King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King (1969), 8/10

An album that certainly has earned its legendary status in the world of prog rock. There perhaps is not a more exciting opener than "21st Century Schizoid Man" or a more epic closer in "The Court of the Crimson King" within the genre or beyond. The middle stretch can get a little too indulgent and exploratory depending on your tastes, but still remains supremely entertaining and interesting enough to keep you fully engaged despite its broad approach to space and sound. There really isn't a single dull moment and the band were obviously ahead of their time, paving new ground for the rest of the scene. As a debut it is stunning, immediately captivating, and has surprising staying power beyond its historical context. All of that said, the strong bookend tracks carry much of the weight while the meat of the record slumps in comparison. There are fun and dreamy passages, but nothing exciting after repeated listens and once familiarity sets in. From "I Talk to the Wind" towards "Moonchild", the band's breadth of sounds and long-windedness becomes tiresome and like much of their work and the scene in general, simply too indulgent to make any lasting impact. Still, much of the album is surprisingly catchy and infectious, providing an undeniably powerful set of hooks and melodies amid the expanse. Despite its themes being spread too thin and far beyond their significance, In the Court of the Crimson King can still flow as a relatively tight project and is certainly among the better prog rock releases of all time.