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Spock's Beard - The Oblivion Particle CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 321 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars A better way to fly!

I have never been much of a Spock's Beard fan, but having learned that Ted Leonard from Enchant and Thought Chamber is now the lead vocalist of the band I decided to give their two most recent albums a chance. The latest to date is The Oblivion Particle from last year which is a very positive surprise for me!

The band sounds more inspired and vibrant here than on anything I have heard from them before. Bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, and vocals are all absolutely top notch throughout and so is the production, but the most important thing is the quality of the material which is were I have often found Spock's Beard to be lacking in the past. I was surprised to see that so much of the material is written by outside writers with five of the nine tracks being credited to producer John Boegehold and another one to a Stan Ausmus. Two tracks are penned by Leonard and one is a collaboration between Alan Morse and Ryo Okumoto. While there are no weak tracks at all, my favourites are the final four (A Better Way To Fly, The Center Line, To Be Free Again, and Disappear) and the opener (Tides Of Time).

This album is a bit darker and heavier than the previous Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep, and it is also instrumentally more diverse with many lovely acoustic instruments like autoharp, banjolele, electric sitar, and mandolin appearing to great effect, and also on the closing track David Ragsdale from Kansas guests on violin. There is also lots of tasteful classical piano on many occasions throughout the album. The Center Line goes full Keith Emerson in the beginning and end.

The influences include many of the usual suspects like Genesis and Kansas, but this time around they are better digested and balanced and it is not the case here like on some earlier Spock's Beard albums that one section sounds like a rip-off of, for example, Gentle Giant and the next section of another classic band, etc. Tides Of Time sounds like a cross between Genesis and Deep Purple with Ted Leonard singing in a Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins style and a nice acoustic guitar break leading into hard rocking end section.

The Oblivion Particle is quite possibly Spock's Beard's best album! Highly recommended even to those, like myself, who never fell for earlier Spock's Beard.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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