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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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First Twenty YearsFirst Twenty Years
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$17.20
$17.19 (used)
Oblivion ParticleOblivion Particle
Inside Out U.S. 2015
Audio CD$10.18
$8.50 (used)
Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless SleepBrief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep
Inside Out U.S. 2013
Audio CD$9.98
$9.53 (used)
Spock's BeardSpock's Beard
Inside Out U.S. 2006
Audio CD$16.42
$11.43 (used)
SnowSnow
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade Records 2007
Audio CD$18.42
XX
Mascot Label Group 2010
Audio CD$8.24
$9.43 (used)
Day for NightDay for Night
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$17.93
$8.56 (used)
Day for NightDay for Night
Import
Imports 2016
Vinyl$25.82
$27.00 (used)
SnowSnow
Import
Imports 2016
Vinyl$25.63
$33.86 (used)
Kindness of StrangersKindness of Strangers
Extra tracks · Special Edition
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$16.41
$150.64 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Live In 2005-Gluttons For Punishment - Spock's Beard (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.98 Buy It Now 1h 47m
Snow by Spock's Beard (CD, Aug-2002, 2 Discs, Metal Blade) USD $8.99 Buy It Now 7h 41m
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11h
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5 CD Lot Neo Progressive Spock's Beard Enchant Explorers Club IQ Inside Out USD $20.00 [0 bids]
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2 days
SPOCK'S BEARD Beware Of Darkness - Special Edition (Inside Out Music 050 0182) USD $10.12 Buy It Now 2 days
SPOCK'S BEARD Don't Try This At Home (Inside Out Music SPV 085-41162 CD) CD/OOP USD $5.78 Buy It Now 2 days
SPOCK'S BEARD Gluttons For Punishment (Inside Out Music SPV 48452 DCD) 2CD USD $10.12 Buy It Now 2 days
V by Spock's Beard (CD, Aug-2000, Metal Blade) RARE OOP USD $9.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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SPOCK'S BEARD | "The Light" CD | Numbered 7" gatefold w/poster + cards RARE! USD $14.47 [0 bids]
3 days
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep * by Spock's Beard (CD, Apr-2013, 2... USD $12.45 Buy It Now 3 days
X [SPOCK'S BEARD] [1 DISC] [8712725732426] NEW CD USD $18.62 Buy It Now 3 days
LIVE AT HIGH VOLTAGE 2011 [SPOCK'S BEARD] [1 DISC] NEW CD USD $16.93 Buy It Now 3 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - BRIEF NOCTURNES & DREAMLESS SLEEP NEW CD USD $21.80 Buy It Now 3 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - OCTANE. / IMPORT. ( NEAL MORSE , MARILLION , TRANSATLANTIC) USD $8.50 Buy It Now 3 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - OBLIVION PARTICLE (UK) NEW CD USD $46.36 Buy It Now 3 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - FEEL EUPHORIA. / LIMITED EDITION 2CD BOXSET.(TRANSATLANTIC) USD $12.75 Buy It Now 3 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - LIVE IN 2005: GLUTTONS FOR PUNISHMENT NEW CD USD $27.40 Buy It Now 3 days
Spock's Beard: The First Twenty Years (3-Disc Set, 2 CD, 1 DVD, 2015 NEW) USD $20.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Spock's Beard - Day for Night (CD, Mar-1999, Metal Blade) USD $7.35 Buy It Now 4 days
Slip Treble: Spock's beard : The First Twenty Years : 2CDs & DVD Sealed USD $25.27 [0 bids]
4 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - FEEL EUPHORIA. / IMPORT. ( TRANSATLANTIC , THE TANGENT ). USD $9.20 Buy It Now 4 days
NEAL MORSE (ex-Spock's Beard) One SOLO METALBLADE CD Phil Keaggy guests USD $11.99 Buy It Now 4 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS 3 CD NEW+ USD $28.20 Buy It Now 4 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - BRIEF NOCTURNES AND DREAMLESS SLEEP NEW CD USD $18.37 Buy It Now 4 days
The Oblivion Particle, 5052205071700, Spock's Beard USD $25.26 Buy It Now 4 days
V Spock's Beard German CD album (CDLP) 0500998 INSIDE OUT MUSIC 2010 USD $18.11 Buy It Now 4 days
X by Spock's Beard (CD, Sep-2010, Megaforce) USD $13.95 Buy It Now 4 days
The Oblivion Particle by Spock's Beard (CD, Aug-2015, Inside Out Music) USD $14.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by Spock's Beard (CD, Apr-2013, 2 Discs,... USD $14.95 Buy It Now 4 days
X by Spock's Beard (CD, Sep-2010, Mascot Records) USD $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Spock's Beard / Kindness Of Strangers JAPAN+1 Pendragon Marillion USD $31.49 Buy It Now 4 days
Spock's Beard ?CD Don't Try This At Home - PROMO USD $6.99 [0 bids]
4 days
Feel Euphoria by Spock's Beard (CD, Jun-2003, Insid) USD $15.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Don't Try This at Home: Live by Spock's Beard (CD, Apr-2000, Metal Blade) USD $15.95 Buy It Now 4 days
Beware of Darkness [Bonus Tracks] [Remaster] by Spock's Beard (CD, Apr-2004,... USD $15.99 Buy It Now 4 days
The X-Tour Live by Spock's Beard (CD, Feb-2012, 2 Discs, Mascot Records) USD $16.95 Buy It Now 4 days
The Light - Special Edition Spock's Beard UK CD album (CDLP) TAC001 SPV 2004 USD $76.04 Buy It Now 5 days
Beware of Darkness [Bonus Tracks] [Remaster] by Spock's Beard (CD, Apr-2004,... USD $12.06 Buy It Now 5 days
GLUTTONS FOR PUNISHMENT [SPOCK'S BEARD] [2 DISCS] NEW CD USD $21.44 Buy It Now 5 days
Spock's Beard, Beware of Darkness Audio CD USD $9.39 Buy It Now 5 days
NDV Karma CD Nick D'Virgilio Spock's Beard w/Inserts w/o Jewel Case BRAND NEW USD $6.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Oblivion Particle by SPOCK's BEARD (Artist) (Format: Audio CD) August 21, 2015 USD $16.19 Buy It Now 5 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - THE OBLIVION PARTICLE, ORG 2015 EU 180G vinyl 2LP + CD, SEALED! USD $26.99 Buy It Now 5 days
NEAL MORSE TESTIMONY CONCERT UK TOUR BOOK / PROGRAMME SPOCK's BEARD MIKE PORTNOY USD $5.79 [0 bids]
5 days
SPOCK'S BEARD The Kindness Of Strangers 2 x 180gm Vinyl LP + CD 2016 NEW SEALED USD $32.52 Buy It Now 5 days
Spock's Beard - Live In 2005-Gluttons For Punishment [CD New] USD $15.98 Buy It Now 5 days
SPOCK'S BEARD The Light Japan CD OBI '96 bonus track USD $9.99 [0 bids]
6 days
SPOCK'S BEARD Beware Of Darkness Japan CD OBI '96 bonus track USD $9.99 [0 bids]
6 days
SPOCK'S BEARD The Kindness Of Strangers Japan CD OBI '98 bonus track USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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SPOCK'S BEARD S.T. Japan 2CDs OBI '07 bonus disc USD $9.99 [0 bids]
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First 20 Years - Spock's Beard (CD Used Very Good) USD $21.49 Buy It Now 6 days
ASIA / IQ / SPOCK'S BEARD / CARAVAN + Out There CLASSIC ROCK CD 2004 USD $6.50 Buy It Now 6 days
SPOCK'S BEARD**OBLIVION PARTICLE**CD USD $9.95 Buy It Now 6 days
X Tour Live, 8712725735823, Spock's Beard USD $23.44 Buy It Now 6 days
V by Spock's Beard (CD, Aug-2000, Metal Blade) USD $16.00 Buy It Now 7 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - FEEL EUPHORIA NEW CD USD $22.41 Buy It Now 7 days
SPOCK's BEARD - Still Sealed CD - From The Vault - Prog USD $19.95 Buy It Now 7 days
Spock's Beard - Feel Euphoria [CD New] USD $15.47 Buy It Now 7 days
SPOCK`S BEARD-DON`T TRY THIS AT HOME CD NEW USD $18.41 Buy It Now 7 days
Live at High Voltage, 5060158733026, Spock's Beard USD $10.40 Buy It Now 7 days
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X [SPOCK'S BEARD] [1 DISC] [020286154792] NEW CD USD $13.91 Buy It Now 7 days
SPOCK'S BEARD Self Titled 2006 Made in GERMANY ULTRA RARE ADVNCE PROMO DJ CD USD $23.74 Buy It Now 7 days
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First Twenty Years 0039841543421 by Spock's Beard, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P USD $37.02 Buy It Now 8 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS 2 VINYL LP + CD NEW+ USD $30.00 Buy It Now 8 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - BEWARE OF DARKNESS 2 VINYL LP + CD NEW+ USD $30.00 Buy It Now 8 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - DAY FOR NIGHT 2 VINYL LP + CD NEW+ USD $30.00 Buy It Now 8 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - SNOW 4 VINYL LP + CD NEW+ USD $36.54 Buy It Now 8 days
SPOCK'S BEARD The First Twenty Yeras 2CD+DVD Remaster + New 19 Minute Track USD $25.35 Buy It Now 8 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - V. / ( TRANSATLANTIC , NEAL MORSE , THE TANGENT , KAIPA ). USD $9.20 Buy It Now 8 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. / IMPORT. LIVE CONCERT. TRANSATLANTIC USD $8.50 Buy It Now 8 days
Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep [CD New] USD $15.29 Buy It Now 9 days
SPOCK'S BEARD-BEWARE OF DARKNESS **USED** PIC# 6901 USD $9.95 Buy It Now 9 days
SPOCK'S BEARD CD - THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS [2CD/1DVD](2015) - NEW UNOPENED - ROCK USD $29.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Neal Morse - Spock's Beard - Testimony Two - 2CD New USD $21.26 Buy It Now 9 days
Neal Morse - Spock's Beard - Momentum - CD New USD $21.26 Buy It Now 9 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - DAY FOR NIGHT - NEW VINYL LP USD $31.85 Buy It Now 10 days
SPOCK'S BEARD - BEWARE OF DARKNESS - NEW VINYL LP USD $31.85 Buy It Now 10 days
Oblivion Particle - Spock's Beard 5052205071724 (CD Used Very Good) USD $15.55 Buy It Now 10 days
Feel Euphoria - Spock's Beard (CD Used Very Good) USD $13.47 Buy It Now 10 days


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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)

3.86 | 553 ratings
The Light
1995
3.65 | 422 ratings
Beware of Darkness
1996
3.75 | 420 ratings
The Kindness Of Strangers
1998
3.25 | 367 ratings
Day For Night
1999
4.15 | 694 ratings
V
2000
3.86 | 584 ratings
Snow
2002
3.27 | 321 ratings
Feel Euphoria
2003
3.13 | 325 ratings
Octane
2005
3.35 | 315 ratings
Spock's Beard
2006
3.84 | 489 ratings
X
2010
4.05 | 558 ratings
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
2013
3.95 | 223 ratings
The Oblivion Particle
2015

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

3.70 | 30 ratings
The Official Live Bootleg
1996
3.67 | 52 ratings
The Beard Is Out There
1998
3.39 | 29 ratings
Live at The Whisky and Nearfest
1999
2.98 | 61 ratings
Don't Try This At Home
2000
3.63 | 19 ratings
Don't Try This @ Home Either!
2000
3.98 | 25 ratings
There And Here
2001
4.00 | 62 ratings
Gluttons For Punishment - Live 05
2005
3.80 | 48 ratings
Live
2008
3.32 | 19 ratings
Live at High Voltage Festival
2011
3.68 | 42 ratings
The X Tour-Live
2012
3.95 | 19 ratings
Live at Sea
2014

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

3.93 | 8 ratings
Live At The Whiskey A Go-Go
2000
4.28 | 45 ratings
Don't Try This At Home-Live / The Making of V
2002
4.21 | 52 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)

3.67 | 6 ratings
Don't Try This/Feel Euphoria
2006
4.41 | 13 ratings
The First Twenty Years
2015

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

2.62 | 17 ratings
From the Vault
1998
3.11 | 9 ratings
Skin
1999
3.17 | 12 ratings
All On A Sunday
2001

SPOCK'S BEARD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The First Twenty Years by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2015
4.41 | 13 ratings

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The First Twenty Years
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by strangelybrown

5 stars SPOCKS BEARD The First Twenty Years

-----

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace

BR

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 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 223 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Stefan_lu

5 stars I was a big fan of Enchant, and maybe the biggest ever of Spock`s beard before the split with Neal Morse. So, after I already had finished with the "new" Beards, I have to realize, that SB is back! For me , "THE OBLIVION PARTICLE" is a great album, combining symphonic prog rock with that "old school" bearded keyboard and guitar sounds and with the brilliant voice of Ted Leonard, he never was better than now! Even I sometimes still miss the melodies, that you couldn`t get out of your head like on early SB releases with Neal, I enjoy the thrilling grooves and melodic themes, that are part of the "new old" band. They brought back the fun into their music ? for me its the best SB album since Neal left. Will enjoy that album many many times for sure...

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 The Kindness Of Strangers  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.75 | 420 ratings

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The Kindness Of Strangers
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Kindness of Strangers always seemed like the forgotten Spock's Beard album for me. It doesn't have the novelty of The Light, the scope of Snow, or the ups and downs of their contemporary releases; however, Kindness of Strangers is noteworthy simply for being a rock-solid release that features the band's terrific early symphonic, enthusiastic, and poignant sound.

For fans exploring Spock's Beard's back catalog, this album is similar to the (slightly better) Day for Night. The band plays very well, with a lot of gusto and thoughtfulness. In a way, this early SB sound sort of created a template for Prog bands of this '90's era, so while the songwriting is sort of by the numbers as far as this genre goes, it's hard to find any faults in it beyond the occasional missed opportunity. Basically, this is artistic hard rock, with mellotrons and odd time signatures. Meros' bass is strong and energetic; Ryu and Morse's keyboards are rich and varied; D'Virgilio's drums are highly proficient; and Morse's guitar has a lot of personality. However, there aren't any real stand-up and shout instrumental moments, with the grand finale guitar solos striking me as not being quite as good as we've heard from Morse in other works. In the end, the sum here is definitely more than any one player's part.

The famous (or infamous?) Neal Morse sings his heart out as always, with lyrics that are slightly more trite than usual. Sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes memorable, and sometimes groan-inducing, lyrics may be a turn-off for some, as he belts out alongside bouncy rhythms and jaunty songs that give Kindness of Strangers a very approachable feel.

Still, every song on this release is enjoyable for one reason or another, with only a few missteps in the extended pieces to find fault with. A great purchase for fans of the classic Spock's Beard.

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

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 The Oblivion Particle by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.95 | 223 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 vocals¡¡¡¡?? 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
3.95 | 223 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
3.95 | 223 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
3.95 | 223 ratings

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The Oblivion Particle
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by javajeff

4 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
3.25 | 367 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
3.80 | 48 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
4.05 | 558 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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