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Spock's Beard - Spock's Beard CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.34 | 365 ratings

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4 stars When Neal Morse left Spock's Beard I didn't have high hopes for the survival of the band. Not only was he lead Vocalist, but he also contributed Keyboards, Accoustic Guitar and was also the chief songwriter. Fortunately Drummer Nick D'virgillio was able to do a Phil Collins and step out from behind the kit to take on Vocal duties and an excellent singer he is too. Of course Morse's Keyboard and Guitar duties were easily taken care of by Ryo Okumoto and Alan Morse but what of the songwriting? Their first two post Morse albums had some very good moments but on this, their eponymous third release the Beard have really hit their stride with a superb album of modern Symphonic Prog of the highest order. In fact a fair amount of the material here is as good as much of what they did in the Morse era.

The first two tracks are absolute killers with great playing and very strong vocal melodies in the case of On a Perfect Day, second track Skeletons at the Feast being an instrumental. With your Kiss is a bit of a mini epic at 11 minutes and another album highlight and again strong on melody and a great trademark Alan Morse Guitar solo before going into a tribal drumming mid section and the more laid back coda.

I keep mentioning the strong melodies on here, that's because they're so abundant but perhaps the strongest of all is on The Slow Crash Landing Man which is totally sublime. Alan Morse really shines again with an excellent solo showing that fewer well chosen notes is often more. The guy is just brilliant!

Of course all the band are superb musicians and I'm also a big fan of Dave Meros' Bass playing which has just the right balance between top and bottom end and really cuts through the mix the way Geddy Lee or Chris Squire does. The band is able to show their chops to good effect on the almost obligatory epic As Far as the Mind Can See which is around 16 minutes long and divided into four parts and is another album highlight.

There isn't really any really bad tracks on the album and I was almost tempted to give it 5 stars but I restrained by the inclusion of a couple of fillers, Is This Love being a prime example. Overall though a very strong 4.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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