Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Emerson Lake & Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

4.17 | 2127 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars It's not the best ELP album, but it is close. The only out and out throwaway is the completely execrable "Benny The Bouncer", with a ridiculous attempt at Cockney music-hall-style vocalizing from Lake and some of the worst synthesizer sounds committed to vinyl courtesy of Emerson.

An air of kitsch opens the album with the rendition of the famous hymn "Jerusalem". Since I always associate this tune with the mattress sketch from MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS, it always raises a chuckle. But "Toccata", while based on a classical piece, is anything but kitschy. As with the pieces from the debut, they chose a sympathetic 20th-century piece rather than going for the easy recognition factor, and came up with another winner. This is as close as ELP have come to out and out avant-garde music, and it never fails to absolutely floor me. The "cameo" portion of the album is rounded out by "Still...You Turn Me On", another decent Lake ballad.

The half-hour long epic "Karn Evil 9", originally split between two sides of vinyl, is one of the band's high points. Sure, it's not quite as intense as "Tarkus", but it is heartening to know they were still capable of producing epic long-form pieces of great quality. Emerson is now using an experimental prototype polyphonic Moog mega-synth (that later got compartmentalized into the Multimoog, the Polymoog and the Taurus) and a vocoder, giving the piece an impressive, futuristic feel echoed in the science-fiction-oriented lyrics.

So, throw out the hideous "Benny The Bouncer" and you'd have had an album that could quite likely have stood next to their fabulous first as an all-time prog classic. As it is, it's still an excellent work (with only one blemish), and recommended to all who wish to discover their music.

Progbear | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this EMERSON LAKE & PALMER review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.