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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 809 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Very Good Modern Prog - Don't Forget the Bass!!!

Spock's Beard fifth album is often considered their best, and in fact the two epics that open and close this album were the only SB songs I knew for many years. (Courtesy of some Prog Mix CDs a friend of mine made for me long ago) I finally got the whole album, and while the meat is the epics, there are still some nice morsels among the rest of the work. I happen to find it interesting that while Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio get the most mentions in prog circles, I think was gives Spock's Beard their most distincitve aspect to their sound is the bass work of Dave Meros. It is up front, and a mix of a classic pop and modern thunder. Frankly, no other instrument makes my ears perk up and pay attention like the bass. Neal Morse's vocals are adequate with the interplay between vocal parts much better than the actual performance. The guitars move from tasty to textural and are occasional powerful, but never really stand out. (I must admit that Alan Morse's effects and tone are about as good as any guitarist doing this kind of modern prog, perfectly fitting the song.) The drumming is solid but again doesn't do anything to truly impress this non-drummer. But even though I don't play much bass, when Meros starts letting those strings thunder, I immediately pay attention.

As others have said, the highlight of the album is the opener "End of the Day." Despite its 16 minutes, I never lose interest. What's more, there are some instrumental moments that are simply prog heaven. Intense interwoven vocals, keys, guitar, a little bit of spacy fantasy, it's what I (and most of us) love about classic prog. The piece moves, yet has recurring themes that hold it together. Excellent. "Revelation" follows which is a nice swimmy mellow piece that is less ambitious but still remembers that it is prog. The Gentle Giant homage "Thoughts, Pt. 2" is a highlight for me, a GG fanboy. It's intricate, aggressive, right up my alley. "All on a Sunday" is pretty darn bad, with Morse actually missing pitch and the whole song reeking of cheese. "Goodbye to Yesterday" is a straightforward pop ballad, nothing wrong or remarkable about it. The final monster epic, "The Great Nothing," is a return to grand prog but probably would have been better at the 15 minutes instead of half an hour. Unlike the opener, it doesn't have the power to hold itself together or maintain my attention for its entirety. (Though it would take a monster of a composition to keep me going for 30 minutes without a break. Most classical pieces of that length don't pull it off either.) Don't take me the wrong way, there are still many tasty prog treats scattered in there. I much prefer it to Morse's straight up pop. I'd give it a "B" where the first three pieces were all in the A range.

Definitely a good pickup for fans of modern prog. Easy 4 star rating for me.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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