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SPOCK'S BEARD

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Spock's Beard biography
SPOCK'S BEARD was formed by Neal MORSE, who wrote all the band's material and contributed lead vocals, piano, synth and guitars. This is a superb Progressive rock in the Seventies' spirit, full of contrated climates, breaks and complex compositions based on tortuous, audacious and elaborated instrumental developments. They combine strong melodies with intricate arrangements and superb musicianship. SPOCK'S BEARD should appeal to fans of the FLOWER KINGS and UK.

This adventurous band has built a solid and loyal following with their first two releases. "The Light" received rave reviews across the globe and "Beware of Darkness" was by far the best progressive rock album of the decade. The next releases ("The Kindness...", "Day For Night" & "V") were issued to insatiable fans world wide. The next album, "Snow", was the band's double CD concept album in the vein of GENESIS' "The Lamb...".

With Neal MORSE's departure in 2002, "Feel Euphoria" marked a fresh new beginning for the band. The album fueled a new creative period in the band's career. The album was followed up by "Octane" in 2005 and the band-titled release in 2006. SPOCK'S BEARD ended the decade with another discography highlight with the release of "X" in 2010. Jimmy KEEGAN provided some additional vocals on the release and later followed the band on the promotional tour for the new material. The release of "X" marked another turning point for the band seeing that the Nick D'VIRGILIO finally decided to concentrate on his solo career and thus left the band in 2011.

On November 21, 2011, it was announced on the bands official website that ENCHANT vocalist Ted LEONARD and touring drummer Jimmy KEEGAN would be joining the band. SPOCK'S BEARD will be releasing their 11th studio album, "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep" in mid 2013.

No matter what happens next one thing's for sure, The BEARD is out there and you WILL believe!

Spock's Beard official website

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THE FIRST TWENTY YEARSTHE FIRST TWENTY YEARS
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$18.18
$16.28 (used)
SnowSnow
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$10.46
$13.78 (used)
Beware of DarknessBeware of Darkness
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade Records 2004
Audio CD$16.78
$9.43 (used)
The Oblivion ParticleThe Oblivion Particle
Inside Out Music 2015
Audio CD$8.99
$7.98 (used)
Live In 2005 - Gluttons For PunishmentLive In 2005 - Gluttons For Punishment
Inside Out Music 2012
Audio CD$10.69
$6.64 (used)
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERSTHE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$12.66
$9.00 (used)
VV
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$11.94
$9.00 (used)
X Tour: LiveX Tour: Live
Limited Edition
Mascot Label Group 2012
Audio CD$14.50
$17.31 (used)
Day For Night (Re-Issue)Day For Night (Re-Issue)
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$11.24
$5.80 (used)
THE LIGHTTHE LIGHT
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$13.05
$9.00 (used)
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SPOCK'S BEARD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SPOCK'S BEARD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 575 ratings
The Light
1995
3.65 | 436 ratings
Beware of Darkness
1996
3.76 | 430 ratings
The Kindness Of Strangers
1998
3.25 | 377 ratings
Day For Night
1999
4.15 | 714 ratings
V
2000
3.86 | 603 ratings
Snow
2002
3.27 | 330 ratings
Feel Euphoria
2003
3.13 | 334 ratings
Octane
2005
3.36 | 326 ratings
Spock's Beard
2006
3.82 | 502 ratings
X
2010
4.02 | 581 ratings
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
2013
3.88 | 261 ratings
The Oblivion Particle
2015

SPOCK'S BEARD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 30 ratings
The Official Live Bootleg
1996
3.67 | 52 ratings
The Beard Is Out There
1998
3.38 | 30 ratings
Live at The Whisky and Nearfest
1999
2.98 | 61 ratings
Don't Try This At Home
2000
3.63 | 19 ratings
Don't Try This @ Home Either!
2000
3.98 | 25 ratings
There And Here
2001
3.99 | 64 ratings
Gluttons For Punishment - Live 05
2005
3.79 | 50 ratings
Live
2008
3.32 | 19 ratings
Live at High Voltage Festival
2011
3.69 | 43 ratings
The X Tour-Live
2012
4.00 | 19 ratings
Live at Sea
2014

SPOCK'S BEARD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.93 | 8 ratings
Live At The Whiskey A Go-Go
2000
4.25 | 46 ratings
Don't Try This At Home-Live / The Making of V
2002
4.21 | 52 ratings
Live
2008
4.88 | 5 ratings
Live at Sea
2014

SPOCK'S BEARD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 6 ratings
Don't Try This/Feel Euphoria
2006
4.60 | 17 ratings
The First Twenty Years
2015

SPOCK'S BEARD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.67 | 18 ratings
From the Vault
1998
3.11 | 9 ratings
Skin
1999
3.17 | 12 ratings
All On A Sunday
2001

SPOCK'S BEARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 X by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.82 | 502 ratings

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X
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Spock's Beards' tenth album, the uncreatively named X, continues the band's trend of well-played, ambitiously composed, and energetic releases that - despite seeming to have all the right pieces for a prog-rock highlight - manages only to add another "good but not essential" record to the pile. Like a gymnast whose ring routine is spot on, but somehow fails to stick the landing, the Beard continues to rock on with their signature sound of appealing heavy, upbeat, and occasionally bombastic prog; however, the there's a noticeable banality in the song writing and vocals that keeps this album from being X-ceptional (sorry, couldn't help it).

First, let's talk about how freaking good the musicianship is in this group. Even at their weakest, it's impossible to deny the instrumental talents these guys bring to the table. Every member is spot on in creating a dense sounding record. Morse's guitar sounds as creative as ever, while Okumoto continues to prove he's one of the top keyboardists in the genre. Meros' bass is more restrained here, though losing none of its personality. Generally, when the band is playing, this album rocks; it's heavy, thick, and fun.

There are two standout tracks here, both of the extended pieces. "From the Darkness" may be the group's best epic since Snow. It's dynamic and exciting, with strong and varied musical themes to each section carrying a sense of dramatic tension. Ditto "Jaws of Heaven," which is surprisingly intense at times. When you get down to it, these two tracks are the reason for coming to this show, because most of the other songs range in quality from the: "good, what's next" variety, to the "OK, this has gone on long enough." I enjoyed the energy of the opener, and in the instrumental "Kamikaze," but lost interest pretty quickly in everything else. "Man Behind the Curtain" and "Quite House" remind me of the never-ending, down-tempo pomp of the previous album, which I did not enjoy.

This leads to my thoughts on what holds X back a bit: the songs. Song writing duties are spread across the band, with each member being credited individually, while contributing writer John Boegehold covered all of the lyrics. Boegehold has been on board with the Beard since Feel Euphoria (as far as I can tell), and it's easy to see the shift in stylistic themes that he's brought to the band since Morse's departure. The lyrics are mostly dressed up metaphors that come across as contrivances, treading familiar ground topically. Unfortunately, D'Virgilio's vocals don't muster the gusto to make them stick and when standing on their own merits, I'm pretty turned off by this aspect of the album.

So all in all a good, but not great release by the Beard. I'm pleased overall by the sound and playing, but don't see this becoming more than the occasional listen for me.

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

 The Kindness Of Strangers  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.76 | 430 ratings

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The Kindness Of Strangers
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by sukmytoe

4 stars For me, a much more coherent album when compared to their first release. The band is maturing and it shows. The musical playground is still there but this time the ideas that make up the music are allowed to breathe and are given room to claim their own space. The sound quality here is a great deal better than it was on their first album. There is the raucous nod to the first album here but there is also musical subtlety which is so important to coherency as a whole. Neal Morse is not as grating here in the vocal department as I found him to be on the bands first release. The musicianship here is strong as it was on the first album although more restraint is shown and things are tighter and more under control. All in all a much more mature and coherent album from the Beard, one which will be explored again very soon as there are depths to the music herein which demand more time to absorb fully. A four star effort to my ears.
 The Light  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.85 | 575 ratings

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The Light
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by sukmytoe

3 stars There is a lot of energy here - almost too much. Throughout the tracks there are a lot of musical ideas making up each track and coherency is at risk although the musical ideas in themselves are strong. The music making up the album is playful rather than serious and I think that to enjoy this album one has to approach it from that direction. If you are looking for a musical playground then this album is possibly a good one. If you are looking for a serious approach to music then this album may grate the ears. Neal Morse is not my favorite vocalist although he is not terrible. At first his nasal style is a little grating but after a while listening to him I can accept him as a lead vocalist. The musicianship throughout is strong. For me this is a kind of 10 CC does Yes offering - makes little sense but it does work to an extent. The music borders on the corny, coherency and idea wise. Many ideas are toyed with throughout but none of those ideas are given room to breathe on their own.

This isn't an album that I would rush to put in my urgent to listen to again pile and if I listen to it again it will be in a couple of months time. It is playful and therefore a pleasant trip around the monkey bars now and then but it is nothing that I feel bound to seriously get into. Three and a half stars from me, pulled down to three for its inability to draw me in.

 The First Twenty Years by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.60 | 17 ratings

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The First Twenty Years
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by AlanB

5 stars I started listening to Spock's Beard after first getting into Transatlantic, then Neal Morse's solo stuff. The only album of theirs that I have is Snow, but I'd heard enough material online to know that this is a band that would appeal to me. So when this compilation was released I knew that it would be something I'd like to add to my collection. Initially, though, I listened to it several times on Spotify. The drawback with this was that the final song, Falling For Forever, isn't available on Spotify, and also there is a DVD included with the compilation. So recently I bought the CD, and here is my review.

CD1 covers the Neal Morse years, and includes one track from each of the six albums featuring him (apart from Beware Of Darkness and Snow, which have two tracks each). The track selection is excellent, with three long songs, The Light, The Doorway and At The End Of The Day, the beautiful ballad June, and the spiritually uplifting Solitary Soul and Wind At My Back from Snow. The list is completed with Thoughts and the title track from Day For Night. What is apparent from the liner notes is how important Neal was to the writing of the band's material. All of these songs are credited to him alone, apart from one which he co-wrote with his brother.

CD2 has one song from each of the albums recorded post Neal Morse. The writers include individuals who are not in the band, collaborating with various band members. This is more of a mixed bag to my ears, with the opening song, The Bottom Line, being my least favourite on the compilation. She Is Everything and On A Perfect Day have some lovely vocal harmonies and some great soloing, but it's the epic Jaws Of Heaven that first comes close to the standard of songs on CD1. Waiting For Me sees the return of Neal Morse as a co-writer, and this is apparent from the style of the song. Finally, we get Tides Of Time from the most recent album, before the closing epic, a new song written by Neal and featuring the three lead singers and two drummers that have been in Spock's Beard over the years. Falling For Forever is a great song and features a drum duet between current drummer Jimmy Keegan and original drummer Nick D'Virgillio. A fantastic way to close this collection.

Last but by no means least, there is a DVD which is entitled Spock's Beard In The 90s - A Retrospective. This is a slightly misleading title as some of the interviews cover the period from 2000 to the present day. There are a number of very good live performances on here, the most recent of which was 1998. It is certainly a shock to see Neal Morse with long hair. Some of the songs featured are not on the two CDs, songs such as Beware Of Darkness, Walking On The Wind, and The Good Don't Last. There is also an excellent live version of The Light, including a drum solo and a section where Ryo Okumoto plays one of those synths that you sling round your neck like a guitar. The DVD is certainly not just an "add-on."

In conclusion, if you like the sound of Spock's Beard but don't own any of their albums, this compilation is an excellent place to start. On the other extreme, if you have all 12 albums you will have to decide if it's worth paying nearly £20 for one new song and a DVD. If you're somewhere in between, then The First Twenty Years is well worth considering for your collection.

 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.02 | 581 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars "Something very strange is coming fast our way"

Ted Leonard of Enchant and Thought Chamber fame joined Spock's Beard full time for this album which by many is considered a major return to form for the band. And rightly so I would say, they sound a bit more alive and vibrant than on many previous albums. Leonard is an excellent vocalist, much better than both Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio, making him the best singer this band has ever had. His strong voice often evokes that of Steve Walsh of Kansas, perhaps most evident on A Treasure Abandoned.

Leonard even contributes two songs of his own for this album: the opener Hiding Out and Submerged. The former is musically excellent, but the lyrics are a bit on the weak side. A line like "I need you now" is one of the most clichéd in all of Rock. The overly commercial Submerged is weak in both musical and lyrical respects and is the weakest track of the album. Some passages of this one are positively cringe worthy, like the "I'm candy coated salt" part. Enchant never sank that low, even at their worst.

With D'Virgilio having left the band after the previous album, touring drummer Jimmy Keegan steps up and takes over the drum stool permanently and he does a good job. Founding member Neal Morse returns to lend a hand on two compositions: Afterthoughts (credited to Alan Morse, Neal Morse, and Leonard) and Waiting for Me (Alan and Neal). The latter is a rather typical Morse song and Afterthoughts (Thoughts, part 3?) includes a heavily Gentle Giant-like a cappella middle section that sounds a bit too much like a tribute.

The best songs of the album are those written by John Boegehold, especially Something Very Strange and A Treasure Abandoned (the latter credited to Boegehold and Alan Morse).

Overall, Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep is a good album, surely one of Spock's Beard's better albums, but it is not as good as the follow-up The Oblivion Particle which impressed me much more.

 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 261 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

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.

 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 261 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by AndyJ

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, 'Tides of Time' is classic Spock's Beard material and really does bode well for the rest of the record. This is a song which I'm confident any prog-head is absolutely going to fall in love with - it really does have all of the ingredients for an awesome prog song, including that rocking guitar bit at the end!

Unfortunately, however, the next couple of tracks just don't really do much for me - they are a bit too obvious in their compositional style and they don't really challenge or engage with me like the opening track does. Things change up a bit with the fourth song, 'Bennett Built A Time Machine', as drummer Jimmy Keegan steps up for the vocals. I find this song, whilst pretty simple in its style, hugely entertaining and very catchy! More than once I've found myself humming the melody to myself from this song.

The compositions definitely do pick up towards the later part of the album - the instrumental passages become longer and more interesting. The last four songs of the record are simply brilliant, in particular the seventh track 'The Center Line' with that classical piano intro. Sometimes I do find myself wishing that SB would drop back on the vocals and allow longer instrumental passages to develop during a song, but its a minor criticism and one I have with a lot of progressive rock bands!

It's fair to say that the music of Spock's Beard wouldn't exist without the prog-rock of the 70's nor the neo-prog of the 80's, and in that respect there isn't much 'original' in this album - but who cares! Thank God for Spock's Beard, one of the few bands that are still championing prog-rock well into the 21st century. Long may it continue.

As for rating this one that's a difficult question. It is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. The stand-out tracks are all 5-star compositions, but unfortunately for me there are a few throw-away songs on this record which does detract from the overall rating. 3 stars is probably fair, though in reality its more like 3.5 stars!

 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 261 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

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.

 Snow by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.86 | 603 ratings

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Snow
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by tomprog

5 stars Snow, Spock's Beards last release with main man Neal Morse, is their quintessential album. Fair enough it may not be as raw as as 'The Light', or have epic suites like 'V', but brings together all their influences, as well as their trademark sound to create a very fine double concept album, in the same vein as 'Tommy' or 'The Lamb'.

Disc one, the stronger of the two discs, starts with 'made alive', a short but pleasant acoustic piece that leads into the first overture, an explosive instrumental that explores themes to come. The first disc of this double album is filled up with shorter pieces which flow seamlessly from one to another. Melody is a main focus here, limiting the drawn out instrumentals Spock's Beard usually incorporate into their songs. All of disc one is excellent, making it hard to pick out highlights. Personally for me, 'long time suffering', 'devil's got my throat', 'open wide the floodgates' and 'wind at my back' are some of Spock's Beards single best pieces.

Disc 2 starts with another overture, weaker than the first, before flowing into '4th of July' and 'I'm the guy'. For me, this section of songs is the weakest part of the album, melodically and musically waning. However, the poignant 'reflection' in 6/8 time, the soft 'Carie' and the ''Toto esque'' 'Looking for answers' (sung by Nick D'virgillio) pick things up. 'All is Vanity' and 'I'm Dying' have a heavier sound, with technical execution showing the bands capabilities. The album closes with 'made alive again/ wind at my back', a reprise of what has been heard before, ending the album in triumphant fashion; with Neal Morse proclaiming to the listener 'you're beautiful', a touching farewell as Neal Morse's last statement before leaving the band.

The one thing that spoils Spock's Beard for me is the guitar playing, Alan Morse on this album explores with some quite frankly disgusting guitar sounds along with his mediocre playing. This is a minor issue but an annoyance nonetheless.

Overall, even with it's faults I cannot bring myself to award this album any less than 5 starts. It's a flawed masterpiece (much like the lamb), but a masterpiece of progressive rock nevertheless. Neal Morse's song writing is in top form and is the quintessential Spock's Beard album, if not the most progressive.

 The First Twenty Years by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.60 | 17 ratings

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The First Twenty Years
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by strangelybrown

5 stars SPOCKS BEARD The First Twenty Years

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This is the 2015 Greatest hits of Spock's Beard, with songs from each and every album they have made to date. The choices made for each album are unsurprising and perfectly chosen. Classic epics like THE LIGHT, THE DOORWAY and AT THE END OF THE DAY are of course all included, and I personally thought they were all improved by the remastering, especially THE LIGHT which is the eldest and had more that could be added.

I, however, got this shipped out to me not for those timeless tracks, but for NEAL MORSE'S new, gorgeously inspired epic, FALLING FOR FOREVER. This 20 minute highly guitar focused epic includes every member of the Beard's history.

The vocal parts are perfect with TED LEONARD really bringing home the delectably crafted melodies. The instrumental jams are a lot of fun, and show typical Spock's tonality. They franticly meander to create all that heavenly tension to be bombastically resolved. You can really see that chemistry between them all here.

Nick's vocals in the middle piece suited the melody so brilliantly! Oh my word what a glorious chord progression that is. How does NEAL MORSE write these things I do not know. This is preceded by a early GENESIS-esque romantic sequence with KAIPA-like guitar accompaniment.

Speaking of middle sections!.. I never realised how fantastic that middle section of AT THE END OF THE DAY is. So glad I had the impetus to listen a little closer!

An interesting album for both newcomers and oldcomers to Spock's Beard!

Peace

BR

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