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After listening to Spock's Beard's Feel Euphoria, I thought the band had seen its best days. However, now that I've heard their eighth album 'Octane', I have to take my words back... Octane is definitely better than their previous album 'Feel Euphoria' (however, it isn't their best to date). When I started listening to this album for the first time, I thought SB has come up with refreshing album, which will become the new favourite among the fans (the intro is very promising).
On Octane Spock's Beard introduces a "new" side of theirs — namely they have included some 'straightforward' rock songs such as "Surfing Down the Avalanche" (however, they already had some harder rock elements featured on their previous album). Nevertheless, there's "old traditional" Spock's Beard elements present in their songs as well. The most significant difference compared to their earlier albums is the scales used in their songs — instead of major scales, they clearly favoured the use of minor scales while composing and recording the 'Octane'. Mainly this album consists of laid-back, slow and atmospheric compositions with some occasional orchestral parts, but also some rock songs are present (all in all, Octane is quite a diverse album). Unfortunately, Spock's Beard relapses into gimmickry every now and then (NWC, for example). Refreshingly, Ryo Okumoto plays some leads that are obviously influenced by Arjen Anthony Lucassen's work (Ayreon, Star One).
Production on this album is first-class... The recordings are clean without losing any detail of the atmosphere. Both the mixing and mastering have been done professionally. I noticed only few impurities sound-wise, but fortunately nothing grave.
Especially for fans of Spock's Beard this album is a must-have acquisition (it's way better than their previous "attempt" without Neal Morse)... There are some really great songs on Octane, but not all of the new material is as felicitous as one might hope. Regardless, it's surprisingly good album...
Release date: 31.01.2005
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- MAGE (01.01.2005)
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