Release Date: 2000

Track Listing
1)  At The End Of The Day
fast
2)  Revelation
fast
3)  Thoughts (Part II)
fast
4)  All On A Sunday
fast
5)  Goodbye To Yesterday
fast
6)  The Great Nothing (I: From Nowhere; II: One Note; III: Come Up Breathing; IV: Submerged; V: Missed Your Calling; VI: The Great Nothing)
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Member: ffroyd (Profile) (All Album Reviews by ffroyd)
Date: 8/29/2000
Format: CD (Album)

Spock's Beard V (thoughts{II} on first listening)Another great work by the Californian prog masters. I don't care what anybody says, these guys get better with each release. I think the true hero of this album is Alan Morse not Neal. Alongside his excellent electric guitar work, he's also playing the cello, and they use it quite a bit. I'm going to do a sort of spoiler review here, so if you don't want to know how it turns out stop reading this now and come back later when you've got it together.1. "At The End Of The Day"Typical Beard jam to start things off with. Sounds very much like Transatlantic stuff - I think this could have been written by Neal around the time he did that project. Ryo's organning is top notch here. The song's over 16 minutes long and they cover quite a lot of ground genre-wise. There is some early psych influences going on here at times counterpointed with metal riffs and then a simulated horn section comes in. And that's just about a 30-second sample of what the song has to offer. 2. "Revelation"This tune has moments that remind me of Nektar or other psych/prog/pop bands. There's also a pretty rocking section that gives a nod to the heavy stuff of today.3. "Thoughts (Part II)"The obligatory Gentle Giant type tune on the album. Does a statement like "The Spocks do GG better than GG does GG" make them a neo-prog band? I think the guys in GG get a kick out of hearing someone do things the way they did them. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 4. "All On A Sunday"Punchy poppy prog tune that brings back memories of days-gone-by when bands were doing more stuff like this. Pretty harmless tune in most respects. It could be catchy with repeated listenings. Nice solo synth work from Neal. 5. "Goodbye To Yesterday"This is the ballad of the album. Sounds a little like "Lay It Down" from the last album with more complex arrangements and an overall more orchestrated feel. Great harmony vocals as usual. I'd say the song has a Steve Hogarth/Marillion feel to it - if you know that stuff.6. "The Great Nothing"I. "From Nowhere" - Samplers and synthesizers precede a short acoustic guitar solo. Heavy duty march of the cellos and distorted guitars into a yes style groove.II. "One Note" - Piano and drums behind Neal with band coming in a little later; nice song in it's own right. Has a little country feel to it.III. "Come Up Breathing" - Acoustic guitar is introduced. More harmony vocals, from Nick I believe. AG sounds like "Dogs" from P. Floyd then proceeds to a jam part which is suddenly interrupted by the "shocking techno part of the album!" which only lasts for about ten seconds, but elements of it remain back in the organ solo by Ryo which is awesome. I can't keep up but they end up back to the song somehow.IV. "Submerged" - Begins with nice piano interlude then moves to a heavy bass part by Dave and another jamming song is upon us with lots of bass and distorted guitar to go along with the ever-present Hammond. V. "Missed Your Calling" - Very unique part of the suite. Along with the normal Beard treatment, this has a different sound that I just can't place. Nice little synth solo. A longer part of "The Great Nothing," this song has a very nice guitar solo section. I really like Alan's playing, he's not really out there but he keeps up very well with the current crop of guitarists. Quiet now.VI. "The Great Nothing" - We get a glimpse of mellotron which moves into chilling acoustic guitar. Along comes background organ building up to the march of the cellos theme from the beginning of the suite. Weird synth noises and frantic electric guitar join the mix as well. This continues for a while with Nick pounding out some serious fills. Then Beard section with Nick going crazy moving back to Yes groove with blazing synth/organ solo coming in a few seconds later. Cacophony leads into "One Note" reprise section. Genesis style epilogue with that throbbing organ still going. Leslie explodes and as the pieces fly everywhere we are brought to the peaceful ending of the piece. Overall, I think if I continue to like this album as much as I do on the first listen it stands to be my favorite by them. A very solid effort and, although Neal is still the main performer, other members of the band are really starting to shine on their own. Ryo works his butt off on the Hammond and young Alan and his cello are bringing a whole nother element to the band. One thing I wish for the future is that they bring Dave and Nick to the front a little more. That would make the picture even more perfect.
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Member: polska (Profile) (All Album Reviews by polska)
Date: 1/12/2003
Format: CD (Album)

Just to add fuel to the great Spock's Beard debate - and believe me, a band of such consumate skill and clenched-fist commitment should merit heated engagement - here's my take. V is nothing short of a progressive rock masterpiece - classic, neo or new. V simply adds another important piece of work to prog rock's illustrious and beloved canon. Take the album's real jewel, the 27-minute (just right for a full side of vinyl, remember?) "The Great Nothing", for starters. The Beards throw everything into this monument to prog, including the kitchen synth! Steller playing from all, intricate structure, loving attention to detail, muscular chops and a killer finale that pulls all the strands together add up to invigorating entertainment. "Revelations" just goes to show that the band can write a rousing, punchy tune and still be drenched in 100%-proof prog. "Thoughts (Part II)" shows a gentle side to these giants (geddit?) with complex, affecting harmonies and a real heart of quirkiness. Illogical? No, mate, Spock's Beard are the highly logical heirs to the gem-encrusted throne of contemporary progressive rock.
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