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Neal Morse - Testimony CD (album) cover

TESTIMONY

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 340 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 8/10

"Testimony" is a warm, beautiful album full of hope and joy, and love.

You don't need to be Christian or even religious if you like Neal Morse's music. He isn't one of those average Christian Rock musicians that puts it's focus only on the preachy lyrical content and doesn't give much effort in the music: he puts a heart in both of them, being the music highly progressive and beautiful too, to my surprise.

Neal Morse, for who has never heard of him, was part of a famous Neo-Symphonic Prog act called Spock's Beard, as a matter of fact he was the leader, who then decided to focus more on his solo career, as it happens to many artists. The music he made with Spock's Beard isn't that different, however I feel more artistic freedom on this album in particular, being a really personal and unique album for Neal Morse. "Testimony" is a very honest and pretty traditional Symphonic Prog album of the new era, or maybe it's just how Neal Morse makes music, as he is responsible for half of these new Symphonic Prog acts. We got strong musicianship, great orchestral arrangements such as violins and trumpets, but also strong bass lines by Nick D'Virgilio and potent, precise drums by Mike Portnoy. Despite such guests, Neal Morse is able to concentrate fully on himself, and the other two musicians stay completely in the shadow, as they really supposed to here. There is of course an immense amount of keyboards, that go from the frequent organ to wobbling ones reminiscent of old synth sounds. It is overall a traditional prog rock album with a good amount of variety in terms of sound, and maintaining a solid concept.

"Testimony"s lyrical content focuses on Morse's autobiographical story on how he converted himself to Christianity, the moments that let him down, and the moments that were crucial for him. But also, moments that were enlightening, moments he will never forget. His story, I must admit, doesn't make me having a different view on religion, in particular Christianity. I strongly recommend to put the focus in the music, even because at times the lyrics are just plain and banal, and could have been written a lot better, still maintaining the same concept. This two hour long opus, to my surprise, is worth listening to pretty much all the way through: from the beautifully soothing intro "The Land Of Beginning", you realize how great, memorable and touching the music will be. The four Overtures that are placed in the album are great interludes that just have it all: great instrumentation and musicianship, but also catchy, instrumental ideas. As it is a concept album, be prepare to hear same riffs repeatedly; this is something I'm never crazy about in an album, but then again, some of my favorite albums of all time are like this. This large selection of songs, all of them ranging between five minutes in length, are pretty much all good, others, like "Sleeping Jesus", "Break Of Day", "Somber Days" are just unforgettable. Special mention to some of the shorter, minor songs, like "Oh Lord My God" and "Sing It High" are also very pretty and, in a way, exciting.

Overall, this is a great experience, a warm, beautiful album full of hope and joy, and love, something I really like to hear in a Progressive Rock album, instead of frequent themes of despair, madness, or whatever. Easily one of the most epic and enthusiastic Symphonic Prog albums of the new millennium.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |

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