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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2127 ratings

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4 stars A really pleasant and diverse ride. Nothing for the nervous though, as this contains musical extremes from both ends of the spectrum. This healthy mix of old and new, strange and accessible must have been one of the keystones in making ELP the great commercial success story they became. Self-indulgence and bombast are almost synonymous with much of prog, but never more so than with ELP, making this a showcase of both the negative and positive sides of this style of music.

For me, that's all good. ELP isn't a shy group of musicians, so there's no chance of this not being overblown, because these guys are it by nature! If you don't really care about the guitar, do it properly.

Jerusalem is a remake of a traditional, patriotic English hymn and also the official song for Englands cricket team. Cricket fans? Most importantly though, it serves as one of the cornerstones in one certain Monty Python-sketch, making it a glorious tribute for Britain's best comedy gang. That's what I've always hoped, and for reasons unknown, it sure wouldn't surprise me! The remake is in one word, that's right, bombastic, and one of my most played songs. Soaring church organ, massive drum beats from Palmer. Makes it hard not feeling pride and strength, if not for England, for something.

Next up is a song that seems to polarise a lot of fans. Toccata is an interpretation of a classical piece and features one of the most devastatingly heavy, violent organ passages I've come across, after an eerie intro. Again powerful percussion from Carl Palmer, with an impressive solo in the middle section, showcasing the fantastic skill of the man. One of the best!

A well-needed rest sure is needed after these two monsters and they come in shape of Still...You Turn Me On and Benny The Bouncer. Nice and tranquil 12-string guitar work from Greg Lake makes the three minutes of the first one a worthwhile excursion. Benny The Bouncer on the other hand. Where to begin? Spectacular is the wrong word. An epic of disgrace. The keys! The vocals! The bar piano! The fight! But what you can't deny is: you always end up smiling...

Much can be said about Karn Evil 9. I'll settle with saying that the introduction of 1st Impression, Pt. 2 and 3rd Impression never fails to send chills down my spine. And yes, Keith Emerson sure knows what he's doing.


LinusW | 4/5 |


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