Just as Spock’s Beard had begun to lay the spectre of Neal Morse nine years on, founder-drummer-turned-singer Nick D’Virgilio bowed out late last year. His swansong is a rueful reminder that he was asserting his own vocal identity and becoming a surprisingly accomplished guitarist as the band power their way through X – their best album in a decade – before taking a refreshing dip into the 90s.
But D’Virgilio is not alone. Keyboard player Ryo Okumoto notably raises his profile and guitarist Alan Morse is sounding more effective.
And with Ted Leonard from Enchant (who sang at High Voltage) confirmed as D’Virgilio’s replacement there’s reason to believe this will be a comma rather than a full stop in the band’s story.