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Spock's Beard - V CD (album) cover

V

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

4.14 | 807 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars Good but not outstanding

Don't know why, but I always been reluctant to listen SPOCK'S BEARD, maybe because I'm tired of the identification of Progheads with Sci Fi (What more related with Sci Fi than a band named for a parallel version of Mr. Spock?) and later for the dislike towards NEAL MORSE and his Evangelistic crusade. I know that this reasons have absolutely no relation with the music, but sometimes external factors affect the perception of the music, and I'm the first one to admit the loss was mine, because I was ignoring some good material.

Well now lets get a bit into the band, Spock's Beard is maligned as Retro Prog by many bit beloved by more loyal fans, others say it's light Prog, some believe they are some kind of Pop Prog (A natural contradiction IMO), but I believe it's a solid Symphonic band with some mainstream reminiscences that I learned to like and respect but not to love as I love bands like GENESIS or ANGLAGARD.

"V" begins with "At the End of the Day" and it's pompous organ intro that sounds ideal for an epic movie, but after a few seconds it morphs into more traditional Symphonic with excellent guitar and drums, the problem begins when Neal Morse adds the vocals, I simply don't like his range too much, makes the songs sound simpler than they are, what isn't bad necessarily, but I believe cuts the atmosphere that the band was creating.

This first epic (16:30 minutes) is very good, but there's something that doesn't convince me totally, as if they lacked of that "je ne sais quoi" that makes the difference between a good and an excellent band. Nice acoustic guitar solo, but the vocals are something that I can't resist.

The contrast between the clearly Symphonic opener and the eclectic "Revelation" is obvious, the second track starts soft and simple, morphs into a ballad that gains strength and turns into Hard Rock and then some sort of light fusion and back again into Hard Rock. Yes, it has radical changes, better vocals and blend of genres, but still there's something missing in the band, in this case some cheesy keyboard passages simply cut all my inspiration.

"Thoughts Part II" starts promising with an excellent acoustic guitar intro that turns into an acoustic power ballad, a very good instrumental break where the band offers their best criminally cut repeatedly by an horrendous choral section that ruins the song despite the outstanding instrumental sections..If they only had kept their mouth shut, other would had been the result.

"All on a Sunday" is a nice power ballad with no changes and/or surprises, too predictable, flows gently from start to end with few (if any) variations. The weakest song of the album.

The acoustic guitar intro of "Goodbye to Yesterday" made me believe this song could be the best of the album, but it was a mirage, sadly turns into anther ballad with little interest, which bores me from the moment the singing begun.

"The Great Nothing" is "la piece de resistance", the 27 minutes epic that is supposed to make worth what you paid the album, and really makes the difference, after a mysterious but sober organ intro, Neal delights us with an acoustic guitar passage of great beauty, and then they hit us with unexpected strength.

After a very hard section the band returns to Symphonic territory with an outstanding interplay of all the instruments during a long instrumental break, which ends as abrupt as it started when Neal begins to sing, I can't hide he fact that I hate the vocals, but not so bad to ruin the song.

Along this very good song, the band makes several changes and shows us how they have been influenced by bands like YES and GENESIS, but always managing to stay original. Excellent closer, the best song of the album.

Being that I don't believe "V" is a masterpiece or remotely essential, the rating is easy, 3 stars for an album that I believe is above the average but nothing more. Still The Light" is far beyond in quality.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |

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