Spock's Beard
The Light


4.0
excellent

Review

by NightmareCinema16 USER (36 Reviews)
January 11th, 2013 | 29 replies | 2,753 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Spock’s Beard sets a safe foundation with their debut, The Light.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

The world is a revolving place. It also continues to evolve in mystery and philosophy as well. There’s not always a tale of the earth and space that can be foretold and there is still one concept that confuses the human mind: the light. The light has served the purpose of giving mankind a belief system. It has also given the human mind the ability to war and plague each other. It has also provoked the influential minds of famous (or infamous, for retrospect) people all over the world such as Mahatma Ghandi, Adolf Hitler, J.S. Bach, Abraham Lincoln, and many others to either make good decisions or bad ones. But did/does anyone truly know the purpose of the light?

The musical world has many different interpretations of what the light is all about. But there’s a particular genre that seems to almost find its purpose the most. That happens to be progressive rock, quite famous for incorporating a number of concepts into their music (along with the die-hard fans that support it). Puerto Ricans in New York, Miracles and Sleepers, flashbacks from the past, heaven and hell, the beginning of the earth, you name it. And it would become very obvious again in the 1990s, a time in which a loss of creativity in the prog rock genre had stopped after going so long in the 1980s, when it took a big toll. This is when bands such as Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, and most importantly in this case, Spock’s Beard, were getting very close to finding an answer to many of those mysteries. Of the three, Spock’s Beard would make the closest attempts to find the true purpose of “the light” and sets off onto a safe start in their debut album, The Light.

The Light, as a track, is Spock’s Beard’s own interpretation of the light. One part of the song you have to analyze very carefully is its lyrics. They give The Light a full, embodied story form, thus making the album more interesting. It also gives the listener a trip through a variety of scenarios that perplex the mind flow it with nostalgia and makes it worth listening to several times. One of the most nostalgic examples is Return of the Catfishman, which lyrics are absolutely extroverted, twisted, and rather odd in a good way. You also get the contrast between the serious, and the…well…insane side of the tale. To top it all off, the other band members give a great sense of instrumentation to the vocals and the song in general, making it a worthwhile experience, altogether.

Another element you might notice about this album is that it sounds like a modern take of Yes’s Close to the Edge. Take for example: the track, The Light, holds some similarities to the lengthy ballad, Close to the Edge, whereas On the Edge sustains an upbeat attitude of that similar to Siberian Khatru. There are a few noticeable differences, however. Spock’s beard doesn’t slow down much and tends to be heavier than Close to the Edge was. It also has some lyrical contrast as well. When you look on the scale of the lyric-style, Yes tends to lean closer to the traditional side of progressive rock, while Spock’s Beard takes more of a modern approach to their album. Spock’s Beard also tends to be influenced by two other groups: King Crimson and Kansas. Take for example, One Man, a movement from the Light, has a set of distorted vocals done very well by Neal Morse that show similarity between that and 21st Century Schizoid Man. Being influenced by Kansas, on the other hand, isn’t incredibly beneficial. However, Spock’s Beard seems to use it to their advantage. What elements that were well done in Leftoverture were refined in The Light, only sounding better.

Although The Light shows a lot of influences throughout the album, it may also lead to a few problems. One problem that is particularly noticeable is originality. While The Light doesn’t stray away from a Spock’s Beard sound, at certain moments, the album can sound more like modern versions of other prog bands. For some listeners, it can be quite tedious, where others don’t mind it that much. So originality, in end, can teeter-totter in either direction depending on the person.

The Light also has a particular difficult point to work through. One part of the massive 23 minute The Water, FU/I’m Sorry, contains some of the most questionable lyrics that Spock’s Beard has ever made. When you start throwing the f-bomb around about 10-20 times, it will easily startle and annoy the listener. All of the other movements in The Water are much more comfortable and fun to listen to, and eventually make up for all the unnecessary hype that had done damage to the song.

Most of what Spock’s Beard does in The Light that’s good generally outbalances what’s bad. What’s most important about The Light is that it remains within the safe distance of balance, composure, and complexity. It doesn’t heavily rely on solos, which gives all the band members a balanced sound and more of a frame of complexity to work with. So rather than focus on particular band members, like Ryo Okumato or Alan Morse, who could steal the show for most of the album, you get more of the enjoyable prog sound that the fans tend to look for.

In the end, The Light gets Spock’s Beard on a good start. It delivers a brilliant self-titled track and returns with the complexity, bombast, and eccentric style that progressive rock fans love. It also shows Spock’s Beard’s influences, ranging from King Crimson to Kansas, and perhaps a need to expand more on originality, so that the two can be equal in the next album. It also shows that constant swearing just doesn’t cut it, and will cause damage. And when these equal out, there is still enough other good elements that make this album an enjoyable experience. In conclusion, Spock’s Beard mostly gets it right and sets a safe foundation.



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user ratings (51)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
NightmareCinema16
January 10th 2013



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Replacement. Replacement I say. It's also Spock's Beard, so difficult to write I also say. :D

demigod!
January 10th 2013



43792 Comments


live long

Digging: Black Flag - My War

NightmareCinema16
January 10th 2013



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish. I just got over a god-awful week.

demigod!
January 10th 2013



43792 Comments


Mine has been tiring but not awful fortunately. Sorry to hear

NightmareCinema16
January 10th 2013



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll be ok, eventually. Kind've hope that Jethro and the others are still around.

demigod!
January 10th 2013



43792 Comments


Jethro still posts as far as I know. and there are lots of proggies still around here just wait

NightmareCinema16
January 10th 2013



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll just give it some time. Bands like Spock's Beard are more on the obscure end of the prog pool.

Keyblade
January 11th 2013



14139 Comments


spock's beard rules. have yet to hear this one.

Digging: Paraxism - .Xism Excursion

NightmareCinema16
January 11th 2013



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You'd probably like it. My personal favorite is V.

CK
January 11th 2013



4872 Comments


Did this really not have a review already?! Damn, this is great stuff

NightmareCinema16
January 11th 2013



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So true.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2013



19381 Comments


Cool review man have a POS

Digging: Musk Ox - Woodfall

Mad.
January 11th 2013



3566 Comments


Only stuff I've heard by this band is the first few tracks from Snow, which were really cheesy... any other recommendations where I should start that I'd like more?

Digging: Dwellers - Pagan Fruit

Jethro42
January 11th 2013



12351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good job on the review, Nightmare. Song 'The Light' is the first one I've heard by them and it remains my fave (tied with 'Time as Come' from 'Beware of Darkness'). And I agree with you, 'V' is arguably their best album, tied with Snow.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 11th 2013



7305 Comments


Great review. Pos'd hard.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
January 11th 2013



19896 Comments


Nice reivew Nightmare, pos'd. I like this album from what I remember but haven't listened to it in a long time, need to recheck it at some point.

NightmareCinema16
January 12th 2013



2016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, everyone. I put quite a bit of time into this one. The Light really needed a review someday, so I gave it to the music community.

MeatSalad
March 3rd 2013



14093 Comments


i'd like this but can't find a link

Digging: Love - Forever Changes

pissbore
March 3rd 2013



9935 Comments


sweet band name

demigod!
March 3rd 2013



43792 Comments


agreed hard



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