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Neal Morse - One CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 455 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A masterpiece of progressive music? Probably not, and I think Neal Morse would be just fine with that. His goal seems to be laying down high quality progressive rock that communicates fairly complex issues of faith and commitment, while also leaving time to do some straightforward praise songs. I don't mind praise songs, but I'm interested in this album for the prog, and the prog to praise song ratio is more than high enough to make this a worthwhile purchase.

The Creation, The Man's Gone. This is just a superb piece of prog, followed by a haunting cool-down tune. Not only is the writing, instrumentation, and actual playing fantastic, the lyrics and tones really fit to the songs' main purpose. A song about the creation has plenty of potential for overblown pomposity, but Morse takes the smart strategy and just offers his impression of the creation, original sin, and redemption: This isn't a strict Bible story, which is part of why it works. Kudos to the rhythm section of George and Portnoy--they are rarely in the forefront, but they add a consistent energy, and listening specifically to their contributions is always rewarding. Also, Morse also is often criticized by varying his singing (sometimes for good reason), but here all his experimenting works very well--I think he sounds great.

Author of Confusion. This probably reminds me most of Morse's Beard work. Heavier than the rest of the album, this song perhaps emhasizes variation to the detriment of cohesiveness. Definitely an effective changeup.

The Separated Man. More great prog, though maybe a step down in quality from The Creation. A backbeat, rocking intro slows to an uneven middle section. It's worth sticking through, because the instrumental section that follows is spectacular. After being teased multiple times, the acoustic riff slowly builds to a great conclusion. Excellent stuff!

Help Me, Reunion. Here is where the truly progressive material ends, but these songs are packed with plenty of great melodies, rocking bits, entertaining guitar lines, choirs, variations on previous themes, and truly inspiring string arrangements that I have yet to tire of them. Nothing groundbreaking, but just great music.

Cradle to Grave, Father of Forgiveness. If you don't want to be preached to, avoid these and stick to the prog numbers. Morse has made it as simple as that. These songs are fairly cliche, but they are well done and potentially inspiring, given a certain demographic.

To be honest, I have enjoyed the heck out of this album! This is great music: it energizes me, interests me, and resonates with me. It's not a progressive masterpiece, but that should by no means prevent you from owning it!

Flucktrot | 4/5 |


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