King Crimson - Red

King Crimson – Red


‘Red’ would be King Crimson’s final 70’s recording, but what a record it is, dark and dense, at times nearing Heavy Metal or as some have alluded to – Jazz Metal.

Written by: Eric

ARTIST: King Crimson
LABEL: Island
YEAR: 1974
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Bill Bruford – drums, percussion * Robert Fripp – guitars, mellotron, devices * John Wetton – bass, vocals

Additional Musicians: David Cross – violin * Mark Charig – cornet * Mel Collins – soprano saxophone * Ian McDonald – alto saxophone * Robin Miller – oboe

TRACK LISTING: 01 Red * 02 Fallen Angel * 03 One More Red Nightmare * 04 Providence * 05 Starless



One of the most popular prog rock bands and certainly one of the most original; King Crimson or perhaps more accurately – Robert Fripp, has had a stellar career that 40 years later is still ongoing. With a revolving door of players and Fripp’s uniquely English vision, no two King Crimson albums are the same.

From the pastoral and groundbreaking 1969 debut ‘In The Court Of The Crimson King’ to the 80s new wave influenced ‘Discipline’ era and beyond; King Crimson is a constantly evolving entity that continues to provide some of the most exciting progressive rock today.

The Songs

‘Red’ would be the band’s final 70’s recording after which Fripp would go on to a fertile period of session and solo work, but what a record it is. Dark and dense, at times nearing Heavy Metal or as some have alluded to – Jazz Metal; ‘Red’ can easily lay claim to the current Math/Post rock scenes.

The rolling title track opens with a distorted, almost grunge styled riff; it’s no wonder Kurt Cobain said it was one of his favourite albums. Bill Bruford’s drumming is exceptional on this track and throughout, but it’s on ‘Fallen Angel’ where John Wetton finally gets the spotlight.

With David Cross’ stunning violin work this almost feels like a template for UK although the horn work adds an improvisational vibe recalling the more listenable moments of Henry Cow. ‘One More Red Nightmare’ is strange with its watery glam rock claps and Bruford doing god knows what on percussion, but it works.

‘Providence’ recorded live in Rhode Island features fragmented avant-garde jamming which is the type of thing I’ve rarely related to, but sets the stage for the grand finale ‘Starless’. With beautiful mellotron, Fripp’s lilting guitar and Wetton’s restrained vocals, the song gradually builds into a cacophony of sound and what is truly one of prog rock’s great masterpieces.

In Summary

Touring followed in Europe and North America where King Crimson would headline as well as support a fading Ten Years After, playing their final concert in New York’s Central Park on July 1, 1974 with opening act Golden Earring.


Entire Album (Select Tracks)

Playlist: King Crimson Red Full Album
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