Studio album number 12 from progressive rock institution Spock’s Beard, once more with the sound wizard Rick Mouser behind the knobs.
Over the years the band has gone through changes both sound and personnel wise and this is the second album with Ted Leonard (Enchant, Thought Chamber) behind the microphone, and it shows that he is now a more integrated part of the band.
So where does that leave Spock’s Beard in the year 2015? First off, they have to measure up against their very strong album “Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep” from 2013. An album by many considered their strongest ever – “Snow” will in my little world always be number one!
Many divide Spock’s Beard into two eras: the Neal Morse era and the post Neal Morse era, but I think we have to use a third term as well: the Ted Leonard and Jimmy Keegan era, because they are really putting their footprint on the sound of the modern version of Spock’s Beard.
Ted’s very recognisable and distinct voice has changed the sound picture some, and Jimmy’s drive and feel gives the sound a new twist as well, and he is even contributing on this new album as lead vocalist as well on the song “Bennett Built a Time Machine”. And he does a more than adequate job, giving this song a nice twist to their ever expanding sound.
I really liked this album straight out of the box, and a band like Spock’s Beard does not have to re-invent themselves with each album. They have a unique and well established sound, and after a few seconds, you know which band is coming at you!
To pin-point one song would be pointless: Spock’s Beard is an album band! A band that over the course of an album displays their trademarks, playing skills and song writing capacities, while still pushing the boundaries outwards. The album captures a vibrant and innovative progressive rock ensemble that once more proves just why they are to be counted amongst the giants of modern progressive rock, even now, more then 20 years after starting up.
“The Oblivion Particle” is without a doubt one of this year’s best progressive rock albums, and it sets the bar high for the up- and coming bands, as well as the dinosaurs in the genre to follow. And I am sure this album will be as pleasing for most Spock’s Beard fans as it was for me!
So is it better than “Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep? Well it’s as strong and as pleasing, so they might not have outdone themselves, but they have surely done enough to maintain their status.
01. Tides of Time (7:45)
02. Minion (6:53)
03. Hell’s Not Enough (6:23)
04. Bennett Built a Time Machine (6:52)
05. Get Out While You Can (4:55)
06. A Better Way To Fly (8:57)
07. The Center Line (7:05)
08. To Be Free Again (10:24)
09. Disappear (6:36)
Playing time: 66:14
Release date: August 21, 2015
Label: InsideOut Music