Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Released: July 1972
Chart Peak: #5
Weeks Charted: 37
Certified Gold: 9/5/72
Emerson, Lake & Palmer's new one, Trilogy, is easily the best they have done. Which means that it's serious, snotty-rock playing of a competence most bands can't begin to achieve. Keith Emerson plays Hammond organ, Steinway, something called the Zoukra and two varieties of Moog; Greg Lake handles numerous guitar chores and sings; Carl Palmer is a rock-percussion genius. The major things here are two suites, "The Endless Enigma" -- really in three parts, the second of which is a piano fugue -- and the "Trilogy" of the title, whose third part comes on strong with a latino beat and Bach lines. Emerson, as is his wont, nods to the big boys with a selection from Aaron Copeland's "Rodeo." There is a great power in everything played here, as well as that rarest of rock commodities, taste -- something that E.L. & P. have worked hard to develop.
- Playboy, 11/72.
Emerson, Lake and Palmer go splayfootedly on their pompous way here, offering original (?) material that is what I'm sure a teenybopper would gravely consider "real artistic." This disc features something called the "Endless Enigma." It is in two parts, separated by "Fugue." Side two presents "Trilogy" and "Abadon's Bolero." (Is it beginning to get to you?) It is all performed with aching "sensitivity." For this listener it has the dramatic impact of thirteen-year-old Betty Jean bidding farewell forever to fourteen-year-old Arnold in a late-night phone call. I think E, L and P's work might safely be dubbed bubblegum art song. This time out they've also involved Aaron Copland by "arranging" "Hoedown" from his "Rodeo." The result is it leaves me with the hope that Mr. Copland is not a violent man.
- Peter Reilly, Stereo Review, 1/73.
The reigning rulers of classicly oriented rock have sustained their creativity for yet another monumental album destined to rule the FM airways for months to come. Keith Emerson's steady progression on the moog is a joy to hear -- he is one of the few musicians capable of controlling this instrumental Pandora's box and the results are astounding. "Endless Enigma," "From the Beginning," and "The Sheriff" are strong.
- Billboard, 1972.
A major improvement over their second album (the convoluted concept album Tarkus) and the group's first success with adapting the music of Aaron Copeland ("Hoedown"), which became something of a signature of theirs. The title track is a romantic, almost torch-song number, while "The Endless Enigma" is a curious mixture of pomp and mysticism. * * *
- Bruce Eder, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
Trilogy is bold without getting boorish, featuring one of ELP's finest ballads ("From the Beginning"), a convincing fusion of rock and classical ("The Endless Enigma"), plus one of Keith Emerson's zippiest synthesizer discourses on Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown." * * * 1/2
- David Yonke, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
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