From the Darkness - Spock's Beard (2010)
One of the main reasons I started this blog was to express my love for a much maligned genre of music. Besides New Age or Disco, no group of musicians were more loathed at one time the 20th century than the proggers. Amazingly, times have changed. New Age has an outstanding nationally syndicated radio prgram called Echoes to sing its praises. Disco is considered the epitome of 70's pop culture, and is roundly celebrated for its brilliant producers and artists. However, prog rock's rebirth has to be the most surprising. Not only has it been reconsidered by most music critics, but the wealth of new material is staggering ( So much so that you can walk into Barnes & Noble and puchase a magazine entitled Classic Rock Presents Prog.) Much of this has to do with three bands, and their offshoots: Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and Spock's Beard. The band that makes the cut for the 365 is the latter. Spock's Beard truly embraces Prog's history while hurling it further into the present. Once lead by Neal Morse (who now rules Transatlantic with former Dream Theater drummer/mastermind Mike Portnoy), Spock's Beard has continued to release masterful works that challenge, entertain and stupefy all at the same time. Their current disc, X, is a doozy: track after mindnumbing track of dexterity, passion and craftmanship. If I had to pick a favorite in their 19 year career, it would be this. And the penultimate track from the disc is 17 minutes long, with not an ounce of filler. Set aside some time for "From the Darkness", pull up the lyrics on the web and listen. You will see why this album was almost completely financed by fans of the group. Who wouldn't want this music to be recorded for the ages?
Prog will continue to mutate, grow, digress and change just like any other art that we love. What's reassuring about this journey is that thanks to bands like Spock's Beard, rock's intelligent, redheaded stepchild has quite a future ahead of him!
From the Darkness by manticorelover98