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Neal Morse - The Restoration - Joseph: Part Two CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 47 ratings

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5 stars If you are regular readers of ProgCritique, you know that the first part of the work devoted to Joseph by Neal Morse, namely 'The Dreamer ? Joseph: Part One', excited me. I invite you to go and read this column if you have not already done so. Some six months later, Neal returns with the second part of the project: 'The Restoration ? Joseph: Part Two', which constitutes the continuation and the end. The format is unchanged (concept album, rock opera, musical comedy, your choice), and the narration picks up where we left Joseph at the end of the first part, namely: at the bottom of the hole. We find in this second part many musical themes already present in part 1, but under slightly different arrangements. However, I find this one a little more Rock, a little more adventurous, and even more Prog, which is not to displease.

From the start of "Cosmic Mess", the instrumental virtuosity is there. Prog fans, settle in, you are at home here. Then the title takes a Rock turn with the arrival of Neal Morse 's singing lost in a reverb supposed to evoke the character's situation. The song is enhanced by dynamic brass parts and segues directly into the next "My Dream", where the trio D'Virgilio , Morse , Jennings is reconstituted (don't forget to listen to their album 'Sophomore'), for a set of high-level vocal jousts. Ross Jennings (Haken) stays on track for "Dreamer in the Jailhouse", a title still part of the Prog, dotted with interesting keyboard touches and some metal guitar insertions. The fervor does not diminish on "All Hail", which contains a bridge with a soaring 60s Psyche Rock atmosphere, and a finale which gains in intensity led by beautiful keyboards. A furious Prog title with vocal performances reminiscent of Gentle Giant, "The Argument" is a pure virtuoso demonstration and serves as a sort of introduction to "Make Like a Breeze", a resolutely Rock/Metal piece with the arrival of Ted Leonard on vocals and enhanced with grandiose organ and guitar parts.

The "Overture Reprise" reminds us of the opening theme of part 1, 'The Dreamer', then Neal Morse displays his talents as a composer on " I Hate My Brothers" which skillfully mixes Hard Rock guitars and brass. On "Guilty as Charged", we recognize the melody used on "Heaven in Charge Of Hell" from Part 1. It is from here that the two parts seem to begin to interact. The title also features a very beautiful string part, shifting the story to a more emotional angle. And on "Reckoning" it's the riff from "Gold Dust City" from 'The Dreamer' that emerges! Return of cannon vocals in Gentle Giant mode on the introduction of "Bring Ben", which then evolves into a more accessible Classic Rock style la Toto. Then comes "Freedom Road", a ballad in the purest Neal Morse style, emotionally charged, with the support of the strings.

Return of the melodic theme of "Heaven in Charge Of Hell" from 'The Dreamer' on "The Brothers Repent Joseph Revealed", an extremely rich piece with numerous reminders of themes and marked by very successful string and brass arrangements. "Restoration" leans for a moment towards Jazz and Samba and brings a little lightness to this end of the story via a style that recalls the luminous side of the Extreme group's album 'III Sides to Every Story'. On "Everlasting", it's party time for the reunion of a large part of the protagonists who embark on a sort of jam session. The story closes with "Dawning of a New Day (God Uses Everything for Good)" in which Neal Morse can freely deliver his message of hope by speaking directly to us. The title (and the entire work) ends in apotheosis with a very orchestrated crescendo and the repetition of the words "God uses everything, Everything for good".

That's it, end of story. In total, combining parts 1 and 2, Neal Morse offers 2 hours 20 minutes of high quality music, all in less than 6 months. It's incredible to see such creativity from such a prolific artist. Perhaps some will see it as the work of the hand of God. In a more Cartesian way, we can imagine that the musician finds the capacity to surpass himself by tackling a theme of such dimension and which is so close to his heart, as many other artists have done before him.

Review originally posted on

David_ProgCritique | 5/5 |


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