Spock's Beard - The Light (Metal Blade) 1995
01. "The Light"
I honestly didn't think progressive rock like this existed in the 90's. Most prog-bands I know of are followers of either Fates Warning, Queensryche, Dream Theater or King's X schools of progressive metal. Spock's Beard, however aren't metal in the slightest and certainly don't follow any of those bands. These guys are more in line with old Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Genesis and King Crimson. Progressive rock; melodic yet complex songs, tempo changes, mood variations, epic length songs, smooth vocals, catchy lyrical hooks, etc. I actually love this style. While I didn't dig deep into the lyrics on this one, lines like "I am the catfish man" tell me that these guys, while serious musicians, don't take themselves to seriously. That is a quality I can also respect. Of the five songs on this disc, my favorite is probably album opener "The Light", but the twenty three minute "The Water" is also a fantastic song. Really the entire CD is excellent. Despite the long songs, I didn't get bored as I do with some progressive music. Don't really know what else to say except this album is worth a listen. Track five is a hidden track that I am just assuming is called "The Door". If someone knows different, please let me know.
Spock's Beard - Beware of Darkness (Radiant Records/Metal Blade) 1996
1. "Beware of Darkness"
Man, you just don't hear quality progressive rock like this much any more. Most band's seem content to follow in the footsteps of Dream Theater or Fates Warning. However, Spock's Beard follow in the footsteps of great bands like King Crimson, Kansas, and Yes. It's not as if "Beware of Darkness" is stuck in some bizarre 70's time warp. Rather, Spock's Beard does not sounds very fresh and new, while holding to the classic style of "progressive rock". Unlike some of the band's listed, however, Spock's Beard aren't overly technical to the point of boredom. Rather they also have some AOR tendencies which makes the music all the more enjoyable for me. The bass throughout this CD emulates Chris Squire, with that dirty Rickenbacher sound. Without a doubt the epic "Doorway" is the highligh of this recird. While it is over eleven minutes long it moves along nicely and you don't even notice the lengthiness of the song. Rather, you sort of wonder where the time went. The song sports a nice acoustic duet and very catchy melodies, reminding me a bit of Kansas here and there. "Chatauqua" is a short but beautiful acoustic piece. "Walking in the Wind" reminded me a bit of Genesis in parts, and in particular the song "Watcher of the Skies". I am not sure that there is a particular riff in common or not, but something about that song reminds me of that song. The disc finishes off with yet another epic piece. This song features some nice interplay between the keys and guitar.