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Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.01 | 683 ratings

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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'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 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

Gatot | 5/5 |


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