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music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Snow

Artist: Spock's Beard
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: August 2002

Review by Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
4 stars out of 4

Spock's Beard has recorded their magnum opus with "Snow." If you have been longing for the sound of progressive rock in the 70's, this band is prepared to transport you back to that time in the blink of an eye. Clearly reminiscent of the group's that inspired them to become what they are such as Genesis and ELP, they produce a tight and even mixture of layered keyboards and heavy-duty guitar runs, and the gentle touch when necessary in each composition. This is their first concept album, which is about a boy that turns into a rock god. Snow is comparable to the character called "Powder" in the film of the same name.

This was a very expensive and lavish production. Getting a copy for review was even a difficult task because it was so costly. Finally, I have one in my ever-loving prog-rock mitts. This album could be the best progressive rock recording of the year, and the year is nearly over. I have heard many great projects this year, but this one has to be the most ambitious and accessible recording yet. It is chock full of defining moments. As with many groups in the genre, this band sports a superstar at every position in the band, much like Dream Theater or The Flower Kings.

"Devil's Got My Throat" is rousing number that I would consider the apex of the entire recording. Neal Morse growls his way through the song and it surges with power and energy from start to finish. In actuality the entire scope and breadth of the 26 tracks has an impact that will linger with you long after you have given it an initial listen. This group is widely considered the best at producing their style of music over the last 10 years, which is a mouthful to digest considering the company that they keep. It may or may not be true dependent on your own personal tastes or perception. In any event, Spock's Beard is no doubt one of the premier prog-rock bands in the world today. I think with the advent of this recording it should put them in the same category as their influences. They do indeed have many other groups that are the wind at their backs; they just are not strong enough to knock them of their perch high atop the world music giants yet.

Disc One

1. Made Alive/Overture (Morse) - 5:32
2. Stranger in a Strange Land (Morse) - 4:29
3. Long Time Suffering (Morse) - 6:03
4. Welcome to NYC (Morse) - 3:32
5. Love Beyond Words (Morse) - 3:24
6. The 39th Street Blues (I'm Sick) (Morse) - 4:05
7. Devil's Got My Throat (Morse) - 7:17
8. Open Wide the Flood Gates (Morse) - 6:14
9. Open the Gates Pt. 2 (Morse) - 3:02
10. Solitary Soul (Morse/Morse) - 7:33
11. Wind at My Back (Morse/Morse) - 5:12

Disc Two

12. Second Overture (Spock's Beard) - 3:47
13. 4th of July (Spock's Beard) - 3:11
14. I'm the Guy (Morse) - 4:48
15. Reflection (Morse) - 2:49
16. Carie (Morse) - 3:06
17. Looking for Answers (D'Virgilio) - 5:17
18. Freak Boy (Morse) - 2:12
19. All Is Vanity (Morse) - 4:35
20. I'm Dying (Morse) - 5:09
21. Freak Boy Pt. 2 (Morse) - 3:01
22. Devil's Got My Throat Revisited (Morse) - 1:55
23. Snow's Night Out (Morse) - 2:04
24. Ladies and Gentleman, Mister Ryo Okumoto... (Morse) - 2:40
25. I Will Go (Morse) - 5:08
26. Made Alive Again/Wind at My Back (Morse) - 8:27

Neal Morse - lead vocals, piano, all synth, acoustic guitar
Ryo Okumoto -hammond and mellotron
Dave Meros - bass, vocals, French horn
Alan Morse - electric guitars, vocals
Nick D'Virgilio -drums, percussion, vocals
Chris Carmichael - violin, viola, cello
Jim Hoke - saxophone, clarinet, autoharp
Neil Rosengarten - flugelhorn, trumpet
Molly Pasutti - background vocals



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