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King Crimson - Red CD (album) cover

RED

King Crimson

 

Eclectic Prog

4.54 | 3065 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
5 stars "Two Mellotrons on stage during the Red tour in 1974"

On this 7th studio album (1974) you can hear that King Crimson had done a lot of touring in the last two years, the band sounds more tight and powerful than on their previous two efforts Lark's Tongues In Aspic (1973) and Starless And Bible Black (1974). After the departure of first Jamie Muir and later David Cross, King Crimson became a trio (although David Cross is mentioned on Red as a guest musician): Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford and John Wetton. The album Red turned out to be commercially unsuccessful but it was a great inspiration for many bands like Nirvana, Living Colour and Tool.

The music on the opener Red is in the vein of the cover: dark and ominous featuring a kind of Heavy Prog, very compelling with propulsive drums, powerful bass work, a fiery guitar sound and melancholical violin play by David Cross. The climates alternate between mellow and agressive, it generates a hugh tension in the music.

Next Fallen Angel, this track sounds a a blend of jazz, symphonic rock and Heavy Prog. The one moment dreamy with Mellotron violins, and the other moment sumptuous with fiery brass, in a dark atmosphere.

In the following One More Red Nightmare it becomes even more dark, heavy and compelling featuring fat guitar riffs, a screamy saxophone, hypnotizing twanging guitar and a propulsive rhytm-section. This is topped by John Wetton his distinctive vocals, with a melancholical undertone.

And now for something completely different, the long composition Providence: pretty experimental with violin and percussion, culminating in a heavy climax with blistering electric guitar and powerful bass.

The final composition Starless is for me one of the best King Crimson ever wrote. First dreamy with intense Mellotron violins, sensitive electric guitar and saxophone, a melancholical cello and tender vocals. Then follows one of the most exciting build-ups in Classic Prog history: Bruford's propulsive percussion and Wetton's growling bass, fueled by an ominous, razorsharp guitar sound from Fripp, gradually it becomes more and more bombastic, wow, what an ultimate exciting and compelling musical experience. After a break with a saxophone solo the climax is heavy and powerful, the interaction between the trio and the dynamics are overwhelming. In the end the dreamy atmosphere from the first part returns, with wonderful Mellotron work and tender vocals, goose bumps. This was a long and captivating musical journey between ultra contrasting atmospheres, unique and pivotal progrock!

Bonus items on my Red 40th anniversary edition.

The bonustracks are 'trio versions' from Red (impressive bass sound) and Fallen Angel (instrumental with jazzy guitar play) and a 'full version' from Providence (all pre-overdub versions by Steve Wilson).

The DVD is my highlight of this remastered version, especially the video with four tracks from the French tv in 1974.

Lark's Tongues In Aspic : Part II : More powerful and tight than the 1973 Beatclub version, and without Jamie Muir, a big plus, I never liked his contributions.

The Night Watch : The same irritating images as on Pictures Of An Exhibition from ELP but interesting to see Robert Fripp sublimating his infamous passive agressive nature into his fiery guitar play.

Lament : A young and inspired Bill Bruford experimenting with assorted percussion, that's why he left Yes for King Crimson.

Starless : A mindblowing version, for me it's also breathtaking to see two white Mellotron M400 models on stage, on the left for David Cross and on the right for Robert Fripp. To be honest, I prefer David Cross here with his violin, rather than the original saxophone. This is top notch legendary progressive rock and showcases why Classic Prog still rules.

More info from the record company.

This 40th Anniversary edition on CD/DVD-A features new stereo & 5.1 mixes by Robert Fripp and Steven Wilson plus high resolution stereo mixes of the original, extensive additional audio material and representative video. It also contains new sleeve-notes by Robert Fripp and King Crimson biographer Sid Smith, a newly designed booklet with rarely seen photos and other archive material and presented in double Digipack format with outer card slipcase.

TenYearsAfter | 5/5 |

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