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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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Buy SPOCK'S BEARD Music


SnowSnow
Metal Blade 2002
Audio CD$19.98
$2.29 (used)
Day for NightDay for Night
Metal Blade 1999
Audio CD$5.44
$0.28 (used)
Kindness of StrangersKindness of Strangers
Metal Blade 1998
Audio CD$11.99
$4.24 (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$17.33
$5.01 (used)
Live in 2005: Gluttons for PunishmentLive in 2005: Gluttons for Punishment
Inside Out U.S. 2005
Audio CD$9.85
$5.95 (used)
LightLight
Metal Blade 1998
Audio CD$17.98
$7.41 (used)
Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless SleepBrief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep
Inside Out U.S. 2013
Audio CD$9.48
$9.48 (used)
VV
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$9.49
$5.00 (used)
There And Here: From The Vault Series Volume 4There And Here: From The Vault Series Volume 4
Radiant 2001
Audio CD$29.99
$28.99 (used)
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More places to buy SPOCK'S BEARD music online Buy SPOCK'S BEARD & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
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SPOCK'S BEARD shows & tickets


  • Spock's Beard at Boerderij, Zoetermeer on 2 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at Spirit of 66, Verviers on 3 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard on 4 Sep 2014
  • 2 Days Prog + 1 on 5 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at Backstage, München on 5 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at Der Hirsch, Nürnberg on 7 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at Roxy, Praha on 11 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at domEXPO, Opole on 12 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at C-Club, Berlin on 13 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg on 15 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard + The Sixxis at Divan du Monde, Paris on 16 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at Essigfabrik, Köln on 19 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard at Matrix, Bochum on 20 Sep 2014
  • Spock's Beard + The Sixxis at Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Pratteln on 21 Sep 2014

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 | 490 ratings
The Light
1995
3.62 | 369 ratings
Beware of Darkness
1996
3.75 | 373 ratings
The Kindness Of Strangers
1998
3.25 | 308 ratings
Day For Night
1999
4.16 | 594 ratings
V
2000
3.84 | 516 ratings
Snow
2002
3.31 | 269 ratings
Feel Euphoria
2003
3.12 | 278 ratings
Octane
2005
3.35 | 274 ratings
Spock's Beard
2006
3.78 | 447 ratings
X
2010
4.08 | 458 ratings
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
2013

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

3.42 | 26 ratings
The Official Live Bootleg
1996
3.64 | 40 ratings
The Beard Is Out There
1998
3.40 | 22 ratings
Live at The Whisky and Nearfest
1999
2.96 | 52 ratings
Don't Try This At Home
2000
3.44 | 16 ratings
Don't Try This @ Home Either!
2000
3.64 | 25 ratings
There And Here
2001
4.03 | 59 ratings
Gluttons For Punishment - Live 05
2005
3.80 | 46 ratings
Live
2008
3.06 | 16 ratings
Live at High Voltage Festival
2011
3.65 | 35 ratings
The X Tour-Live
2012
3.86 | 7 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
3.95 | 45 ratings
Don't Try This At Home-Live / The Making of V
2002
4.09 | 55 ratings
Live
2008

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)

2.57 | 14 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
 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 458 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

3 stars Being heavy is not synonymous with being better.

I hear "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep" quite some time, and the reality is that I enjoy some good tracks, while others are closer to Alternative Hard Rock. Not that I think that everything that has made Spock's Beard under the tutelage of Neal Morse is excellent, but I can ´t understand that this work is considered here as the second best of the great American band.

The sound is powerful and the band seems solid and assembly, I suspect some lyrical are related to Neal Morse and his conversion, ironically; eg 'Hiding Out', 'I Know Your Secret' and ´A Treasure Abandoned´. Apart from that, the most progressive and better from my perspective are: 'A Treasure Abandoned', 'Something Very Strange' and 'Waiting For Me'. While "Burning a Burning Road" is a very good track of bonus disc.

My rating is 3, while I consider 'X' as a more compact and inspired work. And I think 'Day For Night' is the only slightly less than this, with regard to the times of Neal Morse. And "V", "Snow" and "The Light", are far superior....

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 458 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars I am hardly a SPOCK'S BEARD fan at all. I have heard V and although I find it a decent listen it hardly blows me away. I've also heard a few tracks on internet radio leaving me with a mixed impression and never with the urge to go seek out their music. In fact I find this whole flower prog (a term I endearingly call this type of pompous symphonic prog that has the tendency to make every little idea blossom into sprawling epic proportions) a little hit and miss as well. I always find myself admiring the effort that goes into the ideas and creation of the epic music, but rarely finding myself actually loving every minute of it for it more often than not seems random and not fine tuned into a sequentially satisfying array.

Well this one caught me off guard and I have been gleefully spinning this epic behemoth and growing fonder of it after each spin. I think I have fallen for their release BRIEF NOCTURNES AND DREAMLESS SLEEP because (a) I think i'm leaning more towards liking this kind of mixture of long sprawling epics that revisits yesteryear in both a progressive way as well as with classic rock sounds and (b) it is done so very well with every passage thought out and the i's dotted and the t's crossed. It simply rocks in a way that makes you instantly like its pleasant melodies, harmonies and instrumental interplay and yet weaves in the progressive tangents without making it feel like it is there solely for the sake of checking off the prog list. There are multiple influences and all is tastefully presented.

I highly recommend the version with the bonus disc that includes 4 extra tracks that adds up to just under 30 minutes. They are just as good if not better than the main disc. They are more hard hitting and rocking than the main tracks but are just as satisfying in their delivery. I was unaware that there was a special edition version but I unknowingly bought it at one of our used music stores and am extremely happy that I did. I can't believe I love this album as much as I do but now that I am hopelessly hooked I hope that this isn't a one album deal and that the creative juices spring forth a few more like this one.

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 The Kindness Of Strangers  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.75 | 373 ratings

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The Kindness Of Strangers
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars During the second half of the 90's the popularity of Progressive Rock had started to increase in favor for all old fans of the movement and Spock's Beard was definitely one of the major reasons.This was prooved by the fact that the band was invited for the second time to the mega festival Progfest in 1997 (the first one taking place in 1995), but it was during the same year that the prolific Americans found time to record a third studio album.''The kindness of strangers'' was eventually released in May 98', again Neal Morse's Radiant, IQ's Giant Electric Pea and Metal Blade were among the publishers to release a Spock's Beard album.

''The kindness of strangers'' shows a slightly different side of the group, speaking of the composing way.The long opener ''The good don't last'' and the following ''In the mouth of madness'' are set in a familar style established by the band with strong YES, KING CRIMSON and GENESIS influences, turning from dramatic and bombastic instrumental Progressive Rock to ethereal textures with sensitive vocals and plenty of synths, organ and Mellotron.The use of strings recall classic-period RENAISSANCE and the overall style is complex, Symphonic Prog with some inredible breaks and twists.The next few short pieces suggest a poppier attitude with the vocals offered through plenty of disturbing distortions and the song structures being more accesible.Hints from THE BEATLES are combined with a prog color, featuring again Mellotron and synths, while the guitar parts become quite heavy, even with an Alternative Rock vibe a moments, as Spock's Beard were off to add some more contemporary stylings in their music.Things will get back in the correct place with two long epics at the end of the album, especially ''Harm's way'' belongs among the best pieces recorded by the band, intense, intricate and dramatic Symphonic Rock with superb work by Neal Morse on Hammond organ much in a GENESIS style and a beautiful balance between powerful, rich instrumental parts and lyrical soundscapes.''Flow'', clocking at 16 minutes, contains partly some poetry written by Tony Ray, a school friend of Neal Morse, and comes as a decent example of dense and intelligent Progressive Rock with strong Classical inspirations (again RENAISSANCE come to mind during the lovely piano interludes) and grandiose musicianship.

Not as good as the impressive ''Beware of darkness'' due to the questionable style of the mid-placed tracks, but the long ones are offering again some of the very best modern Symphonic Rock of the time.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 458 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by M27Barney

5 stars Aha, well my last review set the cat amongst the pigeons so to speak, however this CD is a different kettle of weasels I can tell you! I have given this CD some serious "earage" in the past few weeks and although I think I was enough impressed to persevere (from spin 1), I wasn't expecting this CD to rate more than perhaps a high of 3.9? . How wrong was I...! Quite simply, I think that tracks 3 (A Treasure Abandoned) and 7 (Waiting for Me) are the best tracks that SB have written and performed! Back that up with the nearly as brilliant 6 - "Something very strange" and the (merely!) very good tracks 4, "Submerged" and 5 "Afterthoughts", plus the very listenable 1 "Hiding Out" and 2 "I know Your Secret" makes this a MUST HAVE SYMPHONIC PROG CD! Anyway the first two tracks are closer to progressive metal than the other tracks so it sort of makes you think that it isn't going to be a symphonic prog CD at all then WHAMMO - A Treasure Abandoned , some of the keyboard (sumptuous synth arpeggios a-plenty) work is sublime and the lyrical content is far less mawkish than the ex-members output! I think that some of this reminds me of Camel (one part especially) but on the whole I think it's far more good at refreshingly attempting to hit the correct symphonic spots in my brain. Could perhaps do with track 3 or 7 being extended out to the epic length that such a CD deserves, but I can't give this anything but a FIVE because two tracks are as good as anything I have heard for four or five years! Go buy it!

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 The Light  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.84 | 490 ratings

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The Light
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by JCDenton

3 stars A good and logical place to start with Neal Morse.

When I tried out this album years ago, my ears that were finely tuned to only explorative works that were entirely "against the norm" (I was 16) wouldn't allow me to appreciate the poppy- feeling "One Man" section of the title track, so I stopped the album right there. And boy, was I naïve! Lemme get into my breakdown of the tracks.

"The Light" (8.5-9.0 / 10) - I'm hooked just from the tonic and dominant chords sounding simultaneously at the beginning. The "Dream" section is beautiful and moving, then more of the madness begins. Spock's Beard had a great sense of noise. Alan Morse on this track is wonderful at enforcing the grit and helping move the song through all the chaos that ensues. There are many contrasting moods and styles covered, many utterances of the lyric "I am" this, "I am" that. I do believe this song is about a man (or people) finding their identity in the Light, whatever that may be to certain people. Morse had his cool guy rocker sound back in the day to combat with the classical, hard rock, and Spanish (?good lord, I need a word for whatever I'm thinking), and sort of heavy metal sounds and moods covered. The song has beautiful sections, no doubt, but it is chaotic and jumps all over the place, reflecting the lyrics well. Now many of us won't be impressed by all of the lyrical content by and means ("I am Senior Velasco; I drink my milk with tobasco!" "I am the Catfish Man! I can't hear you!"), but the sounds of this track and early period for the band is what's truly captivating. This is a fantastic track. Great musicianship.

"Go the Way You Go" (7.0-7.5 / 10) - This song is about path, purpose, and taking chances. The song is largely laid back with some pleasant melodies. With some interesting chord movements, I'd say this band does experiment well harmonically. The song has awkward transitions, with the song suddenly picking up pace for a more driving instrumental. It's a sort of moving song, but the highlights will be some of the melodies. It's a decent Prog tune. Not all the strength and flare that could've been demanded, but it's a decent listen.

"The Water" (6.5-7.0 / 10) - Still many utterances of "I am". A song about identity, one may jump to such an assumption. Lyrics are rather weak at times, especially the FU section. I usually don't mind transitions for the sake of making a tune a little longer as long as they're not too awkward of transitions or all ideas in the song are fairly strong. "The Water" is a little weak in transitions. The content, lyrically and musically, just isn't very strong either. Some of the musical moments are exciting. The band does sound great at moments, particularly in the first minute or two and reoccurrences of the "When It All Goes to Hell" segments.

"On the Edge" (7.0-7.5 / 10) - In this relatively short (to the rest of the album) jam, Spock's Beard showcases their talent and virtuosity. It's a good reinforcement of the talent this group has. The bass has a standout role early on. Most instruments play 16th patterns at some point. It's a more exciting tune than the previous two songs if you ask me. It's this Spock's Beard sound which reminds me of "All of the Above". I'd almost describe it as a premature version of the song, but it stands alone well, being distinguished as a Spock's Beard tune and not Transatlantic. Again, it's a pretty good, reinforcing jam to finish out the album.

I feel this album is around a 3.5/5 stars, but I must round down. I feel the only truly strong track is "The Light", but it's strength is not enough to pull my rating up.

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 V by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.16 | 594 ratings

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V
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings

4 stars That I really enjoy this album has come as somewhat of a surprise to me. Two years ago, when I first understood that I liked what is known as progressive rock and that there were so many bands I had never heard of out there producing exciting quality prog, I began listening to samples on Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube. I tried to get into Spock's Beard but no matter how interesting the music sounded I couldn't accept the vocals. After three attempts to find something that would grab me I gave up on Spock's Beard. Then I read a book by Stephen Lambe where he recommended 'V' and I thought, 'What the heck; I'll buy it,' because Mr. Lambe recommended many other albums which I already owned.

There are three things that I really appreciate about this album:

1. Song length variety. Although there is an epic long song and another over 16 minutes, there are four other songs between 4 and 6 minutes. Long epics can be fantastic but they require patience to get through and appreciate and at times they sound like little more than a medley of disparate songs thrown together for no other purpose than to say, 'We are prog. Check out our long songs.' After the second listen I liked "The Great Nothing" and after the first listen I liked "At the End of the Day".

2. Musical creativity without being overly diverse. The songs are basically rock music in its various modes including quiet acoustic guitar, hard electric guitar, organ, piano, jazzy frills, funky grooves, pop punkish tinges, pretty melodies, and so on. But there are surprises with orchestra and woodwinds, brass, a cappella, and even a Spanish section with some nice percussion. 'Thoughts (Part II)' actually reminds me of a more recent 'Can-Utility and the Coastliners' by Genesis because I once read that Genesis managed to record a classic example of prog rock in a normal length song and this song here by Spock's Beard includes many twists and modern prog turns but barely exceeds four minutes.

3. I like almost the whole album. There's no song that I would call a dud although one or two songs are almost regular radio fodder rock. For the most part this is a very enjoyable album and after the first two listens I was already adding 'At the End of the Day,' 'Thoughts (Part II)', and 'The Great Nothing' to my commute-time playlists. As for the vocals, I wonder what samples I had listened to that turned me off the band in the first place because I have no qualms with the vocals on this album. Though I got the CD only at the beginning of December last year (2013), two of the songs entered the list of 25 most played songs of the year according to my iTunes library (I bought a gross number of CDs last year so there was a lot of competition for listening time).

It's no surprise to know that Neal Morse of Spock's Beard went on to work with Roine Stolt of The Flower Kings in Transatlantic because I can see both bands share a similar musical styling. If you haven't heard Spock's Beard yet, I agree with Stephen Lambe that this album is worth checking out.

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 458 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars The pinnacle of Spock's Beard's career!

I just put this latest Spock's Beard album on one late lazy Friday night after listening to a bunch of other bands. To be honest I just wanted a relaxing music experience to settle me down for sleep, but what I got instead was more than enough to wake up my senses. This is an absolutely stunning album from start to finish. I had to reawaken my brain to really take in the immense intricacies in each track and by the end of this I was completely in awe of the brilliance of a band that has been around for so long and still manages to create such incredible music, as good as they have ever achieved even after 11 studio albums in the catalogue. The previous album 'X' was X-cellent but they have surpassed themselves with this latest release 'Brief Nocturnes and Endless Sleep', an instant masterpiece.

What stood out from the outset is the bright production and mixing of the album where every instrument simply shines with strength. Spock's Beard have reinvented themselves after losing their lead singer and who would have thought they would return with such a ferocity releasing such a brilliant album. The heavy riff on 'Hiding Out' is glorious and kicks the message home without dominating too much. The keyboards are a force to be reckoned with played with incredible virtuoso strength by Ryo Okumoto. Alan Morse is a fantastic guitarist but it is the voice of Ted Leonard that enhances the songs and his guitar work is very well executed too. Nick D'Virgilio was a fine vocalist but Leonard injects an unreserved enthusiasm and much needed passion into this new sound. Jimmy Keegan's Drums maintain a strong rhythm and have a great timbre amongst the layers of musical excellence. Leonard's voice is crystal clean and easy on the ears, reaching many octaves it seems effortlessly such as on the melodic uplifting 'I Know Your Secret'.

There are some beautiful passages of flute on this album too such as on 'A Treasure Abandoned' accompanied by gorgeous lead guitar licks and synth flourishes. The bassline by Dave Meros is certainly a feature on this track too. There are many twists and turns on this song with extended keyboard and guitar trade offs and an organic soundscape culminating in a stirring finale of grand proportions; simply amazing and emotional music to caress the ears.

The next track is 'Submerged', with a strong melody and sing a long chorus 'throw me a line, I'm sinking down, submerging further, further from you, not doing so fine, further and further, further from you'. The rhythm guitar riff is terrific too the way it breaks all the keyboard layers; a great song that could easily be a hit single.

Following this is a synth and guitar feast on 'Afterthoughts' embellished by vocoder by John Boegehold. The vocal style is akin to vintage Neal Morse SB style. The riff is heavy and endearing throughout, but the main showcase is the jittering organ notes that are played with staccato rhythms. There is even a monosyllabic lead break and then a Gentle Giant harmonised a Capella section. In fact this is reminiscent of some of the vocal harmonies on Neal Morse's masterful 'Momentum Live' album. The synth solo is wonderful and echoed by fret melting lead guitar work as good as I have heard from SB.

It is nice that Neal Morse guest stars on guitar along with Craig Eastman on violin, viola, hurdy gurdy, both featuring on 'Something Very Strange'. This showpiece opens with ethereal howling wind and psychedelic phased vocals. A happy Hammond sound follows a fractured time sig and some glorious keyboard string pads. The guitar riff is heavy following the broken rhythm of the organ. Then it locks into a glorious prog time sig repeating a motif until it breaks again into lush Mellotron soundscape and warm synth washes. The vocals sing of a journey and something coming fast our way, 'a race to revelation with the ringing of the bells'. The song is infectious melodically but the musicianship is outstanding in itself, a lead and synth break by Okomuto and Morse that even surpasses other work on the album, making this a spellbinding experience. It is stunning innovative music at its highest calibre, and I was not really expecting this on the latest Spock's Beard album as many of their earlier albums do not measure up to such virtuoso musicianship. What a pleasant surprise and there are still 5 songs left. The question is will it remain consistently so masterful? I hoped so when I first heard this.

Next is 'Waiting For Me', with a slow measured cadence at first building with backwards violin and pulsating bassline that dominates wonderfully. Leonard really sounds a bit like Neal Morse as it has his influence and similar melody that he pens. The bassline during the lead break is absolutely killer and I like the way it settles down and some quiet vocals are heard over gently piano, a release after all the tension in the music previous. Alan Morse violins out a solo of exquisite beauty, so emotional and captivating it made tears fill my eyes. I love those tremolo passages and speed picking after all the high string bends. Ryo launches into a mind bending solo and enhances this song into one of the masterpieces of the album in a long line of masterpieces. I am just stunned at the brilliance of this album; it is virtually flawless in every department.

Next on the menu is 'The Man You're Afraid You Are' that opens with some loud bombastic music and merges into a funky instrumental break with guitar vocoder and some amazing bass work from Meros, as good as Geddy Lee gets. The keyboard and guitar lines over this bass are incredible interplaying so well and so whimsically answering each other in a musical conversation. An acoustic vibration comes in with sweet guitar tones and harmonised vocals. It really is a beautiful composition of immeasurable virtuosity.

'Down A Burning Road' has a warm lead break to intro it before it builds to a stirring Mellotron layer and some gorgeous guitar picking in the background; did I mention virtuoso? The vocals are reflective and melancholy 'all alone, carry us back to a better way, carry us back with the setting sun, carry us back on a wave of love and grace, carry us back as the day is done.' The meaning becomes clear of a man searching for the past when things were better, obviously suffering some trauma. The twin guitars cry over a layer of keyboards and more Mellotron washes; a sensuous soundscape. The band can do no wrong with this latest lineup or incarnation, that much is sure.

'Wish I Were Here' follows and it is a synth driven track with some very heavy lead guitar distortion and a formidable riff as harmonised vocals take over. That riff is very catchy and always a moment on the album on every listen. The other version of 'Something very Strange' the Sanctified Version is one of the bonus tracks and is shorter but still as powerful with that cool voice vocoder reminding me of 'The Raven' by Alan Parson's Project. The melody is so endearing it is impossible for me not to enjoy this compelling track. There are other bonus tracks too but the main album is worth the price of admission on its own.

I honestly did not expect a masterpiece with this album as it has not really stirred up too much conversation in the prog community outside of a bunch of reviews, but it hit me with full force on a late night listen. I did notice the reviews overall are arc welded to the 5 star rating and I have to throw my iron in the fire and add to those 5 stars too. Every listen adds so much more depth and it really grows on the ear after a while too. It is too great to award it anything less as it captivates on every listen and exudes such a dynamic energy it is quite extraordinary. This is the type of music I was mesmirised with on Neal Morse's 'Momentum Live' that is absolutely outstanding. 'Brief Nocturnes and Endless Sleep' is equally as exceptional; a masterpiece undoubtedly as it encompasses everything that makes prog great. When prog reaches such a brilliant standard it is because it does not rely on just clever complex musicianship and a myriad of excellent breaks but it also has to have some meaning in the lyrics and reach the listener on an emotional level. This album does that instantly and also has some of the most infectious and melodic songs I have heard from the Beard and they are confident on every song injecting so much passion and dynamism, seemingly reborn after some turmoil in the ranks. I was entertained by 'Spock's Beard Live', enjoyed 'Octane' immensely, loved 'The Light', adored 'Snow' and "V" and also was knocked out by 'X', but 'Brief Nocturnes and Endless Sleep' is on another level in terms of musicianship and innovative song structures. It is simply the pinnacle of Spock's Beard I am delighted to report to the prog faithful!

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 Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.08 | 458 ratings

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Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars "Hiding Out" is everything I want from progressive music!

Let's be honest my friends ...

This is I think the best studio album Spock's Beard has ever made in their entire musical journey so far. Yes, it's their eleventh album so what? Is it too late? Nope! Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chickend did try to sell his recipee for more than thousan times before he made mega deal. Thomas Alva Edison made thousands of experiments before he finally invented the light bulbs. So, eleventh is not bad at all. As a matter of fact I never paid attention on the progress of this band as I was not that quite impressed with their early releases. When I look at the reviews I wrote for this band, I rarely gave good stars , say four, only some albums. Even though people highly respected Neal Morse as the prime mover of the band I was not quite like his style with SB, to be honest. During his tenure with the band I felt that the music of SB was somewhat being forced to be like it and not coming as a natural musical flow of its own. That's why I did not quite like the albums under Neal Morse era. But when he was out and the band made their eghth effort, Octane, I really loved it and I put four stars rating on this album, especially there was a very wonderful song I really love: Of the Beauty of It All.

NOW ...let's have a look this latest album in greater detail ...

As I put the heading of this review, "Hiding Out" is everything I want from progressive music. Why? It has fulfilled two things wonderfully: great composition and great individual performance of every single player in the band. Oh man ... This is it man! Let's go deeper into this wonderfully crafted track... It starts nice with a melodic piano fills by Ryo Okumoto followed nicely with musical riffs that bring the music into a very enjoyable introduction part where the keyboard work is somewhat like vintage prog music in the vein of ELP or the like. All instruments work really well especially Dave Meros damn great and tight basslines! Hmmm... I like his bass playing style which is quite dominant right here in this track. Alan Morse guitar work is also stunning throughout the intro part. And then the vocal line enters the scene wonderfully. Oh this ex Enchant guy, Ted Leonard, has a vocal quality that really fits Spock's Beard's sound. The music flows dynamically from one segment to another with some shots of keyboard solo as well as guitar solo. Oh yeah .. I almost forgot to mention Jimmy Keegan who plays his drum stool dynamically and it's jaw dropping drumwork. Composition-wise this opening track has everything at its peak: great complexities that do not seem quite obvious as the melody line is really catchy especially when the lyrical verse says something like "I need you now ...". Oh man ....the melody really makes me "ngguweblak" (the local language's musical term that I used to put to express the feeling of temporarily parallyzed emotionally as an impact of wonderfully crafted musical composition). Man ...this opening travk "Hiding out" is really worth it to own a copy of this album even if you find other track are lousy.

But ...it's not the case! The following track "I Know Your Secret" even brings the music into much more dynamic and energetic style naturally.It starts off with ambient keyboard solo followed with a music that flows in relatively medium tempo to welcome the next faster tempo and upbeat rhythm section backed by tigh basslines by Meros. The vocal enters in rocking style and his voice truly fits with the music. I really love the pace the music flows with rocking vocal style combined with rocking guitar solo and inventive keyboard work. Oh man .. the first two tracks really have made the album! Composition and style wise, this second track reminds me to the great song "Of The Beauty of It All" from Octane. At approximately minute 4:50 the music comes to a break with mellow vocal line backed with mellotron drenched keyboard work. And ..at the end of mellow vocal line, Meros brings the music back into fast tempo style with tight basslines and excellent rhythm guitar. It's another wonderfully crafted song really!

" A Treasure Abandoned" provides musical break as the style is now drastically changes to a mellow one. At first time spinning this album actually I was not prepared at all to have this too mellow song positioned right after the first two energetic songs as opener. But it grew on me as I got to know the album better. And now ... I really enjoy this melodic song. So is the case with "Submerged" that I first did not enjoy but now I love it as part of this wonderful album. "Afterthoughts" (6:08) brings the music back into more upbeat style even though it's not as rocking as the first two tracks. This one represents the kind of music the band played at their early career especeially on the way the choirs arranged. The choirs are really great and it is quite similar with what Gentle Giant style. Oh .. I really enjoy this track especially during choirs and the following guitar solo and keyboard solo. It's truly a rockin' composition!!! You must try your own experience enjoying this album in its entirety and I bet you would love it to the bone, really!

"Something Very Strange" starts ambient with a windy nuances followed with eastern style sounds. Oh man ...the keyboard work that follows the ambient opening and serves as the entry point for the overall music to work together with a back up of mellotron sound are really great overall. The introduction part of this song that consumes approximately three minutes plus of duration before the catchy vocal line enters the scene. Yes, it's a simple melody kind of music and it's catchy afterall but it's quite enjoyable as the song moves dynamically with some musical breaks. I like the way when Ted screams "Something very strange" and then followed with stunning guitar as well as keyboard solo. This song is really excellent!! Oh .. I almost forgot to mention that Dave Meros provides great basslines and melody throughout this excellent composition.

"Waiting For Me" starts mellow with some nuances of of Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" for quite sometimes before it's finally changed to dynamic arrangement demonstrating mellotron, solid basslines follwed then with energetic vocal line. Ted's voice is actually reminding me to Nick d'Virgilio's even though his is thinner. As concluding track this one tries to express the origins of Spock's Beard's music. In the middle of the track the music turns slow with some bluesy style and Floydian guitar work. Oh .. I really enjoy the guitar solo that is really stunning and very Floydian! I think this guitar solo is played by Neal Morse. the most important thing is the composition that is so wonderful! The ending part contains the keyboard work as well as great guitar rhythm section.

The best prog album of the year

Aaargh ...what a novel long review! Sorry about that. I can't help it! This album is too damn great that requires me to keep on writing good things about it all the time as long as I wish to do it. I keep playing it the main disc and also the bonus one. I do not write the bonus disc even though it contains good and excellent stuffs like Something Very Strange the shorter version and other tracks.Well ..actually I want to keep writing about this album but I am sure that you got bored already with this. Bottom line: It's a masterpiece prog album of this year and it's the best Spock's Beard has ever produced so far. I know the band has undergone various turbulent times with changes of personnel. But they keep going and I really salute to them. They proved that withouth Neal Morse they could make excellent work like Octane - even better than Neal's era. When Nick departed to join Cirque du Soleil , many music critics doubted the continuation of Spock's Beard. But hey .. Look at this wonderfully crafted album! It's a full five star rating for this one. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Beware of Darkness  by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.62 | 369 ratings

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Beware of Darkness
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars I have listened to Spock's Beard's second album Beware of Darkness from 1996 and it contains a lot of pleasant pop symph prog with ingredients to please many listeners. The line ups is Dave Meros (bass, vocals), Nick D'Virgilio(drums, vocals), Neal Morse(piano, guitar, lead vocals), Ryo Okumoto(keyboards, vocals) and Alan Morse(guitars and vocals) and the cover pictures shows an wood look a like frame with a dark hole in the middle with a light.

To let a cover name a whole studio album is not usual but the George Harrison song "Beware of Darkness" which is the first track here has also named the album. I like the cover, it is made in Spock's Beard's typical pop prog way and they have absolutely made something special with the old song. Then comes "Thoughts" a song filled with vocal experiements that SB use to do sometimes with a hint of Gentle Giant in it. It is also a well done and enjoyable track. "The Doorway" whick comes next is one of the album's two best tracks, a wonderful symphonic piece with whirling melodies and a great vocal performance. Good keyboard work here. The other of the two best tracks is "Walking on the wind" of course also a symphonic great track. The longest song "Time has come" also contains very good passages but isn't as coherent as I would wish. "Waste away" is perhaps the most poppy track here, and I find it tastefull as of course the acoustic "Chatauqua" is.

Perhaps I am a little to kind if I give this record four stars but I think that is the best way to express what I feel this record gives the listener. "The Light" or "V" are more extreme and perhaps more interesting but musically this one has the same level.

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 Octane by SPOCK'S BEARD album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.12 | 278 ratings

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Octane
Spock's Beard Symphonic Prog

Review by Grammaray

4 stars This, for me, IS Spock's Beard. I know that a lot has changed since the Neal Morse era, and the over the top proginess, and instrumentation have been tuned down for this one (for the most part), but actually, I enjoy this more than some of the older albums. Octane have more elements of pop, rock, symphonic and also strong progressive moments. But first of all it's very good music. This album is great for an easy introduction for newbie prog listeners, and should be an easy transition into other albums (and bands for that matter). I love Neal Morse and his music with Transatlantic and his other solo projects, but whilst listening to Transatlantic's 'Whirlwind' it struck me, that though Neal Morse is the master of progressive arrangements, he doesn't evolve that much. It's basically the same stuff as on his solo albums, and the other Transatlantic albums as well. 'Octane' is an album evolving from beginning to end, and is a fresh, and original addition to the progressive rock album collection. I gotta say, I love this one...

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