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Spock's Beard - Snow CD (album) cover

SNOW

Spock's Beard

 

Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 690 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
2 stars In 2002, Neal Morse was touched by grace and became a devoted Christian (after that a miracle took place in his personal life). This album has plenty of religious references. Either you can make abstraction of this aspect or not. I belong to the later category but I respect each one's point of view.

About the music now. This album has all the usual suspected roots ("Yes", "Genesis", "Gentle Giant" etc.) but tops it by the addition of a harder ("Welcome To NYC"!) or even heavier atmosphere like "The 39th Street Blues" or "Devil's Got My Throat" which is severely Purple oriented in terms of music (good organ break) but is mixed with some typical GG vocals. Not too bad actually.

I've read here and there some comparisons between "Snow" and "The Lamb". Sorry guys, if you would exclude the fact that both stories take place in New-York, and that the Beard borrowed some sounds and words from this excellent original, there aren't many other points of comparison. This one falls really shy in terms of musical ideas, lyrics and concept. And I am not even referencing the average vocal lines from Neal.

Bearing all of this in mind, I guess that it is difficult to consider this release as a masterpiece.

Soft rock is also present ("Love Beyond Words", "Open Wide the Flood Gates"), probably to cool down between harder tracks. During these moments; the Beard reminds me of some Marillion Mark II clone: uninspired and dull.

The drama of "The Lamb" is also skipped or non-existing, even if "Solitary Soul" is quite desperate but when I've heard such poor lyrics as: "I've been like half a man but I could be whole. Won't you befriend this solitary soul" I can hardly be impressed. The mellowish to death mood is not helping either. To be complete, I have to say that the last minute of this song features a brilliant and poignant guitar moment. But the whole song last for over seven minutes.

In terms of poor lyrics, they culminate during the closing song of disc one (gosh, there is a second disc to listen to!): "And my soul has been kissed. Just because you exist. You're the dream that's a fact. You're the wind at my back". And there are twelve of these nice paragraphs. What a programme!

I was really afraid to listen to disc two, since as with most double concept album, the second leg falls mostly down.

What is for sure is that the vocals don't improve. Neal even attempts to resemble to Lennon ("Fourth Of July", "I'm The Guy") while he was singing during the "Twist & Shout" cover. He is switching to Gabriel during the soft "Reflection". Nothing truly personal here, right? As it is with most of their production actually.

Since the timing is not specified in the track list on PA, just let me tell you that when you will embark the "Snow" boat, the journey will almost last for two hours. Unless you have decided to wear your life jacket and jump out of the boat. If you do so, it would prevent you to listen to the rather childish lyrics and music from Carie. Press next.

If you like AOR, then "Looking For Answers" and "I'm Dying" are meant for you. If you don't, just press next again (unless you have jumped already). As expected, the second part of this work won't save the album. It is not worse than the first one either. Just average.

One has the pleasure to listen to some Banks oriented synthesizers when "All Is Vanity" is played. The second part is more Lord / Hensley oriented. Good references, but these guys were acting over forty years prior to this release.Still; it is one of my fave together with "Devil's Got My Throat" (not the revisited one).

This album is flooded with sub-par lyrics. Instrumental breaks are not many during "Snow". Once the band has decided to integrate one, it is an upbeat and jazzy part lasting for two minutes and full of trumpet and sax (Snow's Night Out). Press next.

Since we are heading the finale of this album, I guess that inspiration (?) was short and there is another instrumental "Ladies & Gentlemen" which features an excellent job from Ryo on the keys. Wild and powerful, but not really in line with the album.

The last couple of songs are on the mellow side again. And the loop is looped with "Made Alive Again". At this time, I can't recommend you to press next because you would be led to the first song again. I guess that you wouldn't do that, would you? But since you have jumped for a long time already, you are now heading the shores I guess...

Two stars.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |

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