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Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep CD (album) cover

BRIEF NOCTURNES AND DREAMLESS SLEEP

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

4.12 | 463 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

buddyblueyes
5 stars "Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep," recorded with touring drummer, Jimmy Keegan, and new singer, ex-Enchant vocalist ,Ted Leonard revitalize Spock's Beard and set a new bar for the band.

What should be first perceived about "Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep" is that the music is true to the SB philosophy: complex song structures and challenging solos, yet, the music is easy to digest. Listening requires no work and even odd time signatures flow without sounding like forced intents that distract you from the listening experience. There are memorable vocal and instrumental phrases, and really strong vocal melodies (the bane of many prog recordings). It's music even your girlfriend could accept!

Above all that, there is one noteable added value ? the sound production and quality is outstanding! This is one of the best mixed, engineered and mastered audio recordings I've heard from the genre. Kudos to Rich Mouser who produces and engineers the mix. The instruments are all isolated and easily recognizable. Strong, creative bass lines propel the songs. The drums are beefy, with a face slapping snare and gut punching kick, and Jimmy Keegan drives the songs like a gun-powered actuator. The guitars explore many tones and solo with ease (and I just learned that Alan Morse doesn't even play with a pick!)The keys are exemplary ? a tour-de-force of tones, textures and wicked soloing! Every member sounds like they are giving 110%.

But what leapfrogs this band to new heights is the addition of Ted Leonard. The vocals have never been stronger. The harmonies have never been tighter and more challenging in their career. "Afterthoughts" and "Something Very Strange" are highlight songs. The chorus on "Something Very Strange" is infectious, especially when Ted sings in the higher octave in the second chorus, a great contrast in dynamics when compared to the first. The solo section contains an epic keyboard turn-a-round phrasing similar to what can be found in Steven Wilson's latest release"Luminol" ... that now makes me question who came out with the idea first?

"I Know Your Secret" has a great twist on the intro and takes the rest of the song in a whole new direction with an aggressive bass line and a guitar tone that channels Alex Lifeson via the late 1980's. The song "Submerged" sets it's sight straight on radio play and the standout vocals on "Afterthoughts" are incredible and may only be bested by Swedish proggers, Moon Safari.

This is a fully realized Spock's Beard and one of the strongest titles (if not, the strongest) in their illustrious career. The songs are coherent, concise and the album length is perfect. The special edition contains a few more songs and a remix of "Something Very Strange" with more focus on acoustic guitar and radio friendly editing. "Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep" is easily a recording that can remain in rotation longer than most prog albums. Spock's Beard is a great place to start if you're new to the Prog Rock and Metal genre, but the band still generates welcomed surprises for those already familiar with their catalog.

buddyblueyes | 5/5 |

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