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Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Tarkus
Label: Atlantic Records
Release: 1971

Tarkus (Eruption/Stones of Years/Iconoclast/Mass/Manticore/The Battlefield/Aquatarkus)
Jeremy Bender
Bitches' Crystal
The Only Way (Hymn)
Infinite Space (Conclusion)
A Time And A Place
Are You Ready Eddy
Tarkus - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
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After the excellent self-titled debut, ELP didn't step down a gear - they created an album that was, at times, much more intense then it's vicious predecessor in Tarkus. Of course, most of this is down to the title track itself - one of the all-time classic prog suites. To me, actually, it seems a lot shorter than it is (20 mins.). Everyone is on top form in this classic track - Palmer drums like nobody's business, Emerson's playing is well...unsurpassable - "Tarkus" is probably the single greatest technical example in prog rock. And he was able to reproduce it all live, which makes it even more amazing. And Lake is Lake - brilliant singer, and brilliant bassist. In fact, he's also a great guitarist too.

The suite doesn't lose out on hooks either - the opening salvo which opens the track is one of the signature prog hooks, and stuff like "Mass" is excellent as well. All that instrumental jamming is simply fabulous too, as everyone plays like a demon. Lake plays a great guitar solo in the "Battlefield" part, and it all ends in a big instrumental coda in "Aquatarkus". An undisputable classic, and easily the best song that ELP ever did.

So naturally, the second side is going to have a hard time living up to the incredible Tarkus - and sure enough, it doesn't succeed, although it certainly has it's moments. Both "Jeremy Bender" and the closing "Are You Ready, Eddy?" showcase ELP at their most fun, and they're both very good indeed. And "Bitches' Crystal" is a super-catchy rocker, with some exceptional playing. However, the others aren't that great at all - "The Only Way" is one of ELP's worst pre-'78 moments, as Lake
contributes some horrid, horrid lyrics over a boring musical background. "Infinite Space", the second part of the suite, is at least memorable, with a catchy melody line, but it never goes anywhere. Finally, "A Time and a Place" is pretty standard and unmemorable for ELP, although Lake does give his vocal chords a bit of a workout.

Of course though, despite these discrepancies, the album cannot get any lower than a high 8, due to the brilliance of "Tarkus" - it's such an amazing track. Plus, the second side isn't all bad - it has it's great moments as well. At the end of the day, this is another great ELP record, and worthy of the rating.

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one of the best progresive rock songs ever written. it's also one of the most cohesive, and least boring. the band should be remembered long after as the band that brought us this song.

but not the next songs. the next songs are pretty much completely forgettable, except for "time and a place" which rocks hard and is fun. the rest? meh.

just download the song tarkus from the internet.

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