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Neal Morse - Testimony 2 CD (album) cover

TESTIMONY 2

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

4.02 | 462 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

darkshade
5 stars Neal Morse is back! And stronger than ever!

His previous work Lifeline was a little bit disappointing after the opus of Sola Scriptura, though it contained good stuff. I believe that the reunion of Transatlantic, the release of The Whirlwind in 2009, and it's success in the prog rock world, were all factors in Neal's solo music being reinvigorated; because that is what has happened, and this album, Testimony 2, proves that.

Mercy Street, Nighttime Collectors and Road Dog Blues are also a very fun songs, the former being very uplifting and opening with the T2 theme on piano; the latter having great sax work, and moving the story along into some of the main themes of the album. It's For You is good, but has that early 2000s mainstream rock feel to it in the chorus (but doesn't really detract from the song). The rest of the song has some awesome parts with the sweep picking on the guitar (is that Neal???) and just some crazy runs ala Is It Really Happening from The Whirlwind.

Im also a big fan of the string section on this album. It is more powerful than usual for Neal Morse. The Truth Will Set You Free is some awesome stuff gong on. I also the overture in this album much more than on T1, maybe because of the first albums' riffs, but also the new stuff. And Time Changer is definitely something different for NM, and has a lot of Rush influence.

I find the album as a whole has very few low points, with my least favorite being Jayda right now, but it does contain the beautiful "Sad Theme" that is further elaborated during Crossing Over/Mercy Street Reprise. I find CO/MS Reprise to be a fitting ending, and though I usually don't like fade-outs, I think it is appropriate for the end of the album, and leaves the album open for Testimony 3 if it were to happen. (However I think Neal decided to not end every album in a bombastic way, with a big final chord, etc...)

The finale of the first disc is one of Neal's best, and is the first song from this album to get stuck in my head. From the opening theme played on guitar this time, and Neal talking about leaving Spock's Beard. But the Crossing Over theme is so catchy and uplifting, and containing some of his most beautiful work (not to mention some Genesis influence). The album ends with the "Sad Theme" and even throwing some more sax in there with the full orchestra for a very pleasant sound. This song just makes me want to throw my fist in the air and yell "Yea!"

I love this ending, and is up there with the epic endings of Stranger In Your Soul, The Whirlwind, ?, One, and Duel With the Devil.

Seeds of Gold from the second disc is awesome. Those first 2 tracks are ok, solid slices of melodic rock. But Seeds of Gold, is just....Gold. One of Neal's best epics, and some ridiculous clavinet work shows up which really surprised me, not to mention Randy's incredible bass work. This is a different kind of epic for Neal Morse, and it's refreshing to hear. Steve Morse plays a beautiful solo, and reminds me of Dream Theater's epic Octavarium at times. All the parts are so good that they keep bringing me back.

I have to give this one 5 stars; it is Neal's most beautiful sounding album, and his most fun to date.

darkshade | 5/5 |

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