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Spock's Beard - Snow CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.85 | 642 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Ace Face
5 stars Spock's Beard bears the brunt of many criticisms of borrowing from the 70's progressive giants, some of which are deserved, most notably the Gentle Giant vocal imitations, but on this album there is none of the borrowing to be had. Snow is their last album with Neal Morse, and he most certainly went out on a high note: this album is the culmination of everything they have done up to this point: the Genesis aspirations that have been evident from the beginning, the epics, the more classic rock oriented manner of the middle of the last album V, and Neal Morse's own conversion to christianity. Every band member is putting out fantastic playing on every level, from the solo-heavy Devil's got my Throat to the delicate Solitary Soul. Neal postures many different characters in the story very well, despite his vocal limitations, and the combined keyboard work from the two also weaves well into the soaring guitar work from Alan Morse and the athletic and powerful rhythm section from Dave Meros and Nick D'Virgilio. Moreover, what makes this album so timeless is the seamless fusion of classic rock-ish songs with the Beard's innate progressive sensibilities. Never does the progressive rock side get out of control like it did on The Great Nothing from their previous album. The Beard manages to keep my interest for the whole 2 hours by transitioning from menacing rockers like Welcome to NYC to ballads like Love Beyond Words. Not only that, but Morse delivers incredible vocal performances on I'm the Guy and Devil's got my Throat. He shows his critics that he truly can let loose with rage and anger. He balances the excesses of those songs with the simple beauty of Reflection and Carie, bringing childlike tears to the listeners eyes. Looking for Answers is a classic love-rock song, straight out of the classic rock radio, but then Freak Boy throws us for a twist with a riff so heavy and angular it belongs on a King Crimson record. The more soul-searching ballardy of Solitary Soul, Wind at my Back, I'm Dying, and I Will Go hint at Morse's religious intentions while staying true to the story and the band's standard of epicness. The prog die hards can indulge in the two overtures, Devil's got my Throat, All is Vanity, Snow's Night Out, Ladies and Gentleman, and Long Time Suffering for the typical guitar and keyboard pyrotechnics from the Morse Brothers and Ryo, along with some spectacular drumming from Nick D'Virgilio. None of this mentions the storyline, a very spiritual affair about an albino boy who can read peoples minds, find whats wrong with them, and help them come to grips with their problems. He goes to New York and meets some punks that he helps and they turn into followers. He begins a movement called The regeneration and gets a lot of press for it. However, it all falls apart when he falls in love with a girl named Carie, and she rejects him. He secludes himself and becomes depressed and disheveled, causing his followers to lose faith. He eventually comes to peace with himself after indulging in the new gang of local punks, and reminisces about the days when his followers would pledge their undying loyalty to him. At least, thats the way I see it. The story can be interpreted many ways, much like the lamb of too many comparisons, and Morse and company provide a wonderful background for it. All in all, this is the album where the Beard take all their tricks, talents and gifts and go completely overboard with everything, and the result is the best Neal Morse-led album.
The Ace Face | 5/5 |


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