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PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS

Crossover Prog • United States


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Pattern-Seeking Animals biography
A Los Angeles-based rock project PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS were founded as another brainchild by current & former Spock's Beard members Ted LEONARD (guitars, voices), Jimmy KEEGAN (drums, voices), and Dave MEROS (bass) as well as a long-time contributing songwriter / producer / keyboardist John BOEGEHOLD for "producing music that's progressive and intricate while keeping things immediate and melodic" according to John's words. In early 2018 he's been working for some material, that could see the light in collaboration with three Spockers, apparently drawing on a few different musical influences and using some contemporary production ideas and sounds that he probably wouldn't use with Spock's Beard for various reasons. Their debut album crystallized with the "ideas and sounds" was released in July 2019 under the eponymous title.

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PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS discography


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PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 87 ratings
Pattern-Seeking Animals
2019
3.65 | 109 ratings
Prehensile Tales
2020
3.90 | 67 ratings
Only Passing Through
2022

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PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Only Passing Through by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 67 ratings

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Only Passing Through
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by BBKron

4 stars This is the 3rd album from Pattern-Seeking Animals, following their self titled (2019) and Prehensile Tales (2020) albums. The band was formed in 2018 and consists of current and former members and collaborators of Prog stalwarts Spock's Beard, including guitarist and lead vocalist Ted Leonard, Dave Meros (bass), Jimmy Keegan (drums), and John Boegehold (synthesizers, guitar, mandolin). Apparently they formed to develop songs they were writing that didn't necessarily quite fit for Spock's Beard, which gave them opportunities to explore various other musical directions. They incorporate a lot of pop and power pop sensibilities in establishing great hooks, melodies, and vocals, but also mix in good bits of jazz, folk, classical, and film score prowess, but also never abandon their eclectic Prog approach (with plenty of odd-time curves and proggy instrumental breakouts). Each successive album has been better than their previous one, and here on their third they really soar. Great stuff throughout. What I am most impressed with is how imaginative and inventive the songs and arrangements are. They put in whatever extra instrumentation and arrangement flourishes that will enhance each song (horns, mandolin, sitar, bassoon, violin, cello, specialty percussion). Even the songs that seem like they will be relatively straight-forward pop/rock songs go into very interesting and unexpected directions (such as 'Much Ado', which starts out as an all-out rocker, and then drops into a cool acoustic vibe for the vocals and builds back into a rockin' anthem). From the very opening notes of 'Everdark Mountain', I was hooked, with its unique dark woodland prog sound, and it just takes off from there. Although the album is a bit frontloaded (The very best songs are all in the 1st 5 tracks), it is nonetheless great throughout, with the mini-epic 'Time Has a Way' probably the highlight. The album also includes two 'bonus tracks', which are also quite good, but I think it was a good call to classify these as bonus tracks and not an actual part of the album, as they are both a somewhat different style, and decidedly less 'proggy' than the rest of the album, with 'I'm Not Alright' being a straight rocker, and 'Just Another Day at The Beach' being a fun, lighter pop-rock ditty. Overall, this is among the best albums of 2022). Best Tracks: 'Time Has a Way', 'Everdark Mountain', 'Much Ado', 'I Can't Stay Here Anymore'. Weak Tracks: None. Rating 4.5.
 Pattern-Seeking Animals by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.88 | 87 ratings

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Pattern-Seeking Animals
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by AlanB

4 stars I can't believe that there are no reviews of this album yet. Especially as the two later albums by the band have been reviewed several times.

I've only been listening to this album on Spotify so far, but I've requested it as a Christmas present. I first came across Ted Leonard when he sang the part of Jesus in Neal Morse's rock opera Jesus Christ The Exorcist. He has such a great voice that I thought I'd check out Pattern-Seeking Animals. I can honestly say that I'm hooked on this album. It's very accessible, with memorable melodies but enough complexity to satisfy any prog rock enthusiast. I particularly like the two longest songs, Orphans of the Universe and Stars Along The Way. The latter is particularly moving and a great way to close the album.

Fans of latter day Spock's Beard will particularly enjoy this. Highly recommended.

 Only Passing Through by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 67 ratings

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Only Passing Through
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars Group which had released in 2019 a small musical bomb with the album of the same name, with Ted Leonard of ENCHANT who still remains for his first eponymous album one of the 20 best in my discography. In short, I'm digressing just to remind you that there are SPOCK'S BEARD musicians in it and you'll understand a little the kind of music you're going to listen to, since I was somewhat disappointed with their second one.

'Everdark Mountain' great intro that gets the sound going. 'Time Has a Way' for the track of the album, fruity, energetic, with levels, with drawers, well in the movement of prog rock as we conceive it in 2020, long but interesting, without a blank. 'Rock Paper Scissors' and 'Much Ado' more in radio edit, short, punchy, a bit on SPOCK'S BEARD, a bit much on KANSAS and STYX for the sound. 'Only Passing Through' eponymous title for the ballad of the album, a bit soporific. 'Said the Stranger' longer and immediately more prog, its pleasant sound, evolving synth, forward and dancing drums yes it is possible in any case very symphonic with this flight of violins; short favorite since that's where I recognize Ted the most. 'Here with You with Me' in line with a good prog song, to cut your teeth. 'I'm Not Alright' and 'Just Another Day at the Beach' like little English nursery rhymes, which smell good of the GENESIS of yesteryear, Alice's musical delusions.

Group wanted for Ted's voice, I got used to it without finally finding his voice, the singing is different; on the other hand the sound makes me happy, pleasure to find fresh sound, looking for sounds in dinosaurs but mixing them together to get fresh notes, good for a current prog rock, far from said dinosaurs.

 Only Passing Through by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 67 ratings

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Only Passing Through
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by ElChanclas

4 stars OPT is the third studio album by L.A. based prog rock project Pattern-Seeking Animals and the lineup consists of:

#tedleonard on vocals & guitars (#enchant #spocksbeard)

#jimmykeegan on drums & vocals (session drummer for #spocksbeard #eyesberg #stevebonino etc)

#davemeros on bass (#spocksbeard #bigbigtrain)

#johnboegehold on keyboards (#spocksbeard)

So, although is inevitable to find tons of SB's moments throughout their music, PSA's sounds more melodic while still delivering high quality prog music, sounding more immediate than other acts without giving up on the masterful instrumentation.

Everdark Mountain opens the album with ukelele-like guitars sending the listener straight to early days mountain living, before keys and bass inflict the modernity that will be somehow present in the next 60 minutes or so. Very cool opener, short and precise, powerful and melodic. Leonard's voice is sounding better than ever btw

I Can't Stay Here Anymore is one of my favorite songs, has that early 80's (circa Perfect Strangers) DP sound so hypnotic, guess someone here is a #jonlord fan? this I know, this I know! It then flows into the pretty well arranged upbeat song that will guarantee further listens to the album, is just one of those type of songs that without been necessarily single-material has the imminent fan-favorite potential written all over it.

Time Has a Way is the longest song of the album and its heavy and groovy, the keys-guitars tandem is incredible, as is the rhythmic section, really outstanding, with fresh and new instruments making sporadic appearances to enhance the song structure, from horns (trumpets?) to strings (violins,cello?) to guitar solos to atmospheric greatness, quite a song my friends, top shelf!

Rock Paper Scissors would be the final and mortal stab, the ultimate hook. Asian sounding melodies (like those coming out of an ancient music box), soldier drumming and enchanting vocalization are some of the variety features found in this song, immediately memorable with a looping ear worm chorus that even my twin boys (they're only six) already enjoy and know by heart, a song that feels like known since forever. Again, great guitar work.

Much Ado "the rocker" combines late 70's rock riffing with Spanish sounding guitars and classic piano, yes indeed! Modern textures invade this song with keys, punchy guitar licks and absolute great drumming.

The title track, Only Passing Through follows in a more mellow mood that will eventually (as expected) evolve into a very cool and strong song, sometimes a little corky but never leaving the conceptual feeling of the band's work, they're only passing through?this album is good stuff people.

Said The Stranger takes us to more symphonic territory (the second wave) where the keys come up front and lead the way to 7 minutes of excelency, modern melodic prog A+ executed. Techno sounding key layers, yet never overwhelming, just enough to remind you that this is 2022 not early 70's nor early 90's, superb I would imply.

Here With You With Me is the final song ro at least it seem to have been the intended album closer, however all versions known to me have two additional bonus tracks by default. Again to the 70's this time to the late pop era of that decade, all the ingredients of a pop prog classic, eclectic but coherent in every sense, almost cartoonish at times, storyteller at others and even kind of theatrical? Once again, great great stuff.

I'm Not Alright is the first of the two bonus tracks and it opens with a flute, yes?and then Just Another Day at the Beach? the first is a very good song, it feels like a song that could easily fit within the overall concept of OPT but I think it lacks a little bit of those musical perks found in every song that preceded it, however the second song I do find a little misplaced maybe because is too bright or happy, it doesn't make OPT a poor album, but it does not add anything either.

I truly recommend this album, I think is unique and fantastic, a work of art. RhythmRhythm and clocks slightly over 12 minutes. Heavy and atmospheric, catchy guitar riffing and some arpeggio-like electric licks that create kind of an hypnotic ambience. Tasty piano, fat bass lines and tight drumming round up the sound. Cool track, not much happening here but quite enjoyable.

 Only Passing Through by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 67 ratings

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Only Passing Through
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by JohnProg

4 stars The music of Pattern-Seeking Animals is an example of what we could call 'a modern progressive rock band', that is, a proposal that, making use of the elements that characterize classic progressive rock, explores with modern instruments - both musical and production - new facets of Rock (Hard rock in most cases), thus differentiating themselves from 'retro' bands, more obstinate in using vintage instruments and more direct influences from classic bands.

Focusing more on the album, I would only say that there are two types of musical pieces on this one. On the one hand the shorter songs (1,4,5,6) that are quite accessible and that I would call - deliberately - 'rock songs with beautiful arrangements'. And on the other are the remaining pieces (2,3,7,8) which is where the band shows its creativity the most.

I would not say that this is an excellent addition to the music, but it is an interesting proposal that will surely give us better albums in the future. For now, just to listen to "Time Has a Way" I think this album is worth listening to.

 Only Passing Through by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.90 | 67 ratings

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Only Passing Through
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by Heart of the Matter

4 stars The influence of Styx seems to remain strong even nowadays, by the conduit of a pair of Spock Beard's offsprings/side projects at least, like D'Virgilio Morse & Jennings, and Pattern-Seeking Animals.

And that sounds to me more like an asset set to produce new musical value than the useless burden of a glorious past. The unmistakably symphonic brand evoked by the name of the Chicago band doesn't exclude a good measure of folk ingredients thrown in the mix, as is the case in track 1. Everdark Mountain, and 4. Rock Paper Scissors, with a sound reminiscing of Boat On The River (specially the opener) and of Sing For The Day (but luckily without the hit-oriented eagerness). The nicely fiddling-sounding violin is a great contribution to the overall sound and the brass arrangements are still in place, but emerging with a less prominent profile. The alternance between acoustic/calmer, and electric/rockier moments is really accomplished, and the instrumental mini-beauties showing their faces from shift to shift are not all indebted with the past: there are flashes of sonic originality too, particularly on the keys department.

Summing up, if you were not too fond with the aforementioned Styx legacy, then you probably should read this like a three-star only review, meaning that this is a very good album, but not a perfect addition to your library. For all those who are not in such refusal, this is an unreserved four star.

 Prehensile Tales by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 109 ratings

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Prehensile Tales
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The second album from Pattern-Seeking Animals is now available for people to enjoy! Turns out the band's promise to release an album a year might be kept, as this is the members' side project. I must say that I was disappointed by the first album - it didn't feel quite complete and I did not spend too much time with it, just to revise it again upon the release of 'Prehensile Tales', and to discover that I still do not enjoy it that much.

Now, about this album: 'Raining Hard in Heaven' opens up with this groovy and super catchy bass line, and continues to unfold in a very poppy way, which is obviously what the band's trying to achieve - to mix accessible sounds with more adventurous song structures. Not sure if I enjoy the chorus as much as the verse. The song goes through an instrumental mid-section that is quite reminiscent of the Spock's Beard releases from the last decade, and this is not bad at all!

Next up on the track list is 'Here in My Autumn'. Which is almost like a logical continuation of the previous track, pretty similar song structure, even the lengths are almost the same. Not a bad track, as well, I must say. The third song is probably my favorite on this album - and so far, my favorite song from the band's catalogue. It is the track that best encapsulates the philosophy and the main idea of P-SA: to write prog-pop numbers with adventurous instrumentation and catchy hooks.

'Elegant Vampires' is undoubtedly the most memorable and enjoyable track for me. Also, so far, the first three tracks were all released as singles which is a bit strange given that the album is just 6 tracks. It is kind of disappointing to know what half of the record sounds like before being released. However, 'Elegant Vampires' is a great track!

Next up is another shorter song ? 'Why Don't We Run'. It sets an interesting mood although it is a bit different from what came before it and from what will come after it. Not too much to say about it, except that it has a more generic sound. Then it comes - the 17-minute 'Lifeboat' - the song that should be teasing prog fans and scaring the ones who turn to P-SA for more accessible songs. Usually, the first question I ask myself when listening to such a large chunk of music is - is it worth the time? Does the song provide the epic feel, the dynamics, the pay-off that one expects from a seventeen-minute piece? Well, in this case, the band really managed to make a really enjoyable song with a couple of surprises throughout, the best of which is the sax that really elevated the song's experience for me. A chunky guitar solo from Leonard was also lovely to hear, a bit of mellotron and violin, too. Great chorus, and intelligent lyrics. Definitely beautiful track that I feel would also fit perfectly in an SB album, if they were to release one this year!

Finally, we arrive at the 12-minute 'Soon but Not Today', the album closer. This song continues the spirit of all the rest that came before it, combining the playful tones of the first three songs in the first six minutes and some 70s symphonic rock melodies in its second half. Another enjoyable one and a proper finish that also leaves an open ending for the band to embrace.

Great vocal performance by Leonard throughout this whole thing, his voice really seems to get better with age, and also really strong backing vocals from Keegan, and a super tasty bass tone from Dave Meros! What is there to say about the instrumentation? The band members are well-known and experienced masters of their instruments, maybe Boegehold's abilities were more unknown but are no less great than the other members'.

'Prehensile Tales' is a much more sonically organized and comprehensive album than its predecessor. This time the band manages to create a sonic experience that is captivating but also enjoyable throughout the whole time.

 Prehensile Tales by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 109 ratings

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Prehensile Tales
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This relatively recently-formed band's second album in two years. It's very well produced music from prog veterans who mostly hail from older versions of SPOCK'S BEARD.

1. "Raining Hard in Heaven" (8:31) a rough start with some very "mainstream" poppy musical themes used to try to hook us into an upbeat feel. There are, however, some nice ideas developed in the second half. (17.5/20)

2. "Here in My Autumn" (7:57) I'm already tired of the "repeat three times" approach to hook lines and choruses used by these guys. Again, the sounds and styles here are all slight variations on that which is already familiar. Nice sound and instrumental performances of a mature composition. (13/15)

3. "Elegant Vampires" (4:30) nice Mediterranean and Celtic flavor to the opening and secondary motifs to this song. I like that they are continued into the singing part. Ted Leonard has a very pleasant voice that I'm getting used to. A pleasant, nonoffensive song. (8.75/10)

4. "Why Don't We Run?" (5:09) even more southern Mediterranean sounds/flavors to this one--until the chorus comes, it sounds like it could come straight off of a MYRATH album! Not very interesting or likable chorus (unless you're still stuck in a Trevor Horn/Frankie Goes to Hollywood 1980s). I especially don't like the near-disco beat that follows and plays out over the rest of the song. (8.25/10)

5. "Lifeboat" (17:20) after a two minute introduction of bombast, the story begins to be told over a sparsely landscaped foundation. Moving into the "everybody into the lifeboats" chorus the band kicks back in with the aplomb of ASIA or PHIL COLLINS. A switch near the five-minute mark comes with a change in perspective from the story teller/singer--complete with its own very Tony BANKSian musical motifs and chorus. (I think he's the stowaway.) At 8:40 we again shift into a new section--this time with a very real "Relax" bass and drum line and rolling piano arpeggio. I'm beginning to discover a weakness in Ted's voice in that he's not quite chameleonic enough to pull off the many personality perspectives he's trying to use. Had I not heard so much prog in my life--had I not heard thousands of prog epics over the course of my 50 years as a prog lover--this might come off as a pretty cool, exciting song. Maybe that's the problem with today's prog artists: They have to please us old-timers. Perhaps it'd be better if we either just died off or moved on to derive our pleasure through some other musical form. (30.25/35)

6. "Soon But Not Today" (12:03) an interesting if sedate intro breaks into a DANNY ELFMAN song with the caveat of having the balls to use a near-reggae motif to support it through the second section. Nice instrumental performances through the first instrumental section. At the six-minute mark we slow down and enter BIG BIG TRAIN territory with a spacious folk pastoral soundscape. A minute later we're moving into a more layered, BEATLES-esque theatricity with horns and long, pretty vocal notes and background vocals and GEORGE HARRISON- like lead guitar soli. The BEATLESness seems only amplified by the use of the Greek chorus and celebratory background shouts and screams of the next part of this section (as well as the continued Sgt. Pepper's-like use of horns). As an homage, pretty cool. As an original piece of music, a bit cloying. (21.75/25)

Total Time 55:30

Like the band from which three of these musicians came, I find the music here a "lite" version of prog--one in which most of the sounds, ideas, themes, styles, and even riffs have been iterated and reiterated to death (in the Neo Prog world) so that they now feel old even when you hear them for the first time. Like the Beard, even the lyrics and their subject matter seem hokey or as if they've been created to fit a list of topics that are popular with the masses.

B/four stars; a very pleasant collection of eminently listenable and professionally composed and performed melody-based progressive rock songs.

 Prehensile Tales by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 109 ratings

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Prehensile Tales
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Given that Ted Leonard (lead vocals, guitar) and Dave Meros (bass) are both members of Spock's Beard, drummer Jimmy Keegan was in the band for a large number of years, keyboard player John Boegehold is a long-time collaborator of that band plus it was recorded by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House then we all know what this sounds like, right? Well, yes, and no. If you thought this was a new Spock's Beard album in all but name then you're wrong, but if you felt it was likely this was going to be a top notch progressive rock album from musicians who have long been at the top of their game, then you are right. When I saw Enchant support Spock's Beard in London back in 2003, there was no doubt in my mind who was the top band of the night, and it wasn't the Beard.: this from someone who in previous years had been telling anyone who would listen that Spock's Beard were amazing, incredible, wonderful etc. etc. To me they lost their way after the departure of Neal, and it was when Ted joined the band that they regained their mojo. He has always been a great singer, and I clearly remember the impact 'A Blueprint Of The World' had on me more than 25 years ago. Keegan has always been a great drummer in whatever band he is playing with, it is no mean feat to take over from someone like D'Virgilio, especially when he was still in the band while Meros has always been a great bassist who seems to be able to turn his hand to anything. Then you have Boegehold, who may not be as well known as the others, but there was serious discussion about him joining Spock's Beard before they found Ryo Okumoto.

With all these guys involved, plus of course the work by Mouser, there was never any doubt that this was going to be a very melodic progressive rock album with great songs and performances. Interestingly, it is probably the rhythm section which has the most out and out musicianship, with keyboards and guitar more for emphasis and allowing the vocals to have something to be pitched against. They have also added some additional instrumentation in violin, flute, trumpet, cello, sax and pedal steel, all of which add additional nuances and styles to the band. For playing gigs they are adding two multi-instrumentalists to the band to be able to do the music justice. This is their second album, and the second they have released since the Beard's last release 'Noise Floor', so it will be interesting to see what the next Spock's Beard album is like, as with this one they have been raising the bar. There may be only six songs, but it is still 55 minutes long, and anyone who is pining for Enchant and Spock's Beard will find in this a great coming together of the bands and minds with music which I have even found myself whistling along to. I mean, what is that all about? This is prog isn't it?

 Prehensile Tales by PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.65 | 109 ratings

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Prehensile Tales
Pattern-Seeking Animals Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Pattern-Seeking Animals is an impressive new band, that technically isn't "new" in the sense of how you would typically think of it, even though they were initiated in 2018. Three of the members of the band were members of "Spock's Beard"; Ted Leonard, (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Keegan (drums, voices), and Dave Meros (bass) who were joined by contributing songwriter John Boegehold (keyboards), who also brings in his own influences to the musical stew. They released their acclaimed, self-titled, debut album in 2019 and quickly followed this up with the excellent "Prehensile Tales" in May of 2020.

Once again, the band hits the ground running with this album, beginning with the perfect opening "Raining Hard in Heaven", a progressive and powerful 8+ minute track that will grab your attention right away. All of the musicians shine while none take the "limelight", but instead provide equal opportunity for each one of them to prove their strength as an entire group. This track is one of the highlights for the album. At this point, the band moves into a more accessible style with three less progressive (yet equally satisfying, nonetheless) tracks that keep your interest as the album continues. This includes the considerably catchy "Elegant Vampires" which leaves you with a memorable groove and engaging vocals and melody.

At this point, the album returns to a more progressive stance as two more highlights close off the album. These are the exceptional "Lifeboat" at over 17 minutes, and the excellent and emotional 12 minute closer "Soon But Not Today". Both of these tracks would definitely fit comfortably on a 5 star album as both of them are amazing kaleidoscopes of dynamics, tempo and meter shifts and well-constructed tracks. This is a perfect way to end this album.

So, as it would seem, the longer tracks are the better ones and these all open and close the album, and on their own would merit 5-star compositions. It's the middle three tracks that tend to make the album lose a bit of progressive steam, even though as just regular tracks, are still pretty great. But sadly, they bring down the overall score of the album in a progressive sense. Because of the best tracks, which easily take up 's of the album, this is definitely an album that should not be ignored, and that is from a person that is not a big fan of Spock's Beard (mostly because I don't care for Neal Morse's vocals that much). Overall, I consider this a 4 star album, but have to round it down to 4 in the end. However, I still would encourage everyone to listen because the high points do make up most of the album and they are excellent "highs".

Thanks to dAmOxT7942 for the artist addition.

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