King Crimson: The Power to Believe
Adrian Belew – guitar, vocals & electronic percussion
Robert Fripp – guitar
Trey Gunn – Warr guitar, rubber bass
Pat Mastelotto – drumming
Going into this one, I was not really sure what to expect. I had only recently discovered the bulk of Crimson’s catalogue, and was enthralled by everything up to “Red.” “Discipline” was very good, but it was basically a different band. I had heard good things about “Thrak,” but was unable to find a copy. Then I found “The Power to Believe,” and decided to take a chance. Wow! It was as if they had gone back to “Red,” without sacrificing any progress. These new guys also showed some serious chops.
“Level Five” is a bone cruncher. I rarely go in for anything extremely heavy, but when it is this masterfully executed, I get drawn right in. Every note, and drumbeat is played with precision.
“Eyes Wide Open” is a dreamy diversion, and a pleasant rest from the opener.
“Elektrik” is a clever instrumental. It opens with a sad little keyboard, and then starts clicking along with quick drum tapping, and guitar picking. It flows into a spacey section, with the rhythm still clicking. All through it builds up and down, giving the sense of staircases. The bass thumps, and becomes the glue to hold it together.
“Facts of Life” is wonderfully heavy rocker that becomes an all out shred-fest (done in the very best Crimson style). Belew’s vocals may be cynical, but the words ring true.
“Dangerous Curves” is an instrumental that seems to be a mesh of “Starless,” and the style of “Discipline.”
“Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With” could be my favorite track on the album. This is not because the songwriting is so superior, but because it is such a wonderful poke at modern metal.
It is all held together by the recurring “Power to Believe” theme. A longer, more spacey, version takes the album out.
Some of it does seem familiar, but yet it is fresh. For these guys to sound so vital this late in the game is nothing short of miraculous. I will admit that after hearing “Thrak,” and “The Construkction of Light,” it didn’t seem quite as novel. That doesn’t change the fact that this is a great album, and is (IMO) superior to the other two.