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King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black
Label: E.G. Records
Release: 1973

The Great Deciever
We'll Let You Know
The Night Watch
The Mincer
Starless and Bible Black
Starless and Bible Black - King Crimson
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Average Blamo User Rating: (2 votes)

Unfortunately, King Crimson did not continue their run of form, and Starless and Bible Black is an uneven, disjointedaffair. Some songs are amongst the best the band ever created, and some are amongst the worst. Also, King Crimson werenever ones for band consistency - Jamie Muir left soon after Larks' was made, making this the sixth consecutive KC albummade with a different line-up. This album isn't too consistent either.

The studio stuff, though, is excellent - "Great Deciever" and "Lament" are both short bursts of rock, with successful riffs,and "The Night Watch" is a longer (well, about four-minute), more symphonic piece, with an excellent Fripp guitar solo. Asfor the live stuff...well, when it's a hit, it's a hit. But when it's a miss, it's a duffer.

"We'll Let You Know", "The Mincer", and the biggest offender, the nine-minute title track, are all utter misses. None of them seem to go anywhere, relying on the same murky moods. This band was excellent when it came to improvisation on the stage, but these songs certainly don't make a case for the good. However, the two best songs on the album, "Trio" and the13-minute, semi-improvised album closer "Fracture" do. The former is a quiet masterpiece, as mellotron, bass and violincome together to create an awesome soundscape. Bruford is credited with restraint here - one cymbal tap could have destroyed the mood. You certainly couldn't call "Fracture" quiet though - it's a full-blown KC classic...starting everso quietly with Fripp's already-crafted guitar rhythms, which the other members improvise around. Fripp plays some crazy guitar parts in the middle section - so accurate and rhythmic, before the song builds up to a massive finale - asthe band play this devastating riff, increasing the intensity all the time in one of the all-time classic crescendos. Weclose out the album with Bruford banging his cymbals, and some final Fripp guitar. Pure, unadulterated classic.

Even so, Fracture cannot save the album from a 6. It's just too uneven - KC absolutely rip on some parts, but on some partsthey stink. Some bad choices out of the huge KC improv catalogue are at fault - they just meander along and never do anything whatsoever. Therefore, this album only gets the 6 - not their best.

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