Author Topic: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The First Twenty Years and Recap  (Read 12346 times)

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #140 on: October 11, 2015, 02:40:02 PM »
Very true.  It's just an easy one to make because Spock's/Neal was heavily influenced by Genesis, and in both cases, the drummer took over as the lead singer.

Also, I didn't mention the FE bonus tracks because neither are noteworthy at all.  From the Messenger is okay as a mellow instrumental, while Moth of Many Flames is Exhibit A as to why Alan Morse should NEVER sing lead vocals. :lol :lol

Offline Orbert

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #141 on: October 11, 2015, 06:04:07 PM »
The parallel is in the band's leader (as perceived by the public, even if we now know the difference is quite substantial) leaving, and the band carrying on not by replacing him, but by merely continuing with the remaining band members.

I agree that in reality, it would be more like Steven leaving Porcupine Tree.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #142 on: October 12, 2015, 01:17:53 AM »
I remember listening to this album once, not even knowing Neal took off. I guess it was just before my DTF days, and where are you supposed to get your prog news instead of on DTF, right? So not hearing Neal was a shock, never listened to the album again.

Now I listen to it as a first of 6 albums by a new group, and with an open mind, there are a lot of things I like. I really love Nick's voice, have always really liked his drumming. The songwriting is ok, some parts are quite good even, but nothing as outstanding as the high points of one of the first six albums.

I'm only as far as East Of Eden, West Of Memphis right now, I'm looking forward to A Guy Named Sid, as I never really care about lyrics, and love epics.
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Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #143 on: October 12, 2015, 07:08:54 AM »
I don't like that many songs from the album. The epic has some great bits, Onomatopoeia is pretty rockin', but that's about it. They were yet to find themselves without Neal, and I think they pull it off extremely well on the next record. 

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #144 on: October 13, 2015, 02:21:48 AM »
I was shocked when Neal announced his departure and was really surprised when the rest of the guys decided to carry on. After all Neal wasnít only the lead singer, keyboard and occasional guitar player and charismatic frontman, he wrote (almost) all of the songs, he was Spockís Beard as much as Steven Wilson is Porcupine Tree or Mikael Akerfeldt is Opeth or Daniel GildenlŲw is Pain Of Salvation etc.

Because of this Feel Euphoria is a very important album in their career. If this would have tanked Iím sure there would be no more Spockís Beard today.

Itís no surprise that Feel Euphoria sounds different. Itís more rocking and maybe less proggy. I like this album but itís not as great as others. It hinted at the direction they would go in the future but on the whole itís my least favorite SB record.

Nick does a real good job at singing and Ryo really took over on the keyboards and this will become more and more obvious on the coming records.

Most of the songs are good but for me there are no really standout tracks. My favorites would be Ghosts Of Autumn and Onomatopeia. A Guy named Sid is the attempt at an epic, but for me itís more a bunch of songs that have some recurring lyrical and musical themes than a cohesive piece of music. For me, Neal was definitely better at glueing the different musical sections together and creating epics with a constant flow.

My conclusion: good enough album that kept me interested in the band. Mission accomplished.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #145 on: October 13, 2015, 07:53:51 AM »
Finished my listen this morning.

It is definitely a good, and interesting album.  Better than I remember.

But it is still, to me, marked by what it's not than what it is.  It will probably always rank for me at the bottom of the SB discography.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #146 on: October 13, 2015, 09:47:30 PM »
Not surprised to see many ranking this near the bottom, but I am shocked to see some put it at the bottom considering the self-titled album exists. 

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #147 on: October 13, 2015, 11:51:40 PM »
Well it's easy to explain: the self-titled is better  ;D

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #148 on: October 14, 2015, 01:31:58 AM »
The self titled is at the very bottom for me. This one is just slightly above. I gave it another spin yesterday, the epic suite is better than I remembered it, though.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. There's a place for you to start
« Reply #149 on: October 15, 2015, 06:33:00 AM »
Having not discovered SB until the mid-00s, and not diving into all the details of the history, I didn't know the significance of this being the first post-Neal album.  I do rank it 2nd from the bottom (s/t being at the bottom), but suspect that when I listen to it later today, it might be a little refreshing.  According to my iTunes library, I've spun it 7 times, and honestly, the only tune I could remember anything about is the opener.  I can't recall a single melody, lyric, or anything from any other song.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #150 on: October 16, 2015, 06:04:31 PM »
Octane



The beginning of 2005 saw the release of the band's 8th studio album, appropriately titled Octane, and the second featuring Nick D'Virgilio on lead vocals.  Despite liking most of it, I was initially somewhat disappointed by this record, largely because it seemed to lack anything really great. Even the songs I liked the most are first were ones I thought didn't touch the best songs from all of their other albums. However, over time I have grown to really like this record, and while still not one of my favorites, it is a very good and consistent listen.

The first seven tracks comprise the "A Flash Before My Eyes" suite.  Similar to "Healing Colors..." in style and scope, it is more of a suite of songs than a single song. "She Is Everything" is the clear standout from it, featuring a terrific guitar solo by Alan Morse, but "I Wouldn't Let It Go" is a lovely tune that should receive more stand-alone praise than it gets. The opener, "The Ballet of the Impact," is a really good opener, kicked off by the mellotron! I am still a little iffy on the vocal melodies in "Surfing Down the Avalanche," which are a bit clunky, but musically it's great, and it sure does rock. "Climbing Up That Hill" is a nice little rocker, "Letting Go" provides a nice atmosphere leading into the conclusion that is "Of the Beauty of It All," which ends the suite in a very dramatic fashion. Overall, this collection of seven songs is really, really good, and whether you call it a single song or a suite, it works very well.

The second half of the album beings with "NWC," a fun little instrumental that isn't overly notable, but sure does sound nice when listening to this record from start to finish. "There Was a Time" is quite possibly the catchiest song of the NDV-led era. I truly believe it is a song that could have been somewhat popular if Spock's Beard were a known band at all.

"The Planet's Hum" is, to me, the best four minutes and 42 seconds on this record. Just a fantastic tune, featuring some beastly playing by David Meros, who you'd swear was channeling Chris Squire in this song. This song is impossible to not sing along to.  It took me a long time to really get into "Watching the Tide," but I enjoy it a lot now. The intro with just NDV singing over a piano is just gorgeous.  "As Long As We Ride," the closer, is a song that has always seemed to get knocked for not being that good, but while not great, it's still a fun, little rocker that I can always crank up and enjoy in the car.

Overall, this is a damn fine record, and it's a testament to how good this band has been when a record this good is probably one of their least best efforts.

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #151 on: October 16, 2015, 07:34:56 PM »
This album was the band's newest release when I became a fan, and so, like DT's Train Of Thought the previous year for me, this became one of the most played albums of mine in 2005. The opening epic suite was one of my favorites, and it still holds up to this day. Sure, it's not so much of a full-length, non-stop piece as much as it is a series of songs that tell a singular story, a mini-concept album in its own right, but each of its pieces ranges from good to great and very strong. Some of the band's best writing and performing lies within these 30 minutes or so of music.

The other five smaller tracks that make up the main album are pretty good, though I might argue that four of the five bonus songs are just AS GOOD, if not BETTER than those five tracks. "NWC" is a solid instrumental and "There Was A Time" is a catchy love song. "The Planet's Hum" is one of the best tracks on the album with a great opening bit, while "Watching The Tide" is quite a cool down before the rousing closer in "As Long As We Ride".

The bonus tracks, however, feature some great music, especially in "When She's Gone" and "Follow Me To Sleep".

I've always had this album as a near 80-minute masterpiece with the main album, followed by the 5 bonus tracks on the 2nd disc, all burned onto one 80-minute CD-r. It's pretty perfect because the album closes with (yet another) Ryo solo in "Listening To The Sky", which was used to open on tour for this album, briefly heard as the intro on Gluttons For Punishment, which then goes into the opening of "A Flash Before My Eyes". The way the CD-r plays, it closes with "Listening To The Sky" before looping back to AFBME, quite perfectly, too. Thank goodness all of these tracks fit onto one CD-r!!!

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Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #152 on: October 17, 2015, 03:14:07 AM »
This album is just great.

I absolutely love the suite, it's arguably their best suite. She is everything is gorgeous, Climbing up that hill is very infectious, and Surfing down the avalanche is truly an insane, aggressive number, probably one of their heaviest songs ever. The glockenspiel bit that ends I wouldn't let it go is also very touching, if I can single out one of those brief moments that make songs special.

The shorter tunes are also damn good. There was a time is a hit, and I really enjoy As long as we ride as well, another great rocker. The only song I don't care for is Watching the tide, it's not very memorable.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #153 on: October 17, 2015, 08:17:36 AM »
Similar to Marc, this was the active album when I became a fan, so got a lot of spins.  Still holds up to this day, even though I don't go to it very often.  It's certainly a vast improvement over Feel Euphoria (which, after listening to it the other day, is still pretty mediocre to my ears).  Pretty much agree with all that's been said.  There are no clunkers on this one.  To me, all tunes are a B+ and greater.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #154 on: October 17, 2015, 08:38:02 AM »
Honestly, I think the comparisons to FE were why I stubbornly didn't give Octane its props for a while.  It seemed like everyone at the time was saying Octane was an improvement over Feel Euphoria, which I disagreed with, so, being a knucklehead at the time :lol, I kind of took the "Octane isn't that great" stance.  I still think FE is slightly better, but it's close.

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #155 on: October 17, 2015, 08:38:28 PM »
Honestly, I think the comparisons to FE were why I stubbornly didn't give Octane its props for a while.  It seemed like everyone at the time was saying Octane was an improvement over Feel Euphoria, which I disagreed with, so, being a knucklehead at the time :lol, I kind of took the "Octane isn't that great" stance.  I still think FE is slightly better, but it's close.

Which I would have to think has to do with the knowledge of the ongoings of the band, timing, when/how you listened to each etc...  I think after Day For Night and Octane, I naturally went to all the "classic" Neal-era albums, and didn't get to FE until a few years later.  Up to this point in the discog, FE is by far the weakest in my ears.  And it's not even close. 

Until .... to be continued
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Offline gptyk

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #156 on: October 17, 2015, 09:46:21 PM »
OK, I went from lurker to signing up just for this thread.  (And I promise I'll get on-topic soon)

I heard "The Light" within a year of it's release and was hooked. MegaHooked, and bad. No longer was I stuck in the past with old Genesis, Yes, Kansas, etc, again and again. Spock's brought me new tunes, and phenomenally good ones at that.

Saw em in hollywood. Saw em with DT. Saw em as often as I could. I'm a fan. Drift away every now and then for a few months, but come back for some serious listens. I've been tracking the entire studio discography for the last few days.

To me, Spock's is like pizza (or sex), even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. "Moth to Many Flames"  is downright terrible by Spock's beard standards... But it's still better than a whole lot of crap out there.

I loved the Neal era. I'll crank up the Healing Colors suite to ear-splitting volumes every few weeks or so. Just love that stuff.  I could go on and on about the first 7 albums, but that's off topic at this point. 

Back on topic: I really like Octane. Nope, not the best of the studio records, but it's solid. KevShmev's analysis is pretty good.  Nick has some texture to his voice that I really like on here. I really liked FE too.

For all their records, it takes 2-3 spins through before I really get into it. But I've grown to appreciate most of what they put out. And they do a lot in 6/8 and I'm sucker for 6/8 -- "Carry On" is playing as I type this...


Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #157 on: October 18, 2015, 05:32:53 AM »
Wow, that's what I call a great first post! Welcome aboard.  :metal

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #158 on: October 18, 2015, 06:24:44 AM »
Welcome, gptyk! Good to see another Spock's fan here. :hat

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #159 on: October 19, 2015, 01:48:24 AM »
I really like this album and it's a big step up from Feel Euphoria.

The Flash Before My Eyes Suite is just so great. Again this is more a series of (connected) songs than a real epic but it works really well. Hard for me to chose the standout tracks because they're all great, maybe She Is everything is a notch better but so are The Ballet Of The Impact (that intro  :metal) and I Wouldn't Let It Go.

The rest of the songs outside the suite are nice but they don't grab me that much. Some good songs to sing along too.

And here I think Nick really has found his style as a singer. Not that he was bad on FE but here he sounds much more comfortable with his role and adds so much variety and feeling.

If it wasn't for X this would be my favorite Nick album.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #160 on: October 20, 2015, 08:35:00 PM »
Next update is coming soon, but it's been a while since I have listened to the next album, because I am iffy on much of it, so I need to have time to listen to it so my review can be complete.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Living life at ease
« Reply #161 on: October 21, 2015, 08:06:31 AM »
Finished up my re-listen of Octane.

It was OK.  There wasn't anything wrong with it, and it was certainly a step up from Feel Euphoria, but for me there was nothing outstanding about it. 
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #162 on: October 21, 2015, 06:06:31 PM »
Okay, if I wait till I listen to this album again, it'll take weeks, so to heck with it...

Spock's Beard




The band's 9th album, released in the fall of 2006, was their first and, to date for me, their only major disappointment.  It's not a bad album, but much of it is just kind of there, to the point where I have little memory of quite a few of the songs.  It does have three standouts - "With Your Kiss," "Skeletons at the Feast" and "On a Perfect Day" - all of which are really good tunes.  The tribal drums section of "With Your Kiss" is pretty awesome and always worthy of cranking up to the max.  The middle section of "On a Perfect Day" with that piano work and nice little understated guitar solo is pretty sweet.  On the flip side, "Is This Love" still sticks in my head as a song that should have ended up on the cutting floor.  "Rearranged" isn't a bad song, but it's not one I ever go for.  I don't have much else to say about this record. Again, it's not a bad album, and it does have its worthy songs, but it is by far their least best album to date.

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #163 on: October 22, 2015, 04:31:37 AM »
The opening song, On a perfect day, is a masterpiece. Easily one of their better crafted tunes. Skeletons at the feast is an okay instrumental, Is this love is a tolerable rocker and All of this is fairly pretty. It all goes downhill from there with not a single song being even remotely interesting. The unlistenable Hereafter gets my vote as one of the worst SB songs, and there's not a single thing about the suite that I find memorable.

It's a shame that a self titled album is way too average by the band's standards. My least favorite album.

Offline Onno

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #164 on: October 22, 2015, 07:22:14 AM »
I listened to this album last weekend on a train journey and I basically only liked On A Perfect Day, Skeletons on a Feast and the last song (Rearranged?). Of those I think the first two are absolutely fantastic and Rearranged is pretty decent, but I didn't like the rest of the album.

Offline RoeDent

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #165 on: October 22, 2015, 08:02:35 AM »
On a Perfect Day was the first SB song I heard and got into, but the album is not in my collection yet.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #166 on: October 22, 2015, 08:18:38 AM »
I may listen to it again, but I don't really care for the album very much.
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Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #167 on: October 22, 2015, 11:44:31 AM »
How was this album received initially?

The reviews I read here and there show me that it was apparently considered a comeback by some, it was probably the idea of making it the self-titled album that reinforced the message of "SB is back." But now, after the generally well received X and BNADS, people must have a hard time looking back at it and thinking that it was a return to form.

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #168 on: October 23, 2015, 01:18:34 AM »
When this came out it was pretty much what I expected, it's kinda similar in style to Octane.

On A Perfect Day is great, Skeletons is good but I never was so keen on SB instrumentals. All That's Left is another really great (and mostly overlooked) song. With Your Kiss is a bit all over the place but I like it nonetheless. The Slow Crash Landing Man and the As Far As The Mind Can See-Suite are also good songs. The rest is listenable but not really memorable to me.

So all in all a good record for me, way better than Feel Euphoria but not as good as Octane.

Edit: just listened to it again and Rearranged is a really good sing-along rocker.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2015, 05:24:56 AM by Kwyjibo »

Offline kaos2900

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #169 on: October 23, 2015, 06:31:03 AM »
So all in all a good record for me, way better than Feel Euphoria but not as good as Octane.

This sums up my feelings on the record. It's good but not the best SB out there. I love Octane.

Offline gptyk

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #170 on: October 23, 2015, 04:30:27 PM »
Octane is better. Heck, I like FE a bit better - i.e. I'd rather track all the way through FE than SB.

"On a Perfect Day" is really good. So is "Skeletons".
Then we get "Is this love" which to me is pretty dang forgettable. Kinda breaks up the record if listening straight through. Much better if played on random after some Night Ranger or something.
"All That's Left" is OK. Not a standout, but lots of what feels like 6/4... and I'm a sucker for that.
"With Your Kiss" is kickass. Great vocal timbre, flows well from part to part. This one is a tasty slice of bearddom.
"Sometiimes they stay...." Meh... Better than Is This Love, but not by much. Great on random, rather not track it through.
"Slow Crash Landing Man" is ok. I'll listen to it. Some great organ sound and I like the music. Vocals put me off a bit somehow.
"Wherever You Stand"  Well, I'd say it's better than some random Loverboy B-side.
I'd rather listen to Loverboy than "Hereafter". Well, maybe not that extreme but I'll never seek it out just to listen to it. I've skipped it more than once.
I seem to be alone in really liking "As Far as The Mind Can See." Yup, it's not Healing Colors, but it's pretty good. I will seek this one out to track it through. Pt3 is the sing-along track of the record to me.
"Rearranged" is an also-ran. It's ok and all, just not special.

All in all, a decent record. But not great.

I have to admit I don't pay much attention to the lyrics much when listening to SB. Got in that habit in the Neal era when the lyrical content was all the same subject. (Ditto Transalantic and Flying Colors - and I could never force myself to pick up Neal's solo stuff post beard)




Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #171 on: October 23, 2015, 05:27:34 PM »
Being the first brand spankin' new album by the band after I became a mega-fan, this is an album that got a LOT of spins from me when it was new. Even today, I find myself listening to it as often as FE or even Octane, though never as much as X to be honest.

The first two tracks, as most say, are some of the best on the album, and by the band from that era. "On A Perfect Day" is a great opener, right up there with "Day For Night", "Beware Of Darkness" and others, while the following instrumental is another musical treat for the ears with some fast-paced and tricky drumming and riffing going on.

I've actually grown to LIKE "Is This Love?" a lot over the years. It's very quirky and rocks pretty hard, and I especially like that short unison bit in the middle before the last chorus. I imagine this is something akin to other weird and quirky tracks the band had done with Neal, but with the D'Virgilio-edge to it, harder and rockier over-all. "All That's Left" is the first of a series of slower songs/ballads on the album, but I do enjoy this one quite a bit, and the 3/4 or 6/4 it's in is pretty soothing.

The epic "With Your Kiss" is a great song, right up there with other 10-12 minute songs by the band, and it's a shame it took SB two albums since Neal to write a track like this, although we'd get a few more on the following album. This is a highlight of the album IMO, and one track I wish they would've released live on a Nick-era live album! "Sometimes They Stay, Sometimes They Go" is the first of REALLY OK tracks on here, and I do agree, it could've best been left as a B-Side or a Bonus Disc track. It's not TERRIBLE by music standards, but by SB standards, it's average.

"Wherever You Stand" is OK as well, and a bit forgettable after awhile. "Hereafter" is the token piano ballad, and I love Nick's vocals on this one, as well as Ryo's piano playing. This is a great piece and it sets up the four-part epic pretty well (I've always enjoyed the soft-tune before an epic idea, all the way back to Genesis' Foxtrot).

The four part "As Far As The  Mind Can See" is pretty good, and a bit tighter than "A Guy Named Sid", and works fairly well as a single piece, while also having highly enjoyable individual tracks, especially parts 3 and 4. The closing "Rearranged" is OK, and works as an album-closer over-all, but it's fairly average in terms of SB songs, and doesn't quite live up to songs like "On The Edge" or "Carry On" in terms of short closing songs (rather than closing with an epic).

Over-all, there's some great highs on here, but some boringly average mids/lows, which kind of drags the whole album down a bit, but they had some great ideas on here. It wasn't until the next album where they took those highs and focused them into 8 great songs with consistent high quality. If FE was the shaky first album and Octane was their sophomore settling, this was them trying to experiment a bit more again, but after three kind-of different albums, they definitely found their sound with the fourth, but more on that in a couple of weeks (or whenever we get to it).

-Marc.
ATTENTION - I am currently taking a hiatus from running any Survivors at the moment,
 but feel free to check out others' that are running in the Polls/Survivors Forum!!! Maybe in the coming months, I'll start up again with a different band if there is interest...

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Spock's Beard
« Reply #172 on: October 23, 2015, 06:12:15 PM »
How was this album received initially?

 

Not sure, but as a longtime prog fan, the fall of 2006 was admittedly an odd time for me as a fan of the genre.  That was my last semester of college, so that kept me nice and busy, and 2006 was smack dab in the middle of a several year period where I wasn't necessarily off of prog, but was getting into some post rock and non-prog bands like Radiohead, Death Cab and Foo Fighters, so while it would be easy for me to say that Spock's Beard's self-titled album probably didn't get my full attention because of those reasons, a full-fledged prog album from earlier that year (Paradox Hotel by The Flower Kings) did, and that one slayed me and still does, so I think it really just comes back to this album just not being that great.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #173 on: October 31, 2015, 08:45:52 AM »
X



For their 10th studio album, Spock's Beard ran a special promotion ahead of time where fans could order the special edition of the record, which helped fund the record, and as a result, the special edition contained a bonus song called "Their Names Escape Me," which had a long section in the latter half of the song where the name of every person who contributed was sang/spoken. Despite being a big fan, I did not do this, since the cost was not cheap (and I was strapped for cash at the time), and I have to admit that after the decline in quality on the last album, I was more than a bit nervous about paying that much for an album that might not be that good.  I was wrong.  When X came out, to say I was pleasantly surprised would be the understatement of the year; I was floored.

The first track, "Edge of the In-Between," gets us off to a great start, with a great blend of prog and catchy pop. The vocal melodies are about as catchy as catchy gets, while the intro of the song and the extended instrumental section in the middle both scream prog.  This was their best opening track since "At the End of the Day" from V.

The next two songs are the only ones I would say are merely good. I never got out of my way to listen to "Kamikaze" or "The Emperor's Clothes," but both are enjoyable enough within the context of full listens of the album.  Neither are anything special, though.

Now, if you want to talk special, I present to you, "From the Darkness," which is 17 minutes of pure awesomeness.  I love how, instead of the traditional Beard slow burn intro for a longer song, this kicks off rocking out and the vocals begin 30 seconds into the song.  It lets you know that it is going to be a different kind of arrangement, yet we still get some amazing mellow sections. That piano lead Ryo plays a little after the 9-minute mark is one of my favorite moments on the entire record, and shows was a great pianist he is.  When Neal was in the band, Ryo played mainly just mellotron and hammond organ, but since taking over all of the keyboard duties, his skills on the piano have really stood out.  This is a top 10 Beard tune, in my book.

"The Quiet House" seems to be a song that gets overlooked a lot, but I love it. That main riff, first introduced by David Meros on the bass, and then played both Meros and Alan Morse, is great, and hey look at that, we have another tremendous section led by a great melody on the piano, just after the 4-minute mark.  That whole section with Ryo playing the piano and NDV singing is just gorgeous. Great tune.

The aforementioned "Their Names Escape Me" is a good song, even if the latter half of the song is a bit tedious with repeated listens thanks to the barrage of names. I wish they would have done a shorter version of the song, too, since the meat of the song (first four minutes) is pretty darn good.

"The Man Behind the Curtain" has kind of a Kansas vibe at times, I think because the main synth lead that kicks off the song sounds like something Kansas would have played on the violin.  That is always the impression I get whenever I hear it. Really good song, featuring some nice dynamic shifts yet again, and the instrumental section is one of the more underrated parts of the album, in the sense that I never see people talk about it.

The final song, "Jaws of Heaven," is prog perfection.  A top 5 Beard song by just about any measure, this is just as awesome to me now as it was back in 2010 when this record came out.  I have listened to this song more times than I can count, and it is still one of my favorite songs by any artist.

We didn't know it at the time, but this would be Nick D'Virgilio's final record with the band.  He departed late in 2011 because he wanted to focus on his work with Cirque de Soleil, a traveling theater production, and while he never said it and probably will never say it, the fact that the Beard have a hard time making any money, because of their decreased fan base, had to have a large hand in his decision; a man has to eat, ya know. ;)  At least he went out on "top," with the Beard giving us a fantastic record, undoubtedly the best of the NDV-led era. :coolio :hat

Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #174 on: October 31, 2015, 08:53:36 AM »
Regarding the s/t ... Still better than FE

X ... fantastic album.  I don't go to it often, but am always pleased when I do. 
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