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

SPOCK'S BEARD

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 283 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Chris H
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This self-titled release by Spock's Beard was among my first purchases of modern music in a very long time, and I truly did not know what to expect as this 9th studio album was the first SB album I had the chance to listen to.

The album starts out in a fine fashion with "On A Perfect Day". The opening to this song reminds me of a good 70's synth intro, as Ryo is a very capable keyboardist. Then the lyrics come in, and although Nick's voice is short of spectacular, he seems to bring some life into a seemingly depressing song. "Skeletons At The Feast" is an excellent instrumental, filled to the brim with excellent progressive elements such as more keyboard art by Ryo and a magnificent bass line from Dave Meros that reminds me of an early Chris Squire. "Is This Love?" is not a bad song by all means, but it fits terribly within the confines of this album. This album being progressive cannot have a 3 minute hard rock song fueled by intense guitars and drumming. It just does not mix well. "All That's Left" is a nice reminder of the progressive elements on the album, although I must say that this is one of the most depressing things I have listened to. This would fit fine on Porcupine Tree's "The Sky Moves Sideways". Do not listen to this song if your relationship just ended!! "With Your Kiss" is the first of two epics on this album, although the second one is broken into parts while this stays as a whole. Another depressing tune for the first 4 or so minutes, it really picks up into a nice rocker at around 5 minutes with some good riffs and tight drumming. "Sometimes They Stay, Sometimes They Go" starts out with an excellent guitar intro, but the is quickly ruined by some of the worst vocals I have ever heard. More great guitar, but the vocals overwhelm any of the musical advantages. "The Slow Crash Landing Man" is just the polar opposite of the previous song, as it features some excellent vocals with very little substance backing it up for the duration of the song. "Wherever You Stand" is another hard song that does not belong on this album. It completely breaks up the flow and feel of the album. "Hereafter" is a very slow song, and it is one of the most boring 5 minutes I have experienced. I listened to it once and then never again.

I need a second paragraph to explain the second epic, as it was an amazing piece of music. This epic definitely lifted the rating of the album. "As Far As The Mind Can See" is the name of the entire epic, but it is broken down into 4 differently titled parts. "Part 1 - Dreaming In The Age Of Answers" is absolutely mind-blowing compared to the previous work presented on the album. The lyrics actually make sense, and every instrument is in sync with everything else. For the first time on the album, Nick's vocals are crystal- clear. "Part 2 - Here's A Man" starts off with some nice percussion and an excellent bass line, but then Ryo quickly takes over with some fast keyboard work. The vocals are very disappointing compared to those on the previous part, and they bring the quality of this whole section down. "Part 3 - They Know We Know" is the most accessible part of the whole epic, and it features some nice musical passages as well as the return of Nick's good singing voice, which occasionally lapses. "Part 4 - Stream Of Unconsciousness" is worth a star in itself. A flurry of instruments open up this final part and then Ryo's keyboards quickly fill the speakers as the song takes off. The song is amazing from beginning to end, especially when you find that Nick's vocals don't disappoint here, either. "Rearranged" is the last song on the track, and it reminds me of "Hereafter" in the intense lack of substance presented in the work. Well, at least in the beginning. The song really does pick up at around 2 minutes, but then it starts to sound like "Is This Love?" and ruins the impact of the progressive epic that came before it.

So, as you may have picked up from my review, I wasn't exactly ranting and raving over this album. Nick's vocals were very inconsistent, and the compositions of the minor songs got lazy at points. However, I feel that it was exceptional in some spots and contained a very progressive feel to it in some spots. Both epics were amazing pieces of works, especially considering the lack of brilliant music released in 2006. "Is This Love?" and "Hereafter" take this average album down to 2 stars, but the incredible "As Far As The Mind Can See" lifts it back up to 3.

3 Stars! Some excellent music on here!

Chris H | 3/5 |

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