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Neal Morse - Momentum CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

3.96 | 472 ratings

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4 stars Review originally posted at

And now I can't wait to see him live!

Well, tomorrow (October 5th) I will be attending to a Neal Morse concert in Mexico City, in which of course he and his band will be performing some songs (if not the entire record) from this new album entitled "Momentum", that shows once again this musician never ceases to compose and create first class music. We all know him for his work with Spock's Beard, but also for his solo efforts, which have his personal touch and always show how efficient he is. I am eagerly waiting for that concert, but for now, I will give you my thoughts about this 6-track album released this 2012 that offers an hour of excellent progressive rock.

The album kicks off with "Momentum" and since the very first seconds we can notice that peculiar keyboard sound of symphonic prog bands, this time made by Neal Morse, then the bombastic drums of Portnoy can also be appreciated, and the song begins to build up a structure, with a positive, even happy atmosphere, a great voice and original bass notes. This is a very solid opener track. The album continues with ""Thoughts Part 5" which is definitely my favorite. The words progressive rock are majestically represented in this track, where the musicians show their skills as both, composers and performers. It starts with a heavier sound, but it only lasts for some seconds because the music itself is gentle mostly all the time; here we can appreciate some harmony vocals made by Morse and a guest singer; the instrumental parts are great, with some keyboard solos, cool rhythmical sections and even with some guitar riffs at the end. Great track!

"Smoke and Mirrors" has a much softer sound since the first notes. It begins with acoustic guitar and a delicate voice, little by little drums, bass and keys are being implemented, so the song begins to progress until it reaches its chorus at minute 2, and the intensity grows a little bit. Before the fourth minute there is a beautiful passage where a violin sounds, though I am not sure if it is really a violin, or the keyboards with effect; seconds later the music fades out. "Weathering Sky" returns to that symphonic sound these 90s and 00s have, it is impossible not to remember Spock's Beard. This track is nice but not the best they can create, though it is cool for this album, and even nice to sing in some moments. "Freak" is honestly the worst song here, and I am sorry but I would even say it is kind of annoying, mostly in the first part. Weak.

The last song is practically half of the album, with a long epic (Morse use to give us at least one loooong track per album, and this is not the exception) entitled "World Without End". Its first two minutes are soft, with some uncertainty, but later it explodes, becomes heavier and begins to build a structure in which we can listen to the extraordinary drums of Portnoy, the great bass lines of George, and of course keyboards and guitars. The instrumental passage continues with some changes in tempo and mood, but always with a constant motif; the music is very visual. The vocals appear at minute 6, and I cannot help but remembering "The Doorway" by the Beard; this rhythm continues for some three minutes, including some soft keyboard moments.

After eleven minutes it changes and becomes heavier, the music is great but when the vocals enter I am not that happy, Neal's voice is now closer to Bon Jovi. However, as I said the music is cool and reaches a great climax a couple of minutes later with a killer guitar riff. Then there are some other changes, the rhythm slows down and Neal's voice is not forced now, so it sounds as great as it has to be, the music is gentle and cool for the ears and soul. At minute 20 there is a main change, seems the song is over but it isn't, it simply restarts in a very soft way. The sound is delicate, with voice, piano and quiet drums for at least 3 minutes; but later it explodes and returns to its heavy symphonic and attractive sound, there is also a little passage where the bass stands alone, creating nice nuances. At minute 26 seems the song is going to finish, one can sense that goodbye feeling; however, it only slows down and gives us the final 5 minutes, which are nice more relaxed.

Momentum is in general a great album, with excellent pieces and passages that can please any prog rock fan, those moments are the ones I want to listen live tomorrow; however, the epic is not that solid or memorable in my opinion, and "Freak" is terrible, that is why my final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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