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Neal Morse - Momentum CD (album) cover

MOMENTUM

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

3.90 | 344 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Lofcaudio
4 stars Momentum is now the seventh solo prog album from Neal Morse. Those familiar with Morse's work know that he is a prolific songwriter always able to craft strong melodies which highlight his skills as a multi-instrumentalist while relying on significant contributions from Mike Portnoy and Randy George.

Momentum consists of five relatively short songs and one 33-minute epic ("World Without End"). The album opens with the title track "Momentum." I consider this to be high-quality pop/prog as it showcases an engaging upbeat melody and a blistering guitar solo from guest artist Paul Gilbert.

"Thoughts, Part 5" is next. This may just be the best song on the album and is very reminiscent of King Crimson's "Red," but with Gentle Giant-like vocal harmonies. After the heavy guitar riffs and vocal acrobats, the song ends with an instrumental jam with some really nice playing from both Portnoy and George.

"Smoke and Mirrors" follows and is a gorgeous piece very unique to what you might normally expect from Morse. I consider this to be the best ballad he has ever written and feel that it fits very nicely on this album.

"Weathering Sky" is the fourth track and while catchy and hard-driving, this is probably my least favorite song on the album. Neal says on the "Making of" DVD which is included with the Special Edition that he doesn't know what "weathering sky" means, but he liked the sound of it. While I find that mildly humorous, I personally prefer lyrics with meaning over lyrics that have none. I will discuss this a bit more later in this review.

"Freak" is next and is another slower song that I would consider to be "prog-lite." It has a catchy bridge that leads into a dynamic modulation giving the song a nice dramatic finish.

"World Without End" is the final track, clocking in at 33 minutes. This is another strong epic which we have come to expect from Neal Morse. The song is divided up into six distinct parts all of which add quality parts to the whole. It is worth noting that there are some really interesting guitar solos peppered throughout the song, including a nifty bass solo toward the end. This song takes some time to truly appreciate. On the first few listens, nothing really stood out to me, yet I never grew tired or bored or felt like the song was bloated. Now after about ten listens, I've come to really enjoy almost everything about this epic track. My only quibble is my primary grievance with the album as a whole which is...

The lyrics! The scuttlebutt surrounding this album is that Morse wrote all of the music in two weeks with the lyrics presumably penned in that same time frame. The music is great, but the lyrics (primarily on "Thoughts," "Weathering Sky" and "World Without End") leave a lot to be desired. Now many listeners are going to be thrilled that the Christian references are virtually nonexistent, but they have been replaced with lyrics that are silly at best and at times, nonsensical. One of the things that I have loved about Morse's music is that his music and lyrics are usually pretty gripping and moving (whether you agree with them or not). I feel that aspect is completely missing on this particular album and as a result, brings it down a notch in my estimation from some of his better albums (One, ?, Sola Scriptura and Testimony 2).

Overall, I highly recommend the album and really feel as if all of the tracks are strong and perhaps more diverse musically from the typical Morse album.

Lofcaudio | 4/5 |

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