King Crimson
In the Court of the Crimson King


3.0
good

Review

by Chris Jackson USER (177 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2006 | 39 replies | 7,219 views


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist


4 of 5 thought this review was well written

King Crimsons In the Court of the Crimson King is a monumental piece of work. Now I'm no big progressive rock fan but I do realize that this record was the first prog rock album ever released, or at least one of the first. Believe it or not In the Court of the Crimson King is still a success as of today. Some of the biggest progressive rock fans claim that it is their favorite album of all time and that's kind of mindblowing considering that the album was released in 1969. After hearing so much about it I rushed out to the store and bought myself a copy of In the Court of the Crimson King without much knowledge of the band or the genre.

So why the three star rating? If this music is supposed to be so awe-inspiring then how come it just salvages a "good" instead of a "classic?" No need to panic, I will defend my lackluster rating throughout the course of my review rather then dismiss this as a putrid pile of dog poop.

I really like what King Crimson was getting at with this album, but I just think that they could have done a few things a little bit better. Contrary to what I just said the album opens up with a magnificent tune in 21st Century Schizoid Man. A gruesome, distorted vocal line kicks things off over a loud, scratchy guitar noise. After this a sleazy brigade of brass instruments play an eerie, sort of slimy line creating a menacing and almost haunting type of atmosphere. Throughout the song snappy saxophone parts are presented as well as quick paced drumming and some jazzy bass work. It's a very jazzy and exhilarating song, my only problem is that the band felt it was appropriate to end the song with thirty seconds of noise, but that aside 21st Century Schizoid Man is a fascinating piece of music.

The second track I Talk to the Wind is a step down from the opener and it doesn't really do to much. Some breezy flute work is showcased along with Greg Lakes soothing vocals creating a very casual feel. The music is just so calm and relaxed, it almost sounds like a song that would belong on an Alice in Wonderland soundtrack. Unfortunately the song doesn't really go anywhere. It's nice to listen to the mellow flute instrument and all yet I can't say that the music fails to "progress."

Since there are only five tracks on this album the mid-section of In the Court of the Crimson King consists of one song, and it's called Epitaph. It starts out with a bubbly bassline, a chiming acoustic, mellotron, some cool orchestra-esque instruments and more of Lakes soothing vocals. The music slowly builds up as the rich texture of instruments create a very majestic feel. Towards the middle of the song some gloomy sounding woodwind instrument takes over along with various thumping sounds. Once this comes to a halt the bubbly bassline returns along with the gentle acoustic guitar and various dynamics. As the song fades out you can hear some frantic drum rolls, and it's pretty neat. There is a mildly melancholy tone in Greg Lakes voice and at points the track can get both depressing and intense. To be honest I really enjoy the magical atmosphere of Epitaph yet I fail to see what's so amazing about it. Don't get me wrong, it’s an enjoyable listen but once again the song doesn't seem to "progress" as it just relies on a smooth brigade of instruments. Not to mention the fact that it is slightly repetitive.

While the first three songs are all well written the fourth tune Moonchild is almost a complete waste. A gloomy echoing sound kicks the song off as Lake quickly makes his way into the song by whispering out the lyrics. The gloomy sound continues as subtle background noises such as a silver triangle and a simple drum beat make their way into the music. The song possesses a calm and relaxed feel, it contains a fairy tale-esque sort of vibe. Moonchild starts off fairly well but the last nine minutes of the song is a bunch of nonsense. Random clanking noises, strange drumbeats, and odd electronic sounds are played for nine minutes with absolutely no direction. Once the music starts to calm down some random percussion comes in and plays for a few seconds, then the music gets quiet and we do it all over again. It really feels like King Crimson were just messing around in the studio without any intent. While Moonchild does have a "psychedelic" feel it's ambience is extremely boring, dull, and pointless.

The Court of the Crimson King brings the album to a dramatic end and is fairly similar to Epitaph, a slow, melancholy finger-picked acoustic plays over Lakes soothing voice. The music slowly builds up as flutes and violins play softly in the background. Eventually the music explodes into a boisterous, mesmerizing chorus. The chorus almost sounds like it could be coming from a large choir of angels as they sing "In the court of the Crimson King." That’s the boisterous part, the mesmerizing part consists of mellow "ahhhhhhhing." Throughout the rest of the tune flutes, organs, electronics, mellotron, and guitars are featured creating a whimsical and lush piece of music. I suppose King Crimson could have cut the song down to about seven minutes or so because the song comes to a halt for about thirty seconds then starts up again. The albums closer is obviously the highlight as it showcases one of the catchiest choruses that I have ever listened to as well as a wide variety of instruments.

In the Court of the Crimson King shows off some great instrumentation, songwriting, and musicianship. Out of the five songs that made the cut I think that two of them are excellent, they are 21st Century Schizoid Man and The Court of the Crimson King. Epitaph and I Talk to the Wind are both decent songs, while they both possess a soothing and sublime atmosphere they can also get quite boring and are almost two relaxed for their own good. What obviously kills the album is Moonchild, it doesn't really do anything or go anywhere. The band tried an experiment and it went bad as the song shows nothing interesting, unique, or new.

Sure. King Crimsons In the Court of the Crimson King is considered a classic album by many diehard progressive rock nuts. While I agree that this is a classic I cannot recommend it myself. There are many highlights featured on this record yet there are also some boring and dull moments showcased mainly in the mid-section of the album. In 1969 I can see how In the Court of the Crimson King would be such groundbreaking piece of work but thirty-seven years later it just sounds a bit to archaic and dated.



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user ratings (2671)
Chart.
4.6
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
August 3rd 2006



3243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're gonna get heat for this but I respect your opinion

the2stranger
August 3rd 2006



130 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review and props for having a different opinion on this.
I feel like this abum deserves a 5/5, but that's my opinion. Moonchild is the weakest song on there, but I still like it.
This album has had a lot of play again from me lately.






Laafe
August 3rd 2006



347 Comments


i need to get this. i cant find it anywhere

Bladder
August 3rd 2006



204 Comments


I love this album like it were my first born son. Epitaph is an epic, I love the distorted vocals on schizoid man and I talk to the winds' flute solo is amazing.
If you like prog rock this album is one of the pillars of the genre. absolutely brilliant! pure magic!

The Sludge
August 3rd 2006



2169 Comments


That has got to be one of the creepiest cover art's I've seen in a long time. I, however, havent heard of this.

Good review, me lad.

cjstunna
August 3rd 2006



119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review pretty much sums up my sentiments about this album. And 21st Century Schizoid Man is an amazing song.

DesolationRow
August 3rd 2006



833 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Very good review, and unique opinion on the album (which so many users seem to love).

pixiesfanyo
August 3rd 2006



1222 Comments


Moonchild is my favorite song on here.

I don't get why it gets so much heat.

Zebra
Moderator
August 3rd 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It takes a lot of heat because it's long and uneventful. Nothing really happens throughout the song, it consists of a bunch of experimenting with little substance.

francesfarmer
August 3rd 2006



1477 Comments


Nice review, just don't much agree with it. I think this is actually better than Pink Floyd after a few listens...which is the band I compare all my progressive to. It's great the first time around, and eventually grows more and more on you and becomes one fabulous album. The first track is defenitely my favorite.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 3rd 2006



721 Comments


"Epitaph" and "Moonchild" definitely have their boring spots.

Muisee
August 3rd 2006



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

A 3 for one of the greatest albums ever made. Shameful.

Cygnus Inter Anates
August 3rd 2006



721 Comments


Maybe you're just retarded.

Muisee
August 3rd 2006



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Lol, time to grow up kid. Fighting over the net will never get you anywhere.

Kage
August 3rd 2006



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You backed up your review well. Unlike a lot of King Crimson "fans," I think they've recorded much better albums than this. Now, according to Fripp, this album does not even capture half of what Crimson really was as a live force, and therefore the ingrates who claim to understand this album's effects on music are just jumping on top of the hype. So, regardless of whether this is their best material or not, I personally don't think it was captured as well as it could have been on recording.

So, I think you might be right about this recording. After all, to quote Fripp himself, the guitar playing is "feeble." It would have been incredible to be around to see this stuff live, though.

Bladder
August 4th 2006



204 Comments


I got Lizard and im not that impressed with it, this album is so much more powerful overall. I dont like Haskall's vocals much on Lizard and I can barely hear them over the instruments. Iv only checked out two of their albums but I like this one best.

Bladder
August 4th 2006



204 Comments


^^Oh yeah and I agree it would have been cool to see them live.

Bron-Yr-Aur
August 4th 2006



4405 Comments


Lol, time to grow up kid. Fighting over the net will never get you anywhere.



I could be mistaken, as Lim is a difficult one to peg, but I do believe he was referring to you being the most likely perp concerning the negative vote.

Muisee
August 5th 2006



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I didn't vote. Actually.

MetiniCamel
August 5th 2006



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this really is a 5/5 .



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