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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover

V

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 582 ratings

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LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
5 stars And the band comes back into the appropriate focus. This album sits up quite high on my list, probably my second favorite release from the Beard, next to Beware of Darkness. By this point, most of the prog ideals of complicated time signatures and odd keys are mostly thrown out the door, leaving a sort of symphonic art rock sound. If you're looking for that kind of prog, you probably will be a good bit disappointed. However, if you are looking for quality music that can hold your attention for an hour, this is a wise place to look.

The opener, At the End of the Day, has a driving and fast drum rhythm and a unique sound to it. In fact, this sound will stick around for a lot of the album, and is in my mind the true sound of Spock's Beard. I don't know what it is, but it's a certain combination of a keyboard sound and the bass and the guitar and then Neal singing over the top of all of it. Either way, the song slows down in the middle, but then reappears with such ferocity that I have trouble calling it straight rock. Amazing drum fills and a very crunchy guitar mark the latter half of this piece. The chorus happens to be very catchy as well.

Revelation is a stunning vocal piece. Mellotron (I'm almost positive it's mellotron, but I'm not a keyboardist, so what do I know) tinkles throughout this song, shining in the quiet portions. The choruses, however, showcase such a power and strength in Neal's voice that every time I hear it, I get chills. Anyone who says Neal is not a great vocalist, or even is just an average vocalist, needs to listen to this song. I can't remember for sure, but years ago, this was the song that convinced me Spock's Beard was really worth listening to. Pretty sure it's this one. That or At the End of the Day. Either way, it didn't take long into the record for me decide this band might work for me.

Thoughts (Part II) is quite the worthy successor to the first. Though less interested in the vocal interplay that dominated the first, the instruments this time take the front stage (and the nod to Gentle Giant). The bass is grotesquely fat here, but in a beautiful way. Hard to explain, but it sounds amazing. The drums on the outro bit always inspire me as well. Another nice fun one.

All on a Sunday is rather straightforward, driven by some form of keyboard, but is still really nice. Cheerful, kind of goofy, and with a nice Neal Morse chorus, it's no prog classic, but it's an enjoyable little ditty. And an album with two massive bookends like V, a cheerful and uncomplicated ditty is always nice.

Of course, then comes Goodbye to Yesterday, a pretty but not terrifically amazing ballad. It's one of my favorite Neal ballads, but that still does not mean that it's that high up on the list. The low point of the album, but that also might be on account of the looming shadow of

The Great Nothing. This song is huge. The instruments are amazing. It flows so nicely and almost seamlessly. This is my favorite epic by Spock's Beard, and quite possibly my favorite epic from all of Neal's projects. From the opening ahhs to the concluding tinkle of a piano chord, this song blows my mind. It must be heard.

An essential album. Not all proggy in the 70s sense of the word, but certainly beautiful and amazing. These boys have so much talent and yet keep it restrained for the right moment. Not an album to miss.

LiquidEternity | 5/5 |

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