For many people, King Crimson will forever be associated with the pomp and pageantry of 70s prog rock: Roger Dean cover art, concept suites, and endlessly bad keyboard solos.
But how wrong they are. Yes, King Crimson were there at the birth of this divisive genre – but under the leadership of guitar wunderkind Robert Fripp, they forged a unique path of their own that quickly saw them leaving behind the lyrical whimsy and musical grandstanding of their first few albums to arrive at a sound that was both freer and more focused, embracing improv, world, modern classical and proto-noise rock elements.
And it's this leap into uncharted sonic waters that makes King Crimson one of the most significant bands on the rock timeline. Because it's with King Crimson – and particularly Fripp's dense, geometric fretwork – that a new type of heaviness starts to emerge, one that effectively disengages itself from the blues-derived riffology practiced by the big three of early 70s hard rock – Sabbath, Zeppelin, Purple – and instead creates a starker, colder, darker version of heavy that nevertheless still delivers serious cathartic thrills.