Spock's Beard - Octane

Year of Release: 2005
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 198/SPV 085-40702
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:56:00

I will not comment on the fact this is the second album from Spock's Beard since Neal Morse left. I think with Feel Euphoria SB has shown two things: First of all, they can go on without Morse and secondly, they can change their direction (albeit not much). And so here is Octane. If you thought Feel Euphoria was a heavier album, Octane takes that a notch up.

At times I find their music slightly similar to Bon Jovi. "Surfing Down The Avalanche" is a very heavy song, for SB standards, I guess. Crunchy guitars dominate here, as Alan Morse really rides his guitar here and makes it scream. Mixed with the Hammond by Okumoto and the drums, this is a great song! The first seven tracks of the album form one concept piece, "A Flash Before My Eyes." This is an excellent piece, strengthening the reputation of the Beard, as one of the better prog bands around.

I think D'Virgilio feels very comfortable in his position as lead singer of the band, as his vocals are very good and he sounds at ease. From over the top, almost screaming to very soft, like in "She Is Everything," he does it perfectly. The band sounds tight as ever and I think this is definitely one the best SB albums to date.

What I like about Spock's Beard is they have managed to keep their trademark sound and yet at the same time sound very fresh and different. A song like "NWC" sounds very familiar, but still it is different. The fact that Ryo Okumoto is now the main (as well as the only!) keyboard player has done the band and his own playing a lot of good!

Besides the heavy, sometimes close to psychedelic guitars, there is room for some acoustic guitars as well, as in "There Was A Time," which also includes some harmony vocals by D'Virgilio and Morse.

What else can I say? I really enjoy the music of Spock's Beard, with Neal Morse, but also without him. I like the direction they have taken, a more raw kind of music and I hope the closing track "As Long As We Ride" will apply to SB: as long as they ride, will they make great music! Let's hope they will ride for many years to come?

A Flash Before My Eyes: The Ballet Of The Impact (5:34) / I Wouldn't Let It Go (4:53) / Surfing Down The Avalanche (3:43) / She Is Everything (6:46) / Climbing Up That Hill (3:31) / Letting Go (1:53) / Of The Beauty Of It All (4:53) // NWC (4:16) / There Was A Time (4:58) / The Planet's Hum (4:42) / Watching The Tide (5:07) / As Long As We Ride (5:35)

Bonus Disk: When She's Gone / Follow Me To Sleep / Game Face / Broken Promise Land / Listening To The Sky / (extras from 'A Flash Before My Eyes'): Someday I'll Be Found / I Was Never Lost / Paint Me A Picture

Includes a QuickTime video: The Formulation Of Octane

Nick D'Virgilio - vocals, drums
Alan Morse - guitars
Ryo Okumoto - keyboards
Dave Meros - bass

The Light (1991)
Beware of Darkness (1995)
The Beard Is Out There Live (1995)
Official Live Bootleg (1996)
The Kindness of Strangers (1997)
From The Vault - 1995-1998 (1998)
Day For Night (1999)
Live At The Whiskey and NEARfest (1999)
Don't Try This At Home (2000)
V (2000)
Snow (2002)
Feel Euphoria (2003)
The Light - The Artwork Collector's Series (2004)
Octane (2005)
Gluttons For Punishment (2005)
Spock's Beard (2006)
Live (2008)
X (2010)
Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep (2013)
The Oblivion Particle (2015)
Noise Floor (2018)

The Beard Is Out There Live (VID) (1995)
Spock's Beard's Home Movie (VID) (1998)
Live At The Whisky (VID) (1999)
Making Of V (VID) (2001)
Don't Try This At Home & The Making Of V (DVD) (2002)
The Making Of Snow (DVD) (2004)
Live (DVD) (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: March 29th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.spocksbeard.com
Hits: 840
Language: english


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