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NOISE FLOOR

Spock's Beard

Symphonic Prog


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Spock's Beard Noise Floor album cover
3.58 | 63 ratings | 6 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2018

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 - Noise Floor
1. To Breathe Another Day (5:38)
2. What Becomes Of Me (6:11)
3. Somebody's Home (6:32)
4. Have We All Gone Crazy Yet (8:06)
5. So This Is Life (5:35)
6. One So Wise (6:57)
7. Box Of Spiders (5:28)
8. Beginnings (7:25)

Total time 51:52

Disc 2 - "Cutting Room Floor" EP
9. Days We'll Remember (4:14)
10. Bulletproof (4:41)
11. Vault (4:39)
12. Armageddon Nervous (3:32)

Total time 17:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Ted Leonard / lead & backing vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
- Alan Morse / 6- & 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, string arrangements (3,5)
- Ryo Okumoto / piano, Hammond, Mellotron, MiniMoog, Jupiter 8, Yamaha Motif, Nord Wave keyboards, Fx, Arturia software
- Dave Meros / bass, backing vocals

With:
- David Robertson / English horn (3)
- John Boegehold / string arrangements (2,10)
- Eric Gorfain / violin
- Leah Katz / viola
- Richard Dodd / cello
- Nick D'Virgilio / drums, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard

2xCD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMSECD 506 (2018, Europe) SE with a bonus EP "Cutting Room Floor"

2LP+2CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMLP 506 (2018, Europe) Full album (incl. bonuses) on both media

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy SPOCK'S BEARD Noise Floor Music


Noise FloorNoise Floor
Century Media 2018
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Noise FloorNoise Floor
2Nexus 2018
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$39.43 (used)

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SPOCK'S BEARD Noise Floor ratings distribution


3.58
(63 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
21%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
39%
Good, but non-essential (29%)
29%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

SPOCK'S BEARD Noise Floor reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars It's going to be quite easy for some long-time and more casual fans of popular American prog band Spock's Beard to quickly (and unfairly) dismiss their thirteenth studio album, 2018's `Noise Floor'. On the surface, the band have offered up one of their most streamlined works to date (with quite an AOR-driven sound to the fore), so the more commercial elements of the band are front and centre, with the tune being the biggest priority over instrumental showboating. That song-driven edge has always been at the heart of the band so should really not be surprising, but careful (and repeated!) listens are essential to reveal plenty of interesting and exciting details woven in to pretty much every track on the album, even ones that initially seem fairly straight-forward. Thankfully, `Noise Floor' still retains that muscular heavy rock sound present on all the Spock's discs since founder Neal Morse took off that has really become one of the defining and instantly identifiable qualities of the core four-member modern version of the group, and in many ways it makes for one of their most deceptively lavish efforts so far.

Gutsy opener `To Breathe Another Day' sets much of a template for the disc - ballsy hard-rock with unpredictable time- changes and grander symphonic flavours all grafted to tightly compact tunes with lofty lead vocals. Enchant singer Ted Leonard (now on his third full studio album with the band) is given even greater prominence than on his previous Spock's discs, and his confident and powerful delivery is sounding more natural and better than ever. Much attention has been made of former drummer/frontman Nick D'Virgilio stepping back in to provide drums for the departing Jimmy Keegan, and as great as he was in the band, Nick's complexity, power and daring are once again centre stage and a very welcome return for the group (even if it proves to be a one-off again come their next album). And, of course, keyboardist Ryo Okumoto plies his synths over everything with finesse and great colour.

Exhilarating orchestration permeates all of `What Becomes Of Me' (did Nick bring the fancier Big Big Train touches back with him?!), an eclectic and sprightly piece that jumps in a dozen directions, nice driving riffs one moment, dreamy pop-rock harmonies the next. Parts of `Somebody's Home' fit into the `obligatory pensive Spock's power ballad to make your wife smile in between all the bouts of proggy tantrums' slot, and as always the guys have this sort of thing down to a fine art, with plenty of warm acoustic guitars, smooth vocals and reflective words delivering one of the best melodic moments of the LP, and there's fleeting little reminders of the fancy Gentle Giant influence that infiltrates most of the Spock's discs.

`Have We All Gone Crazy Yet', the longest track here at eight minutes, crackles with the lively fun the band is known for, and with its constant blistering instrumental bursts - a nice jazzy undercurrent from sparkling electric piano here, some tasty King Crimson-like guitar strangulations there - it's a safe bet this one could become a live favourite with fans. `So This Is Life' is a lightly psychedelic ballad with fleeting Beatles touches even down to the orchestration, jammed full of lovely sighing sun- kissed harmonies, and Alan Morse really nails a hazy early Seventies Pink Floyd/David Gilmour-esque grandness to some lightly soaring guitar reaches. The energetic `One So Wise' then darts through a range of tempos back and forth with Dave Meros' bouncing and buoyant thick bass constantly given the spotlight between sleek Mellotron shivers and a rousing chorus.

Worry not, prog fans - `Box Of Spiders' is your sole instrumental track courtesy of Ryo, and as always from the Spocks, it's a delirious good'un, unexpectedly laced with Goblin-like spectral synths, jagged Hammond stabs and psychedelic keyboard violations whilst simultaneously being blasted by twisting-turning heavy jazz-fusion guitars/bass/drum spasms and a bit of runaway piano pomp - phew, got all that?! Album closer `Beginnings' is not the most memorable vocal track on the disc, but it finds a decent balance of being lyrically weighty and ultimately hopeful. It's greatly enlivened by cool multi-part harmonies from the different fellas around uplifting Mellotron rises, and the cool scratchy Hammond-driven instrumental spurt in the middle with some fiery guitar wailing gives the track some much needed energy.

(All versions of the album come with a welcome `bonus disc' referred to as the `Cutting Room Floor' EP, and most of the contents see the band delivering almost radio-friendly pop/rock pieces. `Days We'll Remember' is a lovely Kansas-like ballad with Genesis/Steve Hackett-esque strains and a big chorus, and Ryo's keyboards hum beautifully on this one. Classy pop- rocker `Bulletproof' is inspiriting, and `Vault' has plenty of alternating acoustic/electric guitar passages and slick vocals, but `Armageddon Nervous' (groan!) will most please the proggies, being a loopy, relentless and playful little instrumental snippet.)

`Noise Floor' is not reinventing the wheel, but it sees this modern incarnation of Spock's Beard playing to their strengths, surging with confidence and also having a lot of fun. Excluding the bonus tracks at the end, it's also a welcome change to find the Beard essentially releasing a single vinyl length album that runs around just over fifty minutes, so it mostly avoids the padded out `filler' bloat that many of their previous albums were sometimes plagued by. What you're left with is a punchy, assured, hard-rocking song-based album that still delivers plenty of prog thrills where needed, helping make `Noise Floor' another fine addition to the Spock's Beard catalogue.

Four stars.

Review by rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Metal / Heavy / RPI / Symph Prog Team
3 stars The band wanted for this new album make music with a more direct impact, and it's definitely obvious in the first part of the album. "To Breathe Another Day" has a straightforward structure in the first part before a progressive break with the keyboards of Ryo. It's amazing how the voice of Ted Leonard has some similarity with Steve Walsh. Then the next 4 tracks don't improve things with some quieter type of songs that lack memorable melody or impressive prog structures. However "One So Wise" led by Ryo's Keys shining with some tasty melodic parts. "Box of Spiders" is the highlight of the album, a dark song very atmospheric, some ELP style passages with Ryo again in the spotlight which will continue with the next track. The additional album of 17 minutes starts like the first disk with some direct rock structures, a little pop vibe, and Kansas style of music with the song "Days We'll Remember". The album ends nicely with the darker song "Armageddon Nervous". In conclusion, there are some good songs on this, but also some songs that you will skip after two or three spins. However, the production, the musicianship and the addition of some strings arrangements will make this album enjoyable despite the inconstant songwriting quality. 3.6 stars

Latest members reviews

4 stars I think I understand the perspective on the negative reviews, but I don't agree. Nor am I raving about this album to anyone and everyone. It's a solid 4-star effort. If you consider what it's trying to be, I think it does it very well. It's not a prog masterpiece because it's not trying to be on ... (read more)

Report this review (#1937218) | Posted by nickel | Tuesday, June 5, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think most people aren't giving this album enough of a chance. Musically, I think this is one of their most interesting records, with songs such as Somebody's Home, Have We All Gone Crazy Yet, and Box of Spiders showing some really great incorporation of classically-flavoured composition. Ryo Okum ... (read more)

Report this review (#1936783) | Posted by tempest_77 | Saturday, June 2, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm not sure where the negativity is coming from on this project. I saw the review by proghaven and the overall rating at this point (3.48) and I'm shocked. Perhaps the community saw the first released video and saw they recorded it separately, and assumed the music was put together the same way ... (read more)

Report this review (#1936712) | Posted by ProgthankfulRich | Saturday, June 2, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars My Disappointment Number One for 2018. No, even for 2017 plus 2018! A splendid example of 'music for nothing'. Though back in mid 1990s 'it started in heaven', really. When Greg Walker discovered them and first released their debut studio album The Light on his well-known label Syn-Phonic, they ... (read more)

Report this review (#1934973) | Posted by proghaven | Tuesday, May 29, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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