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Spock's Beard - X CD (album) cover

X

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 522 ratings

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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.

Walkscore | 3/5 |

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