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Spock's Beard - Snow CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 663 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars Collectors/Fans only.

I do not understand the hype of this album, but I will not write this review to lower the rating nor anything like that. I will give my honest opinion on the enjoyment I experience while spinning this gigantic and epic album that never seems to end.

Spock's Beard has never been a band that amazed me. However, their AOR elements blending with progressive rock ones is very interesting and may be one of the main reasons why Spock's Beard is one of the leading Symphonic Rock bands in these last years. In their first four albums, they explored pop/prog and symphonic prog rock with decent to excellent results. They have reached their peak with "V" and instead of doing another V- wanna-be, they released a concept album.

I love concept albums, but this one is very disappointing. The main problem with it is that it doesn't hold my interest and the songwriting is mostly mediocre, making this album dull. Also, it sounds very cliched and derivative.

The strengths on this album are numerous. Neal Morse is singing decently and the flow of the album is good enough to make it a story. Also, the guys know how to make references to themes they used in the previous songs of the album. Finally, there are quite a few songs that are quite good (but not great). For example, the album opens with a song that holds an interesting theme and amazing rocking time with a simplistic guitar riff that works. Welcome to NYC is my favourite tune of the album; they managed to compose an exciting hard rock song. Devil's Got My Throat has some neat parts in it's long durations, and the acapella is good (until it gets too complex and random). Open the gates pt1/2 have good musicianship while Wing at My Back carry a good musical theme that is well-developed. I'm The Guy has an interesting dark tone I've never heard from the band before. After many bad songs, All is Vanity's blazing instrumental section saves the album and I'm Dying continues a good quality. The next songs are inoffensive and average in quaility until an unusual and out of place live song with Ryo playing the keyboards and synths. IT is extremely cheesy, wild, random, and goofy, but for some reason I find it fun to listen to it.

But sometimes songs absolutely do nothing for me. For example, the song that follows the overture is an overlong and uninteresting pop song. Love Beyond Words is a very dull ballad that fortunately has a piano solo. The 39th Street Blues is just pedestrian rocking with no hooks. 4th of July has a great riff at the beginning but man: the song is extremely bland. the reflection-Carie-Looking For Answers trio is dull and it's when it usually makes me bored of the album. Freak Boy is even worse, it is a terrible rocker that I just can't stand. Snow's Night Out is a bit out of place musically and is very cheesy. The conclusion of the album is very disappointing: Wind At My Back is played again and delevops into a loud overdone rock&roll that just leaves me cold. To make things worse, the song comes back again after it finishes dimly. It is an 8 1/2 minute long song with the same theme: very repetitive.

I do not know, maybe being a fan of Spock's Beard is what is needed, but I'll rather stick with the concept albums that Neal made after leaving the band. Testomony makes this album seem like a terrible experiment that needed to be mastered. This album, while having good musicianship, is overall boring, has no surprises, and sounds unoriginal.

Highlights: Made Alive/Overture, Welcome to NYC, I'm The Guy,All is Vanity

Let Downs: Love Beyond Words, The 39th Street Blues, 4th of July, Reflection, Looking For answers, Freak Boy, Snow's Night Out, Made Alive Again/Wind At My Back

My Grade: D

Zitro | 2/5 |


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