Snow – Spock’s Beard

Snow

Spock’s Beard

2002

InsideOut Music

The sixth studio album from the Prog-rock band Spock’s Beard is the double-album, Snow, a concept album chronicling a man named John “Snow.”  Lead by Neal Morse, this was his last album recorded with Spock’s Beard before leaving to pursue a more religious calling (and a solo career). This was my first album owned from Spock’s Beard, so when I popped the CD into my stereo, I didn’t really know what to expect. Okay, that’s a lie. I’d heard “The Great Nothing” before this, from the album V. It was a solid song, running a good twenty-five minutes or so. Pretty common for a Prog-rock band, actually. So after only hearing one song, I decided to pick up Snow.

What I am about to say may be frowned upon, or even considered taboo for review, but I initially was not the biggest fan of this album. That’s an understatement, actually. I hated this album. I gave it a once-through in my car, ejected it, and then forced it to sit on my shelf collecting dust like those Pokemon cards that you keep holding onto under the vain impression that that holographic Charizard will fetch your lazy bum self oodles of non-deserved cash.  That is, until a Music Night with the other members of this site. I brought this album with the introduction of saying “this album blows,” gave it a listen, and was both blown away and confused. Confused mostly because of wrong I had been. 

The album starts slow, and begins a gradual buildup into the song “Stranger in a Strange Land.” After this, the mixup of various types of music flows together very well, with some jazzy undertones and a Capella interspersed throughout.  Songs like “Love Beyond Words,” “The 39th Street Blues (I’m Sick),” and “Open Wide the Flood Gates” bring these sounds together.   The style present throughout the album is unique to Spock’s Beard due to these eclectic ranges. The story in this album is well-told through the band’s instrumentals and decently written lyrics. The first disc closes with a gem of a song, “Wind at my Back.” Like any comparable Prog-rock band, though, the musicianship and lyrics are going to be superior to most other genres, like those lame ones — Metal or Indie.

There is only Prog on Vulcan.  There need be no others.

The second disc opens with the usual overture, summing up the previous act and previewing the next part of the story, all through instrumental play. It is obviously named as “Second Overture.” The album’s tone is generally the same here, with a few more slower, less intense songs as compared to the first CD. A few of the songs, maybe four or five, are revisited, and a lot of the lines/tones are also revisited within other songs, giving themes to some of the characters present in the story. The conclusion of the story gives us the last song on the second disc, “Made Alive Again/Wind at My Back.” This song brings us to a very epic-sounding denouement, culminating with one of the best songs of the album. 

The album Snow details the story of boy named John “Snow” as he travels around the country, ultimately finding his place among the good people of NYC. He believes that he understands people, so he offers his help to various folk. He meets a girl who shoots him down, claiming that he’s a freak for thinking he knows the way of people. Blah blah blah, he learns lesson and the story ends. The music accompaniment for this story is much more interesting than the story itself, which honestly surprised me. If you want to listen to a kickin’ rad Prog-rock two-disc saga, listen to this. 

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3 Responses to “Snow – Spock’s Beard”

  1. You left out the detail that you changed your mind to liking it because we all made fun of you until you did.

  2. […] Produced by Ian Gillan (of Deep Purple), Jerusalem’s self-titled debut can easily draw comparison’s to the big name Hard Rock acts of the time.  This is a more focused and less spastic album than Night Sun’s.  That isn’t a negative criticism of either album.  They are both just different branches of the same tree.  Jersalem still retains that “organized jam” feel of a lot of the music of the era.  Drawing from a Blues sound for much of the guitar work, Jerusalem mix the “feeling” one would hear in a Blues solo with the heavier riffs that were starting to emerge.  Stripped of any left over ’60s psychedelics, we don’t get lost in any acid induced haze and are left with solid Hard Rock and some “pimp ass” (Ryan) guitar playing.  Check out “When The Wolf Sits“.  The band would release a reunion album in 2009 with members of Yes and Spock’s Beard. […]

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