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Spock's Beard - Octane CD (album) cover

OCTANE

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 284 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Almost a crashing halt

The second album by post-Morse Spock's Beard [SB] (and it is important to tell the two apart) is a very different offering from the band indeed. This one is a concept album - almost rock album that tells the story of a man in a car crash reliving his life. Now let me just say this: I wanted to love this album. I really wanted to get into it because the concept was something I found to be excellent, and some of the songs are very good indeed. Take for example the first lyrics that hit the audience, ''the windshield explodes/like a bomb packed with diamonds''. Absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately, the album has a lot of problems and while the album is not inherently horrible, nor bad by any means, this is an album that - if you're not a fan of the band you might not ''get it''.

What's also strange about the album is this that while SB is a band that usually likes to make things as long and drawn out as possible (in their symphonic fashion) this one sticks to the short tracks and nothing even hits the 7-minute mark. This is likely because the album was meant to be taken as a whole, but it just means that you shouldn't expect any sprawling compositions coming into the album. Really, everything is shorter and at points rockier. There's a sharp contrast in the songs, as they range from some of the heaviest stuff the band has ever done such as Surfing Down The Avalanche to stuff that is much more lo-key like I Wouldn't Let It Go.

Indeed, if you never liked SB because of their slight AOR twinges before then you'll not be a fan of this one. It's the slowest (on the whole) from the band to date and it has more of those AOR feelings than any other record they've put out. This isn't always bad though, some of the slower (more radio friendly) tracks are quite good. Take for example She Is Everything which is am emotional track that fits in quite well with the album.

Of course there's also a couple very good heavier tracks as well. The album is home to one of the better SB songs ever to be written (albeit more of a rock song) in the form of Climbing Up That Hill with its incredibly catchy chorus that creeps under your skin and just induces pure enjoyment. A couple of the later songs are quite good as well such as the heavy instrumental NWC the very cool The Planet's Hum and the fun closer As Long As We Ride which all should make any SB fan smile.

But that's really the problem with the album is that it's geared very much towards fans and while the fans may get a huge kick out of it the world will likely just shrug this one off and go in search of material elsewhere. Ironically, this is likely the least progressive album from the band, more of a soft/hard rock opera for the masses and non-fan listeners might be turned off by that. However, if you are a fan then you'll likely get a kick out of this one - but it may never be your favorite by the group. 3 gas pumps out of 5, a lot of things to like about it, but if you're not already a fan then I suggest you start somewhere else in the band's discography. Fans will still like it, though.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |

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