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4.1 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 27, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Spock's Beard's 2002 double album Snow, a monumental work with 26 songs & more than 115 (!!) minutes of playing time. Snow is certainly not for the superficial, musical fast-food loving fan. However, for fans of passionately played, diversely arranged, or

Spectacularly executed and ambitious, this double-CD marks a logical plateau for Spock's Beard: the full-blown concept album. While there's no denying the band's central irony--they make what is essentially '70s retro-prog--it's executed by founder and vocalist Neal Morse and company (brother Alan on guitars, bassist Dave Meros, Ryo Okumoto on keyboards, drummer Nick D'Virgilio) with compelling zeal and wide-eyed wonder. There's ever-so-brief nods to thrash metal and industrial abrasiveness, but the touchstones remain the glorious vocal harmonies of Yes and Kansas, the moody pomp of early Genesis, and the machine-gun arpeggios and jagged time-shifts of King Crimson. The band has the good sense to mock the genre's inherent excesses (and itself) on "Ladies and Gentleman, Mister Roy Okumoto on the Keyboards," even as Okumoto resurrects Keith Emerson's late-'60s torture-the-Hammond routine. If the story (albino misfit Snow finds corruption in the big city, eventually becomes the Messiah, ultimately prefers personal redemption) cribs motifs off everything from Tommy to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, its message of renewed hope and innocence reclaimed can seem mighty appealing, especially after decades of punk cynicism and postmodern navel gazing. Hold those lighters high! --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Made Alive/Overture
  2. Stranger In A Strange Land
  3. Long Time Suffering
  4. Welcome To NYC
  5. Love Beyond Words
  6. I'm Sick
  7. Devil's Got MY Throat
  8. Open Wide The Flood Gates
  9. Open The Gates Part 2
  10. Solitary Soul
  11. Wind At My Back

Disc: 2

  1. 2nd Overture
  2. 4th Of July
  3. I'm The Guy
  4. Reflection
  5. Carie
  6. Looking For Answers
  7. Freak Boy
  8. All Is Vanity
  9. I'm Dying
  10. Freak Boy Part 2
  11. Devil's Got My Throat Revisited
  12. Snow's Night Out
  13. Ryo's Solo
  14. I Will Go
  15. Made Alive/Wind At My Back

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 27, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • ASIN: B00006FN6I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,576 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lonnie E. Holder HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I love a controversial album. Any time the comments for an album are strongly polarized you realize there must be something about the album. I had to listen to this CD for weeks to grasp the music, and listen to and read the lyrics many times. Because it took so long for me to grasp the concept of the lyrics and the art of the music, I consider this CD accessible only to those willing to invest time into it. This music is definitely progressive, even though that hallmark of progressive music, the very long track, is not in evidence. No one will confuse this music with pop or top 40 radio.
The concept of "Snow" may have some similarities to "Tommy" and "Powder", but whatever those similarities may be, there are also many differences too. Tommy was a victim of circumstances and his parents. He did not select his path, nor could he be aware of what was happening, giving that he was "...deaf, blind and dumb." Powder had the potential to be Snow, but the story there was more about prejudice and understanding (or the lack thereof), than Snow's story.
Snow exits the world at an early age (mentally), refusing to deal with the torment to which he is subjected. Eventually he wakes up and leaves home, going to New York City. There he witnesses the downside of life, the homeless, prostitutes, and drug addicts. Snow senses these people need something or someone to help them, and believes he can help them. Apparently Snow is able to provide people help, and though perhaps not quite messianic, he does get a big head. However, a girl pops his balloon and he realizes that it was his vanity that has made him believe he was any different than that boy he once was being tormented by other children.
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Format: Audio CD
Now, when have been listening to it for a year, I can finally give my full review.

This album doesn't just stay there in your CD player - I couldn't listen to it for more than an hour through a few days. I didn't actually like any single song in whole, they seemed too 'christian' or even 'Kelly family' (to say the worst) to me. I'd been listening to much heavier hard-rock and metal before I got this, so I was a bit disappointed with the album, and all people on the web kept on singing heavenly anthems for it. I just didn't get it. But, I paused listening to it for a few days, and melodies started to come back to my head. I couldn't stop singing Long Time Suffering. And that was it. I suddenly started to like it, song by song.

At first it sounds like some average rock playing, with some gospel or christian influences, and some prog-likeness as well. Not very attractive at all. Don't throw it away! Leave it in your CD player for a few days more.

This album has a texture that shows after a month of listening to, or so. Its simplicity is mischieving, there is a whole lot of enregetic, fun and spontanous rock playing there, as well as sheer musicianship. It's incredibly deep, coherent and thought-over. Spock's Beard, and especially Neal Morse are very intelligent people and excellent musicians. All the melodies are introduced almost unnoticed, to come back later and give you that nostalgy chill over your body. All the songs are excellent, either by themselves or as a part of the whole. The arrangements are genial. This is musicianship that is only achieved by true geniuses, and I have heard only a few of them. Neal Morse one of them. Too bad he left the band and gave up rock.

Why do I call it an "album for life"? It saved me, I can say something like that.
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Format: Audio CD
There seems to be a lot of mixed feeling about this album, and it's easy to see why. This is very diferent from the usual Spock's Beard fare. Gone are the sprawling 20-minute epics, giving way to shorter tracks that all flow into each other, ala Pink Floyd's "The Wall", and just the general feel of the album is different. It's darker, less playful, and the lyrics aren't as abstract and off the wall. But do any of these things mean this album isn't great? Well, perhaps to some, but I don't think so.
While I am disappointed to see that no song on here tops 10 minutes (IMO, no one can write a long song like Neal), there is certainly no less music here. At nearly two hours in length, we have here a full-fledged double concept album reminiscent of the glory days of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and the aforementioned "Wall". And, although my opinion is not shared by everyone, I personally think it is every bit as good as those albums, in fact, I think it's even better. Despite the many criticisms, I think this is a stellar album. There's plenty of diversity, the musicianship is tight, and the melodies are just beautiful. Neal really does have an incredible ear for melody.
The album starts out soft and peaceful with "Made Alive", and launches into an awesome uptempo overture. The story is of an albino man (nicknamed Snow) who moves to New York, and struggles with life, love, and his newly discovered healing powers. It sounds a bit like a ripoff of the movie "Powder", but the story is completely different, and I think, just as good. There are fun, rocking parts ("Freak Boy", "Welcome to NYC", "Devil's Got My Throat"), and softer, more emotional parts ("Love Beyond Words", "Wind At My Back"), and everything fits together perfectly.
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