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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

Mr. Mustard
4 stars After the rather terrible 'Lifeline,' Neal Morse gets his creative juices flowing again and releases the wonderful sequel to Testimony. This album has as many great ideas as Testimony one, but they're all compacted to give a much tighter and focused sound. This is Neal Morse back to show why he's the king of melodies and the leader of modern prog.

The album begins with 'Mercy Street' (9/10) which is this albums equivalent Testimony's 'The Land of Beginning Again.'

'Overture No. 4' (10/10) is an instrumental track and is exactly like what you would find on the first Testimony. Plenty of good melodies and instrumentation is found here.

'Time Changer' (9/10) is a bass driven song that also cameos one of Neal Morse's Gentle Giant fiascos near the end.

'Jayda' (6/10) is a nice little ballad with acoustic guitar and strings. The Mellotron is also very strong on this one as well. This song is obviously very personal to him, and I think he does a good job with singing it with emotion.

'Nighttime Collectors' (8/10) reminds me slightly of Spock's Beard, which is no surprise as the boys lent some backing vocals, and some organ parts sound similar to some Beard tunes.

'Time Has Come Today' (10/10) starts off with a reprise of some previous melodies before entering a really nice vocally driven section at two minutes. I really like the positive and energetic atmosphere on this one.

'Jesus's Blood' (5/10) is another slower ballad led by some tasty Mellotron bits and some nice blues, Gilmour-esque guitar.

'The Truth Will Set You Free' (5/10) is based around the main Testimony melody. It really doesn't have much going for it otherwise.

'Chance of a Lifetime' (9/10) revisits some previously used melodies, especially in 'Time Has Come Today.'

'Jesus Bring Me Home' (5/10) is another slower ballad like song. I can feel the desperation in Neal's voice, which shows he is both a masterful instrumentalist AND vocalists.

Road Dog Blues' (7/10) is a fun church-like song. I don't particularly mind it this time around like I didn't in One.

'It's For You' (7/10) helps finish off the album with a flurry of great synth melodies. 'Crossing Over/Mercy Street Revisited' (7/10) is obviously a reprise of the melodies before it like Neal so often does at the end of his albums. This is a long, but appropriate ending.

The bonus songs 'Absolute Beginner' (5/10) and 'Supernatural' (5/10) though I do like the vocal melodies/harmonies in the latter. The real star of the bonus disc is the 25-minute epic 'Seeds of Gold' (10/10) This is one of Neal's better epics and is my current second favorite behind 'The Creation.' It opens with the classic piano intro reminiscent of 'The Doorway' by Spock's Beard. This is followed by a cool bass breakdown by Randy. This easily has some of the coolest vocal melodies I've heard from Morse so far and is certainly a strong point in the song. It is also organized better than some of his other epics like The Door and The Conflict, which both felt slightly bloated. This has clearly identifiable parts that are intertwined perfectly. This is right up there with 'The Great Nothing,' All of the Above' and 'The Creation' for best Neal Morse composition.

Overall I would say Testimony 2 is a slightly better and less bloated album than the first. But it is still one of Morse's longer releases and takes a while to get through. But I would venture to say you would be greatly rewarded by doing so.

8/10

Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |

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