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SPOCK'S BEARD

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Spock's Beard biography
Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1992

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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Buy SPOCK'S BEARD Music


Noise FloorNoise Floor
Century Media 2018
$11.89
$11.29 (used)
Live (2CD)Live (2CD)
Inside Out Music 2012
$15.54 (used)
Snow - LIVE [Blu-ray]Snow - LIVE [Blu-ray]
Metal Blade 2017
$17.99
$19.26 (used)
Snow - LIVESnow - LIVE
Metal Blade 2017
$16.58
$12.82 (used)
XX
Ais 2008
$46.27
Kindness of StrangersKindness of Strangers
Indie Europe/Zoom 2010
$6.89 (used)
SnowSnow
Insideout Music 2010
$16.52
$15.55 (used)
The Oblivion ParticleThe Oblivion Particle
Inside Out Music 2015
$12.80
$12.79 (used)
THE FIRST TWENTY YEARSTHE FIRST TWENTY YEARS
Metal Blade 2015
$20.18
$20.23 (used)
Kindness of StrangersKindness of Strangers
Limited Edition
Imports 2010
$8.17
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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 | 623 ratings
The Light
1995
3.66 | 479 ratings
Beware Of Darkness
1996
3.75 | 470 ratings
The Kindness Of Strangers
1998
3.25 | 409 ratings
Day For Night
1999
4.14 | 771 ratings
V
2000
3.85 | 652 ratings
Snow
2002
3.25 | 363 ratings
Feel Euphoria
2003
3.13 | 366 ratings
Octane
2005
3.35 | 355 ratings
Spock's Beard
2006
3.81 | 537 ratings
X
2010
4.00 | 638 ratings
Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep
2013
3.83 | 311 ratings
The Oblivion Particle
2015
3.59 | 69 ratings
Noise Floor
2018

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

3.68 | 34 ratings
The Official Live Bootleg
1996
3.69 | 57 ratings
The Beard Is Out There
1998
3.41 | 35 ratings
Live at The Whisky and Nearfest
1999
3.02 | 69 ratings
Don't Try This At Home
2000
3.71 | 24 ratings
Don't Try This @ Home Either!
2000
4.00 | 30 ratings
There And Here
2001
3.99 | 77 ratings
Gluttons For Punishment - Live 05
2005
3.79 | 57 ratings
Live
2008
3.44 | 25 ratings
Live at High Voltage Festival
2011
3.70 | 49 ratings
The X Tour-Live
2012
4.00 | 25 ratings
Live at Sea
2014

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

3.94 | 13 ratings
Live At The Whiskey A Go-Go
2000
4.25 | 50 ratings
Don't Try This At Home-Live / The Making of V
2002
4.19 | 57 ratings
Live
2008
4.75 | 9 ratings
Live at Sea
2014
4.50 | 27 ratings
Snow Live
2017

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

4.00 | 9 ratings
Don't Try This/Feel Euphoria
2006
4.61 | 26 ratings
The First Twenty Years
2015

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

2.81 | 22 ratings
From the Vault
1998
3.27 | 11 ratings
Skin
1999
3.27 | 15 ratings
All On A Sunday
2001

SPOCK'S BEARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Snow Live by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.50 | 27 ratings

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Snow Live
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Prog Team

5 stars Back in 1995 a totally unknown quartet released their debut album. This was back in the days before internet existed, and the mainstream hated prog, so it was actually incredibly hard to hear about new bands, socially from America unless they were signed to a label such as Kinesis who were getting publicity. But, pretty soon everyone involved in the underground scene in the UK knew who they were, and were talking about them. I remember going to a gig at Shepherd's Bush, and afterwards everyone just seemed to be talking about this new band, and had anyone actually heard 'The Light'? Martin Orford was incredibly excited that GEP had secured the European rights and the first time I played that album I was in awe.

From there on Spock's Beard could do no wrong in my eyes or ears, as anyone reading Feedback will attest to, as I was shouting from the rooftops that this was the best band I had ever heard out of America. I saw them every time they came to London, and each gig was better than the last. Then in 2002 they released 'Snow'. At the time I was working on a project which involved me spending many hours in a car visiting different supermarkets each Thursday, which gave me the opportunity to blast this out at the correct volume, and I was saying that the best band in the world had just released the finest album possible. Then it was announced that Neal Morse had left, and that there would be no tour. I was in shock, and went through all the stages of grief (especially denial), as it just made no sense to me whatsoever. I mean, Gabriel went through with the Lamb tour didn't he? But no, it was all over. The next time I saw Spock's Beard they had California Guitar Trio as the initial support, followed by Enchant. They had long time been a favourite band of mine, so really enjoyed the set, but the same can't be said to Spock's Beard, and I left halfway through the set. I was fortunate enough to catch Neal on the 'Testimony' tour, and it was like old times, but I accepted that the finest album released in the past 20 years would never be played at a concert.

Fast forward to Saturday July 2nd, 2016, at New Life Fellowship Church in Cross Plains, and the unthinkable happened. The current line-up of Spock's Beard (Alan Morse, Ryo Okumoto, Dave Meros, Ted Leonard and Jimmy Keegan) were joined by Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio for one night only, and they performed 'Snow' in its entirety. Being performed in a church (as part of Morsefest) there was only ever going to be a small audience, so it was also recorded and filmed, and what I have here is the 2 DVD/2 CD set. There was no pressure on the band, all they had to do was perform the album note perfect for an audience that knew the words as well as they did, but also it was very much a one-off, never to be repeated. The first thing I did was play the DVDs, so that I could then listen to the CDs knowing what was going on. I must state that I felt sorry for Ted Leonard through this whole performance, as although he was always onstage, and made valuable contributions, he was very much the third wheel. Having a second drummer made a lot of sense as it allowed Nick to be at the front when he needed to be, but Ted was raised on a small dais behind Alan and just didn't look comfortable which is a real shame as he is one of the best singers around, and I have always enjoyed his work.

But, tonight was all about Neal being back where many SB fans feel he totally belongs, front and centre of the Beard, performing his songs. Not only was he the voice, but he also wrote the majority of the songs, and his ability to move between keyboards and guitar gave the band presence and ability they have missed without him there to provide it. Was it a brilliant performance of the album? Pretty much, it has to be said, and with an additional electric guitar from Leonard when the time was right, it added some crunch that would have been missed otherwise.

The DVD filming of the evening is also good, and the interplay between Jimmy and Nick is wonderful to see, especially in the duet on 'Falling For Forever', one of the only two non-'Snow' songs from the night (the other of course being 'June'). The question and answer section was interesting, especially as Rich Mouser was involved. The 'making of' was also really interesting, where they talk about the original recording and what had happened. I hadn't realised that the combination of Nick being incredibly unwell and the falling of the Twin Towers had a major impact on the album, which was basically re-written due to that.

Anyway, if you have no idea what 'Snow' is about then this four disc set isn't the place to start, go and get the original instead. If you are already a fan then this is indispensable. 'Nuff said.

 Noise Floor by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.59 | 69 ratings

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Noise Floor
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by nickel

4 stars I think I understand the perspective on the negative reviews, but I don't agree. Nor am I raving about this album to anyone and everyone. It's a solid 4-star effort. If you consider what it's trying to be, I think it does it very well. It's not a prog masterpiece because it's not trying to be one. On the flipside, it's also not an AOR masterpiece for the same reason. It's somewhere inbetween and is very enjoyable once you realize that. On the third listen, it really started clicking with me where I was starting to hear all the Beardy things that are undoubtedly expertly woven into each song.

Look, it's undeniable that each member here is incredibly talented. That hasn't changed from previous albums. So the questions become "How's the songwriting? Is there enough going on here to (a) justify the purchase and (b) justify repeated listenings that I'll enjoy each time?" And the answer is, Yes.

Proggy Highlight - Box of Spiders AOR Highlight - Days We'll Remember All the other songs get 4 stars.

 Noise Floor by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.59 | 69 ratings

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Noise Floor
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

3 stars The band wanted for this new album make music with a more direct impact, and it's definitely obvious in the first part of the album. "To Breathe Another Day" has a straightforward structure in the first part before a progressive break with the keyboards of Ryo. It's amazing how the voice of Ted Leonard has some similarity with Steve Walsh. Then the next 4 tracks don't improve things with some quieter type of songs that lack memorable melody or impressive prog structures. However "One So Wise" led by Ryo's Keys shining with some tasty melodic parts. "Box of Spiders" is the highlight of the album, a dark song very atmospheric, some ELP style passages with Ryo again in the spotlight which will continue with the next track. The additional album of 17 minutes starts like the first disk with some direct rock structures, a little pop vibe, and Kansas style of music with the song "Days We'll Remember". The album ends nicely with the darker song "Armageddon Nervous". In conclusion, there are some good songs on this, but also some songs that you will skip after two or three spins. However, the production, the musicianship and the addition of some strings arrangements will make this album enjoyable despite the inconstant songwriting quality. 3.6 stars
 Noise Floor by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.59 | 69 ratings

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Noise Floor
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

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

4 stars It's going to be quite easy for some long-time and more casual fans of popular American prog band Spock's Beard to quickly (and unfairly) dismiss their thirteenth studio album, 2018's `Noise Floor'. On the surface, the band have offered up one of their most streamlined works to date (with quite an AOR-driven sound to the fore), so the more commercial elements of the band are front and centre, with the tune being the biggest priority over instrumental showboating. That song-driven edge has always been at the heart of the band so should really not be surprising, but careful (and repeated!) listens are essential to reveal plenty of interesting and exciting details woven in to pretty much every track on the album, even ones that initially seem fairly straight-forward. Thankfully, `Noise Floor' still retains that muscular heavy rock sound present on all the Spock's discs since founder Neal Morse took off that has really become one of the defining and instantly identifiable qualities of the core four-member modern version of the group, and in many ways it makes for one of their most deceptively lavish efforts so far.

Gutsy opener `To Breathe Another Day' sets much of a template for the disc - ballsy hard-rock with unpredictable time- changes and grander symphonic flavours all grafted to tightly compact tunes with lofty lead vocals. Enchant singer Ted Leonard (now on his third full studio album with the band) is given even greater prominence than on his previous Spock's discs, and his confident and powerful delivery is sounding more natural and better than ever. Much attention has been made of former drummer/frontman Nick D'Virgilio stepping back in to provide drums for the departing Jimmy Keegan, and as great as he was in the band, Nick's complexity, power and daring are once again centre stage and a very welcome return for the group (even if it proves to be a one-off again come their next album). And, of course, keyboardist Ryo Okumoto plies his synths over everything with finesse and great colour.

Exhilarating orchestration permeates all of `What Becomes Of Me' (did Nick bring the fancier Big Big Train touches back with him?!), an eclectic and sprightly piece that jumps in a dozen directions, nice driving riffs one moment, dreamy pop-rock harmonies the next. Parts of `Somebody's Home' fit into the `obligatory pensive Spock's power ballad to make your wife smile in between all the bouts of proggy tantrums' slot, and as always the guys have this sort of thing down to a fine art, with plenty of warm acoustic guitars, smooth vocals and reflective words delivering one of the best melodic moments of the LP, and there's fleeting little reminders of the fancy Gentle Giant influence that infiltrates most of the Spock's discs.

`Have We All Gone Crazy Yet', the longest track here at eight minutes, crackles with the lively fun the band is known for, and with its constant blistering instrumental bursts - a nice jazzy undercurrent from sparkling electric piano here, some tasty King Crimson-like guitar strangulations there - it's a safe bet this one could become a live favourite with fans. `So This Is Life' is a lightly psychedelic ballad with fleeting Beatles touches even down to the orchestration, jammed full of lovely sighing sun- kissed harmonies, and Alan Morse really nails a hazy early Seventies Pink Floyd/David Gilmour-esque grandness to some lightly soaring guitar reaches. The energetic `One So Wise' then darts through a range of tempos back and forth with Dave Meros' bouncing and buoyant thick bass constantly given the spotlight between sleek Mellotron shivers and a rousing chorus.

Worry not, prog fans - `Box Of Spiders' is your sole instrumental track courtesy of Ryo, and as always from the Spocks, it's a delirious good'un, unexpectedly laced with Goblin-like spectral synths, jagged Hammond stabs and psychedelic keyboard violations whilst simultaneously being blasted by twisting-turning heavy jazz-fusion guitars/bass/drum spasms and a bit of runaway piano pomp - phew, got all that?! Album closer `Beginnings' is not the most memorable vocal track on the disc, but it finds a decent balance of being lyrically weighty and ultimately hopeful. It's greatly enlivened by cool multi-part harmonies from the different fellas around uplifting Mellotron rises, and the cool scratchy Hammond-driven instrumental spurt in the middle with some fiery guitar wailing gives the track some much needed energy.

(All versions of the album come with a welcome `bonus disc' referred to as the `Cutting Room Floor' EP, and most of the contents see the band delivering almost radio-friendly pop/rock pieces. `Days We'll Remember' is a lovely Kansas-like ballad with Genesis/Steve Hackett-esque strains and a big chorus, and Ryo's keyboards hum beautifully on this one. Classy pop- rocker `Bulletproof' is inspiriting, and `Vault' has plenty of alternating acoustic/electric guitar passages and slick vocals, but `Armageddon Nervous' (groan!) will most please the proggies, being a loopy, relentless and playful little instrumental snippet.)

`Noise Floor' is not reinventing the wheel, but it sees this modern incarnation of Spock's Beard playing to their strengths, surging with confidence and also having a lot of fun. Excluding the bonus tracks at the end, it's also a welcome change to find the Beard essentially releasing a single vinyl length album that runs around just over fifty minutes, so it mostly avoids the padded out `filler' bloat that many of their previous albums were sometimes plagued by. What you're left with is a punchy, assured, hard-rocking song-based album that still delivers plenty of prog thrills where needed, helping make `Noise Floor' another fine addition to the Spock's Beard catalogue.

Four stars.

 Noise Floor by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.59 | 69 ratings

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Noise Floor
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by tempest_77

4 stars I think most people aren't giving this album enough of a chance. Musically, I think this is one of their most interesting records, with songs such as Somebody's Home, Have We All Gone Crazy Yet, and Box of Spiders showing some really great incorporation of classically-flavoured composition. Ryo Okumoto's keyboard work on this album is very strong, and it is masterfully incorporated into each song. Noise Floor is probably tied with X for their best album lyrically. Apart from X, my one issue with all Spock's Beard records is that most of the lyrics are fairly awkward cringe-worthy at various points (see "Minion" from The Oblivion Particle), but this album almost entirely avoids that. Furthermore, it is consistent; it may not be a cohesive masterpiece, but every single song on it is excellent, unlike some of their previous albums. My only potential criticism is that they maybe could have picked a better song to close the album it. Otherwise, it is a very, very strong album.
 Noise Floor by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.59 | 69 ratings

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Noise Floor
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgthankfulRich

4 stars I'm not sure where the negativity is coming from on this project. I saw the review by proghaven and the overall rating at this point (3.48) and I'm shocked. Perhaps the community saw the first released video and saw they recorded it separately, and assumed the music was put together the same way - and the 2nd released video is imo the weakest song on the cd... Not sure what it is but I have just taken 3 spins on it and I think its the best cd since Snow or maybe even The Light. It is ultra clean, so I know that translates to no soul to some - but I don't mind it. I think the singing is impeccable and the instrumental sections throughout are the most interesting since The Light. I would never give a project a 5 in the first year of release, so a 4 is my pick here, but at this moment my true score would be 4.3 or maybe even 4.4 - Musically it is 4.8 and Lyrically a 3.9 or 4.0 Bless
 Noise Floor by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.59 | 69 ratings

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Noise Floor
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by proghaven

2 stars My Disappointment Number One for 2018. No, even for 2017 plus 2018! A splendid example of 'music for nothing'. Though back in mid 1990s 'it started in heaven', really. When Greg Walker discovered them and first released their debut studio album The Light on his well-known label Syn-Phonic, they were full of fantastic original ideas, and their two subsequent albums, Beware Of Darkness and The Kindness Of Strangers, were as mighty as The Light. On Day For Night, their power went down but was restored on V. After that, a series of albums of (I'd say) moderate to low interest followed, even high rated Snow does not contain enough fruitful ideas to justify its monstrous length. What occurred closer to our days? X from 2010, quite boring and unfairly noisy but including at least one truly intriguing long track, The Quiet House. Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep from 2013, too flawless to be distinctive. The Oblivion Particle from 2015, mostly a saturnalia of first-class classic prog banalities - but including three amazing, really magic tracks in a row, A Better Way To Fly, The Center Line and To Be Free Again. And what this all finally came to in 2018? It came to Noise Floor, an album that contains no soul. Now, after quarter of the century of intensive musicianship, the band evidently knows very well how to compose (and arrange, and of course play) prog music, but looks like they have nothing to compose anymore, their musical resources are exhausted. Of course their craft and skill are now unimaginably high, so high that they can easily make an impression of abundance of musical ideas even when in fact they have no ideas at all and the musical product is manufactured only by their professional skill but not by their talents. The band did their best to fill their new album with genuine classic prog sound and high energy, but the origin of that energy seems artificial.
 Snow Live by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.50 | 27 ratings

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Snow Live
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by MaxnEmmy

5 stars It's good to go back in time and try to make things right. That may be one of the reasons for Neil to rejoin SB for this concept album. It is reproduced very well with the orchestration and harmonies. This is a one-off and was not taken on the road. The band is really hyped to the max for this show, and you can see it in their faces with all the jumping up and down. This record may be considered not quite as good as "V" but it is a marvelous record nevertheless, being a great story, and much better than the Genesis LLDonB from the 70's. Spocks Beard is a band that never compromises and has integrity. They should be admired for carrying on after the departure of Neil when the album was recorded in 2001. They have put together a great show for the fans of the Beard and it was about time that they promoted this great album. 4.5 stars.
 Snow Live by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover DVD/Video, 2017
4.50 | 27 ratings

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Snow Live
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team

4 stars Here another live release involving Neal Morse with one of his many groups of friends. This time he is with his old Spock's Beard friends that have not release a live album in a while. The event was recorded at Neal home church in Nashville where he has previously released some live shows with his others projects. The band did the whole "Snow" album, the most successful album of the band. This album has been written twice in the context of The World Trade Center event and in a period of time where Neil was uncertain about his future until he heard the voice of God telling him to go in another direction. The rest is history... It's nice to hear for a change a "song album" instead of long epic songs of 20 minutes that we have usually with Neal Morse. The line-up is impressive with two drummers, two guitar players and everyone chipping in on the vocals. The picture quality is crisp and clear, and quite entertaining to watch the visuals with the big screen in the back. You can enjoy the passion and fun that every musician got just playing this big double concept album that they did not have the chance to play because of Neal's departure. I rediscovered this album that is not my favorite but still has enough high-quality moments to make it a good concert. The second disk has the encore with the song "June" and "Falling For Forever". The making of documentary is worth watching for the Q&A session of each member with fans. Recommended!
 X by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.81 | 537 ratings

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X
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars Mix of Great and Trite.

Their tenth album, this is the last one of the Nick D'Virgilio era (after this, he left the band, and joined Big Big Train, among other things). Like the other albums of this era of SB, this album is of very mixed quality, even on the same track (for example, on "From the Darkness" which itself is highly mixed in quality). And the main problems (when the quality is poor) are, once again, trite lyrics and less-than-musical song-writing, despite the wonderful tight playing. But like their previous albums, when it works, it works very well. Thankfully this album has a Ryo Okumoto instrumental on it, because that seems to always lift the quality. Indeed, the best track on this album is Okumoto's "Kamikaze". Awesome fast wonderful complex piece of music. The other awesome track here is "The Emperor's Clothes" (penned in part by the Morse brothers, Alan and Neil - yes Neil is occasionally back in the picture by this album). Very musical, and with lyrics that make you think instead of cringe. These two tracks feature among SB's best ever. Another great song is the closing track "Jaws of Heaven", which is (mostly) quite musical. After that, I can also listen to the epic "From the Darkness" but only parts 2, 3 and 4. The lyrics for part 1 make me cringe, rendering that part unlistenable to me, and even part 2 is very iffy. But part 3 - what a great wonderful piece of music! I wish they had turned this into the main theme of an extended piece, either instrumental, or with only a few lyrics. Now don't get me wrong, I understand how difficult it is to write lyrics. But in such times when they don't come naturally, I think it best to stick to instrumentals, if that is what one does best. Indeed, I wish the Nick D'Virgilio era SB had made a lot more instrumentals, and played more solos, as their musical talents are so very clear and it is when they extend those talents that their music feels natural and authentic. But when they try to write lyrics, something that clearly does not come naturally to them, the music (and audience) suffers. The music feels forced and trite. Partly for this reason, the rest of the songs on this album leave me flat, although only part 1 of "From the Darkness" is truly bad. I give this album 6.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 3 PA stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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