Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Trilogy
On July 6, 1972, "Emerson, Lake & Palmer" released "Trilogy".
It is one of the well-known albums in progressive rock and the one that influences symphonic progressive rock.
This is the supergroup's third studio album, the fourth, if you count "Pictures at an Exhibition" that was recorded live and was released a year earlier.
For those unfamiliar, ELP is a supergroup made up of three meteor musicians who came from leading rock bands. Keith Emerson a virtuoso keyboardist and composer who came from the band "Nice" - a band that combined progressive rock, jazz, and classical music, Greg Lake bassist, guitarist, and singer with a divine voice (no other words to describe his voice), who came from "King Crimson" in which he took part In what is considered perhaps the best progressive rock album ever created - "In The Court Of The Crimson King", and Carl Palmer who came from "Crazy World of Arthur Brown" and "Atomic Rooster" on drums and percussion.
And now, after reading the introduction, we want to put things straight. If progressive rock is not your "cup of tea", then this album is certainly not the place to start "getting to know this wonderful genre". But if you belong to the unique group that does not afraid of complex, dynamic, and beautiful musical styles, if you are not afraid to experiment with aggressive, wild, and animalistic music or you are just interested in getting to know ELP, then this album is the right place to start. But just promise us one thing. No matter what group you belong to, please listen to only one song from this album - "From The Beginning". It is not a representative sample from the album or the band, but it is a song that you simply should not miss even if you are not a fan of the genre or the band.
So in 1971, ELP was busy promoting the album "Tarkus" which was released in 1971 as well as with a series of performances that included the piece "Pictures at an Exhibition" which was released that year on the album of the same name.
In October 1971, the band entered the studio to record their fourth album. It was clear to the Fantastic Three that it was not going to be an album similar to the previous albums. There will not be a whole piece of concept that spans an entire side like on the album "Tarkus", nor a single piece of work like "Pictures at an Exhibition". They knew that this album was going to mark a musical development for them and they came to the recordings more focused, experienced, and confident in themselves.
Indeed, the result speaks for itself. It's an album with excellent melodies and almost perfect production. An album that combines a high level of writing with a brilliant performance that is simply hard to believe is attributed to just three musicians. Emerson demonstrates incredible keyboard control here, Greg Lake's vocals sound deeper and strong, he even puts the bass aside for a moment and treats himself with a tiny guitar solo in one of the songs, and Palmer's drumming sounds crazier and wilder than ever.
The album opens up with a three-part mini-piece led by "The Endless Enigma (Part 1)". Anyone who listens carefully to the opening sounds of the piece will find that "Pink Floyd" was not the first to open an album with a heartbeat. They will only do so a year later with “The Dark Side Of The Moon”. For years we thought these heartbeats were created using Carl Palmer's bass drum, but in the 2015 booklet attached to the reissue of the album, the remix technician noted that they were actually bass strings played by Greg Lake. Emerson is amazing here In a play that alternates between the piano, Hammond organ, and synthesizer that sounds reminiscent of a kind of communication with aliens in the style of the movie "Encounters of the Third Kind", and even a kind of Indian trumpet called zurna in which he plays at the beginning of the song. Lake's singing here ranges from melodic and caressing to strong and aggressive, as in the transition to the chorus in which he shouts PLEASE! And we can not remain indifferent to this precise and vibrating voice.
The second part of the mini-work is "Fugue". It's a classic piece of music by Emerson that definitely shows us what his musical roots are, with the piano screaming "Bach". Rumor has it that Emerson wrote the piece directly to the page without playing a single note.
Closes the mini-suite is "The Endless Enigma (Part Two)" which is a kind of Reprise section for the first part, with the same melody in Gregg Lake's singing, only this time we also witness Palmer's Church Bells and Emerson's church Coral giving the piece a slightly different variety from the opening track.
The fourth track "From The Beginning" may not be a piece that faithfully represents what this amazing supergroup does, but it is an immortal piece. A charming and moving ballad written and performed almost alone by Greg Lake who plays acoustic & electric guitars, and bass and sings like an angel. And notice the break that Emerson brings here with his crazy mug solo section towards the end of the song which is a tremendous counterpoint to Lake's soft melody and melting vocals. This track was released as a successful single which undoubtedly helped attract more listeners to the genre.
The fifth track "The Sheriff" introduces the humorous side of the band that wrote and composed a classic western piece. Listen to Emerson's honky tonk solo immediately after the shooting effect until the end of the song. Anyone who listens carefully to the beginning of Palmer's drum solo will find that he says "Shit!", After accidentally hitting the "Rim" of the tam-tam.
The atmosphere of the wild west continues in the concluding section of the first side of the album - "Hoedown", which is a fast and synthesized instrumental section that is an adaptation of the Hoe-Down section from the "Rodeo" work by the American composer admired by Emerson - Aaron Copland.
The second side of the album opens up with the theme song "Trilogy". The piece opens with a kind of ballad by Greg Lake that accompanies the piano, but it develops as you progress into the piece that deepens into the progressive rock with drum and keyboards solos and rhythm changes.
"Living Sin" tries to present a slightly sinister song by Lake, perhaps out of a desire to match the voice to the song's title. Lake gives us an excellent vocal performance that at times even reminded us a bit of Ian Gillan. The song features an interesting Hammond riff and Palmer's brilliant drumming, but in our opinion, it lacks the spiciness that exists in the other songs.
The song that seals the album "Abaddon's Bolero" was originally called Bellona's Bolero after the war Goddess and is an attempt to trace the work "Boléro" by composer Maurice Ravel.
Upon its release, the album "Trilogy" received mixed reviews from critics, but these reviews were not reflected in the sales as the audience purchased the album in nice numbers.
Before concluding, a word on the cover. The band turned to Spanish painter and artist Salvador Dali to design it, but he demanded an astronomical sum for those times of $ 50,000. Under these circumstances, the band hired the services of the design company "Hipgnosis", which released a classic cover showing a side painting of the faces of the three members of the band. It was the first time the band members had appeared on the cover of their album.