Emerson, Lake & Palmer: In The Wars but going down fighting
14th July 2017
Black Moon/In The Hot Seat
Released in 1992, Black Moon saw the prog trio return after around 14 years away from the studio. This album represented a stripped sound with lots of gutsy power to back it up while the usual Emerson analogue synth noises were now replaced by digital keyboard: which never really had the same grandeur or magnificence.
There’s less of an experimental, foraging aspect to this album than within some of their earlier LP releases in the 70s. In fact, there is more of a mainstream commercialisation to be heard on this release. You can’t keep a good man down, though, because you still hear the odd flash of their old selves. One for the fans who enjoy searching for those joyful nuggets, this expanded remastered edition (which sounds excellent, in mastering terms) includes Live At The Royal Albert Hall, another 2017 remaster
Alongside it is another expanded album and a new remaster, In The Hot Seat.
This album was released in 1994 and suffers for the same issues that crippled Love Beach: the band’s attention was not on the job. Most of the reasons were medical. Carl Palmer was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and had just returned from minor surgery. Keith Emerson, meanwhile, had major issues with his right arm. He’d just undergone surgery on it. Greg Lake was asked about it at the time, “He’s recovering from a hand injury. He lost control of two of his fingers…. actually it’s rather nasty to say over your hamburgers but he had a nerve removed from this part of his elbow…the funny bone here and moved to this side of his arm. So that’s what he’s recovering from, but he’s ok.”
Part of the reason for the creation of this album was, again, contractual. Like Love Beach, this one was not produced by Greg Lake. You have to remember that all of the group’s best work was produced by Lake. Hot Seat is not a terrible album. No ELP album is that bad. But when the guys were not 100%, a sort of ‘cruise control’ settled upon their output. Again, there are nuggets of excellence to be heard here but this is an album created on automatic. This edition also features the Now Tour ’97/’98.