Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Brain Salad Surgery


4.0
excellent

Review

by The Door Mouse USER (29 Reviews)
January 16th, 2007 | 98 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist


Super groups are usually hit or miss. There are great successes like The Yardbirds, Wings and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Then there are the major flops like the recent Rock Star Supernova. But I must say one of the best is back were they started. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, comprised of the high regarded Keith Emerson from various bands, Greg Lake from the epic King Crimson and Carl Palmer, another person held up to high regards, is that band. With Keith’s beyond words keyboard playing, Greg’s smooth and melodic voice and Carl’s jazzy ecstatic drumming, this seemed like one of the biggest movements in music. And it did leave a mark with possibly their best effort Brain Salad Surgery.

In this album they incorporate pounds and pounds of Classical music. For example Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression sounds like George Gershwin walked right into Emerson’s body and took over. The piano is just drenching with the exhilarating up beat feel that Gershwin used. After that it goes in to one of the most tranquil moments on the album using strange sounds in the background. Another example of Keith’s greatness is in the dark, eerie and sinister sounding Toccata where her uses artificial brass and woodwind instruments. They also have great chemistry in that song with drastic changes in volume and time.

Like Toccata, this album gives off similar, dark and mysterious songs. In about every song you can find that meditative dark quality. Like I said above, Toccata, uses strange and eerie sounds. Also with Still You Turn Me On, it comes of as a very relaxing song with beautiful acoustic guitar, and very soothing vocals. But then it starts getting very depressing. That upbeat voice becomes a very sad feel and the guitar turns inside out with very weird effects as they do with a handful of songs. In Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression they use very bizarre computer voices. That can get annoying but it does complete the song. Finally there is Benny The Bouncer. The sound of the song is extremely upbeat as if you were sitting at an old west bar and a fight broke out. But the lyrics make this song evil. Despite the happy feel the lyrics are very gory (for its time). It has talk of chopping someone limb from limb and putting him back together. I actually find it humorous singing those lyrics with such an upbeat feel.

A very bad quality of that song is Greg Lake’s vocals. It is very raspy with that annoying British sounding accent. The kind where the words slur and they don’t pronounce the ‘h’ in ‘head’. It is very distasteful. I can say that is the only song where I despise his vocals. With that one exception, his vocals are very melodic and smooth. Still You Turn Me On is where he really stands out. Aside with the very deep lyrics, his voice is very relaxed. It’s a breath of fresh air hearing clean flawless vocals. On the contrary of Still You Turn Me On’s relaxed vocals, Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 1 and Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2 his vocals are drastically stronger but still keeping a smooth feel. Those two songs have the most catchy and famous vocals and it is what made these guys famous. They really get to a point where it is forceful. One of the bad things of this album is that he does not sing in 2 of the song songs.

Progressive rock has a way from going dark to bright and slow to fast. This takes loads of chemistry. If these guys can do one thing, then it is just that. In Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 1 they are always doing that. Constanly starting and stoping together. In Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression, as I said before, is very up beat and energetic piano in the beginning and then complete tranquility. Another proof of chemistry is the fact that this whole album sounds like an improvisation. You can’t have a group with just talent because chemistry can be vital.

The main thing that just blew me away was Carl Palmer’s jazzy drumming. It’s a very different type of progressive drumming then, for example, Neil Peart but more of the flashy type. Just like Keith Emerson incorporates classical, Carl Palmer incorporates jazz. He has many drum solos and each never seizing to amaze me. Not only in the solos but also in everywhere else he doesn’t let up with his perfect touch. If it weren’t for his flawless drumming then this wouldn’t appeal to me at all.

Brain Salad Surgery is one of the most successful progressive albums to date. It can be held up to such great successes such as In the Court of the Crimson King and 2112. This mixes tranquility and darkness with some great melodies and soothing vocals.

Pros
Vocals
Keyboard
Drums
Chemistry

Cons
Lake doesn’t sing in 2 songs
Sometimes tranquil=boring

Individual Songs
Jerusalem 4/5
Toccata 3.5/5
Still You Turn Me On 4.5/5
Benny the Bouncer 3/5
Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 1 4/5
Karn Evil 9 1st Impression Part 2 4.5/5
Karn Evil 9 2nd Impression 5/5
Karn Evil 9 3rd Impression 3.5/5

4/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
The Door Mouse
January 16th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I can't believe this hasn't been reviewed yet. Enjoy

The Jungler
January 16th 2007


4827 Comments


Allright review, it was better in some spots than in others. You still need to watch some spelling and grammar, but I think the thing you should try to work on the most is the way your sentences flow. Read over your reviews out loud or something. Trust me, it'll help.
I'm not a huge prog guy, so I guess it's no surprised I've never heard this.

The Door Mouse
January 16th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Thanks. I'll edit or somthing.

Neoteric
January 16th 2007


3243 Comments


Out of curiosity, why did you bold the word 'song'?

metallicaman8
January 16th 2007


4677 Comments


Honestly, this was one of your better reviews. The only thing that kind of bugged me was the first sentence.

Supergroups are usually hit or miss


It should be "Supergroups are hit, or miss". You can only hit, or miss. There's no third option, so you don't need the usually.

The Jungler
January 16th 2007


4827 Comments


I don't think that matters, but whatever, I'm not a grammar expert.

The Door Mouse
January 16th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

[quote=Neoteric]Out of curiosity, why did you bold the word 'song'?[/quote]
I felt that I needed to emphasize that it was the only song, not the album, where that accours.

metallicaman8
January 16th 2007


4677 Comments


Meh, I'm just being kind of picky. I wouldn't have minded if it was somewhere later in the review, but it just throws me off when stuff like that is the first few sentences.

Anywho, again pretty nice work.

EDIT: Out of the way, Zep.This Message Edited On 01.16.07

Neoteric
January 16th 2007


3243 Comments


I felt that I needed to emphasize that it was the only song, not the album, where that accours.
You usually are supposed to italize (sp?) it but whatever.

The Door Mouse
January 16th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

You're sort of splitting hairs here Neo :p.This Message Edited On 01.16.07

AlienEater
January 16th 2007


716 Comments


I haven't listened to this album in a while.

trustxdialect
January 16th 2007


1502 Comments


Great review.

I don't like this much, but I've grown to deal with it because my friend would put it on all the time in his car. Two a.m. with this blasting... hah.

John Paul Harrison
January 16th 2007


1014 Comments


[quote=Various points from the review]In this album they incorporate pounds and pounds of Classical music. In about every song you can find that meditative dark quality.[/quote]

So, yeah. Pretty much you're improving substantially. You described the album well enough, and it’s all put together in a nice and concise manner.

The review's got substance. All you need to work on is breaking away from the textbook paragraph intros.

[quote=review]A very bad quality of that song is Greg Lake’s vocals. The main thing that just blew me away was Carl Palmer’s jazzy drumming. [/quote]

Try putting a little more twist on sentences. I mean, we can cut back on the straight-up subject-verb stuff.

[quote=metallicaman8]There's no third option, so you don't need the usually.[/quote]

Option 1) Hit
Option 2) Miss
Option 3) Mild to Moderate Success


Eliminator
January 16th 2007


2067 Comments


Classical music is weighed in pounds.

The Door Mouse
January 16th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, you didn't get the memo?This Message Edited On 01.16.07

Killtacular
January 16th 2007


1314 Comments


[quote=Freddy Krueger]It should be "Supergroups are hit, or miss". You can only hit, or miss. There's no third option, so you don't need the usually.[/quote]

Wrong. Hit or miss is a part of the same thought and shouldn't be separated with a comma. For the same reason I didn't put a comma after the 'and' in the previous sentence.


The Door Mouse
January 16th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wow 5 of the 16 have been about that sentence. But procede if you must.

Angmar
January 16th 2007


2689 Comments


Classical music is weighed in pounds.
Thank you for that ever so music/review quality unrelated comment. Good review BTW i need to check this out. /pos'd

The Door Mouse
January 16th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think that you would like it.

freudianslipknot
January 17th 2007


803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great to see a review of this - one of my all time favourite albums. I enjoyed the review. voted pos.

One or two thoughts - "Toccata" is an ELP interpretation of a classical piece by Ginastera (died 1983 and actually heard and endorsed ELP's version) and is considered by many fans to be emerson's finest hour (of the numerous classical pieces ELP have done) and in my book is a 5. Benny the Bouncer (as you rightly imply) is a pastiche and its satirical content is expressed in Lake's intentionally over-the-top vocals & lyrics and the honky tonk piano (awesome solo) that cuts in half way through the song. You mention being disappointed that Lake didn't sing on a couple of the tracks, but that is pretty staple for ELP - all of their albums have extensive instrumental sections.

Oh and for those who dont' know - brain salad surgery is a euphemism for oral sex.This Message Edited On 01.17.07



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