Quite possibly the best prog-rock album of the 80's, King Crimson's Discipline
is an often-overlooked gem. The first of many "comeback" albums, this album was by the new lineup of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford. This talented group took up the King Crimson name after a seven-year absence from Fripp (who claimed "King Crimson is over for ever and ever" after the posthumous album Red
This new lineup contained only two members of the 70's group - Fripp and Bruford are joined by session ace Levin and frontman Adrian Belew (fresh out of stints with the Talking Heads and Frank Zappa). As much as bassist John Wetton and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald are missed, the formidable skills of this incarnation more than make up for them.
A brief track-by-track review:
A quirky, fun tune with great solos courtesy of Fripp. The band has an indeniable chemistry, and Belew's unique gift with words adds a lot to the music.
"Frame By Frame":
This fan favourite was one of the few KC tracks to ever recieve radioplay, and has one of Levin's baddest basslines. The interlocking guitar arpeggios are compelling and classy.
A mellower, bluesy track with lap steel guitars and some of Belew's best vocals. Another unmistakable solo with that trademark Frippian tone.
The heaviest track on the album; opening with a blinding drum solo and crushing metal riffs interspersed by hilarious spoken word.
"Thela Hun Ginjeet":
One of the few rock songs to be truly described as "funky". Complex guitar rhythms weave in and out of each other while Belew narrates an amusing event in the making of the album. More great Chapman Stick from one of rock's most melodic players.
"The Sheltering Sky":
This beautiful instrumental was the culimination of Fripp's innovative Frippertronics effects system. Fripp and Belew complement each other perfectly thoughout the album, but nowhere as sublimely as this song. The two guitarists improvise, trading solos, single-note lines, and chords over African percussion, understated bassy drones, and a guitar rhythm. The overall effect is a surreal, exotic soundscape of epic proportions.
The album ends on a light note with this fun exercise in minimalism and metric modulation. Bass, drums, and guitars move in and out of phase with each other, creating interesting melodic statements.
Adrian Belew: Guitar, Elephantosity
Robert Fripp: Guitars and Devices
Tony Levin: Bass, Stick, Support Vocal
Bill Bruford: Batterie
Arguebly King Crimson's finest album, which sounds remarkably fresh and modern today (especially for an 80's album). Pick it up the first chance you can!
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars