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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

Super_Mole
3 stars Writing this review, I have very little knowledge of Spock's Beard prior to Octane. This may be a good circumstance, though, due to the common bias against the band after Neal Morse departed. Octane is an album of both incredible moments and horrible mediocrity. The inconsistency of the tracks lends itself well to some individual songs, but it definately detracts from what could have been one of the top albums of 2005.

Where Octane excels is in its opening epic, A Flash Before My Eyes. While the song is indexed into seven parts and multiple movements, it should definately be considered and enjoyed as one piece. The beautiful song tells the tale of a man who is on the verge of dying in a car accident, and a reflection of his life as it, well... flashes before his eyes. Spock's Beard really pulled this story off without the smallest bit of cheesiness. I don't want to spoil anything, but I truely sympathised with the main character of the story.

The entirety of the epic, along with most of the album, has a decidedly classic rock feel coupled with some classical elements. The variety and beauty of the instrumentation is astounding in typical Spock's Beard fashion. You'll hear everything from a french horn to a saw blade played with a violin bow.

And surprisingly, it all works.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for most of the remaining tracks. NWC is a mediocre and repetitive instrumental at best, The Planet's Hum is interesting, but just doesn't have much direction or cohesiveness, and As Long As We Ride is probably the worst possible song to choose for the album closer aside from its lyrical relation to the album title.

On the other hand, the two remaining songs, There Was A Time and Watching The Tide, are both exceptional songs, and I'll admit to being obsessed with them for certain periods of time. There Was A Time is a typical classic rock song with a bit of progressive styling in the middle. That fact, along with some wonderful vocal melodies, definately makes this song a winner. Watching The Tide is simply put, a beautiful ballad that really ramps up near the end.

I applaud the band for a tremendous effort aside from the songs that I personally believe to be filler content. Anyone can tell that they are still searching for their own sound after their leader abruptly left for other creative opportunities. As an album, Octane's tank is only 3/5 full, but I have a strong feeling that Spock's Beard is just pulling into the gas station.

Super_Mole | 3/5 |

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