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Neal Morse - ? [Aka: Question Mark] CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

4.19 | 621 ratings

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3 stars 3.5 stars really.

Well, I wasn't to thrilled by this album initially. Perhaps it was the Neal Morse burnout that seems to affect some of his fans? Perhaps I just didn't listen closely enough or wasn't in the right mood? Whatever the reason, the last couple of times I've listened to it I have found it quite enjoyable and quite good.

It does hang together as a whole 56 minute piece pretty well. I think one of the things is that this is just a bit less familiar than his other solo works (like Sola Scriptura, which is like the Transatlantic album that never got made by Transatlantic). It doesn't reveal itself quite as quickly as some of his other works (like Sola, which still took a few listens to fully absorb). But that ultimately for me is a good thing.

The album has a good flow as mentioned above, and and the usual outstanding performances by all involved. Though it might have been nice to know when and what certain performers contributed..............though Rudess and Hackett are both pretty obvious with their contributions :-) In fact, Hackett's solo is the highlight of the entire album, and was the only thing that stuck in my mind after the first couple of listens. Again, though, the album does grow on you and starts to become more enjoyable with time.

The lyrics on this album are somewhat easier to digest for me as well, drawing directly from the biblical passages and overall forming a more interesting lyrical base for the album. Far less of the preachy and Jesus loving fair of his other recent solo works. But still blatantly religious, maybe just not so blatantly Christian. But even with that, I think they just work better than on other of his albums.

So, while this album still sticks pretty close to the patented Neal Morse Prog Formula, I think it works pretty well. Not quite as good as Sola Scriptura, but still a very good effort for Morse. If you like his style (and can stomach the lyrics), you certainly can't go wrong here. Still, for newcomers I'd recommend the following album first. A solid 3.5 stars for this. Not quite essential (unless you are a Neal Morse fan), but better than just good.

infandous | 3/5 |


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