From the Vault is a neat little rarities collection from Spock's Beard originally released in 1998. The CD contains demos, alternate mixes, live cuts, one Japanese bonus track, and two cover songs. For the Spock's Beard completist, From the Vault is a must have. Not only do you get a raw but hard-edged demo version of the early epic "The Light" (and you can hear how this song evolved from demo stage to the version that wound up on the debut album of the same name), but demos of other early classics like "The Doorway" (sounding more like Yes here than ever), "Go the Way You Go", and "Walking On the Wind" are also included here. These early versions are a little more playful and raw than what eventually was heard on The Light, and it's evident that the band was really having a great time at this stage of their career. The track "Into the Fire" is an almost "heavy metal" type song, and originally a Japanese bonus track, surely meant to satisfy the legions of metal heads in the Land of the Rising Sun. It's a fun piece, but Neal Morse is not a metal singer by any means. The quirky "Waste Away" is housed inside a cover of the Jimi Hendix classic "Fire", and with the "Exerpt From the Doorway", are the two live tracks included here. "Fire" is an interesting song for the band to cover, and for the most part they do a good job with it, with Alan Morse laying down plenty of screaming guitar licks. The most fun tune however is their cover of the Billy Cobham staple "Stratus", a sizzling fusion piece given a great turn by the Beard, showing their jazz-fusion and prog muscle on this timeless instrumental, with Nick D'Virgilio really kicking it on the drums.
All in all, From the Vault is a fun listen for the Spock's Beard fan. I wouldn't call it an essential purchase if you are just a casual fan of the band, but those who have been following the group since the beginning will definitely want to have this rarities set (on Radiant Records) in their collection.
2. Into Fire (Bonus Track for Japan)
3. Fire/Waste Away (Live)
4. The Light (home demo)
5. Excerpt From The Doorway (Live)
6. The Doorway (home demo)
7. Waste Away (alternate mix)
8. Walking On The Wind(home demo)
9. Go The Way You Go (home demo)