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King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King review



Reviewer:
9.7

614 users:
9.09
Band: King Crimson
Album: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Release date: October 1969


01. 21st Century Schizoid Man
    1 - Mirrors
02. I Talk To The Wind
03. Epitaph
    1 - March For No Reason
    2 - Tomorrow And Tomorrow
04. Moonchild
    1 - The Dream
    2 - The Illusion
05. The Court Of The Crimson King
    1 - The Return Of The Fire Witch
    2 - The Dance Of The Puppets


It's been over 50 years since the legendary progressive rock group, King Crimson, released their magnificent debut, In The Court Of The Crimson King, and this album is not only a progressive rock masterpiece, it is also considered by many, as well as myself, to be amongst the greatest albums in history to ever be released. It's also one of the most influential albums in the history of rock music, as it was absolutely essential in birthing the progressive rock genre.

I am strongly convinced that this is the very album where the ultimate transaction, from psychedelic rock to progressive rock, began; this record was the beginning of the end for the 60's psychedelia era, which had dominated rock music throughout the decade, most notably through acts such as The Doors, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream. Psychedelic rock made way for the new progressive rock era to take its place.

King Crimson inspired so many bands to follow up their new progressive rock style, with Pink Floyd being the most renowned; Pink Floyd chose to leave behind their trippy psychedelic sound and evolve into the mature band that would later produce the likes of Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. Along with Pink Floyd, other acts followed in the footsteps of King Crimson, such as Yes and Jethro Tull; this new progressive rock scene, along with the new hard rock scene featuring the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as forerunners, would go on to dominate British music throughout the 70's.

Although King Crimson had clearly taken their style of music in this new extraordinary progressive direction, they certainly did not abandon the psychedelic sound completely; remnants of the old trippy psychedelic effects still remained on In The Court Of The Crimson King, most notably on the song "Moonchild". Pink Floyd would also use these trippy psychedelic effects much in the same way on their album Meddle, which was released the following year and was to become their introduction into the progressive rock scene.

The whole style and production of the album was completely different to anything done before; the melodies and song structures were complex and unpredictable, and the songwriting in general was more mature, with the lyrics being much darker, more gloomy, and much more meaningful, especially compared to what other rock bands were doing around that time. However, what's most unique about this album is the sheer amount of instruments that were incorporated into the music, and each musician played every instrument at their disposal to pure utter perfection, from the bass and vocals of Greg Lake, to Robert Fripp's use of both the electric and acoustic guitars, to the drums and backing vocals of Michael Giles, to the wind instruments, keyboards and piano sections from Ian McDonald. The wind instruments, such as the flute, gave this album a strong folk influence, like on the song "Talk To The Wind", which seemed like such a bold choice of song for this album, but it just showed the true masterclass performance by these musicians.

The iconic album cover depicts a face showing emotions of despair and paranoia; the face is of the Schizoid Man, who is themed around the song "21st Century Schizoid Man", the heaviest song on the album and the first ever introduction to progressive rock. The song certainly sounded well ahead of its time, and even to this day sounds truly amazing, with its quality guitar sound and synthesised vocals.

The songs "Epitaph" and "The Court Of The Crimson King" are beautifully written songs, with stunning melodies throughout, and "The Court Of The Crimson King" has one of best choruses I've ever heard. "Moonchild" is certainly the hardest song on the album to get into, as it is the most experimental song on the album and the most psychedelic-sounding; some passages on the song sound rather strange, but this was the late 60's and psychedelic music in general was strange at that time.

In The Court Of The Crimson King is an absolute must-have for any fan of progressive rock, and for anyone who appreciates the history of rock music, this should also be in your collection.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Production: 9

Written by AndyMetalFreak | 20.09.2021




Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 29 users
20.09.2021 - 20:49
Redel

Nice review, man. I like how you leave enough space in the beginning for placing the album into its context back at the time as well as argueing for its relevance with respect to influence, even if thereby it becomes undeniable that this review was written by a Pink Floyd fan.
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20.09.2021 - 22:33
AndyMetalFreak
Mr Nice Guy
Written by Redel on 20.09.2021 at 20:49

Nice review, man. I like how you leave enough space in the beginning for placing the album into its context back at the time as well as argueing for its relevance with respect to influence, even if thereby it becomes undeniable that this review was written by a Pink Floyd fan.

Thanks Oh yes, I think it's safe to say I'm a Pink Floyd fan I think I've given that away by mentioning the influence King Crimson had on them. I simply couldn't help it
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20.09.2021 - 23:55
JoHn DoE

Written by AndyMetalFreak on 20.09.2021 at 22:33

Written by Redel on 20.09.2021 at 20:49

Nice review, man. I like how you leave enough space in the beginning for placing the album into its context back at the time as well as argueing for its relevance with respect to influence, even if thereby it becomes undeniable that this review was written by a Pink Floyd fan.

Thanks Oh yes, I think it's safe to say I'm a Pink Floyd fan I think I've given that away by mentioning the influence King Crimson had on them. I simply couldn't help it


Nice review
I disagree about KC being an influence in Oink Floyd, quite different bands and music. I can't think of PF songs and albums influenced by Crimson...

Before making it big with DSOTM, Pink Floyd were a psychedelic/space rock band, they did trippy songs before KC ever did.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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21.09.2021 - 09:18
AndyMetalFreak
Mr Nice Guy
Written by JoHn DoE on 20.09.2021 at 23:55


Nice review
I disagree about KC being an influence in Oink Floyd, quite different bands and music. I can't think of PF songs and albums influenced by Crimson...

Before making it big with DSOTM, Pink Floyd were a psychedelic/space rock band, they did trippy songs before KC ever did.


Thanks Pink Floyd were still a psychedelic rock band when they released A Sauceful Of Secrets in the same year as In The Court Of The Crimson King, but for me it was Meddle that was the first album where Pink Floyd began a progressive approach to their music, but at that point Pink Floyd were still experimenting, and were yet to mature to the band that produced the masterpiece that was Dark Side Of The Moon.

I believe the influence had more to do with the term progressive rock as a genre rather than the sound, that was what was so great about progressive rock at that time, no progressve rock band sounded the same, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull and King Crimson all had their own unique style and sound, they all blended various genre's together, including psychedelic rock, Folk, and jazz, and in some ways you could proberbly say they had all influenced each other, but In The Court Of The Crimson King is where the progressive rock concept all began.
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21.09.2021 - 09:47
JoHn DoE

Written by AndyMetalFreak on 21.09.2021 at 09:18

Written by JoHn DoE on 20.09.2021 at 23:55


Nice review
I disagree about KC being an influence in Oink Floyd, quite different bands and music. I can't think of PF songs and albums influenced by Crimson...

Before making it big with DSOTM, Pink Floyd were a psychedelic/space rock band, they did trippy songs before KC ever did.


Thanks Pink Floyd were still a psychedelic rock band when they released A Sauceful Of Secrets in the same year as In The Court Of The Crimson King, but for me it was Meddle that was the first album where Pink Floyd began a progressive approach to their music, but at that point Pink Floyd were still experimenting, and were yet to mature to the band that produced the masterpiece that was Dark Side Of The Moon.

I believe the influence had more to do with the term progressive rock as a genre rather than the sound, that was what was so great about progressive rock at that time, no progressve rock band sounded the same, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull and King Crimson all had their own unique style and sound, they all blended various genre's together, including psychedelic rock, Folk, and jazz, and in some ways you could proberbly say they had all influenced each other, but In The Court Of The Crimson King is where the progressive rock concept all began.


A Sauceful Of Secrets was released in 1968. I agree to the things you say here. Mambers of Genesis and Yes (and probably many other bands) say ITCOTCK blew everyone's mind when it came out. I think it showed them the possibilities that could be done musically, to a very high standard, it was an inspirational, an epiphany to a lot of young musicians.

There were bands that experimented with all sorts of sounds and genres back then (Zappa, Hendrix, Moody Blues, Vanilla Fudge, Procol Harum, The Nice, even Deep Purple), but I guess ITCOTCK took things to the next level.
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I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
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21.09.2021 - 11:11
AndyMetalFreak
Mr Nice Guy
Written by JoHn DoE on 21.09.2021 at 09:47


A Sauceful Of Secrets was released in 1968. I agree to the things you say here. Mambers of Genesis and Yes (and probably many other bands) say ITCOTCK blew everyone's mind when it came out. I think it showed them the possibilities that could be done musically, to a very high standard, it was an inspirational, an epiphany to a lot of young musicians.

There were bands that experimented with all sorts of sounds and genres back then (Zappa, Hendrix, Moody Blues, Vanilla Fudge, Procol Harum, The Nice, even Deep Purple), but I guess ITCOTCK took things to the next level.


Your right about A Sauceful Of Secrets being released in 1968 my bad I find it strange how the psychedelic era just ended like that, it felt as if all those bands from the psychedelic era had suddenly matured, as if they decided to stop taking LSD

I think King Crimson had unintentionally set an example with ITCOTCK, Rick Wakeman had stated that once he listened to ITCOTCK he was amazed, and said he had to get back to the drawing board, to rethink the direction he wanted his music to take, I imagine many more musicians thought the same.

I like how you mentioned Vanilla Fudge aswel, they often get overlooked, their music was quite heavy for it's time.
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22.09.2021 - 16:13
JayMo4

You know it's a pioneering album when over half a century later it still sounds fresh. It's rare that I can listen to a record this many times and yet still be shocked by how magical it sounds. There are only a few albums in all of rock music that have impacted me anywhere close to as much as this one, and a couple of those are other KC records. One of the best bands of all time for me, and it all started here.
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22.09.2021 - 16:40
AndyMetalFreak
Mr Nice Guy
Written by JayMo4 on 22.09.2021 at 16:13

You know it's a pioneering album when over half a century later it still sounds fresh. It's rare that I can listen to a record this many times and yet still be shocked by how magical it sounds. There are only a few albums in all of rock music that have impacted me anywhere close to as much as this one, and a couple of those are other KC records. One of the best bands of all time for me, and it all started here.


You are absolutely right, even after half a century this album still sounds absolutely amazing! There has been so many great progressive rock bands throughout the years, but King Crimson were the true masters and it all began with them.
It's always great to see someone else who shares the same appreciation than me for such a legendary album
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