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Spock's Beard - X CD (album) cover

X

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.81 | 554 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars The jazz fusion influences are prevalent and there is enough material on here to appease any SB fan; a whopping 80 minutes of sheer quality Neo.

"X" is an excellent Spock's Beard album that boasts two fabulous epics featuring some of the busiest and most accomplished musicianship from the band since their early days. The vocals of D'Virgilo and Morse are sparkling clean and each musician has a chance to showcase their amazing talents. The tunes are infectious and will grow on the listener after many listens. There is nothing threatening to the average listener in the very accessible melodic music and of course the time sigs are often progressive.

Spocks Beard begin the journey with 'Edge of in between' and it features a very pleasant beat, strong melodic quality and clean vocals. The moderate feel builds to a mid section with a great time sig mood swing. The drums are fabulous, well backed by a funky prog keyboard motif and vibrant guitar break. The jamming style is a feature and is enhanced by an uplifting piano scale. A great start to the album signifying the wonderful music to come.

'The Emperor's Clothes' begins with a horn section and then builds to a strong chorus that is memorable and catchy. There's a quaint speed vocal section too that is complex and effective. The Beard is in fine form here, and the song spirals into a brilliant instrumental break with weird time sigs and virtuoso piano. The guitars play the melody and the piece returns to the main chorus.

The symphonic sounds are absolutely beautiful and there is very little distorted guitar work from Morse, rather the dominant keyboards are put on a pedestal. Ryo is incredible on this album, even getting an outstanding solo on the mind blowing 'Kamikaze'. The instrumental is a showcase for Ryo's innovative keyboard soloing. The rhythm is choppy and dynamic. The bassline is powerful here but nothing compares to Ryo's off the wall playing. A superb track that defines the genre.

'Jaws of Heaven' is the ultimate track to hear if you are wondering what to expect, and this is the pinnacle of the album without a doubt. 'The Man Behind the Curtain' is a more melodic song that is augmented by a very strong chorus and lyrics paying homage to "The Wizard of Oz". 'The Emperor's Clothes' is the one that I could not get out of my head and reminded me of the Neal Morse era. 'Their Names Escape Me' is a truly beautiful song with symph prog keyboards.

I should mention that the orchestration of violins, cello and brass on this whole album are a genuine delight. Meros should get a mention for the wonderful bass work and the percussion of D'Virgilio is exemplary. There is nothing more to say other than "X" delivers,and it is definitely one of the best post Neal Morse albums to date from the sensational Spock's Beard.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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