Awesome Music: King Crimson
King Crimson, just about the most influential and acclaimed prog rock band other than Pink Floyd. Most of their songs fit the crowning moment easily.
- "Starless", surely a trope codifier for Epic Rocking. It starts as a subtle and melancholy Power Ballad in 4/4, then it changes into a long, quiet, ominous middle section in a different key and Uncommon Time (13/8, to be precise) with a very minimal guitar part and increasingly edgy drums, then it gets louder and louder until it bursts into crazed sax and guitar solos, still in 13/8 but played much faster, and just when things can't get any more frantic there's a Last Chorus Slow Down which coincides with a return to the home key of G minor and Common Time, and the original Power Ballad melody returns for just one cycle with everyone playing incredibly loudly - and then it ends.
- "One More Red Nightmare" is a contender for best drum track of all time, and is Exhibit A in the Bruford vs. Peart argument. Bruford played "One More Red Nightmare" on a beat up cymbal he found in the trash, which explains its thoroughly unique sound.
- The 4-part, 40-minute epic "Larks' Tongues in Aspic".
- Anything played in In the Court of the Crimson King is made of progressive rock beauty.
- "21st Century Schizoid Man" is a real rock 'n' rollercoaster, from the weighty sax and guitar riff that opens the song proper (after the disorienting 20-second intro), to Greg Lake's punchy, distorted rendition of the lyrics, through the epic instrumental interlude led by Robert Fripp on guitar and Ian McDonald on saxophone that separates the last two verses, to the final chaotic, shrieking buildup that cuts off suddenly... and then begins again, getting still louder, only to cut off into silence again. A great track for the band to announce themselves to the listening world.
- The solemn "Epitaph" features another parade of instrumental wizardry from each member of the band, especially Robert Fripp on guitar and Ian McDonald on mellotron, as well as a great lead vocal from Greg Lake.
- The (almost) title track, "The Court of the Crimson King". There's Greg Lake's soulful rendition of Pete Sinfield's enigmatic lyrics, and the twin tours de force for Ian McDonald that are the energetic mellotron solo and virtuosic flute solo that come between the later verses... and just when the song seems to have ended, the cymbals play on, quietly, until the song appears to begin again, transposed up a whole tone, only to cut off into silence after a few iterations of the opening riff.
- The absurdly epic instrumental "Red". Also "Fracture". Or "Providence", which starts off sounding like a horror movie soundtrack before going out into a full blown rocker.
- From the Eighties era, there's "Dig Me", with Adrian Belew delivering a delightfully freaky monologue as a car about to be crushed into a cube, capped off with a lovely chorus.
- Their 23 minute epic "Lizard" surely qualifies. The whole song is awesome, but the epic, ominous section "The Battle of Glass Tears" stands out.
- The title track on Starless and Bible Black, a masterpiece of melancholic distortion and grade A Nightmare Fuel.
- "Indiscipline" has got to be the best of their "weird" tracks, and the story behind the insane percussion section is prog rock legend. Bill Bruford played the entire album except for that song on a drum kit with no cymbals as part of a dare from Robert Fripp. He was allowed to cut loose on just one song: "Indiscipline". The results are amazing.
- "Sleepless" may be Paranoia Fuel, but it counts as this too - that damned awesome, epic bassline is what really clinches it.
- "Dinosaur" off of Thrak is an underrated gem of a song, filled with complex melodies and compositions. It's a sad piece, but gorgeous, fully capturing the feeling of growing older and regretting all of your mistakes and flaws. It's packed with raw emotion, and is one of the most intense songs ever made.