Rating:
N/A
Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep
1 March 2013


Disc I
01. Hiding Out
02. I Know Your Secret
03. A Treasure Abandoned
04. Submerged
05. Afterthoughts
06. Something Very Strange
07. Waiting For Me

Disc II [Limited Edition]
01. The Man You're Afraid You Are
02. Down A Burning Road
03. Wish I Were Here
04. Something Very Strange [Sanctified Remix]
05. Postcards From Perdition


Limited Edition will contain a bonus disc and will be released on March 1st.


While not yet a norm it is genuinely pleasing to see bands succeeding at crowd funding their own creative output. And while it is somewhat curious to see established acts like Spock's Beard - who already have 10 albums to their name - doing it, a successful funding campaign might actually only be mounted when you've got a credible history and a lot of quality material to show for all the years of hard work. For the fan the main question in such a case is: will the 11th album be good enough?

The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer will take some explaining. The hint of doubt with any band comes with a line-up change. It's oftentimes all the more troubling if it's the vocalist (who was also the drummer in this case) that leaves. However, in the case of Spock's Beard changes have come somewhat gradually. For example, Jimmy Keegan has been their live drummer for years, and Ted Leonard of Enchant has already been doing shows with the band. My own doubts, if I had any, were wiped away at the only show the band played last year. That Night of the Prog gig was phenomenally good.

So, the new members have slid in without much trouble. That leaves the question of music. As far as Spock's Beard goes, it easily matches the level of their latest albums. It has the complex interplay of instruments and structural variation while at the same time preserving a certain easy-going nature. Or, if you prefer it phrased the other way around, it sounds light on the ear and is accessible on the surface but has got depths to keep you occupied for quite a while.

However, one of the problems I've always had with Spock's Beard is the presence of songs that are technically well executed but sound kind of dragged out. It's one of the least wanted feelings while you're listening to a complex album riding the wave of delicate balance between tempo and technical prowess - a dragged out composition feels like an age long draught. With this album it's "Submerged" that tests your patience; the main problem - a slight lack of pace, in my view. Because what gradually follows soon culminates with a pretty brilliant "Something Very Strange." Admittedly, it's no "Kamikaze," to draw a parallel with their previous effort, X, but the album definitely peaks at this point.

So, an album by Spock's Beard is like a sine wave, or a cosine wave in this case, if I'm to be precise. It starts up high, goes into a slump, then goes up again. If you've got a bonus disc edition, you'll get more of these up and down fluctuations, though. Which is not necessarily a bad thing as the overall standard is high. Which is, all things considered, what fans have paid for. In the end, though, a thought remains lingering: is crowd funding the answer for both the band and the fans alike? It did work for Spock's Beard, and not for the first time either.


 



Written on 14.03.2013 by
Ivor
I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.
More reviews by Ivor ››



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Panterica - 14.03.2013 at 17:42  
So far I have only heard V and loved it. I hope this album won't be a disappointment
Dane Train - 14.03.2013 at 19:22  
I think you nailed it with this review. I feel the same way about SB with the length sometimes.
Azarath - 14.03.2013 at 21:39  
Quote:

So, an album by Spock's Beard is like a sine wave, or a cosine wave in this case, if I'm to be precise. It starts up high, goes into a slump, then goes up again.

Math humour. Excellent.

I don't know much about Spock's Beard, but they're a band I've always wanted to check out.
Promonex - 15.03.2013 at 01:40  
If the overall standard is high, shouldn't it be an absolute cosine?
Ivor - 15.03.2013 at 09:47  
Written by Promonex on 15.03.2013 at 01:40

If the overall standard is high, shouldn't it be an absolute cosine?

If you want to be nitpicking I've got that base covered. "Overall high standard" implies a constant offset along the vertical axis. Moreover, an absolute cosine is not a naturally flowing wave.

I.
thefallenalchmst - 17.03.2013 at 17:39  
I'm really upset to see that some of the best tracks on this record are only available on the two-disc limited edition version. Having listened to the entire set (and hopefully having it up for review on The Grim Tower soon) I question the motives of the band. Why release these extra songs and charge more money for them? The length of disc two rounds out at 30:00 which is about the length of an EP. If you count out the "Sanctified Remix" which I thought was almost unnoticeable compared to the original and the almost instrumental "Postcards From Perdition" you've got about twenty minutes of extra music that would certainly have fit on the first disc. (Rounds it out at 76:00)

Having to sit through "Submerged" was a painful experience, until the song finally warmed up. I daresay that the vocalist was getting a little too "in touch with his feminine side" there. I'd have to recommend that everyone pick up the second disc because it's literally the other half of the album as far as I'm concerned. If you've got enough material for a full album, then give us one. Don't split it up into two parts and make us pay extra.

From The Website:

Disc One

1. Hiding Out (T. Leonard) - 7:13
2. I Know Your Secret (D. Meros, J. Boegehold) - 7:40
3. A Treasure Abandoned (J. Boegehold, A. Morse) - 8:53
4. Submerged (T. Leonard) - 4:57
5. Afterthoughts (A. Morse, N. Morse, T. Leonard) - 6:08
6. Something Very Strange (J. Boegehold) - 8:23
7. Waiting For Me (A. Morse, N. Morse) - 12:36

Disc Two (special edition only)

1. The Man You're Afraid You Are (A. Morse, S. Ausmus) - 7:11
2. Down A Burning Road (J. Boegehold, A. Morse) - 6:51
3. Wish I Were Here (A. Morse) - 6:33
4. Something Very Strange / Sanctified Remix - 5:09

limited edition bonus track:

5. Postcards From Perdition (J. Boegehold) - 4:27

Considering the track list, You can clearly see how the album was split up into two parts with the remix thrown on at the end and the addition of the limited edition bonus track. Cradle Of Filth did the same thing with Manticore removing two of the far better tracks on that album. I honestly feel like I'm paying DLC charges for extra music. There is really no doubt in my mind, having listened to most of this band's discography, that if this album were made ten-twenty years ago; this would have been a 76:00 record. Amazon's current price in 14.66 for the single disc version of the album, one that I feel is a complete rip-off to fans of the band and prog rock/metal in general.

I'm really disappointed to be honest. This is a fantastic album that shouldn't have been chopped in half.

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