The Power to Believe

Entering its 35th year, venerable is a word you might apply to King Crimson.

Entering its 35th year, venerable is a word you might apply to King Crimson. The innovative progressive unit has left its mark across contemporary music, influencing bands from Talking Heads to Tool. But the roaring, ferocious assault heard on The Power to Believe reveals a band that isn't ready to become the hoary ghosts of progressive rock. Power has the energy of '70s-era King Crimson albums Starless and Bible Black and Red, a savagely ecstatic mixture of whiplash time changes and blistering improvisation. Adrian Belew and Robert Fripp, the only original member, are among the most-devastating guitar tandems in rock. They echo each other in intricately rocketing guitar lines, then lash out in twin leads that scoop the firmament like an earthmover before shuddering into pyrotechnic flights. A 2001 tour opening for Tool seems to have brought a heavier bass and drum sound to the band, and producer Machine (of White Zombie), sharpens the edges. Even leavened by a couple of overwrought, too-clever-by-half Belew vocal tunes, The Power to Believe leaves you breathless.—JD