Progressive rock has become a behemoth of a genre, and continues to evolve to this day. But it all had to start somewhere, and King Crimson were the ones daring enough to do things differently. King Crimson laid the foundations of progressive rock in In The Court Of The Crimson King, the band's 1969 debut album.
To say In The Court Of The Crimson King was different is an understatement. King Crimson took rock music and brought in influences others simply didn't think would work. With no track clocking in below 6 minutes, you can tell that for the time, this record was definitely challenging the standards of music. Opening track '21st Century Schizoid Man' brings the record to a punchy, dynamic start, it's loud, jazzy saxophones adding chaos to the already wild bass and drums. Jazz and rock were already related, of course, but not quite in this wild way. Other tracks are more enchanting and classical, in a fairy-tale like way. 'I Talk To The Wind' is the first, its flutes and orchestral backing providing a gentle and dreamy vibe, a style of which Queen drew upon a few years later with Queen and Queen II.
What's most impressive about King Crimson's debut is how dynamic the record is. From the melodies to the differing experience of one song to another, In The Court Of The Crimson King is wholly capturing. Even the twelve-minute, minimalist piece 'Moonchild' keeps you enchanted from start to finish. It's quiet start leads into an experimental, dynamic, and unpredictable instrumental, but not before the choruses dreamily chant "Waving silver wands to the night-bird's song / Waiting for the sun on the mountain." The entire experience of the record is like a psychedelic dream, with different parts like the thoughtful and dramatic 'Epitaph' and giant closing 'The Court Of The Crimson King.'
King Crimson laid the foundations of progressive rock in In The Court Of The Crimson King, their debut that was so daring and different that it created a new genre all itself. It's still an impressive album today, nearly five decades later, and its influence, creativity, and daringness are all as present as ever.
Favorite Track: Epitaph
Least Favorite Track: The Court Of The Crimson King
Rating: 84 / 100
Follow our Throwback Playlist on Spotify: