5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Octane (Audio CD)When Neal Morse left Spock's Beard after their two cd rock opera, Snow, I figured the band would just fall apart. They went out on what was possibly their strongest artistic statement, and i figured that would be their last album. When i found out the band was going on, I had a feeling that they would be horrid. But it wasnt! SB2's debut, Feel Euphoria, wasn't perfect, but it showed a lot of promise. And because of this, i was very excited to hear Octane, their sophomore effort.
The album opens with a 30 minute song cycle called "A Flash Before My Eyes." I found it, in general, dull. The intro is a funny time signature recycled "prog" riff built off two dissonant chords on a mellotron. Its cool for a minute but its too long. from there on, part one falls apart into an ugly slow part that is a terrible way to open the album. "I wouldnt let it go" is accoustic guitar pop trash that vaguely resembles "Shining star" of the previous cd, only that song was good. Part 3, "Surfing Down The Avalanche" is one of the albums best tracks. It's not perfect but its got some cool parts. its one of the only tracks on the album where the band really rocks out. the vocals in some places, however, are horrid, and it drags down the quality of the song. "She is Everything" is practically unlistenable cheese only semi-redeemed by the cool guitar solo. "Climbing up that Hill" sounds like a million other bad songs by a million other bad bands. Its generic, dull, and gets worse each time you hear it. The last part brings back riffs from the first part. They sucked then and still sucks now. We are now 30 minutes into the album, and maybe 4 of them have been good. This is a problem.
The album picks up a little after Flash, but not much. "NWC" is a cool fusion-metal innstrumental with sweet drumming. However, it gets tiresome after repeated listening. "There was a time" is good, albeit VERY cheesy. The bridge section makes me want to puke. "The Planets Hum" is my favorite song on the album. It's very linear, with a cool Gentle Giant ripoff intro and the second half is brilliant. this is a creative art-rock song that if the band had more songs like, i would love them. "Watching the Tide" is god-awful. its just piano and singing, and its soooo cheesy and so bad. the lyrics are horrid too. "As Long As We Ride" has the stupidest lyrics ever. The middle section and verse are cool, but the chorus is so bad. This ends the album on a mediocre note. Wow.
The bonus disc is okay. "Follow Me To Sleep" is a cool song, better than most on the album in fact. "Game Face" is okay. "Broken Promise Land" is cheesy but not too bad.
Maybe I just expected too much. Maybe i expected an album full of masterpieces like "The Bottom Line", "East of Eden, West of Memphis" and "Ghosts of Autumn". Maybe I had too much faith in these guys. But I am very, very dissapointed. I'll probably give them one more chance and buy their next album. But I think its sad that a band with so much technical skill, so much potential, and so much songwriting talent would waste it on a piece of recycled "prog" trash like this one. Very sad.