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Neal Morse - One CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

4.12 | 542 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A lot of fans of progressive rock seem to avoid Neil Morse since he uses his lyrics for preaching his Christian views. To me, it isn't all that important where he gets his inspiration from. Knowing his messages aren't my cup of tea, I pay attention to the melodies instead of the words. From the first notes of the album you know that Morse delivered once again a very decent album. Back in 2001 Testimony surprised me a lot as the quality was superior to the material his former band released without him. To put some variation to the music Neil used mellotrons, orchestra, influences from folk music, the Beatles and Yes. Just like Testimony, this sounds like a band effort. I keep wondering how on earth it's possible for only one man to achieve all of this, even with the help of Mike Portnoy on the drums and Randy George on the bass.

What can I say about this album ? This is some of the best progressive music around at the time. If you should strip down the songs from their progressive arrangements you 'd still have a great rock album full of timeless melodies. This guy is an extremely good songwriter. His songwriting abilities are coming through on "The man's gone", a track which could be included on a plain rock album but Morse adds some mystery to it. For me "The separated man" is the best of the bunch. Listen to those symphonic melodies returning every now and then in different arrangements : orchestral, by violin, acoustic or electric guitar. This is prog how it should be. Bombastic moments and more intimate atmospheres succeed each other rapid, this makes it an exciting listening experience ! I'd swear I hear the great Steve Howe on the guitar but also the drums are awesome. You can notice Portnoy's influence on the splendid intro section of "Author of confusing", one of the highlights of this album, this reminds me of Dream Theater and Kansas but the vocal harmonies sound even better. Unfortunately not everything on this album is that good. "Cradle to the grave" and "Father of forgiveness" are too cheesy for my ears. The special edition includes other tracks as such. To issue bonus cd's is a bad idea, they bring the level of the main albums down. Maybe sometimes less is more. But now I'm exaggerating. Some of the bonus tracks are fine like "The streets have no name" or "Back to the garden. Its just that it ain't really stuff for progfans. Influences from jazz give the album another direction in "Help me", too bad the religious message seems to dominate this splendid track and just about every song that follows from then on. It's getting hard to ignore the bible after hearing this. Give the atheists a brake Neil !!! Your lyrics seem to spoil the music for me, even if I respect your beliefs. It would be a pity when this music was intended to religious people only.

This is a good album but listening to a track like The Creation, I can't really see a big difference in musical style with the stuff he released with Spocks Beard or Transatlantic or maybe it's just me ?

Fishy | 4/5 |


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