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Neal Morse

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Neal Morse Momentum album cover
3.96 | 485 ratings | 18 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Momentum (6:25)
2. Thoughts Part 5 (7:51)
3. Smoke and Mirrors (4:38)
4. Weathering Sky (4:15)
5. Freak (4:29)
6. World Without End (33:39) :
- a) Introduction
- b) Never Pass Away
- c) Losing Your Soul
- d) The Mystery
- e) Some Kind of Yesterday
- f) Never Passed Away (reprise)

Total Time 61:17

Bonus DVD from 2012 SE:
DVD-1 The Making Of "Momentum"
DVD-2 Momentum
DVD-3 Weathering Sky
DVD-4 Thoughts Part 5

Line-up / Musicians

- Neal Morse / vocals, keyboards, guitar, producer

- Bill Hubauer / clarinet, flute, guitar & keyboards (6)
- Paul Gilbert / guitar solo (1)
- Adson Sodré / guitar solo (6)
- Chris Carmichael / strings
- Randy George / bass
- Mike Portnoy / drums
- Eric Gillette / vocals (2)
- Wil Morse / vocals (2)
- Rick Altizer / vocals (3,4)

Releases information

Artwork: Thomas Ewerhard with Man In The Mountain

CD Metal Blade Records ‎- 3984-15119-2 (2012, US)
CD Inside Out Music ‎- IOMCD 362 (2012, Europe)
CD+DVD Metal Blade Records ‎- 3984-15146-2 (2012, US) Bonus DVD w/ Making Of & 3 music videos

Thanks to Lofcaudio for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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NEAL MORSE Momentum ratings distribution

(485 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

NEAL MORSE Momentum reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Muzikman
5 stars Just when you think an artist like Neal Morse has released a career defining album he turns around and releases one that is even better. With Momentum Morse has done that, again.

The title is fitting because Neal felt very strongly that he had more momentum now than ever before during his recording career and now was not the time to rest on his laurels but to seize the moment and continue writing and recording music. His blend of spiritual progressive rock has swept across the world like a musical tsunami bringing along anyone within range of its awesome powers.

Morse is in the prime of his career now recording solo albums and performing and recording with super group Transatlantic. His longtime friend and drummer extraordinaire Mike Portnoy has been along for the ride. It goes without saying that the drumming on this recording is outstanding. Also the ever present Randy George is on bass, the other half of the powerhouse rhythm section that sets Morse and his songs on fire. The guitar playing comes via the six strings of legendary Paul Gilbert and Brazilian Adson Sodr'. The chemistry for this recording is undeniable and the end result is proof that it all worked.

The music is incredibly good on Momentum. What you get is spiritually infused electrifying prog rock and metal, basically everything you would expect and more. It comes at you like a smart bomb and just explodes from your speakers, making every word count with full impact. The nearly 34 minute suite 'World Without End' is a bona fide prog rock magnum opus and some of Morse's best work to date not to mention every other musician making contributions on another level, which separates them from so many others with profound emphasis. Morse finds inspiration and endless creative energy through his faith and we as the listeners are the fortunate recipients of that blessing.

I have to give the nod to the title track and 'Smoke and Mirrors' as well, they are standouts that spotlight the precision instrumentation and power of Morse and his band. To be perfectly honest, there is not a moment of holding back on this recording and that includes not only the musicianship but the finely crafted lyrics behind all that energy and sheer musical force. There are some real heavy instrumental passages on this recording and I found it very pleasing as they offered both the complex, hard edged and mellower aspects of the genre. From the brute force of heavy metal at its peak to the more refined and syncopated complexities of keyboard laced prog, sprinklings of classical and jazz, this album covers the gamut of progressive music. Morse is no stranger to the elements of prog and what makes it tick.

With Momentum Neal Morse shows the world that not only is it befitting the title of the recording, he exemplifies the very meaning. When many artists his age are pulling in the reins, getting off the road and slowing down in every aspect of their careers, he seems to be hitting his stride with no end in sight. This is classic prog rock by one of the brightest stars of our generation.

Key Tracks: Momentum, Smoke and Mirrors, World Without End Keith 'MuzikMan' Hannaleck-Founder

Review by Flucktrot
4 stars For all the talk about this album both being very mindful of not rehashing previous material and also bringing us back to the Spock's Beard days, it really sounds to me like a continuation of Neal's last solo album (Lifeline) and Transatlantic album (Whirlwind). I'm not hearing a new direction, and there are numerous places that take me back to recent material.

Having said that, I personally enjoy this album, particularly World Without End. With Momentum, Morse has indeed kept up his songwriting momentum, but this inertia has also led him in a very linear path from previous material.

Lifeline seems to split fans, but count me in the camp that thought it was a fine album, particularly So Many Roads. To me, World Without End is perhaps a bit more solid than Roads (which I think is a very solid track, though less "epic"), although the two are definitely in the same league. I'm perfectly happy when Neal rocks out for stretches, throws some metal in there for fun, and then also spruces things up with some fresh sections (such as winds/horns) before wrapping things up with an epic refrain. Aside from Testimony II, this is essentially what Morse has been doing for the past half-decade.

This strikes me as quite a formulaic approach, but it's a good formula, and I still like the results. The main limitation is that some of the insanely good, unforgettable moments from albums such as Testimony, One and ? are not present here. The upside is that is that the consistency is much better (especially given the Testimony comparison). The first 20 minutes of World Without End just fly by, as the melodies, pacing, transitions and instrumentation are expertly done, and the tempos (particularly the energetic opening verse) are nice and energetic.

My main gripes come with the last third of the piece. First, the metal grooving after the first slow down seems pointless. Perhaps if there were a killer guitar solo in there (if Paul Gilbert wasn't available, we know Adson Sodre could have laid something tasty down, given his work earlier in the song). If I had editing input, I would definitely have chucked that section. Second, the grand finale--while plenty grand--is not as high quality as most of the rest of the song. There's a good melody, strong vocals (the last note Neal hits proves he's still got it!) and harmonies, and a nice revisiting of the opening theme. This theme is not great, as it strongly reminds me of the melody from PBSs Nature. The closing also needs something more than a dramatic key change...perhaps a tempo kick or introduction of another theme, or both. Don't get me wrong: this is a high-quality epic, though it needed a stronger closing to really get into my top 25. Given that Neal and Mike have worked on epics that are on that list (Octavarium, Great Nothing, the ending of ?), I think they can still do it on future collaborations. I hope they want to!

As you may be able to tell, I was greatly looking forward to this album for the epic, although the rest is solid as well. Momentum and Weathering Sky are catchy and fun, although less proggy, while Neal explores his take on Eleanor Rigby for Freak. Thoughts is also good, although here is where I really miss Nick D'Virgilio, as his voice and drumming are missed. I also like Randy on bass, but he's just not on the same level of bombast as Dave Meros, and bombastic is what I love about the original Thoughts tunes.

Overall, this is a lean, fun, and energetic album. It's not this group's most creative output, but they've also set a very high standard in that department. It's my favorite Morse album since Sola Scripture, and that's a compliment, because I have mostly enjoyed the ones in between as well. As long as you don't have unreasonable expectations going in (i.e., perfect album, best epic of the last decade, etc.) you won't be disappointed.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Back about a decade before this review was written, after completing the disappointing and unoriginal album "Snow" with his band Spock's Beard, Neal Morse announced that he was quitting the band to become Kneel Morse, and could only write songs about his personal savior. This was even more disappointing than "Snow". With SB, Morse had written some powerful prog, often sprinkling in hints of his religious inklings, and had even created a near masterpiece with the album "V".

I have heard bits and pieces of Morse's solo albums since, and while his musical composition has still been good, his lyrics had deteriorated to cliched proseletizing, and put me off from puchasing any of his albums. His lyrics even spilled over into some of his side projects (like the dreadful last movement of the otherwise fine work "The Whirlwind" by Transatlantic).

But the word was out that Morse had just released a new album where he minimizes the cheesiness and emphasizes the prog. So I picked up "Momentum" and gave it a try. And for the most part, this sounds like a good Spock's Beard album. The religious imagery is kept to a minimum, more than most SB albums, but not so much that it's off-putting (allthough there are a few points, all coincidentally in the most overtly religious tracks, where Morse's rhyme can be diplomatically described as ham-handed).

The opening track Momentum, with a powerful, yet Tony Banks inspired keyboard riff, sets the tone for the album. It appears this is going to be a throwback to the Beard years. Thoughts Part 5 (Where are parts 3 & 4?) is a continuation of the series begun years before with SB, and is worthy of the title. World Without End is a half hour epic, in the mold of The Great Nothing, and features some spectacular performances by Mike Portnoy and bassist Randy George.

And the lyrics? Not bad. I don't mind Morse's Christianity when he is not pushing it in our faces as "The Only Way". But trying to rhyme "tears" and "years" with "mirrors"? And "between us" with "Jesus" (I can think of a better word to rhyme, but I bet you wouldn't use it)?

For ithe most part, if you miss classic SB, get this album. The ups far outweigh the downs.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've known NEAL MORSE's music for a long time now. A friend of mine presented me Testimony (2003), his first solo album after leaving SPOCK'S BEARD, right after the release and I was blown away. I've followed Neal's music in every album since then and one thing's for sure, he hardly does mistakes.

Momentum (2012) is his ninth solo album (not counting his live, demos albums etc.) and it was released last September.

The title track that opens the album is as powerful as his best tracks always are. Typical Morse sound, with great riffs, great recording and a perfect mix of soul and technic. And as it already happened on other albums, PAUL GILBERT plays some killer guitar solos on the track. Maybe a surprise for some, but not for me. I like to have this continuation thing that he proposes in 'Thoughts Part 5', this is a GENTLE GIANT tribute that started back with his old band Spock's Beard on the album Beware of Darkness (1996) and was followed by the second part on V (2000), the third part will be on the new SPOCK's BEARD album Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep (2013) that will be released in March and the part 4 is? unknown? yet. This fifth part is very heavy and the Randy George bass shines brightly (as usual).

I can't say that this is a problem but, on the third track I felt something weird, 'Smoke And Mirrors' is a nice track, but it just doesn't fit. And the problem continues on 'Weathering Sky', despite the good guitars played by Neal himself and in 'Freak'. After some consideration I can honestly say that I now know what's my 'weird feeling' about these tracks. Despite Neal's being a great writer, despite the fact that his band is just amazing (Randy George ? bass & Mike Portnoy ? drums) he's repeating himself! And that's not a good thing. I would like my review to be seen by Neal himself, not because I want some credits or anything like that, but because I would like him to take my advice: Neal, give it a break! I will explain, he pretty much releases an album a year, plus his projects, plus his Inner Circle CDs, plus his Christian music? and this? makes him just repeating himself in an endless circle. Take a look at THE FLOWER KINGS, for instance. They had a 5 years break and their new album, Banks of Eden (2012) is fresh and amazing, one of the best albums in 2012. I'm not saying that he should be away for 5 years, but a year would do wonders to Neal Morse music! Pretty much every NEAL MORSE album has a kind of formula, 4 or 5 short tracks and an 'epic'. In Momentum (2012) it is not different. For the lovers of the big tracks, as I am, we have the final track 'World Without End', a 33'39 song with all the Epic feeling you can ask for, a strong drum part by Portnoy and some interesting guitar solos by the Brazilian Adson Sodré, their new live guitar player. It's the track that was divided into six small chunks, of which the third part 'Losing Your Soul' is one of the best, followed by the great part four 'The Mystery'.

All in all, like I said before, NEAL MORSE is NEAL MORSE, and if you like his music, you'll like this one for sure. It's a great album, but not his best, the reason you've just read above. But one thing always makes me happy about his albums. Namely, the overall sound of Neal's albums is always amazing. It's how it should be, how I like, and when it comes to me that always gives him some plus points.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars

Neal Morse has been a very prolific artist of late with Transatlantic and producing a covers album with Portnoy and George. Somehow in the same year he has also managed to release this incredible album "Momentum". The main players are Neal Morse on keyboards, guitars, vocals, Randy George on bass, and Mike Portnoy on drums. The album is about one hour of solid prog with 5 songs followed by a colossal epic clocking 33:40 titled 'World Without End'.

Before we get to this let's explore the short songs. It opens with 'Momentum' (6:25) that begins proceedings with a standard Morse track, the vocals are pristine, the keyboards are heavy and the guitar rhythms have a distorted sound. It could be mistaken for Transatlantic, and of course Portnoy lends a hand as always, as welcome as ever.

'Thoughts Part 5' (7:51) is the odd title for a track that Spock's Beard have released with 'Thoughts Parts 1 and 2'. There is no need t wonder what happened to the other parts leading to 5 as that is one of life's little mysteries and Morse's inside joke and wink to the Spock's Beard fanbase. It is certainly one of the proggiest songs on the album and has a heavy rhythm and guitars revved up to the max. The stop start jaunty spasms are counterbalanced with some melodic vibes. This is one of the highlights of the album.

'Smoke and Mirrors' (4:38) is not the Symphony X song, but a delightful acoustic song about the hidden mysteries of maintaining face in the midst of hypocritical society, and how the truth is hidden. It speaks of Fantasy worlds, how we are being deceived from birth and conceived to die, misleading lies, born in to bondage, slaves to sin, "disillusioned souls causing bloody tears, the truth is masquerading with smoke and mirrors". These are heavy themes but Morse relishes in such things and it is part and parcel of his music, despite the dangers of offending. Christians will have no problem with these ideas but it may disturb non- believers, and Morse wants us to wake up and question things rather than taking them at face value. For me this is part of the drawing power of the music, and it makes a change from all the darkness inherent in music.

'Weathering Sky' (4:15) has a melodic riff that jams into the brain easily, and focuses on the calling in Morse's life, that may be an allegory to Jesus called into the desert. It is one of the best songs here due to the strong melodic chorus and very cool guitar work throughout.

'Freak' (4:29) is a fun song about the difficulties of being a Christian and the mocking that ensues with such a lifestyle choice. Then it ends with the clincher that the freak in direct contrast may be Jesus, who certainly went against the flow and was labelled as such in the days when the Gospel was being preached.

'World Without End' (33:39) is the one that has everyone talking about, an epic in the same vein as 'The Whirlwind' except this is not divided into specific sections. It takes an incredible amount of skill to compose something this ambitious but Morse is a master having spent some time with the Spock's Beard members and Transatlantic over the years. The epic begins with dreamy keyboards soaked in ambience until a majestic guitar soars over. It builds with fast paced virtuosos keys and guitars over a driving beat in an odd sig. Adison Sodre is incredible on lead guitar hammer ons and fret melters, joined by incomparable skill by Bill Hubauer who multi skills on clarinet, flute, guitar, and keyboards. The vocals are terrific by Morse and he is joined by Wil Morse. Despite the length of the epic it moves along quickly, with distinct segments and changes in mood, ranging from exuberant to reflective and melancholy. The melody is joyfully executed and the lyrics are profound; "there's a world in the blazing sun, I've got to find my life my way, to a world that will never pass away, in the heat of the day pushing midnight, I've got nothing to say? life's too short, the world is waiting on the other side, everyday in spiritual genocide, the desert sand, the days of the damned."

The keyboard solos along the uptempo rhythm and it locks into a slower pace at 10 minutes, a more soulful gentle approach. The melody is still there but much slower and more majestic in its measured cadence. Then a heavier riff opens up the soundscape, and some excellent guitar phrases are heard as much more aggressive vocals sing about the paparazzi, losing faith, losing hope, buying into lies and losing your soul. Again the content is heavy but it makes sense from Morse's point of logic; a man who has been through it all and finally found salvation. His music is an evangelical tool, and it is one of the best musically; uplifting, thought provoking and innovative. The epic features an incredible lead guitar solo that has breakneck fingering and chilling string bends; one of the best from Morse's catalogue. This is a mind blowing epic and then it goes up another notch with the adventurous riff to follow at 15 minutes. It ends on a grand cresendo in an uplifting finale. This is undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of music from the Morse canon and it absolutely seals this as a masterpiece.

Morse never fails to please but this time around has created something very special with masterful compositions. I look forward to the covers album with the same line up, but in the meantime this 2012 album caps off a great year in prog.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars "Some people think they're lucky / Like they thought of heaven first..." That was Neal Morse in his pre-Christian, party animal youth, from the 1996 SPOCK'S BEARD anthem "Waste Away". It was a prophetic lyric for a veteran Proghead who would later turn his entire life into a concept album of sorts: an ongoing hymn of praise to his personal Savior.

I'm not the first listener to point out that his shtick (both musical and metaphysical) grows old after the first several repetitions. Not too many singers can stretch a simple word like "arrive" into five distinct syllables, and fewer cling to their Old Time religion with such insecure devotion. He's been plowing the same straight and very narrow path throughout his single-minded solo career, but sooner or later such a prolific composer was bound to hit pay dirt, and this year 2012 studio album is the one Spock's Beard fans have likely been waiting for, achieving at last that elusive balance between his ministry and music.

Since quitting the Beard the latter should have been (but wasn't always) his first priority. It's usually necessary, when listening to a Neal Morse album, to hear the music while trying to ignore the Flat Earth thinking behind it, further illustrated in the cover art of his newest studio album. Is there a God-fearing American bias to the positioning of the globe, held aloft by the mighty hand of its absentee landlord? And is that meant to be the sun (or the Son?) revolving around it, in defiant opposition to Copernican logic?

But he's not pushing his religion quite so hard in this effort, in effect expanding its appeal beyond the circumscribed limits of his CPR fan base. And the music itself presents some of his strongest writing to date. The initial five songs (the first 'side' of the album, so to speak) pick up close to where the Beard left off with their peak album "V", driven by the old school Symphonic Rock of the aptly named title track. Morse's episodic homage to GENTLE GIANT (again, last heard on the "V" album) continues in the knotted "Thoughts, Part 5", and the slot reserved for the usual ballad is nicely filled by the delicate "Smoke and Mirrors". The only stumble is the too-cute novelty song "Freak", in which the punch-line is telegraphed well in advance and presented, with a self- satisfied smirk, like a rabbit from an old top hat.

And then there's the 33-minute "World Without End": a (melo-) dramatic showcase for Morse's gifts as an arranger, and the equal to any epic in his greater discography. The individual parts were all pressed from the usual template, but the edge never dulls over its more than one-half-hour length, and the pieces all fit together with effortless ease. Too many of Morse's big musical epiphanies, dating back to the earliest Beard albums, have sounded forced or artificial, but by the end of this beast he achieves a real sense of majesty (with a lower case letter 'm', please note).

Like a lot of Neo Prog the songwriting is typically verbose, often defeating its author's purpose, which is to spread the word, not smother the listener. And the sessions were supposedly inspired by a couch-potato fixation with an Australian boob-tube televangelist ("can God speak through a television?" asks Morse in the CD notes, and I suspect it was meant as a legitimate question). But the entire project was completed in a fortnight: an amazing accomplishment all by itself. Hard work, good fortune, and the law of averages all paid handsome dividends this time around, although Morse obviously doesn't see it that way. "Needless to say," he writes about the recording process, "the Lord delivered."

Why needless? And why not take credit for your own act of creation? If you want to claim divine guidance, more power to you, Neal, but I'm not buying it: you're a talented guy, and you did it all yourself...with a little help from your terrestrial (not celestial) friends.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I only spun this album and pay attention to the music once I listened to the latest album of Spock's Beard and writing the review about it couple of days ago. I have to admit that this is really an excellent prog album with full rocking spirit from start to end. I almost did not believe that in fact Neal is much better as solo musician than being a front man and major composer of his legacy band : Spock's Beard. I do enjoy this album from start to end.

First off ...let me give my say about the concluding track which is actually an epic "World Without End". The epic starts in an ambient mode with keyboard work which is then followed with a blast of excellent music that moves dynamically with no vocal line for such a long period, approximately first six minutes. Oh yes ..the first six minutes instrumental part is so captivating and it sets the overall tone of the epic. For sure I enjoy the intro part which presents great combination of excellent performance as well as tight arrangement that create the music flows naturally. The next four minutes is a musical segment with lyrical verse where Neal sings beautifully in a rockin' style and at the end is the change in mood to slower in tempo and mellow in style. What I really love is the part - a rocking one! - that start at approximately minute 11:53. The music turns into differrent style and mood with excellent keyboard riffs. there arae many breaks aound this area. The guitar solo is really stunning and of course I love this part in particular and love the whole epic. I just cannot believe that Neal still can do this wonderfully crafted epic. The most important thing is that even though the epic runs over 33 minutes overall duration, I never get bored with it. In fact ..the more I spin , the more I enjoy it especially the intertwined work of keyboard and guitar solo in the middle of the epic. It's so captivating!

I think ..considering only the epic, it does make sense to purchase this album regardless the other songs are lousy ...

But that's not the case, really! The other songs are very good and excellent as well. The opening track "Momentum" (6:25) is an upbeat and rocking music composition that I guarrantee you would love it at first spin. "Thoughts Part 5" (7:51) is in fact rockier and faster in tempo than the opening track. the important part of this second track is the choirs like the one Gentle Giant did in the past. The choirs are really great and I do enjoy it as it sounds natural in the beginning part of the track. There is an interesting bass guitar solo in the middle, followed by a stunning guitar solo. Yeah!

"Smoke and Mirrors" (4:38) brings the album into a nice ballad with excellent acoustic guitar work at intro part. This song is mellow with memorable melody. Neal's voice sounds great. There is a little prog component right here but it provides an excellent melody all over the track. "Weathering Sky" (4:15) brings the music into a rocking style again with excellent guitar solo and singing style. This track is heavily influenced by The Beatles. "Freak" (4:29) reminds me to The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby especially at intro part where it has string sounds that accompany vocal.

Overall, this is really an excellent prog ROCK album in its truest sense. The composition has excellent harmony and many style and tempo changes throughout the album. Despite many changes the album still maintains its structural integrity so that produces an excellent cohessive whole. Keep on proggin' ,,,!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Warthur
4 stars Of Neal Morse's prog-based solo albums (ie, not counting stuff like his Worship Sessions series and other stuff putting out conventional contemporary religious music, not stuff like his singer-songwriter albums he put out before leaving Spock's Beard, not cover albums), the vast majority have been concept releases. In fact, despite the fact that Momentum was his seventh prog-oriented solo release - marking the point he'd put out more prog albums as a solo artist than he'd made with Spock's Beard - it was only the second one which wasn't a concept release, but just a clutch of songs.

The other one, mind you, was Lifeline, which I thought was a bit of a misstep - musically he seemed a little uninspired, and lyrically he was getting into exactly the sort of rut Christian rock artists often get into and which his concept albums, by virtue of tackling more involved stories and themes than "praise Jesus!" and "accept Christ!" and "avoid sin!", managed to avoid.

However, after Lifeline an interesting thing happened: Neal not only returned to Transatlantic, but also joined a new band in the form of Flying Colors, as well as making a guest appearance with Spock's Beard at the High Voltage festival. Neal had originally stepped away from band work because he wanted to concentrate on overtly Christian material, and didn't want to force his band projects to go along the same route; evidently, he was now more open to appear on projects which were either more generically spiritual (Transatlantic's The Whirlwind refers to spirituality without being specifically and overtly Christian) or outright secular (Flying Colors), even as he continued to produce Christian material in his solo career.

Momentum is not a sudden thematic shift by Morse - he doesn't drop his Christian perspective suddenly at all - but it is certainly a lyrical evolution when it comes to his solo releases. At least one song - Thoughts Part V, a continuation of the sequence originally begun in the Spock's Beard days - has lyrics which don't overtly refer to God at all, and can be interpreted as a completely secular song. That's the low water mark - the other songs all have at least some spiritual content - but it is notable that Neal doesn't feel quite the same need to make his convictions on this point explicit that he does on so much of his solo material. It's not that the subject is no longer interesting to him - quite the opposite - so much as it seems like he trusts his audience to know where he's coming from, and perhaps feels a little less need to preach than before.

So much for the lyrical direction: what about the music? Well, once again Neal's with Randy George and Mike Portnoy, so we're dealing with the same core trio that have been at the heart of Neal's prog releases since One. There's still a few guest musicians here and there, but less than some of Neal's solo releases, so in some respects this is a back-to-basics release. In fact, it's structured much like Spock's Beard's Day For Night - a clutch of comparatively straightforward answers, and then an epic track to conclude which goes in for more compositional complexity and technical virtuosity. It was a good formula on that album, and it works fairly well here; I think I prefer World Without End, the epic, to much of the opening material, but the shorter songs aren't bad and World Without End accounts for more than half of the album's runtime.

On Lifeline, I thought Neal was getting exhausted and running out of ideas; Momentum, on the other hand, finds him sounding as comfortable and confident as he ever has. Lyrically, he's found a new balance between the spur to write about religious topics which has predominated for so much of his solo career and the different range of themes his pre-Snow work focused on - and he even seems to have realised that they don't have to counterbalance each other, but can in fact support each other, so the religious themes can provide a new slant on the worldly subject matter and the secular ideas can provide a different way of looking at the religious stuff. Musically, it's yet another further evolution of Neal Morse business as usual; if you can't stand his Spock's Beard stuff or his other solo prog albums, he's not going to win you over, but if you enjoy any of that then you'll likely appreciate this.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
4 stars 'Momentum', or one of Neal Morse's most finely crafted prog albums. This one was released in 2012, in a particularly strong period for this kind of music. Of course, this record does not go too far away from what the listener would expect from this creative supernova. The typical symphonic prog with catchy hooks, memorable choruses, and quirky (and sometimes corky) riffs is displayed with fabulous musicianship and graceful exploration of what Neal Morse is best at. Joined by Mike Portnoy on drums, Randy George on bass, and the young Eric Gillette providing backing vocals on one of the tracks, we could say this is proto-Neal Morse band. However, this album is much more reminiscent of the light-hearted but musically astonishing early years of Spock's Beard, when Neal was the frontman.

The title track sets an uplifting mood to the record, that Neal & Co. manage to maintain throughout the whole 61-minute album, with the great guitar work and memorable chorus. Following this up is the very interesting 'Thoughts Part 5' from the Thoughts Cycle that began with Spock's Beard's fan-favorite tracks from the mid-90s. Here the vocal harmonies of Morse and Gillette come forth to establish one of the most enjoyable songs from Neal's catalogue. 'Smoke and Mirrors' is another great song, 'Weathering Sky' has a jolly Beatles taste, and 'Freak' is a softer, slower composition. Finally, the grand 34-minute 'World Without End' closes off this excellently made album, a true contender for the 'Best Neal Morse epic' title (and we all know what the competition would be for such a prize). I truly recommend this magnificent track to any Symphonic Prog fan, along with this excellent album.

Great melodies, memorable songs, graceful playing, fun lyrics, yet nothing very unpredictable or innovative for the Progressive genre, but a successful execution of many interesting ideas, a real achievement for Neal Morse!

Latest members reviews

4 stars I am amazed that after seeing so many artists reviewed on this site, I am impressed to see so many 4 and 5 star reviews of Neal Morse's music. I do not normally see this on other artists' albums consistently. I do have to admit he has his niche in this genre pegged. Being a fan first and foremos ... (read more)

Report this review (#2849997) | Posted by Sidscrat | Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Momentum is the 2012 Neal Morse's gift for prog lovers. It may be not his best album but it is one of his most attractive and heaviest albums. Momentum starts with the title track, a very good hard rock opener, with a solid guitar solo. Next we have Thoughts part 5, continuing the Thoughts line sta ... (read more)

Report this review (#1819781) | Posted by emisan | Monday, November 6, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Momentum is one of Neal's better albums. Still, it's not flawless, but it's fairly consistent and not at all bad. The album kicks off with the title track, Momentum. The catchy chorus melody and guitar soloing make for a satisfying album opener. Thoughts Part 5 has some heavy riffing at the start, ... (read more)

Report this review (#887496) | Posted by zeqexes | Friday, January 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 7.5/10 I could not be happier to hear that guitarist Adson Sodré (Promessa D, Speedplain) was summoned to join the band by Neal Morse. Coming here in the brazilian state of Bahia (more precisely the city of Jequié, which is not far from mine - I actually have some friends who know him) he r ... (read more)

Report this review (#836728) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, October 11, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Once again, Neal Morse is preaching to the converted ... converted Progheads, that is. Momentum furthers Morse's musical journey toward a very personal promised land. Longtime collaborators Mike Portnoy (drums), and Randy George (bass) are onboard, and, along with a host of additional musicians ... (read more)

Report this review (#835860) | Posted by progressouno | Wednesday, October 10, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#824216) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Wednesday, September 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 Transatla ... (read more)

Report this review (#820828) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, September 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Neal has shocked me once again... I am just in awe. Momentum is wonderful. Opening up with the title track Momentum, the tone is set well. The full version is a lot better than the short cut in the music video (still love the video though). The title track is a solid piece with precision and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#814059) | Posted by AlexDOM | Sunday, September 2, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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