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Neal Morse

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Neal Morse Testimony 2 album cover
4.00 | 627 ratings | 24 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (78:20)
- Part 6:
1. Mercy Street (5:12)
2. Overture No. 4 (5:25)
3. Time Changer (6:08)
4. Jayda (6:05)
- Part 7:
5. Nighttime Collectors (4:26)
6. Time Has Come Today (4:55)
7. Jesus' Blood (5:26)
8. The Truth Will Set You Free (8:07)
- Part 8:
9. Chance of a Lifetime (7:02)
10. Jesus Bring Me Home (4:59)
11. Road Dog Blues (3:07)
12. It's for You (5:42)
13. Crossing Over / Mercy Street (reprise) (11:46)

CD 2 (36:52)
14. Absolute Beginner (4:41)
15. Supernatural (6:12)
16. Seeds of Gold (25:59)

Total Time 115:12

Bonus DVD from 2011 SE:
1. The Making of "Testimony 2" (64:28)

Line-up / Musicians

- Neal Morse / vocals, keyboards, guitar, percussion, producer

- Alan Morse / vocals (3)
- Dave Meros / vocals (3)
- Nick D'Virgilio / vocals (3)
- April Zachary / backing vocals
- Debbie Bressee / backing vocals
- Mark Pogue / backing vocals
- Matthew Ward / backing vocals
- Mita Pogue / backing vocals
- Paul Bielatowicz / guitar (2,12)
- Steve Morse / guitar (16)
- Chris Carmichael / cello, viola, violin
- Eric Brenton / electric violin solo (3)
- Kenny Barnd / violin (10)
- Jim Hoke / saxophone
- Mark Leniger / saxophone solo
- Randy George / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums

Releases information

2CD Radiant Records ‎- 3984-15007-2 (2011, US)
2CD Inside Out Music ‎- 0505582 (2011, Germany)
2CD+DVD Metal Blade Records ‎- 3984-15017-2 (2011, US) Bonus DVD w/ Making Of documentary

Thanks to nealmorsefans for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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NEAL MORSE Testimony 2 ratings distribution

(627 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

NEAL MORSE Testimony 2 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by darkshade
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Neal Morse is back! And stronger than ever!

His previous work Lifeline was a little bit disappointing after the opus of Sola Scriptura, though it contained good stuff. I believe that the reunion of Transatlantic, the release of The Whirlwind in 2009, and it's success in the prog rock world, were all factors in Neal's solo music being reinvigorated; because that is what has happened, and this album, Testimony 2, proves that.

Mercy Street, Nighttime Collectors and Road Dog Blues are also a very fun songs, the former being very uplifting and opening with the T2 theme on piano; the latter having great sax work, and moving the story along into some of the main themes of the album. It's For You is good, but has that early 2000s mainstream rock feel to it in the chorus (but doesn't really detract from the song). The rest of the song has some awesome parts with the sweep picking on the guitar (is that Neal???) and just some crazy runs ala Is It Really Happening from The Whirlwind.

Im also a big fan of the string section on this album. It is more powerful than usual for Neal Morse. The Truth Will Set You Free is some awesome stuff gong on. I also the overture in this album much more than on T1, maybe because of the first albums' riffs, but also the new stuff. And Time Changer is definitely something different for NM, and has a lot of Rush influence.

I find the album as a whole has very few low points, with my least favorite being Jayda right now, but it does contain the beautiful "Sad Theme" that is further elaborated during Crossing Over/Mercy Street Reprise. I find CO/MS Reprise to be a fitting ending, and though I usually don't like fade-outs, I think it is appropriate for the end of the album, and leaves the album open for Testimony 3 if it were to happen. (However I think Neal decided to not end every album in a bombastic way, with a big final chord, etc...)

The finale of the first disc is one of Neal's best, and is the first song from this album to get stuck in my head. From the opening theme played on guitar this time, and Neal talking about leaving Spock's Beard. But the Crossing Over theme is so catchy and uplifting, and containing some of his most beautiful work (not to mention some Genesis influence). The album ends with the "Sad Theme" and even throwing some more sax in there with the full orchestra for a very pleasant sound. This song just makes me want to throw my fist in the air and yell "Yea!"

I love this ending, and is up there with the epic endings of Stranger In Your Soul, The Whirlwind, ?, One, and Duel With the Devil.

Seeds of Gold from the second disc is awesome. Those first 2 tracks are ok, solid slices of melodic rock. But Seeds of Gold, is just....Gold. One of Neal's best epics, and some ridiculous clavinet work shows up which really surprised me, not to mention Randy's incredible bass work. This is a different kind of epic for Neal Morse, and it's refreshing to hear. Steve Morse plays a beautiful solo, and reminds me of Dream Theater's epic Octavarium at times. All the parts are so good that they keep bringing me back.

I have to give this one 5 stars; it is Neal's most beautiful sounding album, and his most fun to date.

Review by J-Man
5 stars It's truly amazing how consistently Neal Morse delivers some of the best prog rock out there. Between his work with Spock's Beard, the supergroup Transatlantic, and his tremendous solo career, it's remarkable that he's still able to release such top-notch music. Testimony 2 is Neal's sixth prog rock solo effort, and (as implied by the title) is a continuation of 2003's Testimony. Testimony explored Neal Morse's spiritual journey into becoming a born-again Christian, and Testimony 2 is a lyrical continuation of that journey. Whether or not you're a believer, this is beautiful music that Morse clearly put his heart and soul into. The first Testimony album is one of my all-time favorites, and Testimony 2 is a more-than-worthy successor. In almost every way possible, this album is another masterpiece from Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, and a host of other guests. I have no doubt that this will be viewed as one of the best prog rock albums 2011 has to offer.

For anyone familiar with Neal Morse's music, his sound is instantly recognizable. Expect epic prog rock instrumental sections in the vein of Yes, vocal sections inspired by Gentle Giant, and four-man Genesis-sounding pop/rock sections. The Beatles are also a huge influence for Morse, which is clearly audible in tracks like "Chance of a Lifetime" or "Road Dog Blues". Testimony 2 is not as eclectic as Testimony nor as heavy as Sola Scriptura, but instead rests somewhere in-between. Conceptually, this may be his best album yet, with songs like "Jayda" and "Time Changer" featuring some of his best lyrical work to date. The former song (written about his daughter who was born with a hole in her heart) especially is evidence that Morse really put his sweat, blood, and tears into making this an incredibly emotional album. Testimony 2 isn't all about "spiritual" lyrics and softer songs, though. Expect plenty of instrumental prowess from Morse, George, and Portnoy on tracks like "Overture No. 4" and "Time Changer". "Time Changer" is a really unique track, seeing that it features a vocal section with Spock's Beard members and even features a borrowed organ riff from "The Water" (off of Spock's Beard's The Light). Between those accolades and the terrific bass playing from Randy George, it may be safe to consider this the best song on the album. Testimony 2 closes off in the epic sense that Neal Morse is known for. "Crossing Over / Mercy Street Reprise" features many of the themes from the album (as well as the first Testimony), making for a fantastic closing piece.

If you're going to get this album, it's worth mentioning that the double-disc version with three bonus tracks is absolutely essential. The bonus disc contains two pop-oriented songs, and one 26 minute prog epic that's among Morse's finest ever. "Absolute Beginner" is a decent pop/rock song, "Supernatural" is absolutely beautiful (I really love that one), and "Seeds of Gold" is possibly better than anything on disc one of the album. And after reading my endless praise for disc one, it's clear how much that means. "Seeds of Gold" contains extremely memorable themes, odd time signatures galore, and terrific vocals from Neal Morse. Did someone say "masterpiece"?

Testimony 2 is yet another fantastic effort from the master of modern prog, Neal Morse. This shows him at his most lyrically intense, musically demanding, and compositionally impressive. I wouldn't quite put this as his best effort ever (Snow will most likely always hold that position for me), but it's an essential purchase and one of the best this year by a long shot. 5 stars are well-deserved for this stellar album. I honestly can't think of many albums I would give the masterpiece stamp before this one. Whether you like him or not, Neal Morse can't be ignored and Testimony 2 is a serious contender for my top five list once the end of the year rolls around. Chalk up another essential modern prog masterpiece for Neal Morse.

Review by Muzikman
5 stars Neal Morse continues on his spiritual journey and shares it with us again on a second installment of his recordings titled Testimony Two, a two disc set. He is joined by his usual stellar performers Mike Portnoy (drums) and Randy George (bass) amongst several other guests including his former band Spock's Beard on the powerful track "Time Changer". I have always appreciated Neal's music and the tremendous insight into the human spirit based on a solid foundation of faith that he conveys. As most folks know that are familiar with Neal, he is a born again Christian. This event sparked his exit from Spock's Beard and consequently launched a very successful solo career and several recordings with prog rock super group Transatlantic.

Testimony Two is without a doubt the strongest effort to date from Morse. I have covered his solo career very closely and had the opportunity to share my opinion on most of his work to date. I noticed right from the start that the energy level and music is very powerful. This is a very good thing because Neal has a story to tell and a very important message to relay to listeners. This is his story and it is indeed a compelling one. The turning point in Neal's life was when his daughter Jayda was born with a hole in her heart and then was healed by a miracle of faith. I think most people would be shaken by such an event and given a new outlook on life, and then renewed spiritually with all the possibilities presented during such an awakening. It was a huge wake up call for Neal and his family and the reason you are reading this review is because of that little girl and how she was healed.

It really is an amazing story and the music that is found on this recording is equal to the task of telling the tale in the most prolific way. The disc opens with "Part Six" which may seem odd at first however if you have Testimony, the first installment, it will make sense. The story continues and unravels in 17 amazing tracks on disc one. As "Overture No. 4" leads into "Time Changer" you know that this album is not going to let up and you are in for a truly great progressive rock experience. One of the more entertaining tracks is "Road Dog Blues", which is self-explanatory. Not only does Neal find freedom in his new found faith, he can share it with his family because he is not on the tour grind any longer with Spock's Beard. I can see Portnoy having the time of his life behind the drum kit on that track.

CD 2 holds three tracks and it's the highlight of the set, all three emotionally power packed tracks. This is Morse and his band at their very best pumping out prog rock classics "Absolute Beginner", "Supernatural" and the nearly 25 minute tour de force "Seeds of Gold" to wrap up the session. This set is fantastic and similar to the kind of music and presentation that Neal is accustomed to in recording with Transatlantic.

Neal Morse has made the musical and spiritual statement of his life and career with Testimony Two.

Key Tracks: Seeds of Gold, Road Dog Blues, Absolute Beginner Keith "MuzikMan" Founder

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Testimony 2' - Neal Morse (8/10)

Neal Morse has been one of the most celebrated figures in the progressive rock scene of recent years. Developing a strong following with Spock's Beard, Morse has also met some heavy acclaim for his solo work, where he shows no signs of letting up. Although I am an avid fan of prog rock, I have found it often difficult to get into the music of the artists who choose to express themselves through the sound of the original prog legends, rather than truly progress rock music forward. First hearing the work of Neal Morse through the Transatlantic supergroup, that has been my biggest gripe with the man's work, but while the epic scope of symphonic prog here is far from original-sounding, Neal Morse writes his music with conviction and passion, refusing to compromise his expression even so far into his career. 'Testimony 2' is doused in Yes-inspired prog rock instrumentation, recurring themes and skilled musicianship. What I find myself most enjoying about the album however, is Morse's ability to take these ingredients and make a personal journey out of it all.

For much of what I have heard from Neal Morse in the past, it seems as if the greatest thing he has going for him when compared to the rest of the prog scene is his incredibly sincere attitude towards music. While many artists that create twenty minute suites of music (as Morse does here) go down the route of making their music about some spaced out fantasy or vague philosophy, Neal sings about things that are quite clearly dear to him and his life. As many may know, this includes a great dose of religious themes, since Morse has deemed himself a born-again Christian. Even taking a look at the track listing here may turn off the more secular listeners right off the bat, but unlike a couple less successful Morse releases, 'Testimony 2' does not focus solely on his beliefs in God. I am atheistic and was not sure how Morse's religious themes would strike me before listening, but if anything, they are certainly tastefully done. Instead of blindly shouting out praise to his religion, Neal Morse only moderately dabbles in lyrics about his religion; the songs here are about much wider topics in his life. Among these are songs about his daughter nearly dying in childbirth, or missing his family while he is out on tour, and the straightforward, human way that Morse conveys these topics to the listener is touching.

The music here is very well arranged, but perhaps 'Testimony 2's greatest weakness is the fact that it is far, far too long for its own good. While there are albums out there that can make grand use of their long lengths, 'Testimony 2' does not feel as if it has enough musical dynamic or rising action to warrant such a long musical experience, which is nearly two hours long. Although the first disc has a nice narrative throughout the three epic chunks of music and Morse keeps the sound nicely arranged and lush, 'Testimony 2' stays mainly stays focused on upbeat symphonic prog, staying fairly fixated on vintage prog rock conventions throughout the whole thing. While I can certainly see the revivalist school of prog rock finding no qualm in this, the retrogressive style here tends to leave nothing to the imagination, and becomes very predictable, despite the great musicianship from everyone involved here. As for the second disc, the epic 'Seeds of Gold' is as strong- even perhaps a little stronger- than the three parts of disc one, but when compared to the already-lengthy first disc, the latter portion of 'Testimony 2' feels like it may have been better left off the record entirely, in order to make this expression from Morse a little more effective.

I was not originally sure what to expect from what was first reaching my ears as a religious album, but it is clear why Neal Morse is one of the rightful kings of the modern-day prog rock scene. While there is still a little fat on the edges of this steak that could have been trimmed off for the sake of ultimate flavour, 'Testimony 2' has made a believer out of me.

Review by m2thek
5 stars Testimony 2 is an album I didn't think I would be reviewing. With so many to cover in 2011, and with this one being a long and daunting composition, I had reserved Neal Morse's latest to casual, fun listens rather than anything intensely concentrated. Over time though, I became way too engrossed with it not to give it the attention it deserves. I'm glad I did, because Testimony 2 is a wonderful album, and is surely one of the year's best.

Before we begin, let's get this out of the way right now. Unless you've never heard anything by Neal Morse, you've probably made up your mind about his music, and this album isn't going to change your mind. For Neal fans, you should already own this. For those who don't like him, you can move along safely. Now that that's done, let's actually talk about Testimony 2.

What an album Neal Morse has crafted. This is my first experience with one of his solo albums, but I'm familiar with his work with Spock's Beard and Transatlantic, so I felt right at home instantly. What I'd taken away from those other bands is that his strengths lie in composition and singing, both of which are just as good here. For me, Testimony 2 is like (Transatlantic's) The Whirlwind's little brother, which is a personal favorite of mine. It shares a lot of what made that album so good, while branching out in its instrumental variety, if not being quite as exciting without the other band's members.

What this album shares most with The Whirlwind and what makes it so good is its extremely well done composition and use of recurring themes. There are about a half a dozen themes used throughout the 13 songs, and each is reprised a number of times. Neal must know I'm a sucker for a good theme, and I can't remember when I've had so many goose bumps in 80 minutes. Besides the use of themes, there are a lot of changes in energy and dynamics, and exciting solos that keep the music entertaining throughout. While not every individual song is incredible, there are enough strong ones to make up for it, and make the whole piece great.

The instrumentation is just as solid as the composition, and Neal's usual bubbly synthesizers, organs, and guitars are present, in addition to a large number of guests. The string section, mostly violins, creates a few incredibly moving sections, and there are a handful of more unique passages, like an electric violin solo and a few saxophone lines. Neal's voice is, as always, consistently strong. He can have his corny moments, but the high points of his voice more than make up for them. Even if I just considered the vocal sections that I didn't like, they would still be stronger than the majority of singing on albums I've reviewed this year.

While in our favorite genre, lyrics usually get pretty abstract and out there, Neal's are really heart-felt and grounded in reality. The lyrical theme of Testimony 2 centers on his faith, and the struggle he went through transitioning from touring with Spock's Beard, to fully accepting God. Listening to this album is almost like getting a musical auto-biography, and if you're interested in Neal's life, the lyrics are really interesting to hear. The lyrics are also reflected in the music, changing from more rocky, energetic material when singing about being on tour, to somber and slow pieces when having internal struggles. The lyrics and music combine in a great way, and the cohesive story is a great element of the album.

Now, if Testimony 2 only included the main composition, I would be giving this four stars. Sure, for as much as I really like it, there is enough singing that I don't care for, and a couple low points in the middle act to keep it from being perfect. However, there is a short second disc that contains three unrelated tracks. The first two are actually not very good, with the first song seeming more like a Nickelodeon theme song. The final song though, Seeds of Gold, is an amazing epic that's just as good as the high points of the first CD. With the first disc already being quite strong, and an extra 25 great minutes on the second, the overall package is well deserving of the full five.

In the end, this lengthy review has been a justification of my rating. The main composition is a great cohesive piece, and I wouldn't be surprised if Seeds of Gold ended up being this year's strongest epic, but you probably have already decided whether or not to buy this. If for some reason you're on the fence and have any interest in Neal Morse's music, the answer is yes, go out and buy this right now.

Review by lor68
4 stars Finally, the present effort by Neal Morse is able to take the best style from his last era with Spock's Beard (at the time of "Snow"), as well as from the most "metal prog-oriented" period with Transatlantic, but without forgetting his "religious" and more mystical roots of the early music career as a soloist (think of the track "Jesus' Blood", which goes into such direction)...Well, the typical "overtures" and more symphonic themes represent a secure "trade- mark" for an intelligent artist like him, as He's obliged to survive inside the difficult market of music; nevertheless the sound (unlike his recent compositions) is not too much derivative and a bit "fresh" too, except on the gentle-giantesque vocalism of "Time Changer" or a few parts in the vein of the quite disappointing "Lifeline". Moreover the track "Nighttime Collectors" perhaps is able to maintain the same mood as in the recent concerts with Transatlantic, where the organic work of each player has been performed live to serve the teamwork and not to let remark a specific talent on stage within a sort of "music-competition"; then I like to mention also the song "Time Has Come Today", where Neal let emerge the good music talent of the guitarist, even though emotionally it cannot be compared to the already mentioned feeling of "Jesus' Blood".

Instead, talking about the second section of the present album by N. Morse, I prefer the tune "Supernatural", where his original prog rock roots in the vein of the early Genesis emerge by means of his lush synths...even though also the pop song "Absolute Beginner"- the opener of side 2- is not bad, in spite of an obvious style, partially improved if you consider the chorus inside...then the final track "Seeds of Gold, (almost 26 minutes long), which is not prolix- being very "varied" in the composition- thanks also to the presence of a special guest-star like Steve Morse; but you know I don't like a too much long composition (except of course on the mythical suite "Supper's Ready" by Genesis) in every kind of music style...nevermind, the present "Testimony 2" is worth checking out anyway!!

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Much heavier than I expected! I'm not a Neal Morse (or Sock's Beard) fan, but I must admit that this album is better than my expectations. The sheer volume of high quality music and performances may bear this one out to be a 'masterpiece'--one for the ages--though to my mind this one is still a bit too KANSAS-like to vault it into such esteem. I have no problem with Neal's Christian message--as I have no problem with the despondent Goth messengers. This is just good music with emotion-filled vocal performances. The fact that Jesus and Christianity are what inspire Neal to deliver such performances is immaterial--we're just lucky his muse is so very strong.
Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"Testimony 2" is a really enjoyable, honest listen that brings back old glories of progressive rock, bringing something new to the table as well.

Eight years after "Testimony", Neal Morse felt that he had much more to say concerning that part of his life and that concept in particular, so he wrote "Testimony 2", this time, being more explicit to certain themes that were a little less underlined in the previous effort, the most obvious one being about his daughter Jayda. While being a little inferior to the original LP, "Testimony 2" contains elements that were lacking in the first part, and thus is much different.

Musically, it wouldn't be a heresy in saying that pretty much nothing whatsoever changed: there are the strong progressive themes, the excellent musicianship and eclectic instrumentation, softer, pop rock, acoustic moments, and so on. There is however something in the air that makes it sound modern, or at least something that is different from the first part: I can certainly tell by the music that this is not only a sequel, but a sequel written in 2011. Once again, we have on drums Mike Portnoy and a change in formation for the bass guitar, Randy George. Together they give a great addiction to the music, although this time around I sense Portnoy's presence because of his typical drumming: back in 2003, I remembered him much more laid back.

In "Testimony 2" Morse clearly explains the struggles he had concerning his faith, identity, by living almost two lives, one as a prog rock musician and another as a extremely devoted Christian. The story is the continuity of the first Testimony, which explained the process of him becoming a Christian. Once again, some of the lyrics on this new album at times become a little banal and corny, not for the content itself but how they were written. The album's grandiose 112 minutes has quite some highlights around it : the opener "Mercy Street" is of a great, memorable prog rock tone, it just shows how Morse is truly devoted also to prog rock music. From there, a large variety of sounds, moods, and instrumentation, finding their best moments in the ballad "Jayda", "Jesus Bring Me Home", and the whole second disc of this album, all three of songs included pretty darn close to being masterful, especially the twenty five minutes epic "Seeds Of Gold".

"Testimony 2" is a really enjoyable, honest and in a way visceral listen that brings back old glories of progressive rock and as always brings something new to the table as well. Whether this album will go down in history or not, It is pretty uncertain, but it will always remain a precious and worthwhile listen, despite it's massive length.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Testimony 2, like the original Testimony album, is a prog-oriented solo release by Neal Morse which comes at an interesting point in his career. The original Testimony wasn't quite his solo debut - he'd put out some non-prog singer-songwriter stuff before that - but it was the first prog material he'd put out since his departure from Spock's Beard, and was essential in establishing Neal as a viable solo artist who could still speak to the prog fanbase he'd cultivated despite his shift into overtly religious subject matter.

This turned out to be unusually successful, because whilst Neal might have felt a religious calling to do more music about his spiritual perspective, he hadn't given up on his former musical and lyrical approach so much as he'd evolved it. In particular, most of Neal's prog solo albums from Testimony to Testimony 2 would be unabashed concept albums, tackling meaty subjects like autobiography, Christian parables, Old Testament Scripture, and Church history. Of course, promoting a particular religious viewpoint and hyping up Christ was part of the deal, but the albums were never simplistic collections of praise songs or unsubtle, repetitive calls to conversion. (Neal would put out his Worship Sessions series of more conventionally Christian-themed music, of course, but they aren't prog releases and don't pretend to be.)

However, I found that his 2008 release, Lifeline, found the prog side of his work slipping; unusually for his prog solo releases, it wasn't a concept album, just a collection of songs about how awesome God is, and as well as lyrically slipping back towards his worship music output it musically speaking kept drifting in a fairly generic Christian rock direction. It felt like Neal's prog batteries were low - and then came the surprising twist of his return to Transatlantic, which he'd left at the same time as his departure from Spock's Beard, with the new album The Whirlwind being a good step up from Lifeline (perhaps benefitting from a wider range of compositional hands at the helm).

If the first Testimony was Neal explaining his perspective of things at the time when he'd just given up on being part of his various band projects, then, Testimony 2 finds him giving an autobiographical snapshot of where he's at immediately after he'd not only come back to one of those bands, but taken up the keyboard player's duties in another project (Flying Colors). Inevitably, this involves going over some territory again - he's not stopped being keen on Jesus, after all - but in some respects this is a good thing, because it allows Neal to touch on subject matter which he had avoided on the previous album.

On the first Testimony, and in public, Neal's departure from his various band projects was presented as solely being about him wanting to put more of a focus on religious music, and not wanting to drag those projects in that direction. (Notably, whilst his reunion album with Transatlantic isn't without mild religious themes, these are nowhere near as front-and-centre as they are in his solo work.) Privately, however, Neal's family was undergoing a crisis: his daughter Jayda had been born with a heart condition, but thankfully it seemed to spontaneously resolve itself.

It's understandable why Neal might have felt he owed God a thing or two after that - and doubly understandable why he would want to take more control of his schedule, stepping away from the Spock's Beard and Transatlantic touring grind so as to spend as much time as possible with his family, and triply understandable why he wouldn't have wanted to make a big deal of that on the first Testimony - both because the matter was so raw at the time, and because the classy thing to do when you've got a song about someone's birth condition is to wait until they're a little older and can form views on whether they want their medical history turned into a song!

Happily, Jayda's recovery appears to have stuck - and so Testimony 2 includes Jayda, a song focused on her story; this is perhaps the simplest and most direct song on the album, a heartfelt tune vividly describing the agony the family were going through and their joy at her recovery - all the sort of thing you can get behind and enjoy whether or not you subscribe to Neal's particular religious conclusions, because regardless of that there's still an interesting autobiographical story being told here. This added dimension to the story means that Testimony 2 doesn't feel redundant next to Testimony so much as it's giving a different slant on the same story, which both makes Testimony 2 a richer album by itself and helps put a new spin on the original album in retrospect.

So much for the lyrical themes: what about the music? Well, thankfully Neal's back on top after the misstep of Lifeline; it's not that his approach is radically different from the sort of work he's done since the early Spock's Beard (his prog songwriting has always been gradually evolving rather than undergoing sudden revolutions), but there's a pep to the music's step which wasn't there on Lifeline. You've got big Broadway musical moments, torch songs, Gentle Giant-esque intertwined vocal harmonies, Pink Floyd-inspired guitar work, and all sorts of prog treats crammed into 100-odd minutes of music.

Notably, though, only 70-ish of those minutes relate to the main concept - the second CD has two shorter, self-contained songs and a nice self-contained prog epic, Seeds of Gold. Interestingly, all three songs can absolutely be interpreted from a religious perspective, or could be secular songs about love and peace - much as was the case with Transatlantic's The Whirlwind - suggesting that as well as being open to working in more secular band projects (Flying Colors is not overtly Jesus-y, for instance) and in addition to playing covers of secular songs, Neal was now open to broadening the lyrical scope of his solo compositions.

Look, this deep into his solo career Neal Morse has told us exactly who he is and what he's about; if anything, he did that on the original Testimony, so despite his sensible decision to keep some of the most personal and painful aspects of that story quiet until this release you can at least say he was open and honest about the parts he did lay out. There's not a whole lot that's going on with Testimony 2 which is enormously new - indeed, even the core musical team of Neal, Mike Portnoy, and Randy George is the same trio that's been the backbone of his pro solo albums since One - but when it comes to examples of what Neal does on his prog solo albums, Testimony 2 is right there in the top tier next to Sola Scriptura.

Latest members reviews

4 stars As a Christian who respects the Bible as an authority, I agree only in part with the preaching of Morse. There are important insights in his lyrics which, in my opinion, have no foundation in the Holy Scriptures, as it has miraculous healing today. Also, I do not know conclusively until real i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1089003) | Posted by sinslice | Thursday, December 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 th ... (read more)

Report this review (#792447) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Sunday, July 22, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Testimonial to a big man of modern music. Well, I wanted to stop my long delightful Neil Morse's musical experience with "Sola Scriptura", because I thought "what else could I have from this guy, given also his great Transatlantic output?". And, then, this "Testimony 2" came out. The title was ... (read more)

Report this review (#602279) | Posted by ingmin68 | Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I don't get some people. Why would you buy a symphonic prog release, if you don't like the genre. Symphonic prog will never ever be original again, everything has done before. From Genesis to Kansas and back again. Symphonic prog is a genre for people who adore synthesizers/keyboards in all th ... (read more)

Report this review (#533165) | Posted by snoe | Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can you actually write about Neal Morse? I wonder if there is anyone in this site unfamiliar with his work? I wonder if a review of this album is necessary after the time that we all have spent with it? And for someone that listens a lot, A LOT, of music, it is worth mentioning that this CD had ... (read more)

Report this review (#512984) | Posted by Sophocles | Friday, September 2, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Without any prior knowledge about neither Neal Morse nor Spock's Beard. Just knowing that this artist was supposed to be one of the relatively new prog stars. I got my hands on Testimony 2. I will do this short, because i dont want to spend too much time on a negative review, but i have been l ... (read more)

Report this review (#484769) | Posted by tamijo | Monday, July 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, it took him eight tries (six since he left Spock's Beard), but Neal Morse has finally written and recorded his perfect solo album. And what a terrific album it is. Once you hear the opening piano notes, which reprises one of the main themes from the original Testimony album, you know you a ... (read more)

Report this review (#470457) | Posted by Biff Tannen | Sunday, June 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 5 stars?More or less After the slightly disappointing "Lifeline," I was afraid that Neal Morse was losing his divine inspiration.But behold, he gives us " Testimony 2 ", an album that is not very different from anything he's done, but it's definitely a breath of fresh air in his wonderful car ... (read more)

Report this review (#470195) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, June 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The tree has grown since 2003's "Testimony" and in the meantime also Neal Morse has not stopped growing both spiritually and musically; "Testimony 2" is the final outcome of this continued growth, a double CD containing nearly 2 hours of great music without any particular flaw or weak point. O ... (read more)

Report this review (#469011) | Posted by Avtokrat | Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is perhaps the corniest album I've ever heard. The problem is that Morse obviously had great lyrical inspiration. These are messages that are very iportant to him and he really wants to express them. Musical inspiration? Whoops, now there's the problem. He's pretty much literally taken his d ... (read more)

Report this review (#469008) | Posted by Textbook | Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Jesus bring me home, I don't want to hurt my family anymore...." "Will the real God please stand up? I want the truth... I want to know the way..." ".. I"ll give you more than this world can ever give..." Brilliant modern symphonic prog with a very personal touch, particularly for believe ... (read more)

Report this review (#468918) | Posted by Kassimatis | Friday, June 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Having already given masterpiece status to two of Morse's other albums (One and ?), I thought it unlikely that he would be able to put out another stellar album after his more recent albums (Sola Scriptura and Lifeline) left me a little disappointed. I was wrong. Testimony 2 is a beautiful w ... (read more)

Report this review (#468282) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Thursday, June 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Neal Morse has always been a source of inspiration to me in everything he has created, starting with Spock's Beard, continuing with Transatlantic, and then on his solo work. His music shows his main influences but has a mark of its own and his creativity is just amazing. In Testimony 2 he has ... (read more)

Report this review (#453600) | Posted by eddiefang | Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Testimony 2 is a real difficult album for me to review. First off, being that the album was only released for pre orders and is not in the highest audio quality (128) its still a bit early to tally up a final review. But still, there are a few things i can already hear. Testimony 2 is a li ... (read more)

Report this review (#446790) | Posted by juanvalverde | Thursday, May 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Testimony 2 further digs into the story Neal expressed in the first part. Everything about this album is wonderful. The musicianship is incredible as usual. Mike's drumming is sweet as usual. One thing that really stands out is Randy George's bass playing, it's awesome (Overture 4- WOW!!!) Testimony ... (read more)

Report this review (#443250) | Posted by AlexDOM | Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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