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Spock's Beard: V

The follow-up to Day For Night, titled V, proved to be a stunning success for Spock's Beard in the eyes of their fans and the majority of the progressive rock faithful. Taking an even more epic approach (complete with a 16 minute and 27 minute track) the band were really firing on all cylinders from both an instrumental and lyrical standpoint, delivering just what modern prog audiences wanted. Ryo Okumoto was slowly starting to show what he was capable of behind the keyboards, delivering layers of blinding fusion-oriented synth lines, vintage Hammond & Mellotron, and various other keyboard tapestries, which worked well alongside Neal Morse's piano and synth. Morse himself had by this time developed into a master craftsman as far as creating catchy melodies housed within bombastic and complex prog rock arrangements, and his vocal talents also helped listers get drawn into the bands alluring style.

The opener "At the End of the Day" once again sees Spock's Beard going for the juggular, as this is a 16 minute tour-de-force of intricate, bombastic progressive rock with tons of hooks. Alan Morse's crunch power chords contrast with plenty of 70's styled keyboard jaunts, Dave Meros' slippery bass grooves, and the acrobatic stick work of drummer Nick D'Virgilio. Despite its monstrous length, this tune never gets boring and moves along quite briskly. "Revelation" starts off quite meditative and moody, before becoming a cagey heavy rocker fueled by thick power chords, raging Hammond organ, and Morse's angry vocals. Some jazzy electric piano tempers the fury of this piece during the calmer moments quite nicely. "Thoughts (PartII)" is the sequel to "Thoughts" from their sophomore effort Beware of Darkness, a mix of 70's influences like Gentle Giant and Yes, featuring complex guitar and bass lines, violin, cello, and a multitude of keyboards and vocal textures. "All On a Sunday" is a soaring pop number with 70's styled keyboards, sort of like The Beatles meets Genesis, which again shows Neal's talent for crafting catchy melodies. The next tune is perhaps the CD's weakest, the acoustic guitar , piano, & Mellotron drenched "Goodbye To Yesterday", which also sees Meros' french horn make a quick appearance. Despite the catchy melodies and tender arrangements, the song kind of stalls the upbeat quality and momentum that was being carried forth up to that point. Things pick up though with the ominous Mellotron choir and synth tones that lead in the near 28-minute "The Great Nothing", the Beard's epic of all epic's. This one takes the listener through many varied journey's, and especially gives Alan and Ryo plenty of room to roam and wow the listener. Filled with plenty of bombast as well as gentle pastoral imagery, this is a worthwhile epic to take a ride on.

V is a winner no matter how you look at it. Spock's Beard proved in 2000 that they had earned the title of one of the best modern prog rock acts of this era, and as epic as this album was, things would culminate shortly after with their magnum opus Snow

Track Listing
1. At The End Of The Day
2. Revelation
3. Thoughts (Part II)
4. All On A Sunday
5. Goodbye To Yesterday
6. The Great Nothing

Added: February 4th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Spock's Beard Website
Hits: 4177
Language: english

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