SPOCK’S BEARD – Gluttons For Punishment

SPOCK'S BEARD - Gluttons For Punishment


Release date: September 1, 2005

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Spock’s Beard’s reputation as a live band is undisputable: they rule! However, the cream of Spock’s Beard has never been properly captured on tape (or CD, if you like…). The outcome has been rather watery, with skanty production and subpar performance. With Gluttons For Punishment, a double CD recorded during their 2005 Octane Tour in Europe, will their stage magic finally unfold?

The Music

Naturally, Gluttons For Punishment focuses on their Octane release, an album bringing hope back to fans after the slightly disappointing Feel Euphoria. All songs from Octane are performed with the Spock’s Beard spirit, precision, and (decent) dynamics (at least for a live recording), especially “NWC” and “As Long As We Ride” really rock! Some might miss the bottom end punch from the studio versions, but that could indicate you’re not playing it loud enough…

The album revisits the band’s first album with its title track “The Light,” a nice surprise, even if the vocals are perhaps not all that you would hope to hear. They also revisit The Kindness Of Strangers via “Harms Way,” and V with a brilliant version of “At The End Of The Day.” “The Bottom Line” from Feel Euphoria is a little fatigued compared to the others in this particular party.

The Band

Spock’s Beard survived the departure of their original singer Neal Morse, and found a worthy replacement in their own Nick D’Virgilio. Although not inhabiting the grand charisma of his predecessor, Nick D’Virgilio’s effort is considerable. Naturally, he sounds the best with the material written since he stepped up to the microphone, but his clear voice, together with the strength and original feel to the music of Spock’s Beard, ensures all songs survive with him singing lead vocals. Just listen to his effort in “At The End Of The Day”: absolutely convincing!

Dave Meros (bass) is being introduced as “the rock of Spock’s Beard” by Nick D’Virgilio in “At The End Of The Day,” and that pretty much wraps it up. He ties it all so neatly together and plays that bass with seemingly effortless elegance. Alan Morse (guitar) really shines on this album. Hell, he even sparkles!… and Ryu Okumoto (keyboards), well, he is the wizard Ryu Okumoto, and adds everything from mellow moods to spicy zest, even if his solo act (track 3 on the second CD) barely survives the skip-finger-button.

Handling the tour drums is Jimmy Keegan, and he is a true pro! He whips around with the accuracy of D’Virgilio, adding a slightly primal groove, which really soothes the music well. Fans of Genesis will nod their heads smiling in recognition when listening to the duel between Keegan and D’Virigilio in “NWC.”

One part of the band that often does not get the deserved credit is the audience. On this album, the audience is simply brilliant! Apart from the enthusiastic applause and cheering, they stand out from “the crowd” as being uniquely respectful: no noise or unnecessary mumbling. This shut-up-and-listen mentality is worth a study alone.

The Verdict

At last: the live magic of Spock’s Beard canned! Gluttons For Punishment is a jewel in any Spock’s Beard album collection, and a decent supplement to any other collection of Progressive Rock.

Complete track list:
CD 1: Intro / A Flash Before My Eyes (parts 1-7) / Harm’s Way / NWC
CD 2: At The End Of The Day / The Bottom Line / Ryo’s Solo / Ghosts Of Autumn / As Long As We Ride / The Light


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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