Review Summary: An album that sadly caves in to the dark side of progressive rock, with nothing to offer but the same ridiculous instrumental wankery on almost every song.
Anything bearing the King Crimson name is sure to be a dense, hard-to-digest album, and The ConstruKction of Light is no different. This is suffocatingly precise music, and it does not lend itself nicely to repeated listens.
The main problem with the album is this: The music is so machine-like and unforgiving that it alienates the listener almost immediately, and repeated plays of the songs don't reveal any hidden charms, but instead confirm everything you thought was wrong with it on the first listen.
The musicians in King Crimson deserve a lot of credit for putting this beast of an album together, anyway. The interlock arpeggios, the wild solos, the unbelievable drum-work, the sheer power of some of the riffs, and the ability to pull it all off live are all the work of four unquestionable talented individuals. This has always been the case with King Crimson's music. It demands respect. Still, though, it can be very cold. Thankfully, Adrian Belew has been there to give the music a human face with his poetic lyrics and passionate delivery, as well his energetic guitar leads.
But here, it's almost as if Belew is gone. He sings on a few songs, sure, but it's nothing like "Elephant Talk," or "Waiting Man." It seems as if even the flame inside him is dead, and the album has nothing to lean on but its complexity and sophistication, both of which are taken way overboard. So then there's nothing but a scrap heap...the scraps of some god-like musicians, but scraps nonetheless.
There are a few bright spots, though. "ProzaKc Blues" throws down some pretty slick riffs, and the throaty singing of an unidentifiable singer is pretty cool. For an entire song you are entertained not by the time signature of the piece, but by the feel of music.
"Into the Frying Pan" is another high point, and Adrian Belew and company loosen up a bit during the verses, but get thick and heavy towards the end. For a second time, you feel like you are focusing on something bigger and more important than the technicality of the individual riffs.
But then you get a nine minute aural raping with "FraKctured" which drones on with absolutely no purpose or emotion until it finally ends. It exemplifies everything wrong with the album, being too long, too dull, and too caught up in its own complexity with nothing to reveal but the same exhausting listen, time after time.
The album continues to be disappointingly lame, until it concludes in style with "Heaven and Earth," which begins with relaxing ambiance, then shifts into a powerful, yet thoughtfully put together instrumental middle segment, before it calms back down and dies in peaceful ambient textures.
This album isn't nearly enough to tarnish the great legacy of King Crimson, but as an individual work, it is both extremely disappointing and tiring.