The Oblivion Particle

So here's my personal confession...after Neal left I felt that Spock's Beard lost their way.  Nick is a fine vocalist but there was something quirky about Neal's writing that had a reverential old school quality that I found lacking.  The albums didn't grab me.  Nick left and Ted Leonard took over on vocals.  Whether it was Enchant or Thought Chamber, he's always stood out and he fits Spock's Beard quite well.  The new drummer Jimmy Keegan slipped into the blend with no dificulty.  The result is (to my mind) a resurgence from this band.  Ryo Okumoto always puts on a show - in particular his heavy reliance on Hammond organ reminds me quite a bit of Steve Walsh.  In fact the sound of the whole album has a Kansas vibe. Coincidentally David Ragsdale guests on one track.  I'm not sure I can remember the last time I said this about a Spock's Beard album - Highly recommended.

"Very few bands are so recognizable that you know who you are listening to within 2 seconds.  That is all it takes at the beginning of the first track on The Oblivion Particle to know you are listening to Spock’s Beard.  There is no slow buildup or keyboard swells, just straight BAMM!, here we go.  And if the opening notes don’t get you, the organ 5 seconds in will.  The band’s 12th studio album, this one the second with singer Ted Leonard and drummer Jimmy Keegan, is a culmination of years of perfecting a sound and identity, one that not even 2 major lineup changes could fracture. With this new album, Spock’s Beard up their game again and show that this lineup is here to stay.

If there was a track that defined what Spock’s Beard are, it might be the opening track, “Tides of Time.”  There are certain checklist items that mark their sound and they are all in this track.  The organ, the harmonies, the acoustic breakdown, the rocking middle and the epic ending.  Each member finds their moments to shine on this one and it provides a jaw-dropping sound overload that could leave one satisfied at that moment; only there is another 60 minutes to go.

The album zigs and zags through a few more experimental moments, mixing in some surprises with more traditional Prog elements.  The album’s second track and first single is “Minion”, is a perfect example.  The opening a cappella harmonies provide the sort of memorable chorus and harmonies we’ve come to expect from the group.  While, the following distorted keyboard section is also standard Spock’s Beard.  But the verse and middle of the song is much darker and takes us on a surprising journey.

The most unique song the album is the brilliantly titled “Bennett Built a Time Machine”, which the album’s cover is based on.  Drummer Jimmy Keegan takes lead on the vocals here and sounds incredible.  His voice actually fits the track better than Leonard’s probably would have.  The song is one of the album highlights and helps keep the record from sounding redundant.  It is almost a pop song most of the way through until turning on the jets and shifting into Prog mode.

There are some heavier moments such as “Hell’s Not Enough” and “Get Out While You Can”. “The Center Line”, however, might be the most similar to something you might have found on their group’s previous album “Brief Nocturnes…”  The track opens with an expansive piano recital piece, before turning into a combo Prog-Western bounce with acoustic guitars carrying the groove. Ted’s voice lifts the choruses flawlessly and creates an almost cinematic soundscape.

Even with all of these great moments, it is the album’s closing track that is the best song on the album.  “Disappear” might be one of the best songs the band has recorded since Neal left the group.  “We could disappear, you and me, we could be, anyplace else not here” sings Ted in the chorus as he wonders what might be if we left with no one knowing what happened.  The song is really the closest thing to a ballad on the album, but it doesn’t stay that way for long.  2 minutes in, the song stirs into a frenzy just before a brief cameo by Kansas’ David Ragsdale, appearing with his violin.  Of course, the big epic orchestral ending takes us home as Alan Morse provides the finishing touches with his unique finger picking soloing excellence.

Spock’s Beard are Prog rock’s most reliable unit.  They have yet to disappoint and always provide comfort to their faithful fans with music that is both inspiring and breathtaking.  And while The Oblivion Particle shows a harder edged Spock’s Beard, it also displays a group that shows no signs of slowing down and is ready to take on all comers." - The Prog Report

 

There are no review yet. Be the first!

Product Review

You must login or register to post reviews.
Laser Pic

customers also bought

SEE ALL
  • "Jolly is a real rising star in the world of rock music, combining elements of art pop, dark rock, progressive music and much more. After a terrible ordeal with losing their equipment in Hurricane Sandy, the band came out of that stronger than ever and released its brand new album, The Audio Guide to Happiness, part 2.Straight away you get a sense that this isn’t a typical band you’d expect to find on Inside Out. The start is almost that of an industrial band. We are then hit in the face by some power chords on the guitar. A beautiful gentle part follows, which seems to be the recurring pattern on the album – gentleness followed by aggression or vice versa. When you thought you couldn’t be surprised more, the band returns with some shattering metal riffs to take the intensity even further. Anadale’s voice adds an even more modern texture to the sound with its indie rock / new metal quality. The two Guidance interludes show Jolly capable of creating ambient pieces of real beauty as well. Lucky is on the verge of synth pop, were it not for the crunching guitars. It’s really fun observing Jolly playing around with so many genres. As Heard on Tape is another fascinating departure, with a folk motif and the use of bagpipes. The Grand Utopia brings the album to an epic close, with another wild ride on the rollercoaster of our senses.Jolly is a real sensual experience for musical epicures. You get an incredibly wide taste of their musical world. This is a band which is going places and I wouldn’t be surprised if they really make it huge in a few years. It is a real pleasure to listen to an album which is very easy to listen to and at the same time totally unburdened by any genre definitions." - The Rocktologist
    $12.00
  • Fourth studio album from the prog "supergroup" of Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater), Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings), Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard), and Pete Trewavas (Marillion).  Like the previous albums expect marathon length pure prog rock that reflects back onto the golden age.  The title track is 32 minutes long!This is the 2CD/DVD Deluxe edition.Track List:Main Disc:1    Into the Blue                                          25:112    Shine                                                       7:263    Black as the Sky                                       6:434    Beyond the Sun                                        4:29 5    Kaleidoscope                                          31:53TOTAL TIME: 75:43      Bonus Disc:1    And You and I                                         10:432    I Can't Get It Out of My Head                   4:433    Conquistador                                            4:104    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road                      3:165    Tin Soldier                                               3:216    Sylvia                                                      3:497    Indiscipline                                              4:438    Nights In White Satin                                6:12TOTAL TIME: 40:59Making of Kaleidoscope DVD – Full length DVD behind the scenes of the writing and recording of this amazing album. Running time 1 hour and 26 minutes. Edited by Randy George. NTSC Region Free
    $28.00
  • Mega-rare US late 60's flower power psych/pop band with some subtle prog tendencies. Features lots of unreleased versions.
    $24.00
  • Official vinyl reissue with the original gatefold sleeve. Third album from the seminal German ensemble is important for a number of reasons. First it was their initial album for the Brain label. Second it was the final album to feature the classic Neumeier, Trepte, and Genrich. The album consists of 4 long extended jams. By this time the band had become tighter and more focused but its still amazingly knarly psychedelic guitar jamz from the outer cosmos - occassionally injected with some of that oddball humor that was also an important part of the Guru Guru ethos - I guess it was the drugs. Important album - highest recommendation. FOREIGN CUSTOMERS PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR SHIPPING CHARGES TO MORE ACCURATELY REFLECT OUR COSTS.
    $29.00
  • Magnus Karlsson's name might not be that familiar to you but if you are a fan of melodic metal you probably own an album or two he was involved in.  The Swedish guitarist's original band was Last Tribe.  After a number of albums for Frontiers he was the man behind the curtain for the two Allen/Lande albums as well as a bunch of other projects for the label.  Ultimately he became a member of Primal Fear and toured with this.Freefall is his first solo album under his own name.  He plays all the instruments except drums which are handled by Danny Flores of Mind's Eye.  Calling in favors, Karlsson has enlisted a who's who of vocalists from the melodic metal realm: Russell Allen (Symphony X), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Tony Harnell (TNT), Rick Altzi (Masterplan), David Readman (PC69), Mark Boals (Malmsteen), Michael Andersson (Cloudscape), Rikard Bengsston (Last Tribe), and Herman Saming (A.C.T).  That's a lot of good pipes!
    $13.00
  • Second album from this Italian band that actually goes back to the 70s although they didn't record until recently.The roots of the band's sound is quite obvious.  Il Cerchio D'Oro are proponents of "Rock Progressive Italiano".  With the necessary Italian vocals in place, the music has a nice balance of keys and guitar but there are plenty of guests introducing flute, sax, mandolin.  It should be noted that these guests are sourced from classic bands The Trip, PFM, and Delirium.  Dig the 'tron?  Its here!  The synth work in particular is going to remind you of Flavio Premoli.  
    $16.00
  • "The musical transition that seemed to have just begun with Fear of Music came to fruition on Talking Heads' fourth album, Remain in Light. "I Zimbra" and "Life During Wartime" from the earlier album served as the blueprints for a disc on which the group explored African polyrhythms on a series of driving groove tracks, over which David Byrne chanted and sang his typically disconnected lyrics. Remain in Light had more words than any previous Heads record, but they counted for less than ever in the sweep of the music. The album's single, "Once in a Lifetime," flopped upon release, but over the years it became an audience favorite due to a striking video, its inclusion in the band's 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, and its second single release (in the live version) because of its use in the 1986 movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills, when it became a minor chart entry. Byrne sounded typically uncomfortable in the verses ("And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife/And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"), which were undercut by the reassuring chorus ("Letting the days go by"). Even without a single, Remain in Light was a hit, indicating that Talking Heads were connecting with an audience ready to follow their musical evolution, and the album was so inventive and influential, it was no wonder. As it turned out, however, it marked the end of one aspect of the group's development and was their last new music for three years." - Allmusic Guide
    $6.00
  • This is the limited mediabook edition.  Its a hardbound book with an expanded booklet and a bonus CD featuring orchestral and acoustic versions.Dawn Of The Brave is the fifth studio album from this German acapella metal band.  Five vocalists and a drummer - no guitars, keys, nuthin'.  Its a bit of an aquired taste and apparently a lot of people have in fact acquired the taste - they are wildly popular in Europe.  The album consists of their usual mix of original and cover tunes.  The original tunes tend to work better because you don't have a point of reference to compare against.  Any version of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" is going to pale in comparison to the original...but its here for you to check out.  So basically you have this band that does this weird thing within the context of metal.  What they do they do extremely well.  Will you like it?  Dunno...here's a sample to help you decide: 
    $16.00
  • "This is not a new Lost Horizon record.There, we got that sorted out. The good news is that Daniel Heiman is finally back where he belongs: in metal. For its third outing, Harmony tapped this fan-favorite singer, but unlike recent, however successful, hijack jobs (think Michele Luppi with Secret Sphere, or further back, Urban Breed with Bloodbound), this is still one hundred percent a Swedish, religious power metal experience.After a promising start with Dreaming Awake, and a superior sophomore effort in Chapter II: The Aftermath, Chapter III at last gives us the Harmony record that I always knew the Swedes had in them. Retaining the band’s signature solemn style and subtle sense of melody, Theatre Of Redemption is bigger, better, and an overall top contender for 2014’s album of the year.Just how much has this to do with Heiman himself? Of course, hiring a man of his not inconsiderable talent is certain to lend your work that extra flavor. This isn’t to say that Henrik Båth held the band back (about as much as Mikael Dahl did/does in Crystal Eyes), but that Heiman touch is fan-favorite for a reason. The superhuman wails, the natural emotion, the unrivaled raw power, all of that bigger and better than before as well. In whatever dark corner of the music industry this man has been lurking in for all these years, he’s picked up a thing or two. A tender and soulful performance like the one on “What If” could simply not have come from him in his Lost Horizon-days. Goosebumps, ladies and gentlemen, entire flocks of geese.Logically, even Daniel freakin’ Heiman can only thrive when the songwriting is there to support him. Harmony stepped up its game considerably in this department, opting for shorter, tighter material here. Theatre Of Redemption is trademarked by sharp and poignant riffs, simple but gripping melodies, and an overdose of class. “Son Of The Morning” and the title track sound like the basic but effective kind of songs that Kamelot used to churn out in its heyday, boasting oriental effects, a mystic atmosphere, and an ominous chorus. “I gave it aaall – for – NOTHING!” More geese and whatnot.Not all of it is down and plodding, though. Introspective opener “Window Of My Soul”, the celebratory “Crown Me King”, and self-referencing closer “In Search Of” root Harmony firmly in the national style. Anyone attempting to chronicle the rich history of Swedish power metal should do well to include them. For filler tracks, to conclude, look further, because Harmony wastes no time making every single song one worthy of remembrance and appreciation.This is not a Lost Horizon record. Instead it’s the best album Harmony has ever released, and one of the best this year has seen so far. Daniel Heiman returns gloriously to be crowned as king (only to disappear, as he’s only a guest on this album), and aids Harmony in releasing its full potential. Fans of Heiman, Harmony, and (Swedish) power metal in general should purchase this blindly." - Black Wind Metal
    $15.00
  • Incendiary trio led by guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen. This is a tough album to categorize. Its a mind bending instrumental mix of stoner rock and fusion. Ms. Thomassen channels her inner-Hendrix and Iommi in counterpoint to the acoustic upright bass of Ellen Breken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad. Pure raw guitar driven power that is aggressive but melodic. Highly recommended."Debut album from very exciting new trio led by guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen. With one foot in heavy rock and one in jazz they effortlessly manage to combine monster riffs and high energy rock´n´roll with progressive and lyrical modern jazz. Fully instrumental apart from the distant shouting in a Melvins cover, "Shoot!" is more song structured than other guitar led trios such as Bushman´s Revenge or Scorch Trio. Ellen Brekken plays electric and acoustic bass and Ivar Loe Bjørnstad is the drummer. The album has a lovely vintage, classic analog feel that surely has something to do with it being recorded live in the studio with the musicians actually playing together. It was mixed by Kai Andersen in Athletic Studio and mastered at Dave Collins Mastering in Los Angeles. We love this band and the album comes highly recommended."
    $18.00
  • Obsidian Kingdom is a fascinating band from Barcelona that released Mantiis in 2012 in a limited run of 500 copies.  It's now picked up for worldwide distribution via Season of Mist.  This is definitely progressive metal - real boundary pushing stuff.  The band is categorized as post-metal and that is just one of the guideposts they touch on.  I hear more of a musical connection to Leprous and Arcturus.  If you are inclined towards the more avant garde side of metal you need to hear this band.  With the right push they could become massive.  Highly recommended."Cutting right to the chase, Obsidian Kingdom‘s latest release, ‘Mantiis‘ could very well be the most equivocal album I have reviewed to date. What this five piece post-metal band from Barcelona has put together with their latest genre-crossing, boundary pushing release is something few other bands can lay claim to accomplishing. I can’t even began to describe the number of different genres represented throughout this 47 minute monstrosity of an album.“Not Yet Five” is the album’s opener and starts things off with looming bass, light distortion, piano work and sporadic beeps and buzzes that all blend together to create an eerie ambiance that sets the mood for things to come. From here the album progresses forward with “Oncoming Dark” and “Through the Glass” which start off which crisp clean vocals and electric-accoustic guitar work before evolving into a wanderlust of heaviness that borders between post-metal and progressive death metal. Keyboards play on in an evil manner and when combined with chugging guitars and persistent drumming a doomsday like atmosphere forms. As the album moves forward through the short tracks, it gains in intensity through it’s evolving layers. By the time the album reaches its fourth track, “Cinnamon Balls” it has already spiraled into a dark, twisted place filled with harsh demonic vocals and djent style guitar work.A short piano interlude leads into “Answering Revealing” which brings the album full circle as clean vocals emerge as does a short but sweet return to Obsidian Kindgom‘s softer side. “Last of the Light” is where the album completely goes off of the tracks. While the beginning and end of the track are highlighted by violent vocals and double bass action, bookended between it is a several minute long section that features a classical guitar and with a very bluesy saxophone solo. You heard me right. This is without question one of if not the most unique song I have heard in years and definitely one of the most unusual combinations of instruments. From here ‘Mantiis‘ takes a stark transition to “Genteel to Mention”, a short track that opens with piano and clean vocals  that only last for a short while before the album returns right back to its doom and gloom heavier ways with the intro to “Awake Until Dawn”. The track does come to a crawl as it progresses when piano work mixed with synths present yet another unheard element to the album.‘Mantiis‘ moves forward with “Haunts of the Underworld” showcasing the best guitar work to be found on the album  and “Endless Wall”, which feels like the closest thing to a post-metal track found on the album despite the hints of more djent guitar work. Clean vocals amidst swirly ambiance make up “Fingers in Anguish” and demonic vocals and downtuned guitars return in “Ball-room”, both short tracks that barely cross over the five-minute mark combined. “Ball-Room” does a fantastic job setting the table for the closing track “And Then It Was”. Stark, aggressive drumming leads the way as everything the album has built itself up for comes to a head in this epic finale.One album I do think that compares particularly well to ‘Mantiis‘ is Crippled Black Phoenix‘s ‘Mankind, The Crafty Ape’. The two albums share many similarities in how they flow, how they use music as a journey to tell an album spanning story and also how they infuse many different genres into their sound while never delving down too far into a particular one. While CBF opted for a more psychedelic, bluesy infusion, Obsidian Kingdom chose a much darker, louder progressive death metal meets doom metal approach.While fantastic in its storytelling, the album isn’t without its shortcomings. I found myself wishing the album flowed a little bit better as some of the transitions seemed a bit awkward. There are also times where I wished the clean vocals would have had a stronger presence throughout the album as the band’s softer material is among their strongest work. Still, I can overlook these minor nuances as I continually find myself coming back to this album time and time again. ‘Mantiis‘ is one of the more captivating albums I’ve heard all year and is without question a breath of fresh air. " - PostRock Star 
    $12.00
  •  Fascinating new post-rock from this Swedish band sporting at least one familiar name!WALRUS THE BAND: Renowned film music composer and piano player Matti Bye on Hammond & Farfisa Organs, Mellotron and Wurlitzer Piano. The Tiny and Gul 3 member Leo Svensson on Cello and Minimoog. Producer and composer Kristian Holmgren on Electric Bass and Fuzz Bass. Mattias Olsson of Änglagård on drums, with Henrik Olsson of Gul 3 and Harr joining him at their double drum kit, The Sprawl."Exciting new album from Sweden that mixes retro progressive with classic Krautrock sounds. Opening track 'Tromso III' gets the motorik running with a steady beat and analog keyboards layered on top. The real party begins with 'Signals', a haunting organ and violin led piece. Heavy bass and drums propel the track forward in an exciting way. Bleeping synthesizers are dropped on top to create a truly psychedelic atmosphere. But it's the 14 minute 'Spitsbergen' that really places Walrus in the big leagues. Starting out in Ohr music territory, with a decidedly funereal backdrop of organ, synthesizers, bass and plodding drums - the composition suddenly comes alive with an insane and massive fuzz bass attack followed by swirling organ and mellotron . If you don't fly off your couch and put a fist through the wall, then you are... ... legally dead. Very few bands ever capture a perfect moment like that. What a stunning song." - Tom Hayes/Under The Radar CDs
    $13.00
  • This is another one of those classic Renaissance radio broadcasts that tape traders have circulated for years.  It gets an "official" release courtesy of Purple Pyramid.  It was recorded on the Turn Of The Cards tour at the Academy Of Music in NYC on May 17, 1974.  If you are fan and you don't have a cassette squirrelled away somewhere you need to own it.
    $17.00
  • Special Edition 3CD+DVD Digipak containing a full recording of the Tilburg show and the full live footage of the Cologne show.Track listing DVD: Live in CologneInto The Blue (26:12)My New World (17:29)Shine (07:22)The Whirlwind Medley (29:34)Beyond The Sun (04:24)Kaleidoscope (31:30)Neal & Roine Duet (03:41)We All Need Some Light (05:56)Black As The Sky (08:43)Encore:Medley: All Of The Above / Stranger In Your Soul (26:06)Track listing CD 1: Live in TilburgInto The Blue (27:49)My New World (18:28)Shine (07:23)Track listing CD 2: Live in TilburgThe Whirlwind Medley (30:12)Beyond The Sun (04:50)Kaleidoscope (31:30)Track listing CD 3: Live in TilburgNeal & Roine Duet (04:34)We All Need Some Light (06:05)Black As The Sky (07:22)Nights In White Satin (08:09)Sylvia (04:46)Hocus Pocus (07:09)Medley: All Of The Above / Stranger In Your Soul (24:34)
    $23.00