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On disc: Spock's Beard



- Don't Try This At Home - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
- V - Amir Djawadi - 7 stars
- Live (DVD) - Claudia Ehrhardt -  


www.spocksbeard.com







Live (DVD)

Live (DVD)
(InsideOut Music - 2008)


This isn't the first Spock's Beard DVD, but the first one in the post-Neal Morse era. It was recorded last year in Zoetermeer (Netherlands) and is now in the stores about a year after the recording. Beside the concert you find a short Spock's Beard biography in images - showing photos down through the years. The photos are always connected to an album and have as background some music from the specific album. Quite entertaining.
First you see some black&white part which shows band and crew practicing some ritual before going on stage. Then it get colorful and the menu appears. When you select 'play all' first a stage flooded in blue appears, then the logo and afterwards a short image of every band member as a kind of introduction. Since Neal Morse left in 2002 drummer Nick D'Virgilio took over the mike and on tour Jimmy Keegan is playing drums. In my opinion D'Virgilio is a far better drummer then singer, but perhaps it works so well, coz it adds something human to the so perfectly played music. The DVD offers 19 tracks incl. the extraordinary As Far As The Mind Can See. The songs been picked from the days with and without Neal Morse - quite balanced. A surprise is probably Return To Whatever from Alan Morse's solo album Four O'Clock & Hysteria. Even if Jimmy Keegan is a great drummer, it is obvious that he's not as good - or just different? - as Mr. D'Vigilio, coz sometimes he returns to the drums. And there is the Drum Duel! Even if the Drum Duel is on a higher technical level, Genesis' Conversation With 2 Stools was more entertaining... At Surfing Down The Avalanche I miss a bit power in Nick's voice, but the song shows the Californians more powerful and wild then usual. Keyboarder Ryo Okumoto is partly standing on one keyboard playing the other! At Skeletons At The Feast Jimmy Keegan has some time off and shows that he knows how to surf a crowd!
Nothing to complain about the sound quality and the images. The film crew not just focused on lead singer Nick D'Virgilio and even during solo parts present other band members and not just one close up. That gives you a quite 'natural' view. But really cool is at Part 1 of As Far As The Mind Can See that at a guitar part they show both guitars and you can watch them play synchronously. Btw, you can select the different parts of As Far As The Mind Can See as well as the 2 songs combined in the medley which was the encore.
Beside the DVD there will be a live DCD which also has all 19 tracks. So it's up to you and what you prefer!


Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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V

V
(InsideOut Music - 2000)


It's nothing new in the progressive metal genre to have long tracks, but to start a CD with a more then 16 minute long song is risky. This is an interesting piece of music and offers a large variety and so don't think I want to criticize it. The album opener At The End Of The Day starts slowly and has slower parts mixed up with faster passages which is brilliant. Usually I don't like to pick certain songs from a homogenous album like this one, but At The End Of The Day is outstanding. Sentimental vocal lines vary with vivid instrumental parts - killer!!!
Next is Revelation a up-tempo tune which sounds a little spacy. And then a track with comes alive through the parts for several voices which became a trademark for Spock's Beard and is combined with groovy sounds and the melodic keyboard parts which in combination gives the song a special drive.
All On A Sunday comes next, a song which comes alive through the keyboard sounds. The power of this one makes the listener move. Song no. 5 is called Goodbye To Yesterday and starts melancholy. They slow down a little and offers a more mellow sounds. Time for the last track, but that doesn't mean that it's almost over! You might ask what this means... Okay, The Great Nothing is a masterpiece of 6 chapters which last almost 30 minutes. The different parts present the epic instrumentals and a superb vocal performance of Neal Morse in an outstanding way.
At least, even if the predecessors al were on a high quality standard and full of great music, the album V of Spock's Beard is my favorite. If you are a fan of Spock's Beard or not, you have to listen to this masterpiece of music. If this won't convince you which I can't believe, then you can turn with good conscience.
Just to mention that the band will do a head­liner tour this fall in Europe - go there and be astonished!!!!


7 stars

Amir Djawadi
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)
 

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Don't Try This At Home

Don't Try This At Home
(InsideOut Music - 2000)


The band of Neal Morse is around for quite a while and toured a lot in all that years. This live album is for their long-time fans as well as for the ones they made while supporting Dream Theater in Europe this spring. Don't Try This At Home was recorded last year in Tilburg, Holland, and present almost material from their latest studio release Day For Night. The album is about 50 min. long and incl. the 20 min. long The Healing Colors Of Sound, a song which don't get boring, even if it's 20 min. Spock's Beard know how to entertain people and also show their talent.
Art metal, if you wanna call it that way, which is kinda easy listening... Interesting not just for fans of this genre, even if this is nothing for everyone who just listening to headbanging sounds... But if you like melodies and not want to go with simple structured songs, try this album and probably you'll fall in love with this band....


8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt
 

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           2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail: contact@ice-vajal.com


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