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Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 432 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
2 stars I'd lost track of the band after Neal Morse left, and, if I'm honest, I always thought they were the weaker of the four bands who made up Transatlantic.

However, a combination of curiousity, a nice album title, and a couple of reviews, persuaded me to reinvest in the band with this, their tenth studio release.

By and large, I'm not devastated that I got this, but, then again, I feel that this is one of the weaker new albums I have got this year.

I like the opener, Edge Of The In-Between, which is a grand and bombastic symphonic track coming in at over ten minutes. A little formulaic, maybe, but certainly a strong track which does remind one of the Neal Morse era with the band.

Things get all eclectic and weird on The Emperors Clothes, with a brass section which sounds quite a bit like some of John Entwistle's madder moments. Sadly, that's about the most interesting part of the track, which tries its best to be different, but merely ends up being a bit of a hotch potch. A throw away track which actually grates on the nerves the more I listen to it. I'm not altogether sure quite what or who they are trying to do here, but whatever it is, it doesn't work very well.

Regrettably, that is the real problem with the album as a whole. There is nothing, aside from the opener, that I can see myself listening to avidly in ten years time, and it is somewhat beyond me how this could possibly be described as a masterpiece of prog rock as in some reviews.

Sure, they are good musicians. and the vocals are competent enough without being outstanding. But there is, to me, the sound of a band clawing its way in so many different directions in trying to be distinctive, that they end up being either dull or derivative. And a word of advice to them. The Flower Kings do the wacky, jazzy, eclectic thing far better than you. Don't try to compete. Ditto with the Dream Theater metal thing. They are also far better at it. The symphonic keyboard passages are very well played, but they are not, either, very distinctive.

I am not a reviewer who thinks that this is a band who deserve a poor review because of a "missing" band member/leader. As I said, I didn't rate them that highly before, either.

But this, I am afraid, is not a very good album, and is absolutely only one for those who simply have to own every Spock's Beard album. On that basis, two stars only, I'm afraid, and it will be a while before the hard earned money is reinvested in this direction.

lazland | 2/5 |

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