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Spock's Beard - The Kindness Of Strangers CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 480 ratings

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3 stars During the second half of the 90's the popularity of Progressive Rock had started to increase in favor for all old fans of the movement and Spock's Beard was definitely one of the major reasons.This was prooved by the fact that the band was invited for the second time to the mega festival Progfest in 1997 (the first one taking place in 1995), but it was during the same year that the prolific Americans found time to record a third studio album.''The kindness of strangers'' was eventually released in May 98', again Neal Morse's Radiant, IQ's Giant Electric Pea and Metal Blade were among the publishers to release a Spock's Beard album.

''The kindness of strangers'' shows a slightly different side of the group, speaking of the composing way.The long opener ''The good don't last'' and the following ''In the mouth of madness'' are set in a familar style established by the band with strong YES, KING CRIMSON and GENESIS influences, turning from dramatic and bombastic instrumental Progressive Rock to ethereal textures with sensitive vocals and plenty of synths, organ and Mellotron.The use of strings recall classic-period RENAISSANCE and the overall style is complex, Symphonic Prog with some inredible breaks and twists.The next few short pieces suggest a poppier attitude with the vocals offered through plenty of disturbing distortions and the song structures being more accesible.Hints from THE BEATLES are combined with a prog color, featuring again Mellotron and synths, while the guitar parts become quite heavy, even with an Alternative Rock vibe a moments, as Spock's Beard were off to add some more contemporary stylings in their music.Things will get back in the correct place with two long epics at the end of the album, especially ''Harm's way'' belongs among the best pieces recorded by the band, intense, intricate and dramatic Symphonic Rock with superb work by Neal Morse on Hammond organ much in a GENESIS style and a beautiful balance between powerful, rich instrumental parts and lyrical soundscapes.''Flow'', clocking at 16 minutes, contains partly some poetry written by Tony Ray, a school friend of Neal Morse, and comes as a decent example of dense and intelligent Progressive Rock with strong Classical inspirations (again RENAISSANCE come to mind during the lovely piano interludes) and grandiose musicianship.

Not as good as the impressive ''Beware of darkness'' due to the questionable style of the mid-placed tracks, but the long ones are offering again some of the very best modern Symphonic Rock of the time.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

apps79 | 3/5 |


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