7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
My favourite ELP and in my top 5 prog classics,
This review is from: Trilogy (Audio CD)
I really loved everything ELP did up until Brain Salad Surgery, which was interesting, but even I, who am a big fan of symphonic pomp, started to feel at this stage they'd gone over the top.
This is my favourite ELP album because it captures Emerson's Piano playing at its imaginative best but is balanced nicely with the synthesizers that he was blazing the trail with. Compositionally as well, I find this album their most balanced, consisting of distinct and well crafted songs, that aren't bloated pastiches of things crammed together like Tarkus or pick'n'mix collage like Pictures at an Exhibition.
First track, credited as three, is the Endless Enigma parts 1 and 2 with the oustanding jazz piano trio, Fugue, sandwiched between them. Part 1 starts very atmospherically with synth sounds that had never been heard before in their day. Part 2 is a mighty finale. Throughout we hear Greg Lake's superb, always note perfect voice, move from angelic restraint to finish at full power.
Then we get a handful of straightforward songs. A sweet acoustic ballad. A jokey cowboy saloon piece and then the skit on Copelands Hoedown, which would actually have a popular impact outside underground audiences.
We then have what is my favourite. The title track Trilogy. First part is Emerson at his most romantic with Rachmaninov like piano. This eventually gives way to a storming 5/4 middle section that has just the meanest underlying rife with an absolutely spiteful moog solo over the top. The third section is a more restrained organ solo making space for some really pounding percussion from Palmer.
Then another song, Living Sin which is twisted and salacious. Has a very nice fanfair ending.
The Final track is the mighty Abaddon's Bolero. No one was ever sure if Abaddon actually existed. Like Ravel's, its starts very tiny, with a theme that repeats, and repeats. Unlike Ravel's it's a march, that builds relentlessly in size and power until ending on a huge and sudden climax.
Another point, is that I only learned to actually listen to drummers later in life, and only with my recent ELP purchases have I come to appreciate what a mighty fine drummer indeed Carl Palmer was.