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  Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 02:21 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. Jerusalem (2:44)
2. Toccata (7:23)
3. Still... You Turn Me On (2:53)
4. Benny The Bouncer (2:21)
5. Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 1) (8:44)
6. Karn Evil 9 (1st Impression - Part 2) (4:47)
7. Karn Evil 9 (2nd Impression) (7:07)
8. Karn Evil 9 (3rd Impression) (9:03)

Total Time: 45:04

[Image: brain.webp]

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  Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Trilogy
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 02:17 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. The Endless Enigma (Part One) (6:42)
2. Fugue (1:57)
3. The Endless Enigma (Part Two) (2:05)
4. From The Beginning (4:17)
5. The Sheriff (3:23)
6. Hoedown (Taken from Rodeo) {Aaron Copland, arranged by E, L & P} (3:47)
7. Trilogy (8:54)
8. Living Sin (3:14)
9. Abaddon's Bolero (8:08)

Total Time: 42:29

Bonus Track on 2004 Sanctuary remaster:
10. Hoedown (Live) (4:06)
Line-up / Musicians
- Greg Lake / vocals, bass, electric & acoustic guitars, addit. keyboards (9), lyricist & producer
- Keith Emerson / grand piano, Hammond C3, synths (Moog IIIC & Mini Moog model D), zukra (1)
- Carl Palmer / drums, percussion
Releases information ArtWork: Hipgnosis with Phil Crennell (tinting)

[Image: trilogy.webp]

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  Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Tarkus
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 02:12 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

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: 38:56
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

[Image: tarkus.webp]

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  Emerson Lake & Palmer - Emerson Lake & Palmer
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 01:48 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. The Barbarian (4:33)
2. Take A Pebble (12:34)
3. Knife-Edge (5:08)
4. The Three Fates (7:45)
- a. Clotho (Royal Festival Hall Organ)
- b. Lachesis (Piano Solo)
- c. Atropos (Piano Trio)
5. Tank (6:52)
6. Lucky Man (4:36)

Total Time: 41:30

Bonus CD from 2012 Remastered & Expanded edition:
- 2012 Stereo Mix -
1. The Barbarian (4:32)
2. Take A Pebble (12:37)
3. Knife-Edge (With Extended Outro) (5:38)
4. Promenade (1:30)
5. The Three Fates: Atropos (Piano Trio) (3:12)
6. Rave Up (5:03)
7. Drum Solo (3:02)
8. Lucky Man (4:40)
- Bonus Tracks:
9. Take A Pebble (Alternate Version) (3:40)
10. Knife-Edge (Alternate Version) (4:19)
11. Lucky Man (First Greg Lake Solo Version) (3:03)
12. Lucky Man (Alternate Version) (4:41)

Total Time: 55:57

[Image: elp1.jpg]

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  Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 01:31 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Chat - No Replies

Emerson, Lake and Palmer are quite possibly the world's most reviled band. Now, they were extremely popular in the early 70's among those who 'took themselves seriously' (especially college students), and even today they maintain a sizable cult following, so it would be unfair to say that absolutely nobody likes them. Regardless, however, this is a perfectly legitimate statement on the general level. Fans of punk have always detested them as they would any prog band, but this extended far beyond normal levels of loathing; as an example, one of the staples of late 70's Sex Pistols shows was to burn life-size statues of Keith Emerson in effigy (or so the legend goes, and I really hope it's true because it's a hilarious legend).
Now, this normally wouldn't be such a bad thing, since after all hatred of art-rock and prog-rock was one of the most important principles upon which the punk movement was founded. No, what distinguished ELP was the amount of venom spewed upon them by other "high-brow" artists and their various followers. Fans of classical music absolutely despised them (sometimes) for "butchering" various well-known pieces in their attempts to interpret these standards in a rock idiom. There is a nugget of truth to this, of course (Pictures at an Exhibition is often quite a stretch from the original Mussorgsky piece, to put it mildly), but ... I dunno. I'm sure that a good number of the band's fans became fans of classical music due to their efforts, so that should be worth something. Or maybe the older generation was just mad about all these young whippersnappers infiltrating their societal niche ....
(AUTHOR'S NOTE): There used to be a paragraph here where I made some asinine statements about the borders of what exactly constitutes prog rock. Some comments below reference that paragraph, but I'm so tired of looking at it that I don't even care about making them anachronistic at this point.
The greatest insult of all, of course, is that even among some prog lovers, they're hated like crazy! Among the list of widely acknowledged "classic" prog rock groups (note that "widely acknowledged" ends up excluding a lot of the major players in prog rock, such as Gentle Giant and Van Der Graaf Generator; by widely acknowledged I basically mean bands that somebody who knows older music solely through classic rock radio or games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero might be familiar with) they often tend to be rated near the bottom, even below some bands that I despise (like Styx or Kansas). Now, for many, a sufficient explanation of this is simply, "ELP sucks!". Needless to say, I think that is a grave mistake, but I think I can make a good estimation on the real reasons people despise this band. The first, and the most obvious, was the group's relatively heavy emphasis on classical music in their sound. Yes, progressive rock almost always has at least a tinge of some classical elements, but ELP's music had the greatest concentration of it in their music, BY FAR. Now, it's not as if that was the only type of music they did, not at all, but among their discography you can find covers of Copland, Holst, Bartok, and they even did a full album rendition of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. Their self-penned material would also sometimes have a pure 'orchestral' feel as well, and they even managed to help create a new and totally bizarre genre, the 'rock-symphony.'
The band's classical leanings, however, are not the only significant difference between ELP and the others on the list. A key thing to note about ELP is that, besides King Crimson, most other widely known prog rock groups weren't prog-groups from the get-go. Yes started as a jazzy, psychedelic rock band, and it wasn't until their third LP that they really became Yes as we know them. Rush began as a hard-rock garage band, modeling themselves after Led Zeppelin and Cream. And Genesis, well, Genesis started as a bunch of teenagers trying to sell pop songs to the public and not succeeding one iota (which is a shame, seeing as there are tons of great melodies on their debut). ELP, however, was "pretentious" and progressive from the very beginning, which makes sense. Both Keith Emerson (The Nice) and Greg Lake (King Crimson) were former key members of groups that had pretty much created the genre, and as such one could only expect them to continue what they seemed to have a knack for. Add in Carl Palmer's technically perfect drumming, and you have a group created for pretentiousness and lots of it.
There is one more aspect that sets ELP apart from the other groups, and that deals with the center of the band's sound. Rush focused on the blistering chops of their guitar and bass players. Yes, regardless of Wakeman's presence, rotated around their amazing bassist, Chris Squire. Genesis tried to emphasize Peter Gabriel's vocals and his bizarre fantasies over the chops of the group, which were definitely fine overall but hardly in the super-elite level of the rock world. In the Court of the Crimson King, regardless of all of the mellotrons, was extremely guitar heavy, not to mention the saxophones and other reed instruments. ELP, however, did not revolve around a guitar or bass player like the others. ELP was always centered on the keyboards of Keith Emerson (the songwriting and guitar work of Lake was an essential counterweight to Keith's keyboards, but it was still secondary). Now, it's not that he was a bad player, FAR from it. It's just that, well, he could be a bit too showoffy. Plus the fact that he often employed some extremely bizarre and occasionally annoying synth tones that few others would even touch. And since most people would rather hear guitar wanking than synth wanking, it's only natural that there would be a huge turn-away from this group.
I think I have made it sufficiently clear that ELP is not for everyone. The thing is, for the longest time I refused to give them even the slightest chance, and that's a shame, because they're really quite good! For starters, each of them was a highly talented and extremely professional musician, and even haters of the band have to give them that. Keith Emerson, let's face it, was almost indisputably the greatest keyboardist on earth, hands down (I think he was officially given the title by some renowned magazine twenty five times in a period of thirty years). Hence, he was often able to make large parts of the group's compositions come alive by the sheer force of his talent alone, whereas in the hands of any lesser player it might have been deadly boring. Meanwhile, just as important for the group was vocalist/guitarist/bassist Greg Lake. With the exception of Justin Hayward and a few others, almost nobody was a better rock singer than him in the 70's. He was always able to add incredible power and powerful emotional content to the highly abstract and bizarre lyrics that always accompanied the group's music. And one should certainly not minimize his guitar and bass playing, not at all. And finally, there was drummer Carl Palmer, as fine a prog drummer as one could find in the world; with an impeccably fluid and solid playing technique, his playing abilities in the prog universe were surpassed only by Bill Bruford himself.
The fact remains, however, that impeccable instrumental technique is not the only requirement for being a good and distinctive progressive rock band. After all, if all I cared about was great playing abilities, I would be sitting here reviewing various jazz recordings rather than talking about rock and its various forms. You see, it's a common misconception that the band was primarily a medium for the grandiose ambitions of Emerson. Now, don't get me wrong, the man could write an excellent and supremely catchy synth passage (Karn Evil 9.1 in particular), but in no way was Keith the sole creative epicenter of the band's music (at least, most of the time, when the band was at its best). No, that honor fell just as much to Lake, who was an extremely talented pop song and ballad writer. I mean, grandiose and overblown as Tarkus is, it's really just three short, very catchy Lake numbers whose various musical themes are expanded upon with the help of Keith's synths and are reprised in just the right amounts. And that's hardly the only example, as great songs like Lucky Man or Still, You Turn Me On will show.
In any case, the point I'm trying to make is that the music of ELP, in general, is nowhere near as intimidating as it is often made out to be. If you're looking for solid pop and rock embellished with a bit of jazz and a healthy amount of classical and symphonic aspirations, you shouldn't be afraid to give them a try. I used to rate them as a two-star band, but surprisingly found that my enjoyment of the band has only increased over time (in particular, the debut REALLY grew on me, as you'll see in a bit), so a three-star rating (out of five) seems appropriate enough. Now go ahead and flame me for liking them as much as, say, Led Zeppelin.

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  King Crimson - Starless And Bible Black
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 01:24 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

'The Great Deceiver' is immense. It's the sound of King Crimson in full effect, the nastiest and most exhilarating they'd sounded since '20 Century Schizoid Man', and in terms of energy, it exceeds even that. This is real jazz-rock fusion, taken to a limit, taken by a band immersed in both music forms but not sure which side of the fence they lay - thus resulting in a perfect meld. Albeit, a perfect meld with punk-rock like energy, plus beautiful passages of string sections and quieter moments. Dynamics! Reading the music press lately, you'd think rock dynamics were invented by either The Pixies or Nirvana. There is much to be found in these unfashionable prog-rock acts with silly hair, that reigned supreme during the early to mid-seventies. Apart from, King Crimson never did reign supreme. Whilst a band like Yes became huge commercially, King Crimson remained a cult, elitist, due to the uncompromising approach of their leader, Robert Fripp. Oh, his guitar all through the later half of 'The Great Deceiver' just destroys me. It's just so wonderful, so spiralling and twisting and doing all sorts of things a guitar shouldn't, whilst the vocalist is bellowing powerfully out. Your attention goes to both - your attention is fully attended! 'Lament' also has some powerful moments, big meaty bass lines, wonderful drumming courtesy of my personal 'dream team' drummer, Bill Bruford.

'We'll Let You Know' is also the name of a Morrissey song. I dedicate the fact that i'm now fully appreciating prog-rock, and not just indie-rock, to one George Starostin, whom i've never name-dropped in a review before, because it's gay to do so, but there you are. Still, after these first three fully interesting and exciting songs, the album loses its way. Of the remaining songs, 'Trio' is quite clearly something that resembles Bob Fripp not knowing how to write actual songs. This is something this reviewer has long suspected. The man has obvious talent, but writing songs isn't one of them. Oh well, there are beautiful sections to 'Trio'. Yet, try playing them on an acoustic guitar. Try letting the structure and the melody hold sway on their own. Try playing the song purely on a flute, or a banjo. Any truly GOOD compostion will withstand any treatment. The beauty of this era of King Crimson is that they'd developed such a good band, the three of them, John Wetton, Bob Fripp and the almighty god-like Bill Bruford. The quality of the band were key - they could improvise. They do an awful lot of that across this album. An album that after the first three songs, does remain interesting, yet lacks structure. There is avant-garde, and art - and then there is pure experimentation. I'm not sure 'Starless And Bible Black' always keeps itself the right side of the line. Having said that, I do like listening to this album, from time to time. Sometimes. 

The Great Deceiver / Lament / We'll Let You Know / The Night Watch / Trio / The Mincer / Starless And Bible Black / Fracture

[Image: bible.jpg]

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  King Crimson - Larks Tongues In Aspic
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 01:15 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Line-up changes, line-up changes. Well, in this case, the changes were nothing but positive. John Wetton ( most famously ex-family ) and Bill Bruford ( most famously ex-yes ) step up to join Bob Fripp in his pursuit of 'something or other'. That's the best way to describe it, really. Ably abetted by assorted sundry - out pops 'Larks Tongues In Aspic', easily the most enjoyable King Crimson record since their debut offering. The material here isn't always as good as the playing - much of the material here had origins in the line-up that recorded 'Islands', after all. Still, add in two muscians both of more than capable pedigree and you have something. John Wetton was a versatile, reliable and at times powerful, bass player. Bob Fripp was still developing as a muscian himself. Bill Bruford, with his jazz leanings and amazing power and actual way with melody - quite rare for a drummer - the icing on the cake. Much icing, delicious icing. Bill Bruford will always be mostly associated with his time spent with Yes, but his work with King Crimson during this era is perhaps the best work of his career. Bill Bruford suited King Crimson, it's as simple as that. Bill Bruford brings something special to this record, something in particular that perhaps no other drummer around at the time would have been able to bring. Playing with Yes had certainly expanded his horizons as a player, he left Yes to expland them further. Being part of the King Crimson collective certainly enabled him to do that.

The opening 'part one' is very avant-garde in the manner that Bob Fripp had been starting to pursue with seemingly ever greater vigour, it would seem. Thirteen and a half minutes of music that comes alive with the almightiest of scary riffs near the four minute mark. Violin punctuates the track most effectively, adding to the horror-show nature of the piece. The drums are simply stupendous, so powerful all of a sudden. During his early days with Yes, Bill played a lot 'more' drums that perhaps he did later during the likes of 'Close To The Edge'. Come his time with King Crimson, he was able and encouraged to play whatever he liked. Added to his indisputable mastery of the drums, one of the very best drummers around at the time - this produces something very special throughout the vast majority of this opening track. As a song, it's a dog. As an artistic, avant-garde piece of 'art', it's saved by the playing of Fripp and Bruford, in particular. Not to forget John Wetton, however. Aside these two maestro's, he conducts himself brilliantly, with some stupendous parts of his own at times. Listening to a track almost purely to appreciate the musicianship isn't something I ever used to do, but with playing as awesome sounding as this - whatever the actual track/piece is like in terms of structure, etc - almost doesn't matter.

A word about the vocals. John doesn't do as good as job as original vocalist Gregg Lake, but he certainly sounds better than the other guys after Gregg Lake. Still, we move on. Some sweet melodies during parts of both 'Book Of Saturday' and 'Exiles'. 'Easy Money' which follows, almost manages to be funky. It actually grinds in places, quite something. Perhaps the vocals are a little strained during 'Easy Money', not entirely the best vocal performance the song demanded, but it's not bad, or anything. Anyway, one problem with this album, which I hinted at earlier. Something like 'The Talking Drum' ends up impressing through the sheer joy to be had at beholding the muscianship. Ultimately however - with musicians of lesser calibre, the material or ideas alone certainly wouldn't be enough on their own. Lending to my theory the material itself isn't exactly strong here. Still, the closing 'Part Two' opens all scary as hell, includes some quite frankly astonishing guitar, drum and percussion work - and leaves you breathless and slightly impressed.
[Image: larks.jpg]

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  King Crimson - Islands
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-18-2019, 01:11 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

The vocals are incredibly weak here, sung by one Boz Burrell, a guy who went off to form Bad Company playing bass only, not singing vocals, as he does here. The opening 'Formentera Lady' is folky, crass, silly, basic, stupid. It's incredibly banal, albeit dressed up in King Crimson Robert Fripp all so serious colours. It's a bunch of shite. Although Bob Fripp was a very talented guitar player, he did like his avant garde and his did like his music as art and he did like to think what he was doing was intelligent. The main achievement produced by 'Formentera Lady' is to make a bunch of decent musicians sound like they'd never played before in their entire lives. The song drags on for an awfully long ten minutes. Awfully long, because absolutely nothing happens. Well, bar a gently repeating bass motif and light vocals - nothing happens. 'Sailor's Tale' is a lot better in that it sounds like King Crimson. Sounds like the same band that produced 'In The Wake Of Poisedon' or 'In The Court Of'. Well, more or less. What it actually sounds like is that Robert Fripp was a guitarist ten years ahead of his time. Although, don't get me wrong. Far from sounding technically amazing, he sounds like a punk/new wave guitarist, like he's suddenly joined XTC ten years too early. Other points in the song, the swirling mellotron, reminds of earlier King Crimson. The bass and drums lock together in jazz/rock fusion and all is well. Only seven and a half minutes of avant-garde this time around. Yeah, that's 'Sailor's Life'.

'The Letters' has the all important King Crimson jazz sound in places, in other places descending into near total silence. Hey, groovy! 'Ladies Of The Road' sounds like Frank Zappa's 'Mothers Of Invention' farting over a talented bass players nose whilst, somebody they've just dragged off the street attempts to sing whilst tied down by his ankles by Robert Fripp. Still, nice Beatles style harmonies come in later during the song, so that's alright then. The final two songs by pass softly, gently. Inoffensively. The best thing you can say about them is that they are inoffensive. As for 'Islands', it's a complete waste of tape, more or less. The innate talent and vision of Bob Fripp shines through in places, but the album is a mess. Whilst contemporaries of King Crimson, such as Genesis and Yes were getting better and better and better, King Crimson were descending into near total decline. Of course, what happened next was inexcusable!

Formentera Lady / Sailor's Tale / The Letters / Ladies of the Road / Prelude: Song of the Gulls / Islands

[Image: islands.jpg]

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  King Crimson - Lizard
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 02:55 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

Further lineup changes confuse matters. Gordon Haskell signs on as permanent vocalist, only to leave right after this album. In fact, he didn't even complete all his parts on this album, Yes vocalist Jon Anderson sings some of the parts on the closing song, and I like the fact that he does. His voice is unmistakable, and apparently he was asked to join on full time, but he politely declined favouring his role in Yes instead. Good job, too I say. I love Yes, no offence to Robert Fripp intended, of course. I like King Crimson too, more so now that i'm acquainted with this album, actually. Not that's it's an especially great album, it isn't. It's a very confused sounding album by a band splintered due to lineup changes and unsure of a direction to take. So, they experiment with Jazz/Rock fusion, experiment, full stop. They don't always sound together, performance wise this record pales in comparison with the best moments from either of the first two albums. But, the experimental nature, a very quirky experimental nature, does have a charm all of it's own. Charm probably isn't a correct word to use in relation to this record, but goddamit, I quite, fairly, a little.... really enjoy listening to this. The opening 'Cirkus' has mellotron, weird sounds, trumpet flowing over the top. Nonsensical lyrics sung with deep import and meaning anyway. The lyrics are like that all over the album. I'm glad that I can't actually make many of them out. The music often threatens to drown out the vocals altogether. Nearly the only time the vocals clearly rise above the music to provide something of their own is when Jon Anderson sings his parts in the closing song. Ah, yes, it's true. No pun intended. Or, possibly, even made.

'Indoor Games' is Jazzy, taking its cue from King Crimson of the first two albums, but the music is disconnected. Both this and the following 'Happy Family' sound like someone has taken a knife to the master tapes of the first two King Crimson albums, thrown all the pieces up in the air and randomly stuck them back together again, with little thought as to how the pieces connect to each other. But, it's an interesting approach, at least, it sounds interesting to me. 'Happy Family' reminds me of 'Cat Food' a little, but this is far more 'out there' than even 'Cat Food' was. The vocals here have been treated with a variety of effects, and poor old Gordon Haskell sounds better under a weight of studio effects than he does singing in his 'normal' voice. No, i'm not a fan of his. Sorry about that, all you Gordon Haskell fans out there! He does okay on the sweet and heavily featuring flute ballad 'Lady Of The Dancing Water'. Or maybe it was somebody else? I guess it was him. Lineup changes confuse me. I'm not a King Crimson 'student', by any means. I'll learn as I go along, I expect. What I learn from the closing song I'm not sure, but it sounds good. This twenty three minute long piece goes all over the place, as the album as a whole does. Spooky strange sci-fi noises, quiet moments, loud moments. And, Jon Anderson too. Piano, trumpet and everything ends rather anti-climatically, just stops. The song goes into a void, doesn't mean anything at all from the sound of it and neither does the album as a whole. But, 'Lizard' is interesting, very strange, not especially a record anybody is able to 'grab hold' of. But, it has a charm, you see! Relatively speaking, of course. 

Cirkus / Indoor Games / Happy Family / Lady Of The Dancing Water / Lizard: Prince Rupert Awake....

[Image: lizard.jpg]

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  King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon
Posted by: IanWhann - 03-15-2019, 02:41 PM - Forum: Prog Rock Albums List - No Replies

King Crimson fractured during the making on their second album; Greg Lake left to form Emerson, Lake and Palmer during recording, although he does sing all of the lead vocals except ‘Cadence and Cascade’. The group considered replacing Lake with Elton John, but ‘Cadence’ features Gordon Haskell, who’d front the band’s next album Lizard. Ian McDonald also left during recording; he only contributed to the writing of two songs, and it’s noticeable that they’re the two songs most markedly different from the band’s debut material. The jazzy ‘Cat Food’, and ‘The Devil’s Triangle’, based on Gustav Holst’s ‘Mars’, are the two new directions for the band.
Otherwise, a lot of the material on In The Wake of Poseidon has direct precedents from In The Court of the Crimson King – ‘Pictures of a City’ is essentially a reworking of ’21st Century Schizoid Man’, while the mellotron laden title track is similar to ‘Epitaph’. Both songs are good, but they do feel like retreads. ‘Cadence and Cascade’ is pretty – while Haskell’s vocals can be tough to take on Lizard, his voice works for this song. The jazzy ‘Cat Food’ works well – Sinfield’s surreal lyrics are a strength in this song – while ‘The Devil’s Triangle’ is also engaging.
It’s difficult to shake the impression that In The Wake of Poseidon is a less inspired facsimile of its predecessor, but in its defense it doesn’t have a tough avant-garde piece like ‘Moonchild’, and it’s one of the band’s most consistent and accessible albums.

Peace : A Beginning / Pictures Of A City / Cadence And Cascade / In The Wake Of Poseidon / Peace : A Theme / Cat Food / The Devils Triangle / Peace : An End

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