Nightmare Fuel / King Crimson

King Crimson was said to have taken its name from Satan himself, as a metaphor for his infernal energy....though one wonders if the name was chosen for another of his aspects.


  • That goddamn album cover for In the Court of the Crimson King.
    • "21st Century Schizoid Man" from that album lives up to its title, with its screaming guitars and saxes and apocalyptic lyrics:
    Blood rack, barbed wire
    Politicians' funeral pyre
    21st Century Schizoid Man
  • From In the Wake of Poseidon we have "The Devil's Triangle", which starts off as a modest variation of Gustav Holst's "Mars, the Bringer of War", but by the end, it sounds like Mars is armed with nukes. And just to be a little more unsettling, an excerpt from "The Court of the Crimson King" swoons in and out in the final minute...
  • Lizard:
    • The dissonant intro to "Cirkus" can be very unsettling.
    • The second half of the "Lizard" suite, starting out as a quiet ballad that slowly grows increasingly ominous and Gordon Haskell sounding increasingly pissed as the section comes to a close, which then explodes into a suffocating cacophony of horns, keyboards and guitar. And it all closes with a creepy funeral march with Fripp's weeping guitar....followed by the sounds of a carnival spiralling out of control.
  • Starless and Bible Black has its share of really creepy instrumentals, such as the title track and "Fracture". "The Mincer" started out as a creepy instrumental, but then the band added strange vocals that made it even creepier.
  • Most, if not the entirety of Red:
    • The ominous "Red" itself follows Crimson's standard for nightmarish instrumentals, particularly in the middle section with the creepy cello, and the distorted guitar and bass which sets the tone for the entire album.
    • Then there's "Providence", which is one of the most unnerving pieces of music ever to grace human ears. The first half alone will have you looking around the room, convinced that something is staring at you. It's fucking terrifying.
    • Finally, there's "Starless", whose intro alone can suck the warmth out of any room with its Mellotron intro and creepy lyrics which seems to be about someone crossing the Despair Event Horizon, and even though the listener is taken to the heavens at the end of the song, the same intro is played one more time, only with a sharper, more menacing edge.
  • The song "Indiscipline", from Discipline, is a very heavy song with quiet parts and with a spoken word part by Adrian Belew. The original recording is not too impressive, but live versions extend it out to 8 or 9 minutes, lengthen the quiet parts to absurdly tension-building levels, and have Belew's narration take on a psychotic quality, until the song crashes into the noisy section. The full effect is terrifying.
  • Three of a Perfect Pair:
    • Side 2 opener "Industry". It's the quiet parts of "Indiscipline" with the heavy bits removed, the lyrics removed, machine noises added, and the tension taken to an absurd level where the entire song constantly sounds like it's about to collapse on itself. This goes on for seven minutes straight.
    • "Sleepless", with its twitchy, crazed bassline, creepy guitar sounds, droning synths and Belew's impressionistic rambling about fear, nightmares, the "rumbling in your ears". Also counts as Paranoia Fuel, as well. "It's alright to feel a little fear", indeed.
  • Live improvisations frequently turn into cases of this (though there are exceptions such as "Trio"), due to the band's love of dissonance in these pieces. Several have been listed above with "Starless and Bible Black" and "Red"; the 1973-1974 era in particular had quite a lot more of this that didn't make it onto their studio albums. The Great Deceiver and The Night Watch were probably the first tastes the public got of just how deep the rabbit hole went, and then the gigantic boxes The Road to Red, Starless, and the Larks' Tongues in Aspic anniversary box provided even more of it.