The punk-rock wars of the mid-1970s ruined no band more than Emerson Lake & Palmer. Johnny Rotten might have been a secret Peter Hammill fan but he despised the bloated antics of ELP and wished them dead.
Keith and co knew they were beaten. They sold their mansions and retreated to semi-detacheds in Cricklewood. The show that never ends, er, ended – at least temporarily.
Regrouping in 1991, the original trio released Black Moon (6⁄10) the following year. Fans hoping for a quadruple concept album about the antics of a monster truck-cum-octopus were bitterly disappointed by its, well, ordinariness. The comeback begins well enough with the ominous title track but then tapers off alarmingly. Greg Lake’s blubbering sentimentality is intact on songs such as Affairs Of The Heart and Footprints In The Snow, but attempts to recreate the pomp and ceremony of the past are surprisingly muted.
The same criticisms apply to 1994’s In The Hot Seat (5⁄10). More electric chair than Magnus Magnusson, it’s a drab, low-key affair, Emerson and Lake’s in-studio loggerhead antics taking their toll. Where there were once deadly daggers there were now blunt butter knives, and that was no good at all.