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Neal Morse - Momentum CD (album) cover

MOMENTUM

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 306 ratings

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Mr. Mustard
4 stars Neal has a tendency to churn out amazing prog (and even good sounding non-prog) at will. Whatever formula he's found is certainly working on this album. The melodic passages of ? and One are present. The heaviness of Sola Scriptura is here, along with a strong hint of Spock's beard and Transatlantic (more so than previous albums). Though at this point it seems Neal is using the prog-by-numbers approach, as the album sounds very similar to all these works listed. Nevertheless, this is a very solid offering.

The title track Momentum is one of those pop-prog songs that Neal seems to be so good at. Although in this case there's nothing really prog about it, just one of those catchy songs in the vein of 'All On a Sunday' by Spock's Beard. Overall nothing really special here though it does contain a nice guitar solo by Paul Gilbert. 6/10

Thoughts pt. 5 follows in the epic thoughts series featuring the signature Gentle Giant vocal harmonies (something Neal seems VERY fond of). The song is heavier than the other thoughts and perhaps less quirky. Nonetheless, there are some amazing riffs and some delicious sounding bass courtesy of Randy. 9/10

Smoke and Mirrors is a slower paced tune similar to 'Dust in the Wind' by Kansas, being mostly acoustic guitar with a nice keyboard climax in the middle. Overall the song is rather uninteresting but does provide a break from the rather bombastic Thoughts. (4/10)

Weathering Sky is based off a heavy and cool riff and a "poppy" chorus. Really, it's as simple as that; but it is very catchy. (6/10)

Freak is a cool little strings based song similar to Eleanor Rigby. It doesn't have the riffs or melody to be a great song like Thoughts pt. 5, but has its idiosyncratic spot on the album. (5/10)

Last but far from least is the real meat of this album, the epic World Without End. This could have easily been the only song on the album. The song is very reminiscent of Transatlantic especially 'The Whirlwind.' The song opens with a very energetic intro that lasts for about 4 minutes until the main melody enters followed by a unique vocal style. The main melody itself is a bit derivative of his previous works and isn't as memorable as the one from 'Seeds of Gold' but does have a nice transatlantic feel to it.

12 minutes in we're hit with a heavy riff backed by Bonham-esque drums. Again, Neal has some interesting vocals unique from his earlier works. Adson Sodre offers a great guitar solo before being segueing into one of Neal's best accomplishments, 'The Mystery.'

The Mystery is possibly the best 4 minutes of any of Neal's solo work; it's THAT good. The section is an orgasm of keyboard playing some of the coolest melodies he has ever composed. I was disappointed when it ended, but at this point the song is only slightly more than half over and there's still a lot of good stuff to come.

The following section has a high Transatlantic vibe until pleasantly interrupted by a heavy riff and a Randy George bass solo. The chaos continues until about 27 minutes when you really think the song is over. The last 6 minutes are a typical (but great) ending with the main theme reprised including soaring guitars very similar to Dancing With Eternal Glory from 'The Whirlwind.' Nonetheless, the ending delivers.

There we have it. The song is nearly perfect. The only criticism I can give it is that it's a bit derivative of his earlier stuff. In fact, if it weren't for the 'The Whirlwind' or 'The Creation' or 'The Great Nothing' I would probably give the song a perfect score. (9.5/10)

Overall, this album is a great offering. Thoughts pt. 5 and the epic make up for the weaker rest of the album. I would probably place it just behind ?, Sola Scriptura, and One. Keep up that momentum!

Mr. Mustard | 4/5 |

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