When Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, and Carl Palmer left the Nice, King Crimson, and Atomic Rooster, respectively, they created the first prog-rock supergroup. ELP's 1971 debut was full of just as much bombast, technical facility, and brash classical-rock fusion as prog admirers could have hoped. A large part of the band's appeal was the keyboard mastery of Emerson, who shows both superhuman chops and sophisticated compositional abilities on the classically tinged instrumental "The Barbarian," which opens the album.
"Take a Pebble" and "Lucky Man" represent the more pop-oriented ballad side of the ELP sound, for which bassist and singer Greg Lake is chiefly responsible. The instrumental epics "The Three Fates" and "Tank" find all three musicians interacting at a furious level, throwing awe-inspiring licks around with uncanny ease, with plenty of octopus-armed drumming from Carl Palmer. Epic, ambitious, and overflowing with technical mastery, EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER paved the way for the prog rock phenomenon of the '70s.
Rolling Stone (4/15/71, p.42) - "...This is such a good album, it is best heard as a whole..."
Uncut (magazine) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The LP's six tracks run the gamut of ELP, mood-switching from lakeside tranquility to a rockier, riffier attack."