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SNOW

Spock's Beard

Symphonic Prog


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Spock's Beard Snow album cover
3.85 | 521 ratings | 82 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1
1. Made Alive / Overture (5:32)
2. Stranger in a Strange Land (4:29)
3. Long Time Suffering (6:03)
4. Welcome to NYC (3:32)
5. Love Beyond Words (3:24)
6. The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick) (4:05)
7. Devil's Got My Throat (7:17)
8. Open Wide the Flood Gates (6:14)
9. Open the Gates Part 2 (3:02)
10. Solitary Soul (7:33)
11. Wind at My Back (5:12)

CD 2
1. Second Overture (3:47)
2. 4th of July (3:11)
3. I'm the Guy (4:48)
4. Reflection (2:49)
5. Carie (3:06)
6. Looking for Answers (5:17)
7. Freak Boy (2:12)
8. All Is Vanity (4:35)
9. I'm Dying (5:09)
10. Freak Boy Part 2 (3:01)
11. Devil's Got My Throat Revisited (1:55)
12. Snow's Night Out (2:04)
13. Ladies And Gentleman, Mr. Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards (2:40)
14. I Will Go (5:08)
15. Made Alive / Wind at My Back (8:27)


Total Time: 114:32

CD3
1. South Side of the Sky (9:11)
2. The Good Don't Last/Open Wide the Flood Gates (live acoustic) (11:26)
3. Working on 'Devil/Fiddly/Disco' (4:41)
4. Looking for Answers (live acoustic) (4:59)
5. Stranger in a Strange Land (demo) (2:34)
6. 4 O'Clock (0:24)
7. Working on Ryo's Solo (7:42)
8. Lost Bass Solo (2:01)
9. The Light (live acoustic) (6:08)
10. Working on 'I Will Go' (2:10)


Total Time: 51:10

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Neal Morse / lead vocals, piano, all synth, acoustic guitar
- Ryo Okumoto / hammond and mellotron
- Dave Meros / bass, vocals, French horn
- Alan Morse / electric guitars, vocals
- Nick D'Virgilio / drums, percussion, vocals

GUEST MUSICIANS:
- Chris Carmichael / violin, viola and cello
- Jim Hoke / sax, clarinet and autoharp
- Neil Rosengarden / flugelhorn, trumpet
- Molly Pasutti / backing vocals 'Open the gates part 2'

Releases information

InsideOutMusic - SPV 092-65152 DCD - IOMCD 100

Some editions have a third disc of bonus tracks, demos, works in progress, and live performances.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to LiquidEternity for the last updates
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Metal Blade 2002
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SPOCK'S BEARD Snow ratings distribution


3.85
(521 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
34%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
38%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

SPOCK'S BEARD Snow reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars When I first heard SPOCK'S BEARD were working on a concept album I was to be honest a little concerned they might just not be a good fit for the concept thing ! Well now after having played it a million times I must tell you my apprehension was totally unwarranted. "Snow" is truly a powerful album full of grand themes, heavy musicianship and a very fitting story line. The 2 CD coverage of this story is quite successful really with what I am sure some will say is unnecessarily prolonged story unfolded onto 2 discs, but I must oppose this view. Although SB could have told the story on 1 Cd it gives them the space to really unleash some telling musicianship. The music as usual is rich and expressive with some great vocals by Neal MORSE and Co. As with all SPOCK'S BEARD albums, "Snow" is full of vocal harmonies and wild timing to keep your toes tapping. Sonically this album is pure magic with some incredible speaker separation and instrumental depth. The songs themselves are quite excellent with MORSE being the majority contributor to this collection. Musical themes run throughout the album with both soft and loud moments. The story line is bit wild with some human aboration named SNOW and the CD's tells us of his story and encounters.in many ways not unlike the story line of GENESIS' "Lamb Lies Down..." or IQ's - "Subterranea".

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#11062) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, March 20, 2004

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In the average, this pretentious work is too much emulating the ideas within "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" by GENESIS and, unlike the vocalists from the famous English band, S.B. avail themselves of Neal MORSE alone, who is involved also with the back vocals. The songs are connected quite well, but the concept is not fluid and easy to understand. Moreover the stuff by Neal MORSE is becoming here more and more tired. Good double CD, quite prolix and not completely worth checking out, with the presence of a strange cover concerning "South Side of the Sky" by YES! However make your choice and good luck!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#11074) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 03, 2004

Review by Dick Heath
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock Specialist
2 stars I was lucky and got sent a reviewer's copy of "Snow "(apparently the best tracks crammed onto a single CD), and then somebody lent me the proper double with the bonuses. The following is my reaction to hearing the unedited version of Side One of "Snow": - initially I was pleased by catchy riffs, but very quickly I found myself fussing and asking myself: where that riff come from, ah here's the Yes bit, hey now the Gentle Giant chorus, goodness not heard them do that before but which bit of Deep Purple was that lifted from, oh no Genesis again. I took me about 40 minutes to realise I wasn't really listening to the music as a whole, but rather getting very cross that SB had again given the loyal but seemingly complaint fan base, another lot of derivative retro (prog) rock. But at least they play their own instruments. (And "The Kindness Of Strangers" is amongst my top 5 of 90's prog albums, where SP just about avoided the cliches heard on albums released either side of it).

I didn't do more than sample disc two and didn't tarry with nothing to hold my attention - I've got much more original music to hear. But I'll confess, I still play bits of the album in a very selective way, even on my radio show when"The Devil's Got My Throat" is announced as SP's tribute to early Deep Purple. (Is Spocks Beard is the Ocean Colour Scene of prog rock?). As a concept album, it never came anywhere near the classic concept albums of old, there is too little to hold my attention to bother with the underlying story.

In many respects I'm glad Neil Morse left SP, personally I felt he burnt his batteries out with the amount of touring and composing he was doing both for SP and Transatlantic, and it showed in many of the albums he did after "Kindness".

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Send comments to Dick Heath (BETA) | Report this review (#11078) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2004

Review by Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Spock's Beard has recorded their magnum opus with Snow. If you have been longing for the sound of progressive rock in the 70s, this band is prepared to transport you back to that time in the blink of an eye. Clearly reminiscent of the group's that inspired them to become what they are such as Genesis and ELP, they produce a tight and even mixture of layered keyboards and heavy-duty guitar runs, and the gentle touch when necessary in each composition. This is their first concept album, which is about a boy that turns into a rock god. Snow is comparable to the character called "Powder" in the film of the same name.

This was a very expensive and lavish production. Getting a copy for review was even a difficult task because it was so costly. Finally, I have one in my ever-loving prog-rock mitts. This album could be the best progressive rock recording of the year, and the year is nearly over. I have heard many great projects this year, but this one has to be the most ambitious and accessible recording yet. It is chock full of defining moments. As with many groups in the genre, this band sports a superstar at every position in the band, much like Dream Theater or The Flower Kings.

"Devil's Got My Throat" is rousing number that I would consider the apex of the entire recording. Neal Morse growls his way through the song and it surges with power and energy from start to finish. In actuality the entire scope and breadth of the 26 tracks has an impact that will linger with you long after you have given it an initial listen. This group is widely considered the best at producing their style of music over the last 10 years, which is a mouthful to digest considering the company that they keep. It may or may not be true dependent on your own personal tastes or perception. In any event, Spock's Beard is no doubt one of the premier prog-rock bands in the world today. I think with the advent of this recording it should put them in the same category as their influences. They do indeed have many other groups that are the wind at their backs; they just are not strong enough to knock them of their perch high atop the world music giants yet.

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#11087) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
3 stars The parallels between this and Genesis's 'Lamb Lies Down' are obvious - increasingly popular progressive rock band releases double concept album dealing with life's choices, set in New York just before lead vocalist / band "leader" leaves group.

That to one side, Spocks Beard have never been ones to hide their influences, rather they prefer to wear them on their sleeves for all to see - this is due in no small part to the hugely talented Ryo Okumoto's finely crafted, yet shamelessly derivative keyboard lines (still, it's nice to hear the combination of Hammond B3 and Mellotron played this well on a 21st century album).

'Made Alive/Overture' opens proceedings, and bodes well for what is to come, yet 'Stranger In A Strange Land' reminded me (in its opening) of Bon Jovi (a combination of Morse's voice, and the slide acoustic guitar, I guess). From here on, the album gathers pace, garnering influences from bands as far diverse as Gentle Giant to of all people, Alice Cooper - I kid you not - listen to the chorus of The Devil's Got My Throat next to Alice's late '80s albums, and you'll see what I mean. I'll not go into a deep analysis of each track, as to be honest, it isn't a particularly deep concept - country boy goes to New York, has a few ups & downs, finds redemption, huzzah!

Notwithstanding the above, the playing (as you would expect with SB) is high quality throughout, but the shallowness of the concept itself is unlikely to keep you completely riveted for long.

In short, a good prog rock album for the car - entertaining, but not challenging, and you can even sing along in places.

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Send comments to Jim Garten (BETA) | Report this review (#11088) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 07, 2005

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The clutching lamb lies down on the wall

"Snow" was the final album Neal Morse recorded with Spock's Beard. He then left with what appeared to be indecent haste before they could promote it properly. It has been compared to "The lamb lies down on Broadway" (Genesis) and "Clutching at straws" (Marillion) in terms of the circumstances of its recording, i.e. the band "leader" dominates his "project", prior to departing.

The album title has nothing to do with weather conditions, but reflects the name of a young man with a slightly albino appearance who moves to New York from the mid-West of the USA, where he discovers he has a special gift which he uses in a positive way.

The concept only came about after a number of the songs had been written, and was used to "tie them together". Further songs were then composed to develop the story resulting in sufficient material for a double album. Lyrically therefore, the album is a mixture of tracks clearly written to tell the story, and stand alone numbers which are superfluous to the tale, but tend to be the stronger ones musically.

It all makes for what should have been a great product, but sadly the most important aspect, the quality of the music, is where this album falls short. Neil Morse is just too dominant here, his decidedly average vocals seemingly being ever present, with far too little in the way of instrumental development. (The "Lamb lies down.." parallels therefore continue!). What instrumental breaks there are, such as the opening track on album 2 ("2nd Overture") are disjointed and haphazard.

At the risk of labouring the point, other "Lamb.." references which struck me were the "Back in NYC" sound of "Welcome to NYC" (coincidence?), which also has Slippermen like vocals, and the "In the cage" like synth solo on "Open Wide The Flood Gates". Was Snow perhaps really drawn to New York to help Rael save his brother John?!

There are of course many pleasing moments on the album, including ELP and Tony Banks like keyboards, soft ballads, and more commercially orientated straight forward rock ("Devil's got my throat"). If the melodies had generally been stronger though, this would have been a far better album, there's simply too much padding. The jazz influences which drift in an out of Spock's Beard's music tend to be stronger than usual in "Snow", which perhaps explains why for me it is slightly disappointing.

In all an enjoyable but rather overblown effort, with wonderful packaging but a shortage of top quality music.

The limited edition, expanded version has a third disc which includes work in progress, studio chat, and demo versions of some of the tracks. It is however worthy of note for the cover of Yes' "South side of the sky", complete with "Perpetual change" introduction.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#62249) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005

Review by AtLossForWords
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The final double-album with Neal Morse as a member of Spock's Beard is an effort that should more than please fans.

Snow is the final album of Spock's Beard featuring Neal Morse as a member of the band. Morse's career turned to his solo project and for awhile, to the joint project with The Flower King's Mastermind Roine Stolt, Transatlantic. Snow was a great effort for Morse.

The first disc of Snow introduces us to the albino character Snow who moves to New York City. The songs are just as strong individually as they are togethor. Tracks like Solitary Soul and the duo of Open Wide the Flood gates are works to be hold.

Morse's voice makes another quality appearance. The vocal range of Morse is a limited one, but the variation he uses makes him an interesting and addictive listen throughout the album.

The gentle melodies traded between keyboardist Ryo Okumoto and guitarist Allan Morse are the musical focal point of the album. Tasteful bass playing by Dave Meros in addition to detailed rythym work by Nick d' Virgilio rounds out the rythym section.

The album is a very easy listen for a double album. The melodies never stop coming, and the band has the ability to throw many moods and styles at the listener ranging from the straight ahead rock tones of Welcome to NYC and Devil's Got My Throat to the Prog Rock masterpiece of Made Alive Again keep the listener interested.

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Send comments to AtLossForWords (BETA) | Report this review (#62253) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
2 stars (13th written review.) I had read some very promising things about SB - comparisons to Gentle Giant etc - before I found "V" from my library some years ago. I was deeply disappointed and didn't even care to have a good second listen as the voice and the hard rocking style was far from how I prefer my prog. If there's complexity, that helps nothing if the overall feeling is not 'right' for you. Three years later I borrowed "Snow". Maybe the concept form and longevity would give me more, I thought.

Well, yes and no. Many tracks were No Thanks within seconds. And the concept didn't really impress me. Comparing it to the LAMB is quite overblown, as the story of an albino man called Snow seems to be quite realistic in comparison. However, I found several tracks quite OK and taped a 20-minute edition from the 2CD album. (I know many proggers think that's very stupid, so what.) Softer pieces like 'Love Beyond Words' - it makes me think of 'Gemini' by Alan Parsons Project - and 'Solitary Soul' even slightly touched me emotionally. Songs like 'Open Wide the Flood Gates' and 'Wind at My Back' gave some spine to my miniversion of Snow, though I found many of them too extended with their repeated choruses. That cassette has remained almost unlistened, but to my surprise my mini-Snow sounded quite nice lately and instead it was among the early 70's stuff by bands like Babe Ruth and Affinity that I didn't like enough on that cassette.

A poor 'review', I know, but this is my relation to SNOW: rejected as a whole, slightly enjoyed of its most accessible, soft-poppish parts. Mr Morse's voice is no longer an issue for me, but what I've heard from the net radio, Spock's Beard - just like Transatlantic or Flower Kings - won't enter my short list of contemporary prog bands up to my taste.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#73501) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A double concept CD? The laws of prog says this must be good, well actually it is! Although the story is heavily based on "Tommy" (man with "affliction" (albinoism, hence the name) becomes quasi-religious icon), the music is strong enough and different enough to avoid accusations of plagiarism.

The musicianship is very strong here as you'd expect but more important is the quality of the music itself. This was my introduction to Spock's Beard and they still haven't bettered it in my opinion. There is a commercial touch to the songs and a number of them could surely have been hit singles - "Stranger in a strange land", "Long time suffering", "Devil's got my throat", "Carie", "Looking for answers" and "Freak Boy". These are all very strong songs with excellent hooks and choruses, showing almost "pop" sensibilities which are not always found in prog.

The overtures at the beginning of each CD also show that the Beard can still do the tricky stuff well. It all builds up nicely until the climax, the last song where the opening track "Made Alive" is reprised and then leads us back into the song that ended the first CD ("Wind at my back"). This time it builds up gently and slowly adds more harmonies. This also reminds me of "Tommy" (the "listening to you" climax) and for me this is one of the most dramatic songs in modern, or indeed any, prog music. The song builds up with Neal adding vocal ad libs over the stunning harmonies until the song ends with a typical "live" song ending, before there is silence and a quiet reprise of the song fades in and out. Definitely one of the great endings, right up there with "Supper's Ready" in the goosebump chart.

I cannot recommend this CD highly enough - one of the greats of modern prog without a doubt. There is also a special edition with a third CD of outtakes and covers (including Yes' "South Side of the Sky").

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Send comments to chopper (BETA) | Report this review (#78325) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Collectors/Fans only.

I do not understand the hype of this album, but I will not write this review to lower the rating nor anything like that. I will give my honest opinion on the enjoyment I experience while spinning this gigantic and epic album that never seems to end.

Spock's Beard has never been a band that amazed me. However, their AOR elements blending with progressive rock ones is very interesting and may be one of the main reasons why Spock's Beard is one of the leading Symphonic Rock bands in these last years. In their first four albums, they explored pop/prog and symphonic prog rock with decent to excellent results. They have reached their peak with "V" and instead of doing another V- wanna-be, they released a concept album.

I love concept albums, but this one is very disappointing. The main problem with it is that it doesn't hold my interest and the songwriting is mostly mediocre, making this album dull. Also, it sounds very cliched and derivative.

The strengths on this album are numerous. Neal Morse is singing decently and the flow of the album is good enough to make it a story. Also, the guys know how to make references to themes they used in the previous songs of the album. Finally, there are quite a few songs that are quite good (but not great). For example, the album opens with a song that holds an interesting theme and amazing rocking time with a simplistic guitar riff that works. Welcome to NYC is my favourite tune of the album; they managed to compose an exciting hard rock song. Devil's Got My Throat has some neat parts in it's long durations, and the acapella is good (until it gets too complex and random). Open the gates pt1/2 have good musicianship while Wing at My Back carry a good musical theme that is well-developed. I'm The Guy has an interesting dark tone I've never heard from the band before. After many bad songs, All is Vanity's blazing instrumental section saves the album and I'm Dying continues a good quality. The next songs are inoffensive and average in quaility until an unusual and out of place live song with Ryo playing the keyboards and synths. IT is extremely cheesy, wild, random, and goofy, but for some reason I find it fun to listen to it.

But sometimes songs absolutely do nothing for me. For example, the song that follows the overture is an overlong and uninteresting pop song. Love Beyond Words is a very dull ballad that fortunately has a piano solo. The 39th Street Blues is just pedestrian rocking with no hooks. 4th of July has a great riff at the beginning but man: the song is extremely bland. the reflection-Carie-Looking For Answers trio is dull and it's when it usually makes me bored of the album. Freak Boy is even worse, it is a terrible rocker that I just can't stand. Snow's Night Out is a bit out of place musically and is very cheesy. The conclusion of the album is very disappointing: Wind At My Back is played again and delevops into a loud overdone rock&roll that just leaves me cold. To make things worse, the song comes back again after it finishes dimly. It is an 8 1/2 minute long song with the same theme: very repetitive.

I do not know, maybe being a fan of Spock's Beard is what is needed, but I'll rather stick with the concept albums that Neal made after leaving the band. Testomony makes this album seem like a terrible experiment that needed to be mastered. This album, while having good musicianship, is overall boring, has no surprises, and sounds unoriginal.

Highlights: Made Alive/Overture, Welcome to NYC, I'm The Guy,All is Vanity

Let Downs: Love Beyond Words, The 39th Street Blues, 4th of July, Reflection, Looking For answers, Freak Boy, Snow's Night Out, Made Alive Again/Wind At My Back

My Grade: D

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#81518) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, June 19, 2006

Review by NJprogfan
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hard not to compare this album to Genesis's 'Lamb Lies Down On Broadway', it tells the story of one man, (an albino alien?) and his quest (ends up in New York City) for enlightenment. Yet, it's told simply. When I bought this back in 2002, I was underwhelmed. Musically, it's comparible to their previous album 'V', many poppish songs ala 80's Kansas sprinkled with some proggy numbers and an epic or two. It wasn't until I pulled this out and played a week straight not too long ago. I can tell you that many, many of the songs stuck in my head and stayed there for awhile, and I'm not just talking about the poppish numbers. I can honestly say that this album is their best to date. Neil never sung with so much emotion, (listen to 'I Will Go' and 'Made Alive Again/Wind At My Back', they gave me goose bumps!) and the prog moments are their best, ('Ladie's And Gentlemen....' and 'Snow's Night Out'). Sure, it's not the most progressive/symphonic album out there. I really don't think Spock's Beard should be listed as symph, more Art Rock to these ears. But for my money, Neil and company wrote there masterpiece here. Not 5 stars, but damn close.

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Send comments to NJprogfan (BETA) | Report this review (#84197) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A lot of bands at certain points in their career will release a double album of sorts, most of them live albums, but a good portion of them are concept albums. Now, concept albums are usually a mixed bag. Some of the concepts presented work well and are easy to understand (albums like Scenes from a Memory from Dream Theater and The Who's Quadrophenia) and some are just downright dense and most of all contrived (Pain of Salvation's BE comes to mind first, and IQ's Subterranea has a pretty cryptic subject as well). This album, Spock's Beard's last album to feature Neal Morse, lies gently between the two categories. While the concept is easy to understand, the story is just a bit too prolonged and could have been a single disc affair, instead we are dragged through nearly two hours of a story about an albino man who gains notoriety as a prophet of sorts. Still, though, there are plenty of good moments on the album and some moments of pure brilliance to back them up. I guess it all comes down to if you're a fan of two things: Spock's Beard and concept albums.

The first disc is where the best songs are played. Most of the songs on the first disc are very well conceived and they give the story the necessary pushes to progress the overall idea. There are some really coherent riffs and motifs is generally every piece on the album as well as some easy to understand and not too out there lyrics. If this album was just the first disc, I would almost rate it a masterpiece, but since it is not and the second disc goes on way too long I can't give it that rating. Standout tracks on the first disc include the opening Made Alive/Overture (which brings in the first recurring theme of the album), beginning with gentle acoustic guitars and some somber french horn lines to give the feel of the piece an epic boost. The music of the overture is also fantastic with descending riffs and watery organ lines taking up most of the foray. Welcome to NYC begins with a fantastic organ motif (that makes nice use of the lower register organ notes) and some fun riffing from the rest of the group. The lyrics and vocals are also very fun and don't feel anything but magnificent. Devil's Got My Throat is an interesting piece musically (arguably one of the best on the album) but the lyrics during the chorus is a bit contrived if you ask me. Solitary Soul/Wind at My Back concludes the first disc with fantastic multi-harmonic vocals from the group as well as a fantastic acoustic feel. Wind At My Back is the second recurring theme of the album with the chorus repeated over and over again (and it may be one of the catchiest things Spcock's Beard has done yet).

The second disc opens with magnificent Second Overture which is another magnificent instrumental piece from the group. But from there it really goes downhill. There isn't really a piece that captivates me like the pieces off of the first disc did. And come on, a piece titled Ladies and Gentleman, Mister Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards (I guess within the context of the story Snow goes to a Spock's Beard concert)? Besides the first piece and some interesting musical parts interspersed throughout the rest of the second disc, the only song I can really recommend off of it is the finale Made Alive Again/Wind at my Back. This piece brings back both themes from the first disc, and like The Who did with the, "Listening to you" section off of the song We're Not Gonna Take It (the final song on their first concept piece Tommy), the song ends in a magnificent and epic reprisal of that chorus. It actually makes up around 6 minutes of the piece, and I can't think of a more fitting and better ending that the album could have had. If I were to rate each disc individually, I'd rate the first a 4.5/5 and the second a 2.5/5, which averages to around a 3.5/5.

In the end, Snow is a concept album wrought will the problem of over ambition and excessive length. It's an interesting concept and it comes off better than most concept albums I've heard (with a few exceptions of course). If you like Spock's Beard than this will probably be of interest, but you won't find any pieces about catfish men and none that exceed 10 minutes so if you're not used to that from Spock's Beard you'll be in for a surprise. For me? I'm in the middle, this album certainly has some great moments but there are certainly some monotonous and prolonged sections that should have been cut out during the editing process (in my opinion of course). 3.5/5.

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Posted Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Review by obiter
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars if anyone asks me ... are you a Spock's Beard fan ... nah not me

And yet, it would almost be churlish to pick at this magnificent album.

i do not like this safe american rock genre. i don't like british safe rock (ELO). so why does this album sell my prejudices a dummy? it doesn't have the seedy gravelly feel of Marillion's Clutching at Straws or Tux On, but this album demands that you listen.

Whether you like it or not Snow grabs you and takes you along for the ride. It's a rock opera which I find hard to listen to without imagining a huge stage show/rock film.

I've listened to this album countless dozens of times. Sometimes, it's been on the ipod in the car ... press the wrong button, on it comes, I'm not in the mood but blow me if i always end up listening to the whole thing even if it demands pulling over at a cafe and taking an extra 10 minutes out.

it's not just a 5 star ... this is a desert island disc.

But if anyone asks me ... are you a Spock's Beard fan ... nah not me

denial is an odd thing??

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Posted Sunday, May 27, 2007

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I got into Spock's Beard through the excellent V. I couldn't believe I'd never heard such a great band and I picked this up since many called Snow SB's magnum opus. I got off of iTunes and gave it a spin and...I didn't like it. Undeterred, I gave it a few more spins, but still nothing. Snow is a farfetched concept album about an albino who leaves home and a series of bizarre events unfold. There are many overt parallels to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, from the setting (NYC) to the overall sound. Perhaps this is why why I don't enjoy this album as much as others, since I never did like Lamb.

Neal can't pull off the multiple voices of Gabriel, but he doesn't sound too bad. The instrumentation is good, but nothing special. Only Ryo's keyboards and Nick's drums do anything for me. Lyrically, this is a murky and indecipherable as Lamb, but it is more believable than Gabriel's double LP.Occasionally, the album has a good song, but nothing is even remotely unique. In the end, this is music too long and fails to excite me, but fans of Lamb Lies Down will probably enjoy this.

Grade: D+

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Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007

Review by Tristan Mulders
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Spock's Beard - Snow

This one had to grow on me. I mean, a double album of this length offers quite a bit of variety and can be quite a lot to take in. I can remember very well that I wasn't too impressed with the majority of the songs on the first cd, but that I instantly liked the more rock orientated suite (Freak Boy, I'm dying etc..) on the second disc!

"Snow" tells us a conceptual story about a man called, how surprising, "Snow". I have still not felt too bothered with reading between the lines to discover the message behind this concept album, but I know it's about a person who's an outcast of society. Now, that's that.

In time, the whole of "Snow" grew on me and despite not liking the Neal Morse era of the band, I now have taken quite a liking for this disc and even found myself bothered with listening to, and purchasing (!!), the two follow-up releases to this album!

Seeing that I also bothered listening to the earlier output of this group of musicians, I can also say that this album features fewer of those widdly-widdly (gotta love that term), pointless, extended instrumental breaks that put me of liking most of the earlier output of these guys. Most tracks here are actually true songs and not even proggy experiments by far! That definitely put a big smile upon my face!

I think this was a nice farewell album from former front man Neal Morse and I'm glad that 'new' Spock's Beard headed into more rock orientated regions, which could already be noticed with the more than excellent second disc of this double album!

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Posted Thursday, August 16, 2007

Review by progaardvark
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars After five consecutive masterpiece-level studio albums, Spock's Beard intended to take it one step further for Neal Morse's farewell by creating a two-CD concept album, much in the same league as The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, The Wall, or Quadrophenia. Unfortunately for the Beard, and I applaud them for their effort, this album just does not quite come up to the quality of their previous five albums and that's mostly because concept albums of this length are typically over-complicated and chock full of filler pieces used mainly to progress the storyline. Snow is as guilty of this as other lengthy concept albums.

Summarizing the storyline, it appears to be about an albino nicknamed Snow, in search of enlightenment, who moves to New York City and lives through a number of ups and downs. Now the concept is much more than that. In fact, Neal Morse took the time to write a few paragraphs about what this album was about in one of the inserts (at least this is so in the 3-CD special edition of Snow). It's just that if I had to analyze this album to that detail, I would end up writing a 20 page technical report on it. If musical adventures for you require this kind of in-depth thought, you'll probably really enjoy Snow.

Musically, Snow consists of 26 or so short-to-medium-length tracks, each one flowing into the other like a long musical story. Again, this is typical of most of these types of concept albums. The closest thing to a multi-part suite are tracks 7 to 13 on the second CD as the connection between them is much more cohesive than on the other tracks. It is similar in some ways to their The Healing Colors of Sound from Day for Night. Because most of the tracks are shorter, there is a lesser effort on Snow for interesting instrumental sections. The overall effect is a much more vocal album. That's not to say that Spock's Beard doesn't display their instrumental prowess, it's just that the material is more AOR in style and structure.

There are some really great numbers on this album, notably Devil's Got My Throat, 2nd Overture, 4th of July, I'm the Guy, and the Freak Boy medley (tracks 7-13 on disc 2). Many of the remaining songs are quite good, but alas, the size of this album means that a number of these tracks are skippable filler (something not known on earlier Spock's Beard albums). Still, it's quite a nice job and is better than most lengthy concept works. Enough so, that I'm willing to give it four stars, but I'm disappointed that it did not live up to expectations that had been built up in me from the five amazing studio albums the band did from 1995 to 2000. Nonetheless, an excellent addition to a prog rock collection.

On a side note, the special 3-CD version of Snow, has a powerful cover of Yes' South Side of the Sky on the third CD, which mostly contains outtakes from the Snow recording sessions. Also, Nick D'Virgilio makes his lead vocal singing debut, for reasons that became apparent later when Neal Morse announced his departure from Spock's Beard.

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Posted Friday, November 16, 2007

Review by E-Dub
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Neal's last, but his best with Spock's Beard!

Snow is just one of those albums that I have to purposely not overdo it; however, if the truth be told, I could listen to this about once a week. Recorded around the same time when Neal Morse was born again, one can hear how his lyrics changed from previous Spock's albums to Snow. Loosely based upon a young man whose a societal outcast, but has a direct connection with God that follows his rise and fall.

Arguments have been raised on whether or not this would've worked as a single rather than a double. That remains to be seen, but my feelings are that Snow remains (almost) perfect as is. Neal really poured out his convictions with V, and it carried over immensely with Snow. No more is this evident than on the chorus on I'm Dying from disc 2--the hairs literally stood up on the back of my neck this morning as I'm driving in to work while listening to this track. It also moved me to get here and write this review. Extremely powerful album.

Highlights are throughout Snow--primarily on Long Time Suffering and the final moments on disc one (Open Wide The Flood Gates to Wind At My Back). Disc 2 is equally impressive, plus we get to hear Nick singing lead on the tender ballad Carie, and the AOR rocker Looking For Answers. My singular problem is the misplaced and highly unwelcomed Ladies And Gentleman Mr. Ryo Okumoto. I like the quirkiness of Spock's Beard (especially on The Light), but this is very out-of-place and messes up the album's momentum. This is a filler of Flower King proportions, I'm afraid.

Aside from this, Snow is Spock's Beard's Hemispheres, Wish You Were Here, Lamb Lied Down On Broadway, Close To The Edge, etc. etc. It's amazing to me that the Beard have gone on with the success they've had without their heart and soul. I applaud them on enduring, but there is a void left by Mr. Morse that cannot be replaced. He left on a high and very sweet note, though.

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Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Review by Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I had some reservations giving Snow 5 stars-- it's staggering length, overtly Xtian finale, and lulls in a few of the later songs do erk me somewhat-- but I do not exaggerate when saying that this album has the ability to send powerful imagery and emotions to this listener with each spin, and that the songwriting and playing utterly blows away the band's peers; no one comes close.

To start, let me say that the concept is cliché to the point of bordering on insipid-- it's like a cross between Lambs Lie Down and that move Powder (neither of which were very good in my opinion); however, the Beard presents its material through various points of views and narrative styles, making the story almost secondary to the music and themes-- which is where the goods really lay. The band simply plays more exciting, creatively and expressively here than ever before. Morse's singing and lyrics soar with emotion; Morse's guitar-work is unstoppable; Okumoto's organs add textures and tones seemingly left out on previous albums; and the rhythm section lays an impressive foundation of light/dark contrasts throughout (Meros cooling things down a bit helping a lot!)-- D'Virgilio adding some nice vocal moments as well. The various characters of the story bring with them memorable, catchy, and dynamic melodies, adding more variety to this extended piece of music than any of the band's other albums.

The finished product is simply outstanding songs which elicits uplifting and gloomy emotions. Solitary Soul's crushing tenderness, Devil's Got My Throat's" roar, I'm the Guy's" sinister brooding, and Wind at My Back's" ability to lift one of their feet with felicity.

The God stuff is thankfully pushed into the realm of the allegorical (except for a single explicit reference in I Will Go), and although the you in Wind in Back is almost certainly God, the lyrics are just ambiguous enough not to come off as preachy.

Outstanding.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

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Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Review by The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is a very interesting album indeed! You can tell from first listen that it is very influenced by Genesis's master work, The Lamb Lies Down, but I think it goes deeper than that. Unlike it's predecessor, Snow is made up entirely of short songs that get to the point, unlike previous efforts. It opens with the fantastic Made Alive/Overture, which is a brilliant paradoxical effort, starting off with a sweet acoustic minute and suddenly breaking out into some hardcore progressive music, with some really great 13/8 riffage. The rest up until Devil's Got My Throat is pretty lame if you want my honest opinion, and it's merely another flashback into Neal's poppier mainstream side. The trilogy of the next 3 songs however make the album worth listening to. Devil's Got My Throat is one of my favourite Spock songs ever, and it is a prog rock journey to be reckoned with! Starting out with some hard rocking riffs, a gllorious middle section and an ending that is reminiscent of Gentle Giant, I love it. Open Wide The Flood Gates Parts 1 and 2 are very chilled out compared to the heavier side of the album, and has some very nice jazz influenced electric piano in the middle jam sections. The following two songs are nothing special however, which is a real shame.

Side 2 is quite disappointing. 2nd Overture is as a brilliant opener, typical Spock's Beard style prog, similar to 1st Overture. I love the time signature changes in this one, and the bass is especially worth noting. 4th of July is a very good track, repeating the musical themes of the album. Once again, however, there is the big 3 song gap that drags the album down. All is replenished however with the stunning prog-pop song Looking For Answers and the rocker Freak Boy. I especially like the chorus in Looking For Answers, a little too catchy maybe! From here on though, it starts to get ugly. Nothing interesting about the next bit, apart from the fact of What the hell is the 13th track all about???. OK, Ryo is impressive on the keyboards, but this song is very out of place.

So overall, the verdict is not good, because of the repeated crap between decent songs. This is the start of Spock's descent into the garbage dump with their self-titled album. 3stars, only because I'm loyal to the band.

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Posted Sunday, April 06, 2008

Review by Moatilliatta
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Neal Morse concocted Spock's Beard's masterpiece just before he left. As I have said before, it seems like when Transatlantic formed, Neal became a masterpiece machine. Nearly everything he has released since SMPTe has approached perfection. While you can see several parallels between Snow and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway outside of the music, the content of this release bears few, if any, direct comparisons to Genesis' classic. While many obstinate 70s prog fans will be quick to find fault with this album, you must take those comments with a grain of salt. Their insular views will ruin your opportunity to enjoy such wonderful music if you don't! If you are one of those folks who reject Spock's Beard for sometimes wearing their influences on their sleeves, you probably shouldn't bother with this album either, despite that the writing is the most matured writing I've heard from the band, and there are few spots where the influence is that obvious (it's never too obvious to be enjoyed either).

This album sticks to shorter songs, but they are packed with quality material, all intertwined with well- placed recurring themes. The first disc starts with one of those themes and then moves into a classic Spock's Beard overture, moves into some melodic rock tracks Stranger in a Strange Land, and Long Time Suffering. The rest of the disc moves you between some heavier pieces and a couple of lighter tracks (only one ballad, and it is concise and beautiful) until you get to what I would say is the most powerful Spock's Beard song ever: Solitary Soul. That lead riff is simple, but it's killer! After a happy love song, we move to the second disc. It opens with another great overture, and, as the first disc, moves through a very balanced set of songs and ends on a closing track that combines the opener and closer of disc one. Disc one can surely stand on it's own, but disc two mostly functions as a compliment to disc one. It's really only slightly weaker, but most of the album's highlights are on disc one. As a whole, this is all great music, and Snow makes for a great swan song for Neal. Soon after, Spock's Beard would sink to mediocrity and Neal would make some of the best music of his career.

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Posted Sunday, April 06, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album is cheesy. The concept is kind of dorky. There is probably a good bit more musical material than necessary. There is a lot of instrumental noodling and so forth. Some of the songs are aimless, others unfortunately short.

All I can say is that Snow is full of some of the most upbeat, interesting, exciting, and creative sounds and songs that Spock's Beard have ever come up with. Not far into the Overture, the music is bouncing and exploding and causing all sorts of chaos, yet it works. It flows. The entirety of this two hour musical experience holds as one cohesive piece, despite being all over the place. A few highlights, to help clear up some of what works on this album:

The Made Alive / Overture opener, for one. Overtures are certainly quite overused, and are quite often pointless, but the Beard created in this song an overture that doesn't just rehash (prehash?) what is going to come with the rest of the album, but it's completely different in sound. Very cleverly composed, and with some fierce, fierce drumming.

Welcome to NYC is also great fun. Clearly something of an homage to Genesis and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, this song nevertheless borrows nothing from anything Genesis. Spectacular and disturbing vocals from Neal mark this sarcastic piece of condescension and disdain. The keyboards are quite nice, too.

Open Wide the Flood Gates and the second part are split up for who knows what reason, but either way, they both fit together, and they both rock. The first part is much softer, mellower, but culminates in probably the best solo I've ever heard from Alan. A bit of a rehash of the main theme in between segues into the second part's vocal rounds. It all sounds grand, and it all is exciting.

I'm the Guy might be more of a personal favorite, but it still has such a unique flavor to it. Not quite like anything else the band has done before, the vocals and the guitar just work here.

Looking for Answers features Nick on the vocals, and holy cow! can that man sing. Little did we know. It's something of another straightforward rock tune, but the feel and the flow of it are perfect. If there ever was a rock band that wrote songs like this, I'd buy that CD in an instant. As it is, this track is, as far as I can tell, completely one of a kind also. And this song is also especially notable, since right after it, the music turns to the climax suite, as I think of it.

This climax suite starts with Freak Boy and powers all the way through Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards. Most of these songs are abbreviated, coming rapid fire and building in intensity. The organ soloing in All Is Vanity is a thing unbelievably raw and rather tasty, I think. I'm Dying slows things down a bit, with a rather dismal track, but it sure sounds nice. Freak Boy Part 2, Devil's Got My Throat Reprise, Snow's Night Out, and then Ladies and Gentlemen run about two or three minutes each. Each seems to get faster and more exciting, with the last two featuring no vocals. I find it a testament to the Beard's self-effacing humor and ability to not feel obligated to take themselves too seriously that they suddenly branch off of the emotional and adrenal climax of the album to insert a random keyboard solo, but to be honest, by that point, it doesn't matter what they're playing, just that they're playing something crazy and fast.

The conclusion with Wind at My Back is another emotional piece. Repetition building power creates a stunning outro to the album, and one that must be heard.

I don't care how some think this album sags in the middle. It does. But still, you should definitely check this one out. It's not perfect music, it's not incredibly proggy, it's not terribly deep--but it is so very much fun.

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Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What's a prog band without a concept album?

After the success of V The Beard decided they finally needed a concept double album under their belt. And why not? The band were in top form having released a series of albums now deemed ''their classic era'' by fans and with each member seemingly better than ever it really was time. The concept itself may not be the most original tale ever, seemingly borrowing from Tommy, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, The Wall and the movie Powder as an albino child with mind reading powers goes to New York city and is worshiped as a messiah. Of course we also have the love interest who turns him down and the near death experience that makes him see the light once more. Really this can be seen as Neal's own realization of his faith and Christianity, but when its put into metaphor as it is here it becomes rather enjoyable. Besides, this is an album, not a movie, so why be so concerned about storyline? All it means really is that the songs are going to flow together and recurring themes will be used throughout the album, and well used they are.

There really aren't any mammoth songs on the album (length wise) being that it might overpower the rest of the songs, really they all work in tandem with one another. Each of the songs segue into one another giving the impression that they could be conjoined into one massive epic, but having the pieces form the whole is really just as good. The quality of the songs throughout the album also stays pretty steady with no real let downs to speak of. Sure, there's a couple of tunes that stand out above the rest, but it's not like you're just waiting for other songs to end just to get to those ones. Of course, coming into the end of the album the songs start to become amazingly full of energy, but being a concept album it's expected that the climax of the album be the most powerful.

As for style we're still looking at Spock's Beard and they're still doing what they do well. The songs range between hard prog-rockers and some more AOR-oriented material (without becoming annoying), but this really is what we're used to from the band anyways. Some of the tunes like Overture feature heavy riffs from Alan Morse while others such as the excellent The Devil's Got My Throat feature mean keys and some screaming sections from a passionate Neal Morse. Throughout the album we're treated to a number of very catchy hooks in the forms of riffs of vocal passages such as the menacing riff behind Long Time Suffering, the uplifting pace of Open The Gates (Part 2) or the chorus that drives Looking For Answers. If there's one thing the Beard does even better here that they've sometimes tripped on in the past is the use of quiet sections. While on previous albums there's points where you get right into the segments and then BAM - it's slow, breaking the momentum. Here that doesn't happen, as the way the songs are organized makes the audience ready for the softer or harder parts so that you never felt it could have been done a different way.

While the first disc is likely the stronger of the two, the second still has some excellent moments. The main ideas for the album are very strong in the first half, while the second isn't completely exhausted it certainly is different. No problems with that really, some of the tunes here are still very strong, especially coming into the end. The two part Freak Boy is a nicely brooding section that adds to a malevolent atmosphere while The Devil's Got My Throat Revisited makes for a quick and dirty rocker. On the whole this half is less uplifting and more evil sounding, but it makes a good contrast. Really it's the ending instrumentals that really help to make the album. Snow's Night Out and Ladies and Gentlemen... are a great (if far too short) pair of songs that help make the ending climax of the album well deserved.

In the end this album really is great. Being that it's a double album and quite long (some have argued too long) it's a bit difficult to ingest and is not for the Spock's Beard newcomer, but seasoned fans will be able to appreciate this one greatly. This would be Neal's last album with the band, as he would leave to pursue his solo career afterwards - making many believe the band was finished (not true fortunately). This is the last chance to enjoy Neal's work on an SB album and it's quite worth it if you know what you're getting into. 4 freak boys out of 5! An excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#177589) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars It seems like SPOCK'S BEARD can't do anything halfway, so when they decide to do a concept album they make it a double album ! Man it took me some time to get into this one, I mean i'm not big on concept records or double albums. Yet they won me over, which considering how much I like their music maybe shouldn't be too surprising. Still this isn't 4 stars for me, more like 3.5 stars. I like what King By-Tor says about this concept, that it's really a metaphor of Neal's own life and conversion. In fact Neal would give his story of getting saved on his "Testimony" double album. Of course the lyrics are more meaningful on that one, but the music on this one is not only better, but even more emotional than "Testimony".

So many highlights to pick out. I like the opening track "Made Alive / Overture". The first part is mellow with reserved vocals and strummed guitar. I like the drumming in the second section after 4 minutes and the heaviness that follows. Killer bass ! The jazzy section 2 minutes in on "Welcome To NYC" is nice treat. "The 39th Street Blues" has some good guitar and sax in it. "Devil's Got My Throat" is fantastic ! This song has attitude ! The organ rocks and check out the guitar 4 minutes in. "Open Wide The Flood Gates" is a laid back but uplifting tune. The instrumental work 4 1/2 minutes in is such a highlight. "Wind At My Back" is the final song on disc one and it's so uplifting and emotional. The lyrics are very meaningful.

Disc two opens with "Second Overture" and it's like getting kicked in the face right away. A nice heavy sound with some chunky bass follows 1 1/2 minutes in. Check out the drumming too. Guitar starts to chew up the soundscape 2 minutes in as horns join in. "Reflection" is a moving song with Neal and his piano mostly. Some drums and mellotron too. "Carie" continues with the piano.The vocals are so yearning, delivered by future SPOCK'S BEARD vocalist Nick D'Virgilio. Beautiful song. "Freak Boy" opens with riffs as organ comes in screaming. Vocals are fantastic as well. "I'm Dying" has this chorus that just seems to be transported above the rest of the song. "Freak Boy Part 2" is really good. Grinding guitar with chunky bass as vocals come in. "Devil's Got My Throat Revisited" is a killer track with passionate vocals. Check out the organ on this one. You can hear the cheering on "Ladies And Gentleman Mr. Ryo Okumoto On The Keyboards" which is part of the theme of the previous song "Snow's Night Out". In other words this is part of what Snow did on his night out on the town (see Ryo Okumoto play live). It works for me. "I Will Go" has these desperate vocals crying for help.This song becomes an uplifting one, but it will be surpassed by "Made Alive Again / Wind At My Back". Neal sings this like i've never heard him sing on previous albums. It's really a celebration that all heaven seems to take part in. "And my soul has been kissed, just because you exist, you're the gold that is free, you're the groom on one knee".

Favourite Neal Morse era SPOCK'S BEARD albums are: 1- "V" 2- "Beware Of Darkness" 3- "The Light" 4- "The Kindness Of Strangers" 5- "Snow" 6- "Day For Night". That's all folks.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#181782) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 05, 2008

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars What Steely Dan is to jazz rock/fusion, the Neal Morse-era Spock's Beard is to symphonic prog rock. Say what? Allow me to explain. Both brought an accessible, proletarian mentality to their respective genres that emphasized the noble art of songwriting over long, extended instrumental passages. For some that means they veered too close to pop. I can understand that view but I'm one who considers the talent to create memorable, melodic tunes out of thin air to be the apex of musical genius. Virtuosity can be acquired through diligent practice and lifelong dedication to mastering an instrument but composing is something one is born with. You've either got the knack or you don't. That's why I judge this double album to be an amazing achievement.

But hold the I-phone. This ambitious undertaking has a downside. I consider myself a bit of a wordsmith so story lines and lyrical content are very important to me. "Snow" has a deficiency in that area. If a band is going to deliver a rock opera to the world they must prepare for comparisons to titans like "Tommy" and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway." In the case of the former the plot flows like a classic novel and the latter is a brilliant avant garde work chock full of surrealistic images and phantasmagoria that boggle the brain. Not that the literate side of this project is pitiful, it just doesn't measure up. The basic tale is weak. Judge for yourself: A very white boy with spiritual powers goes to Gotham, displays his gift for psychological healing, becomes an icon with all its trappings, gets his heart smushed flat by a girl, descends into a serious funk and hits rock bottom before he is redeemed by the love of the folks he saved along the way. There's just not a lot of imagination involved in that saga and perhaps it's a product of Neal dividing his time and energies between Spock's Beard and Transatlantic amidst its conception. If the music wasn't so incredible it might have been a disaster. But it's far from that. Recording tracks this tight, this expansive, this varied is hard and only experienced, able musicians can do it right. The end result is nothing short of extraordinary.

Acoustic guitar and vocal start you on your journey with the simple "Made Alive" before Alan Morse's twangy axe barges in for the "Overture." Bassist Dave Meros employs a more suitable, less-trebly tone this time around and drummer Nick D'Virgilio proves that he deserves to be ranked in the elite corps of prog percussionists. They are the unshakable rock this project sits securely on. Horns are an added bonus in this rousing instrumental. Things re-settle into an acoustic mode for "Stranger in a Strange Land," where Alan's subtle slide work shines. The song builds to the 3-part harmony of the chorus before they seamlessly segue into the sizzling 6/4 opening for "Long Time Suffering." Resolving into a straight 4/4 beat, this screaming rocker will make your day. Snow, fresh off the farm, is confronted with the despair of the streets thriving all around him and the myriad of musical ideas that convey his shock are wondrous. One of the group's trademark interlaced vocal breaks occurs before they return to the verse/chorus and end it with chiming guitar. A funky Rhodes piano starts "Welcome to New York City" where they show off dynamic arrangement skills by occasionally slipping down some sinister alleyways. Neal turns in a cool jazz piano solo that leads to the pivotal moment when Snow touches the seedy hustler, The Knight.

A grand piano and acoustic guitar lend a tender grace to the stacked vocal lines of "Love Beyond Words" where The Knight is transformed into Snow's apostle. Huge guitars dominate the hard- driving "39th Street Blues (I'm Sick)" in which a prostitute shares her pain with the duo. Next comes a drug addict's story in "Devil's Got My Throat" wherein keyboard man Ryo Okumoto steers things in a different direction without losing a drop of momentum. Neal's synthesizer runs cut like a knife and Ryo's roaring Hammond organ delights. Once again their aptitude for combining multiple themes into a cohesive whole is on display. Snow's reputation spreads and he delivers his message of love to a curious throng in the uncomplicated ballad, "Open Wide the Floodgates." I like how they allow the tune to drift into a casual jam session briefly before returning to the chorus. "Part 2" is more up-tempo and you're treated to Nick and Alan's singing for a change as they volley back and forth. Ryo's Mellotron flutes are great but when they expand into a gargantuan symphonic prog section I get goose bumps. A homeless chap relates his sad tale on "Solitary Soul," a somber tune where it's easy to overlook the astounding Mellotron in the background if you're not paying attention. In the stirring "Wind At My Back" the poor soul expresses his devotion to his new-found savior as the band pulls out all the stops, constructing a full-spectrum wall of sound complete with plunging synthesizer notes that will test your speakers.

Neal wrote most of the songs but the first two cuts on disc #2 are group creations that show they weren't idle while their leader was away. The metal motif of "Second Overture" indicates that Neal brought back a taste for Mike Portnoy's intensity and D'Virgilio more than meets the challenge on the tubs. Dual synthesizer lines and the horns from Hell precede a spoken-word update on the spiritual phenomenon known as Snow. But in "4th of July" our tabloid star is smelling himself and the music offers a contrast between dirge-like heaviness with stark accents and smooth, Beatle-like harmonies with slide guitar. Snow's inflated ego emerges in the industrial groove of "I'm the Guy" where Neal's menacing delivery, Nick's gated drums, Alan's demonic guitar effects and above-average lyrics make this tune a highlight. "Reflection" is serene at the outset, then the band introduces a jazzy lilt and Ryo's Mellotron strings as Snow's overwhelming infatuation with his first crush is revealed. Piano and acoustic guitar combine in a beautiful lead-in etude for the love song, "Carie." D'Virgilio can croon and he demonstrates it here. This song and his sincere performance is flat out heavenly.

A strong southern rock atmosphere colors Nick's "Looking for Answers." His voice reminds me of Tommy Shaw of Styx but it's just an okay tune that goes on about a minute too long. It seems since Snow fell for this lady he's thinking she's his personal deliverer but his fantasy is shattered on "Freak Boy," a heavy metal ditty that features fat, layered guitars. Carie says in no uncertain terms that she wouldn't touch him with a 50-footer and splits. Snow's world crumbles in "All Is Vanity," a multi-leveled piece populated by sprightly synthesizers, riff reprisals, a fiery Hammond solo slathered over a ferocious band track and towering symphonic prog segments. "I'm Dying" introduces yet another in a string of catchy guitar patterns and Neal's desperate vocal tugs at your heartstrings. The chorus and the later section are both enormous in scope and the short spasm of weirdness they indulge in at the end is a respectful nod to "The Lamb." Drums, bass and a creeping guitar riff create tragic scenery for "Freak Boy (Part 2)," a depiction of Snow's self-loathing, then a revisit to the brash, noisy rocker "Devil's Got My Throat" adds to the drama of his degrading downfall.

Two instrumentals follow and they're both killers. "Snow's Night Out" is very involved mayhem as Dave & Nick dazzle in their tightness and the self-explanatory "Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards" is a fine showcase for this talented musician. He makes his Hammond growl like a Grizzly and he gives Keith Emerson a run for his money when it comes to coercing rude screams from the organ. Then BOOM! Snow crashes. "I Will Go" is a heartbreaker that uses a Mellotron chorale to set the mood. After some tense piano chords the group starts to climb back up. The thick depth of field joined with the background vocals answering Neal's signifies our hero's reconstitution as his caring friends surround him. They briefly reprise "Made Alive Again" before moving into "Wind At My Back" where D'Virgilio takes it up a notch and they commit to the song without reservation. This may be the longest ride on the wave of pure emotion I've ever heard as the harmonies get higher and higher with every round and Neal submerges himself in "the spirit" unconditionally. For some it may be too much but for me it's a total release. And kudos for the classy shout-out to their fans and followers just before the colossal, concert-styled finale.

After noticing widely-varying opinions in the reviews of this album I honestly didn't know what to expect. "V" was amazingly well put together and it seemed far-fetched to think that they screwed the pooch on their follow-up. They didn't. If you disliked Spock's Beard ere to "Snow" then I doubt this will change your mind. If you love their "Americanized" take on symphonic prog as much as I do, then you'll be ecstatic with this double CD set because it's more of the same excellent music and an ocean of it to swim in. If they'd spent more time on the overall story and the lyrical content this would've been their finest hour and a bonafide masterpiece. But that's just my take. As it is, I'll be enjoying "Snow" from time to time for the rest of my days. 4.4 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#182364) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars In 2002, Neal Morse was touched by grace and became a devoted Christian (after that a miracle took place in his personal life). This album has plenty of religious references. Either you can make abstraction of this aspect or not. I belong to the later category but I respect each one's point of view.

About the music now. This album has all the usual suspected roots ("Yes", "Genesis", "Gentle Giant" etc.) but tops it by the addition of a harder ("Welcome To NYC"!) or even heavier atmosphere like "The 39th Street Blues" or "Devil's Got My Throat" which is severely Purple oriented in terms of music (good organ break) but is mixed with some typical GG vocals. Not too bad actually.

I've read here and there some comparisons between "Snow" and "The Lamb". Sorry guys, if you would exclude the fact that both stories take place in New-York, and that the Beard borrowed some sounds and words from this excellent original, there aren't many other points of comparison. This one falls really shy in terms of musical ideas, lyrics and concept. And I am not even referencing the average vocal lines from Neal.

Bearing all of this in mind, I guess that it is difficult to consider this release as a masterpiece.

Soft rock is also present ("Love Beyond Words", "Open Wide the Flood Gates"), probably to cool down between harder tracks. During these moments; the Beard reminds me of some Marillion Mark II clone: uninspired and dull.

The drama of "The Lamb" is also skipped or non-existing, even if "Solitary Soul" is quite desperate but when I've heard such poor lyrics as: "I've been like half a man but I could be whole. Won't you befriend this solitary soul" I can hardly be impressed. The mellowish to death mood is not helping either. To be complete, I have to say that the last minute of this song features a brilliant and poignant guitar moment. But the whole song last for over seven minutes.

In terms of poor lyrics, they culminate during the closing song of disc one (gosh, there is a second disc to listen to!): "And my soul has been kissed. Just because you exist. You're the dream that's a fact. You're the wind at my back". And there are twelve of these nice paragraphs. What a programme!

I was really afraid to listen to disc two, since as with most double concept album, the second leg falls mostly down.

What is for sure is that the vocals don't improve. Neal even attempts to resemble to Lennon ("Fourth Of July", "I'm The Guy") while he was singing during the "Twist & Shout" cover. He is switching to Gabriel during the soft "Reflection". Nothing truly personal here, right? As it is with most of their production actually.

Since the timing is not specified in the track list on PA, just let me tell you that when you will embark the "Snow" boat, the journey will almost last for two hours. Unless you have decided to wear your life jacket and jump out of the boat. If you do so, it would prevent you to listen to the rather childish lyrics and music from Carie. Press next.

If you like AOR, then "Looking For Answers" and "I'm Dying" are meant for you. If you don't, just press next again (unless you have jumped already). As expected, the second part of this work won't save the album. It is not worse than the first one either. Just average.

One has the pleasure to listen to some Banks oriented synthesizers when "All Is Vanity" is played. The second part is more Lord / Hensley oriented. Good references, but these guys were acting over forty years prior to this release.Still; it is one of my fave together with "Devil's Got My Throat" (not the revisited one).

This album is flooded with sub-par lyrics. Instrumental breaks are not many during "Snow". Once the band has decided to integrate one, it is an upbeat and jazzy part lasting for two minutes and full of trumpet and sax (Snow's Night Out). Press next.

Since we are heading the finale of this album, I guess that inspiration (?) was short and there is another instrumental "Ladies & Gentlemen" which features an excellent job from Ryo on the keys. Wild and powerful, but not really in line with the album.

The last couple of songs are on the mellow side again. And the loop is looped with "Made Alive Again". At this time, I can't recommend you to press next because you would be led to the first song again. I guess that you wouldn't do that, would you? But since you have jumped for a long time already, you are now heading the shores I guess...

Two stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#183020) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There are great bands that passed their peak a while back, and you keep listening with a sort of desperately loyal hope that they'll find that spark again. On the other hand, there are promising bands that show glimpses of greatness, so you keep listening with the hope that they'll finally put all the pieces together.

Spock's Beard is neither of these. They're always more or less as good as they're going to get; perfectly adequate for filling in the space between more exciting bands and more talented bands. The only time you'll be disappointed is when you foolishly expect them to be great.

There was very little that was surprising about Morse's Christian Rock career move. After all, most of the time Spock's Beard shares so many elements with "inspirational" music: over-produced, derivative, unoriginal, dated, bland....but thoroughly competent, and ideally suited for genre fans. Even the name sounds like an obvious joke from many years ago, and one that was only sort of funny the first time.

"Snow", the band's 'magnum opus' and 'culmination of their career', is actually a little less enjoyable in many ways than previous albums. There's very little hint of the somewhat cheeky wit that always failed to spice up the lyrics, and not enough of the tasty-but-unimpressive musicianship that always failed to spice up the arrangements. Morse is obviously starting to take himself a little too seriously (another solid recommendation for a Christian recording artist).

Still, like every other Spock's Beard album ever recorded, it's almost impossible to dislike it completely. There's nothing really objectionable about it, except for the time it takes to listen to the whole thing. Whereas Echolyn's "MEI" was a ragged, heartfelt gamble of a concept album, "Snow" seems to hedge every single bet. You can't fault the performances, or the concept...the parts are slightly above average, and they come together to make a slightly above average whole.

Metaphors abound. It's like eating at a decent chain restaurant; the food is as good as you expected but not one iota better. You leave relatively satisfied and forget about the meal almost immediately. As Olive Garden is to an Italian ristorante, so is "Snow" to "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" (uh, scratch that..."Lamb" wasn't all that great, either. But it was distinctive and memorable, even if you didn't care for it).

Or how about this: if Neil Morse was a horror author, he wouldn't be H. P. Lovecraft, he wouldn't be Clive Barker, he wouldn't even be Stephen King. For that matter, he wouldn't even be Poppy Z. Brite. He'd be good old Dean Koontz. It's all been done before, several times and many years ago, but it's nicely polished and attractively presented. You just keep buying and reading because it's the kind of thing you like, and he just keeps cranking it out for you. A lovely symbiotic relationship that has absolutely nothing to do with originality or excitement.

But as prog fans, we're well used to giving up a little originality for the sake of a particular type of quality...and there's nothing really wrong with that. Just like there's nothing really wrong with "Snow": it's a completely agreeable culmination to a discography full of solid passing grades.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#215790) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review by Roland113
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
5 stars If you look at my Last FM charts (at the time of this review) you'd notice that Snow by Spock's Beard has 1615 listens, or I've listened to 1615 songs from this album. If you take a straight average, that translates to listening to all 26 songs on the album 64 or so times each. Yeah, I'm giving it five stars.

Much like Genesis, I discovered Spock's Beard long after their original lead singer had left. Much like Genesis, the last album with the previously mentioned lead singer was a double concept album. Much like Genesis, the concept album is absolutely fantastic.

Neal's last effort with the Beardites showed leanings towards his faith, though it certainly isn't the 'over the top, beat you about the head until you're in a stupor' brand of Christianity that I find detracting.

Snow details the story of an albino kid who can read minds. He travels to New York City and becomes a cult leader. I won't give too much more of the story away but there are parallels to the movie Powder. I always found the choice of the lead character to be an albino to be curious; someone had to have told them of the 'Powder' connection. It wouldn't have detracted from the story to drop that aspect, but I digress.

Musically, the album is fantastic. Made Alive / Overature starts the album out with an indication of what is to come. Stranger in a Strange Land is good but Long Time Suffering is one of the great bits on the album. The chorus sticks with you like the smell of McDonalds fries; the Gentle Giant-esque vocal run is superb. Welcome to NYC is a great little bit of funk followed by the forgettable Love Without Words. Devil's Got My Throat is my personal favorite on this album, all the way from the Deep Purple like opening organ to the second four part a cappella bit of the album, this song rocks.

The album cools off with a trio of mellow tunes that gives the listener a chance to breathe. Wind at my Back is a terribly uplifting song, though the lyrics can be a bit hokey and repetitive, the sentiment and music is very upbeat and energetic.

Disc 2 starts with the appropriately named Second Overture which again, gives a portent of what's to come. 4th of July and I'm the Guy are dark scene setters that match the story. Reflections is a jazzy little number but Carrie is just plain awful, though, it's necessary for the story. Looking for Answers is forgettable as well.

From Freak Boy on, the CD shines with a series of hard hitting, well crafted tunes that wrap up the album beautifully. Freak Boy is in your face soul searching that every one of us goes through; All is Vanity features a great Ryo solo, I'm Dying features another catchy Neal Morse chorus. Freak 2 and Devil's 2 both revisit earlier themes and continue down the roller coaster ride as the album gains more and more momentum. Snow's Night Out is the first of a pair of instrumental bits showcasing the band and continuing the avalanche. Ladies and Gentlemen . . . is Ryo's time to truly shine as the ride increases until. . .

Everything crashes at I Will Go. The bottom of the ride, the emotion and the story as well. I don't mean to say that the song is bad, it's just where the out of control coaster of the previous seven songs finally lets up. The song itself features some great harmonies and is a perfect segue to Made Alive Again / Wind at my Back. The closer of the album revisits two of the earlier uplifting themes and brings the album to a gratifying finale.

When I was first getting into newer prog, I was tooling around iTunes and found a review for Snow in which someone posted that this was the album to start with for Spock's Beard. I'm glad I took their advice because this album renewed my interest in prog with vigor.

Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Roland113 (BETA) | Report this review (#223685) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 28, 2009

Review by The Crow
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Snow" could have been the Spock's Beard's masterpiece... But it sadly isn't!

Primarily because a mediocre second album, clearly under the level of the magnificient first one... The style of "Snow" remembers me a bit to "Day for Night", but surpassing it clearly. The short tracks of the first half of the album are just great. Stranger in a Strange Land, Long Time Suffering, Devil's Got My Throat, Open Wide the Flood Gates, Wind at My Back... All the tracks of the first Cd are some of the best Spock's Beard's Neal Morse best. And they fit and flow together perfectly, like one simple song.

But then comes the sencond half... With a lot of fillers, and repeating too much from the first. Specially songs like I'm the Guy, 4th of July, Reflection... They bring to my mind the weakest moments of "Day for Night". Even great songs like Freak Boy and I will Go can't change the bad feeling I have every time I hear this second Cd of "Snow", because it spoils a bit the great work made of the perfect first one. A pity.

Best Tracks: the songs of the first Cd are all great... The second one has too much fillers.

Conclusion: this is another example of an album spoiled by its excesive duration... It the band had taken the best parts of the second Cd and they had mixed in the first one for telling the whole story (wich reminds me too much to the film "Powder"...), maybe we could be talking about the definitive Spock's Beard album. But sadly, "Snow" is not the Spock's Beard masterpiece that we could hever hear from them, and of course is not their best album, although it has some incredible songs and the band sounds really cohesionated. After this album, and Neal Morse's departure, the things would never be the same.

Cd1 rating: *****. Cd2 rating: ***

My rating: ****

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Send comments to The Crow (BETA) | Report this review (#224648) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 05, 2009

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Much has been made about this album being a distant cousin to Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, especially since both albums are the final one to feature the front man. Musically and thematically, however, I don't see much of a relationship (with a few notable and perhaps deliberate sections). Many of the songs flows into one another, creating an almost uninterrupted stream of music, throughout which the band executes some thrilling performances. The biggest problem with this record, though is it's impossible length. Had the project been trimmed (and believe me when I say there are dispensable parts), it would have been a much more powerful album. Instead, it carries on and carries on, oftentimes offering nothing new, and wearing out its welcome in the process. In this overblown effort, there's simply too much that gets recycled (although the melodic motifs are outstanding). All that said, what's here is a beautiful story of defection and redemption, with many great musical moments. An excellent album despite so many flaws, but ranks ever so slightly above my least favorite Spock's Beard albums.

"Made Alive / Overture" Gentle acoustic guitar and Morse's quiet voice begin, with some lovely sound effects used when appropriate. But the instrumental overture is hard-hitting, full of heavy drums, chunky bass, and dirty guitar.

"Stranger in a Strange Land" The acoustic guitar, along with the slide, gives this song a down home Southern flavor at first. It's a pleasing narrative song that retains its simplicity, even when the rest of the band plays.

"Long Time Suffering" This is a gritty song that may just have a little bit too much going on at once. There's the complex vocal arrangements as heard on songs like "Thoughts," which never did much for me anyway. The chorus is catchy, as many Spock's Beard refrains are.

"Welcome to NYC" The Gentle Giant-like beginning is no indication of what sort of song this is: This is Van Halen music right here, full of heavy guitars and vocal screeching. The song proper gives way to gentle piano, a welcome relief after the loud and raunchy music that came before.

"Love Beyond Words" A poignant piece with harrowing words, quiet piano and guitar, I think this is one of the band's best soft songs. The piano at the end is a real highlight.

"The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick)" A real nice rocker, this song works well, going as it does from traditional festive rock music to mellow moments where major seventh chords abound.

"Devil's Got My Throat" The lead singing is just grating on this heavier song; there's even more irritating David Lee Roth-imitation shrieking. The best part of the song, however, is the synthesizer solo, the tone of which sounds very much like Patrick Moraz's lead spot toward the end of Yes's "Sound Chaser." The brief organ solo is likewise praiseworthy. The end is more complex a cappella vocals akin to those in "Thoughts."

"Open Wide the Flood Gates" I first heard part of this song in the medley on Neal Morse's ? Live album. It's a pleasing, very memorable song, with some great drumming from Nick D'Virgilio toward the end.

"Open the Gates" This is a more progressive follow up to the previous track; it has several satisfying parts, but for some reason, I prefer what came before.

"Solitary Soul" Mournful piano works underneath Alan Morse's smooth lead guitar until his big brother comes in with acoustic guitar and his deep vocals. I also had previously heard an excerpt from this piece on Morse's ? Live album. It's a very satisfying soft song that I really enjoy listening to, even in isolation.

"Wind at My Back" The last song on the disc returns to the simple acoustic guitar and vocals, the latter of which is laden with short reverb. It's another good pop track, and a pleasing closer to the first CD.

"Second Overture" The beginning of the second disc is a varied piece of music, full of shifting complexities, nice organ, and grating electric guitar business. There's some newscast voiceovers, describing the titular character's powers.

"4th of July" This is another fairly weak track on this album, even though this track is important with respect to the story.

"I'm the Guy" This is a weird song, at least the way it's performed and sung, and it just makes me furrow my brow and want to hit skip. It's probably the weakest moment on the album, even if it serves the narrative well.

"Reflection" A basic narrative bridge, this is really well done. Morse does a great job singing some well-written lyrics. In spite of its length, this is very important part of the story.

"Carie" Acoustic guitar and light vocals abound in this short track that sounds like something from The Eagles in recent times; even the vocalist sounds like Timothy B. Schmidt.

"Looking for Answers" Generic-sounding Spock's Beard, what's here is still no less enjoyable for what it is. The subtle acoustic guitar in the background is nice to just pick out of the mix and focus on.

"Freak Boy" This short song has some good electric guitar and synthesizer, and I really like the lyrics, but overall this song isn't my thing.

"All is Vanity" This song flows quite naturally from the previous one, and is full of great lyrics that echo the main theme from the book of Ecclesiastes. The subsequent synthesizer and bass interplay make for good music. Everything that follows from the beginning of that point is some of the best instrumental business on the album.

"I'm Dying" Semi-metal guitar and buoyant keyboards work under Morse's seething vocals. It's not a bad song, but it's not particularly memorable. The end of it sounds like the band is attempting to imitate Genesis's "The Waiting Room."

"Freak Boy (Part Two)" The second part of this song, the instrumental section, is far superior to the vocal section, but it's a decent reprise.

"Devil's Got My Throat (Revisited)" Yet another reprise, this two minute bit may fit in with the story, but it offers nothing new.

"Snow's Night Out" A jaunty little piece that almost sounds a bit disco, this is one I could do without.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Mister Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards" Over an applauding crowd, Ryo Okumoto gets ample opportunity to demonstrate his exciting abilities on various instruments, not the least of which is the organ, and he sounds phenomenal playing it. This is easily one of his best performances.

"I Will Go" Melancholic Mellotron, gentle piano, and soft electric guitar set up the climax of the rock opera. There are some painful-sounding vocalizations before the music gels together, ushering in some lovely call-and-response vocal passages that treat the return of the prodigal son theme with elegance.

"Made Alive / Wind at My Back" The first song, with that gorgeous acoustic guitar, visits the listener again, and makes so much thematic sense in terms of the story, completing a beautiful story of redemption.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#241903) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars This album is very accessible to newcomers and that's never a bad thing for any long concept album!

Just before leaving Spock's Beard, Neal Morse managed to write the best album that this band have ever accomplished. One may argue that the record's concept is unoriginal and contains very basic lyrical structures or even that it's actually a mash between The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and The Who's Tommy, but that's what makes it work so well for me.

Instrumentally Snow might not be as technical as anything that the band had recorded previously but the simpler arrangements definitely enhance the experience of the material especially since any other arrangement would just feel overblown and shallow. There are a few instrumentals here and there but most of the album consists of a stripped down arrangement dominated by acoustic guitars and melodic verse/chorus compositions.

If you found my description of this album interesting then stop hesitating and purchase this excellent album. If you intend to buy the CD version of this release then I would recommend the 3-CD version since the bonus tracks are really great. Get it even if it's just for the excellent cover of South Side Of The Sky, although I'm sure that if you like the album then you'll find most of this bonus material completely priceless.

***** star songs: Long Time Suffering (6:03) Devil's Got My Throat (7:17) Open The Gates Part 2 (3:02) Wind At My Back (5:12) I Will Go (5:08)

**** star songs: Made Alive/Overture (5:32) Stranger In A Strange Land (4:29) Love Beyond Words (3:24) The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick) (4:05) Open Wide The Flood Gates (6:14) Solitary Soul (7:33) 2nd Overture (3:47) 4th Of July (3:11) Reflection (2:49) Carie (3:06) Looking For Answers (5:17) Freak Boy (2:12) All Is Vanity (4:35) I'm Dying (5:09) Freak Boy Part 2 (3:01) Devil's Got My Throat Revisited (1:55) Snow's Night Out (2:04) Ladies And Gentleman Mr. Ryo Okumoto (2:40) Made Alive/Wind At My (8:27)

*** star songs: Welcome To NYC (3:32) I'm The Guy (4:48)

Total Rating: 4,16

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#254391) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 05, 2009

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars I bought this album immeadiately after I heard the description, emotional rock opera. That is absolutely my kind of album!

The story of the albino psychic is quite a narrative all right and it's one that seemingly gets better each listen. The story is very much "out there" but somehow I can relate to it and the emotion Morse shows with his vocals match the storyline perfectly.

That's one of the real reasons this is a masterpiece, how well the music matches the lyrics. The emotion given by both just create one big emotion you can feel. (How many times have I said emotion so far?)

I don't want to give away the storyline in my review, that would take much too long but I will give you this, it is a spiritual journey in the purest musical sense. The musicians can really play especially the incredibly skilled boards player Ryo Okumoto and the shape shifting guitar of Alan Morse.

5 bright and shining stars.

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Send comments to The Truth (BETA) | Report this review (#293575) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 06, 2010

Review by VanVanVan
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars An absolute masterpiece.

For a long time I identified Snow as my "second favorite album ever" (behind Ayreon's THE). I don't think I could say that's still the case, but that doesn't mean the album is any less good!

It's impossible for me to do a track by track (just too many songs) but I will say that in my opinion there is not a weak moment on the album. From the beautiful and spare opening of "Made Alive" to the rocking "Devil's Got My Throat" to the emotional "I Will Go" and the stellar finale of "Made Alive/WInd at My Back," this is an album that keeps the listener engaged (both emotionally and intellectually) throughout all of its almost 2 hours of music.

This album gets compared a lot to Tommy and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, and it's not a bad description of the album to say that it sounds like a combination of those with a lot of classic prog influence (GG, Genesis, etc.) thrown in as well. This is easily the most consistent SB album, and one that every prog fan should here.

Absolutely recommended.

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Send comments to VanVanVan (BETA) | Report this review (#297990) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Another double concept album and another lead singer gone!

Ironically the concept double format has been the bane of at least two legendary solo artists. First Peter Gabriel left for greener pastures and a prolific successful career after genesis' "Lamb Lies Down On Broadway", and now Neal Morse leaves Spock's Beard for a solo career after "Snow". Both albums are based on a man who leaves behind an old life to embrace a new one going to NYC ot become a rock god and falling prey to all the temptations therein. As with the aforementioned Genesis album, "Snow" may be the best Spock's Beard album though I have not heard every one. A double Cd full of inspirational songs hung on a conceptual framework is irresistible. The concept is heavy handed and revolves around the story of a young albino boy named Snow, who moves to NYC and is, due to an unprecedented gift, transformed into some kind of legendary rock god, but of course all does not go well on this adventure and there are many hurdles to overcome. It is not a new idea, as mentioned, Genesis have done it on their "Lamb" magnum opus, but Spock's Beard have really created something equally special with this magnificent album.

The way the songs merge in to each other like one long track is a compelling device and the whole album works die to the way the songs blend seamlessly. Neal Morse's wonderful clean emotional vocals are as good as it gets. The lyrics are uplifting and innovative with some darker moments telling the cautionary tale. The lead work is excellent. The keyboards are shimmering and strong. The drums are sporadic and creative. The melodies are infectious and akin to the type of material Morse contributed to both his solo career and Transatlantic. Having heard those albums before this it is impossible to differentiate between the styles, as they are so similar. Morse's vocals are always excellent.

There are some amazing tracks on this opus. The memorable melodies of Stranger in a Strange Land come to mind. Long Time Suffering with an amazing shimmering organ and lead break and acapella vocal harmonies.

The heavier and darker Welcome to NYC features Morse aggressive on vocals and the riffs intensified with organ staccato slamming. It sounds like "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" with references to the tracks on the Genesis classic. It ends with a minimalist piano, gently played with emotion to bring the atmosphere down. It segues to the pretty melodies of Love Beyond Words. Morse is always terrific on these ballads.

The 39th Street Blues is a real rocker with grungy riffs and loud vocals. The moment the sax blasts out I knew that I loved this track. This is a jazzy thing with some very powerful melodies.

Devil's Got My Throat is driven by a staccato organ and guitar riff. It really grabs you by the throat (pun intended) and refuse sot let go. The lyrics are very aggressive and well executed. The keyboard solo and guitars soar over each other, you have to love that Hammond sound and howling wind. One of the heavier tracks, very progressive, and one of the best compositions of the band. The acapella ending seals the deal and then it has a passage of sweet flute sounds.

A soft ballad follows with Open Wide the Flood Gates, sounding familiar to the solo career of Morse. It builds to a majestic feel with solid melodies but goes on a bit too long. I like the jazzy instrumental though the return to the chorus is a bit repetitive.

Open The Gates 2 continues the same theme, with anthemic and loud choruses. The flute sounds and brass in the instrumental is innovative.

Solitary Soul is one of the longer tracks over 7 minutes, beginning with a beautiful keyboard solo. Morse is quiet and emotive on vocals. The melancholy ambience is punctuated by harmonies and a majestic chorus. There are some high falsetto vocals later heard, and the piano is ever present. A real dreamy sleeper but packs an emotional blast, especially that finishing lead break over a Hammond sound. It segues into Wind at My Back, acoustic, moderate tempo, heavily reliant on Morse's performance.

CD 2 has some highlights also starting with the sledge hammer riffs and soaring keyboards of Second Overture and 4th of July. There is a familiar melody heard on CD1, which ties it together well. The sax is dynamic and a welcome sound after all the balladeering and organ heavy work of Cd1. The slide guitar work on 4th of July is excellent and it has a great chorus, "another 4th of July, another shot hits the sky, another eagle exalts the man".

I'm The Guy is a great song, and has a wonderful bassline and scratchy guitar. It has a darker feel and Morse gets into a more sinister style; "I'm the mind you're living in, I'm the guy who thinks of the press and interviews, likes to walk a mile in God's favourite running shoes."

Carie grabs my attention after Reflection ends. This ballad is full of tranquil beauty and some sweet lyrics. It is the story of a girl who the protagonist is in love with, but has to ultimately leave her behind to pursue his career.

He pursues her on Looking for Answers, sung well by Nick, working out how he is going to contact Carie again. The melody is very strong and grows on you. The twin lead guitar break on this is well executed.

So the story continues with Freak Boy, a strange track with a powerful strong heavy riff, where the tale turns darker. The protagonist has a freakish gift, and Carie is turning him away at 2 in the morning, as she can't love such a man, calling him "a magnet for the pathetic". It's a fun song with some great distortion on the guitars, and squealing guitars. It blends seamlessly into All Is Vanity; "I'm all alone without a friend" says the young man, who is sinking deeper into a depressed state. The keyboard solo and very cool guitar riff is essential listening. There is a very dynamic instrumental break that takes off in many directions, switching time sigs, and is one of the most proggy tracks on the album. The Hammond sounds are grinding and violently juxtaposed with blindingly brilliant synths.

Immediately we launch into the heavy choppy I'm Dying. Morse is remorseful (pun intended) with depressive vocals, "when they come in the night I won't be here no more, help me I'm dying, my soul is flying, hear the shots in the night and I don't care what for, I had mustard before, I can't eat it no more ". It breaks into a fine instrumental with choral vocals and a majestic keyboard passage. It tends to build to a crescendo till it quietens at the end with a rather odd violin sound, haunting and ghostly.

Eventually Freak Boy 2 begins with a cool riff and strong percussion, over deep bass. The downbeat atmosphere is augmented by the lyrics, "I'm a freak boy, everlasting, on the street now barely breathing, they don't call me Snow it's too charming, somehow I still have some feeling". I really like the feel of this track, driving with a heavy riff and a melodic lead break.

Devil's Got My Throat revisited has more choppy Hammond and howling wind, and it is nice to be reminded of the melody once again but this is more effects laden, even with a Dalek voice at one stage.

Snow's Night Out has a frantic riff and some jazzy sax nuances. The proggish time sig is rather innovative and there are even effects of a night club crowd. The instrumental breaks the singing for a while which is worthwhile as Morse has been dominant. This remains one of the best examples of the progressive side of Spock's Beard.

The fake crowd represents this is the live stage with the protagonist now a rock god playing to a strong audience in a stadium. Ladies and Gentlemen Mr Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards, sounds live and is really a showcase for Ryo and why not, he is one of the best keyboardists on the planet. The shimmering Hammond is incredible. Reminds me of Emerson in places.

This blends into I Will Go with the protagonist sad singing a melancholy ballad, emotional and endearing. "Help me, I'm dying" he croons again. The song is very quiet at first, bleak piano stabs, and mournful atmosphere. Morse is beautiful here and this sounds more like his solo career, even mentioning God and the idea of searching for something else leading him to God eventually as we know.

The accomplished work of keyboardist Ryo Okumoto and guitarist Allan Morse are prominent on the prog mini epic Made Alive/ Wind at my Back. This is a definitive highlight full of melody and innovation. The main majestic point is found in the way it builds and the melodic harmonies. Morse absolutely pours his heart and soul into this. So it ends on a high note and a positive theme. Overall in effect I think the album improves dramatically on the second Cd building up all the time with some very strong compositions and melodies. The dilemma I have is the thing is so long and the concept is overblown sometimes. It is a bit poppy for my prog sensitive ears, though the songs grow on you like osmosis over time. It is a compelling album with many great songs and a few that could have been left off but it is hard to complain about such an ambitious passionate project as "Snow". I will settle with 4 stars as this is definitely an excellent addition to any prog addict's collection.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#408424) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The parallels between this album and the last Gabrie-era Genesis album, "Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", are clear - both are double concept albums, both are centred in New York both were the bands sixth album, and the lead singer left after each album.

The parallels end there, for while The Lamb is one of my all time favorite album, featuring great melodies, a bizarre story, and really unique music, well ...

Snow makes me understand all the retro-prog hate out there.

I've actually had this album for about two years and never listened to it. I got it around the same time I got Day Into Night, being certain I would love this band, and after Day Into Night failed to impress me I kind of ignored this one for a while. But when I stumbled across a video of "The Light" on youtube, and found myself enjoying it, I figured I would finally give the band a second chance.

Truthfully, the music here isn't terrible. There are, in fact, some pretty good tracks - I like it when the band creates a heavier, darker sound. The problems that plague this album, though, really hurt it. And these albums are evident throughout most of the two hour production, making it very difficult for me to listen to the whole thing.

In all honesty, by the time that "Open Up The Floodgates" Comes around, I am ready to turn it off. And that isn't even the end of the first disc!

Again I'd like to state that this music isn't terrible, and if you're a huge fan of modern symphonic prog, you'll probably like it. It contains everything one expects from the current leaders of the genre, but almost nothing that they expect from the past masters. There are long instrumental flourishes, lots of singing, a strong concept, and it is long!

I think this is my biggest complaint. It's long, and not hugely varied. On their own a lot of these songs stand out just fine, but as an album, it's a lot of the same thing to take in. And they have the bad habit of stretching songs out beyond where they should be. Can you imagine how terrible The Lamb would be if Counting Out Time were 8 minutes long? Yet "Open Up The Floodgates" is a perfect example of a song that's like that - it says what it has to say in 1 minute, then goes on for another 5.

Truthfully at this point I've only gone through the album a couple of times, and it's rare for me to want to review an album after so few listens. I try and get as much as I can out of the album first. But in this case, the good parts often last too long, and even when they don't, they just aren't enough to make me want to trudge through the bad parts

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#439997) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2011

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
2 stars Neal Morse's web site has this qoute about "Snow": "Snow is an exemplary concept album in the tradition of The Who's Tommy or Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and has earned the right to be mentioned in the same breath as these classics in the annals of Rock' n 'Roll."

That's hubris.

While a concept album is a fine idea, and a great way for Morse to leave the band, his ham handed approach to this album causes it to fail on a number of levels.

First, the story told here just doesn't seem original. If you've seen the movie "Powder", you have seen the main character, here renamed "Snow". There are also hefty helpings of plot from the two classic albums listed above.

Second, the music is the weakest of any of the Morse-led Spock's Beard albums. The overtures, one at the beginning of each CD, hint at some spectacular prog to come. False advertising. While there are a few good hard rock songs, there is next to nothing progressive about the mostly arena rock tracks that fill this turkey. And Morse should have listened to "Tommy", especially Captain Walker to hear music written to move a story along that doesn't sound forced.

Third, where Morse previously wrote some nice lyrics, even some with religious overtones, here, he sounds like he's trying to fill a playing card from Born Again Buzz Word Bingo. While he's not preachy, the lyrics are so unoriginal that they are cringeworthy. I keep wanting to hear "You are the wind at my back" as "You are the wind from my crack".

Aside from the overtures and the few hard rock pieces, the only musical highlight, and prog moment comes near the end of this ordeal of an album. After the reprise of Devil's Got My Throat, the music gets good for almost five minutes, with Snow's Night Out and the out-of-place Ladies And Gentleman, Mr. Ryo Okumoto on the Keyboards. But don't worry, the music gets quite lame again afterwards.

Spoiler alert: Snow apparently is a Jesus figure. If you hadn't figured it out from the parallels to "Powder" or Snow's girlfriend Carie (who's last name is probably Cagdalene), it's stuck in your face after Snow rises from the dead at the end and talk to God. Jeeze.

I have the deluxe edition with the bonus disk. The Yes cover is interesting, as are the "acoustic" versions of some earlier songs. But one the whole it doesn't add much value to the set.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#451659) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars For a number of years, I was completely happy with only The Light and V to fulfill my Spock's Beard needs. Fortunately for me, I eventually got around to the rest of the Beard's catalog, although this album was the one I was most dubious about.

For my high-level review, I think there is enough good material for a 4-star album. However, extending an album's worth of high-quality material into a double album removes a star in my book. I don't think there's really any debate that there is not enough material for the runtime of this album.

Upon more close analysis, I can understand better how this album came to be. In Neal's book Testimony, he refers to the time in which Snow was conceived and recorded. He was being pulled in multiple ways professionally and personally, When they met to record the album, there was a scheduling conflict in the recording studio, and that is when Snow went from one album to two. It was a bad choice, but I understand why it was done at least. I also think that Neal was moving toward a more symphonic and dramatic form of composition, and if he took a few lumps on Snow to refine his approach to future albums, then it was worth it.

And the concept...oh the concept...well it's just terribly lame. I don't mind cheesy lyrics, and you have to be willing to make a bit of a fool of yourself to make Spock's Beard music, but I can't imagine how awkward it must have felt to be working in the studio on vocal round after round about the albino. Let's just say that nothing in the concept or lyrics resonates with me and leave it at that.

Fortunately, I do enjoy most of the music. The first 10 minutes or so of each album are a bit uneven and perhaps uninteresting, but things really pick up in momentum as the side moves forward. The one glaring limitation is the end of the album (everything after Ryo's piece), mainly because those sections involve reprisals that I thought were done better earlier in the album. Save the best for last, guys! Don't give us a 10-minute reprise of Wind at My Back, please.

I find the playing to be tight on Snow. Meros is a bit muted due to the composition, but fortunately I can hear plenty of bass (which is always a Beard highlight for me). Alan is solid, as is Ryo, and NDV is particularly locked in. They really have moved into a great brand of prog metal at this point, and they cement their place as one of my all-time favorite rhythm sections. Vocals are quite strong, and that includes Neal! He has some awkward moments, but it's not due to lack of ability in my book. With a double album, you can't just sing the same way throughout, and when you experiment, sometimes it doesn't work. Fortunately, I think things work more here than not.

All in all, Snow is yet another cautionary tale of a quality album that should not have been a double album. For those who can appreciate (or at least stomach) the occasional excesses of the Beard, Snow is a must-have.

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Send comments to Flucktrot (BETA) | Report this review (#890377) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars t has been a long time since I first heard 'The Light', and I think that it is safe to say that since then I have been a fan. They are the most exciting and dramatic progressive rock band around, driving the genre forward and in this album they have come of age. This is THE album of the year; I cannot imagine anything else coming close. 'Snow' is the band's first concept album, and with 115 minutes of music they have allowed themselves to stretch in the way that they have been threatening in the past ? no stranger to epics, this is a whole new ball game. The double CD tells the story of a young man who is blessed, and cursed, with the gift of healing and tells the story of the problems that he faces and how he overcomes them. As Neal says "When it rocks, then it rocks more than before. When it's soft, then it's softer than before. And when we decide to play complex parts, then it's more over-the-top that it ever was". Some of the songs have extremely catchy hooks ("Devil's Got My Throat" being a case in point), while others are just breathtaking in their complexity, or just simple and commercial.

I can't wait to see this played live as the guys are blasting away one second, then it is accapella vocals, or it comes from incredible note density to just simple work on an acoustic guitar. I listened to it in it's entirety in the company of a VDGG fan who had never heard Spock's Beard previously and he was stunned. In this album the band are bringing together all of their rock and prog influences and moulding them into something truly new and exciting. There is nothing here to fault. The songs and musicianship are of the highest order, and the production top class. In fact, the only issue with the album that I have is that when I put it on just to play a few tracks I feel cheated if I am unable to listen to the whole thing again. The double CD is being released in the UK on August 26th (distributed by Koch) but there is also a limited edition available that contains the 2 CD digibook version with a 28 page booklet. It comes in a special box plus an extra bonus disc with a cover song, live acoustic versions, and some outtakes and dialogue. They have an excellent web site that also contains details on solo projects (just in case any of you haven't got the hint yet and are yet to buy Neal's awesome solo album) www.spocksbeard.com. If you only buy one progressive rock album this year, it is this one.

Originally appeared in Feedback #69, Aug 02

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Send comments to kev rowland (BETA) | Report this review (#978047) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, June 14, 2013

Latest members reviews

3 stars I must admit I had great expectations for this album, being that is made by the same guys that made monsters like The Light and V. Cover art is not that bad, and fans often call it the best Spock's Beard album ever, I'm afraid it isn't. I can't call myself a SB fan, and perhaps I should analyz ... (read more)

Report this review (#986511) | Posted by MyDarling95 | Wednesday, June 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars By this point (and with their last album) Spock's Beard has finally found their sound. The Gentle Giant influences are nearly gone on this album, and only traces of Genesis can be heard as well. The obvious comparison to be made here is to A Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but in many ways Snow is bette ... (read more)

Report this review (#771404) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 2.5 stars really Once again, an updated review. In this case, I'm going to round up from my original rating, as I think there is some good material on here. This is not my least favorite Spock's Beard album, as that is reserved for the Day For Night album. However, I can't say I like it tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#609160) | Posted by infandous | Friday, January 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a terrific concept album. Disc 1 is awesomeness from start to finish, Disc 2 is very strong most of the way, finally ending with the double whammy of I Will Go and Made Alive Again/Wind at My Back Reprise, which was a spectacular way to end the record. Disc 2 does meander a bit too much foll ... (read more)

Report this review (#450394) | Posted by Biff Tannen | Friday, May 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Neal Morse's final album at the helm of the band he founded is a rock opera masterpiece. It's too bad that he left the band after it's release; I would loved to have seen this album performed live. Morse went on to a fantastic solo career, while the band went forward with uneven results (und ... (read more)

Report this review (#442802) | Posted by BobVanguard | Wednesday, May 04, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hello everyone, Tommo here. I rarely post album reviews although I have been using PA since its inception! However, my birthday is on its way and I want to make sure I am up to date on the lastest releases ;) So, listening to the stream, I happened upon a review of Snow that gave it just 2 sta ... (read more)

Report this review (#440019) | Posted by tommo | Thursday, April 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, though this is not my personal favourite album in Spock's Beard discography I'll throw some lines about it. This album has all the trademarks that Spock's Beard and Neal Morse work are famous for. Their influences of Genesis, Gentle Giant and Yes are in the spotlight, musicianship is great ... (read more)

Report this review (#308048) | Posted by migue091 | Wednesday, November 03, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Aha, a concept album, about an Albino with a nick name of "Snow". Well there is a lot of religion in the lyrics also - so Snow is an albino Jesus or something like that...Anyway, the music is so good that it keeps your attention all the way through 2 hours of the life of Snow, very tight musci ... (read more)

Report this review (#252362) | Posted by M27Barney | Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oooh, a concept album. Tricky fellow, johnny concept-album. I've heard dozens over the years, and, dear friend, Snow, is probably my favourite. Yes, even more than 'The Lamb'. The narrative is far clearer and less pretentious than most - I'll leave it to other people to interpret it (it ai ... (read more)

Report this review (#228639) | Posted by Dobbin | Monday, July 27, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Spock's Beard bears the brunt of many criticisms of borrowing from the 70's progressive giants, some of which are deserved, most notably the Gentle Giant vocal imitations, but on this album there is none of the borrowing to be had. Snow is their last album with Neal Morse, and he most certainly ... (read more)

Report this review (#201065) | Posted by The Ace Face | Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars OK, a concept album it is then... I bought this album when it was released due to a recommondation from Amazon. I did not like it so Amazon sunk to the bottom of the sea in my estimation. It took me some years to listen to it again. I even put it up for sale on Ebay. Thankfully, nobody bought ... (read more)

Report this review (#201011) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, January 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars [Review 2] Spock's Beard – Snow As I'm sure many other reviews have already stated, [i]Snow[/i] is a story about an albino boy who grows up to become a famous Christian preacher. As an atheist and someone who abhors being preached to, I don't find this albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#176005) | Posted by Kestrel | Thursday, July 03, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Having recently picked up Spock's Beard's V, I was more than curious and decided to locate some more of their material and delve further into their catalogue. Spock's Beard is a controversial band at best-they are a group you either love or hate. They had captured my interest and I decided to pur ... (read more)

Report this review (#172363) | Posted by AdamantVision | Tuesday, May 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Snow was the first review I ever did upon joining PA. I think it's time to freshen it up a little. Based on what I wrote before in my first review, I should probably have given a three rather than a four. I guess at the time I couldn't make up my mind and erred for higher rather than lower. Almost t ... (read more)

Report this review (#128289) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Friday, July 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'm not much of a Spock's Beard fan by any means, but since this was acclaimed so highly by so many I decided to pick it up. When an album is called the modern The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway that is (at least to me) a very, very high acclaim. So the first thing that set me off was that this is n ... (read more)

Report this review (#128032) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Tuesday, July 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I started to dig into Spock Beard's music and all in the line of Neal Morse's connections less than a year ago. Until now, my wife (hates progressive rock in general) started to enjoy what Mr Morse and co could produce. In the same fashion as Tommy and the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Snow tel ... (read more)

Report this review (#124339) | Posted by terrylity | Saturday, June 02, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars For me "Snow" is the tale of two separate albums. Disc 1 is kind of slow-moving and uninteresting, with the exception of "Devil's Got My Throat". As I listen to Disc 1 I keep trying to find reasons to convince myself to listen to the next song or simply shut it off. Disc 2 is an entirely ... (read more)

Report this review (#121487) | Posted by Disconnect | Thursday, May 10, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The problem with this band is that you are always looking for influences. It is a good record, with good songs, a passable storyline, but to tell you the truth It reminds me a lot to TLLDOB by Genesis on the structure of the story, on the setting in New York son no originality arises from here. ... (read more)

Report this review (#115521) | Posted by steelyhead | Sunday, March 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars For me with V a masterpiece, SP has reached their peak of great music. Snow is an incredible album but not compare to V. In my opinion it has 4.5 stars.I love SP's melancholic way to do music with sweetest music and changing styles in a Genesis way.I must admit that in Cd 1 i would chosen a be ... (read more)

Report this review (#99183) | Posted by fred84 | Friday, November 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I am sorry to say, this is where the Spocks Beard rot set in. I bought this when it first came out, played it right through once and never again, its just sheer plagirism! Its like "A Lamb Lies Down On Broadway's Docile Younger Son". It is just AOR!! I love their albums before this, but a ... (read more)

Report this review (#98710) | Posted by Frippertron | Tuesday, November 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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