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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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Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless SleepBrief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep
Inside Out U.S. 2013
Audio CD$9.93
$8.47 (used)
SnowSnow
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$14.98
$11.89 (used)
XX
Mascot Label Group 2010
Audio CD$8.24
$5.53 (used)
LightLight
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$11.44
$9.48 (used)
VV
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$42.49
$6.96 (used)
Feel EuphoriaFeel Euphoria
Limited Edition · Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2004
Audio CD$11.98
$3.67 (used)
Beware of DarknessBeware of Darkness
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade Records 2004
Audio CD$11.16
$4.76 (used)
Day for NightDay for Night
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$11.16
$3.98 (used)
OctaneOctane
Special Edition
Inside Out U.S. 2005
Audio CD$14.87
$4.91 (used)
Spock's Beard: Don't Try This at Home: Live in Holland/The Making Of VSpock's Beard: Don't Try This at Home: Live in Holland/The Making Of V
Multiple Formats
Metal Blade 2002
DVD$15.69
$9.49 (used)
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Live - Spock's Beard (2008, CD New) USD $16.85 Buy It Now 5h 9m
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10h 3m
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Beware of Darkness by Spock's Beard (CD, Sep-1996, Metal Blade)No upc USD $6.99 Buy It Now 18h 27m
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Spock's Beard - X (CD, Aug-2010, Music Theories) MRT-73242 NEW SEALED USD $14.95 Buy It Now 2 days
Feel Euphoria - Spock's Beard (2003, CD New) USD $14.40 Buy It Now 2 days
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Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep - Spock's Beard (2013, CD New) USD $14.49 Buy It Now 3 days
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New: SPOCK'S BEARD - Day for Night [Metal Blade] CD USD $8.48 Buy It Now 3 days
Neal Morse: Testimony In A Coruña 2011 (Transatlantic, Spock's Beard, Marillion) USD $39.99 [0 bids]
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Spock's Beard:BRIEF NOCTURNES DREAMLESS SLEEP 2013 Black T-Shirt NEW Neal Morse USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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V [VINYL] Spock¿s Beard Vinyl USD $37.84 Buy It Now 3 days
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SPOCK'S BEARD - "The Light" (Special Edition) CD 2004 1st GERMAN PRESS w/INSERT USD $23.88 Buy It Now 4 days
ENCHANT Time Lost CD Progressive Rock 2001 Spock's Beard Ted Leonard BRAND NEW USD $6.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Progfest '97 by John Wetton Flower Kings Spock's Beard 2-CD set 1997 Pangea J USD $13.49 Buy It Now 4 days
Don't Try This at Home: Live by Spock's Beard (CD, Apr-2000, Metal Blade) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Ezra Big Smiley Sun SEALED 1996 UK CD Spock's Beard TransAtlantic Magenta Prog USD $32.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Day for Night by Spock's Beard (CD, 1999, Inside Out) russia USD $6.00 Buy It Now 5 days
Spock's Beard Beware Of Darkness 1996 Japan CD With Obi Bonus VICP-5807 OOP HTF USD $69.80 Buy It Now 5 days
X Tour-Live Spock's Beard CD USD $28.43 Buy It Now 5 days
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SPOCK'S BEARD - V (CD, Aug-2000, Metal Blade Records) USD $7.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Spock's Beard - Feel Euphoria (CD, 2003) - Special Edition USD $3.76 [0 bids]
6 days
Spock's Beard - Octane Special Edition (CD, 2005) USD $5.64 [0 bids]
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Neal Morse - Spock's Beard - Testimony Two - 2CD New USD $22.55 Buy It Now 6 days
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Spock's Beard - The Light (2004 Remastered + Bonus Demo : German release) USD $15.59 Buy It Now 7 days
Light - Spock's Beard (2004, CD New) USD $15.22 Buy It Now 7 days
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SPOCK'S BEARD Self Titled 2006 Made in GERMANY ULTRA RARE ADVNCE PROMO DJ CD USD $34.99 Buy It Now 7 days
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X Tour-Live - Spock's Beard (2012, CD New) USD $15.20 Buy It Now 8 days
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Snow by Spock's Beard (CD, Aug-2002, 2 Discs, Inside Out) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8 days
The Kindness of Strangers by Spock's Beard (CD, 1997, Radiant Records) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8 days
Beware of Darkness by Spock's Beard (CD, 1996, Radiant Records) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 8 days
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Spock's Beard The Light - Special Edition CD album (CDLP) UK TAC001 SPV 2004 USD $81.92 Buy It Now 10 days
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X Spock's Beard CD USD $25.04 Buy It Now 16 days
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Spock's Beard - V [Digipak] [ECD] (2000) USD $9.35 Buy It Now 16 days
Spock's Beard - Beard Is Out There (Live /Live Recording, 2002) USD $9.35 Buy It Now 16 days


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SPOCK'S BEARD shows & tickets


  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Spirit of 66, Verviers on 16 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Boerderij, Zoetermeer on 17 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Framus & Warwick Music Hall, Markneukirchen on 18 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence + more at Progresja Music Zone, Warszawa on 19 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Metro Music Bar, Brno on 20 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at A38, Budapest on 21 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Legend Club, Milan on 23 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Kantine, Augsburg on 24 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Sudhaus, Tübingen on 25 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Alte Seilerei, Mannheim on 26 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Essigfabrik, Cologne on 27 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at O2 Academy Islington, London on 29 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at The Assembly, Leamington Spa on 30 Sep 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at The Classic Grand, Glasgow on 1 Oct 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham on 2 Oct 2015
  • Spock's Beard + Synaesthesia + Special Providence at Club Academy, Manchester on 3 Oct 2015

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)

3.84 | 513 ratings
The Light
1995
3.63 | 390 ratings
Beware of Darkness
1996
3.76 | 390 ratings
The Kindness Of Strangers
1998
3.24 | 339 ratings
Day For Night
1999
4.16 | 643 ratings
V
2000
3.85 | 545 ratings
Snow
2002
3.28 | 295 ratings
Feel Euphoria
2003
3.12 | 301 ratings
Octane
2005
3.35 | 292 ratings
Spock's Beard
2006
3.84 | 459 ratings
X
2010
4.10 | 511 ratings
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Oblivion Particle
2015

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

3.59 | 27 ratings
The Official Live Bootleg
1996
3.63 | 46 ratings
The Beard Is Out There
1998
3.33 | 26 ratings
Live at The Whisky and Nearfest
1999
2.96 | 59 ratings
Don't Try This At Home
2000
3.47 | 17 ratings
Don't Try This @ Home Either!
2000
3.90 | 22 ratings
There And Here
2001
4.12 | 57 ratings
Gluttons For Punishment - Live 05
2005
3.77 | 43 ratings
Live
2008
3.12 | 17 ratings
Live at High Voltage Festival
2011
3.66 | 40 ratings
The X Tour-Live
2012
3.88 | 14 ratings
Live at Sea
2014

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

3.96 | 7 ratings
Live At The Whiskey A Go-Go
2000
4.26 | 42 ratings
Don't Try This At Home-Live / The Making of V
2002
4.09 | 55 ratings
Live
2008
4.83 | 4 ratings
Live at Sea
2014

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

3.00 | 6 ratings
Don't Try This/Feel Euphoria
2006

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

2.52 | 16 ratings
From the Vault
1998
2.86 | 7 ratings
Skin
1999
3.00 | 11 ratings
All On A Sunday
2001

SPOCK'S BEARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Day For Night  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.24 | 339 ratings

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Day For Night
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Don't you just love prog rock?

Every single band that makes headwaves in the genre stirs up the critiques and praise of everyone who puts their ears to their latest tracks, and since band styles change as much as the genre itself, each album sounds distinctly unique. Even if you played this album on a nice sunny day on a Tuesday afternoon, and 3 seconds later a friend walks in, he in effect is listening to a different "performance" of the album that you're listening to. It's a theory proposed by composer and musician Andrew Durkin, the idea that every time you press play, it's a different performance, not necessarily song, every single time. It's the same thing, just... slightly different.

And that phrase perfectly describes some of the styles of the best bands in the genres, with Spock's Beard one of the top on the list. It's a distinctly synth-driven sound, but it seems to slightly morph from album to album.

As I might have mentioned on reviews of earlier albums (or not, I don't remember), the Morse-era Beard seemed to progress from dated sound quality and absolute extremity in terms of prog, length and showmanship, with just a dash or two of radio-quality music, and as the band progressed from album to album, the sound began to shift slightly towards that radio-friendly sound while still maintaining a significant keyboard presence, thus that traditional sound is still intact, just more diluted than normal.

Which leads us to "Day For Night", perhaps the radio-friendliest of all the Morse-era records. And yet, it still quite isn't. There's something about Morse's voice that truly prevents it from being radio-friendly in my mind. Still, this is most certainly from a progressive standpoint the weakest output to date from the group. The title track isn't really much of an opener, and "Gibberish" and "Skin" don't really fit the bill (although "Skin" is a bit catchy). "The Distance To The Sun" is probably one of the best efforts off the disc, a truly honest acoustic ballad, with just enough of a saving grace to continue on in this album.

"Crack The Big Sky" sounds off to a good start, it's a catchy opening with accompanying hand claps, and is structured a bit more like Spock's more elaborate tracks. It's not a bad track at all, it still sounds like SB, and it's also catchy. So at this point, you can spot the trend, and not have to continue on to realize the rest of the album is like this.

But then "The Gypsy" plays, and it's a little bit of a shock. The weird ambient opening breaks the trend of the album, and even in the chorus, it's not very catchy at all. It's very much a groove oriented piece, but yet I'm struggling to even groove to the song until the more instrumental features kick in. Very proggy indeed, but also very out of place on this album.

And it especially sounds out of place when "Can't Get It Wrong" comes in right after, which sounds exactly like a Gungfly track. It almost sounds like Morse was trying too hard to channel his inner John Lennon or something. It's a track that completely turns me off, but for all the wrong reasons. And frankly, it's unexplainable.

So now we enter the broken up elephant in the room, "The Healing Colors Of Sound". The intro is distinctly Spocky. The rock organ driven synths lead into the guitar licks and instrumental showcases in a typical jam rock fashion the Beard does very well. It even ends with an quick but outstanding little solo by Alan, "the other Morse". But then it transitions into "My Shoes", which sounds like Neal transmitting his inner Elton John. It sounds lovely, but it has almost no connection to the intro which (presumably) spawned it.

By the time "Mommy Comes Back" starts, it's clear this isn't a traditional prog epic, and that these songs really just should've been edited as stand-alone tracks, which they are. This song starts off with this album's signature weird staggered sounds that sound akin to "Gibberish" and "Skin". The song itself is quite groovy though, and the added special effects and voicebox provide some color and uniqueness to it.

"Lay It Down" sounds more bluesy, or maybe it's just the chorus. It's another fine tune, but still lackluster on its own, and the same goes to Pt. 2. There's no connectivity between any of these tracks. Of course, that'd be ok if these songs could stand on their own as individual tracks, but apart from "Mommy Comes Back", none of them are really stand alone tracks. All of them feel like they're missing concluding choruses, or a bridge or quick instrumental lick sections or something. It starts off so promising, and then little by little, it just repeats itself like a broken record. It's incredibly lackluster and disappointing.

But perhaps that's not so surprising. A year later Spock's Beard put out "V", one of their best albums, with "Snow" coming out two years later, probably the best of the Morse-era Beard. So even though this is a lackluster disc, "Day For Night" is the culmination of a serious problem that the band has had, balancing progressive jams with catchy tunes. Obviously, it's not so easy, but it's a sound the band has constantly taken a crack at with each of their releases (with "V's 'All On A Sunday'" being my personal favorite).

Perhaps that's why the post-Morse Beard has gotten such a bad rap at the beginning. Neals' voice just doesn't always fit the bill of a catchy radio-friendly tune, and the continued attempt to balance that has been a constant struggle in the early post-Morse years, where (in my opinion) they got back on track with heir self-titled release (e.g. "Wherever You Stand"). But now that the band is really starting to master the balance between "prog and catch" (that's a phrase I just made up), their latest album now is quite a hype-generator, especially since "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep" is being hailed as a return to form the group (it's one of my favorites as well).

So with that in mind, perhaps it's worth a gander back in time to this disc and see, not necessarily where it all went wrong, but perhaps where it finally reached the extreme end of "sell-out mode" after years of build-up ("Beware Of Darkness", "The Kindness Of Strangers"), and how it's defined the band's sound ever since. It's an interesting history lesson that everyone can learn from.

Don't you just love prog rock?

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 Live by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Live, 2008
3.77 | 43 ratings

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Live
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars I remember buying this one when I was on holidays and was just hanging out for some New Beard. It was the only Spock's Beard album on the shelf that I didn't have so I took the chance. I was mildly enthused by the set list as it featured some of my faves especially 'Surfing Down the Avalanche' from "Octane". Instead I was a little underwhelmed as the songs were simply too close to the original albums without the creative spurt of an extended lead break or a drum solo worth mentioning. Certainly the music is great as usual, but I always prefer the band in the studio, other than actually being there at the concert.

The great parts of the concert are towards the end of CD 1. Highlights are here with 'Return to Whatever', 'Surfing Down The Avalanche' 'Thoughts - Part 2', 'Skeletons At The Feast' and then later the full version of 'As Far as the Mind Can See'; all definitely worth a listen. The band lineup is one of the best with vocalist Nick D'Virgillio, also a great guitarist, bassist Dave Meros, guitarist Alan Morse, and keyboard wizard Ryo Okumoto. Jimmy Keegan's drums are nothing special though. In fact the whole album is nothing special, and only comes across as yet another live album. The best is yet to come for Spock's Beard live. In comparison ex-Beardist Neal Morse's live albums are masterful and streets ahead on every level.

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 511 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars There are a lot of nice things I can say about this release by Spock's Beard, but you can read about those in nearly every other reviewer's take on this album. For me, Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep is a modern prog diversion that doesn't fully live up to the hype, or the band's legacy.

In becoming more precise and thoughtful, the band has also shaved away one of the great things that made the Beard different from the other modern prog acts: the reckless energy and enthusiasm that borrowed inspiration from the great prog acts of yesteryear but transformed them into something fun and unique. This release sounds exactly like you would expect a modern prog act to sound... which I think I'm using as criticism. There are no surprises, experimentation, moments that touch your spirit, or much of anything else on this album that makes Spock's Beard stand out as a unique voice. Hard-rock homages to Gentle Giant don't count.

First let's just get the big question out of the way. How is the band's newly acquired third singer, Ted Leonard? Acceptable is about the best I can do. His voice is in a high register and flat throughout much of the album. He doesn't have much range, and doesn't emote in a way that connects with me. He's not bad, but upon first listen I immediately thought that this guy could be a singer for practically any prog act from the late '90's or early '00's - his voice is that bland and predictable. I'd take Neal Morse's caterwauling or Di''Virgilio smooth, radio-friendly vocals any day. Vocals are the low point of the album.

With that being said, the band sounds very good overall. Dave Meros' bass and Ryu Okomoto's keyboards standout especially. I think that Ryu's soloing and background textures makes him one of the sharpest keyboardists around. Unfortunately, Alan Morse's guitar slips under the radar for much of the album, as he delivers only one or two creative moments. The instrumental sections of songs are easily the most enjoyable part of the album; they are ambitiously complex and well-executed, but they aren't going to knock anyone's socks off.

Compare Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep to the dramatic energy of Snow, to the elevating energy of Day For Night, to the creativity found throughout The Light and Beware of Darkness and you'll see that fine playing and pandering to proggery isn't enough to make a great album. Still, don't write this one off completely; it's a fine example of modern prog even with its shortcomings.

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

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 511 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by yair010390

4 stars Very good album. In line of the respective gender: symphonic prog. Extended melodies precise technique and a perfect coupling. That's why I like it, but, surprisingly, in some tracks you can notice the incorporation of other forms in the different progressive genders. Variations, changes of tempo, asymmetric tunes buth that all together sounds amazing. However, the risk of exploration don't go very far. I feel like if the band impose their limitits and establish that they cant' cross it. That's godd but from my point of view, that reduce what I call: feeling. In conclusion, a very good symphonic album with the enjoyable sorprises that you can find in some ponts of the composition.

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 Feel Euphoria by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.28 | 295 ratings

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Feel Euphoria
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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).

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 V by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.16 | 643 ratings

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V
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by M27Barney

5 stars I am sorry - but I'm going have to give this a FIVE star rating (I have also rated Snow and Brief Nocturnes as five stars also!). Why? do you ask. Well - this has been in my collection for a long time and remained one of those CD's which got lost and was maybe played once! Then in a conversation on face-book - I friend mentioned the first track (At the end of the day) and said it was his favourite SB recording! - So I listened and immediately was VERY impressed! So last night - I donned the Sennheiser's and closed my eyes - WOW! - This is a BRILLIANT CD. The first track is marvellous (and shows the direction Neil Morse was going to go with Transatlantic) - immaculate musicianship - really nice vocal harmonies...then the shorter tracks, all of which have a lot to add to the CD - setting the stage for the EPIC......And Yes on the listening last night - I reckon that "The Great Nothing" has catapulted from obscurity (in my collection) to be in my top 20 tracks of all time!!! - This track has everything - length, (breath taking virtuosity) - really nice vocals and maybe Morse was already starting to air his preachy lyrics but I think I can forgive that because the music and form of the track is so good. If you haven't bought this CD and you like symphonic prog - then get your wallet out and do so - it's a MUST have!

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 Live at Sea by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover DVD/Video, 2014
4.83 | 4 ratings

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Live at Sea
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars 2014 delivered a treat for Spock's Beard fans with the DVD release of `Live at Sea - Live at the Norwegian Pearl/Stardust Theater, Friday Feb 21, 2014'. This was part of the Progressive Nation at Sea cruise, and the footage taken from their second and final show of the cruise. This concert showcases the current line-up of the band that has the two founding members Dave Meros (bass), Alan Morse (guitars) and long-time keyboard player Ryo Okumoto joined by Enchant's Ted Leonard taking on the lead vocals, with fill-in live drummer Jimmy Keegan now a full-time integrated member of the proper band. Although what looks to be only a short concert with 6 pieces played, closer inspection will reveal an almost 70 minute performance, and it beautifully captures the talented musicianship, emphasis on melodic skills and sense of humour the band is famous for, and a late appearance in the final twenty minutes by founding member Neal Morse should be a huge thrill for fans of the band!

There's so much energy and personality to witness throughout the DVD. Both keyboard supremo Ryo Okomuto and guitar hero Alan Morse love to play up the `rock star' angle of the show, offering plenty of amusing show-off soloing moments, but it's all in tongue-in-cheek fun, and they bring so much charisma to the band. They're not just show-ponies either, as they've got incredible skills that shape so much of the classic Spock's Beard sound. Singer Ted Leonard is fitting in with that side too, offering jovial and good-humoured quips with the band and audience. He's always been a talented performer, but he's shown immense improvement as a vocalist since toning his overwrought Enchant style down a notch for the Spocks, and he's quickly become a great asset to them. The hugely likeable drummer Jim Keegan plays with such conviction, variety and power, and he let's rip with constant perfectly executed little fills throughout. But the biggest secret weapon of the entire show is bass player Dave Meros. The guy is perfectly happy to remain out of the spotlight on stage compared to Ryo and Alan, but damn does his grumbling chunky bass playing cut through every inch of the performance.

A mix of three classic Spock's pieces and three newer works are given a thrilling live workout here. With it's constant heavy grooving, `Something Very Strange' is the perfect choice to open the show. Within barely eight minutes, all of the members get perfectly delivered standout solo moments to shine, all bookended in a catchy tune overall. `Hiding Out' was such a striking opener to the latest studio album, and it packs even more punch here. Plenty of instrumental guitar muscle and an impossibly strong memorable chorus, and watch out for the back and forth guitar duelling between Ted and Alan, great fun! So cool to hear these new tracks, and not a set just full of `greatest hits'! Classic `Walking on The Wind' still has all those beautiful Gentle Giant-like spastic eruptions, and it's the perfect balance between accessible vocal catchiness with prog-rock instrumental runs. Ted also convincingly pulls off a tune that's so associated with Neal's voice. Despite this current line-up and their preference for a harder rocking prog, `Waiting For Me' really is a knockout piece in the classic Spock's Beard style (not surprising as it was co-written by Neal Morse). Dave's fingers are a blur of fluid motion back and forth, Jimmy drums with a controlled fury of someone twice his size, and Alan's searing guitar solo over Ryo's rising Mellotron rapture during the middle is prog heaven.

Founder Neal Morse is then welcomed on stage for the final two numbers. The melodic acoustic ballad `June' is an obvious choice, always a favourite piece for fans of the band, and it's sing-along quality and pleasing harmonies make it easy for the crowd to enjoy. Then after a tease of a piano melody from the `Snow 'album, Neal guides the band into a super-charged rendition of `The Light', the first classic lengthy epic from the debut album of the same name back in 1995. It's still a loopy, deranged and insane take on Gentle Giant and classic Genesis, and it proves the signature Spock's Beard sound was in place right from the very beginning of the band. Check out the improvised spot with Neal's sprightly acoustic guitar to Ryo's jazzy piano soloing.

Despite the Nick D'Virgilio'-led era of Spocks Beard offering four solid studio albums, there seemed to be the general opinion that the last album from 2013 `Brief Nocturne's...' with this line-up was something of a real return to form for the group, and along with the strength of the seeing the band gelling together so well throughout this show, everything is in place for this current version to deliver the goods even more in the future. Followers of the band will know to instantly look into this DVD (why no Bluray though, SB fellas?!), and it should please fans of both the classic earlier albums and the newer ones. Everyone will be happy - you're got some of the old era, some of the new era, but it's all classic Spock's Beard!

Four and a half stars, but five for Beard fans!

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 Day For Night  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.24 | 339 ratings

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Day For Night
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is not the first time I have heard Spock's Beard, but it is the first time I have heard an album all the way through. I do have to commend them on their instrumentals and the complexities of them, but I have always had a problem with the vocals. The voice is okay, it's just that there is not a lot of feeling in the delivery. After reading the reviews here, a lot of people are saying that it is sort of an OK album and a step down from normal, but I don't see anyone complaining about the vocals, and from the single tracks I've heard from them in the past, the vocals remain the same. So, I suppose I can get used to them, but it is also the reason why I haven't been a huge fan in the past or had any desire to explore them any further until now.

I do have to say though, after hearing this album, it has sparked some interest in me to now listen to more of their work. As has already been said, there are some tracks that lean more towards pop than progressive. But there is still plenty of symphonic prog in there, enough to make things interesting. The best things on here are the first two tracks and "Crack the Big Sky". The huge 21 minute suite has both strong and weak moments where it seems they are trying to mix pop and prog together, which has been done before and done better than this.

So, it's not bad, and since most consider it a weaker album, I will be checking out other albums. But I still have a hard time with that emotionless voice and how it contrasts with the dynamics of the awesome instrumentals. I'm giving this 3 stars because only 3 songs make a consistent high mark while the epic suite is hit and miss. Good, but not essential.

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 Live at Sea by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Live, 2014
3.88 | 14 ratings

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Live at Sea
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Love the live vibes

Spock's Beard announced a DVD of their performance at this year's Progressive Nation at Sea festival for the late August release and they also released an audio only version of the mentioned release on Friday, August 8th via Bandcamp. Those who pre-ordered the DVD has the code to download the digital version of the show. The audio quality is terrific.

But what's more important is the fact that this record is really an excellent live performance of the band and it really rocks! I really love the live vibes and in most cases I love more this live version compared to the studio ones. It covers three tracks from the band's latest studio album Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep (2013) and another three from the first three albums : The Light, Beware of Darkness as well as Kindness of Strangers. I was not actually in tune with this live set until three days ago when I was about to drive from Jakarta to Bandung (150 KM distance) and I need to equip my car stereo with all prog albums including those from Pineapple Thief, Anglagard live, and of course Spock's Beard Live at Sea.

Wow! I am totally impressed with the live vibes the Live at Sea record shows. In fact I only played this live set during my three-hour drive to Bandung as I really love it very much. Of course the opening track Something Very Strange (9:07) really blew me away at first spin. I love the opening part with sort of Ryo work on unique keyboard work plus some ambient sounds and it moves it dynamically until the music really turn on followed with great vocal work by Ted. I think Ryo Okumoto's keyboard work throughout the song is the key differentiator that makes this opening track really live and it does rock! Oh ... I cannot afford for not replaying this opening track again and again. It's so excellent and I love this live version than the studio one.

The second track Hiding Out (7:45) is another rocking track with dynamic keyboard intro bya Ryo followed by a blast of music that moves the track wonderfully. And I think everyone agrees that Dave Meros bass guitar lines are really cool and represent the characteristics of SB music so far. I can hear it clearly his bass lines right here with this second track. Of course other musicians : Jimmy Keegan and Alan Morse also provide excellent work here. The keyboard solo throughout the song is really great. Ted also works his way nicely when the third track Walking On The Wind (9:55) was performed even though this is coming from early albums of the band - the Neal Morse era. This track was performed wonderfully!

One of the big thing that makes me happy is the featuring part of Neal Morse at this live set. I could not imagine how wonderful the show was especially when Neal Morse was invited by the band to come on stage playing two classic tracks June and The Light. I know that actually I did not enjoy the first three albums of the band and you can check my views of the first three albums right here at this wonderful prog site. But it's not the case now. What matters to me is the fact that Neal Morse still want to play with the band as guest musician even though he was actually the founding fathers of SB. June is actually not my cup of tea as I do not like the acoustic guitar part which sounds boring to my ears. But The Light which I actually did not favor, is now different to me as it's now live version and it's performed as a reunion concert with Neal Morse. Yeah .. I love that prog people unite even though they no longer in the same band. This is great. Prog must unite people!

Overall, I am satisfied with this live set even though I expect another 60 minute live record that makes this as double CD issue. But I still recognize this live set as an excellent album! Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review # 1800 (written in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia)

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.10 | 511 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

3 stars Once again I listen to another Spock's Beard album and cannot get over the incredible number of musical and lyrical cliches present in their music--in every song, in every sound choice, every solo choice, every bass line, every rhythmic pulse, every dynamic shift, every chord progression, every vocal styling, every production/engineering choice. They are masters of everything borrowed, nothing original. Whenever I hear their music all I can feel is disbelief and gnawing anxiousness. "Is this a joke?" I ask myself (over and over). "Are they prog rock's SPINAL TAP?" Talented musicians all, but their melodrama is so embarrassingly close to classic rock as to cry out "parody!" As hopeful as I am whenever I see high ratings for one of their albums, I have yet to be impressed with anything from their norm--which is . . . rubber stamp, over-the-top classic rock by numbers, prog by association and wishful thinking, repetitive to excess. I feel bad writing these words for I have no doubts that the boys from SB are well-intentioned and probably quite sincere in their efforts. I can only express my utter frustration with my listening to pretty much all of their output--not the least of which has been this most recent release. Nothing new. "Second tier" prog. No more than a modern day LOVERBOY (though with better staying power).

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