Entertainment Weekly (1/22/93, p.57) - "...sounds more substantial than most any rock you'll hear being played today..." - Rating: B
Q (12/92, p.149) - 3 Stars - Good - "...records one of King Crimson's most adventurous periods...celebrates a musical application that was always dedicated and--occasionally--close to miraculous..."
Uncut (p.98) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t's the molten intensity of Robert Fripp's playing that lends KC their timelessness."
The Wire (p.55) - "[S]ome of the rawest and most exciting music ever committed to disc."
Down Beat (3/93, p.36) - 4 Stars - Very Good - "...This version of Crimson played with driven intensity and dark fury...The improvs can settle into crunching, ominous grooves or drift out to the final frontier. Unless you were in attendance, you haven't heard anything quite like it..."
Musician (3/93, p.95) - "...some of the heaviest, meanest and most muscular rock ever heard...Improvisations--sometimes searing, sometimes soaring, always memorable--are the centerpiece of this set...monstrously good..."
THE GREAT DECEIVER is everything that box sets should be about. It's the ultimate Crimson fan's wet dream--four seminal discs documenting the orgiastic entity that spat torrents of primal, white-hot fire. Only the brave and converted need enter here.
Take Disc One, for example. This disc captures the legendary Providence, Rhode Island gig from 1974, where "Providence" (from RED) was recorded. The inclusion by Fripp of the show in its entirety documents not only one of the band's last performances but one of its finest. Opening with "Larks Tongues, Part Two" and continuing into a lusty version of "Lament," the band then breaks through into the poignant strains of "Exiles," resting momentarily then revealing the magnificent 14-minute improv piece "A Voyage to the Centre of the Cosmos." Instantly, the staggered cadences and nocturnal growls of "Asbury Park" come to mind, but "Voyage" is a mini-epic of intergalactic ecstasy. Bruford pounds out a bulldozer beat, while Fripp spins off the edge of the world, Wetton jettisons excoriating basslines, and Cross' mellotron screams into the void. THE GREAT DECEIVER melts the grooves off the forgotten bootlegs, and we can bask in its stormy afterglow. There was no substitute for Crimson, '73-'74.