Starless and Bible Black album cover
Starless and Bible Black

King Crimson

Island Records

The first line of the first song will make you wince, but that “of its time” lyrical miscalculation aside, this second album by the 1972-74 lineup of King Crimson is every bit the equal of its predecessor, Larks’ Tongues In Aspic. Percussionist Jamie Muir was already gone, so this is in some respects a more stripped-down, hard-rocking album — “The Great Deceiver,” “Lament,” and “The Night Watch” are among the group’s best-known songs. However, most of the album was recorded live in concert, with crowd noise removed afterward, so “We’ll Let You Know,” “Trio,” “Fracture” and the title piece are all abstract, exploratory instrumentals; at times, Robert Fripp’s guitar has the same hornet-like sting as Pete Cosey’s contemporaneous work with Miles Davis.

Phil Freeman

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