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Okumoto, Ryu: The Myth of the Mostrophus

I’ll admit having lost track of Spock’s Beard since Neal Morse’s departure, but it felt like the spark was gone, at least to me. It’s been 20 years since Okumoto’s last solo outing; 2002’s Coming Through. With most of his Beardmates in tow for this one, it sounds like Spock’s Beard.

Opening up with his ex-mate Nick D’Virgilio on drums and lead vocals on “Mirror, Mirror” why not have Dave Meros (bass) and Alan Morse (guitar) join in. Does it have a Spock’s Beard vibe? It certainly does, and I find myself picking out those moments. Mero’s rumbling bass, and Alan’s effect laden guitar work. The song is an up-tempo rocker, and the instrumental sections feature some wonder playing from the guys. Saga’s Michael Sadler takes the microphone in fine voice on “Turning Point”, and I like the little surprises in this one musically. Mike Keneally makes an appearance on guitar, and you’ll hear his tasty playing, and the enjoyable unison lines he performs with Ryo. “The Watchmaker” features the unsung Lyle Workman on guitar (more people should know about him), but I find the lead vocals a bit off-putting, although the layered backing vocals work well. As with the last track, I find myself really enjoying the instrumental breaks from both Workman and Okumoto. Whiteman is again featured on lead vocals for “Maximum Velocity” which gets off to a rocky start. The first two minutes are a bit weak, and once the song kicks in, I am not feeling the impact until the keyboard soloing starts. Things get more interesting as the song progresses, but at this point I am starting to get weary of the vocals, I want to hear Ryo take off with the rest of the guys and play more. Steve Hackett makes a guest appearance and fires off a terrific solo that is immediately identifiable.

“Chrysalis” quiets things down, and features Randy McStine on lead vocals. A catchy melody with violin, cello, and flute give it unique stamp compared to the others. The 22+ minute closing title track is basically everything you would expect if you are familiar with Ryo and Spock’s Beard. Excellent instrumental breaks do occur, but I would have liked more playing and less singing. As good as the playing is (let us not forget how complex some of this really is) I was ultimately underwhelmed. If you are a fan of symphonic prog and the “Spock’s Beard” sound, you’ll enjoy this one.

Track List:

  1. Mirror, Mirror
  2. Turning Point
  3. The Watchmaker (Time On His Side)
  4. Maximum Velocity
  5. Chrysalis
  6. The Myth of the Mostrophus

Added: February 4th 2023
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 363
Language: english

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