tectactoe
User

Reviews 4
Approval 96%

Soundoffs 57
Album Ratings 2453
Objectivity 92%

Last Active 12-22-20 7:50 pm
Joined 09-24-05

Forum Posts 23
Review Comments 4,080

 Lists
04.07.21 tec’s KING CRIMSON, Ranked 03.31.21 tec’s GODFLESH, Ranked
03.22.21 tec’s THE SMITHS, Ranked03.11.21 tec’s RADIOHEAD, Ranked
03.01.21 tec’s THE NATIONAL, Ranked 02.22.21 tec’s BJORK, Ranked
02.18.21 Breakfast Cereal Tier List02.03.21 tec's DAVID BOWIE, Ranked
01.20.21 tec's SONIC YOUTH, Ranked 01.05.21 MUSIC: tec's Top 50 of 2020
11.23.20 2020 // 25 UNDER 2510.27.20 Just got Nintendo SWITCH
10.07.20 tectac's Electric Wizard, Ranked08.26.20 tec's Top 100 Albums of All Time
08.21.20 FILM: tectac's Kelly Reichardt, Ranked07.07.20 Top 25 of 2020: So Far! (Sept.)
05.27.20 FILM: tectac's Hayao Miyazaki, Ranked 05.12.20 MUSIC: tectac's Swans, Ranked
More »

tec’s KING CRIMSON, Ranked

The only prog rock band that matters tbh.
13King Crimson
The ConstruKction of Light


Overall Score | 2.06 | 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑

🥇 The Construkction of Light
🥈 Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Four
🥉 Into the Frying Pan

Mega oof. Reminds me of that supermassive dip in quality that plagued the tail end of Can’s discography (ranked list forthcoming!); even the outdated, hypergeneric album cover recalls the same promise of unavoidable disappointment and overwhelming lack of character. This is King Crimson at once jumping the shark and phoning it in, not only tarnishing the “Larks’ Tongues” legacy with its weakest installment yet, but also bestowing upon us the two worst tracks in King Crimson’s entire repertoire—I’m referring, of course, to “Oyster Soup” and (especially) “ProzaKc Blues”, the latter of which is downright embarrassing. Admittedly the title track is quite nice, but it’s quite literally the only instance of slight redemption on what’s otherwise a complete and utter mess.
12King Crimson
Three of a Perfect Pair


Overall Score | 2.67 | 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑

🥇 Three of a Perfect Pair
🥈 Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Three
🥉 Dig Me

My indifference toward this is a product of both my distaste for the painfully over-produced and vapid ilk of new wave influence as well as the album’s grueling homogeneity. Does this record suck? Absolutely not. Are you going to remember anything from it? Not likely. Hell, I’ve listened to this at least a dozen times over the years and can only consciously remember maybe four or five tracks—not even half. Granted, when the time comes for me to inevitably revisit it, I always find myself saying “Okay, I don’t hate this, but I also don’t love it. I barely even liked it. In fact, I’m not sure I feel anything toward it at all.” The bookends are nice, and really the only songs worthy of continual rotation. Everything else is just…there. Not good, not bad, just painfully average.
11King Crimson
The Power to Believe


Overall Score | 2.68 | 🌕🌕🌗🌑🌑

🥇 Level Five
🥈 Dangerous Curves
🥉 Facts of Life

Nothing to truly despise here aside from the odd interludes, but terribly unexciting and aside from maybe “Level Five” and “Dangerous Curves”, largely forgettable. Feels like the warmed-up leftovers of THRAK, dried of all their succulence and crusty around the edges. I don’t really adore the pseudo-futuristic vibes and yet again, there’s barely an essence of spirit here—it often sounds like a couple of mathematically inclined robots decided to form a neo-prog rock band. I want to love this as much as the next guy or gal, especially as a self-proclaimed King Crimson pundit, but the tender experimentation that drives me wild is in short supply, and these regurgitated riffs can only do so much.
10King Crimson
Beat


Overall Score | 2.84 | 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

🥇 Requiem
🥈 The Howler
🥉 Neurotica

The ubiquitous whipping boy of King Crimson’s discography, and while I understand the source of those condemnations, I still don’t think this is the band’s nadir. Not a fan of the plasticized and autonomous instrumentation, as previously mentioned in my capsule for THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR, but there’s just a dash of ingenuity that occasionally sparks above the surface, and for as mundane as many of the songs are, the album closes strong with its two best tracks in rapid succession, arty progressive rock flowing gently into an avant-jazzy exclamation point. Weak by Crimson standards, but far from the weakest.
9King Crimson
THRAK


Overall Score | 3.00 | 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

🥇 People
🥈 Walking on Air
🥉 Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream

A solid step up from the two records that preceded it (and perhaps not coincidentally marked the end of yet another Crimson era), but still substantially below the baseline they set for themselves from 1969 through 1981. It’s a step in the right direction, though, shaking free the stranglehold of aggressively technical and woefully manufactured new wave trappings, venturing into more industrial and notably heavier soundscapes while maintaining the band’s signature progressive complexity. A solid release, all things considered, there just isn’t anything here that excites me much beyond a moderate hum.
8King Crimson
Discipline


Overall Score | 3.50 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

🥇 Indiscipline
🥈 Thela Hun Ginjeet
🥉 Frame by Frame

Whenever someone uninitiated asks my opinion on this album, I always deflect to my somewhat reductive but nevertheless accurate one-liner: “It’s as though King Crimson released a Talking Heads album.” Despite its middling placement in my list, I don’t mean that pejoratively, either—I love King Crimson, and that artsy, new wave influence lends itself well to their progressive and hypertechnical sensibilities without dipping into the overly mechanical and artificial polyphony of the two albums that would follow. There’s still a smattering of soul and humanism here, and in my opinion, this is the last great (or *nearly* great) King Crimson album that exists.
7King Crimson
Starless and Bible Black


Overall Score | 3.63 | 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑

🥇 The Great Deceiver
🥈 Fracture
🥉 Lament

An almost-great album with several great tracks (see three above), some really good ones (“Trio”, “The Night Watch”, “The Mincer”), and a couple decent fillers (“We’ll Let You Know”, the title track) that is never quite able to muster that oomph into the territory of excellence, making this King Crimson’s weakest effort in their discography hitherto. Doesn’t help that it gets understandably overshadowed by its proximity to RED’s release, giving the impression of a glorified B sides release that just happened to surface preemptively (esp. considering its title). Despite its flaws, it is still a worthy entry into the Crimson canon and often overlooked because of its sandwiched position in their oeuvre. “Fracture” makes for an interesting precursor to math rock - a genre that didn’t exist at the time.
6King Crimson
Lizard


Overall Score | 3.88 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

🥇 Lizard I – Prince Rupert Awakes
🥈 Lizard III – The Battle of Glass Tears
🥉 Cirkus

The first real step outside of Crimson’s carved-out path, albeit an aggrandization of the niche elements that were sprinkled across their two preceding releases. The avant-garde jazz is pushed more to the forefront, the symphonic elements consistently entwine with the prog-rock structures, hand-picked acoustic guitars slathered over oboe phrases, saxophone blares segueing into steamy bass lines, flute fiddling dancing atop jazzy drum beats and angular synthesizer noodling. Oh! And there’s still a massive, four-part closing track that operates as a sampler’s buffet of just about everything mentioned above. Here, more so than e.g. ISLANDS, I can empathize with the divisiveness. But you know what side I’m on, of course.
5King Crimson
Islands


Overall Score | 4.00 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

🥇 Islands
🥈 Sailor’s Tale
🥉 Formentera Lady

A bit outside the box for Crimson, but not so outside of the box that I can rectify the album’s comparatively low(er) ratings on just about every aggregated rating platform. Sputnik, for example, has ISLANDS at measly 3.5, meanwhile THRAK and THE POWER TO BELIEVE sit at a 3.6 and 3.7, respectively. Even rateyourmusic has INSLANDS clocking in a few decimal points less than STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK. Not that I don’t understand subjectivity, I simply can’t comprehend a world where an overwhelming majority of people *don’t* rank ISLANDS in their top four of five Crimson albums. I digress—maybe I’m the weirdo after all, but something about the jazzy-chamber hybrid here tickles my sweet spot just right. If “Starless” didn’t exist, the title track would be my favorite Crimson song.
4King Crimson
In the Wake of Poseidon


Overall Score | 4.38 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

🥇 Pictures of a City
🥈 In the Wake of Poseidon
🥉 Cadence and Cascade

Indeed my spiciest King Crimson take. Not only do I understand the common complaint that this is nothing more than COURT PART TWO but I embrace it with arms wide open. (After all, growth for growth’s sake is the ideology of the cancer cell, innit?) I firmly believe had *this* been released first, it’d be hailed as a genre-defining masterpiece and COURT would subsequently wilt a little bit in its shadow. As such, I cannot bring myself to demerit this work of art simply because it bears a strong resemblance to its predecessor when in a vacuum it absolutely rules. It even has an acoustic ballad; a wonky, blues-influenced ditty; a multi-movement track; and three contextual interludes. Asking for more would be selfish.
3King Crimson
Larks' Tongues in Aspic


Overall Score | 4.42 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

🥇 Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
🥈 Easy Money
🥉 Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One

A wonderful record that combines the prog rock roots of King Crimson with slightly more experimental zest and tonal outreach—you’ve got the blistering opener which comes damn close to Heavy Metal (esp. for 1971) on one hand, and the folky, symphonic art rock amalgam of “Exiles” on the other. There was a time when I didn’t comprehend the greatness within, many moons ago. But it has grown on me tremendously, revealing more and more its layered complexity with each revisit, slowly crawling its way into my Crimson Top 3. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if it jumped into second place eventually. Fantastic, gargantuan.
2King Crimson
In the Court of the Crimson King


Overall Score | 4.50 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

🥇 Epitaph
🥈 21st Century Schizoid Man
🥉 Moonchild

Timeless, undeniably influential, and yet immensely approachable. Nearly a decade and a half ago, I remember scanning RYM’s charts for the greatest albums of all time—many of them I’d already heart (OK COMPUTER, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON), a couple of them were lost on teenage-me (LOVELESS, LIFT YR SKINNY FISTS), but IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING is the one that blew me away. Even without having a fraction of the scope required to fully appreciate it at that time, I could tell by simply listening that this record was special, and it remains special to this day. Admittedly my biggest gripe is the extended improvisation after “Moonchild”; funny, because the first two minutes and thirty seconds are some of the album’s best.
1King Crimson
Red


Overall Score | 5.00 | 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

🥇 Starless
🥈 One More Red Nightmare
🥉 Fallen Angel

The apex of prog rock—any and all progressive rock artists should’ve just given up and switched genres after 1974. Nothing will be able to top this. Nothing even comes close. Sure, it doesn’t stake the same trailblazing claim as King Crimson’s 1969 debut, but who cares? This perfects the prog rock formula they essentially created in every conceivable way; improvisational influence with unparalleled tightness, understated yet unforgettable riffs, perceptible complexity that sidesteps unnecessary wankery, and a sublime performance from John Wetton, my personal favorite among Crimson’s rotating wheel of lead vocalists. “Starless” is almost objectively one of the greatest tracks ever recorded.
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