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Neal Morse - One CD (album) cover

ONE

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

4.11 | 345 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Mr. Mustard
4 stars One is the second fully prog solo album from Ex-Spock's Beard Neal Morse. The album has all of Neal's fantastic melodies and compositional idiosyncrasies. What makes this album so great is the guest musicians who really spice up the sound with orchestral instrumentation, which also includes Mike Portnoy on drums and Randy George on Bass.

The album begins with the wonderful 'Creation' (10/10) which is my favorite song from Neal to date. It's chocked full of great melodies and it's structure keeps you guessing. It begins with a beautiful intro with keyboard and orchestra. Some sweet melodies flow by to lead up to the first vocal bit at 4:00. A short reprise of the main melody occurs at seven minutes, followed by some more vocals. I really love the change-up that occurs at 9:30. It's a riff of alternating 6/8 and 7/8 and is probably my favorite part of the song. Of course, Portnoy's drumming on this song and the rest of the album is absolutely fantastic. This is easily one of Neal's best creations (pun somewhat intended) alongside 'The Great Nothing' and his work with Transatlantic.

The Man's Gone (4/10) is a short and slower song. The vocal melodies are rather uninteresting and the instrumentation is lacking besides the acoustic guitar.

'Author of Confusion' (10/10) is just how its name implies; it's full of energy and chaotic. Portnoy plays well off Neal's melodies and adds his extra something to the music. The Gentle Giant vocals also appear here as is the custom with everything Neal does.

'The Separated Man' (10/10) is the second epic of the album and opens in the classic Neal Morse style. A brief reprise of One's main melody occurs at 3:30 and leads to a really cool part with soft keyboards and vocals to give a slightly haunting feel. A second noteworthy part is the acoustic part starting around 10:00, which I think is a nice touch. The guest musicians contribute a great deal to the ending as well.

'Cradle to the Grave' (2/10) is your Neal-Morse-praise-Jesus song of the album, which is to say I don't like it.

'Help Me/Spirit of the Flesh' is another 10+ minute song which opens with a piano motif which is repeated throughout the song. There are some more acoustic guitar parts in, as well as a reprise of some earlier melodies.

Father of Forgiveness (3/10) is the second church singing song of the album. It's alright, but the whole preachy thing can kind of get on your nerves.

'Reunion' (7/10) is a giant reprise of the melodies heard throughout the album. Again, it sounds like something you'd sing in church. But it does have some great melodies and energy.

I will admit this album is very inconsistent; on one hand you have some of Neal's best work in 'The Creation,' 'Seperated Man' and 'Author of Confusion.' But the rest of the songs are just a giant preach fest, which as someone of no religious affiliation is kind of hard to swallow. But if you can get past that, then this is a great offering from Mr. Morse.

8/10

Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |

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