King Crimson
Red


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jigglypuff USER (7 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 1976 replies | 67,949 views


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist


7 of 7 thought this review was well written

The last hurrah of a group in its death throes, King Crimson's Red is perhaps the ill-fated 1972-74 lineup's masterpiece: a document of the band as they really were. Pressed for time and at the climax of growing tension amongst the members, Red is the flare of brilliance before collapsing into the void, a group that would not play together again for seven years and were forever changed.

The five-man arsenal that comprised the group heard on Larks' Tongues In Aspic had dwindled down to the core of vocalist/bassist John Wetton, drummer Bill Bruford, and lead guitarist/ringleader Robert Fripp - mad percussionist Jamie Muir had left after that album to join a Buddhist monastery, and strings virtuoso David Cross officially departed before the recording of the album but agreed to contribute what he could to the sessions. Stricken with five tunes to commit to tape and an entire LP to fill, the members of KC besieged alumni, old friends, and session musicians with requests of aid. Several excellent musicians make guest appearances on Red, although the lineup is not consistent: consequentially, the album has an unfinished, thrown-together feel. Still, this is the culmination of the first era of Crimson: well-written song structures, free jams, and instrumental virtuosity all play a role here.

Briefly, the five pieces are summarized:

"Red" (6:16)
While the popular perception of Red as a proto-metal experiment is perhaps premature and rash, this hard-rocking instrumental still had quite an impact on the fledgling heavy-rock scene. A catchy, aggro guitar riff alternates with bridge sections, and features a pianissimo interlude with a cello solo.

"Fallen Angel" (6:04)
Somewhat atypical as far as Crimson ballads go, the disturbing lyrics are well set over a quiet but driving rhythm section. Oboe and alto saxophone can be heard as well (uncommon in this particular incarnation of Crim).

"One More Red Nightmare" (7:07)
The ultimate teeth-grinding riff is set again Bill Bruford's clamourous and innovative percussion in the uptempo, psychedelic rocker. Wetton's vocals can be very irritating due to his strong accent, but his contribution is still effective. The band also cools things down for a 12/8 jam near the end.

"Providence" (8:11)
Featuring a "studio jam" that wouldn't be out of place on Starless and Bible Black, this instrumental showcases Cross' violin to great effect.

"Starless" (12:18)
A ballad in the vein of Epitaph, this epic track is a fitting conclusion to the band's last work. Beginning with a simple vocal-based tune, it contains one of Crimson's best Mellotron melodies and Fripp's hypnotically beautiful guitar lead. What began as calm, though, soon breaks down into a disturbingly dissonant noise-jam which leads into an explosive bebop-flavoured improv. Ian McDonald's alto chops are given an airing out, and Fripp's atonal solo is unique if not technical. The climax of the song, though - and the entire album - is when the band crashes into a powerful re-introduction of the original theme. The last notes seems to fade out on a note of regret, but don't despair - Crimson would someday return to life.

Personnel:
Bill Bruford: Percussives
Robert Fripp: Guitar, Mellotron
John Wetton: Vocals, Bass Guitar

and very special thanks to:
Marc Charig: Cornet, Bass Cello
Mel Collins: Soprano Saxophone
David Cross: Violin, Viola, Mellotro
Ian McDonald: Alto Saxophone
Robin Miller: Oboe, Wind

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars



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user ratings (1323)
Chart.
4.5
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Jigglypuff
February 13th 2004



31 Comments


[QUOTE=cytoplasmicblob]jigglypuff: i hate your user name, but love king crimson. all of your review have been %100 percent with what i think...could you do thrak, i havent heard it yet.[/QUOTE]

Oh yeah, never mind commenting on my writing, it's just my stupid user name that matters.

All joking aside: No, I'm afraid I can't do Thrak right now because: a) I haven't heard all of it either; and there are other albums I'd like to do. In the meantime, please check out my other reviews if you're interested in King Crimson:

In the Court of the Crimson King
Discipline
Beat
The Power to Believe

Jigglypuff
February 14th 2004



31 Comments


[QUOTE=cytoplasmicblob]ive already read all of those. i own three. i love your music tastes though. do you have IM? im interested in talking.[/QUOTE]

I have MSN, but that's it. [email]the_sheltering_sky@hotmail.com[/email].

3074326
February 15th 2004



20 Comments


Nice review.

I'd really like to get into King Crimson, could someone recommend me some of their songs? The songs don't have to be from Red, any will do.

Jigglypuff
February 15th 2004



31 Comments


[QUOTE=3074326]Nice review.

I'd really like to get into King Crimson, could someone recommend me some of their songs? The songs don't have to be from Red, any will do. [/QUOTE]

Well, Crimson is an album band, definitely. But here are some songs to get you started:

"21st Century Schizoid Man"
"Epitaph"
"Red"
"Starless"
"Frame by Frame"
"Indiscipline"
"Three of a Perfect Pair"
"Dinosaur"
"One Time"

Pick up their debut album from 1969, In The Court of the Crimson King. This album shouldn't be hard to find, is one of their best, and is absolutely essential for any prog fan. It's the first true prog album, beyond all shadow of a doubt, and so far ahead of its time you won't believe it's 35 years old. Get the 24-bit remastered edition.

Tell me what songs you like the most out of these, and I'll recommend some works from their respective Crimson lineup.

Also look them up on www.allmusic.com.

3074326
February 15th 2004



20 Comments


Thanks a lot, I've listened to the first five or six, and I love every one of them.

I'll be purchasing some albums soon.

Jigglypuff
February 15th 2004



31 Comments


[QUOTE=3074326]Thanks a lot, I've listened to the first five or six, and I love every one of them.

I'll be purchasing some albums soon. [/QUOTE]

Get In the Court of the Crimson King first.

Littlejohn
February 15th 2004



7 Comments


Great review Jigglypuff!

I downloaded the majority of those songs. Thanks for the tip!

Jigglypuff
February 15th 2004



31 Comments


[QUOTE=Littlejohn]Great review Jigglypuff!

I downloaded the majority of those songs. Thanks for the tip![/QUOTE]

No...thank YOU. :cool:

CheeseyBread
June 8th 2004



12 Comments


Epitaph is definitly my favorite KC song, next is 21st.

iceman3019
November 13th 2004



46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i just purchased this album today, and so far (i'm on "one more red nightmare") the album is abosoluetly beautiful . . . 4/5 so far from me . . .

Smackers
November 13th 2004



25 Comments


Nice review man, I really like King Crimson. The 80's material is my favorite, which I have gotten into arguments with others about. Red is a good album though and I think you did a fine review. If you do get Thrak then I'd like to hear what you have to say on it. I like the album, although I don't own it. Another good album is The Construction of Light. Some fans hate it, but if you like Thrak, then you'll probably like it.

EddieVanHalen007
November 14th 2004



26 Comments


God bless Robert Fripp.

EddieVanHalen007
November 14th 2004



26 Comments


A good review too, summarized the band up to this point very well.

pulseczar
December 21st 2005



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is battling with In the Court for my favourite Crimson album.

Kage
May 29th 2006



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album is amazing. I'm blown away by it. This is one of the best rock albums I've ever heard, period, and maybe even the best prog rock album ever.

This is up there with Discipline for me in terms of King Crimson's discography.

Rocksta71
July 20th 2006



1023 Comments


At the moment I have only got "int he court of the crimson king" and it is really brilliant! Epitaph is my favourite track from it. Im thinking of getting another KC album what can you guys recommend?

Zebra
Moderator
August 4th 2006



2647 Comments


I just gave the song Red a listen and it's much better then anything off of In the Court of the Crimson King.

Bladder
August 4th 2006



204 Comments


Nice review dude I might get this one sometime.

Rocksta71
November 21st 2006



1023 Comments


^If youre a crimson fan I think you'll like this one (heavier than most of their albums)

kingcrimsonphan
December 22nd 2006



2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

All I can say is, what an album.



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