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

SPOCK'S BEARD

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.35 | 278 ratings

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jimpetrie2000
4 stars This is the third album since the departure of co-founder Neal Morse. We get a mixture of straight ahead rockers, epics and ballads. I agree with other reviews in that there is too much music at 77 minutes. The band should have recorded less material and done a better job on what they did record.

On a Perfect day is pure prog with a superb instrumental mid section with acoustic guitar, then piano and flute and other band members joining in. Stunning opener.

Skeletons at the Feast is an instrumental and starts off with driving bass lines and drumming. The ending isn't so good though, it needed more work. It reminds me of the frenetic freak-out style soloing that mired the Feel Euphoria album.

Is This Love is a straight forward rock song. They setup a great up-tempo groove but at less than three minutes it's far too short. They should have developed the song more. All That's Left, Sometimes They Stay Sometimes They Go and Wherever They Stand are also more accessible and although there are some good moments they are all reasonably uninspiring. Three lacklustre tracks is just too many to forgive.

With Your Kiss is one of the highlights. There is a laid back opening with some stunning keyboard work. The music becomes more ominous and changes to a darker section with jungle drumming and tribal chanting and driving bass lines - a complete revelation this section. The song ends with a superb symphonic style sweep. Brilliant.

The Slow Crash Landing Man is the other highlight. Great song title and lyrics and has that dramatic symphonic style. Reminds me of Ghosts of Autumn from Feel Euphoria (which was the highlight of that album). Hereafter is a ballad and offers a nice change of pace and is well done.

The obligatory epic is As Far as the Mind Can See. The music flows well between the sections I especially like the jazz inspired section and the intelligent use of other instruments (string quartet and brass). The track is very good but still not up to the standard of the Morse-era epics, especially lyrically. They included another track after the epic. The song starts off well enough but the ending is awful.

On the whole I really like the album and it stands up well against Day for Night or Snow. Meros and DiVirgilio consistently deliver the goods, especially Meros (he is this band's best asset) but the most improved musician on this outing is Ryo Okumoto. He has finally moved out of Neal Morse's shadow. Alan Morse has some great moments but he lacks creativity on occasions. This album finds the band still searching for that tour de force recording as a four piece. Do they have that magnum opus in them, we will have to wait and see....

jimpetrie2000 | 4/5 |

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