Release Date: 2003

Track Listing
1)  The Power to Believe I (a capella)
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2)  Level Five
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3)  Eyes Wide Open
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4)  Elektrik
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5)  Facts of Life (Intro)
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6)  Facts of Life
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7)  The Power to Believe II
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8)  Dangerous Curves
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9)  Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With
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10)  Power to Believe III
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11)  Power to Believe IV (coda)
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Member: tatermoog
Date: 1/28/2003


King Crimson's last album, The ConstruKction of Light, left many fans with a bad taste in their mouth. I was not among those fans, but I can understand the complaints--the title track was a bit too slow developing, the drumming was frenetic, “Oyster Soup” (Why?!). However, most KC fans also agreed that TCOL was an interesting shift in KC's style and had promise, especially in the title track and LTIA4. Well, the promise has been kept in the newest album, The Power to Believe. The album delivers more of the harsher guitar sound and more of the driven rhythm section sound, but refined, like a fine coffee. Crappy metaphors aside, it's a great album, and possibly one of KC's greatest all-time.

The album opened up in a very non-characteristic style. Adrian Belew's voice sings lyrics from "All Her Love is Mine" from Op Zop Too Wah through a thin layer of processing. Uh oh, one thinks, this isn't very forward moving. But immediately after that quick little piece (now referred to as “The Power to Believe Theme”, or TPTBTheme) the band launches, and I do mean LAUNCHES, into “Level Five”. “Level Five” introduces something that I felt TCOL was missing. Pat Mastellotto has taken his pretty good drumming skills and put them into OVERDRIVE. His drumming is amazing, not necessarily from chops, but also from adding to the music and finally using some of his Projekcts electric gear in the music. “Level Five”...we've all heard it, and it sounds very good with good production. This is perhaps the only song where Trey Gunn's chops come to the forefront. Unfortunately, of the several versions of “Level Five” I've heard, this contains the weakest Belew solo.

“Eyes Wide Open” translates from an acoustic piece to an electric piece quite well. There's not too much change from the original, except some drumming shifts that add to the chorus and an interesting instrumental section with Mastellotto using...techno?!

The studio version of “Elektrik” is also light years ahead of the original. Some will complain, perhaps me among them, that it goes a bit long, but the bass and drums really drive this song along a lot more than the Nashville Live CD's rather restrained version. Also, Mastellotto again uses techno. And it's cool. Don't worry proggers.

Then, TPTB hits its low spot. “The Facts of Life Intro” is a particularly uninteresting soundscape, with the band hitting some cool staccato chords together at the end, but unfortunately, it turns into the actual song, “The Facts of Life”. This song has all the parts it needs to be a good song, but it never quite works. The transitions feel rather disjointed, probably because of the standard "let's put this in compound time" KC curse. There is, in fact, an up front Fripp solo, and it showcases his talent, but it doesn't quite fit in with the music, in my opinion. It's like "A Sailor's Tale"'s solo, but without the cool overdriven banjo chords.

The next three songs are perhaps the album's crowning achievements, each for different reasons. First off, TPTBII. I disliked this song the first time I heard it (it's “Virtuous Circle”, for those with the Level Five EP or Nashville) because I wasn't a big fan of the source material. However, slight additions to this song have really made it one of the highlights of the album. First, there's a nice sustained guitar solo at the beginning that hints at the TPTBTheme, and then, during the "doodling with bells" section, the actual TPTBTheme makes its first real reappearance. For the only time on the album, the music actually develops around the theme, instead of the theme seeming to be there around the music. Fripp swells some soundscapes around it, Pat gives some cymbal hits to accent, and Gunn really does a beautiful job accentuating the melody. A moment almost on par with the Warr solo in Deception of the Thrush. Thankfully, it resolves after that climax very nicely as well.

“Dangerous Curves”...wow. This song makes me want to punch someone every time I hear it--it's that freakin' aggressive. Everything about this is done better than the original version. I don't think I will explain too much about this, for fear of ruining some nice musical surprises. Crank up stereo to full, and don't touch that knob!

“Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With” is a masterpiece, no matter what you guys think (sorry, had to be pretentious for a second...it's a prog review). It's got great lyrics to scream along to, catchy guitar riffs, and is just plain fun. The only difference from the EP is the removal of the first "Happy with..." chorus, which really helps the flow.

Unfortunately, the album ends on a bad note, IMO. TPTBIII is the angry section of “Deception of the Thrush”. It's probably the best version of that I've heard, but TPTBTheme floating over it just doesn't resolve it as much as Trey's otherworldly solos. Perhaps that's because they wanted to resolve it with...

TPTBIV. Basically, it's some soundscapes with Ade singing TPTBIV running through it. Sid Smith claims that this resolution works about as well to him as Trey's solo. I still think that it sounds like the soundscapes weren't really as much a part of the Theme as something in the background of the theme. Still, not that bad of an ending, but look at what we've had from Krim before...”Fracture”, “Starless”, LTIA2, LTIA4, “Walking on Air”...some of the greatest songs in Krim history period (looking back, “Walking on Air” doesn't seem to fit stylistically with the others...oh well). This album doesn't seem to go out with a whimper more so than previous Krim albums.

Regardless, this is a fantastic album. The guitar-work is up front and more aggressive, Trey is weaving in the low end masterfully, and Pat gets his first Krim MVP vote from me for this album. Like TCOL as much as I did, this album is light years ahead of it. It has a chance to be ranked with the greats, if one can look past the small failures (namely, “Facts of Life”). I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. Oh, and you are not allowed to listen to this album softly. It must be cranked. Violators will be forced to listen to John Tesh.
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Member: Frumious B
Date: 3/4/2003


Where the simultaneous release of the classicist, Crim-by-numbers, Construkction of Light and the experimental, improvisational and much more intriguing Heaven And Earth credited to Projekct X made you wonder if King Crimson had, indeed, developed into a 21st Century Schizoid Band, The Power To Believe seamlessly incorporates both schools of thought into a new and exciting whole.

If you've heard the EPs Level Five and Happy With What You Have To Be Happy With or you've seen the band live in the last 2-3 years then you're already familiar with some of the material that this album has to offer. The fact that many of these tracks are already extensively road tested gives them a fury on the finished album that studio Crimson sometimes lacks.

This is easily the most beautiful, aggressive and barnburning King Crimson effort since Red. It's the culmination of everything they've done since the disintegration of the Double Trio, a flawless and peerless masterpiece of sound, fury, light and shade.(10 out of 10)

Chris Hosford
3/2/03
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Member: Sean (Profile) (All Album Reviews by Sean)
Date: 12/31/2003
Format: CD (Album)

This one has been hailed by many as the band's best cd since Discipline and I almost agree. I think I prefer Thrak a little more if I had to pick, but this is easily the most FOCUSED and flowing album the band has made since Discipline, that much I will say! This is a nice improvement over the promising but somewhat difficult The ConstruKction of Light. This is more of the same brutal instrumental work, but this new cd gives the listener a chance to breathe occasionally.... Pity this lineup gelled just in time to....break up (or at least, change yet again).
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