Review Summary: The group that was always home to change stays somewhat the same...5 of 5 thought this review was well written
King Crimson only made one major misstep in their entire career, and that was 2000's The ConstruKction of Light
. The cold and lifeless album proved to be a serious downer compared to the amazing compositions this band has been creating throughout its 40+ years of existence, and perhaps the unstable-getting-stabler formation of the King's Men meant bad news for the veteran proggies.
After all, if you take a quick glance at the group's work in the 70's, you will see that not on a single album, they had the same line-up. This was all changed in the 80's, when the quartet of Robert Fripp/Adrian Belew/Tonny Levin/ Bill Bruford stayed together and recorded three albums. 1995's THRAK
, ending the second hiatus for Crimson, continued this formation while adding two members, and although there's been some hustle and bustle regarding membership since then, Belew has continued to front the band, and their sound hasn't changed all that much since the 90's.
The Power to Believe
, released in 2003 but still Crimson's most recent work to date, is victim to this. Once again, King Crimson sound heavy and dense, and the element of surprise has really walked off. Ear-crushing riffs, such as the ones found aplenty on Level Five
, are in position as expected, but the problem is obvious: they don't really don't do
that much anymore. The same goes for the 'let's-give-Belew-his-moment-in-the-spotlight' softer songs such as Eyes Wide Open
, which definitely are pleasurable listens, but still needless repetitions of THRAK
's Walking on Air
-esque material. '
This 'we've-heard-it-all-before' feeling that runs through The Power to Believe
is not one that is particularly befitting of King Crimson. After all, the last time they really sounded the same was when they didn't know how to follow up In the Court of the Crimson King
and just conjured up a similar second album. That was in '70, in Crimson's younger days, and our expectations of the now-veterans is surely higher than this. That said, of course this album is not a bad King Crimson record by any means. Rather, Fripp and company have reached some sort of status quo, which keeps their consistency in check but doesn't really allow new innovation. And that, of course, is a massive shame.
The Power to Believe's King Crimson was:
- Robert Fripp ~ Lead Guitar
- Robert Steven ‘Adrian’ Belew ~ Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
- Trey Gunn ~ Warr Guitars
- Lee Patrick 'Pat' Mastelotto ~ Drums, Traps & Buttons