Top positive review
If you want an accessible but very enjoyable introduction to guitar-driven prog, look no further! Fantastic album!
on 7 June 2016
Having been recommended ‘Red’ by my guitar teacher, I decided to try out this album too! I first came across this album whilst reading an interview with a member of Tool, I can’t remember if it was the drummer or guitarist, anyway, he noted this as being one of his favourite albums. Listening to a few of tracks, the influence on Tool is undeniable; indeed, some sections seem to be lifted directly from a Tool album, although obviously it’s the other way around!
Despite being a guitar-driven band, King Crimson features vocals in some form (spoken words, singing, unusual vocal patterns etc) on all of the songs on this album, apart from its title track and the penultimate ‘Sheltered Sky,’ which is pretty unusual for this band as they tend to leave out vocals altogether, to concentrate on instrumentals instead.
Another musical aspect than immediately grabs you about this album is the importance of the bass, or its prominence in the songs. I use the term bass guitar loosely as I’m sure they are using an unusual bass or equivalent, the name escapes me! Some songs almost have the bass and the guitar swapping roles almost (the bass soloing/leading and the guitar providing the customary ‘bass role’ of a rhythmic canvas).
This is also a pretty short, succinct prog album coming in at just over 38 minutes (not counting the bonus track) and its all the better for it, (only two tracks are significantly longer than 5 minutes!) There is little wasted motion and no long-winded, drawn-out boredom often associated with prog rock.
The songs themselves are absolute classics, and are as quirky and different as they are fun to listen to. ‘Elephant Talk’ has an almost ‘cocky’ (for lack of a better term) vocal delivery, a bouncy rhythm and will have fans of all instruments, desperately trying to figure out how they got that elephant noise! ‘Discipline’ is what a sci-fi soundtrack should sound like – futuristic, and it’s brother ‘Indiscipline’ is plain chaotic! ‘Matte Kudasai’ and its alternative version which is a bonus track (one of the few completely justified, non-filler bonus tracks I’ve heard in a long time) are both beautiful pieces of music.
As much of a niche genre prog rock is made out to be, I find this album to be pretty accessible and a great advert for this type of music, I'm glad I read that Tool interview!