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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The pivot in KC's career,
I didn't even know King Crimson still existed when I bought this 1995 album - it was a complete surprise to find it on sale. At the beginning and end are two heavy instrumentals in the same style as "Red" but with two guitars, two basses and two drummers. Although they are similar to "Red", "Red" is really a genre in itself and deserves a revisit. (You will find more of the same type of composition, but of a more complex type, on the 2000 and 2003 albums, "The ConstruKction of Light" and "The Power To Believe" respectively.) There are also two exquisite ballads harking back to "Matte Kudusai" and two rather more conventional funky rock songs. To some extent the other tracks are background filler, but as a whole the album has a very strong, dark presence. The two later albums mentioned above are even better, featuring as they do some of the best guitar and Stick playing ever, but do suffer slightly from the absence of the supremely on-the-beat Bill Bruford. If you like this album, you must also get the contemporary DVD "Deja Vrooom" which is absolute heaven for any fan of KC or rock guitar and composition in general. "Thrak" marks a three-way turning point between the "Larks' Tongues" band, the lighter "Discipline" line-up and the heaviest-of-all sound of the 21st century Crim.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential,
One of the top three King Crimson albums - up there with Court of the Crimson King and Larks Tongues. At times frighteningly powerful, there is an edge of menace running through the album, with gentler interludes. Musically complex, even when the themes are relatively straightforward, the album proves a challenge for the first couple of hearings, even to die-hard Crimson followers.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THRAKTHRAKTHRAK,
Wow. I was simply astounded when i first heard this. Having previously only heard KC's debut "In the Court of the Crimson King", i wasn't expect this. A huge compression of griding guitar riffs and stupifying bass, only upstaged on occasion by drumming that reminds me of the time my pet frog was squashed by 7 falling refrigerators. "VROOM" (to give it it's correct title) opens out into "Marine 475", with a seamlessly smooth change in musical themes. "Dinosaur" is one of my favourites from the album, with Adrian Belew screaming "I'M A DINOSAUR!" as if he really means it.
There are a couple of odd intermission pieces like "Radio" that help split up the mayhem of the bookend renditions of "VROOM" and "VROOM VROOM". But nothing in this universe can quite prepare you for the moment when "B'Boom" segues into the title cut. I believe the name "THRAK" comes from the sound that the guitars make on the track. Indeed, you can hear them THRAKing away, up and down. By that same concept, "B'Boom" is named after the b'booming of the drums that play solo on this track, and "VROOM" again relates to guitar VROOMing.
The point is, this album is not only great, but significantly different to anything i'd heard before. As a bonus, this edition comes in Papersleeve, with sleve notes that include a handful of reviews, which make excellent toilet reading. "...not talented enough..." says one review... It just shows you how much some tabloid quality journalists get paid to review music that they haven't actually listened to.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Midlife Crisis?,
The first thing I noticed about King Crimson's eleventh studio LP s is how surprisingly brutal, heavy and most of all inventive these rock granddads sound. It's interesting to think of how old these guys were when they came together for "Thrak"...you've got Robert Fripp - 49, Adrian Belew - 46, Tony Levin - 49, Trey Gunn - 35, Bill Bruford - 46 and Pat Mastelotto - 40. Supremely old in relation to the 90s rock scene - yet they sound more inspired, more fresh and inventive than 99% of the material being churned out at this time.
While "Thrak" is not considered a metal album, it is undoubtedly brutal and retains a "heavy" feel without ever cranking the guitar distortion. This is partly down to the "double trio" line-up consisting of two drummers (Bruford and Mastelotto), two bassists (Levin and Gunn) and two guitarists (Fripp and Belew). The resulting sound is immense. Just one listen to the bewildering "Vrooom" gives a sense of what "Thrak" is all about. Classic Fripp guitar melodies and riffs, complex, jazzy and intertwining drum patterns and thundering baselines. As I mentioned "Thrak" is not a metal album, but to me this sounds as (if not more) brooding, intense and relevant when compared to the majority of metal acts around today. Then there's "B'boom" and the title track, the former being a drummers heaven with a duet solo that builds to a bewildering, syncopated groove. This gives way to the scary onslaught of the title track - evolved around blasts of intense guitars and difficult rhythms, the song sounds more like modern metal gods Meshuggah than anything King Crimson has ever put out.
Amidst this mayhem, "Thrak" also showcases King Crimson at their classic rock best. "Dinosaur" sounds like 70s prog rock given a twisted revamp. The verse flows and eases, giving way to a booming chorus in which Belew croons "I'm a dinosaur, somebody's digging my bones". The song shows how KC fear being overtaken in the music world, and this would certainly explain the inventive and heavy sound elsewhere. "People" and "Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream" are both funky rock numbers, fully equipped with off-beat grooves and catchy choruses. Both songs also continue a theme of social satire, of cynically stepping back and viewing the world, with "People" attacking our single-minded visions and lack of wider appreciation, and "Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream" focusing on the mundane and pointless. "Walking on Air" and "One Time" showcase KC at their delicate best, two superb ballads that would fit right in with their classic 60s and 70s material.
"Thrak" sees a band of self-proclaimed rock granddads pushing their sound to incredible and unexpected new places. At times harsh and chaotic, sometimes downright heavy and brutal, "Thrak" is the band's most adventurous album. Of course, they always come back to their classic rock roots, and this really sets off "Thrak" as a wonderfully eclectic yet balanced album. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even Better Than I Remember!,
When this CD was originally released in 1995 I was initially a bit disappointed because of the overlap with music from the EP Vrooom. Also, having listened to a number of great KC live recordings from various phases of the bands career, I was of the opinion that KC always sounded better live than in the studio. I still agree with this latter view but, despite that fact that this is a studio recording I've come to the conclusion that this is a GREAT CD. This reissue comes in a 1970s style gatefold sleeve with a booklet of articles written about the band at the time of the CD's release. It also comes with an incredible improvement in sound quality which massively enhances the music on this CD. All of the complexities of the multiple bass, guitar and percusion sounds are thrown in sharp relief on this reissue. As for the music I'm sure it has improved with time. Vrooom and Vrooom Vrooom sound just awesome, Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream sounds even more manic than on the original, and my favourite piece on the CD, People sounds just incredible. After listening to this reissue I've radically revised my opinion of this CD and now believe its one of the best albums this band ever made.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dinosaur's evolution,
ah! the great crim, don't cease to amaze me in every chapter that the captain Fripp conconts along with all the genius musicians that make the King awake. This time, it's not the exception with this very well made production, full of destruktive energy and brilliant and muscular arrangements. For me, together with the ITCOTCK,LTiAspic, and DISCIPLINE, make the cream of the gems of the crown. From the energetic drums from Pat Mastelotto and the maestro Bill Bruford, to the georgeous ballad
(believe or not!) courtesy of Mr. Belew, this line up really knock out. The bass duo Levin-Gunn are at their highest point, don't forgett the soundscapes creation only by the mind from the Robert Fripp's Mellotron. It's a shame that this King Crimson was too short live, but don't worry: the VROOM,THRAKATTAK,VBOOM,PROJECKTS BOX SET, still remains this spirit alive.
5.0 out of 5 stars KC in middle-age continues to surprise and delight,
This 1995 release from Bob Fripp's perennially rejuvenating KC project added two new members to the 1980s line-up: Trey Gunn as a second stick player opposite Tony Levin, and Pat Mastelotto as a second percussionist opposite Bill Bruford.
The soundscape from the resulting six-piece (completed by Fripp and Adrian Belew on guitars) is a complete departure from the 1980s dance-style of `Discipline', `Beat' and `3 of a Perfect Pair'. Almost heavy metal, the sound harks back to the full-on hard rock numbers characteristic of the 1970s Wetton era on albums like `Red'.
Repeat-listening reveals music not only possessed of a powerful dark energy but also of surprising subtlety, with complex interweaving rhythmic and melodic motifs building beneath the syncopated beats. These strong numbers are offset by some memorable - even humorous - songs, as Belew wails out "I'm a dinosaur! Somebody is digging my bones" in recognition of the band's young imitators and the KC musicians passing into middle age. `People' is poignant social satire which might have been penned by David Byrne (though with a Dylanesque quality), and `Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream' satirizes the ultimate pointlessness of getting stuck purely in the biological functions of human life, with nothing else really going on in your brain.
This is a mature and adventurous work with a very contemporary sound. Although distinctive from all the band's previous work, it's still recognizably KC (how does Bob Fripp keep pulling off that trick?). Its powerful energy is married to stylistic originality and delivered with the professionalism and virtuoso performances so characteristic of this band. `Thrak' is also special in that it was Bill Bruford's last recording with KC after partnering Bob Fripp for over 30 years in this unique musical project.
In response to an interviewer's question "With so many line-up changes over the years, what exactly is King Crimson?" Fripp retorted: "King Crimson is a way of doing things." As so often with this "way of doing things" the unexpected breaks through to surprise and delight us yet again.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album,
Saw the 80's Crims when they were still Discipline at Liverpool Uni. Then again at the Albert Hall when they were promoting Thrak.
The 80's lineup plus Trey and Pat. Love the band! Roland guitar synths, Belew's vocals and Strat, Brufords's hexagonal wrist bursting Simmons syndrums, Tony Levin's Stick, Trey Gunn's Warr guitar and Pat Mastelotto's batterie and Fripp doing Fripp!! Best iteration of the KC phenomenon in my pompous swelling opinion! This album goes best with the three 80's albums! Great Stuff!
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
This review is from: Thrak (Audio CD)
To my ear Adrian Belew sounds curiously like Julian Lennon on some of these tracks. Not a criticism, just an observation. As ever, KC are inventive and surprising. Needless to say this demonstrates first-rate musicianship from the Dr Who of rock bands - constantly regenerated in different forms yet recognisable throughout thanks largely to the peerless Fripp. Not necessarily my favourite KC album, but for me even the 'worst' rates pretty highly.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SMASH! BANG! THRAK offers a cutting edge soundscape,
By A Customer
This review is from: Thrak (Audio CD)
THRAK is not about music. It is about sounds. POP, BANG, WALLOP, CRACK, B'BOOM, VROOOOM and of course THRAK!
VROOOOM is about driving fast in a convertible on a California highway in the summer. B'BOOM is an excellent drum solo from Yes's former drummer, Bill Bruford. And THRAK is about getting hit repeatedly in the face with a steel bar.
Among the guitars and synthesisers are other intersting instruments such as Adrien Belew's "Stick" and Robert Fripp's "Soundscapes"
More harmonious selections, for those who are afraid to drive too close to the edge, include the wonderful One Time, the punchy windy Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream, and my personal favourite, People, which is a song about us and what we do. We're the mainspring.
BANG! Hats off to you, Robert, Adrien, Bill and the gang. You've really pulled it off this time. THRAK!
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