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High Octane Prog-Rock

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Artist: Spock’s Beard
Title: Octane
Genre: Progressive Rock
Label: SPV/Inside Out

Spock’s Beard continues to gather momentum and change with each album. Octane is their heaviest and most diverse since Mr. Morse left the fold. Nick D’ Virgilio keeps getting stronger; he has developed into quite a presence in front of the microphone. It makes you wonder why he sat behind the drum kit all those years and never stepped forward. Of course, the rest of the band have followed his lead and adapted their style and strengths to suit his vocal style. On this album, I think they have reached that creative zenith that was just out of their reach on Feel Euphoria. Yes, the boys have really battened down the hatches on this effort.

This use of the word heavy pertains to every aspect of the CD. Ryo Okumoto (keys), Dave Meros (guitar), Alan Morse (guitar) and D’ Virgilio’s drums are a force to be reckoned with. The lead off track which is a three part tour de force that takes the band through all the paces, displays every position in the band and their particular talents and how congeals to form their remarkable unit. When the beauty and clarity of “She is Everything” hits you straight between the eyes, you will finally realize that they have moved into some new territory other than progressive rock. This is sophisticated and perfected rock-pop with enough prog around the fringes to keep you interested. I must say that they wear it well and it turned into my favorite cut on the album after a few listens. It has an irresistible charm and rhythm to it, an element that was not evident on previous releases.

I love the cover of this album; it is so simplistic yet so meaningful. It points to where the band is at, not just an indication of their eighth album but the gas pump is symbolic of the unrelenting high-octane energy this band has now, and they invite you to fill up with some of their fuel. I tell you, my first impression of this recording was, Wow! This really rocks, then as you listen more you find that they continue to offer listeners more diversity than ever possible, or expected for that matter. I say this without any wavering… this is one of the best albums Spock’s Beard has ever recorded.

Note: At press time, I did not have the bonus disc but included the tracks for the reader’s benefit.

© Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

March 6, 2005

A Flash Before My Eyes

01. The Ballet Of The Impact
(I) Prelude To The Past
(II) The Ultimate Quiet
(III) A Blizzard Of My Memories
02. I Wouldn’t Let It Go
03. Surfing Down The Avalanche
04. She Is Everything
(I) Strange What You Remember
(II) Words Of Forever
05. Climbing Up That Hill
06. Letting Go
07. Of The Beauty Of It All – mp3

(I) If I Could Paint A Picture
(II) Into The Great Unknowable
08. NWC – mp3
09. There Was A Time
10. The Planet’s Hum – mp3
11. Watching The Tide
12. As Long As We Ride

Special Edition Bonus Disc

01. When She’s Gone
02. Follow Me To Sleep
03. Game Face
04. Broken Promise Land
05. Listening To The Sky
extras from “A Flash Before My Eyes” :
06. Someday I’ll Be Found
07. I Was Never Lost
08. Paint Me A Picture
includes a QuickTime video:
09. The Formulation Of Octane



Nick D’Virgilio-Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion, Guitar, Bass, programming, keys
Alan Morse-Guitar, Theremin, Saw, Cello, Vocals
Ryo Okumoto-Keyboards, Vocals
Dave Meros-Bass, Bass Pedals, French Horn, Vocals

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About MuzikMan

  • Back when I was in high school, I went through the necessary prog rock stage–loading up on Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Rush etc. I just can’t do it anymore. If the song has different acts (like this album appears to) I’m just tuning out.