Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
Release Date: September 30, 2016
It’s truly sad to know that the Emerson, Lake, and Palmer deluxe reissue series coincide with the deaths of two-thirds of this Progressive Rock supergroup. While it saddens me, it’s also pretty cool to see the band come to a physical close while revisiting their masterworks one last time. For this reissue, both the 2015 remaster and the Jakko Jaksyzk (King Crimson) stereo mixes/alternate album are included as well as extensive liner notes by Chris Welch. The latter album also includes a live version of “Hoedown.”
Trilogy was ELP’s third album and it finds them getting more experimental at just about every turn. The Hipgnosis designed cover pretty well sets the stage for the album by featuring all three members as one being staring off into the sunset. In my opinion, ELP was at their most cohesive on this 1972 masterpiece that rocketed up the charts thanks in no small part to their amazing take on Aaron Copeland’s “Hoedown.” This would also become a fan favorite live throughout the years.
I don’t know that there is much left to say that hasn’t been said about this album. The words “epic” and “majestic” certainly come to mind as the Progressive movement was really starting to take shape at the time. You can feel the prowess the band had on just about every track here. “The Endless Enigma” parts one and two are as brilliant as any Progressive piece ever penned, playing like an intricate Rock Opera with the bareboned “Fugue” piano instrumental placed between, allowing the listener time to reorganize their blown mind.
The song that benefits the most here, particularly on the Jaksyzk version, is “Abaddon’s Bolero.” The impeccable timing is pretty much unparalleled. Emerson’s triumphant synth work here likely made Rick Wakeman jealous. When you put that on the same album with “Hoedown” questions about who could take Progressive Rock into the mainstream were quickly answered. The live version of “Hoedown” is just as powerful, maybe more so, as it benefits from the live setting and is played slightly faster!
This is an excellent reissue that any incoming or long established fan should own. Trilogy is a masterwork of any generation but when you consider the time it was recorded in and the technology available at the time, you start to wonder why these three men were musicians instead of rocket scientists.
Reviewed by mark1340