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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!

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Oblivion ParticleOblivion Particle
Inside Out U.S. 2015
Audio CD$10.75
$11.90 (used)
Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless SleepBrief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep
Inside Out U.S. 2013
Audio CD$9.93
$5.90 (used)
SnowSnow
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$14.98
$14.95 (used)
XX
Mascot Label Group 2010
Audio CD$8.24
$5.53 (used)
VV
Extra tracks
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$17.85
$13.99 (used)
Beware of DarknessBeware of Darkness
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade Records 2004
Audio CD$10.94
$5.80 (used)
LightLight
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$17.99
$25.52 (used)
Live in 2005: Gluttons for PunishmentLive in 2005: Gluttons for Punishment
Inside Out U.S. 2005
Audio CD$9.94
$2.49 (used)
Kindness of StrangersKindness of Strangers
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$13.99
$39.18 (used)
Beard Is Out There-LiveBeard Is Out There-Live
Import
Inside Out Germany 2004
Audio CD$5.77
$4.81 (used)
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SPOCK'S BEARD shows & tickets


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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 | 527 ratings
The Light
1995
3.64 | 401 ratings
Beware of Darkness
1996
3.76 | 398 ratings
The Kindness Of Strangers
1998
3.24 | 350 ratings
Day For Night
1999
4.17 | 662 ratings
V
2000
3.85 | 559 ratings
Snow
2002
3.28 | 304 ratings
Feel Euphoria
2003
3.13 | 310 ratings
Octane
2005
3.35 | 301 ratings
Spock's Beard
2006
3.84 | 470 ratings
X
2010
4.08 | 529 ratings
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
2013
4.17 | 57 ratings
The Oblivion Particle
2015

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

3.64 | 28 ratings
The Official Live Bootleg
1996
3.64 | 48 ratings
The Beard Is Out There
1998
3.36 | 28 ratings
Live at The Whisky and Nearfest
1999
2.97 | 60 ratings
Don't Try This At Home
2000
3.56 | 18 ratings
Don't Try This @ Home Either!
2000
3.95 | 24 ratings
There And Here
2001
3.99 | 60 ratings
Gluttons For Punishment - Live 05
2005
3.78 | 45 ratings
Live
2008
3.22 | 18 ratings
Live at High Voltage Festival
2011
3.67 | 41 ratings
The X Tour-Live
2012
3.92 | 18 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
4.27 | 44 ratings
Don't Try This At Home-Live / The Making of V
2002
4.21 | 50 ratings
Live
2008
4.79 | 5 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
2.88 | 8 ratings
Skin
1999
3.00 | 11 ratings
All On A Sunday
2001

SPOCK'S BEARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.17 | 57 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by robbob

5 stars For my delight...as far the best SB album.

There is a renewal of fantastic symphonic prog rock (that even with Neal Morse was not so inspired) And Ted Leonard in vocalsĦĦĦĦ?? The (nowadays) best prog rock voice(in my opinion) How will Ted Leonard go to the live shows with Enchant, Transatlantic and SB? Not enough time.

Now a fantastic team ...that have created a fantastic work ..

Very elaborated songs ..so well played....

Love a Better Way To Fly...and To Be Free Again...but mostly the average of songs in a very high level.

So with highs and lows in their history ....this one is a very good surprise.

For me 4,5 to 5 stars...but let us motivate this musicians ...5 then

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 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.17 | 57 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars I wasn't sure if the band was going in the right direction after Neal Morse departure. But things has improved lately with the band's music. And this new CD is another good example of that improvement. "Tides of Time" show some of the Spock's Beard style we are used to hear highlighted with the unique Ryo Okumoto keyboards sound, the voice of Ted Leonard evoke Steve Walsh as the music. "Minion" with his original intro that will be repeated a few times brings influences from Enchant."Bennett Built a Time Machine" show the beautiful vocals of drummer Jimmy Keegan and we are treated with the most impressive instrumental passage this far and very different from what we are used from the band."Get Out While You Can" is a weak track and dispensable. In the song"A Better Way to Fly" the vocals harmonies are very impressive and all the musicians are delivering some very dynamic playing that takes us back to some of the great bands of the 70's. "The Center Life" brings some symphonic passages with a progressive rock turnaround in the middle before getting back to the main chorus. The final song "Disappear" brings another mood to the whole album with David Ragsdale of Kansas. We also have another rip- off from the book of Gentle Giant, but the song is brilliant! This is not a perfect album, but we have some of the most original songs from the band this far which is refreshing for those who were looking for something new.

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 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.17 | 57 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by the lighthouse keepe

4 stars This new release by Spock's Beard is interesting to say the least.This is a band that has survived the departure of it's two main vocalists in Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio,and with new vocalist Enchant's Ted Leonard,has recorded an album that has some elements of the earlier records,but this time have explored different aspects of progressive rock.For this release Ted Leonard has surpassed himself.Always at the forefront with Enchant, the other members of Spock's Beard have given Leonard total freedom,and he has repaid them with some sublime vocals.The other member to shine on The Oblivion Particle is keyboardist Ryo Okomoto.Some lovely solos on organ and piano are a joy.The majority of the nine tracks are written by "sixth" member John Boegehold.These tracks are certainly different to your normal Beard track,and may confuse the older die-hard fan.The awesome Bennett Built A Time Machine is truly meeorable,and is the stand out track.Two of the longer tracks,opener Tides Of Time and penultimate song To Be Free Again are more reminiscent of old school Spock's Beard,and are very good.Ted Leonard's involvement with Enchant can be heard in his two compositions,Minion and Hell's Not Enough,but are good nonetheless.The only major disappointment is straight ahead rocker Get Out While You Can.Another issue with The Oblivion Particle is where has guitarist Alan Morse disappeared to? Guitar solos are very short on this release! These are only minor quibbles however in what I believe is another essential release,and will only add to the belief that Spock's Beard are at the forefront of progressive rock music.

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 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.17 | 57 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars Spock's Beard never ceases to amaze me. The Oblivion Particle has so much prog goodness to love, that it will just draw you in Bennett Built a Time Machine to take this release back to the 70s, because it is loaded with classic material. The band has built such a huge catalog of excellent albums, so it would be hard to call any of them the best. However, I would put The Oblivion Particle up there with the top releases as it could be their best. If you are looking for a new prog gem to add to your collection, then look no further. If you love Spock's Beard, then you will definitely love this album. I can see this release lasting with it's homage to the 70s, and that ooh so good feeling that you will get when you hear it.

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 Day For Night  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.24 | 350 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
3.78 | 45 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
4.08 | 529 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
4.08 | 529 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 | 304 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
4.17 | 662 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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