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

THE LIGHT

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 466 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaardvark
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I credit Spock's Beard's The Light as the album that brought me back to progressive rock. At the time, at least for me, the newest releases on the music scene were at best deplorable and dismal. I was hanging on to prog rock by just a thread with Talk by Yes and the newest incarnation of Asia, and then eventually discovering the tribute albums by Magna Carta. On a whim, I saw this album by a group named Spock's Beard, noticed the long playing times, and bought it from a record store that no longer exists. I was literally blown away. These guys were not only giving a strong nod to their predecessors of the 1970s, but they were taking it to new and higher levels of musical composition and ability.

The Light is probably the best progressive rock debut album ever released, at least to my ears. It contains, mind-boggling lyrics (I just love those), extremely skillful playing, two incredible multi-part epics, beautiful melodies and hooks mixed in with delightfully complex time signatures, and a raw energy that I think separates Spock's Beard from all of their contemporaries as well as their predecessors. There are influences present all over the place and intertwined with each other to create something quite unique. At best, I can pick out influences from Yes (mostly in the bass playing, Dave Meros is as skilled as Chris Squire in my mind), Genesis, Gentle Giant, and Kansas. I'm sure there are more, but these were the more obvious ones. But don't think that Spock's Beard sounds like Yes or Genesis. They don't for the most part and that's probably because they don't put the keyboards as forward in the mix as Yes and Genesis did, relying more heavily on Hammond organ and Mellotron (one of my most favorite instruments).

Neal Morse, for the most part, is the man behind this group. His voice, though not on the level of a Jon Anderson or Peter Gabriel, carries a raw and emotional feeling to it. His voice is just perfect for this music and I can't imagine anyone providing the proper delivery that Morse does. Nick D'Virgilio is probably one of the best drummers I've ever heard. He's definitely in the same league as a Mike Portnoy, or a 1970s Phil Collins. Neal Morse's brother Alan is the guitarist and is also quite skilled for this style of music. Although not in the same league as a Steve Howe or David Gilmour, his playing style is quite unique and has a reliance on making effective use of feedback to produce some really cool sounds.

Clearly a masterpiece, possibly the best prog rock debut ever, and the attention-grabber that brought me back to prog rock to discover the new movement that was taking place in the mid-to-late 1990s. Definitely in the same league as the 1970s greats, possibly even better. Five stars and very highly recommended.

progaardvark | 5/5 |

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