King Crimson: a pool of ever-changing talent rarely ceases to amaze. Most of the time I disagree with Mr. Fripp's ideas of the structure of his band, however I like to forget background information of something and just listen to the music sometimes. Red was one of these instances, and without thoughts of the details the music simply sounded better.
1974 was the year where metal was starting to spring up all over the place. Much credit was due to King Crimson for their early work to the creation of the genre, however by this time they seemed to be more of another hard prog band.While other bands like Scorpions, Sabbath, and Judas Priest all started experimenting with this newly founded genre, King Crimson continued to write elaborate compositions with much flare and musical brilliance. I will admit that I disliked much of their pre-Red content, but when this album came around everything changed. It was less about being art for arts sake and more about playing what they willed. Mind you, changes were still made and lineups were constantly fixed and re- ordered, so much chaos still happened there. The beauty about Red however is none of that translates to the music. In the recording studio, all was forgotten.
The title track is a wonderful opening, probably one of the more themed tracks as opposed to jamming, but it's utilization of ambiance and heavy guitar with no vocals bogging it down (one of the few songs where I feel like it would). 'Fallen Angel' translates to me more of a ballad, and marks one of the weaker points of the album. Fripp intended it to be more "emotional", but I found it to be rather weak in comparison to the rest of the album. One thing that never really changes is Wetton's amazing vocalizations which seem to fit into every musical circumstance. He is definitely a singer that brightened up any weak part the album has. 'One More Red Nightmare' is one of the aforementioned jams. Although the term 'jam' may not be exactly fitting, the song's length does lead to many tangents that the band members expound on briefly. Much like 'Red', this song has some fantastic riffing and great clear drumming from Bruford. Wetton's vocal skills are probably on peak at this point, along with his bass-work. Violins bring in the next track, 'Providence', most of which is much adventurous work of different instrumentations that come in at different parts. Slightly uncomfortable due to it's erratic nature; very reminiscent to Ummagumma-esque Floyd if you enjoy that sort of music. 'Starless' is a fantastic mix of everything you've heard prior in an orchestral style all in a clean twelve minutes. Shifting constantly, it never ceases to lose your attention and also does a great job closing shop.
As a final verdict, Red is undeniably wonderful. Wouldn't exactly call it a masterpiece due to some of the weaker aspects but it still shines wonderfully with what it does well and I applaud Crimson for being able to accomplish it. I think a healthy 4-4.5 stars is fitting.