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Neal Morse - NMB: Innocence & Danger CD (album) cover

NMB: INNOCENCE & DANGER

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 168 ratings

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A Crimson Mellotron
Prog Reviewer
2 stars The fourth album by The Neal Morse Band (now rebranded to NMB) is unfortunately one of these albums - one of the albums that perfectly display the reasons why people avoid progressive rock and dismiss it as unfashionable, overindulging, and overblown. After two very intense and masterful double concept albums, the band returns with a third two-disc set, split between the shorter and the two longer tracks, totaling at some 100 minutes of playtime (or in other words, quite a challenging endeavor).

Joined by Mike Portnoy, Eric Gillette, Bill Hubauer and Randy George, Neal Morse shows us what an unstoppable creative force he is, releasing album after album each year, whether it be solo material, NMB, Transatlantic, or virtually any of his numerous projects. In spite of the massive amounts of music he presents to the world every now and then, the quality of his projects seems to be declining with each new one, and 2021's 'Innocence & Danger' is no exception, in my humble opinion. There really is not that much to be said about the record, except for the fact that on it I hear three things I have already heard multiple times before ? re-hash of 70s Genesis, reminisces of early 2000s Spock's Beard, and Neal Morse's personal signature take on the symphonic prog genre; There is hardly any progression in the band's sound, as it is quite hard to distinguish between NMB and Neal Morse solo releases at this point, with the sound of both being pretty much the same (as is the band). We all know how good of a songwriter the main man behind the project is, we all know what a fantastic vocalist, guitar player, and a talented multi-instrumentalist he is, but he seems to be in a creative limbo - repeating himself way too often, mainly in the phrasing, often also lyrically, the end results are enjoyable, but in the music, there is nothing new, it is the stale proggy sound he has been presenting for a couple of years now.

As much as the album has its great moments, whether these be some short instrumental passages, or catchy, upbeat and memorable verses, the songs do not work overall; Most of the choruses are barely listenable and strangely corny; The energy of the previous two records by the band is gone, the adrenaline and the suspense, too, and all that is left seems to be the directionless self-meditation that sticking to the unusual prog formula would work once again. Unfortunately, it does not, as I do not find anything too challenging or exciting in 'Innocence & Danger'. The longer songs hardly save the record from these impressions I have, falling far behind some much greater epics Neal Morse has been involved in throughout the years - 'The Water', 'The Great Nothing', 'World Without End', 'The Conflict', or 'Into the Blue', just to name a few.

A Crimson Mellotron | 2/5 |

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