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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 836 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Spock's Beard's almost final album with Neal Morse finds them in the new century with an album stronger than anything they had done before. They were long gone from the days of The Light, and now they were delving into newer, heavier territory. The album, bookended by two extended pieces, is the culmination of all elements that they had created at the time and then tweaked to give it a newer and harder edge, harder than before. Morse is as always the chief songwriter and tunesmith for the album, and his flare and style come full circle with this one.The rest of the band is also top notch, them being at their strongest during their time with Neil. All the pieces on this album are strong, even the poppier middle tracks, but that's because they are strong pop songs with solid melodies and solid lyrics.

At the End of the Day opens the album, and what a way to open it. A whopping 16 minute epic that utilizes all the tricks in the Beard's book. Neal Morse has a strong vocal performance on this track, with the choruses being noteworthy throughout (as Bob put it, similar to Close to the Edge because of the repetition of the title of the song). The mellotron and organ work on this track are sublime, and Alan Morse is incredibly heavy in parts of the song, (especially towards the end during one of the final organ solos). Revelation follows, this mellow track is a refreshing breather from At the End of the Day, but the choruses are sneering and heavy, and the guitar solo in this song is among the best on the album. Thoughts Part II is a continuation of the same song off of Beware of Darkness. The Gentle Giant inspired vocals and the strong instrumental sections top off this song, which rounds out the first half of the album.

All on a Sunday is the poppiest track on the album, with rather simple lyrics and a catchy chorus that hooks the listener in. It is the only weak link in the album, but even this track isn't that bad. Goodbye to Yesterday features some strong harmonies and acoustic performances. It has this feeling of the Beatles from Abbey Road on it, and being that Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album, there is nothing to dislike about the track. The Great Nothing concludes the album, and it is an epic to end all epics. Throughout the 27 minutes of the track, the mood changes from dissonant acoustic guitars to triumphant synth fills and stabbing bass lines similar to those of Chris Squire. The acoustic theme to the song is among the best Morse has come up with today, and the lyrics are nothing short of amazing, thoughtful, thought provoking and arguably the best he's written.

Overall, V is in my mind the best album Spock's Beard has come out with today. A bit of a note, this album has almost exactly the same artwork as Symphony X's (who are signed to the same label as Spock's Beard) album V (which came out the same year). Coincidence? I do not know, but what I do know is that V is a strong album that no person should go without. Who said modern day prog was derivative and unoriginal? They obviously haven't listened to this album. 4.5/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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