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Spock's Beard - Spock's Beard CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.34 | 365 ratings

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Man With Hat
3 stars The Beard keep getting better. This is their third studio album since the Neal Morse's leave, and in my opinoin, it is their best of this era. However, it is by no means a trip back to their roots. Spock's Beard contains a lot of new ideas (although it does throw it back to the "classic" era for the opening two songs). Personally that what really makes this album such a hit, the new ideas. The jazziness of part two of the suite, the laid back grooveness of All Thats Left, the flow of the closer (with an awesome keys job). All their new ideas really shine on this record. Sadly, there is alot more then just new ideas.

I'll start with the good: "On A Perfect Day" and "Skeletons At The Feast", pure prog in action. These two songs really take you back to the N. Morse days, but still keeps things sounding fresh and modern. Also, With Your Kiss is another excellent progressive song, however very little of it harkens to their past. (And thats another new, fresh idea). All three of these songs weave back and worth through wonderous soundscapes and really make you think that the Beard have still got it. "As Far As The Mind Can See" (this albums "Epic") is certainly the best one yet. Even though its not entirely progressive, nor entirely coherent as an epic, its still shines through as a high spot on this album (especially parts two and four).

Unfortuantly, IMO, the Beard also try their hand at a few hard rock and ballad like songs once again. Most of them do not work. Is This Love, is certainly a low point for this band. The "Middle Four" ("Sometimes They Stay, Sometimes They Go", "The Slow Crash Landing Man", "Whereever You Stand", "Hereafter") contain a few snipnets of interestingness, but for the most part fall flat. (As a side note: The first few times I listened to this I didn't like most of the lyrics nor Nick's vocals. However, over the course of time they have grown on me, and while certainly not the best are pretty good overall).

All in all, this is a decent release. Tracks like "Skeleton's At The Feast", "Rearragned", and "With Your Kiss" could be considered SB classics. Although I expected more out of this album (it was hyped well), I was not disappointed with repeated listenings. (If Octane was a giant leap from FE, Spock's Beard is only a small hop in front of Octane...but that small hop still covered alot of ground). Fans of post-Neal should find plenty to like about this album, and even old Neal- era diehards should be able to latch on the opening two tracks. Their potential continues to rise. 3.5 stars.

Man With Hat | 3/5 |


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