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Spock's Beard

Symphonic Prog

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Spock's Beard Feel Euphoria album cover
3.24 | 413 ratings | 37 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Onomatopoeia (5:16)
2. The Bottom Line (7:33)
3. Feel Euphoria (7:20)
4. Shining Star (4:06)
5. East of Eden, West of Memphis (7:05)
6. Ghosts of Autumn (6:53)
- A Guy Named Sid:
7. Part I - Intro (3:02)
8. Part II - Same Old Story (4:25)
9. Part III - You Don't Know (3:11)
10. Part IV - Judge (3:20)
11. Part V - Sid's Boys Choir (1:09)
12. Part VI - Change (5:16)
13. Carry On (5:20)

Total Time 63:56

Bonus tracks on 2003 SE:
14. Moth of Many Flames (2:49)
15. From the Messenger (7:27)

Line-up / Musicians

- Nick D'Virgilio / lead vocals, drums, percussion, electric & acoustic guitars, loops
- Alan Morse / electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Ryo Okumoto / keyboards
- Dave Meros / bass

- John Boegehold / synth & Fx (5)
- Steve Velez / cello (13)
- Gina Ballina / French horn (13)
- Claire Pasquale / trumpet & piccolo trumpet (13)
- J'Anna Jacoby / violin (13)

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard

CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 126 (2003, Germany)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 126 (2003, Germany) SE with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy SPOCK'S BEARD Feel Euphoria Music

SPOCK'S BEARD Feel Euphoria ratings distribution

(413 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (49%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SPOCK'S BEARD Feel Euphoria reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
3 stars Well I have got a "Promotional copy" of this new album by SPOCK'S BEARD, scheduled to be released on July 2003. Such new issue is the first release after the controversial album "Snow", (this latter quite disappointing in some circumstances), too much emulating the ideas of "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" by the early GENESIS. Instead this new work is without the writing, keyboard, and vocal performances of the original member Neil MORSE, who left the band for some personal reasons or a sort of personal crisis. However already as from their previous work, he was not so brilliant like in the early albums by S.B.. Besides the remaining members are a bit forced to become leading vocalists, despite of being able to carry out some good music both vocally as well as instrumentally within their solo albums.

Well as they are not like GENTLE GIANT, their task without Neal Morse is obviously more difficult!! But proceeding by order, I like to point out first of all that they are obliged to steer more in the direction of such "poppy" stuff, rather than facing the progressive aspects concerning their music. That was a typical mood inside the first half of their recordings; while here the heavier prog elements of bands such as KING CRIMSON are disappearing, except on a few early GENESIS-like breaks through, similar to those ones by the early "romantic" K.C." . The arrangements without the creative mind of MORSE are more difficult, despite of the majority of these pop songs being natural and well performed here. For this reason, I should give this CD an higher score. Finally this is good stuff and Nick Di Virgilio is not only a remarkable drummer, because he can also sing in a good manner. This album could represent the new direction of the band, which was not able to innovate their ideas in the recent times, becoming tiring along with the last uninspiring stuff by Neal MORSE.

Interesting album, even though it is not essential!!

Review by Muzikman
4 stars How could you possibly not Feel Euphoria knowing that a new Spock's Beard album was set to be released? If you are a real head case when it comes to prog-rock like me, you know exactly where I am coming from. Okay, I know you are wondering what they sound like without their main man Neal Morse. Their circumstances were the same as Genesis many years ago when they had to replace their lead man Peter Gabriel, and a drummer by the name of Phil Collins took over the lead vocal spot. Let me ease your minds, Nick D' Virgilio does an excellent job stepping out from in back of the drum kit (he still plays drums) to take over the lead role with the band. He actually sounds like Morse on a few cuts. It does not surprise me one bit that it was such an easy transition, his solo album Karma absolutely floored me and I wondered why he was not singing more for the band anyway.

Morse was the heartbeat of this band for so long, I too had to wonder how their overall sound would hold up throughout this album. I have to admit I was not exactly sure after two listens, I guess the third time is the charm because by the time I had listened completely on the third spin I was convinced that they were different, they had a new kind of energy, and they definitely were still the Spock's Beard that I loved listening to. Everyone in the band kicks it up a few notches to support D' Virgilio on his new job and the outcome is spectacular. This band has been at the top of their game for so long now how could anyone expect anything less.

The music ranges from the hard rocking title track "Feel Euphoria" to the gorgeous harmonies and lead vocals of "East Of Eden, West Of Memphis," featuring sparkling guitar lines, keyboards, bass and drums all produced to perfection. "A Guy Named Sid" is their mini-series/opus in six parts that will have prog-heads salivating. The progression and changes that each individual part goes through is like the cover of the CD, a rainbow of colors dumped into a vast pool of sound and textures, it is all breathtaking rock music.

Some long time fans may think that the beard is just stubble right now and it needs to grow in, personally, I think the old growth just had a trim and it grew back in differently to fit the new face. The beard is still there and it has plenty of time to grow. Just like the title of the last two tracks, it is all about "Change" and the will to "Carry On."

Rating: 4.5/5

Review by horza
5 stars I feel sorry for all you Spock's Beard fans out there. So much great music in this bands back catalogue and its all MINE to discover!! Envy me you sad people whilst I have such treasures to discover for myself. Now, I actually possess a fair amount of SB material but I had'nt got around to listening to it. So much music and so little time - does that sound familiar? After chatting to a friend I felt compelled to listen to them and this was the album I decided to start with. After checking the reviews I thought maybe I had made a mistake - it does'nt have the high score that others have.Anyway - I don't think I made a mistake - if there are better SB albums than this then I am in for one hell of a treat.

The album opens with 'Onomatopoeia' - an uptempo, uplifting track which sets the tone very nicely. Tight drumming and a sense that you have a band enjoying themselves. It has a quieter mid-section but soon regains momentum. A very catchy song. Next up we have 'The Bottom Line' which features that which I treasure most, delicious soaring synth before settling down to become pretty anthemic and acoustic along the way. Track three is the title track - it opens with synth and drum before vocals and choppy organ take up the beat. Its a fantastic track - the chorus has a unusual though very compelling phrase leading into it. The track gets more frantic two thirds of the way through. Organ mayhem ensues and you wonder who unleashed Mr Emerson into the proceedings. Next we have 'Shining Star' which is a nice ballad, reminiscent of America/The Eagles - listen and tell me I'm wrong. Lovely guitar, nice and chilled. 'East of Eden, West of Memphis' follows - and it is such a fantastic song. Very upbeat and foot-tappy (know what I mean?). I commented on this feature of the album to a friend and he said that maybe that was why some people did'nt like it. Strange - nothing wrong with foot-tappyness. Anyway - the second half of the song is a different matter. it cranks up the bpm and features fabulous synth, guitar, drums and all round excellent musicianship. 'Ghosts of Autumn' opens with sombre piano - vocals tell us to 'Listen to the whispers of the rain....' - its a rocky ballad and an excellent track to boot.

The next 6 tracks are 'A guy named Sid part one' up to part six. The first part is an instrumental and one of my new favourites. Its pretty funky, driven and very tight. It could be the new theme for one of my fav sci-fi series Space 1999 (in-joke). Great keyboards throughout. Part two continues the tale and is a strong, rocky, prog beast. Part three is more sensitive - featuring the line 'Every story has 2 sides, but no one ever wants to hear mine'. It reminds me a little of Kevin Gilbert, who was a friend of SB's drummer. Part four continues the tale of 'A guy named Sid' and it is followed by a choral piece which seems familiar to me - cant place it though. The final part of the epic ties up things well - great playing as usual. The albums last track is 'Carry On' - again, up uplifting, positive song. Sounds like the Carry On Wayward Son brigade. Superb album. What one next I wonder?

Review by Zitro
3 stars 3.2 Stars

Since Neal Morse was the leader of the band and made the painfully dull "Snow", I wanted to see how the band would deal without the man behind the band. Surprisingly, Feel Euphoria is stronger than Beware of Darkness and Day for Night. There are obvious changes in the sound from the band though you can still hear the sound of Spock's Beard. The changes include the drummer taking vocal duties, the harder-edged approach, the keyboards, and the songwriting. The quality of the songs is a bit inconsistent as most of the best moments are in the first half

Onomatopoeia begins the album strongly and makes you realize that Spock's Beard changed after Morse's departure. You can hear heavy electric guitars taking lead, more rock-oriented singing, no more Morse's synths/pianos, etc. The most interesting part of this song (and maybe the album) is the genius usage of harmony vocals, brilliant acoustic chord progressions and haunting mellotron in the middle section. The hard rock comes back and ends the piece.

The Bottom Line is a bit more remnicent of earlier Spock's Beard, though the intro still has the elements of Feel Euphoria: old school analogue synths and heavy guitars. Suddently, a nice vocal melody turns this song into a ballad with time changes and prog elements. I love the synth line used in the choruses. This is overall a very successful attempt at a progressive rock song in the vein of early Spock's Beard.

The title track has very good musicianship and an amazing chorus hook, yet is marred by having a disjointed structure. The second half of the song sounds like a good jam session.

Shining Star is a pop song with very good vocal melodies and straightforward instrumentation to complement it. It is a harmless little tune.

East of Eden is a quite unusual song. It begins with some heavily distorted guitar riff and catchy melodies and good melodies. Suddently the song makes an abrupt turn and voila! you got Ryo going in overdrive playing a mad synth solo under beds of mellotrons! The song ends with backward tapes and a reprise of the initial melodies, which is something that feels a bit out of place.

Ghost of Autumn is an emotional musical journey with Ryo playing gorgeous piano leads. The song focuses on melodies and is pretty laid back. Check out the guitar solo in this piece. Overall, a great song and the last highlight of the album.

Unfortunately, Neal Morse is the guy that knows how to write epics. A Guy Named Syd has its moments, and the musicianship is great, but the piece doesn't really work as a whole. However, it is much better than "Healing Colors of Sound". Anyways, the song begins with a groovy overture that ends with a pretty good synth solo. Pt2 begins as an uptempo rocker that has quite cool vocal harmonies that remind me of Dream Theater. It has a soft interlude and then comes back with the initial punch. Pt3 is focused on melody and is an ok part. When pt4 began, the first thought I had was "Ryo robbed Wakeman's synths!" because the synthesizer used is heard in Tales of Topographic Oceans. Anyways, great synth line and a pretty good rocker. pt5 is a short piece focused on a complex arrangement of vocals that sounds poppier than ever. pt6 is a decent conclution to the epic.

Carry on is an uplifting finale and sounds like something coming from Neal Morse in terms of style.

Overall, a surprisingly strong Spock's Beard album with good melodies and musicianship. I recommend it to fans of neo-prog and/or Spock's Beard.

Highlights: Onomatopoeia, The Bottom Line, East of Eden, Ghost of Autumn

Let Downs: None

My Grade: C+

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars How could Spock's Beard continue without Neal Morse? How could Genesis continue without Peter Gabriel? Well, they both did by making their drummers their respective lead vocalists. The parallels don't end there. Both Morse and Gabriel left their bands after making complicated 2-CD concept albums, what some consider their "magnum opuses." When both bands continued without their leaders, the individual members began writing their own material for the next album and neither group was the same ever again. Both Morse and Gabriel went on to successful solo careers. Odd coincidences, don't you think?

What I find that differs from these parallels is the music the two bands made after their respective upheavals. Genesis continued making some really great music until they sold out to commercial interests in the 1980s. Spock's Beard became a bleak former shadow of itself, losing it's catchy melodies and hooks, replaced by an AOR-tinged, heavier sound and uninspired songwriting. In my opinion, Neal Morse was Spock's Beard. Nick D'Virgilio is a great performer. I have no doubt about that. But he just can't fill Neal's shoes. Feel Euphoria makes that plainly clear.

Even the six-part A Guy Named Sid, a half-hearted attempt to make a progressive rock epic, is just sad to listen to. The music is uninspired, the singing is uninspired, the lyrics are uninspired. Nearly all of the tracks of this album leave something to be desired. Quite a number of them are on the level of filler. Even the group's earlier inspirations from the greats of the 1970s appears to be missing. After Neal left, it was quite evident after listening to this that the band wanted to move in a new direction. I just don't think they took the right fork in the road. Future albums will continue to show a mislead wandering about. Spock's Beard fans will enjoy some of the numbers on here, but should also notice the lack of direction and the lack of quality material. Others probably should avoid. I would instead recommend getting anything from the Morse era. Two stars, for fans and collectors only.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars It's impossible not to compare the new Beard to the old, Neil Morse's leadership often being cited as the cornerstone of the band; however, after many listens of Feel Euphoria I heartily agree with those who say that Neil's contributions were repetitive, heavy-handed, and growing very old. Now that he's off writing not-so-thinly-veiled-Christian Rock-- we can finally get some fresh ideas to the old Beard, and what a change!

For starters, let's talk about the song writing. Not quite as proggy, as in the rapidly becoming dated sound of the band's inspiration, possessing a much sharper, technical edge. The band playing is very tight and energetic, lending a more modern sound to the group's otherwise proggy skeleton (which is still there, just hidden). Okumoto actually gets to become a viable (and welcomed!) addition to the band's sound, while the two axe-players continue cranking out there usual excellent fret-work. Some may complain that these tunes are a return to the approachable pop sound found on Day for Night, but I say they haven't given Feel Euphoria much of a chance. There are textures and nuance hidden behind the straight-ahead vaneer of many of these songs, showing as much gusto for creativity as ever before in the band's past.

D'Virgilo's voice should also be mentioned-- because it is more sensitive, smoother in timbre, and quite honestly, more fun to listen to than Neil's often bellowy caterwauling; big props to him for filling in big shoes.

Jaded fans should give this one another chance, and newcomers might actually find this a better place to start discovering the Beard than their old classics.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Not quite there, not yet here

After (Neal) Morse's departure from the band people likely wondered if they'd be able to stand on their won two feet. Indeed, losing a respected musician as well as their lead singer and composer is not something that many bands are capable of dealing with. Well, with Feel Euphoria the Beard managed to prove that they would live on after Morse, but they'd just need a bit of time to recover from the blow first. As many others have commented, the band tried to stay pretty close to their Morse era sound with their first couple of releases without him, and while it can be argued how well that worked there's no denying the music is similar yet very much different from when Morse was still around.

The album is still very Morse, but different parts of the music are brought out and highlighted. What's strange about the album is that while many complained that Morse had a very AOR sound in the band, they actually seem to have gone more towards that end of the spectrum without him! While there are moments that are strait heavy rock blended with prog a lot of the songs on the album see a softer vocal style, and this is not only because they have a new vocalist. In fact, Nick D'Virgilio is quite a capable replacement for Morse as he steps out from behind the drum kit a la Genesis to fill the vocal hole. His voice is actually more gruff and has a harder edge to it than their previous vocalist and this proves to be quite a nice change. Not to say that Morse was a bad singer, but he was also not a singer that could not be easily replaced. His voice was pretty mid-ground and a lot of people could have replaced him - not so would be the case if someone like Geddy Lee left Rush. But if it doesn't matter who's at the vocal helm then what does the music sound like?

Well, it's very much the same and different. Likely due to the lack of Morse the band seems to have lost a bit of direction when it comes to writing. A lot of the songs on the album vary wildly in style within minutes of the song. Take for example East Of Eden, West Of Memphis which starts off softly as the band starts a full out soft rock track but soon explodes into full blown pomp prog going into the instrumental section in the middle, lush with keyboards and guitar to make for a satisfying ride. Or The Bottom Line which starts as a full blown prog epic would but soon slows to a stop to allow AM radio vocals to come through until the middle where there's a pseudo-Dream Theater instrumental section. The crazy shifts in song are not a bad thing, it seems like the band is really experimenting here to find out what works best for them. It's a bit of a strange album to listen to with that in mind, seeing as the first couple times you'll likely be thinking, ''oh, I don't like this song - it's too soft rockish... oh! Now I like this song... wait, it's the same song!''. I suppose schizophrenic could be the word. However, after a number of listens this does eventually catch on, but if you never have a heart for a couple minutes of softer music then this album may not appeal to you.

There are points where the album really rocks out though. Take for example the opener, Onomatopoeia which blasts open a hole in the wall with Alan Morse's guitar before introducing their new vocalist to the world. This is definitely one of the standouts on the album for those of us who like our music heavy. It seems that with big brother out of the way, Alan Morse actually has room to breathe. This is evident in a lot of the songs and though the keyboards do still take the lead often it's clear that the guitars have been brought up front.

As for the largest song on the album, the long divided suite A Guy Named Sid we can see that the band still knows what they're doing. It may not be another The Great Nothing but it shows the band in top form with the excellent segments Judge and Same Old Story. The intro and outro are also both quite good while bordering at parts on electronica - but in general this song is where all the manic moods of the album work - probably because the song is long enough to house enough different styles and speed changes to let it work the way they wanted it to.

Only a couple of songs really don't work at all but they're far and few. Coming off of a very odd and creepy title track (which is quite good by the way) we get a sappy ballad by the name of Shining Star where those AOR feelings come right up the the front and block out the band for a bit. Likely a song not overly appreciable by many prog heads. As well the last track Carry On feels like one they could have cut out. Really, if the album had ended after the Sid Suite I think most of us would have been satisfied, but they wanted to tack another one on I guess. It's not a bad song, but the chorus is so wildly out of place that it just doesn't work. It's clear with this track that D'Virigilo should stick to the harder edged track (that theory will be proven wrong in the future though).

This is a good album. People who don't fancy themselves fans of the band ca probably steer clear of the album, 'cause it won't make a believer of you. However, people who do really like the Beard should definitely look into this one - because for it's few flaws it still makes for a very interesting listen. Really, this is just a new beginning for the band, one that really would not be realized for a couple of albums yet. 3 crazy-rainbow-paint-cans out of 5, recommended to fans and people who like heavy music but don't mind a couple of AOR twinges at times.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars Not really a bad effort here. I was one of the legions of Spock's Beards fans who found themselves a little bit leery of the post-Neal band. Thankfully my fears were proven wrong--but not by this album. As far as Feel Euphoria goes, it's only average at best. If this was the first CD of theirs I'd listened to after Neal left, I don't think I would have kept going with the band. I'm glad it's not. I found myself much more able to cut my teeth on their self-titled, and having absorbed that, Feel Euphoria is much more agreeable.

But I only gave it three stars, and the main reason for that is energy. Older SB (and s/t SB) seem to carry that sort of excitement and energy through most of their songs. That energy is somewhat spotty or at least very difficult to find through this music. There are some beautiful compositions, some great musicianship and all that whatnot, but the long and short of it is: Feel Euphoria will not excite you very much. I'm a fan of mellow music, don't get me wrong, but Spock's Beard's talents are far more suited to getting my adrenaline moving than tuning my emotions to theirs.

So, three stars. It's worth it, but they are better before and after.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is perhaps the album that divides SPOCK'S BEARD's fans the most, and for good reason, Neal is gone. I actually went into this one with a positive outlook having enjoyed Nick's vocals on that one song on the "Snow" recording. Man, this one is sure different from the past ones though.This is more of a band effort and it shows as we get a bit of a mixed bag here. I took King By-Tor's advise and listened to this one longer than I usually would and it did make a difference. The problem for me is that although I have grown to really like a lot of the music here, there are still songs that for me are from very average, to not even liking them. So I can't give it 4 stars, but I do enjoy it quite a lot.

"Onomatopocia" is liked by everyone but me it seems. It's an uptempo rocker that I like, but then those faster paced, commercial sounding vocal parts come in and i'm turned off. I like it when it calms down with strummed guitar, reserved vocals and mellotron 2 minutes in. It kicks back in 3 1/2 minutes in. Love the mellotron after 4 minutes, and the ending is killer. "The Bottom Line" sounds great to begin with as the guitar, mellotron then synths shine as the drums pound. It settles and it sounds even better. It calms down even more when the vocals come in. Mellotron flows in as the chorus with higher pitched vocals arrive. The almost dead calm before 3 minutes is touching. Check out the section before 4 1/2 minutes. The vocals sound so much like on that ALICE IN CHAINS song called "Stay Away". What a great EP "Jar Of Flies" is by the way. More mellotron before 6 minutes as strummed guitar comes in and then fragile vocals to the end. Great tune.

"Feel Euphoria" takes a while to get going as it features electronics, drums, organ and deep vocals. The best part is when it kicks into gear before 4 minutes and later 5 1/2 minutes in. "Shining Star" is a mellow and lazy track that does nothing for me. "East Of Eden, West Of Memphis" is my favourite song. It's fairly straight forward and pleasant with some fantastic mellotron until a change after 3 minutes. I'm so into the rest of this song. Amazing stuff as the tempo picks up and the mellotron storm comes in. Check out the guitar 4 1/2 minutes in ! Nick is putting on a clinic on the drums as well. It then sort of winds down slowly to the end. "Ghost Of Autumn" is piano and reserved vocals and drums for the most part. Then it changes 3 1/2 minutes in, and like the previous song i'm totally hooked the rest of the way.

"A Guy Named Sid" is the over 20 minute epic that is divided into 6 parts.This was the first song Nick wrote after Neal left the band. Nick by the way is all over this with his drumkit. Nice heavy intro that ends with some great synth work. The second part is even better when the vocals come in. A calm after 2 minutes as Sid speaks. Organ after 3 minutes. I like the contrasting styles in part three. In part four we get some heaviness with nice bass lines. The vocals are excellent. The vocal arrangements in part five are impressive. Part six brings back the heaviness with mellotron and vocals. The tempo picks up. After 2 1/2 minutes it sounds like the old SPOCK'S BEARD. Good song. "Carry On" is ok I guess, but why not end it with the epic ?

I like "The Bottom Line" , "East Of Eden", "West Of Memphis", "Ghost of Autumn" and "A Guy Named Sid" a lot, the rest not so much. 3.5 stars and a good start to the post-Neal BEARD.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars After being orphan of his leader, the Beard could either die or survive. They could have released another cloning affair, or go into another musical direction. They opted for the latter.

However, they almost went (prog) metal. This is not the genre I prefer. Both "Onomatopoeia" and to a lesser extent "The Bottom Line" are in this vein. I admit that to call an album "feel euphoria" is rather daring. You'd better be sure that you release a great work or you would suffer many critiques.

The heavy impression is just confirmed. If "The Bottom Line" was a fine mix between prog and a harder approach, "Feel Euphoria" is just a dull electro-heavy song with little inspiration. Vocals are not brilliant either and the finale could have been featured on a "Dream Theater" album. Quite.surprising.

Floyd is also revisited during "Shining . Star" (especially during the chorus) but the heavy parts are bouncing again (they were not absent for long) in "East Of Eden.". Some fine mellotron lines (but too few) are highlighting this dull first part, while the beat catches up and the synthesizers are going wild for a superb instrumental section. The guitar play is on par as well: just great. This is the best moment of the album so far (but too short).

It seems as things are going a little better while the album advances. Ghosts Of Autumn is a very good song. More on the mellow side for a while, it lifts off thanks to a brilliant guitar solo: somewhat like .Mostly Autumn does frequently.

Now, let's listen at the epic track. Some twenty minutes divided into six sections. Same mix of heavy sounds and brilliant keys are the ingredients. You'll get them in almost each part, almost alternatively which breaks the heavy impression. At times, the music sounds as Atomic Rooster (Same Old Story) which is fine with me but again, it is quite unexpected.

If you fancy some Gentle Giant mood like the one the band was used to play, it is available as well during the very short Sid's Boy Choir.

The whole of this piece is finally pleasant and confirms the second good part of this album.

I strongly suggest that you just forget that this is a Spock's Beard album. It has little to do with their previous releases. I prefer this one far much better than their previous and dull Snow.

Three strars.

Review by J-Man
3 stars 3.5 stars really!

This album reminds me a lot of 'A Trick of the Tail' by Genesis. The music is good and all, but without the former front man, something's missing. Neal Morse was the Peter Gabriel of Spock's Beard, and once he left, the quality of the music seemed to drop a little bit.

The two previous albums were definitely Spock's Beard's best work. They both deserve 5 star ratings, so it was a huge disappointment to see the music become like this. You kind of have to cut these guys some slack though, because their songwriter left, and these guys managed to write their own decent prog music. Now keep in mind, all of the music for the most part is still good. There's obviously some filler throughout the album, but nothing's awful.

Another noticeable trait of this album is that it's not as progressive as some of their previous efforts. Sure the epic 'A Guy Named Sid' is 20 minutes, but for the most part, it's similar to pop/rock.

The first song 'Onomatopoeia' is a nice hard rock song. It's not very progressive, but is a solid track. That's basically the speed that the entire album travels at. Good, but not a masterpiece. It's a decent overall album. I feel that I should also mention that the epic 'A Guy Named Sid' is too long. I wouldn't mind if it was only 10 minutes, because it drags on for the most part. The song kind of feels like they were thinking 'let's see what we could add to make this 20 minutes' instead of 'we have all these great ideas, so let's turn them into an epic'.

It's obvious that these guys were struggling after Neal Morse's departure, but they pulled off a decent album with a few memorable moments. If you were to start with post-Neal Morse SB music, I would suggest going their S/T album, but this isn't an awful choice either.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Feel Euphoria' - Spock's Beard (5/10)

To begin, may I say that I've never really been a follower of Spock's Beard's music, and I listen to this album as a relative outsider of the band's fanbase. Being that this is my first full experience with the band, I don't have too much background with the band save for a few songs. However, what I can say for a fact, is that with the departure of the main man Neil Morse, the band certainly took a bit of a blow to their creative output. While they didn't necessarily die out and become 'worthless,' the reformed Spock's Beard doesn't seem to be as capable of releasing truly memorable, innovative material as they once did. The band's first album after this change of personnel, 'Feel Euphoria' is a good example of my point. Decent, but certainly nothing to blow my mind.

Without Neil Morse to guide the band's direction, Spock's Beard were far from hopeless. They managed to pull a few potent songs out on the line here, as well as a 20 minute epic which regardless, is a feat to write a song of that length on it's own.

Songs like 'Onomatopeia' and the title track really epitomize the album and how it stands to me. Nothing special, but pallatable and fun. There are a few sections on the album that seem to go beyond the call of duty into the realm of excellence however; among these are the fifth part of the epic, 'Sid's Boy's Choir,' the instrumental sections of 'The Bottom Line' and 'East Of Eden, West Of Memphis' and the emotional 'Ghosts Of Autumn.' The rest seems a bit subdued.

The epic on the album, 'A Guy Named Sid,' really brought my expectations up, even before listening. Despite it's rather trivial name, for the most part, musicians put alot of effort into writing epics, and it is on those tracks where prog band's true strength is shown. 'A Guy Named Sid' however, is not excellent. Like many of it's neighbouring tracks, it is good, but not excellent. The song tries to tell some story of redemption, but it really doesn't end up working in the end. To be honest, as far as the lyrics go, I was a bit too concerned as to figure out who the hell Sid was!

Although I am not a big Spock's Beard fan, I am certain the band has seen greener pastures than this release, and even then, 'Feel Euphoria' is far from being a poor record. A good album with a few excellent parts, and recommended to existing fans of the band.

The Beard satisfies, but does not impress on this one.

Review by The Crow
3 stars This album is someting special to me...

I was I recent Spock's Beard listener when Neal Morse said goodbye to his motherband, and I was afraid of what the group could make without him... And although the result is absolutely not bad, I felt tat some of the Spock's magic was gone. Some part of this magic could be heard in Neal Morse's "Testimony", but it was also unsatisfaying to me... So my feelings about the band and his former leader were a bit mixed back in 2003.

Nevertheless, through the years I've appreciated this album like it is... A very good work of fine prog rock music. I sitll a bit hard to hear Nick DīVirgilio triying to imitate the Nearl's voice in Carry On, and some of the songs are not really catchy and well composed, like the failed title track, and the disperse The Botton Line.

But the good facts win here... It's a pleasure to hear the Ryo Okumoto's work through the album. His keyboards are imaginative, variated, and I love his using of mellotron and electronic sounds. The same can be said about Alan Morse, who sounds really liberated in this album. D'Virgilio's voice is also very competent (except a pair of tracks when he tries to imitate Neal Morse...), and Dave Meros is still great, although his bass sounds a bit diminished.

The band's new style is more hard rock oriented than the works with Neal... The jazz and latin elements that were habitual in older albums, here are almost gone. "Feel Euphoria" has more electronic elements, and the guitars riffs have a lot of protagonism too. Is still the same band, but they sound really different... That's a good thing, because the Neal's style is difficult to imitate, and they focused their efffort in trying to make good and refreshing album... And they achieved it, although the result could have been better.

Best tracks: Onomatopeia (good opener... Great guitars!), Ghost of Autumn (I like the Savatage-like piano intro... Fine ballad) and A Guy Named Sid (brave guys! They even made an epic... And it's the best part of the album!)

Conclusion: if you are searching some of the old Spock's Beard's style, you'll not find in here... Without Neal Morse, they are just a different band. I'll not make a comparision between this new era and the older one for that reason... But "Feel Euphoria" is still a worthy modern prog rock album, with some fine tracks and interesting ideas. They are great musicians, they have played music together for a long time, and they know how to make good music... And although I miss some true magic here, It's a pleasure to hear this band going on after Neal Morse's departure!

My rating: ***

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Neal Morse departed from Spock's Beard following the band's sixth studio album. Of course the parallels between Spock's Beard and Genesis have not gone unnoticed: The creative helms and lead vocalists leave their respective bands following a complex and enigmatic double album to have successful solo careers, only to have their drummers assume front man responsibilities and their former bands begin to create more commercial and accessible music. This album uncomfortably wavers between simplistic pop and intricate progressive rock, often within the same track, yielding some awkward transitions (or no transitions at all) as well as some rather questionable overall compositions. Nick D'Virgilio is a fantastic drummer, but it would not be until the next album that he would shine as a lead vocalist. Although not a bad album, Feel Euphoria is considerably weaker than anything else in the band's discography.

"Onomatopoeia" The band crashes through the gates with this hard-hitting opener. Right from the start I can sense the band's uneasiness in coming together as a quartet, because this song seems like it's overcompensating. The sudden stop and subsequent acoustic section is certainly out of place. As with the album, "Onomatopoeia" is not a bad work, but nothing wonderful either.

"The Bottom Line" Crunchy guitar riffs and a whining synthesizer start this song, which has, over acoustic guitar, a vocal hook that sounds very much like John Mayer's "City Love." As with the previous song, there is a serious disconnect between the sections; each passage just tapers off and the next one begins. The acoustic guitar and Mellotron at the end is beautiful, but bears no semblance to anything that came before.

"Feel Euphoria" Insipid electronic percussion and sputtering tones, lazy vocals, and ridiculous lyrics make for a terrible title track. Not even the organ loitering in the background salvages this unbelievably dragging song.

"Shining Star" Bearing a sound comparable to The Eagles of the 1990s, with fretless bass, acoustic guitar, light lead, and easygoing vocals with occasional harmonies, this song has a very simple but pleasing chord progression. The heavier chorus has a melody that is almost identical to "Drive" by Incubus.

"East Of Eden, West Of Memphis" I quite enjoy this number. The bridge is situated on a bed of Mellotron, but it's the catchy chorus that I appreciate most. Speaking of the Mellotron, the fast-paced synthesizer solo is introduced by a Mellotron duet. The drumming is a highlight of the instrumental segment.

"Ghosts of Autumn" Cold piano and hushed singing create the softest song on the album. It has a delicate but memorable melody and touching lyrics.

"A Guy Named Sid: pt. I - Intro" Spock's Beard attempted some semblance of the progressive rock of their former years, but this suite is a mixed bag- the electronic-dominated opening is a bit of a sign. Alan Morse's guitar solo and Ryo Okumoto's synthesizer work are praiseworthy, but the strange vocalizations sound kind of embarrassing.

"A Guy Named Sid: pt. II - Same Old Story" The narrative begins, alternating between first-person and third-person lyrics, but the music is too weak to support any kind of believable story.

"A Guy Named Sid: pt. III - You Don't Know" The lyrics don't leave me with much sympathy for old Sid, who seems to be whining in a rather vague manner. Again, the music is too bland to really take notice of.

"A Guy Named Sid: pt. IV - Judge" Dave Meros has some excellent bass playing on this part, and while I think the catchy little refrain is okay, the arrangements toward the end are excellent.

"A Guy Named Sid: pt. V - Sid's Boys Choir" Hearkening back to their Gentle Giant imitations (think of "Thoughts"), this is a multifaceted vocal bit.

"A Guy Named Sid: pt. VI - Change" The suite returns to the beginning, but the remainder of it all is far more convincing (especially musically) than anything that preceded it. The dual guitar lead is especially remarkable.

"Carry On" The album probably could have done without this schmaltzy song tacked on after the lengthy suite. Perhaps it is the band's rallying cry after their leader stepped down- I don't know.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars It didn't surprise me that Neal Morse announced that he was one of those Christians. There were always undercurrents of Christian imagery in his songs (The Light was one of the most obvious). However, it did surprise me when he announced that he was leaving Spock's Beard because of these beliefs. I suppose that's the risk one takes when believing in a savior who sometimes demands that his followers only create art in honor of him*.

This was Spock's Beard's first album without Neal Morse, and the band did a fair job of creating good music without him. Nick D'Virgilio takes over the lead vocals, and the entire band, with some outside help, takes over the songwriting. Naturally, there is a change in style. There is a more mainstream approach for the most part, but the majority of the mainstream moments are broken up by some very good prog breaks.

Gone are the Gentle Giant comparisons, although in the Sid's Boy's Choir section of A Guy Named Sid, they do some nice vocal work. And while there are no songs that are great all the way through, there is only two tracks (excluding the bonus tracks) that I just don't like. Shining Star and Ghosts Of Autumn are just too mundane for my tastes.

The bonus tracks on the special edition are nothing special. Moth Of Many Flames is plain and boring, and From The Messenger is more a sound collage than a song.

While this is very different from the previous Beard albums, there is more than enough good material to make it worth purchasing.

*Except when the artist needs more money to create such art. Then it's okay to reform a past supergroup, tour and make an album.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Okay, let's get the Genesis comparisons out of the way at the beginning shall we? A well- known band releases what is seen by many as a concept album masterpiece of great complexity, only for the singer to leave (in this case, even before a full tour is undertaken ? at least Gabriel was Rael), who was then replaced in turn by the drummer as lead singer. The band continued in a different musical area than before, and released 'A Trick Of The Tail', um, sorry, 'Feel Euphoria'. Right. SB are not Genesis, and Nick D'Virgilio is not Phil Collins, and by the way, I really enjoyed 'Snow' and return to it often, playing all of it, which isn't something that can be said about 'Lamb'.

Like many SB fans I was extremely concerned when Neal left the band. This is because he was the main songwriter, the band leader, and a multi-instrumentalist to boot. Just how were they going to replace him? I don't think that there was ever any doubt that Nick was going to take over as singer ? he always sang the encore with Neal on drums, and he has a great voice. For the new album the decision was eventually taken not to bring in a new musician, with Ryo taking over the entire keyboard playing, although the band did collaborate with some outside songwriters. Without Neal they have moved away from much of the overtly proggy material and more into a hard rock area, although in many ways they could argue that they are more progressive than before as they have now moved away from much of the Spock's Beard 'sound'.

The album starts with "Onomatopoeia", which my dictionary defines as 'using words that imitate the sound they denote' and with hissing fires and ticking clocks they probably have it right. When I first played this I couldn't believe what I was hearing, as this is a rock song first and foremost ? blasting along, certainly for the first section. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, where was the SB I loved? The more I played this the more I fell in love with it. I believe that the guys have placed this as the opener just to wake everybody up and demand to be met on their own ground. They are not the band that they were when Neal was involved, they have evolved. Evolution means change, and this is something I now welcome, although it was hard the first time. Actually, there is a lot going on in this track, with gentle harmony vocals as well as crunching guitars.

From here on the band show that they have plenty of musical tricks, with Ryo showing what a fine keyboard player he is. Simple ideas such as stopping the music so that Nick can sing unaccompanied works extremely well on "The Bottom Line", with harmony vocals abounding. They are trying new ideas, the feeling that here is a band that has bonded together over time, and then been thrust together and have grown even more because of it. The title track is particularly dark and menacing, with a bleak verse contrasting against the more vibrant chorus.

The highlight of the album is the lengthy "A Guy Named Sid" which shows just how Nick has changed as a songwriter. The second section, "Same Old Story" rocks and bounces, and even if in the future they drop the whole song from the set, this is going to be in there for years. In my mind's eye I can see Nick strutting the stage as this is blasted out. The 'choir' is a bit contrived, as I cynically felt that it had been put there to show that Nick and Alan can sing fine on their own, thanks, but overall this is a masterpiece, moving through loads of different styles and rhythms.

Originally written for Feedback #76, 2003

Review by Roland113
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars . . . In my not so humble opinion . . .

Nick D'Virgillio is no Phil Collins.

So the similarities between Genesis and Spock's Beard have been well documented. Both bands were stalwarts of prog for their time and started off with a series of strong albums. Both bands presented their magnum opus with an epic release of a 2 part concept album. Both bands lost their lead singer after the epic release and found a replacement in their drummer, coming out from behind the skins to take over the front man duties.

There is one epic difference between the two though. In Genesis, prior to Peter Gabriel's departure, the band wrote most of the music while Gabriel wrote the majority of the music. In Spock's Beard, Neal Morse was the primary songwriter, almost the only, songwriter for the band until the day that he left. Neal Morse's departure left a huge gaping hole in the songwriting, the band attempted to compensate by committee and by bringing in some friends to help write for them. Unfortunately, 'Feel Euphoria' shows the lack of cohesion painfully.

Nick D'Virgillio's vocals are . . . underwhelming, as much as I'd love to sing praises about his voice, it lacks the power of a proper lead singer. Combine the lack of energy in D'Virgillio's voice and the drop in songwriting, I find myself hard pressed to find a lot of positives about this album. "You Don't Know" is an exception, Alan Morse is at his bluesy best throughout the song with a melodic, soulful solo in the middle of the song.

The, total product however is lacking. It had been a few years since I've listened to this album, my perception going into yesterday's listen was that it was a three star CD, maybe Sid could bring it up to a four. Unfortunately, I had grossly over-estimated the CD. At times the CD was painful to listen to, it took real effort not to skip tracks. I had to force myself to listen to the entire CD. This is not a three star CD. The attempts at an epic on the Sid saga are mostly uninspired, but that along with the somewhat rocking 'Onomatopoeia' save the cd from the dreaded 'one star rating'. Two stars with the happy thought that it does get better.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars The fact that Neal Morse, the original lead singer for Spock's Beard, had left the band in exchange for religion intrigued me about this album. I am not a Neal Morse fan as far as his vocal delivery is concerned. I have always thought he was a great lyricist, but that he should have had someone else in the band sing. His singing is emotionless when compared to the material and the instrumental passages, and his vocals were always spotlighted by the band, so I just never had the desire to listen to their music much. Suddenly, he leaves and the drummer takes over the job of lead singer and then all of the band contributes to the songwriting. Well, since I always respected their musicianship, I thought this would be a good album to review.

Right out of the gate, the music is a lot harder and tighter, and the singing is very good, much better than before. I instantly got the impression that the lyrics suffered a bit, but that was a minor concern. I immediately could hear how the music itself was so much better and I was hooked all the way through the first 4 songs. The reliance throughout the album is more on the guitar and that was a plus for me. Alan Morse was always treated like 2nd banana to Neal previously and now all of a sudden we were allowed to hear how good he was. All four of the first tracks are stellar songs and I felt I had found 5 star material here.

After that though, things start to suffer a bit. The tracks "East of Eden..." and "Winds of Autumn" tend to suffer a bit. It's okay that they are a little more mellow than the previous songs, but the weak lyrics are starting to show and the vocals, even though they remain more emotional than when Neal was singing, they seem to start to lose their power with the loss of intensity in these two songs. Unfortunately, the rest of the album suffers from unbelievability because of this. There is some hope that a 20 minute, 6-part suite follows these weaker tracks and there is still hope of redemption with this album, but the suite is weak and this time, the lyrics are the main reason for the weakness. Thank goodness here at least that the instrumental passages are still spot on though, otherwise this would have been a major disaster. The acapella attempt in part 5 is awful. Part 6 however is quite decent, but is reliant on instrumentals more and by this time, the suite has been discredited as a mediocre attempt.

Really, the first half of this album is 5 star material and it is too bad that it couldn't have been carried through the entire album. Although the first part of the album was convincing me that the loss of Neal was a good thing, it didn't win me over completely by the time it was done. I guess with the band being new at sharing the song writing talents, they still would have some room to grow. They may have been better off reforming as a new band, but that is a risky thing to do. Because of the strength of the instrumentals and the excellence of the first 4 tracks, this still manages to barely squeak by with 4 stars. There is a lot of hope for the band, but consistency does have to be worked on (and from reading fans reviews of the band, that does happen).

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It must have been crisis control mode in Spock's Beard land when charismatic frontman Neal Morse decided to leave the popular crossover prog group in 2002, more or less right at the peak of their ever growing popularity and furthering status as a modern progressive rock group of note. Mr Morse wished to continue to make music fuelled by personal religious beliefs that had become hugely important to him, clearly realising that it wasn't appropriate to present that in the framework of the band (although religious references certainly popped up throughout many spots on their first six albums, with the final Neal-fronted Spock's album `Snow' rife with them!), and his departure left the remaining members with not only having to decide whether to carry on or not, but also leaving them with the unenviable task of having replacing their likeable frontman and key songwriter.

The band must have surely realised they had worked hard at building up their reputation through six albums since the 1995 debut `The Light', so they deserved to be given the chance of proving their worth without Mr Morse. An easy choice was the promotion of insanely talented drummer Nick D'Virgilio to frontman, an engaging vocalist in his own right, having sung plenty of backing vocals and occasionally taken the lead singing himself a few times on their previous albums, as well as on his own solo album `Karma' way back in 2001. The `reboot' of the band also meant an opportunity to shake up and experiment with their existing sound, to play around with a range of styles that perhaps wouldn't have worked so well on their earlier works (helped with the addition of a few close associates of the band assisting with the song-writing), and when `Feel Euphoria' arrived within a year of both Neal's quitting and their previous double album `Snow', it was instantly obvious the new Beard were not simply going to remake their past albums and were full of an emerging inspiration and determination to impress.

`Onomatopoeia' attacks with the force of a mule-kick, an up-tempo ballsy rocking opener that shows the band is all business, the whole track blasted with Alan Morse's strangled guitar aggression, Dave Meros' grumbling mud-thick bass and Nick's D'Virgilio's powerhouse pounding drums. The piece is permeated with a sleek metallic heaviness and a very modern sound, Nick's confident voice laced with more than a bit of a `rock-star' swagger to it, whooping excitedly then roaring the next with ease, but it still finds time for some brief yet lighter acoustic interludes backed to keyboardist Ryo Okumoto's eerie rising Mellotron. The introduction to `The Bottom Line' comes pretty close to the previous version of the band, starting with a super-dooper proggy opening of whirring synth wig-outs, snappy drumming, searing Mellotron veils and a soaring symphonic theme that glides with pride. The track then settles into an eclectic range of melodic vocal-driven passages, always remaining melodic with constantly top-notch multi-tracked silken harmonies from Nick, although the ballad-like reflective finale seems uncomfortably shoe-horned in and is a bit of an anti-climax.

The seven minute title-track `Feel Euphoria' is unexpected and intriguing, sacrificing tunefulness for a slinking electronic danger, tortured heavy guitar wildness and a distorted snarling vocal from Nick. There's almost a skewed jazz-fusion experimentation going on here, and along with frantic ranted rap outbursts and an improvised runaway gnashing tantrum-throwing instrumental finale it's easily one of the strangest and most schizophrenic pieces to appear on a Spock's album to date! The divisive `Shining Star' then proves a nice come-down, an unapologetically romantic and radio- friendly popper with a killer melody, warm inviting chorus and lovely harmonies that should have won the group a whole bunch of new female listeners at the time!

`East of Eden, West of Memphis' may not be the most memorable tune of the album, but the sly rocker purrs with a cool groove, has nice dreamy vocals in the chorus and a jaw-dropping break- neck skittering instrumental burst in the middle. But it's on his first Spock's song-writing credit that bassist Dave Meros delivers the sublime `Ghosts of Autumn', a haunting piano tune that grows in dignity and power with a glorious intelligent chorus, but it's the instrumental stretch in the middle from the three minute point onwards and climax that marks it amongst the very best pieces from the band, with Alan delivering the most soaring of guitar solos alongside Ryo's cascading Mellotron serenity that completely captures the same magic and grace of classic era Genesis. It proves to be one of the greatest moments any version of Spock's Beard has ever committed to disc.

And if we were in the Seventies and the age of vinyl, that would have been the ideal place for `F.E' to wrap up, delivering a strong thirty-eight minute LP that would be easier to give more replays, with a great selection of challenging rock pieces, a couple of compact tunes and just enough grander prog-rock moments.

But the band obviously felt the need to reassure their fans that they still had their `prog' credentials ready to go (although much of the album up to this point already showcased that just fine!), and they delivering a six-part, twenty minute suite `A Guy Named Sid'. Starting with an introduction of twitching electronics, pulsing bass, swirling synth soloing and mysterious guitar chimes all sounding like a James Bond soundtrack meets the Ozric Tentacles, it settles into a grunting Hammond organ-roasted heavy rocker, breaks for some more reflective softer ballad passages flecked with dreamy electric piano, wild and loud percussion-dominated interludes, luscious Gentle Giant-like group vocal complexity and reaching Mellotron-lifted grandiosity to close on. It's perfectly reliable, has (of course) terrific musicianship and improves on repeated listens, but in some ways it comes across as a cut-and-paste/tick-the-prog-boxes epic-by-numbers that doesn't quite have enough in it to warrant being dragged out as long as it is, almost like a bunch of unrelated sketches slung together for the sake of putting together an `epic' that prog fans so often demand. It perhaps seems like an early practice run for the similarly presented (but more inspired and successful) multi- part epics on their next few albums like the `Octane' suite and `As Far as the Mind Can See', but that's discussion for another time...

But it's STILL not over - the ironically titled `Carry On' is a final very Neal Morse-flavoured uplifting pop-ballad with sparkling piano, jangling acoustic guitars and warm group vocals, and there's even a pinch of Beatles-esque orchestral fanfare sprinkled throughout too.

Speaking of carrying on, the disc does just that if you have one of the special editions that adds even more bonus tracks - `Moth of Many Flames' is a throwaway but harmless runaway acoustic rocker performed by Alan Morse that sounds like a one-take demo and has a little bit of a nod to Jethro Tull's `Skating Away' throughout it, but more interesting is Ryo's exquisite `From the Messenger', a pure electronic solo piece in the manner of Tangerine Dream with plenty of the tastiest ambient Mellotron atmospheres. Both would have severely jarred with the rest of the album, but they still perfectly capture the `anything-goes' approach of the recording sessions for the disc!

Although right from the start there were those who never accept this `new Beard', this band of impeccable musicians more than deserved the benefit of the doubt, so the chance that things would turn out fairly well were always pretty high. If anything, `Feel Euphoria' is a far more challenging, experimental and less obviously accessible album to the instantly enjoyable previous double `Snow' that soared with winning commercial vocals and golden harmonies. Yes, it's overlong, darts in endless directions that will likely annoy some listeners and showed the band initially struggling a little with lengthier compositions that their former colleague used to so effortlessly pull together, but it was clearly a group of musicians finding their feet and seeing what worked, something that would continue over the next few Nick-fronted albums to equally inconsistent but highly admirable results. Besides, all the sh*t-hot playing the group is known for was more evident and unrestrained than ever, truly a band giving it their all.

Almost fifteen years later, `Feel Euphoria' remains one of Spock's Beard's most fascinating, unpredictable (perhaps even a little frustrating!) and diverse discs that has only proven its worth more and more since its release.

Four stars.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
2 stars American prog-rockers Spock's Beard saw the departure of Neal Morse, the man who founded the band, and who wrote most if not all of the music on their albums, in 2002, right after the release of their critically acclaimed double-album 'Snow', leaving them unable to tour it. Unsurprisingly for a progressive rock band, however, the drummer took the frontman spot, and the whole band started contributing to the writing process - having lost the main man of the band, and failing to tour the then-new album, Spock's Beard took on the challenge of releasing a new one the very next year, and this album was 'Feel Euphoria', their seventh one.

As much as this was a very interesting period for the band, it has to be said that 'Feel Euphoria' is at least unimpressive when compared to all the material preceding it. With everyone receiving writing credits, and this would include drummer and vocalist Nick D'Virgilio, keyboard wizard Ryo Okumoto, guitarist Alan Morse, and bassist Dave Meros, alongside songwriters John Boegehold and Stan Ausmus, this record has more of a demo sound, rather than a proper Spock's Beard studio album. The glorious and emotional epic sounds seem to be gone with Neal Morse, as the songs on 'Feel Euphoria' lose direction and play for too long.

Contrary to that, there are actually good song ideas, like 'Onomatopoeia', probably the strongest and most energetic song on the album, 'The Bottom Line', the title track with its non-standard sound, and some of the episodes on the big epic track that comes at the end of the album. The problem is that they sound too unconvincing, some of these ideas are either underdeveloped, or overdone to a point where they become tedious. And SB have certainly released much better epics prior to this album. All this makes 'Feel Euphoria' a decent album, that could, however, fool someone into thinking that Spock's Beard is just another mediocre band, which they definitely are not; The record does not have a universal appeal, and its strong moments would be best appreciated by fans of the band.

Review by Warthur
4 stars If you're comparing Spock's Beard to Genesis, then Feel Euphoria is to A Trick of the Tail as Snow is to The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. In both cases, you have a situation where the charismatic frontman of the group has left after the band has just completed an ambitious double album, and the drummer (in this case Nick D'Virgilio) has stepped into the gap.

Actually, in some ways Spock's Beard had it harder than Genesis. Sure, Peter Gabriel was important to Genesis - but he didn't exert such a heavy influence on the songwriting process as Neal Morse did in Spock's Beard before his departure. Genesis were fairly collaborative about how they did songwriting, whereas a large majority of Spock's Beard's material from The Light to Snow has Neal as the sole credited songwriter.

This means that for Feel Euphoria Spock's Beard had not one challenge but two: not only did they have to bed in a new vocalist, but they also had to adapt to a new songwriting and recording process - without Neal's steady hand at the tiller, but also with the new creative opportunities which naturally arise in such a situation.

The end result doesn't entirely sound like the earlier Beard, but it's not so far away either. The mixture of modern rock and classic prog influences is still there, but the proportions are subtly different, as are the selections of what exactly the band take from each of those worlds. Some of the more left-field influences - like musicals, gospel, and Latin music - that Neal would toss in from time to time are dialled back; other sounds which haven't been a major part of the Beard's fabric start to creep in. (There's an electronic edge to the opening sections of the starting track which feels particularly fresh to Spock's Beard.)

Is it a masterwork on the level of, say, V? No. But under the circumstances, I don't think you could reasonably expect Spock's Beard to produce one - the odds were always in favour of this being a transitional album which was hampered by the adjustment they needed to make.

At the same time, it's significantly better than I expected. I don't envy the Beard the position they were in, and I'm sure they must have had a long think about whether it would be better to take their time about putting out a followup in order to give themselves time to adjust to the shift in band chemistry and really work on honing some new material, or work quickly in order to maintain their momentum and send the message that they were here to stay. In the end, they had the confidence to take the latter approach, and Feel Euphoria is good enough that I think that gamble paid off.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Their Weakest Album. Ostensibly an odd name for an album made at the lowest point in their career (picking up the pieces after their leader, primary singer and composer, Neil Morse, left the band), there is in fact much precedent of using album titles to try to convince the audience that the obvi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1744457) | Posted by Walkscore | Tuesday, July 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Still Feeling The Euphoria!!! Being a huge Spock's Beard fan, i listened to every relase from the band and i have to say that this one was a great surprise for me. It was a shock when Neal Morse announced short after the relase of Snow that he was going to leave, and all people thought tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#931205) | Posted by davidgil1980 | Saturday, March 16, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Though its not euphoria, what I feel, when I listen to this album, it still feels kinda refreshing listening to music that doesn t sound like a typical Neal Morse Album. Dont get me wrong - I love the songwriting of Neal Morse but many of his songs sound familiar and thats what I mean with "re ... (read more)

Report this review (#781397) | Posted by cartwing | Tuesday, July 3, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars You want to feel euphoria ? Not with this album. I wonder if the album title was a friendly greeting to a certain N. Morse after he went away... Well, to say it at the beginning I was never really sorry Neal Morse left. He's written some outstanding pieces and stuff that was not ... (read more)

Report this review (#295972) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Feel Euphoria is the seventh album by Spock's Beard and is an important one in their history. Following their concept album, Snow, Neal Morse decided to leave the band for religious reasons. This was a huge deal since Neal Morse was the main songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalist for Spock's ... (read more)

Report this review (#225393) | Posted by natewait | Thursday, July 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars On one hand I'm willing to admit that my review might be a bit biased. I really want to give this album two stars, but the Beard in me holds me back. Ok, so me being a huge Beard fan might not be a good excuse for the extra star, but I believe considering an album in its context is. And the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#131952) | Posted by The Progmatist | Sunday, August 5, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars SPOCK'S BEARD are very interesting band producing a high quality progressive music. Music on "Feel Euphoria" is full of energy from the beginning with many rythm changes. Though the music is variable and somethimes very technical is without unecessary complicated parts and passages. Itīs a soli ... (read more)

Report this review (#107524) | Posted by archivep | Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The group's first release after the departure of founder member Neal Morse. The album is totally different to any of their previous recordings. I always felt that with Neal Morse penning most of the material in the earlier albums there was sameness to the proceedings. This is refreshingly di ... (read more)

Report this review (#37083) | Posted by jimpetrie2000 | Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm not going to knock these guys in any way, because they're great musicians and its to their credit that they bat a lash when Neal left the group (I'm sure he encouraged them to carry on as well). The sound of the group has definitely changed, though. I think they're a bit heavier and a bit les ... (read more)

Report this review (#19244) | Posted by liquidtenor | Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Now I heard this album after hearing Spocks Beards latest album Octane. As said in my Octane review, I was scared to get this one after Neals departure because I was scared of being dissapointed. But I was mistaken, whether you are new to Spocks Beard or not, this album shouldnt dissapoint. Al ... (read more)

Report this review (#19243) | Posted by | Monday, April 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I have to give the band credit for forging ahead and even changing their sound after Neal left. The music on this disc is exciting and shows a heavier side of the band, while remaining progressive. The singing is quite good although Nick is a bit over-emotive at times. He sounds like Steve ... (read more)

Report this review (#19236) | Posted by | Tuesday, July 13, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have to hand it to the guys in SB for surviving Neal Morse's departure. There have been plenty of disastrous attempts by bands to forge ahead when a pivotal member has departed (Genesis minus Phil Collins AND Peter Gabriel comes to mind). Fortunately, the four remaining Beard members are ta ... (read more)

Report this review (#19235) | Posted by | Wednesday, June 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ok..OK..STOP all the whinening allready...Nealīs gone to heaven (pun intended) and so we have 2 great "groups" to attend instead of one!! First of all i think Neals soulsearching is his own business!! Next i think his "Testimony" are one of the greatest albums of that year!!Now...the ... (read more)

Report this review (#19225) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Fantastic. Many people gave them up for dead after Neal left, and here they came back with a roaring, out-of-left-field shift of gears. They took a huge chance by radically altering everything and hit a home run in the process. This is a totally different band in many ways, but boy can they still do ... (read more)

Report this review (#19224) | Posted by | Sunday, March 7, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A all the best albums should be. I'm in a minority but I believe the vocals are better than previous Spock's Beard releases. Great tunes with some rumbling bass behind them. One of my favourite purchases of 2003, it just took me 'til now to realise it! ... (read more)

Report this review (#19233) | Posted by bobm | Friday, February 20, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It is a pity Nealīs departure, but I had not think that Spockīs without him were able to make such an interesting album, it is very well played, interesting compositions and Nick DīVirgilio sings really well, beautiful voice. Beautiful album ... (read more)

Report this review (#19231) | Posted by | Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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