King Crimson

EG, 1981


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


For the third time in a row, King Crimson reconvened with a new lineup and put out the best album that lineup ever made. But Discipline goes beyond that to claim status as the best album with the King Crimson name and, really, one of the best albums of the 80s.

Each new lineup of the band has showed a lean, hungry group ready to tackle new things. In the Court of the Crimson King struck a balance between progressive pretension, jazz, metal and moodiness that was not equaled. Larks' Tongues in Aspic took the Crimson sound in a more challenging musical direction and was the best album of the John Wetton/David Cross/Robert Fripp years.nbtc__dv_250

Discipline bring together Fripp and Adrian Belew, a singer/songwriter from the David Byrne School of Nerdiness. He has since become the longest serving member of the band; his cerebral playing and catchy songwriting - witness the inclusion of actual pop elements - is a perfect fit for Fripp's brainy workouts. This disc has hints of the Talking Heads but is uniquely Crimson in all other respects; nobody sounds like this.

Belew and Fripp offer serious interlocking guitar chops, mirroring the cover art, and add a very slight new wave-ish feel to the production. "Frame by Frame" rocks as hard and as any other Crim song to date, while "Elephant Talk" is an odd funk/new wave/pop hybrid with Belew's guitar mimicking an elephant, of all thing. The gorgeous "Matte Kudasai" is unlike any other Crimson song, a ballad (!) with moving slide guitar work.

The rhythmic playing all over this album is tight, demanding and, well, disciplined. The title track is an instrumental powerhouse, chugging along on some truly complex drum, bass and guitar patterns. "Thela Hun Ginjeet" (anagram for "Heat in the Jungle") is simply the band raging along as Belew, through a tape recorder, tells the story of being accosted by muggers in New York City while out recording sounds for the album. "Indiscipline" lives up to its name, the only time the band really lets loose, but it's a far cry from the wanking jam sessions of old and perhaps the first time on record Crimson has a sense of humor.

Best of all is "The Sheltering Sky," wherein Bill Bruford keeps up a steady bongo beat for eight minutes while dissonant guitars play, followed a buildup of voices and keyboards, more guitar work and an eventual fade to just the drums again. Musical catharsis, the song is Crimson at its best, an art-rock classic, and trying to describe it doesn't do it justice.

Among the fastest 37 minutes in Crimson history, Discipline has very few weak moments and yields rich rewards with each successive release.

Rating: A

User Rating: B-


GREAT! GREAT! ALBUM! Possibly Fripp's best with King Crimson. My favorite track is "Indiscipline" it's like one of those nightmares you experience when your spiking a fever! Really Weird!

© 2007 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EG, and is used for informational purposes only.