The truth is that this new record from this renewed american band called “Feel Euphoria” doesn’t make me feel any kind of euphoria. We didn’t find much good stuff in what Neal Morse and his colleagues had released lately, a band that on my opinion was lost in a sort of musical void and that situation forced them to repeat a formula that didn’t connect with the modern prog-rock fans. But this is not what I was expecting. When a group looses his main composer the best they can do is start again with a new name.
We find ourselves with a CD that sounds totally different to what we were used to. A band with totally different shape playing a different kind of music, very good music of course, but a sort of style that doesn’t have to do much with the typical Spock’s structure. The music is straighter and plain, they have reduced the keys to a 10 per cent and they’re using a lot more artificial elements, the guitars and bass are harder than ever, and the voice comes from Nick D’Virgilio, and the truth is that he is not as good as Neal, and I was not a fan of Neal’s voice. The group has become an american hard-prog band or something like this. A record that can reach a wider range of people of course but it’s not for the ones who are accustomed to listening to their music with “Beware of Darkness” or “Kindness of Strangers” in their minds, because you are constantly asking yourself…what the hell is this?.
“Onomatopeia”, “The bottom line” and “Feel Euphoria” are the three pieces that open the record and they blow it away with their incredible speed. One of the main features of this new release is the speed of the instruments, like these three songs that cross the cd like a Ferrari with some hints of Ryo Okumoto’s keyboard in between. The ballads continue being a part of their music like “Shinning Star” a song that opens the door to two of the most interesting pieces “East of Eden, West of Memphis” and “Ghosts of Autumn”, with good melodies and a charming keyboard playing also with some changes… as I said these two songs are the best stuff. After this first course we find a long suite of more than twenty minutes, with a computer “Intro” ala Alan Parsons followed by a crazy bass lines and a soft guitar riff. This first part leeds us to the “Perfect Strangers” of Deep Purple!!!… or something very similar called “Same old Story”. “You don’t know” is a mid-tempo song with a heavy guitar just like an AOR song that take us to “Judge”, another speedy piece with a frenetic drumming, destructive guitar and horrible arrangements. “Sid’s Boys Choir” is a little electronic bridge that take us to “Change” which is again the same kind of boring hard-rock composition. “Carry on” closes the record with a typical Morse’s melody, with Nick D’Virgilio imitating his teacher, and a piece that adds orchestral arrangements.
I’m sorry. I was the first who wanted to enjoy this new release, but it hasn’t gone like I was wishing. I don’t know maybe for some people this kind of change can be refreshing but for me it is a poor work. I’m sure that if they had changed their name I had listened to it with another attitude.