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Neal Morse - Sola Scriptura and Beyond CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

4.36 | 95 ratings

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erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
4 stars

.... Henk Doest, Wilco van Esschoten, Jessica Koomen ... typical Dutch names to be found on the back cover of the new Neal Morse DVD because on his European tour Neal Morse has invited a lot of Dutch musicians. Talking about Dutch musicians, I have a small story for you. A few years ago I worked for the Dutch progrock magazine iO Pages, on our annual 'reviewers meeting' the chief-editor had arranged that one of the reviewer was going to give a 'drum clinic'. Well, he did and we were all very impressed, afterwards I had a talk with him and it turned out that we shared a huge appreciation for Neil Peart. Looking at the back cover I noticed the aforementioned typical Dutch names and ... the name of Collin Leijenaar, the iO Pages reviewer/drummer who gave that clinic: the one moment he wrote about Spock's Beard, the other moment he's the drummer of Neal Morse his band! And Collin is not only the drummer, he's also the driving force behind the Neal Morse band, wat an outstanding blend of skills and power, especially during the heavy symphonic rock and progmetal parts, very exciting.

On DVD-1 we can enjoy Neal his catchy enthousiasm, his funny stage antics and his great, very varied musical skills on several instruments: in the long and excellent composition The Creation (featuring wonderful choir-Mellotron) he easily switches from fat synthesizers runs on his keyboard to heavy guitar work on his electric guitar, showing a big smile, I love that 'playful musical megalomania '. I was also pleased with Neal his short vocal performance of the Seventies Top 10 hit Seasons In The Sun by Terry Jacks (it was my favorite ballad too) during the Spock's Beard tribute entitled The Good Don't Last/Open Wide The Flood Gates. The track The Door delivers heavy interplay with lots of scale-acrobatics, genuine progmetal with lush Hammond organ, not bad at all to use an understatement. Guitarplayer Paul Bielatowicz showcases his huge talents in this and the next song The Conflict/The Conclusion with hints from Steve Vai but he also plays warm blues with a bottleneck or more spacey with an E-bow, what a killer guitarplayer! In the long tracks Question Mark Medley and Testimedley again the band delivers excellent interplay and very exciting solos on guitar and keyboard (like a flashy solo on the synthesizer by Neal himself). The concert is concluded with the two ballad-like songs We All Need Some Light (in which Neal is grateful to the fans because "you show more understanding why I play for 3 hours than my wife ..") and the pleasant final one Wind At My Back.

DVD-2 contains a lot of 'bonus footage' like 'behind the scenes', an acoustic version of Bridge Across Forever and 9 bonustracks of the Question Mark tour, really interesting to watch.

In my opinion Neal Morse has succeeded to reach a wide audience with his tasteful and dynamic blend of ballads, symphonic rock and prog metal and how nice to notice so many Dutch musicans on stage. Highly recommended!

erik neuteboom | 4/5 |


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