Spock's Beard
V


3.5
great

Review

by clairvoyant USER (24 Reviews)
October 4th, 2007 | 20 replies | 6,215 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While Spock's Beard sometimes show off their influences too strongly, they manage to produce some quality, original songs that make V one of their best albums.

4 of 5 thought this review was well written

Spock’s Beard is a band that often gets lumped under the modern definition of progressive rock, which seems to be flailing keyboard solos with virtuoso guitar leads and a high-pitched singer, all thanks to a certain band named Dream Theater. While there are clearly exceptions to every stereotype and rule, Porcupine Tree tends to be the only modern progressive rock band that people often look to when attempting to find something different. But other bands are around, and not all of them make a strong effort to stay far away from what is deemed “mainstream” music. Spock’s Beard could best be defined as a “pop-tinged progressive rock” band, drawing more heavily from commercial sounds than virtuoso efforts or spacey effects. The band’s fifth album, aptly titled V, would end up being the peak in the band’s career before frontman Neal Morse’s departure in 2002. Although it is the band’s piece de resistance, V only goes but so far in establishing itself as a modern progressive masterpiece.

The opening epic, At The End Of The Day gives a decent representation of what Spock’s Beard sound is all about, balance. Not once does the band seem to go to an extreme with their music, they always find a match to each part, and in general the songs always flow well with themselves. However, they tend to make their influences very conspicuous, and sometimes the tracks will end up only sounding like a modern collision of Yes and Genesis. While often times when band’s redo their sound from the past or even just recently, it can end up as a great product, as that band knows what they did to make those songs, and what feelings went into them. When another band takes those influences too strongly, it comes off feeling dry at times. The single from the album All On A Sunday suffers the most from this, sounding like a watered down, modern version of something from the Yes masterpiece Close To The Edge.

But not every track is stricken with an attempt to re-hash the glory days of progressive music. Revelation is a masterpiece that features a series of very calm, keyboard-driven lines that explode into a powerful chorus, with the lyrics completely echoing the feel of the music “It’s the rain of revelation/Just keeps comin’ down”. All capped off with a short but sweet guitar solo where guitarist Alan Morse doesn’t make an effort to be flashy like some of his other prog colleagues may do, as he instead puts in a few lines that accent the tone of the song perfectly.

The so called zenith of the album, however, comes with the grandiose closer, The Great Nothing. Featuring everything that one could ask for in a progressive epic, the song builds up the intro into a brooding main theme, which then calms down into a softer first verse. It is in these epic tracks that Spock’s Beard blends in with their prog rock peers, with some flairs of that prog “quirkyness” that is often found throughout each song. The keyboards, bass, and guitar all go all it for a short while without going completely overboard, and eventually cool down before it dabbles into another completely Yes-inspired passage. Bearing a great resemblance to the opening epic At The End Of The Day with its bland, generic progressive sound, the song has much trouble keeping one entertained throughout the entire middle avenue. It continues with this drudgery until we thankfully return to the main theme towards the end, in which the real Spock’s Beard comes out to play, and churns out a beautiful ending to what could have been a very disappointing epic.

As Revelation shows, the best of Spock’s Beard comes out when they are not trying to sound like the perfect 1970’s progressive band. Goodbye To Yesterday and Thoughts, Pt. 2 are two original sounding tunes, the first being a ballad-type track with a very uneasy sounding verse that culminates into a relaxing chorus that perfectly eases the tension created through the verse. Thoughts, Pt. 2 is a clever song beginning as a love message in an acoustic ballad form that takes its turn with the lines “I thought it might be really great/To show you how I feel inside/Then I think...MAYBE NOT!” into a rocker with a solid keyboard backing to the pounding guitar that is sometimes broken up by a short multi-vocal harmony, a sound that the band clearly borrowed from Gentle Giant. The whole track is a fine example the rock tracks that Spock’s Beard puts out, even if they do continue to have some unoriginal moments in them.

While V does not quite live up to “prog classic” standards, it is still a good album that contains several high points. While the Yes passages in the two epics dull out the tracks as a whole, both epics manage to have a strong beginning and ending, which counts more than anything, thankfully salvaging what could have been very weak tracks. The band manages to reveal what they are truly about with Revelation, Goodbye To Yesterday, and Thoughts, Pt.2 , which show that when they are not trying to imitate their predecessors, they can produce some quality music.



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user ratings (77)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
October 4th 2007



17927 Comments


You seem to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this record.

I think I may check it out.

Pos votes from me.

Confessed2005
October 4th 2007



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Is it me or is the band name sort of lame?This Message Edited On 10.04.07

PhoenixRising
October 4th 2007



277 Comments


Good call on the band name. Review sounds interesting though. I might try to get this.

BattleOfSerenity
January 16th 2008



186 Comments


What is wrong with you people.
They are a band that takes most of its influences from the 60s ad 70s eras.
Their music is quite clearly one of the few pieces of music that is written outside of the modern music world where 'emo' and other labels come in.
They are nerd/ middle aged man music, ideally.

And they have a name that is perfect for that fanbase.

So don't say a band's name is bad just because you don't like it, look at it objectively, and think 'wow they must be really sad, i like them'.

Because they are cool.

jrowa001
January 16th 2008



8750 Comments


i dont doubt this bands' talent and i listen to a lot of music thats a bit similar, but i just cant get into these guys. i must say that the drummer has skills

BattleOfSerenity
January 16th 2008



186 Comments


Anyways, about the album.
I sort of agree with you.
I think that they should have shortened 'the great nothing' to about 8 minutes of the best bits and then included a couple of others like the middle 3.
If they had, this would be a prog classic.

Overall, I think that Spock's Beard are brilliant sometimes, but just too inconsistent to become a 'classic' prog band.

BattleOfSerenity
January 16th 2008



186 Comments


I think that the voices will put most people off, they're not 'modern' voices if you catch my drift. They're sorta for middle aged guys and star trek fans.
An acquired taste.

Collis
January 28th 2008



448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Aaaaah I love this album. The Great Nothing at around 7 minutes is my favorite bit. Fantastic.

All On A Sunday is a little lame but that's it's only fault.

Altmer
January 28th 2008



5652 Comments


This looks right up my alley.

Also this album's cover is fuck all similar to Symphony X's V album.

Confessed2005
February 4th 2008



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was weird but pretty cool, well the two tracks I listened to today.

I'll give it a complete listen tonight probably.

BattleOfSerenity
February 6th 2008



186 Comments


Confessed, you shouldn't give albums ratings if you haven't listened to them properly.
Especially if the album is a completely different genre of music to what you are used to listening to.

rahulrajaram2005
May 12th 2008



3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I found the review completely pointless. This album does not have any dream theater written on it. Spock's beard isn't trying to 'keep up' with anything modern. On the contrary, porcupine tree is more towards that side. V is an amazing album and has a lot of jazz and fuck infuences in it. Solos will always exist. Don't like them, don't listen to them. Besides, they aren't long anywhere. I love this album.

clairvoyant
February 22nd 2009



765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I never said that I do not like them. In fact, I gave the album a 3.5 which is a good review in my standards.

Sorry I don't just toss out 4.5's and 5's like they are candy just to make people happy...

Parallels
February 28th 2012



6641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

At The End of the Day is so... ugh yes so good

band should be called Spock's solos

NightmareCinema16
December 8th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The same could be said about a thousand other bands. Honestly, At the End of the Day and the Great Nothing stand as the strong points of the album, I think.

cb123
December 8th 2012



2006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album, love me some Spock's Beard

NightmareCinema16
December 8th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I just recently got The Light and was blown away. Although I was certainly shocked by the FU section of The Water as well. It doesn't seem like something Morse would just do.

cb123
December 8th 2012



2006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i still haven't listened to The Light yet, seems to be highly praised though

NightmareCinema16
December 8th 2012



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, it's amazing, I'll say.

Parallels
November 26th 2013



6641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ITS THE PAIN OF PURE ELATION I CANT LIVE WITHOUT
I CANT LIVE WITHOUT
I CANT LIVE WITH



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