Spocks Beard is a progressive rock band formed in 1992 in Los Angeles by brothers Neal and Alan Morse. Neal played keyboards and was the lead vocalist, as well as being the primary songwriter before leaving the band in 2002 to pursue a solo career. Alan plays electric guitar. The pair teamed with fellow musicians Nick D’Virgilio (drums) and Dave Meros (bass), were later joined by veteran keyboardist Ryo Okumoto.
The band plays a brand of progressive rock with pop music leanings (drawing much influence from Genesis), but have toured with Dream Theater. The band is also well known for their intricate multi-part vocal harmonies (such as those found on certain Gentle Giant songs) and use of counterpoint.
This is their first release without Neal Morse and with Nick D’Virgilio as lead vocalist. The CD is full of surprises with lush harmonies, blazing guitars and killer production by the Beards ever present knob tweaker, Rich Mouser. Neal has heard it and says “This record really rocks! I particularly like the song ‘East of Eden West of Memphis.’ It surprised me how ‘in your face’ this CD isin a good way! I wish them great success with it.
Label: Inside Out Music – IOMCD 126, Inside Out Music – 6 93723 65772 1, SPV GmbH – SPV 085-65772 CD
Format: CD, Album, Promo, Cardboard
Genre: Prog Rock
1 Onomatopoeia 5:16
2 The Bottom Line 7:33
3 Feel Euphoria 7:20
4 Shining Star 4:06
5 East Of Eden, West Of Memphis 7:05 Synthesizer [Additionalt], Effects [Backwards Stuff] – John Boegehold
6 Ghosts Of Autumn 6:53
A Guy Named Sid:
7 Pt 1 Intro 3:02
8 Pt 2 Same Old Story 4:25
9 Pt 3 You Don’t Know 3:11
10 Pt 4 Judge 3:20
11 Pt 5 Sid’s Boys Choir 1:09
12 Pt 6 Change 5:16
13 Carry On 5:20
Cello – Steve Velez
French Horn – Gina Ballina
Trumpet, Trumpet [Piccolo] – Claire Pasquale
Violin – J’Anna Jacoby
Artwork By – Thomas Ewerhard
Bass – Dave Meros
Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Alan Morse
Keyboards – Ryo Okumoto
Lead Vocals, Drums, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Percussion, Loops – Nick D’Virgilio
Mastered By – Jay Frigoletto
Photography – Alex Solca
Photography [Of Rich Mouser] – Jim Harrel
Producer – Spock’s Beard
Recorded By, Mixed By – Rich Mouser
For promotion only – not for sale!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bold New Beard.,
I’m not even sure where to begin here. Ok, well, to say the least, Spock’s Beard has undergone a drastic change. For better or worse, upon listening to this, I could scarcely believe that this was the same band. While there are a few recognizable elements of “Snow” still floating around, this is otherwise a massive departure from the Beard that we all know and love. Its harder-rocking, less poppish, less quirky, and a bit more blues-based. In fact, if I didn’t already know this was Spocks Beard, I’m not sure it would ever even cross my mind. However…
Despite the total 180 in sound, “Feel Euphoria” turns out to be a pretty solid disc. It is extremely obvious that Neal didn’t have anything to do with this disc, as there is hardly a trace of his songwriting style to be found, but it just so happens that Nick is a pretty darn good songwriter himself. Hes not nearly as creative as Neal (but then, few are), but he does know how to write a great song. Plus, hes an excellent singer. Great tone, and a lot of versatility. And I think it goes without saying that his drumming is fantastic. Hes currently my favorite drummer, and he doesn’t disappoint here. The rest of the band is pretty tight as well, especially Alan, who churns out some of his best work to date.
We’ve got a lot of great stuff here. “Onomatopoeia” is a fiery opener, setting the tone for SBs new harder-rocking direction. The title track has a snaky, bluesy feel, finally erupting into a ferocious jam toward the end. “Shining Star”, “Carry On”, and “Ghost of Autumn” are all outstanding ballads, proving that the great melodies have not been forsaken for the rock. Occupying a large portion of the disc is the 6-part epic, “A Guy Named Sid”, which is unquestionably the highlight for me. Its got a great mixture of softer and heavier moments, and the vocal harmonies on part 5 are probably the most familiar thing you’ll find here. It all fits together to form one exhilarating suite.
While the naysayers may nay, I think the Beard is still going strong. Definitely not a match for “Snow”, or much of the other “Neal-era” (as it will now be known) stuff, but still a fantastic new direction. Some of you may kinda have to forget its SB to enjoy it, but if you can do that, its a worthy purchase for sure.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sonic Manifesto,
Feel Eurphoria is yet another fine release from this very talented band. Listeners are treated to a sonic manifesto–from the impeccable drumming and vocal work of Nick D’Virgilio to the Wakeman-esque keys of Rye Okumoto and the heat-seeking guitar work of journeyman Alan Morse with solid backing by bassist Dave Meros. Neal Morse has moved on, but SB fans will not be disappointed at the playing and energy on Feel Eurphoria. Every track on this record stands on its own, and one can only be awed by the level of musicianship on each track. In my view, Feel Eurphoria can only be fully appreciated upon repeated listening. If Feel Europhia has a highlight, its “Carry On.” Theres something very special about this track, and its fitting that the record ends with a golden touch. One can only wonder just how dynamic the next Spocks Beard record is going to sound given the precedent set on Feel Eurphoria. This record gets my highest rating. Five stars. Rock on!
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beard Remains,
Whenever a change happens, the newly reformed band gets tested by its fan base. Rather then test we should embrace change.
Feel Euphoria sounds quite sweet to me. Yeah I will admit I wondered what they would sound like without Morse. But since its the same guys why wouldn’t the Beard still be as amazing as they have always been.
The boys have what it takes to whip out good driving music down the miles of highway.
Give this one a listen, you liked the Beard then you will like the Beard now. The whole package is sweet;
Go for it, Feel Euphoria….. I dare you 😉
5.0 out of 5 stars The NEW Beard,
This one sounds like four guys that have been in the cage (pardon the pun) and in shackles since the beginning and were let free. This ROCKS from start to finish. All the great elements are here, but it DOES NOT AND SHOULD NOT sound like the old Beard. Mark my words, this CD is going to get terrible reviews because everybody wants them to sound like the previous Beard (I’ve read many reviews on the net already). I’ve been a huge fan since day one and STILL AM. Open your mind, don’t expect the old Beard, and consider how great this music is. If you’re a prog fan it SHOULD BE because you like diverse, complex, and technically challenging music. This CD delivers just that. Stop the Genesis, Yes, and most of all old Beard comparisons. Just listen and enjoy the-STILL-best prog group on the planet. A million stars!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Neal Morse, but excellent none the less!,
I discovered this band about 4 or 5 years ago on this site. Since that time I’ve shared their music (Spocks Beard) with my German friends. To my utter disappointment, The Beard never played in Seattle. I’ve never been able to time my frequent visits to Germany when The Beard played there in the past. The Beard has a nice following now in that country. Since then, I’ve acquired most of their catalog. The first time I listened to this CD minus the genius of Neal Morse… I didn’t really care that much for it. However, after several listening sessions I have grown to love most of the cuts on this album. One of my favorites is the song by their drummer and now lead vocalist,titled Shining Star. This new Beard minus Neal Morse should not be dismissed. Their music is excellent… just different, without Neals writing and influence. Don’t give up on the Beard because of Neals exodus. I hope that there is much more music to come from these outstanding musicians. Buy this CD if you are a ProgRock fan, you won’t be disappointed!
5.0 out of 5 stars ~The Bold New Beard~,
When word came down that Neal Morse was indeed leaving SB my heart sank. Being a huge Beard fan, I knew that the music would never be the same, and I was right. Spocks Beard has evolved into something completely unexpected. Gone are the 15 minute prog masterpieces, gems like ‘At the End of the Day’ have been replaced with rocking tunes like Onomotopeoia and soft, deliciously poppy cuts like Shining Star. Is this a good thing? Most definitely. Feel Euphoria, while straying far from the traditional Beard sound, still puts most mainstream music to shame. While Neal Morse can never really be replaced, Nick D’Virgilio has done an outstanding job stepping up to the plate. His vocals are clean, and you can tell that he is having a blast with his new front man roll. With each successive listen I have to be honest and say that this album is climbing the list of my favorite Beard releases. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
5.0 out of 5 stars Spocks Beard “Feel euphoria”,
I started getting interested in Spocks Beard in 2000 when they toured together with Dream Theater. What a concert! Then i bought “V”, “Day for night” and later also “Snow”, “The light” and “Spocks Beard”. I got disappointed when Neal Morse left the Spocks. How can the guys get by without Neal? This album proves that they can! It sounds like classic Spocks Beard to me. Some of my favourite songs are “The bottom line”, “Carry on” and the epic “A guy named Sid”. I really hope that others will discover this wonderful album with this wonderful band.
5.0 out of 5 stars Spock is Rock,
People tend to disapprove of this album because they are expecting another prog masterpiece from Neal Morse.
Neal Morse isn’t in the band anymore, and they have changed.
This album is filled with tons of great rock tracks, with a slight touch of prog. Nick D’Virgilio did an awesome job at stepping up to the plate and fronting the band with his vocals. His deep voice is very soothing, and makes you wonder why it was never used on previous SB albums. Of the three new SB albums, I’ve listened to this one the most.
PS- Get the special edition of this album. The song Moth of Many Flames, though a short acoustic track and sung by Alan Morse, is one of the most moving songs on the album. Definitely worth the extra buck!
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Step in Spocks Progression. GREAT MOVE!!,
A short, but sweet 5 star review, on a complete surprise. (Again!!) Not only do we get accustomed to one style, and the boys surprise us with another. For those that say they are not progressive, I challenge you to to define progressive. Is it not going forward with consistently new styles, instead of the Predictable?? Kudos for Spocks Beard for not staying with one style too long. A truly enjoyable album, with edge, bordering on a “metal” feel at times, then “Shining Star” soft FM type rock with SOLOs! Keep surprising me, and I will continue to look forward to the next album. BUY THIS CD!!
5.0 out of 5 stars Spocks Keep Going!!,
This was my first CD from SB that i got hold of, and i can say it is still my favourite. it is obvious there is more guitar and it comes across really great.
the opening track Onomatopaeia would have to be the weakest, i do not know why – there are a few awesome sections but its a great rocking tune. The Bottom Line has rapidly become one of the most enjoyable tunes SB has released. the vocal melody is the coolest ever. the title track is so different to anything ive heard from them and that makes it awesome!! the intro just kicks major ass, while the 5 note build up into the chorus is stellar! Shining Star has entered my all time list of best songs, ive always been a fan of ballads and this is amazing, Nick really shines majorly – and the lyrics tend to have an impact on me personally (which would be a first). East Of Eden, West Of Memphis did not click with me at first but i gave it time and eventually it found its place, good way to keep the album flowing. Ghosts Of Autumn – the second ballad on this disc is stunning also, i did not listen to this regularly for some time and once i did i wondered to myself why?!?! the piano is beautiful, the vocals and music really stands tall in this.
The epic Sid well that just kicks ass, i would’ve preferred it to be a continuous track but that doesn’t really matter. my favourite section is “you don’t know” but as a whole its truly a good start to a new epic. the album then ends on carry on which finishes the album nicely.