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Spock's Beard

Symphonic Prog

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Spock's Beard The Oblivion Particle album cover
3.87 | 369 ratings | 10 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tides of Time (7:45)
2. Minion (6:53)
3. Hell's Not Enough (6:23)
4. Bennett Built a Time Machine (6:52)
5. Get Out While You Can (4:55)
6. A Better Way to Fly (8:57)
7. The Center Line (7:05)
8. To Be Free Again (10:24)
9. Disappear (6:36)

Total Time 65:50

Bonus track on US 2015 Limited Edition CD:
10. Iron Man (6:14)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ted Leonard / lead & backing vocals, guitar
- Alan Morse / guitars, mandolin, electric sitar, banjolele, autoharp, backing vocals, co-producer
- Ryo Okumoto / piano, organ, Mellotron, synths
- Dave Meros / bass, synth bass, backing vocals
- Jimmy Keegan / drums, percussion, backing vocals

- David Ragsdale / violin (9)

Releases information

ArtWork: Thomas Ewerhard

2LP Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 426 (2015, Germany)

CD Inside Out Music ‎- 0507172 (2015, Germany)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLTDCD 426 (2015, US) Limited edition with a bonus track

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SPOCK'S BEARD The Oblivion Particle ratings distribution

(369 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SPOCK'S BEARD The Oblivion Particle reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars I wasn't sure if the band was going in the right direction after Neal Morse departure. But things has improved lately with the band's music. And this new CD is another good example of that improvement. "Tides of Time" show some of the Spock's Beard style we are used to hear highlighted with the unique Ryo Okumoto keyboards sound, the voice of Ted Leonard evoke Steve Walsh as the music. "Minion" with his original intro that will be repeated a few times brings influences from Enchant."Bennett Built a Time Machine" show the beautiful vocals of drummer Jimmy Keegan and we are treated with the most impressive instrumental passage this far and very different from what we are used from the band."Get Out While You Can" is a weak track and dispensable. In the song"A Better Way to Fly" the vocals harmonies are very impressive and all the musicians are delivering some very dynamic playing that takes us back to some of the great bands of the 70's. "The Center Life" brings some symphonic passages with a progressive rock turnaround in the middle before getting back to the main chorus. The final song "Disappear" brings another mood to the whole album with David Ragsdale of Kansas. We also have another rip- off from the book of Gentle Giant, but the song is brilliant! This is not a perfect album, but we have some of the most original songs from the band this far which is refreshing for those who were looking for something new.
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars After the previous Spock's Beard album, "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep", completely floored me with it's combination of Neal Morse's guest appearance as musician and songwriter, and the freshness of new lead vocalist Ted Leonard (Enchant), I was greatly anticipating the followup to such a strong showing. While not quite the gem "Nocturnes" is, "The Oblivion Particle" hits the mark.

The album tells the story of Bennett Lamb, a sort of mad scientist type who uses the "oblivion particle" to build himself a time machine to use to visit his younger self to correct some not-so-fortunate decisions he had made. I'll admit that this doesn't sound like the most original of stories, but The Beardies tackle it with humor and their usual musical adeptness.

John Boegehold wrote half of the tracks on the album. I must admit that this didn't thrill me, as he wrote much of the disappointing "Feel Euphoria" and "Octave" albums. Yet somewhere along the way he learned how to write some exceptional Spock's Beard songs.

Favorite songs on the album:

"Minion" by Ted Leonard. A song that blends the modern SB sound with a little bit of Kansas (David Ragsdale appears on this album, but not this track) with a bit of Genesis. The lyrics are great, and point out Leonard's influence on the previous album.

"Bennett Built A Time Machine", a Brian Wilson styled track (written by Boegehold), with an exceptional symphonic interlude.

There is not a bad track on the album, and it shows that Spock's Beard doesn't need Neal to provide top level prog.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars A better way to fly!

I have never been much of a Spock's Beard fan, but having learned that Ted Leonard from Enchant and Thought Chamber is now the lead vocalist of the band I decided to give their two most recent albums a chance. The latest to date is The Oblivion Particle from last year which is a very positive surprise for me!

The band sounds more inspired and vibrant here than on anything I have heard from them before. Bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, and vocals are all absolutely top notch throughout and so is the production, but the most important thing is the quality of the material which is were I have often found Spock's Beard to be lacking in the past. I was surprised to see that so much of the material is written by outside writers with five of the nine tracks being credited to producer John Boegehold and another one to a Stan Ausmus. Two tracks are penned by Leonard and one is a collaboration between Alan Morse and Ryo Okumoto. While there are no weak tracks at all, my favourites are the final four (A Better Way To Fly, The Center Line, To Be Free Again, and Disappear) and the opener (Tides Of Time).

This album is a bit darker and heavier than the previous Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep, and it is also instrumentally more diverse with many lovely acoustic instruments like autoharp, banjolele, electric sitar, and mandolin appearing to great effect, and also on the closing track David Ragsdale from Kansas guests on violin. There is also lots of tasteful classical piano on many occasions throughout the album. The Center Line goes full Keith Emerson in the beginning and end.

The influences include many of the usual suspects like Genesis and Kansas, but this time around they are better digested and balanced and it is not the case here like on some earlier Spock's Beard albums that one section sounds like a rip-off of, for example, Gentle Giant and the next section of another classic band, etc. Tides Of Time sounds like a cross between Genesis and Deep Purple with Ted Leonard singing in a Peter Gabriel/Phil Collins style and a nice acoustic guitar break leading into hard rocking end section.

The Oblivion Particle is quite possibly Spock's Beard's best album! Highly recommended even to those, like myself, who never fell for earlier Spock's Beard.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars Of all three albums Spock's Beard had recorded with Ted Leonard on vocals, this is the most eclectic and less accessible of them. Still a very good one, though. But I must admit that, to my ears, it is not as charming and exciting as the other two. Maybe the fact that it is a concept album The Oblivion Particle works better within its context than as songs themselves, I don't know. Listening to it I can not find anything really wrong with it and the second half of the CD is quite strong. That is where the better stuff is, on epics like To Be Free Again and the closer Disappear, although when looking carefully on each one for this review I find that all the tunes have its positive side.

As usual you will find a perfect sound (in terms of production and mixing) and the impeccable performance of all musicians. Leonard was really a much needed blessing for the band and his vocals are simply terrific all over the CD. Still I miss the incredible power and freshness of Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep and, especially, of Noise Floor. This one will certainly satisfy the ones who want to hear something more complicated and dense.

Rating: 3,5 stars. Very good.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars I was absolutely blown away by the album prior to this one, 'Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep', where the Beard had finally moved away from the shadow of Neal Morse (who actually guested on it). This album shows the band again changing direction, with David Ragsdale being the only guest (and then on just one song), and to be honest the very first time I played this I didn't like it. It just didn't gel in the way I expected it to, and I felt incredibly frustrated and really quite annoyed. There were bits and pieces which felt like the Beard I knew and loved, others which were sort of like Enchant, and others which just didn't make sense. But, at one time SB were easily my favourite band, and 'Snow' is still my favourite album, so could it be as poor as I thought?

The second time I played it I still didn't like it very much, especially when comparing it to the latest album, but I determined not to be a quitter and sometime through the third (or was it the fourth) I started to finally get into the music. If ever an album was a grower then it has to be this, and it must have taken at least ten plays to finally get under the hood and realise that this is something pretty special indeed. John Boegehold was again involved in the writing, but whereas he may not always have been viewed fondly by diehard fans, that has had to have a total rethink. There is just enough within some of the songs and the way they have been arranged (plus Alan's guitar playing is always a dead giveaway) to allow fans to realise that this is a SB album after all, but the guys have switched and shifted into something that while not actually that difficult to get into and understand, does really take a while to fully get the benefit from.

I honestly believe it has taken Ryo this long to really come out of his shell, producing some wonderful sounds and bits and pieces within this album, while Alan stretches himself more than usual, and Jimmy and Dave are as solid as ever. I have loved Ted's voice and performances for more than 20 years, and here he has excelled himself. Yes it is eclectic, yes musically it is all over the place, but don't play this just a few times and put it to one side as it may actually be one of the best things they have ever done.

Review by Warthur
5 stars The second studio album of the Ted Leonard era of Spock's Beard finds the band exploring another fresh blend of prog sounds. Minion, for instance, starts out by reminding me of what might happen if Kansas ended up jamming with Jadis, with a combination of harmony vocals, sunny neo-prog guitar lines and synth - but then adds in jazzy drum fills and heavier moments to shake up that combination just as I think I've got it figured out. Much of the rest of the album is the same - there's a deeper, richer bench of influences than just the usual touchstones that retro-prog bands often go to time and time again, and the new subtlety and sophistication in how the band blend them together showcased on Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep continues to surprise.

As foundational as the Neal Morse era was for Spock's Beard, I think it only produced two absolutely top-tier classics (The Light and V), with the other albums of the era being good - often very good - but a little patchier. As for the Nick D'Virgilio era of the band - well, I think Nick was no slouch and did a fine job of stepping into the lead vocalist role under challenging circumstances. However, there's no getting around the fact that the band had to switch from a mode where Neal Morse was composing most of their material to one where they needed to all pitch in more to get those songs pieced together - and while they quickly righted the ship, none of the Nick-fronted albums quite hit the five-star tier.

This Ted Leonard era of the band, however... that's got me intrigued. Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep I thought was the band's first five-star classic since V - in fact, I sneakily think it was better than that - and I actually think this one has the edge on it, not least because Ted Leonard gets to show more personality. (Mental note: revisit the Enchant back catalogue, this Ted guy's clearly got something good going on.) The centre of gravity of the album puts me in mind of a somewhat more avant-garde take on Crucible, whose Tall Tales so deftly mashed up the approach of Trick of the Tail-era Genesis and classic Kansas back in 1997.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Spock's Beard's 2015 release 'The Oblivion Particle' is overall a pretty entertaining listen; there are definitely a few excellent progressive rock songs on this hour plus record. My biggest issue with this release, however, is a lack of consistency from one song to the next. The album opener, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1539167) | Posted by AndyJ | Sunday, March 13, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was a big fan of Enchant, and maybe the biggest ever of Spock`s beard before the split with Neal Morse. So, after I already had finished with the "new" Beards, I have to realize, that SB is back! For me , "THE OBLIVION PARTICLE" is a great album, combining symphonic prog rock with that "old sch ... (read more)

Report this review (#1479575) | Posted by Stefan_lu | Tuesday, October 27, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For my far the best SB album. There is a renewal of fantastic symphonic prog rock (that even with Neal Morse was not so inspired) And Ted Leonard in vocalsĦĦĦĦ?? The (nowadays) best prog rock voice(in my opinion) How will Ted Leonard go to the live shows with Enchant, Transatlanti ... (read more)

Report this review (#1456588) | Posted by robbob | Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This new release by Spock's Beard is interesting to say the least.This is a band that has survived the departure of it's two main vocalists in Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio,and with new vocalist Enchant's Ted Leonard,has recorded an album that has some elements of the earlier records,but this t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1455934) | Posted by the lighthouse keepe | Monday, August 24, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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