Spock's Beard Snow

Whoever said wanky, self-indulgent prog rock died when Yes recorded "Owner of a Lonely Heart" forgot to tell this L.A.-based quintet. For the last ten years, Spock's Beard has been consistently writing the kind of noodly, pompous epics that helped fuel the punk and new wave revolution in the early '80s. But with their sixth album, they have outdone themselves. The sprawling, single-themed, two-disc opus follows the story of an albino prodigy from awkward teenager to man of the year, set to the strains of a lush, complex, multi-dimensional hard rock soundtrack. Of course, eye-rollers who like their music in easy to digest packages will dismiss the record as self-indulgent tripe. Likely to be most appreciated by fans of Rush, King's X and Dream Theater, or those who miss the good old days of prog rock. (Metal Blade)