Spock's Beard - Beware of Darkness (Music CD)

Release Date: 14 May 2012
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Beware of Darkness, the follow-up to California prog unit Spock's Beard's underground hit debut, The Light, is a complete exercise in MORE. Using George Harrison's beautiful song (but Leon Russell's version of it) as a take-off point, the band uses a full-blown choir, thundering guitars, and Neal Morse's growling vocal to create another valid and moving version of the tune. Beware of Darkness as an album is more "song-oriented" than its predecessor. It contains eight tunes instead of four and the longest, the closing "Time Has Come," is a mere 16 minutes, while the shortest, "Chatauqua," is a mere 2:49! In addition, the band's scope widened here; aside from references to Yes, King Crimson, and early Genesis, listeners can also hear elements of Gentle Giant, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Pat Metheny in the mix, too. However, all of them are subservient to Spock's Beard's tough, aggressively driven rock & roll approach. In many ways it goes beyond The Light, particularly because of its construction-like songwriting approach on "The Doorway," a tune written before anything on the band's debut album, where classically precise pianos give way to monstrously plodding basslines and knotty little synth riffs introduce those propulsive guitars and huge organ swells with a delicate vocal floating above it all. The overall feel of the disc is more abrupt and shape-shifting than violently dreamy like The Light, and it works without a hitch. While the sheer wildness of The Light may be preferable to this set, the overall sophistication in composition and the recording quality are quite noteworthy. This might not be the place to start with Spock's Beard, but it is certainly a place to go once the introduction has been made. ~ Thom Jurek
Release Date: 14 May 2012

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Catalogue No: 0500182