(All Album Reviews by Sean)
After an 11-year hiatus, King Crimson returned in grand style and bigger than ever in 1995. Robert Fripp was quoted at the time as saying- "When music appears that only King Crimson can play, then King Crimson eventually appears to play that music." This was a return of the 80's quartet (Fripp- guitar, Adrian Belew- guitar and vocals, Bill Bruford- drums and percussion, and Tony Levin-assorted basses and Stick), augmented by Trey Gunn on Warr Guitar (a stick-like, touch instrument) and Pat Mastelotto on drums and percussion. This lineup up resulted in what was called the 'double trio'. A 'Super' Crimson band. The group quickly recorded Thrak, which Fripp described like this.... "A sudden and persistently directed impact moving from intention and commitment, in service of an aim." Musically Thrak was a departure from the interlocking 80's sound. In fact Fripp laid down the rule that no interlocking guitars would be used on Thrak. This sent the band in a darker, heavier direction that seemed like a continuation of where the Red album left off twenty or so years earlier. This was a welcome sound for many fans of Red era Crim. The first time I played Thrak I thought my speakers were going to explode! What a heavy sound! Made Metallica and typical heavy music sound like a bunch of kids. Here was a blend of harmonic complexity and ballsy distortion. What an exotic sound, I loved it!There is a good blend of incredibly heavy and dissonant tunes (“Thrak”, “Vroom Vroom”, “Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream”), ethereal, pop influenced clean toned numbers (“Inner Garden”, “One Time”, “Walking On Air”), and songs that merge both (“Dinosaur”, “Vroom”). There's even a funk fingered driven number, “People”. I think it could have been a radio hit in a perfect world. Thanks to the CD age, Thrak was the longest Crimson album to date. This album is a great entry point into the band, and also an excellent choice for fans of Red era Crimson as well, it seems to me like the next step from that era. Also worth trying is the excellent B'boom, Live In Argentina CD, which features the double trio serving up blistering renditions of classic Crim tunes and Thrak tunes as well. Thrak is a great album, but live the double trio was a real stomper. Check it out!
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