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Spock's Beard: Snow

With the release of the 2CD set Snow, Spock's Beard have joined the ranks of recent epic recordings like Dream Theater's Scene's From A Memory, IQ's Subterannea, Mei by Echolyn, and Symphony X's V in concept album history. While these albums all represent a fresh take on the concept theory, Snow seems to have more in common with albums like Tommy by The Who or even The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis, as the album as a whole fixes on the adventures of one character, named Snow, and all the interesting and bizarre sub-characters that he comes in contact with throughout this musical journey.

The traditional Spock's Beard formula of symphonic pop/prog is in full steam here on this sprawling 2 CD concept story. The band combines Gentle Giant complexity with Beatles harmonies and Yes sophistication, plus throws in the occasional guitar crunch. The story centers around a character named Snow, a disillusioned albino who leaves home as a teenager and decides to rediscover himself after becoming the target for much negativity back home. When he makes it all the way to New York, Snow encounters all sorts of interesting characters, from prostitutes to homeless people to junkies. Such is the life in NYC! It's quite a heart warming and wrenching story, and amassed within all the prog firepower it's a compelling listen. Neal Morse is at the helm as always, his voice in triumphant form, while he and Ryo Okumoto lay down all sorts of keyboard textures and solos with their arsenal of pianos, Moogs, Mellotrons, organs, and the like. Guitarist Alan Morse and bassist Dave Meros give the music a sophisticated punch (check out the rampaging Dream Theater meets Gentle Giant of "Devil's Got My Throat"), and drummer Nick D'Virgilio adds the right amount of nimble percussion, as well as fantastic lead vocals on "Looking for Answers." The pacing of the CD is simply marvelous, as the band segues from tender ballady sections to stomping prog rock rave-ups with the blink of an eye. To say there is something for everyone here is making a severe understatement, and the fact that they accomplished all this within the confines of a concept album is realy impressive.

There are way too many parts to this CD to go into a track by track analysis, but let's just say that this is an essential listen for any fan of symphonic progressive music, or lovers of pop who want a little more than the norm. Spock's Beard is unparalleled at this point in terms of creating intelligent music that is catchy, melodic, complex, and rocking all at the same time. Highly recommeded, and a future classic of the genre.

Added: September 3rd 2002
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Metal Blade Records
Hits: 5850
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Spock's Beard: Snow
Posted by Yves Dubé, SoT Staff Writer on 2003-02-06 08:01:30
My Score:

What can be added to what Peter has already stated about this disc? Neal Morse has the Midas Touch..Any band or project he has been a part of is indellibly stamped with his unique sound and musical approach. I think this is a masterwork of rock which elevates Mr Morse into the pantheon of great songwriters of the last 30 years. A full gambit of emotions are dealt with as our protagonist takes the pain of the world onto his own shoulders until he becomes victim of the same human flaws he was excorcising from humanity. A moving tale which runs the emotional spectrum from anger , to humour, to pathos.
Well written and well performed, it's a tour-de-force recording and a fitting end (?) to the career of one of the pioneer's of the resurgence of progressive rock in the last decade. A no-brainer.

Yves
dubeyves@total.net


» Reader Comments:

Spock's Beard: Snow
Posted by Anonymous on 2002-11-09 10:03:41
My Score:

Is it prog rock?!
Just long mainstream rock album, in my opinion, though made quite well.
Short songs based on metal, blues, country, pop; no long instrumental interplaying or epics.
Worse than V, in the vein of Day Of Night, the most poppish Spock's Beard album.
For fans of Tommy or Jesus Christ Superstar ( not Scenes From... or Lamb...!)

Spock's Beard: Snow
Posted by Anonymous on 2002-10-18 03:24:27
My Score:

Note: Spock's Beard :Neal Morse announced he that he left Spock's Beard(10-10-02)




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