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Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Trilogy
Label: Atlantic Records
Release: 1972

The Endless Enigma (Part One)
The Endless Enigma (Part Two)
From the Beginning
Living Sin
Abaddon's Bolero
Trilogy - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
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Average Blamo User Rating: (1 vote)

Another damn fine ELP album. Sadly, the last of their 3 excellent studio albums, but still, we're not judging this record by what came afterwards. For now, ELP still mainly concentrate on what makes ELP great - the good song structure, and the lively jamming. The band were still fresh here, and they still had a gigantic creative stick up their ass, which is a damn good thing.

One of the key parts of this album is build-up - all of the extended pieces use it to high extent. The opening "Endless Enigma" suite is great - it builds up from it's minimalistic opening to a huge symphonic workout - the song arguably has the best ELP chorus. After a short fugue, the second part is a suitable conclusion to the excellent suite. And all done in about 10 or so minutes - something that ELP forgot they could do in their later years. The other songs on the first side are all good too - "From the Beginning" is a wonderful and catchy Lake ballad, "The Sheriff" is another funny throwaway in the same vein as "Jeremy Bender", and Emerson's head-spinning reworking of Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown" is brilliant.

The second side starts off with an ELP standard - the title's a by-the-book quiet-loud standard, developing from a jazzy Lake ballad to a gigantic Emersonfest, filled with humongous keyboard runs...I really like the song, personally, because like a lot of the songs on this album, it's as infectious as hell - much like on the other two albums, Emerson decided to supplement his frenetic keyboard work with some great melody lines, ripped off from classical composers or not.
Trilogy is no exception - the main theme is one of his best. And again, only about 10 minutes - ELP were able to do this sort of thing once without having to pull an Anderson and make the piece ridiculously overlong.

"Living Sin" is the only song that slightly mars the picture - Lake's vocals are ugly to say the least, but the song does have enough decent melodies and instrumentation to save it. And the last piece, the oft-underrated "Abaddon's Bolero" is an exercise in build-up. The same theme is basically repeated again and again, only with little things added each time around, before coming to a big ending. It's a fine work, and a good closer to the record.

This record definitely gets a 9 - it's filled with excellent songs and melodies, and Emerson is a bit more tasteful on this one - he doesn't try to destroy you with his keys so often (well, not as much - there's still a fair bit of keyboard workout)...It's a shame that they couldn't continue with this, because ELP were once amongst the more consistent bands of the prog world. Still,
this record gets a definite 9 from me.

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