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Spock's Beard - Octane CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 394 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Progmatist
4 stars Because this is the band's second release after Neal Morse left, I consider this the sophomore effort of a developing band. And what an effort it is. Normally we don't think of a band's eighth release, regardless of whether the group is one less or not, as the start of something new. Nevertheless, I would argue that Neal Morse's influence was so strong on their previous records that his leaving is tantamount to the band's starting over. And when we listen to this album, we can definitely hear a band experimenting with a new sound. Neal Morse's signature synthesizer runs are gone, and instead we find a mixture of atmospheres both powerfully rocking and symphonically complex. Spock's Beard has always made use of outside musicians in their albums, but the horns and strings we here on Octane lean more toward the orchestral than ever before.

If I had to sum up this album in one sentence, I would say that it is the most varied and arguably the most complex of all SB releases. Sure there are some simpler straight-up rockers here, but they complement the bigger, more orchestral pieces perfectly. Then there is "She is Everything," arguably the best simple Spock's Beard song ever made with an equally moving guitar solo by Alan Morse. Unfortunatly, this album hasn't received the praise that it deserves from reviewers on this site. I may be wrong, but I would assume that the 70's prog bias on this forum may be to blame for the mediocre rating. Unlike Neal Morse's work, there is nothing retro about this album. In fact, I hear experimental sounds here that I feel should help to drive the progressive rock of this decade. Let's stop looking back and embrace the music of the new millenium. I find it here with Spock's Beard's Octane.

The Progmatist | 4/5 |


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