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Spock's Beard - Feel Euphoria CD (album) cover


Spock's Beard


Symphonic Prog

3.25 | 386 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars 3.2 Stars

Since Neal Morse was the leader of the band and made the painfully dull "Snow", I wanted to see how the band would deal without the man behind the band. Surprisingly, Feel Euphoria is stronger than Beware of Darkness and Day for Night. There are obvious changes in the sound from the band though you can still hear the sound of Spock's Beard. The changes include the drummer taking vocal duties, the harder-edged approach, the keyboards, and the songwriting. The quality of the songs is a bit inconsistent as most of the best moments are in the first half

Onomatopoeia begins the album strongly and makes you realize that Spock's Beard changed after Morse's departure. You can hear heavy electric guitars taking lead, more rock-oriented singing, no more Morse's synths/pianos, etc. The most interesting part of this song (and maybe the album) is the genius usage of harmony vocals, brilliant acoustic chord progressions and haunting mellotron in the middle section. The hard rock comes back and ends the piece.

The Bottom Line is a bit more remnicent of earlier Spock's Beard, though the intro still has the elements of Feel Euphoria: old school analogue synths and heavy guitars. Suddently, a nice vocal melody turns this song into a ballad with time changes and prog elements. I love the synth line used in the choruses. This is overall a very successful attempt at a progressive rock song in the vein of early Spock's Beard.

The title track has very good musicianship and an amazing chorus hook, yet is marred by having a disjointed structure. The second half of the song sounds like a good jam session.

Shining Star is a pop song with very good vocal melodies and straightforward instrumentation to complement it. It is a harmless little tune.

East of Eden is a quite unusual song. It begins with some heavily distorted guitar riff and catchy melodies and good melodies. Suddently the song makes an abrupt turn and voila! you got Ryo going in overdrive playing a mad synth solo under beds of mellotrons! The song ends with backward tapes and a reprise of the initial melodies, which is something that feels a bit out of place.

Ghost of Autumn is an emotional musical journey with Ryo playing gorgeous piano leads. The song focuses on melodies and is pretty laid back. Check out the guitar solo in this piece. Overall, a great song and the last highlight of the album.

Unfortunately, Neal Morse is the guy that knows how to write epics. A Guy Named Syd has its moments, and the musicianship is great, but the piece doesn't really work as a whole. However, it is much better than "Healing Colors of Sound". Anyways, the song begins with a groovy overture that ends with a pretty good synth solo. Pt2 begins as an uptempo rocker that has quite cool vocal harmonies that remind me of Dream Theater. It has a soft interlude and then comes back with the initial punch. Pt3 is focused on melody and is an ok part. When pt4 began, the first thought I had was "Ryo robbed Wakeman's synths!" because the synthesizer used is heard in Tales of Topographic Oceans. Anyways, great synth line and a pretty good rocker. pt5 is a short piece focused on a complex arrangement of vocals that sounds poppier than ever. pt6 is a decent conclution to the epic.

Carry on is an uplifting finale and sounds like something coming from Neal Morse in terms of style.

Overall, a surprisingly strong Spock's Beard album with good melodies and musicianship. I recommend it to fans of neo-prog and/or Spock's Beard.

Highlights: Onomatopoeia, The Bottom Line, East of Eden, Ghost of Autumn

Let Downs: None

My Grade: C+

Zitro | 3/5 |


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