King Crimson
Red


4.0
excellent

Review

by MikeForHollywood USER (8 Reviews)
November 2nd, 2012 | 48 replies | 1,867 views


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A dark and thrilling performance by a trio on their last legs, Red summarizes King Crimson as the band we know and love today.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Red is King Crimson’s final work as a true progressive rock band. After the album, Robert Fripp disbanded the group without a tour to promote the album. Though King Crimson had a terrific run in the 1980s with Tony Levin and Adrian Belew, they never made another album as lasting and iconic as Red. Modern day bands such as Between the Buried and Me have often cited Red as an inspiration and truly a marquee piece in the Crimson catalogue.

Five songs for an album have always seemed to be the staple of Progressive Rock and even in the King Crimson world they are not uncommon. However, Red is more of an album than a collection of songs than anything else in their catalogue. The album’s songs seem to blend into each other in such a way that after its first listen, many listeners will have to look to the back of the album to see which songs they just listened to and how many songs there were.

The album itself starts off with the title track Red, written solely by guitarist Robert Fripp. The song begins with a harsh sounding guitar tone and Bruford’s tight drums that have always characterized the Crimson sound. This hard-rocking instrumental provides a perfect intro to the album’s sound and what lies ahead. The difference between Red and its predecessor Starless and Bible Black is the production quality. Red features a much grittier tone to it making the album feel like your treading in mud trying to break through to something bigger, something cleaner. We feel this as we listen to the first side of the album and as we move into track 2.

The second track on the album, Fallen Angel is a much more lyrical piece. Where the first track would change from 5/8 to 4/4 in the same measure, Fallen Angel keeps a strict pace throughout making it much more listener friendly than Red. John Whetton’s voice is first heard on this track coming in the softness and building to pure emotion and anger. His voice, nearly parallel’s another former King Crimson member, Greg Lake, nearly sounding like a clone. However, he uses his voice to his advantage by being able to speak former Supertramp member Richard Palmer-James’ words in a lush yet harsh approach.

One More Red Nightmare is by far my least favourite track on the album. Though Fallen Angel took us to a cleaner, softer, and more lyrical world, we again return to our Red Nightmare in hearing this tune. Though it has a certain pop to it, it again retains the feeling that the listener is treading through mud, trying to reach some unknown destination. Though the tune is lighter than Red, it still carries a feeling of toughness and harshness based on Whetton’s vocals and the production of the sound.

Providence brings the band back to instrumentation and introduces the violin. The piece itself is confusing, unclear, and experimental; yet it embodies the album as a whole. It creates a mood like nothing else in the album. Reminiscent of the improvisational second half of Moonchild from In the Court of the Crimson King Providence employs the same methods of harsh guitar mixed with a variety of instruments in what feels to be a free time signature. No structure, yet pure bliss.

The album slowly finishes with the beautiful Starless. Originally composed by Whetton as a piece to be featured on the previous album, Starless is a slow embodiment of King Crimson themselves. It can be characterized and viewed as a requiem to the band. Fripp knew for sometime that Red would be the final album and it is only fitting that Starless be the piece that closes the book on this three piece King Crimson lineup. Though slow and broad much like Epitaph, Starless shapes the album and characterizes what it really means to be King Crimson. Whetton’s vocals are at their finest. His emotion truly seeps through here while Bruford’s percussion slowly ascends until the end of the song. Fripp’s use of the mellotron is beautifully placed here and they seem to follow Whetton’s voice into the abyss.


What really brings this album to fruition in the progressive rock world is the sadness that it brings. Never really an uplifting moment in the album, even near the end, the percussion and guitar together create an even muddier scene. We are still treading through mud, and the light that we see at the end of the tunnel slowly fades to grey as the album concludes. From its packaging, to its final track, Red is a journey that everyone should take, but only some will find that journey pleasing to the ears, eyes, and mind.

Nevertheless, Red is King Crimson’s epitaph.



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user ratings (1322)
Chart.
4.5
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
KILL
November 2nd 2012



71253 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

4 fuck you

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

MO
November 2nd 2012



18451 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i've been insanely tempted to 5 this myself

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

KILL
November 2nd 2012



71253 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

its perfect so yea!

Sheaiskl
November 2nd 2012



815 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"One More Red Nightmare is by far my least favourite track on the album."

fuck

KILL
November 2nd 2012



71253 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what the fuck

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Red is King Crimson’s final work as a true progressive rock band"

eh ?

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



4400 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@menawati
I think he means this is the last album that contains their "traditional" prog rock style before they went of to experiment with New-Wave and such.

Review is pretty good overall, Mike. Though as KILL said, 4 is too low. But have a POS for being a Prog fan.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ye maybe paperback but 'King Crimson's epitaph' aw cmon even people who only stick to their classics
know of 'Discipline' and if 'The Power to Believe' isnt prog rock I dont know what is.

posd anyway cos its KC

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



4400 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@menawati
I agree, I didnt like the summary but the review held its ground. I love Discipline and The Power to Believe and quite frankly most of the albums in between, but there's a few people who were turned off by King Crimson's 80's stuff.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ye Beat and Perfekt Pair stuff is a shock if u are used to their earlier albums but there still some great stuff in there. Sartori in Tangier just one example.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



4400 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Beat is good, I liked that album, and Three of a Perfect Pair was okay as well. To me King Crimson is a pretty solid band and I enjoy most of their stuff. But like everyone else, I prefer their 70's albums.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



23804 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

so so so close to a 5. absolutely immense album.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

do it aids you know it makes sense

KILL
November 2nd 2012



71253 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

its not quite on the lvl of laura flat cans agreed

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



19627 Comments


whoah 2 nice prog reviews what are you menawati's replacement?



Digging: The Who - Tommy

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

prog never dies it just hibernates sometimes

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

please change the summary mike, i know its sorta fun to have the word epitaph in it but it aint nowhere near their epitaph either musically or chronologically

Sheaiskl
November 2nd 2012



815 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed, looking at their collective work KC easily one of my favourites if not my favourite band of all time and "epitaph" even though this is their stand-out for me, does not do them justice.

Ps think Thrak is sick

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



15892 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

replace 'epitaph' with 'high point' or something m/

@ sheaiskl ye probably my fave band too all in all

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2012



19627 Comments


haha you guys he's entitled to his opinion. however i haven't heard their albums except one of them so i can't really say who's right or wrong



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