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Spock’s Beard: The Oblivion Particle

Twelfth studio album from prog voyagers.

Spock’s Beard’s lineup has fluctuated during their 23-year history; nevertheless, virtuoso musicianship and technical prowess have been constants, and The Oblivion Particle is no exception. Step this way if you’re into keyboard arpeggios, staccato drumming, space-age bass and ever-shifting dynamics.

Produced by Rich Mouser, John Boegehood and Alan Morse, The Oblivion Particle will appeal to fans of Yes at their most intricate and intense, with the a cappella intro to Minion evoking I’ve Seen All Good People. Dave Meros’ tech-y bass-playing pays inadvertent homage to the late, great Chris Squire, while Ryo Okumoto’s keyboard trills are positively Wakeman-esque.

Peter Gabriel-era Genesis are alluded to in Ted Leonard’s vocals and ELP are evoked in the quasi-classical bombast. Elsewhere, the jazzy piano interlude on the 10-minute To Be Free Again suggests Oscar Peterson jamming with Opeth and the keyboard-as-flute sound on Hell’s Not Enough is well Tull. It may not be original, but as a prog primer it can’t be beat.

Classic Rock 214: New albums M-Z