Author Topic: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The First Twenty Years and Recap  (Read 11675 times)

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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. A case of Mellow Yellow
« Reply #70 on: September 23, 2015, 06:10:57 PM »
Hmmm, I think the significant jump in the sound quality happened with the next album, which I'll get to very soon, but I do agree that Day for Night has a better sound sonically than its three predecessors.

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. A case of Mellow Yellow
« Reply #71 on: September 24, 2015, 01:54:06 AM »
Yeah, I guess you're right that with V the band takes another leap. But we'll get to that later.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #72 on: September 24, 2015, 07:24:53 PM »
Or now...

V



This was the first Spock's Beard album to come out after I became a fan in 2000, and this pretty much was an instant winner in my book.  It had that same sound of the first Transatlantic album, and the songwriting was terrific.  Looking back, the sound was a major upgrade over the first four studio albums.  Everything just sounded better, except for maybe Alan Morse's tone when playing chords.  That has often been a source of annoyance for me, and there are times on this album where his guitar tone makes me want to punch a wall.  Still, not even that can prevent this from being a terrific album, easily one of the band's best.

"At the End of the Day" is 16 minutes and 28 seconds of prog rock bliss.  The melodies are soaring, the playing is terrific, pretty much every vocal section is catchy as hell, and it has that "epic without being overdone" feel about it.  This is a top 5 SB song in my book, and if someone wanted to call it their best song, I would not put up an argument.

"Revelation" is one of those songs I've gone up and down about over the years, largely because I have sometimes found the chorus a little bland, but at this point in time, I am a big fan.  The chorus sounds very evil, quite a contrast dynamically to the verses.  "She's my partner in my crime against the clock," followed by those single keyboard notes, which always gives me the image of a grandfather clock ticking in my head, remains one of my favorite moments on this entire album.

"Thoughts (Part II)" was an immediate favorite of mine, although the shine of it wore off me a tad over time; I still like it a lot, regardless.  I am not always a fan of the Gentle Giant-esque multi-layered harmonies (they can sound too corny at times), but I think the ones in this song are very well done.  The instrumentation is phenomenal as well.

There isn't anything special or crazy about "All on a Sunday," other than it being just a fun song that is great to crank up and rock out to.

Spock's has a lot of mellow acoustic songs, and "Goodbye to Yesterday" is one of the best ones, IMO.  A very impassioned vocal performance by Neal makes this song even better than it would be in the hands of just about any other vocalist.  Neal isn't a technically gifted singer by any means, but he has one of the most pleasant and engaging singing voices I have ever heard, and this song is a fine example of it.

And then we get to the BIG epic, "The Great Nothing," written about Kevin Gilbert.  On just about every level, this song is nothing short of phenomenal, and I like it a ton, but it does seem to lack that little extra something that would have actually made it phenomenal.  If you ask me what that something is, I cannot tell you; I just know it is out there, or shall I say, not out there. :lol :lol  Regardless, this is still a very well written tune, with some bone-chilling melodies.  2000 was kind of when Neal came up with a specific formula he would use quite often for long epics, first on Transatlantic's "All of the Above" and then here on "The Great Nothing," and there is no denying what a great formula it is.

Overall, I love this record, but for some reason, it isn't one I listen to as much I should considering how highly I think of it.  I probably wouldn't call it my favorite of theirs at this point in time, but it was still a tremendous achievement in the world of progressive rock, and solidified their position as one of the best modern prog rock bands. :hat

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #73 on: September 24, 2015, 09:22:50 PM »
I had started with Day for Night and got this one next, and I thought it was great, even better than Day for Night, which I loved.  Amazing album, pretty much full-on prog, whereas Day for Night felt a bit like a band trying to be prog.  I wasn't familiar with the earlier stuff at the time, and didn't realize that Day for Night was something of a dip in both progginess and quality overall.  But as I said upthread, that only made it better and better for me as I checked out more Spock's Beard.

Still, Spock's Beard is a "new" band to me, and while I've played the albums cover to cover many times, it's always in the car, or background while I watch TV or play on the PC, or workout.  In none of those scenarios do I have the track names readily available, so to this day, while I can sing along with certain sections of songs, I still don't really know individual tracks.  The albums really are the opus unit.  But since I tend to listen to albums all the way through anyway, that's not really a bad thing, just different.

I like this one a lot.  V and The Light are probably my favorites.

Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #74 on: September 25, 2015, 01:01:35 AM »
So this is it, this is officially my favorite Spockís Beard album. And although they still release very high quality albums I donít see them ever reaching up to this one.

I was introduced to Spockís Beard by seeing them open for Dream Theater on the Scenes Tour and V was their then actual album. So it was the first one I got and was instantly hooked. Maybe this kind of nostalgia is part of the reason why this is my favorite.

You can clearly hear the difference in sound compared to the earlier albums, not that they sound bad, but V takes it up a whole notch. And you can hear a band that is firing on all cylinders. By this time Neal had definitely found and settled in his prog-songwriting-style and his prog-formula and had developed it even further without being too repetitive as he would be sometimes later. And although the majority of songs is written by Neal, I always think that this record sounds like a real band effort and I get the feeling that the rest of the guys had a large part in arranging the song.

And unlike Kev I donít mind Alanís guitar sound. I believe that the parts that sound a little bit strange are done on purpose. In fact I like Alanís playing a lot, heís not the most technically gifted but heís not your normal (not to say generic) guitar player that can play almost everything but lacks identity. Alan always sounds unique and often he adds those quirky bits that give the songs a little bit of extra spice.

If asked about my favorite SB song my answer would be At The End Of The Day, in fact I think that this is one of the best songs ever. It has everything, from the intro with the horns to the different parts, the catchy chorus, the instrumental sections, everything fits and flows together nicely and you donít realize that this song is more than 16 minutes long.

Revelation is a completely different piece. A moody rocker with mellow verses and a heavy chorus. Nothing groundbreaking but a really great piece of music.

Thoughts (Part II) is the best of the Thoughts-songs or the songs with multiple harmony parts. Not even five minutes long, there is so much going on, this is pure prog essence. I especially like the main instrumental theme, with the bass and guitar and the counterpoint keyboards and piano. And it has a bass solo with Dave going wild and a string section (also going wild).

All On A Sunday sometimes gets a lot of flak because itís just a simple pop song but I like it nonetheless. Itís well crafted with that little nice keyboard intro and a good sing-along chorus.

Goodbye To Yesterday is the breather before the big finale. A nice little acoustic tune. I like it but it pales in comparison to the rest of the record.

And then the epic to end all epics: The Great Nothing. 27 minutes of pure epicness, their longest song and one of their greatest. Probably my second favorite Beard song. The beginning with the eerie keyboards, then the acoustic guitar introducing the instrumental theme which then is picked up by the whole band and a cello, and then when everything quiets down and Neal starts to sing ďOne note timeless came out of nowhereĒ, this section always sends shivers down my spine and probably could make me cry when Iím in the mood. Music hardly canít get any better than this.

And part IV of The Great Nothing is called Submerged and Submerged is also the fourth song on Brief Nocturnes Ö nuggetzzzzz  :metal

And I always have to laugh about the ďof all the pains in assesĒ line. Really Neal?  :laugh:

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #75 on: September 25, 2015, 04:23:45 AM »
  This is a top 5 SB song in my book, and if someone wanted to call it their best song, I would not put up an argument.
Well said.  :tup

Revelations, All on a Sunday and Thoughts part 2 are all among their best short songs, they're all insanely catchy. The epic closer really drags this album down for me, I've never really got into The Great nothing. It's lacking in every single way, to find anything about it that I really like would be impossible and I've honestly been struggling with it over the past seven years of being a fan. It truly is the great nothing.

But overall, it would still be my 4th favorite Spock's Beard album.

Offline Zydar

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #76 on: September 25, 2015, 04:29:23 AM »
I will keep it short. This is my favourite SB album, and At The End Of The Day is their best song.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #77 on: September 25, 2015, 05:59:38 AM »

And unlike Kev I donít mind Alanís guitar sound. I believe that the parts that sound a little bit strange are done on purpose. In fact I like Alanís playing a lot, heís not the most technically gifted but heís not your normal (not to say generic) guitar player that can play almost everything but lacks identity. Alan always sounds unique and often he adds those quirky bits that give the songs a little bit of extra spice.
 

I mostly agree. He just went through a little spell where his tone went to dog shit at times when playing chords (this album and the next, which is ironic, they being two of their best).  A good example are those chords just before the 11-minuted in At the End of the Day that lead into the organ solo.  That tone makes my ears bleed. I don't mind a good dirty tone, but that is a bad dirty tone.


And I always have to laugh about the ďof all the pains in assesĒ line. Really Neal?  :laugh:

LOL, I forgot to mention that line.



And part IV of The Great Nothing is called Submerged and Submerged is also the fourth song on Brief Nocturnes Ö nuggetzzzzz  :metal
 

For my money, Submerged and Missed Your Calling are the best parts of the song.


Offline RoeDent

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #78 on: September 25, 2015, 07:10:36 AM »
V may well be my next Spock's Beard purchase.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #79 on: September 25, 2015, 07:25:41 AM »
Depending on the day, this is either my favorite or second-favorite SB album (behind The Light).

It's one of the few SB albums where I like every single song. 

At the End of the Day is glorious, and The Great Nothing is just incredible, a fantastic composition.

IMHO, a modern prog masterpiece.
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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #80 on: September 25, 2015, 08:06:39 AM »
V is awesome.  Evolution (The Grand Design), Fallen, Egypt, Absence of Light are all great!
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Offline Kwyjibo

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #81 on: September 25, 2015, 08:51:22 AM »
Wrong thread, Get Out While You Can  ;D

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #82 on: September 25, 2015, 08:57:47 AM »
I was confused by the album cover
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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #83 on: September 25, 2015, 09:31:31 AM »


I think sometimes album cover art can say something about the music, or about the band, but sometimes it's just cover art.  Cool imagery to supplement the music but not necessarily having anything to do with it.

I see a guy walking through the desert.  I've never been to a desert, but it seems it's generally miles and miles of sand, with little or nothing to tell you which way to go.  So there's a sign pointing the way.  Just to make things more interesting, the guy is in a business suit and carrying a briefcase, so if he's on the way to a meeting, he's really fucking lost.  Or it's just a bit of surrealism.  I don't know if it's significant, but the arrow is not the kind which normally indicates a "turn" (such as at an intersection or junction) but instead is the kind which indicates a curve in the road.  He's on the right path, but at this point, a course correction needs to be made.  And then again, just for fun, lightning is striking the sign.  Or perhaps the sign is being "created" by something unseen, indicated by the lightning strike.  An unseen force guiding the guy through the desert?

It never confused me, I guess, because I didn't dig too deeply into it.  Sometimes cover art is just something to look at.

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #85 on: September 25, 2015, 09:45:53 AM »
I was making a joke.



From my top 50 list:

Quote
By the way, what is up with the similarities between this album and that of Spock's Beard's V.  Both were released in the second half of 2000.  Both covers are remarkably similar (desert scene, blood red sky).  Both bands are progressive in nature and were both signed to Inside Out at the time, which makes it even doubly weird - you would think the label would have wanted to avoid people possibly confusing the albums.  Both albums are the fifth by each band and the total lengths of the albums differ by a mere 11 seconds.  Strange Kennedy/Lincoln thing going on here.





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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #86 on: September 25, 2015, 10:12:54 AM »
This is my favorite SB album.  It's the best them.
     

Offline Mladen

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #87 on: September 25, 2015, 10:44:32 AM »
I was making a joke.
I think everybody got it. Those similarities are rather famous.

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #88 on: September 25, 2015, 10:56:13 AM »
I was making a joke.
I think everybody got it. Those similarities are rather famous.

Orbert seemed to take my post literally, that's all.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #89 on: September 25, 2015, 11:32:10 AM »
He may not be familiar with Symphony X.

I'm certainly not either, although I knew about this album title and the artwork similarities.
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Offline The Letter M

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #90 on: September 25, 2015, 12:00:02 PM »
Looking back at my Amazon orders when I was getting into prog between 2004-2005, I  noticed I bought SB's V and TFK's Space Revolver in the same order on September 3rd, ten years ago. Both were each band's fifth albums and highly regarded as some of their best work at the time (and still today!), so I figured I'd start there after getting into DT and Transatlantic. Roine's vocals and guitar playing prompted me to check out The Flower Kings, and in turn, Neal's vocals and keyboard playing prompted me to check out Spock's Beard, so V was my first excursion into Neal's (former) home band.

"At The End Of The Day" is one of the best album openers I've ever heard, and a Top 10 SB tune in my book. Lots of great melodies and very catchy hooks and choruses, a fun song to sing a long to, even if it's over 16 minutes long! This was an amazing way to open the album, and definitely set the bar high for SB and Neal!

The four short songs in the middle are pretty good, quite a few steps higher than the short songs on the previous album, and on par, if not better than the short songs on TKOS. "Revelation" has a good, brash sound to it that I think works with Neal's vocals, while "All On A Sunday" features his softer, pop-like voice. "Thoughts (Part II)" is this album's foray into Gentle Giant, which I like just as much as any of the other Thoughts-songs, while "Goodbye To Yesterday" is this album's acoustic ballad, and it's a shame this has never been played more often by SB or Neal. It's quite a beautiful piece.

"The Great Nothing" was, at the time, "the epic to end all epics" as Neal said on their live album There & Here, taken from the V Tour. Sure, he's said that about many epics before - to my knowledge, he's said that about "Stranger In Your Soul" on TA's Live In Europe, and I think he's said that about "So Many Roads" on the live album So Many Roads (but I'm not sure, I haven't spun that one lately), but I think this is where he's said that first, and I'd like to agree. Of all the dozens of 20+ minute songs Neal's written or been a part of, this is one of the best. Watching the making of V DVD really puts this song into perspective, especially where Neal is crying in his singing of a line near the end of the song, it's very touching. They really packed everything they could into this massive epic and they pull it off with such virtuoso grace that if I ever had to play ONE epic by SB to show someone what a SB epic was like, this might be it!

Over all, this is one of the most consistent SB albums of the Neal-era, and I think most fans tend to agree there, and definitely rivals BOD for my 2nd favorite Neal-era album. My favorite, of course for those who know me around here, will be the one coming up...

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #91 on: September 25, 2015, 12:14:00 PM »
I'm not a big Symphony X fan, but I've seen the similarities between the two album covers mentioned online more than once.  And the fact that both albums are titled V almost makes you think it had to be intentional, or a conspiracy, or something.

I just didn't realize that that was the basis of being "confused" by the cover.  So what the hell, I offered up a quick analysis.


tl;dr version: I didn't get the joke.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #92 on: September 26, 2015, 04:36:12 AM »
Great, great album. After listening to these first 5 records it gets nearly impossible to rank them. Add in Snow and it gets really difficult.
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Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #93 on: September 26, 2015, 06:28:25 AM »
It really is.  I mean, I know Day for Night is the least best of the bunch, but if I listen to any of the other five, it's hard to imagine any of the others being better right then and there; that's how good they all are.

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #94 on: September 26, 2015, 06:56:08 AM »
It really is.  I mean, I know Day for Night is the least best of the bunch, but if I listen to any of the other five, it's hard to imagine any of the others being better right then and there; that's how good they all are.
I agree with a slight change - For me, V and The Light are clearly a breed apart.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #95 on: September 27, 2015, 12:52:55 AM »
It really is.  I mean, I know Day for Night is the least best of the bunch, but if I listen to any of the other five, it's hard to imagine any of the others being better right then and there; that's how good they all are.
I agree with a slight change - For me, V and The Light are clearly a breed apart.

I guess those two are my top 2 too. But then I listen to The Water and The Light drops away. Yesterday I was blasting The Healing Colors of Sound, and I couldn't help but thinking 'this is one of the best songs ever', so Day For Night comes into view. And that happens with Flow, Time Has Come, Harms Way, any song really.
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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #96 on: September 27, 2015, 05:01:50 AM »
At The End of the Day is the best them (in my books).  Solid album, top to bottom.  Not much else to say that hasn't already been said.  Gotta pay more attention to The Great Nothing I guess... It never really stood out as the 'epic to end all epics'.  Sure I always thought it was great, but never put it in the league of Duel, Stranger, 8vm, 2112, Harvest of Souls, Supper's Ready, or any other 20+ minute songs.  Guess I need to have a better listen.

Thoughts II is the best Thoughts track as well, and I'm a big fan of All On A Sunday.
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Offline Onno

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #97 on: September 27, 2015, 08:47:58 AM »
So I had a few listens this week to the first five albums (apart from Day for Night, that is). I gotta say, they're all good. I never was a huge SB fan but I like their music, and these albums were all pretty good. I'll listen to them more often.

My biggest problem with the band might just be the vocals though. The only SB album I own on CD is Snow, and Neal is quite decent on there, although I'm not a big fan of his vocals. His vocals on TKOS are also okay, but not spectacular. I'm not really impressed by his vocals on the other records (may change after more listens though). I really like NDV's vocals and I don't like Ted Leonard's vocals, but I guess we'll come to those once this thread reaches their respective eras.

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #98 on: September 27, 2015, 09:05:27 AM »
For me, it's a tie between Neal/Ted, both more preferable to Nick.
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Offline ytserush

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #99 on: September 27, 2015, 08:42:24 PM »
The Light



We kick it off with Spock's Beard debut album from 1995.  I am a bit envious of those who were around and listening to them from the start; I can only imagine what my reaction would have been if this had been my first Beard record, instead of the fourth I heard in the latter part of 2000.  When the Beard began, they were a four-piece band: Neal Morse on lead vocals and keyboards, Alan Morse on guitars, David Meros on bass, and Nick D'Virgilio on drums and background vocals; Ryo Okumoto, I believe, was added as a second keyboarist when they toured on this record, and was an official member by the time the second album rolled around. 

But, back to the first, it's not often that you can say, "This band's first song on their first album is their best," about any band, but in the case of Spock's Beard, it might be true.  If "The Light" isn't their best song, it is certainly in the conversation.  It has everything that defined the Beard in the early days: great melodies, nice harmonies, gorgeous mellow parts, some great rocking moments, a bit of quirkiness, a great thematic sense, and plenty of drama.  The fact that Neal Morse has played this song quite a bit live over the years as a solo artists speaks volumes as to how much he knows fans love this song.  It's a major winner in every regard.

"Go the Way You Go" has long been a song that many diehard fans love to pieces, as well, although, for me, it has always been a song I liked a lot, rather than loved.  Every time I hear it, I enjoy the hell out of it, but it's never been a song that I go out of my way to hear, like so many of their longer pieces.

Speaking of which, "The Water," at a little over 23 minutes," remains their 2nd longest song to date.  It also contains the most bizarre part of any song they've ever done, the FU section, which still sounds just odd to me at times (hearing Neal Morse scream FU over and over is just so strange :lol :lol), but the song overall is pretty freaking awesome.  Some of the best music they've ever written and played is in this song.  It's hard to nail one down single section as being the best, although "A Thief in the Night" would be my gut reaction first pick right now, since every section really is so strong.

"On the Edge" is the unenviable position of being not only the last song on the record, but the only (relatively) short one, giving it a bit of a tacked-on feel, which is a shame because it is a good song, but after those three long songs, getting a breather with a short rocker is not a bad thing, but I am just not sure it should have ended the record.  I think swapping this and "The Water" in the running order would have made for a better flow.  Regardless, this is a fine ending to a most excellent debut.

May be my favortie Spock's Beard album ever.  Neil Elliott, the guy who started the Dream Theater fan club sent me a cassette of this when it first came out and I was just blown away by it and had to get the CD (Which I ordered from the Symphonic label -- SYMD14 no barcode)

My first impression was punk meets Jethro Tull. Amazing! They were instantly one of my new favorite bands. Tried to get my friends into them, but they were having none of it. Just like my attempts to get my friends into Dream Theater five years earlier. At least they remember who they are now.) 

I still prefer this original release because the remaster warms the sound of the album a bit (which normally I would like, but the harshness adds to music in this case. (Kind of like the Mobile Fidelity version of Nirvana's Nevermind...yeah it sounds great, warm and rounded, but again...Nevermind is not that kind of album. It needs that harsh edge.)

I couldn't believe someone made an album like this in the mid-90s. It had everything. Great lyrics, melody, musicianship. No, it wasn't a sonic masterpiece, but that was really it's only fault.

It never really got better than this for me although it has certainly been equaled.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. Gravy spilled on God's Sunday shirt
« Reply #100 on: September 27, 2015, 08:58:46 PM »
Beware of Darkness



This was the first Spock's album I ever heard, and while I remember liking it at first, I have zero recollection as to what songs or even what moments grabbed me at first; I just remember liking it.  Being that this was 2000, shortly after I got into Transatlantic and SMPTe, I thought Spock's was a little rougher around the edges than TA, but the sound and style was obviously similar enough to where I knew this was a band I would become a fan of pretty easily.  And the four-some was now a five-some, as Ryo Okumoto was an official member of the band as a second keyboardist, focusing mainly on mellotron and hammond organ, while Neal handled the synths and piano.

The album kicks off with the title track, a cover of a George Harrison song from the early 70s. I had no idea it was a cover the first time I heard it (I didn't hear the Harrison original until years later), so judging it on its own, without any type of comparison to the original, I always thought it was a good song.  Nice beginning to the record.

"Thoughts" began the Thoughts series of songs (which has seen parts 1, 2, 3 and 5 so far; where is 4?? :Lol).   This is by far the best of the four done thus far.  I am not always wild about the songs that center around those multi-part harmonies that are reminiscent of Gentle Giant, a band the Beard was clearly influenced by early on, but I am very wild about this song.  It's so quirky and so odd, yet so insanely catchy.  I love the creepy musical bits in the song. 

I talked the other day about songs that are in the discussion for best Beard song ever.  Track 3, "The Doorway," is in that discussion.  This is a perfectly written mini-epic tune, featuring a gorgeous piano intro (that always strikes me as Neal Morse's attempt to do a "Firth of Fifth"-type intro), soaring vocal harmonies, a rad as hell acoustic section in the middle, and two epic endings (!!), the first being the fake-out before the real ending.  This song is just freaking killer.

"Chatauqua" is a short, nice, little acoustic guitar number, played, I believe, by Neal Morse.  Someone correct me if I am wrong.  It's a nice bridge between the two mini-epics.

The next mini-epic, "Walking on the Wind," features one of the more bad ass bass lines David Meros has ever laid down.  There is so much going on in this song that is wonderful, but I often find myself getting lost in the bass line when listening to this. Chris Squire was clearly a big influence on Meros, and nowhere is that more evident that in this song.  This is also one of the Beard's best overall tunes.

"Waste Away" is catchy as hell, and the hook appears to be in the keyboard main melody, not the vocals, not always an easy thing to pull off.  I think this song sometimes gets overlooked, which is a shame because it shows Neal Morse's ability to write insanely catchy melodies.  For as complicated and "out there" as prog can get, you still need good melodies, and this song shows that Neal could sing the phone book and it would sound awesome. :lol :lol

The final track, the 16-minute plus "Time Has Come," is a bit of a strange track, almost maniacal at times, but I find is strangely appealing.  It has some of the best melodies on this record, not to mention some goofy lyrics, but the vocal effect Neal uses on his voice for much of this song gives it a somewhat twisted feel, which I like a lot.  There is no other Beard song that sounds like this one, and Nick D'Virgilio's often-underrated drumming really shines through on this song.  His sense of timing and restraint and knowing when to let loose is really on display here.

Like The Light, I put Beware of Darkness in their top tier of records, and some days it is my number 1 album of theirs.  A phenomenal sophomore effort. :hat

Another great album. Maybe a bit more polished, but not as consistent. There are killer songs on this. Beware of Darkness, Thoughts, The Doorway, Walking On The Wind, Waste Away.... I guess I just named most of the album.  Love this one too.

Ordered this one directly from Neal. He even answered the phone when I called (although he sounded distracted by something...probably interrupted him in the middle of a song or something.)

As usual, these songs are so much better live (Official Bootleg and From The Vault (partially) are pretty amazing live documents from that period. Alan Morse really shines on these, but it pales in comparison when you're standing in front of the guy.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. A Land Where Crap Is King
« Reply #101 on: September 27, 2015, 09:02:49 PM »
Kev - are you skipping live albums and just doing studio albums? I was wondering where The Beard Is Out There was!

Yes. I'm not bothering with live albums this time around.  To me, featuring live albums or best of albums drags discography threads down.

Could not disagree more about live albums as I believe they are totally germane to the band. You can also learn a lot from live albums, but it's your show.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. A Land Where Crap Is King
« Reply #102 on: September 27, 2015, 09:04:33 PM »
Got out of work last night, continued listening through the first album as I drove to choir practice.  I'm reminded that Neal's spiritual lyrics were present even on the first album.  Get lost in the tunes for a little bit.  As I'm pulling into the church parking lot, "FUCK YOU!!" starts blasting out my speakers.  It was a somewhat odd and surreal moment.  Good thing the windows were up.

One of his many pure genius moments for sure, but yeah, I reach for that knob when I'm blasting out in the car.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. A Land Where Crap Is King
« Reply #103 on: September 27, 2015, 09:18:13 PM »
The Kindness of Strangers



1998 saw the Beard release their 3rd studio album, The Kindness of Strangers.  I love this record, but for some reason, I never seem to rank it with the best of their best, even though I love it. I think the sound of it bothers me at times - some of the more rocking parts sound a bit muddy and noisy - or maybe I am just being a knucklehead. :lol :lol

This album was pretty much more of the same, kicking off with "The Good Don't Last," which manages to be really catchy and really proggy at the same time.  I like how the main melody is reprised on various-sounding keyboards, adding a fun and almost silly element to the song. Alan Morse's solo at the end is terrific.

"In the Mouth of Madness" has sort of fallen into that "I never listen to it on its own" category for me, but it's another fun as heck song.  This album features a lot of great mellotron moments, and it being backdrop to the chorus was a great decision.  "Cakewalk on Easy Street" is another fun rocker, although not as silly as its predecessor.

"June" is probably one of their most loved songs, and for good reason: it is insanely catchy.  It's one of those songs you could see someone playing at an acoustic at a fireside hangout on a cool autumn night. Ya know, if the Beard were popular enough to where more people knew the song. :lol  That aside, it's a great song, and shows the ability of Neal Morse to write something insanely catchy.

"Strange World" is another fun, short rocker.  In fact, three of the seven songs here fall under that description.  And they all manage to have some cool dynamic shifts, instead of rocking all the way through, including this one.  The cool little breakdown before the last chorus, where the music stops and we hear nothing but samples, is very Beatles-esque.

And then, we get to "Harm's Way," which is a borderline top 10 Beard tune, in my book. There is nothing about this song that isn't great.  And amazingly, it's not even the best song on this record. That would be...

"Flow," which is a top 5 Beard song.  I'm admittedly not always a big fan of Alan Morse, but he slays in this song.  The solo at the end is arguably his best, and his leads in the first section are absolutely stellar.  The entire band is on fire in this song, and this is one of the finest songs Neal Morse has ever crafted.   :coolio :hat

So yeah, this is another winner by the Beard, and I freaking love it. :tup :tup

First time I ever pre-ordered an album in my life.
I order the thing from Neal again and he sends me the album (RA01) a few weeks before the release date.

Have to admit being a bit disappointed in the way that I was disappointed in Clutching at Straws when it first came out.  Sounded like Spock's Beard lite at first, but after spending time with it I fell in love with those slow burn solos. Can Alan play guitar or what? Very strong lyrically, but much of the edge was missing in comparison to the first two. It took a few weeks to grow on me, but boy did it ever.

I'd have to check the ticket stubs, but I either saw them for the first time ever on this tour or the next one. Can't believe I can't remember this.

Offline KevShmev

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Re: Spock's Beard Discography thread - v. The fat cats just kept getting fatter
« Reply #104 on: September 28, 2015, 06:34:58 PM »
The next update is coming soon... :)