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Neal Morse - One CD (album) cover

ONE

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 466 ratings

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natewait
5 stars This is one of the best progressive rock albums ever crafted. I know I am biased. I know I am a Neal Morse "fanboy". I know that in my eyes Neal Morse can do no wrong. But, putting that all aside, this album contains every thing I love about not only progressive rock, but music and life in general. "One" is a massive concept album that describes the relationship man has with God. It goes through The Creation where God and man had a perfect relationship, to man eating the fruit and being banished from God's presence, all the way to Jesus Christ coming to Earth to perform His atonement in order for man to be able to return to God's presence. I don't want to make this review overly religious, but it seems unavoidable with the subject matter here. I will admit I am a Christian, which may enhance my appreciation of this album. But, I don't see how even those of other faiths or no faith could not appreciate the wonderful music and the story, even if they view it as a fictional story.

"The Creation" opens the album in a grand, majestic fashion with a wonderful string melody that will come to symbolize God throughout the whole album. Mike Portnoy's drumming is just killer on this entire album, and this song is a perfect showcase of how versatile he is as a drummer. The guitar playing is exceptional by Neal Morse and shows that he is a very underrated guitar player. This song moves from sections that rock hard to those that have a hint of jazz to them. There is just so much here to enjoy, but what makes it truly special is the emotion that Neal Morse puts into it, from the arrangements for the strings to his emotional singing, it is all brilliant. One of my favorite sections is when Neal Morse cries out, "We were torn apart, now we're reaching from the heart!" It just gets to me every time. I am blown away with the pure emotion Neal is able to infuse into his music. Truely brilliant.

"The Man's Gone" is a shorter acoustic number that is the perfect way to wind down from the powerhouse of "The Creation". "Author of Confusion" is a high charged rocker that contains a wonderful Gentle Giant inspired vocal counterpoint section in the middle with Neal doing all the vocals. "The Seperated Man" is another wonderful epic that is sometimes dwarfed by "The Creation" but is an excellent piece on its own. The section that stands out here is the acoustic jam section in the middle where Neal plays some fast acoustic guitar that is just very exciting as it builds faster and faster.

"Cradle to the Grave" is a relatively simple ballad, but it is beautifully composed and performed as Neal and Phil Keaggy exchange vocals, Neal playing the part of the man and Phil the part of God. It is a wonderful moment on the album that always manages to choke me up. "Help Me/Spirit and the Flesh" is one of the best moments of the album. "Help Me" perfectly describes the anguish of the main character as he is separated from God as Neal sings passionately over spanish style acoustic guitar. "The Spirit and the Flesh" is the emotional climax of the album where God answers Man's cry for help by sending his Son to make it possible for man to return to Him. Themes from "The Creation" are repeated and the emotion is brought to its maximum.

"Father of Forgiveness" is another pleasant ballad that sounds like it is inspired to some degree by The Beatles. "Reunion" is the grand finale, and the best way to describe it is that it is the party in Heaven that man has now that he is reunited with God. It contains more excellent drumming by Mike Portnoy, and the music is very uplifting and fun. Many of the musical themes that have been heard throughout the album are repeated here to bring the whole album full circle. I love the ending section where vocals sing different parts to create a sort of vocal round, but they all blend together and their voices come together as "One", highlighting the theme of the entire album. The album ends as it began with majestic strings playing out the main melody of the album.

I consider this album a brilliant piece of art and it holds a high place in my heart. Neal Morse connects with me in a way that no other artist can. He is a brilliant song-writer, musician, singer, and creator. This album has no weak moments in my opinion and has the perfect blend between classic symphonic prog and heartfelt emotional ballads. This is one of my top 5 favorite albums and I will never get tired of listening to it. This comes highly recommended to all, regardless of your beliefs.

natewait | 5/5 |

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