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Neal Morse - Testimony CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 436 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Many seem to feel that Testimony is Neal's defining solo work, but in truth, it doesn't seem to stack against some of his other solo albums for a few reasons.

First, though the music is pretty solid, it does not vary nearly enough to justify its two disc length. There are some really great tunes here, some wonderful melodies, some neat ideas, and some impressive instrumental breaks. However, these are spread out and worn thin by excess of balladry and sappy singing (and I am a fan of Neal's voice, usually). Parts 2 and 4 feature this bland blankness most prominently, with the interesting bits of music coming too far apart to truly get the listener very interested in what's going on.

Secondly, I feel that the album's being divided into five songs does not work. While, true, most of Neal's longer works end up covering a wide variety of similar songs that kind of pull apart but stick together, I think only here on Testimony do these mega tracks not work as wholes. Parts 1 and 3 are manageable, but the other three chunks end up featuring too much (or too little) to truly factor as epic, impressive, or even just particularly cleverly written.

It must be noted that there really is very little of progression anywhere on this album. Yes, it's fun music. Yes, the tracks combine into long (and prog-looking) suites. Yes, there are a number of ideas and themes played with throughout. However, most of this album is just clever pop rock, with an abundance of acoustic balladry. This is not a detractor to the album as a whole, but as a prog album, it ends up making it kind of lackluster and not that unique.

This is a good album, even though my review might sound pretty negative. Almost every time the singing stops and the instruments take over, it's raw fun. Sing It High features one of my favorite acoustic jam sessions I've ever come across. If you like Neal Morse's style, you'll like this album. Loving it, though, is not remotely guaranteed.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |


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