12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 1 December 2006
Having been a long standing fan of the beard, I awaited this release, their 10th sturdio album with more than a little trepidation. After the departure of Neal Morse the band seemed to lack a sense of direction. It is clear that up to this point Morse's indivudual song writing talents had been a major factor of the band. That's not to say that their last two relases "Feel Euphoria" and "Octane" were bad, it just that they lacked some co-herence. Anyway on to the new album imaginatively titled "Spock's Beard". From the opening to the close this album is pure genius. Nick D'Virgillo has developed into a fine front man displaying a vocal range that hitherto has really not been displayed. The bands tight musicianship is once again to the fore and on this release the song writing really seems to have come together. The band switches from ballad to out and out ballsy rock, and from 4 minute "pop" songs to 10 minute opuses with ease. What more can I say. Since buying this album it has not left my CD player, and with such richness and layering of the music I find something new everytime I listen to it. A return to form -- you bet!! THE BEARD IS BACK - LONG LIVE THE BEARD
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
If you're a fan of Spock's Beard, you'll want this CD anyway, but if you're a casual fan of modern prog rock and are not sure, get it - you won't be disappointed. I've been listening to this all week and it could well be the best Beard yet, with or without Neal Morse. I can see why the band decided it should be self-titled - they must be very pleased with it. It rocks hard, has feeling and is very catchy in parts. It sounds like they enjoyed making it. Probably more like Feel Euphoria than Octane, as it has a wider variety of songwriters. Bits of it have a holiday feel, so now is the time to get it! It's not perfect - track 2 is a strange choice for an instrumental, and in places it's hard to work out what NDV is singing, (though there are lyrics in the book) but that's not enough to lose a star.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2007
11 tracks on a Beard album which isn't a double surely this must be some mistake and it must have the die hard proggers digging through their album collections looking for precedent.
Don't worry you old "Fluff" lovers the music is as good as ever and Nick d'Virgilo seem to have grown into the role of lead singer with drums in much the same was as Phil Collins managed with Genesis before they sold out (hope that is not a precedent!)
Well worth a listen by all you die hards and a good intro to modern prog to you others who haven't been persuaded yet.
on 27 June 2010
This is a long album - filling up some 77 minutes of disc space. The opening two tracks are certainly amongst the best in the extensive SB canon. The album opens with `On A Perfect Day', which is prog in the classic SB style. This wouldn't have seemed out of place on 'V', for example, despite the change of singer.
What follows is, for me, this album's real highlight: `Skeletons At The Feast' (6:33). This is an absolutely corking instrumental, that begins with an urgent, hard rocking riff - Spock's Beard at their heaviest and most atmospheric. The playing is great: rock solid bass and drums, with mean guitar and keyboard flourishes.
The bit of this song that really blows me away commences at around 4:25, when the band launch into an increasingly wild ascending riff. The playing gets crazier and crazier - but just listen beyond the impressive guitar and keyboard soloing and appreciate the fantastic drumming. As the band ascend the climatic riffing spiral, we are treated to an awesome, totally mental drum wig-out. Nick D'Virgilio deserves a medal for this contribution to what has got to be amongst the most intense couple of minutes of rock music ever recorded!
The rest of the album's 14 tracks cover a variety of musical bases, including a beautiful ballad 'Hereafter' (5:01) that showcases Mr D'Virgilio's considerable talent as a vocalist, and the very satisfying 4-part prog-suite 'As Far As The Mind Can See'.
There is a lack of stylistic consistency, which may be disconcerting for some, but this is compensated for by uniform quality throughout. If I was allowed to take only one SB album with me to a desert island, this would be it (narrowly pipping `V' to the post). Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2007
From start to finish this album is a superb listening experience - not a weak track to be found. Here The Beard manage to combine light and shade, colour and texture and a depth of musicality unheard since 1995's 'The Light' and 1997's 'The Comfort of Strangers'. This is more than simply a return to form - it's a masterpiece and surely the best prog album of 2006!!
on 21 May 2008
The Beard are well into their stride now having left mentor, co-founder and chief songwriter Neal Morse to bother the bible-bashers in their wake a few years ago. I have to say that I'm a reluctant fan of the band, not entirely sure if I've made up my mind yet or not. However, on the strength of seeing them in London last year, I bought this and you know, its really rather good. Stand out tracks include the epic 'As far as the mind can see' including the infectious 'they know you know' refrain which you can guarantee to hear on this summer's tour and Slow Crash Landing Man, Rearranged and several others! Great live, this is a worthy addition to their substantial catalogue. A new live dvd from said 2007 tour is due very soon.