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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 813 ratings

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4 stars It is fairly safe to say that this album has a little bit of everything that has made Spock's Beard great in the past: soaring epics, fun pop-prog, great vocal harmony, and varied emotional content that takes listeners on a virtual roller coaster ride. The album starts and finishes with two of the finest epic pieces from any prog band. The other songs are shorter, more accessible prog-pop numbers that could have appeared on any of the band's last few albums. So why doesn't it get the 5-star rating that the last two albums got? Well, what we have here is a band starting to repeat itself. Sandwiched between the album's openning and closing epics are four songs that aren't bad by any means, but are relatively unremarkable. I feel that one of the biggest inharent risks with this frequently-used epic bookending method is that the other songs tend to feel a bit like after-thoughts. These four songs certainly don't feel like filler, but they also don't do anything to differentiate themselves from the band's previous work. Yes, I realize that I'm being pretty critical and perhaps a little bit unfair, but the band really did set the bar pretty high with their earlier releases. 'Day For Night' and 'The Kindness of Strangers' are such incredible albums that they tend to steal the thunder from this one. Were it not for those releases, 'V' would easily be one of the band's best. Anyway, on to the analysis: "At The End Of The Day" is definitely the fastest moving 16 minute-plus song I've ever heard. You don't get any of the plodding, monotonous passeges that songs of this length can frequently fall prey to. The song also sees the band experimenting with some harder metal riffs that really add a nice new flair to the Beard's sound. "Revelation" and "Goodbye To Yesterday" are both fairly sober pieces that tend to slow down the album's pace. Again, these aren't bad songs, just unremarkable. "Thought Part II" and "All On A Sunday" are up-beat rockers that harken back to tracks on the last two albums. "All On A Sunday" also represents the band's first and (to date) only minor European pop hit. This isn't too much of a surprise as it is indeed very catchy. The album comes to a thunderous conclusion with "The Great Nothing," a 27 minute jugernaut tracing the origins of creativity and its manipulation into (ironically) pop success. Like "At The End Of The Day," this song has few slow parts and stands out as one of the Beard's greatest pieces of work. This album represented my first experience with the band, and it left me instantly craving more. Even though it isn't their best, this album would serve as a good starting point for any new Beard listener.
rangerm13 | 4/5 |


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