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Neal Morse - Sola Scriptura CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

4.18 | 637 ratings

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4 stars Rather than going track by track (which others have done as elegantly and eloquently or more so than I might), I would like to offer just a few general comments.

Neal Morse continues to be a master at writing a certain unquestionably identifiable and enjoyable style of progressive rock music, combining often hyper-complex instrumental and/or vocal segments with often painfully beautiful melodies and choruses. And his ability to interweave his deep faith with his musical and technical prowess (as vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist) - especially in such a broadly palatable fashion, never condescending or making non-believers uncomfortable - is unique in prog, thus making him (if not his entire style) unique in prog as well.

I have only one quibble: that his style has a certain "sameness" after a while, in which themes and motifs "blend" together in a (admittedly brilliant) "pastiche" of classic prog bits, not simply from song to song on an album (after all, the repeated theme/motif is a critical element in extended prog compositions, as well as in classical music), but also from album to album. This is admittedly truest of the (admittedly brilliant) extended instrumental sections, but it is also revealed in some of the more "straightforward" melodies and songs.

Still, in the grand scheme of all things Morse, this is a minor quibble. As with all his solo work, this album is all but a must-have, with a slightly more "controversial" subject matter (i.e., the lamentable state of mainstream Christianity, with which I agree), and the continued masterful technical support of Mike Portnoy on drums and Randy George on bass (as well as the usual array of excellent guest musicians).

Given that this is Morse's fourth (arguably fifth) perfect or near-perfect "concept" album in a row, one gets the feeling that he will never write a bad album - and, indeed, that he will continue to be in the front of the pack in creating prog to be proud of, to own, and to enjoy.


maani | 4/5 |


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