my deep respect and affinity for the suite keeps me from lowering the rating any further. But at the same time, I have to admit that as an album, Tarkus is a little uneven, which makes it overall a less accomplished product than ELP's debut. But man, that first track is worth the price of admission alone. Give insanity a chance!

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars Less than a year after the successful and homonymous debut album, and, after some skirmishes between Keith Emerson and Greg Lake regarding the musical direction they should follow, Emerson, Lake & Palmer releases "Tarkus". Conceptually very disparate, "Tarkus" brings together the extensive and powerful suite that gives the album its title, with a handful of songs that have no visible connections between them.

The suite "Tarkus", which occupies the first half of the album, composed of seven intertwined segments, is a constant back and forth of intense instrumental developments and paused vocal parts, where Emerson's display of virtuosity with his arsenal of pianos, hammonds and moogs, at times giddy and anxious as in "Eruption" and "Manticore", constantly take the lead. With the super active and masterful Carl Palmer and his very jazzy percussion, and Lake's bass and deep voice, especially in "Mass" and in the hypnotic "Battlefield", where he surprises with a calm and deep electric guitar solo (a very rarely used resource), the British trio completes one of their best compositions, if not the best. The fantasy story of the heroic armadillo-tank victor over the mythological villain Manticore in the perennial struggle between good and evil, concludes after almost 21 minutes with the agonizing "Aquatarkus".

The second half fails to sustain the brilliance of the first, and except for the brief and fun tavern rock of "Jeremy Bender", and the celestial and imposing organ in "The Only Way (Hymn)", the rest of the songs do not add much to the album: "Infinite Space" is a bit monotonous, Lake is heard too vocally forced for the demands of "A Time and a Place", and finally the fifties rockabilly "Are You Ready Eddy? "a joke on the famous sound engineer Eddie Offord (also a former Yes engineer), is out of context.

While the "Tarkus" suite is one of the proud emblems of the genre, a slightly more elaborate second half would have made the album a masterpiece for sure. But that's pure speculation.

4 stars

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Report this review (#2877020) | Posted by Lupton | Saturday, January 21, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #106 "Tarkus" is one of those records that always receive all kinds of opinions: from the bad ones that criticize the album for the lack of effort on the B-side to the good ones that say the album is an absolute indispensable record, well, I'm right between those two opinions. The title tr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2598610) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Saturday, October 2, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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Report this review (#2536468) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Sunday, April 18, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ELP, meeting of 3 prodigies to form a mega group, that is the challenge! 1. Tarkus with 7 drawers, perhaps here one of the prog origins of the famous drawers for storage; well what can I say, Greg's velvety crimson voice, Keith's twirling organs and Carl's characteristic rap are there to mark the c ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312031) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tarkus, the song, is one of the most iconic pieces in all of prog rock history and associated genres. One has only to take a listen to an orchestral rendition of the music to see how sophisticated this composition is. The trio of course performs it to perfection too. The problem is that the a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2246733) | Posted by handwrist | Wednesday, August 28, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars So, my first review on this site is for the first prog album I ever listened, back like, 5 years ago. When I originally heard Tarkus (talking about the song right now, not the entire album - that part will come later), I wouldn't say that it blew my mind as much as that I really, really enjoyed it: ... (read more)

Report this review (#2119065) | Posted by xelamcdonalds | Thursday, January 17, 2019 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I don't like ELP. I've tried, honestly, I have, but I just cannot understand what's so great about them. I've owned my copy of Tarkus for more than thirty years and first listened when I was a wide eyed teenager with no preconceptions. I didn't like it then and I still don't like it now. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2010000) | Posted by Chaser | Monday, August 27, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Not quite so good... Their second studio album saw ELP write an extended track across an entire side, like many other bands here on PA did (Floyd, etc). Unfortunately, most of the music on this album is not up to the standard set by their first album. The 'concept' for the long suite "Tarkus" is ... (read more)

Report this review (#1743124) | Posted by Walkscore | Thursday, July 13, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The snag. "Jumping the shark" is a common phrase that references when a television show, in danger of losing it's audience to the ever-decreasing quality of the program, does something ridiculous to rekindle interest. Named after a moment in an episode of Happy Days in 1977 where Fonzie, cla ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698326) | Posted by aglasshouse | Friday, March 3, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars AQUATARKUS BEST TARKUS: 9/10 Tarkus features the amazing tale about an armadillo-tank war machine born of an egg from an eruption that goes on a... killing spree. Apparently. After destroying a "building-monster", Tarkus proceeds to face Iconoclast - a war-pterodactyl-airplane, only to be destroy ... (read more)

Report this review (#1697004) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A seminal album in the prog universe, no question about it. My rating is largely based on the strength of the title suite. The title track alone makes this an essential record despite the inconsistency of the second side (tracks 2-7 for the younger crowd), although I love most of those tunes. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1643841) | Posted by ster | Thursday, November 17, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A masterpiece from the first to the last note, recorded in two weeks (1 per side), the time you need today for adjusting the drum set, by three grandmasters of prog. Many agree to the ultimate rating of the title track, as many dislike the B-side. For me it's a perfect counterpart to the serious ... (read more)

Report this review (#1572889) | Posted by Ijon Tichy | Tuesday, May 31, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ELP's 'Tarkus' is a real love/hate affair for me. I absolutely love the epic song 'Tarkus', and absolutely hate the rest of the drivel that exists on this album. I'll duck and cover while I wait for the hail of abuse I'm likely to get for spouting such blasphemy against an acknowledged great pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1433531) | Posted by AndyJ | Thursday, July 2, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 'Tarkus' was premiered pre-release on ELP's 'Pictures at an Exhibition' concert tour, along with 'Jeremy Bender', which I will return to later. I attended one of these concerts, and still remember Lake's announcements of both pieces, probably due to their rather striking content. "This is a track fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#1294265) | Posted by Einwahn | Sunday, October 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Tarkus would have been enough! The composition "Tarkus" is so complete. It defines progressive rock and contains all of what I love with prog rock music. That only track by itself is better than ELP's first record. But, the record "Tarkus" has also a B-side which is not at all as good as the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1126912) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, February 4, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars ELP's second album is somewhat unbalanced. You have the multi part song suite of the title track on side one, which is excellent, and then you have the other songs on side two that feel a bit underdeveloped. Some of the other tracks are kind of throwaways. They don't match up to the main feature. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1117609) | Posted by thebig_E | Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Albums like this are far from my favorite to review. By "albums like this," I mean ones in which there is an exemplary track that stands alone as a masterpiece and the rest of the material is not up to snuff. This isn't only because the other songs aren't as good by comparison, but also becaus ... (read more)

Report this review (#1064047) | Posted by Neo-Romantic | Monday, October 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Emerson Lake and Palmer's second album Tarkus reveals somethings that point to the future sounds of ELP, while also causing one to shake one's head. There are a great number of ups and downs on this album. Side one of this album is ELP's magnum opus - Tarkus. The story is strange, to say the ... (read more)

Report this review (#912511) | Posted by wehpanzer | Monday, February 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Tarkus is a good album, but in my mind it is nothing but a road stop on the way to better things. The album is a technical success and it is consistently better than its rawer more experimental predecessor. It does however lack a measure of soul. The album is cold and at times tedious and preachy. ... (read more)

Report this review (#850930) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Sunday, November 4, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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