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Spock's Beard - Beware of Darkness  CD (album) cover

BEWARE OF DARKNESS

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.63 | 372 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Beware of Darkness is the second album from american symphonic prog rock band Spockīs Beard. On Beware of Darkness Spockīs Beard takes a leap forward from their good but not excellent debut album The Light. Beware of Darkness is probably my favorite from the band. One of the changes since the debut which has had a major impact on the sound of Spockīs Beard is the inclusion of Ryo Okumoto. Ryo Okumoto who mainly plays organ and other vintage keyboards is such a great musician and his playing really makes this album something special. Now with two keyboard players in the band Spockīs Beard had a more rich sound.

The album starts with the George Harrison ( The Beatles) cover Beware Of Darkness which is a pretty dark song with great synth and emotional singing from Neal Morse. I donīt know the original but this one is great. Next up is Thoughts which is a Gentle Giant influenced song with polyrythmic and multilayered vocals. Great complex song. Some might feel this is a ripp-off but personally I donīt care. The Doorway is the first epic on the album. With itīs 11:27 minutes itīs a beautiful epic song with a piano start which reminds me of Firth of Fifth by Genesis. We really get a taste of Neal Morse melodic skills on this one. Chatauqua is a short acoustic guitar song played by Alan Morse. Others have complained that this is not that exciting but I like it. Walking on the Wind is the next grand epic of the album and itīs one of the best Spockīs Beard songs ever written IMO. There is s Gentle Giant influence in some riffs, but all in all this is a great symphonic track. Listen to the beautiful ending of the song. Really grand and symphonic. The only weak song on the album is Waste Away which quite frankly is a waste of time. Itīs a cheesy semi ballad with pathetic emotional vocals from Neal Morse. Iīm sorry but this is too much for me. Weīre back on the right track with the ending epic Time has come. Lots of great parts both symphonic and challenging.

The musicianship is excellent. The members of Spockīs Beard each contribute with their own style to the music even though itīs obvious that itīs Neal Morse who writes most of the music.

The production is really well done and everything is good in the mix. I like that Dave Meros bass is pretty high in the mix which gives you that retro feel ( I canīt help thinking about Yes and Chris Squire). The sound is rich and warm.

The cover art isnīt very exciting really but itīs nothing that annoys the eye.

With this album Spockīs Beard cement that they are the leaders of the american retro symphonic prog rock genre. I know I was hooked when I heard this album. Beware of Darkness is also the Spockīs Beard album with least cheese on top which is something Iīm incredibly happy about. Itīs really a shame that Neal Morse felt the need to write such cheesy pop songs and even worse that he chose to include them on Spockīs Beard albums. The presence of such horrible songs makes it hard to say that this or any other Spockīs Beard album is a complete masterpiece. But then again there are so many other enjoyable and excellent songs on the albums that they never fail to impress and move me. Beware of Darkness is as I said probably my favorite from the band and Iīll rate it 4 stars.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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