Author Topic: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The First Twenty Years and Recap  (Read 12348 times)

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Offline Orbert

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #175 on: October 31, 2015, 10:48:41 AM »
I like this one, too.  I have to admit, I have a downloaded copy of the Special Edition, and I'd forgotten all about the names thing, until that track started playing.  I think it's cool.  Yeah, it does go on a bit, but the harmonies and chords change, and the intensity builds; it's not just the same thing over and over.  They didn't have to do that.  I imagine the people who contributed wondering whether it's cooler to have your name be one of the first, or later on, sung in three-part harmony.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #176 on: October 31, 2015, 01:03:05 PM »
Good point, that the music does have a natural flow and build during the name-naming part. ;) 

I like the kind of creepy and dark vibe of the song as well, which is rather different for them.

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #177 on: October 31, 2015, 01:21:16 PM »
Also, I like the twist with the title itself.  "Their Names Escape Me" is a known expression with a completely different meaning.  If you're hanging out with someone, and they're trying to think of someone's name, but it escapes them, torture is rarely an acceptable action for getting them to give up the name.

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #178 on: October 31, 2015, 02:09:10 PM »
I started listening to SB in January of 2008 and I liked them a lot. To be honest, I liked the Neal era. But once X came out, I became a true fan of the band. This album is just tremendous, the longer songs are all classics. Jaws of heaven truly is one of the best songs they've ever come up with, and The Quiet house, Edge of the in-between and From the darkness also stood the test of time.

I was so floored by this album that I made the trip to see the guys live in the early fall of 2010 and they played the entire album. Such a tremendous performance and my only time seeing them with NDV. His departure was unexpected, but after being trained by MP leaving DT, I knew how to deal with it. The fans needed to move on, which wasn't as hard once the new album was announced and some snippets were released.

Offline RoeDent

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #179 on: October 31, 2015, 02:30:21 PM »
X is a marvellous album. With 7 tracks and over 70 minutes of music, the album is generously-filled too, even the standard version. Of the two 'epics', From the Darkness feels more like four songs joined together, as no themes are repeated in any of the subsequent sections. Unless someone who knows the music better can come up with a subtle reference within. Jaws of Heaven, on the other hand, feels like a single 16-minute song, with the piano solo in part 1 reappearing and becoming the main foundation upon which the rest of the song is based.

My favourite song on the album though is The Quiet House. This was what made me get the album. Wonderful chorus to it.
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Offline Onno

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #180 on: October 31, 2015, 02:33:45 PM »
It's my second favourite SB album  :tup

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #181 on: October 31, 2015, 03:32:19 PM »
After three albums, it seemed that the band had finally settled in and found the sound they were looking for, and the sound I, as a fan of 5 years or so at the time, was looking for. Their tenth album felt like the culmination of all the best bits of their previous three albums, where everyone brought their A-game to the studio, writing and performing some of the best material the band has ever written.

"Edge Of The In-Between" is indeed one of the best openers that SB has ever penned, and it immediately catches you with some great melodies. If "On A Perfect Day" was pretty solid, this was a diamond, and I'll echo the sentiment that this was their best opener since "At The End Of The Day" five albums previous.

The next two tracks are pretty good, above-average SB IMO - "Kamikaze" continues the tradition of instrumentals (in the footsteps of "NWC" and "Skeletons At The Feast"), but this one feels a bit more jammy and proggy at times, with some amazing keyboard work by Ryo; "The Emperor's Clothes" is a silly but fun story with some credit due to Neal Morse!!! Who knew we'd see THAT name on the SB credits list ever again?! (And wouldn't you know it, we would once more on the follow-up album, but more on that when we get there).

The fourth song, the entirety of side B of the record, is the epic "From The Darkness", a Top 10 SB tune for me, and it's a much better D'Virgilio-penned epic than "As Far As The Mind Can See", though both are four parts and tread some similar musical ground, the one here just feels better to me. Definitely a highlight track when the album came out, and still today.

Following that first major epic, "The Quiet House" is a song that took me awhile to get into, but it's grown on me over the years. "Their Names Escape Me" is a novel idea, and while one might feel like its novelty would wear off after repeated listens, I still like it as much as I ever have. For those who don't like it as much because of the names-gimmick, there's always the version with the sax solo in the second half (which I feel should have been included in the upcoming compilation as a B-side/rarity...). "The Man Behind The Curtain" is another quirky SB tune that feels classic but has the Nick-Era edge to it, along with some great lyrics here and there.

The closing epic "Jaws Of Heaven" is a heavy and dark piece, and while it has four subsections, it feels like one whole song with a couple recurring themes throughout. It's definitely a different way for the band to close an album, but it's some of the best music on the whole thing. I would love to see the current line-up pull this one out sometime!

Over-all, this was the kind of album I had hoped for with SB9 after the rousing Octane, but we got what we did and had to wait four years between that and this (which felt like a LOOOONG time after just becoming a fan). Had I had the money at the time, I would've paid for the Super Special Limited Deluxe Edition to have my name in the song and booklet, but I was strapped for cash and couldn't. Every time I hear the song, I think about where my name could have fit or how it could've been sung, and with every listen of that song, I regret not having the money for it at the time. Ah well, the fans who DID manage to pay for that and help fund the band are EXTREMELY lucky and their names get to be heard by me (and tens of thousands of other SB fans worldwide) every time the song is played.

In hindsight, this was a stellar album for NDV to bow out on, but it was still a sad day to see him leave. Lead vocalist, drummer, and a writer, all in one man, and so two others had to replace him, but little did I know at the time that their next effort would be just as good, and proved that the band, despite it's second member loss, could still strive as a musical unit and create songs that still had the SB sound (which now has a collection of no less than 7 people writing for it)!!!

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Offline Mosh

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #182 on: October 31, 2015, 09:18:49 PM »
 X is the first album since Neal left where it feels like the band has found its sound and can exist beyond the shadow of Neal Morse. It's very unfortunate that it also ended up being NDV's last. But it stands up to the early stuff for the most part. One of their best.
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Offline devieira73

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #183 on: November 01, 2015, 10:21:34 AM »
I like this one, too.  I have to admit, I have a downloaded copy of the Special Edition, and I'd forgotten all about the names thing, until that track started playing.  I think it's cool.  Yeah, it does go on a bit, but the harmonies and chords change, and the intensity builds; it's not just the same thing over and over.  They didn't have to do that.  I imagine the people who contributed wondering whether it's cooler to have your name be one of the first, or later on, sung in three-part harmony.
In case you don't know, there's a nameless version of this song (256 kbps) on the DVD The X Tour Live.
By the way, IMO I've never seen a coolest or more original or more artistical way to any band to say thank you to the fans like this.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #184 on: November 01, 2015, 11:04:39 AM »
That's cool that they played the song on the tour.  Kinda wacky to do it without the names, though, but I understand why.

Offline devieira73

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #185 on: November 01, 2015, 12:12:57 PM »
That's cool that they played the song on the tour.  Kinda wacky to do it without the names, though, but I understand why.
In fact, it's a studio version (audio only) and it's the in DVD not in the CDs.
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #186 on: November 01, 2015, 01:34:20 PM »
Correct - the song was never played live by the band, and I think the remix with the sax solo was only played as post-concert music. The remix was also released elsewhere, I believe, but can be found on youtube (as I just listened to it the other day).

I still wish we had a CD collection of the following SB tracks, readily available to fans who don't have these:
Into Fire
Stratus
Hurt
The Truth
Southside Of The Sky
Their Names Escape Me (Nameless Version)

And maybe a few others, or throw in some single edits. THAT would have been a neat compilation because some of those tracks are hard to find.

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Offline devieira73

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #187 on: November 02, 2015, 02:09:15 PM »
http://www.startrek.com/article/exclusive-interview-prog-rock-band-spocks-beard
Nothing new, just because it's cool to see the band there. ;)
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Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #188 on: November 03, 2015, 05:16:05 AM »
After three records without Neal, SB had established a new sound that I liked but didnít really love. So I hadnít really high expectations for the next one. Nonetheless I preordered this thing from their website and when it finally made its way to my post box and I listened to it for the first time, I was completely blown away.

My second favorite SB record and one of my all-time favorites.

With X they finally came out of Nealís shadow and showed that they were able to be on par or even surpass some of the ďclassicĒ records. Everything fits together, everyone brought their best ideas and performances to the studio.

Every song is great, the only song Iím not wild about is Kamikaze but itís okay as it is. The highlights are the two longest tracks, From The Darkness and Jaws Of Heaven.

Their Names Escape me works surprisingly well. To put a lot of names into a song and keep it interesting was certainly no easy task, but they did it really well.

Offline gptyk

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #189 on: November 03, 2015, 11:44:51 PM »
No doubt, this was the best NDV era beard record. Whoever said they all brought their "A" game was spot on.

The long songs are fantastic, the shorter ones are the lesser offerings on this one - but even there, when the horns come out on Emperor's Clothes, yup. I'm even hooked on that one.

I really liked NDV on all the records. He had some great texture to his voice that Neal didn't. (and Ted Leonard doesn't either, but that's for later). Now I'm also a great fan of Kevin Gilbert, and maybe some of that rubbed of on NDV.

But X was a true standout. The band is obviously in it's element on this one. Sure, it's a bit of a bummer that Nick ran off on joined the circus, but hey - I/we got some great music to listen to out of his stint with the Beard. Nothing lasts forever.

Y'all notice how much Meros contributes to the overall "Beardness?" - - I've noticed that the bass is very key to what makes the sound - particularly post-Neal.


Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #190 on: November 06, 2015, 08:21:17 AM »
Finished up my re-listen of this album this morning on the drive into work.

For me, this is definitely the best of the NDV era.  The songwriting and playing on this album are really top-notch.  Some great compositions here.

I'm not really crazy about NDV's voice (compared with Neal's or Ted's), which is one reason that era is my least favorite.  But definitely, hats off to the band for this one.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #191 on: November 06, 2015, 07:12:33 PM »
It's tough to compare the three singers.

NDV's voice isn't as warm and engaging as Neal's, but he has better range.

NDV doesn't have as good a range as Leonard, but his voice is warmer and more engaging.

Neal has the least best range of the three, but has the warmest and most engaging natural voice.

Figure that one out. :lol :lol

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #192 on: November 07, 2015, 05:31:59 AM »
I think Ted has the best overall voice.

But for me, NM is the blueprint voice for SB, so that is my favorite - because those are my favorite SB albums.

Then the Ted albums.

Then the NDV albums.
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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The crowd, they love you today
« Reply #193 on: November 07, 2015, 07:00:54 AM »
I think Ted has the best overall voice.

But for me, NM is the blueprint voice for SB, so that is my favorite - because those are my favorite SB albums.

Then the Ted albums.

Then the NDV albums.

I think I agree with all of this.  Hard to really compare Ted's 2 vs NDV's 4 albums though... especially when 2 of NDV's were mediocre regardless of his singing.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #194 on: November 07, 2015, 09:05:33 AM »
Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep



The departure of NDV led to two new members of the band: Ted Leonard, formerly of Enchant, joined as the new lead singer and secondary guitarist; and Jimmy Keegan, who had been the band's main touring drummer for years, joined as the full-time drummer.  This happened late in 2011, but it would be the spring of 2013 before the album would finally drop, their 11th, titled Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep.

I'll admit I was a bit apprehensive about this, similar to my reaction when Neal left the band, but once again, I was wrong, this time by even bigger margin. While Feel Euphoria was a pleasant surprise that I thought was really good, Brief Noctunes... floored me with how good it was. I was won over pretty quickly.

Not sure if the presence of Leonard was what brought it out, but there is more of a "rock out" vibe at times on this record than on most other Beard albums, and this is evident on the first tracks, "Hiding Out" and "I Know Your Secret," both of which are fantastic tunes. I kind of overlooked both at first, because of how much I liked certain other songs at first, but these won me over not long after.

"A Treasure Abandoned" is the song that grabbed me first; I loved the melodies, the classic proggy intro, and Leonard's vocals made me think, "Okay, they will be just fine."  Plus, his voice is different enough from the band's first two singers that instead of it sounding like they tried to pull a Journey and get a guy who sounds just like the previous guy, they found a guy who can sing really well, and the result is the band does sound a bit different. Granted, they are still prog rock at its center, but the vibe and feel is a bit different now, which I am fine with. Bands change, and I think those who get stuck on the fact that it's not the same old Beard need to get a grip and learn to love it or leave it. :P

Track 4, "Submerged," is a song brought to the band by Ted Leonard, and it's one of their catchiest ever. Heck, they even did a video for it! If I were gonna try to convert someone over to being a Beard fan, this is one of the first songs I would play. It's short enough to not lose their attention, and like I said, it's catchy as heck.

I am always pretty iffy on the songs featuring the Gentle Giant-esque multi-part harmonies, and "Afterthoughts," co-written by Neal Morse, is a big miss for me.  It brings back the quirkiness from the Neal era, but it's just a little too corny for my tastes. Pass.

"Something Very Strange" is a terrific song. I gravitate more towards the Sanctified Remix from the bonus track - it's shorter and more concise - but both versions have much to love. And this is a good example of a song they couldn't have done with Neal or NDV, since neither have the power or range to pull off this chorus as well as Leonard, who shows off his vocal chops here.

"Waiting for Me," the album closer, is another fine song. I don't love it as much as most seem to, but I still like it a ton. Alan Morse has a great solo in the middle, and the vocals are mostly good, although Leonard occasionally has this kind of awkward husky tone in his voice, which I notice a few times in this song, but it's not enough to take away from the song at all; it's just an observation. The outro is kind "A Guy Named Sid"-esque, but still a nice way to end the record.

The bonus disc is fantastic. Aside from the aforementioned alternate version of "Something Very Strange," it has one of the best songs from these sessions, "Down a Burning Road." How that song didn't make the regular disc is beyond me. "Postcards from Perdition" is a song that stands out quite a bit to me, too; great instrumental. "Wish I Were Here" and "The Man You're Afraid You Are" are both highly enjoyable as well.

Overall, a great record, and one I have gotten a ton of mileage out of. We Beard fans could breathe again, knowing the band was going to be okay, just like we did back in '03.  :coolio :hat

Offline Nick

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #195 on: November 07, 2015, 11:48:32 AM »
Ted Leonard is also of Enchant, not formerly of.

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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #196 on: November 07, 2015, 11:53:24 AM »
When the pre-orders for this came around, I jumped on it and was ready! There was no way I was going to miss this one. I was a bit apprehensive about the new line-up, but hearing Ted with them on the High Voltage album (released two years prior to BNADS) made me realize that the band were in good hands...or vocals.

Like many albums I listen to that include bonus tracks, I altered my personal playlist of the album to include the bonus tracks (except the Sanctified Remix of SVS):
1. Hiding Out
2. I Know Your Secret
3. Postcards From Perdition

4. A Treasure Abandoned
5. Submerged
6. Wish I Were Here

7. The man You're Afraid You Are
8. Afterthoughts
9. Down A Burning Road

10. Something Very Strange
11. Waiting For Me

It's just over 80 minutes, so I've been looking for 85-90 minute CDr's to burn the whole thing on to, but the way I laid it out, it would work perfectly as a double LP vinyl set!

The songs themselves are all very powerful, very SB over-all, with some refreshing moments that are unlike anything they had done before. Highlights for me include the opening "Hiding Out", which stands up there with songs like "Day For Night" and "On A Perfect Day" as being some of the best album openers the band has done, as well as the last two tracks "Something Very Strange" and "Waiting For Me", with the former being very different but amazing than standard Beard fare, and the latter being one of the best epics in the 10-12 minute range that they've done since the early Morse days!

The bonus tracks are all so good, and I wonder why they just didn't make it a double album, or just to shave some time off some of the songs to squeeze them all onto one CD, especially "Down A Burning Road" and "Postcards From Perdition". "Submerged" also makes a great would-be-single, and the third part of the Thoughts series, "Afterthoughts", features some great moments. I love the Thoughts songs, and while this doesn't top the first two, it's still pretty good to me! I kind of wish that when Nick was in the band, they had done one part, so that each era of SB would've had at least one part of the Thoughts series. Ah well. If there's ever a reunion show, I'd hope they play all 3 parts, and perhaps Neal's "Thoughts (Part 5)" as well!

Everything on this record is pretty good, about as good as their previous album, so they were riding on some great vibes. They've definitely hit a stride with great songwriting, and Ted's vocals definitely suit the band's music, as well as Jimmy's drumming, which feels a LOT like Nick for obvious reasons, but now that he's not covering Nick's parts, he's album to shine in his own way, and I can hear some differences between their styles, so I'm glad that he's able to play out the way he wants to.

I still spin this one a lot to this day as it features a lot of great songs, but with the new album this year, it's taken a bit of a back-seat, but I'll get there when we do.

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #197 on: November 07, 2015, 12:18:57 PM »
I still think X is slightly better than Brief Nocturnes... - nothing on the latter is as awesome as Jaws of Heaven or From the Darkness - but it is still pretty great overall.  It's a borderline top 5 Spock's album in my book.

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #198 on: November 07, 2015, 12:28:38 PM »
I still think X is slightly better than Brief Nocturnes... - nothing on the latter is as awesome as Jaws of Heaven or From the Darkness - but it is still pretty great overall.  It's a borderline top 5 Spock's album in my book.

I like both almost equally, but for different reasons, obviously, as they are different albums with different lead vocalists and drummers, but X is great for a band that reached it's peak, but BNADS is great for a "new" band!

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Offline jingle.boy

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #199 on: November 07, 2015, 01:41:18 PM »
I was kinda worried about this release.  I didn't know Enchant or Thought Chamber at all, so I didn't know anything about Ted's voice.  Was this gonna be a Gary Cherone-like third vocalist or ... well, name me a third lead vocalist for any successful band.  I can't think of one off the top of my head - so I was very concerned about the longevity of SB.  Boy, did we have NOTHING to worry about.  This is better than any NDV-era album (imo).  Hiding Out is a fantabulous opener, and Waiting For Me could be a top 5 SB song ... right up there with At The End Of The Day in my books - it even has a few moments that have the same kinda vibe.

Bonus disc is great as well, so we were really treated with a great album - despite the quirky Afterthoughts.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #200 on: November 07, 2015, 01:45:47 PM »
This is better than any NDV-era album (imo).
Agreed. 

It's been a few months since I've listened to it, but I shall certainly do so again this week.  I absolutely love Submerged and A Treasure Abandoned, and Waiting For Me and Hiding Out are also fantastic.  Just a really consistent, high-energy album.
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Offline RoeDent

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #201 on: November 07, 2015, 01:54:43 PM »
Brief Nocturnes & Dreamless Sleep is my No. 1 Spock's Beard album. I bought it about a month after it came out, as my 2nd SB album purchase (after Beware of Darkness). No point in listing my favourite songs, as I love all of them to bits. I Know Your Secret was the first song to grab me, with its inventive use of 9/4 time in the chorus (the words fit in to a standard 4/4 time, but the extra beat gives it extra progginess). Submerged is an arms-in-the-air anthem. I've claimed Afterthoughts as my theme song; the lyrics are so cool! (The Hatter tips his hat to me/I'm madder than he'll ever be). Something Very Strange has an incredible intro, with the robotic vocals and that long instrumental passage. (My version of the album has Afterthoughts segueing into SVS, to great effect.) And then Waiting for Me brings the album to an epic close with one of my favourite guitar solos by any guitarist.

More significantly, BNADS introduced me to the majestic, soulful voice of Ted Leonard. I'd never heard of him, nor his first band Enchant before this. He's up there with Steven Wilson and James LaBrie as one of my favourite voices in rock.
*smash cut to a bleached white skeleton*

Offline gptyk

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #202 on: November 07, 2015, 11:41:11 PM »
Wow. "Brief Nocturnes..." was an amazing recovery after NDV went and joined the circus.  (and/or Big Big Train, but that's a different subject)

Because of this thread, I've been listening to BNaDS solid for a few weeks. It's just fantastic. "Something Very Strange" is the absolute standout for me.

What I absolutely love about Spock's is the pop 'hook' with the prog backing. And that's what "Something" delivers... It takes some time, but then we get the whole Ted-has-a-freaking-great-range thing and something is definitely strange and coming our way.  I'm hooked, just reel me in. That's what made "The Light" great. Pop 'hook' in a prog tune. (DT does this too - think of the great DT songs and they're not fiddly metal stuff, it's a great hook that makes the song- like 'Surrounded') To me, the 'singalongability' makes a great tune. And so much prog isn't sing-along. Any of y'all sing along to a IQ song? Nope. Didn't think so. But if you're driving along in your car and  SB is playing "June" I absolutely guaranty somebody is belting out "And the crowd kept on singin' Waste Away" at the top of their lungs. That's what role the Beard fills. A great hook, super tasty progness behind it.

There is no doubt that the members of SB are absolutely top of the line musicians.  12 records in and they are still amazing me with what they put out.

I''ll even be the bad guy and foreshadow that "Bennett Built a Time Machine"  is a treat beyond belief :)

Sure, it's easy/obvious to compare the Neal era to the NDV era to whatever. But even when the album was less than optimal it was still really freakin good. Ask yoself, you could listen to "Midnight Madness" by Night Ranger or "Feel Uphoria" by the Beard. Yup. The beard is pretty freakin good even when they're not as good as they were/will be.

"Brief Nocturnes..." is a must-have for anybody that has ever understood what "prog" means. It's that good. (Oh, the next one is too - what the hell, just get every freakin SB studio albums you can.......)



Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #203 on: November 08, 2015, 03:53:06 AM »
Fantastic album, I loved it instantly which is very weird. I was just stunned that it was as brilliant as X. A Treasure abandoned, Afterthoughts, Submerged and Something very strange are some of their very best tunes.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #204 on: November 08, 2015, 07:38:20 AM »
Good to see pretty much all ultra positive comments regarding this record. :tup :tup

gptyk, regarding the catchy hooks, I could not agree more.  Neal Morse is an expert at writing catchy pop hooks and putting them in prog tunes, and it is a talent the band has retained despite his departure from the band.  Something Very Strange definitely has a catchy as heck chorus. :hat

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. I'm doing fine, making my way
« Reply #205 on: November 09, 2015, 02:35:25 AM »
New singer (again) and kinda new drummer, I was a little bit worried that they would loose (again) some of the quality they had finally established with X. Man was I wrong, this is an absolutely fabulous record, definite top three SB for me and sometimes giving X a hard time for second place.

Ted's voice is great and his seemingly effortless signing in higher register is awesome and fits songs like Something Very Strange so well. Almost every song is great, even Afterthoughts with it's quirky and funky vibe. That includes the bonus disc which makes this for me more like a double album.

The addition of Ted leads to a different sound that is still reminiscent of Spock's Beard and helps them not to sound samey or stale.

Highlights for me are Submerged and Something Very Strange. I like the longer version better, but the sanctified remix has some great groovy bass lines, which you don't hear that clearly in the long version. Someday I try and make a mix of both versions.

So this is another exciting chapter and with the next record they prove that this was not a one off.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Feel the sun forever shine
« Reply #206 on: November 14, 2015, 04:52:44 PM »
The Oblivion Particle



The band released their 12th album just three months ago, titled The Oblivion Particle.  It's hard for me to give as detailed review of it, compared to the first 11, because I am still digesting it.  I like it quite a bit, but it seems similar to Octane in that it has a couple of songs that stand out as being really good, with the rest being all enjoyable.  In other words, nothing skip-worthy, but nothing really great either.  My favorites at this point in time are "Disappear," "The Center Line" and "Bennett Built a Time Machine," the last of which features drummer Jimmy Keegan on lead vocals.  I have noticed that a couple of songs on this I enjoy when I listen to them, but take the CD away from me and I cannot recall anything from it.  Nothing from "Tides of Time" sticks in my head ever, and while "Hell's Not Enough" sounds like it has some really nice melodies, none of them stick with me.  I find the chorus from "To Be Free Again" to be very awkward-sounding.  Regarding Ted Leonard's vocals, the Steve Walsh influence on his voice is far more evident on this record than it was on Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep; there are moments on this where he sounds like he is channeling 70s-era Steve Walsh, although with all due respect to Leonard, he cannot touch Steve Walsh's prime...but then again, few can. 

Overall, despite some critiques there, I do like this CD a lot.  Like I said, I am still digesting it.  I don't see it ever being a favorite, but every album can't be hit out of the park, and it's still a worthy addition to the catalogue. :coolio

Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Feel the sun forever shine
« Reply #207 on: November 14, 2015, 05:53:28 PM »
After the tremendous "debut" with the current line-up, I was worried (yet again) that the band would not be able to come close to that level of greatness that X and BNADS reached.

My worries weren't unwarranted, though, because while I've come to really like this one, it's taken awhile, more than the last few albums really. There's a LOT of new-sounding things on here, some things that are experimental for the beard, or at least, different (for them).

Like Kev, I also really enjoy "The Center Line" and "Bennett Built A Time Machine", as well as the classic-SB-sounding opener "Tides Of Time", with some amazing drumming after the middle section (a section that was posted of Jimmy recording his part WAY back earlier in the year). "Minion" unfortunately conjures up the imagery of little yellow things (which makes me wish they had re-titled the song), but it's grown on me a lot since the album's release.

"Hell's Not Enough" is pretty good, with it's persistent synth melody that sounds like it plays constantly through the song, but "Get Out While You Can" has a much memorable chorus. The album's two longest tracks, "A Better Way To Fly" and "To Be Free Again" are two of my favorites as well, but they're quite a bit different than other SB songs of their length. The former has some great playing and melodies, with a wonderfully executed middle section, while the latter has some expert playing from Alan and some soaring vocals.

The closing "Disappear" is SB-does-Kansas, which helps having Kansas' violinist on board for the track, but Ryo's synth sounds are pretty much straight from any 70's Kansas song. First time I heard this track, I swore there were echoes of "Magnum Opus" in there, which gives the song a sort of nostalgic feel, quite appropriately for the song itself.

Over-all, I find myself enjoying this one a lot, but I spin it just as much as the previous two. This three-album run so far has been such a treat, and I enjoy what the band have been writing in the last 5 years so I hope that they keep up this level of quality writing and performance. SB13 might be a couple years away, but I already look forward to it.

On the live-side, I really Really REALLY hope there's a live album from this tour mostly because there wasn't a full live release on the tour for BNADS (the only thing we got was Live At Sea, which features only 5 or 6 songs and only half are were new at the time). Heck, give us a live compilation of new songs from the last tour and the current one, with some classics that hadn't played in awhile (like "The Water"!!!).

I'm hopeful for the future of this band, especially with the new compilation coming out this month with the new epic!!! Speaking of the compilation, will we be discussing it here as part of the discography thread? I'm super excited for this one and the sample Radiant posted last week sounds delightful. Hearing Neal, Ted and Nick sing on one track is going to be great!

-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. Feel the sun forever shine
« Reply #208 on: November 14, 2015, 11:45:13 PM »
Yes, discussion of the greatest hits, the new song (for those who hear it right away, which may not be me :lol), and general discussion about the band's overall history will be my wrap-up.

In the meantime, back to the new album...;)

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Feel the sun forever shine
« Reply #209 on: November 15, 2015, 04:09:28 AM »
This album was a disappointment initially.

Then it turned out to be satisfying enough.

Then it became really, really good.

I loved Hell's not enough from the start. A Better way to fly was next, such a crazy song, very different for SB. Then Minion grew on me with its rather commercial appeal. It took a while for Tides of time and Disappear (beautiful song) to click, but now I adore those two as well.

Ted is fantastic on this album, his unique voice gives character to the songs and keeps SB from being just another act of 2010-resurrection era of prog.