King Crimson is a well-known name in progressive rock. This is because it started up in 1968, meaning that its successes have influenced a wide range of artists in a wide range of genres. However, it is important to note that King Crimson has had more than one incarnation, as shown by how Robert Fripp is the one founding member who has been with it since the very beginning. There are some bands that try to remain the same from incarnation to incarnation, but this is not one of them.
13. Three of a Perfect Pair
Three of a Perfect Pair was the third of three albums put out by the version of King Crimson that existed from 1981 to 1984. As such, it has been subjected to jokes about it being so bad that it caused the band to break up for more than a decade’s time. That is an exaggeration because it isn’t a bad album. However, Three of a Perfect Pair shows clear signs of strain, thus resulting in its low position on this list.
12. The ConstruKction of Light
Released in 2000, The ConstruKction of Light featured a so-called “double duo.” Music-wise, King Crimson is King Crimson, but there are those who have blasted this for being one of the band’s poorer releases, citing a cold and mechanical recording that failed to live up to their expectations.
The sheer number of line-up changes that King Crimson has gone through can be seen in the fact that Beat was their first studio album to feature the same line-up as the studio album before it. This was the case even though it was their ninth studio album released in 1982. In any case, Beat had some songs worth remembering, but for the most part, it is overshadowed by its superior predecessor Discipline.
Lizard has the dubious distinction of being one of King Crimson’s least accessible studio albums. There are some who have found themselves enjoying it after a few listens. However, there are plenty of others who never reach that point. Given its position here, no prizes for guessing where we fall in that regard.
Islands is interesting in that it took inspiration from jazz as well as other kinds of music. It is perfectly possible for a studio album to weave a wide range of influences into a single seamless whole. Unfortunately, Islands doesn’t quite manage that feat. Instead, it comes off as being too scattered to be effective.
Thrak is the product of King Crimson’s 1990s incarnation, which was famous for being a “double trio.” It is a solid studio album in a lot of respects. However, it is brought down by a couple of issues. One, Thrak doesn’t make as effective use of the six-member setup of the band as what one might hope. Two, it doesn’t manage to hit a lot of creative heights, which is a serious problem when it is going head-to-head against King Crimson’s full body of work.
7. In the Wake of Poseidon
In the Wake of Poseidon managed to be an interesting showcase of the versatility of progressive rock. Something that is extremely impressive considering the line-up changes that were happening in that period. Said events were so bad that the band was put in the position of having new material but not enough band members with which to promote that new material.
As mentioned earlier, Discipline was the first of three albums put out by the 1980s version of King Crimson. Even though there was a seven-year hiatus between it and its immediate predecessor, it managed to remain true to the band’s 1970s music while reflecting the changed tastes of its times.
5. Starless and Bible Black
As the story goes, King Crimson was put in a very awkward position when their percussionist Jamie Muir retreated to a monastery because of his spiritual convictions in 1973. Combined with other sources of pressure, the band was short on material for a new studio album. Due to that, King Crimson decided to improvise, thus resulting in the remarkable Starless and Bible Black.
4. The Power to Believe
So far, The Power to Believe is King Crimson’s latest studio album. Considering that it came out in the early 2000s, there is a good chance that it will be the band’s last studio album as well. Regardless, while a lot of bands wither over time, The Power to Believe is proof that they can still turn out something great after decades of on-and-off existence.
3. Larks’ Tongues in Aspic
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic came out in 1973. Even so, its influence on King Crimson was seen for years and years to come, which makes sense because its experimental nature fueled rather than impeded its excellence.
Red was created at a time when King Crimson was falling apart. Despite this, it is one of the band’s most cohesive works, thus providing it with a punch that it would’ve lacked otherwise. This is particularly effective because Red is often violent and even primordial in feel, which combines with an interesting way with King Crimson’s general sophistication.
1. In the Court of the Crimson King
This is the studio album that started everything. As such, it launched the band’s multi-decade career, thus making possible everything that came afterwards. Moreover, In the Court of the Crimson King was one of the pioneers of progressive rock as a whole, meaning that its effects can be seen throughout the music industry of today. Due to this, there can be no doubt that it deserves its position.