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Spock’s Beard: Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep

Classy prog with wider appeal.

There’s something very familiar about a lot of the musical themes here. You know you’ve heard them before. Not that Brief Nocturnes is a retro work, but there’s a warm, comforting air about its seven tracks.

However, Spock’s Beard take this musical template and expand on it by pushing everything a lot further. And in doing so they’ve come up with arguably the best album of their 20-year career to date. Afterthoughts, for example, is a majestic cavalcade of quirky sounds, rich vocal harmonies and sedate atmosphere, reminiscent of Gentle Giant in the 21st century. A Treasure Abandoned allows a catchy tune to breathe, and develops into a triumphant epic.

New vocalist Ted Leonard already sounds at home, using his melodic rock background to make the songs accessible. Even lengthy excursions like Waiting For Me don’t fall into the trap of self-indulgence, and Submerged is an outright stadium rocker. Spock’s Beard have pulled off the difficult trick of keeping the diehards satisfied while also appealing to a broader audience.

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.