Out Now – Mascot
Shamefully I must confess to this being my first airing of Spock’s Beard. This is a band that has always been on my “check out” list but never made it into a shopping cart. So fortunately or not I am approaching the bands tenth album, the imaginatively titled “X”, with virgin fresh ears. Their label Mascot proclaim this as one of the bands best albums to date and I’ll take their word on it and amongst their admirers is none other than former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy.
First of this looks and smells like prog, classy artwork, inventive band name and the sound backs this up. Yet Spock’s Beard come across as the new breed of melodic prog rock with a few heavier moments this is all rather easily digestible and enjoyable – none of your bloated stodgy 70’s prog-isms here. The musicians sure know their way around their instruments yet don’t ram it down our throats at every opportunity. With just 7 songs and running time of over an hour the epic track length is here on the likes of 10 minute opener “Edge Of The Inbetween”, 17 minute “From The Darkness” and 16 minute closer “Jaws Of Heaven” yet there is also more palatable track lengths elsewhere. That said the epics do not have lag and are lovely compositions full stop with lush vocal melodies, strong guitar work and a nice rhythmic interplay all rounded out by a crisp and clear modern production.
With “X” Spock’s Beard appear to be in a very healthy state and I am eager to check out the back catalogue. Recommended for prog rock fans.
Rating – 87%