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Neal Morse

Symphonic Prog


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Neal Morse ? album cover
4.20 | 479 ratings | 68 reviews | 46% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Temple Of The Living God (6:13)
2. Another World (2:36)
3. Outsider (2:21)
4. Sweet Elation (2:32)
5. In The Fire (7:24)
6. Solid As The Sun (6:12)
7. Glory Of The Lord (1:41)
8. Outside Looking In (4:19)
9. 12 (6:46)
10. Entrance (6:22)
11. Inside His Presence (5:30)
12. Temple Of The Living God (4:27)

Total Time: 56:28

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Neal Morse / vocals, guitar, keyboards
- Jordan Rudess / keyboards
- Mike Portnoy / drums
- Alan Morse / guitar
- Roine Stolt / guitar
- Steve Hackett / guitar
- Randy George / bass

Releases information

CD InsideOut Music IOMCD 226 / SPV 085-48622 CD

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Anthony H. for the last updates
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Songs From NovemberSongs From November
Metal Blade 2014
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OneOne
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??
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Cover to CoverCover to Cover
Metal Blade 2006
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NEAL MORSE ? ratings distribution


4.20
(479 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(46%)
46%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (11%)
11%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

NEAL MORSE ? reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After the brilliant 'One' I had high expectations of this.Always a bad thing! Despite the impressive array of prog talent on show this is a big dissapointment.There is none of the inspiration and excitement generated by One.This is 'prog by numbers'.Sure it has all the ingredients but nothing here is above the ordinary.Its a limp offering.What a great shame.Neal needs to find new inspiration.The Christian thing is now getting tiresome and this album reflects that.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#53806) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005

Review by King of Loss
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This is Neal Morse's third solo album since he left some of my favorite mates in TransAtlantic and Spock's Beard. This album was brought into my attention when Jody (TheProgtologist) offered to send it to me. After "The disaster" that One was to me, ? came in as a lightning bolt. "?" so far is one of my favorite epics and albums of this year and maybe of all time. Why, though?

This album is a gem. "?" is not 12 songs but an entire 54 minute Progressive Rock epic masterpiece! It explores through Christian themes of course, but also has the amazing TransAtlantic vibe that I love so much. Throughout the album, I am reminded again and again about his amazing epics that he worked with TransAtlantic, especially "Suite Charlotte Pike" since of the name of the first and last sections. Amazingly emotional ride through Neal Morse's new vision and the plus side is that its not very preachy. For those that are not Christian or very religious can find this album very listenable. The emotional singing and great solos by Roine Stolt, Steve Morse and Steve Hackett, combined with MIke Portnoy's usual great cymbal work combined with Neal Morse's brilliant songwriting and we get this "?", an emotional epic of an album that is far more superior than "Testimony" or "One"

This is not your average Progressive Rock album, but it is a very brilliant album. Essential for any Spock's Beard, Dream Theater and TransAtlantic fans, but also recommended for anyone who is interested in a great listen. 4.5 stars

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Send comments to King of Loss (BETA) | Report this review (#53887) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005

Review by lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well first of all it's difficult to rate this new effort by Neal Morse, cause He has been composing a range of melodic tunes under a "Christian" inspiration for a few years and now it seems it's his definitive pinnacle from the artistic point of view.but unfortunately -in the same time- if you dig into it, the present album is not diverse in comparison to the music ideas He developed with Spock's Beard in the album "Snow": this time there are some guest stars as clever guitarists (firstly Steve Hackett, then Roine Stolte), with the contribution of the fertile keyboardist Jordan Rudess, all together participating in such an epic concept, whose main biblical theme is the "Temple of the Living God". Actually it's a sort of recurring step of his solo career , focused on a meditative perception of the general sense of life - in a kind of "immanentism"- between philosophy and religion, but with the priority of this latter which often emerges.it's not easy to perceive it , but the Christian lyrics help the listener to understand the music plot. Talking about the immediate harmonic solutions inside twelve tunes you know what you're buying, but you have to regard that nobody can invent something completely new or innovative in the world of music (in the world of art generally.) and Neal Morse is simply confirming his music background here! The final biblical conclusion of the main concept - regarding the Living Temple of God - is probably the most interesting tune of the whole opera, but you cannot forget the talented hand by Rudess in track # 11, the guitar approach of track # 3 and also the pretty chorus inside "Another world", some of the most interesting features of the concept to be remarked by considering the whole job by Neal.

You hate it or love it, without compromises!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#56134) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.4 stars.

Take that, Six Degrees of inner Turbulence!

Take that, Garden of Dreams!

Here, Neal Morse has successfully created a huge 57-minute epic. This is a brilliant album with the same quality of his previous two works. He, as always, knows how to write conceptual albums. The melodies are themes usually reappear throughout the record like in Testimony and Pink Floyd's The Wall. Here, Neal Morse keeps writing religious music with a similar sound as Transatlantic and his previous works. As a result, it is not very original. This is the only reason I give it 4 stars. You are a good songwriter Neal, but please! While I don't mind all of your albums being religious, I am disappointed that you do not experiment more with your sound and try to reach new levels.

The album begins strongly with a melodic section that explodes with an instrumental part that blows you away. Unfortunately, it is interrupted by a somewhat irritating way of singing/screaming (the worst part of the album). Another World is a melodic piece with a nice guitar riff. The next 2 minutes (Outsider) is a ballad, while Sweet Elation is more energetic. I love the synth riffs at the end of the short movement. In The Fire is the next movement and the longest one in this album. It is probably the most accessible track with that catchy wha-wha riffing that sounds like "Your Move" - Yes. Also, the vocal line 'Burn it in the fiireee!!' followed by that distorted guitar chord is classic! The Ruddess synth fiesta is a bit overlong but enjoyable thanks to the great rhythm section. The main themes and riffs are played again and are very welcome along with new splendid riffs. Solid as the Sun is a solid track indeed! While the melodies are not superb, the guitar riffs, and especially the bass solo are something to talk about. NExt is Glory of the Lord. This is just out of this world!!! Compare it with the quality of God's Theme from Testimony... why did it end so quickly? Outside In interrupts it with Neal's voice and his guitar. I love that little guitar riff in it. The next movement is another important part of the album, at least instrumentally. The band quickly creates an interesting rhythm and after some repetitive guitar riffing, HAckett comes out and delivers one of the best solos I have ever heard from him! I can find similarities to his solo in Firth of Fifth because the solos plays all the melodies on the track (on this one, he plays the melodies from the album itself) Deliverance is an excellent up-tempo track that plays some melodies from earlier movements and inside his presence follows it with some very emotional music and a guitar solo that seems to be from Roine. The conclusion of the album is very well done.

This is mindblowing music. Althrough I think Neal should start changing his musical styles a little. It is starting to become tiring. Thanksfully, his songwriting here is really good.

Highlights : First half of Temple of the Living God, In The Fire, GLORY OF THE LORD, 12's Guitar solo, and the last three songs. Let Downs: 2nd half of Temple of the Living God, Outside In.

My Grade : A/B

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#57508) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Believe it or not, I have been spinning this CD for three weeks in a row combined with Roine Stolt "The Flower King" by which these two CDs are my favorite and both have taken roughly about 70% share of CD playing at my player. I also have ripped these two albums to my PDA so that I can listen to these excellent CDs whenever I go. Yeah, I live, I work, I seleep, I breathe with prog music man!

This latest album by Neal Morse blew me away the first time I spun the CD. I like especially the combination of silent / slow as well as dynamic and heavy segments. That's basically the strong point of this album. Mr. Morse is one of great prog musicians in the 2000s. See how he stirs our emotion (no need to talk about the lyrics yet) by mixing the mellow style at the intro part of "Temple Of The Living God" (6:13) - album opener - where he brings his music gently and brilliantly from powerful vocal backed with soft piano touch - and augmented with bluesy guitar fills - and firmly enters the dynamic segments through a very touchy "eastern" style music using "flute-like" sounds . oh man . this part is great! [I'm referring to approx minute 2:00]. This wonderful piece of music reaches its peak when it comes to minute (approx) 2:53 . oh the melody really kills me . Yeah, it reminds me to the music of Spock's Beard "Octane". Well, everyone knows that Neal Morse was a mastermind of Spock's Beard. So powerful his influence was - probably- that finally his music style seems like ingrained in the music of The Beard after he left the band. Oh no .. not really a true statement; because actually this opening track reminds me to "Octane" and it's different with the Beard music during Neal's tenure. Got the picture? If not - try playing "The Beauty of It All" (Spock's Beard "Octane") and compare it with this track. You may find some similarities in nuance.

The opening track continue seamlessly to the second one "Another World" (2:36) with a kind of The Beatles rhythm section. Of course there are high and low points that are totally different with The Beatles style, for example the combination of keyboard and guitar at the end of this track. It also moves seamlessly to "Outsider" (2:21) where the guitar style is the vein of Steve Hackett circa "A Trick of The Tail", continued with "Sweet Elation" (2:32) which is heavy with acoustic guitar.

"In The Fire" (7:24) brings the album to the kind of early albums of Spock's Beard, at least you can identify the unique singing style. It's an excellent track with pulsating keyboard combined with electric guitar work. Yes, you may find the guitar solo, as well as keyboard solo is stunning. Jordan Rudess' keyboard is so transparent here. Neal's voice is powerful and transparent. If prog spirit is in your blood it's very hard to deny this excellent track. It might explode your adrenalin. Watch out!

"Solid As The Sun" (6:12) - as the title implies - is another solid track where its strength lies at the interlude part where the bass player Randy George plays his bass guitar dynamically. It's basically a walking bass where he plays his instrument like a guitar solo. Really cool. I'd say that this track in terms of style is definitely an early Spock's Beard's music with heavy influence from The Beatles. Oh yes .. even the guitar playing style on bluesy part is very close to The Beatles.

"Glory Of The Lord" serves wonderfully as a bridge with heavy choirs and orchestration and it flows smoothly to "Outside Looking In" (4:19) (ehm.. the title reminds me to my favorite Grand Funk Railroad track "Inside Looking Out" ). I don't actually favor this track as it's too ballad, style-wise. But, as this serves as transition to next track "12" where Mr. Stephen Hackett contributes his guitar work. It's like a dream comes true having this track with Hackett as guest appearance. His guitar playing is so unique. It's enjoyable, really.

The last three tracks "Deliverance" (6:22), "Inside His Presence" (5:30) and "Temple Of The Living God" (4:27) are also excellent ones. Special for me is" Inside His Presence" (5:30) because I really enjoy the tasty piano work with transparent and powerful voice line. Not only that - the double guitar work during interlude part is cool. What's also interesting is the very smooth transition to the concluding track titled exactly the same with the opening track.

In summary, Neal Morse has been consistent with his music direction after he left the band. But on the other side of the coin, his music does not progress as the three albums sound alike. It does not mean that this album is not a good one. Even though I still prefer his previous album "One", this latest album demonstrates tastier music segments. It's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#72947) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 24, 2006

Review by maani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Founding Moderator
4 stars For Pete's Sake! All those non-Christians who are "offended" by Morse's faith need to get over themselves: if it bothers you, don't buy his music. However, if you are a true progger who doesn't judge the music by its subject, Neal Morse continues to write the most interesting, thoughtful, intelligent, imaginative, even brilliant prog out there. And if his subject matter is "controversial" - even provocative - so much the better: would those who seem "put off" by it prefer their prog "easy?" Or perhaps even "lite?" And I thought prog was SUPPOSED to be challenging, both musically and intellectually! So why not spiritually as well?

Testimony was Morse's very personal "witness" about his conversion; on One he tackled the cycle from Creation and original sin to redemption and salvation. On "?," Morse gives what amounts to a one-hour master class on how the notions of "temple," "atonement" and "sacrifice" moved from the Old Testament notion of the physical temple, and once-a-year atonement via the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb by the "high priest" (the only person permitted into the "holy of holies" where the sacrifice took place), to the New Testament notion of Jesus as the ultimate "sacrificial lamb" "once for all sin for all time" and the "temple" being our own bodies and hearts where the Holy Spirit resides.

Although just as cohesive, amazing and listenable as Testimony or One, "?" just misses being the near-masterpiece that those two are. Still, beginning with the jam at the end of "Sweet Elation" through the brilliant "In The Fire" - among his best works, and both the obligatory GG-influenced piece and a jam session in which everyone is given a chance to shine during stunning extended solos - through the exceptional bass solo in the middle of "Solid as the Sun," and on into the majesterial, even spine-tingling "The Glory of the Lord," this part of the album alone is worth the price of admission.

The musicianship on the album is expectedly superb, though I must say I was not always certain who was playing which instrument when. However, this is probably a good thing, as it "levels the playing field" so that you don't have a case of, "Oh, yes, here is Hackett's (or Stolt's or Rudess') contribution." Rather, the blending of the instruments is done in a spirit of equality, even if the style of a particular musician may be better known to particular listeners. Morse's work (both guitar and piano) is, as always, top-notch, and the "backbone" of Mike Portnoy (does he even KNOW what a mistake sounds like?) and Randy George (where DID this guy come from?!!) is as solid as ever.

As an aside, note that Morse is all the more brilliant for being able to write incredible prog music with minimal self-repetition, either song to song or even album to album. And even his self-references are usually neatly done, and not just direct "lifts."

Morse has become a serious Christian, and is obviously quite happy and content with that. If that is now his inspiration for writing some of the best prog music out there, how can anyone find fault with that? Indeed, we should all be very happy - even grateful - that his faith inspires him to such great heights of writing, keeping the true spirit of prog alive and growing.

Peace.

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Posted Friday, April 28, 2006

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have been scoring hits lately with a lot of my recent purchases of new bands but this one is at the top of the heap. This one is a concept album about the trail of the earthly housing of God from the Ark of the Covenant to everyone's heart becoming the temple. If you expected anything less than a Christian epic or if that offends you from NM than don't buy this CD. It would be too bad if you did allow your feelings on the subject to keep you from this masterpiece of prog.

The album is a group of recurring musical themes moving from one part to the other and back again. Each time adding something new to the theme. Even though there are song breaks the CD moves though as one piece of music I look at the opening track The Temple of the Living God as a model or overture to the rest of the album. The music is very imaginative moving from a Genesis twelve string moment at the beginning of The Outsider to a more spirited sweet melody in Sweet Elation that conjours up the harder parts of the Musical Box. Track Five enters in with a funky guitar beat reminiscent to muted trumpet. Alan Morse shines on a solo on this one. This song builds up to a raging torrent with a wicked Hammond solo towards the end with a burning guitar in the background.

Track 8-12 bring the piece up to its climax. It starts out with a nice a little acoustic song where Neal identifies with the man standing outside the temple in Outside Looking In. This merges into 12 which describes many things using the number in and out of the bible. Incredible bit of harmonies here. This song builds to an electrifying ending with a great Steve Hackett solo. Song ten brings the Outsider into the temple led by Christ who cleanses him and leads him to the mercy seat. Inside his presence moves the experience of them temple to ourselves as we are now the temple of the living God. Great climax music in this reminiscent of Suppers Ready especially some Hackett like guitar sounds. The last song a reprise of the first With a single Piano chord ending this epic and the sounds of voices whispering in the dessert.

Kudos must also be given to Mike Portnoy without his drums I don't think this CD is as dynamic as it is. This is very high on my music scale as I can't really stop listening to it for the 6 months I have owned it. It always seems to find its way back into the CD player. I am looking forward to buying both One and Testimony and seeif they do the same for me. It is a strong 5 to me.

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Posted Monday, July 31, 2006

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Not being familiar with any works by Spock's Beard but encouraged by the enthusiastic reviews posted on this site and the fact that Mike Portnoy is the drummer, I took a calculated risk with this cd. I'm very glad I did. It is excellent symphonic prog from beginning to end. I have to say that the beginning is a little weak for me but from the 2nd song onward it never lags again. "Another World" is a short piece but it really sets up the theme for the rest of the album. I love the musical triplets that characterize "Sweet Elation" as it reminds me of classic Genesis. "Into the Fire" is a mix of metal, rock and funk that works surprisingly well as it transitions into "Solid as the Sun." I'm a real sucker for huge chorales and "Glory of the Lord" is short but very effective as it sets up the poignant "Outside Looking In." Starting with "12" the rest of the cd continually builds and builds to a fantastic ending. The guest artists really add variety and excitement to the proceedings, Steve Hackett and Jordan Rudess in particular. And, of course, Mr. Portnoy is solid as a rock throughout. He continually proves that he is one of the very best drummers in the business today. As for the spiritual content I sincerely hope you aren't Bibliophobic and staying away from this artist because of it. I didn't find it preachy or holier-than-thou at all. Maybe you could just imagine that he's talking about Greek mythology or something if that's a problem for you. If you love grandiose progressive rock it would be a shame for you to pass this by just because he's singing about God. I personally found it refreshing to hear positive, uplifting lyrics for a change and I now look forward to enjoying more musical offerings by Mr. Morse in the future.

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Posted Friday, December 08, 2006

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Neal Morse Finds God... Again

Neal Morse has been on a hot streak of religiously themed albums ever since his departure from Spock's Beard. Testimony revealed his most emotional side, and One expanded upon that and also had some of his best and most creative music to date. That leads us to ?, a 56 minute epic spread out over 12 tracks. ? combines the musicality of One with the conceptual prowess of Testimony and creates an otherworldly experience that has all the frills, bells, whistles, and cliches that Neal Morse is known for.

What is impressive about this album is the array of guest musicians featured throughout. Aside from the reliable rhythm unit of Randy George and Mike Portnoy, respected guitarists Alan Morse, Roine Stolt, and the legendary Steve Hackett lend their talents along with keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess. While the guests contributions aren't always at the front of the sound, at key points in the album they add an element Morse himself couldn't even add.

Like One, the guitar is featured more prominently than one would think when they think of Neal Morse (who's more renowned for his keyboard work than guitar work anyway). However, Morse performs the core guitar work, ranging from melodic riffs and crunchy solos to mellow acoustics and somber melodies. The guest guitarists take up most of the guitar solo space, with Steve Hackett having the most memorable solo in the song 12, which captivates the listener with its many twists and turns.

Like all albums that feature Neal Morse, there are sections that are particularly mellow. The most notable song in this vein is Outside Looking In, which has a memorable and somber chorus as well as a passionate lead vocal from Morse. The acoustic work on this track is impeccable and has a bit of a Genesis vibe. The key part to this album is how Morse is able to have the sections flow coherently and have catchy hooks that segue the songs.

In the end, fans of Neal Morse won't be disappointed with this release, it's probably his most concise solo album thus far. However, I'm not so certain I could call this album a masterpiece, as it lacks a certain something to give it that quality. However, I can highly recommend this album, as there's not much to dislike. Hopefully Neal Morse's next album will be able to match the strength of this release.

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Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007

Review by Flucktrot
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I realize that by giving this album five stars, I am "overrating" relative to many other reviewers, so I will try my best to explain why as concisely as possible. Being familiar with roughly half of Neal Morse's work (SB and Transatlantic included), it is clear that he has his own style, and this style is a bit derivative and repetitive. Therefore, I want to use high reviews for his work sparingly, and ? is the album for that five star rating for three reasons: it is a solid, coherent album, the musicianship is fantastic (though always a highlight on his albums), and this album has fewer of the major flaws of his other prog albums (the stand-alone praise song, too much focus on his voice, too much repetition of themes, etc). ? is simply one hour of rocking, well-produced, and interesting music.

Rather than focusing on each individual track, I'll just briefly list the highlights. I really enjoy the introduction, with the faint whispers, then the mysterious piano, and then the brief "theme" (which will be revisited for a majestic finale to close the album). Then a very cool percussion/keyboard kicks up the tempo: one of at least two times that my girlfriend (who can tune out ANY of my prog) remarked: "That's different". Indeed. The music continues to build in tempo and intensity through In the Fire and Solid as the Sun, to be brought down by the cataclysmic (and very cool) The Glory of the Lord. Once again, things start slow, only to build in intensity through to the album's conclusion. The instrumental section in 12 is one of my all-time favorites (that HAS to be Stolt, right?), and the guitar solo (s) to close the album (Inside His Presence and The Temple of the Living God) in my opinion are perfect examples of Neal's ability to music that builds in intensity without being repetitive, as well as finding excellent musicians who can bring his ideas to life.

Some may disagree, but I believe this to be the best ALBUM (not individual songs) that Neal Morse has to offer. Plenty of nice ideas, great instrumentation, lots of space for his talented guests to contribute (of course, this album would not have the same energy if Portnoy was not on drums), and I think interesting content (a much more mature treatment of biblical material than Arena, Songs from the Lion's Cage, for example). Given Neal's most recent output (Sola Scriptura), it appears that Neal is charging forward, and I for one am glad about that--Keep it up!

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Posted Saturday, September 01, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Where to start ? First of all the subject matter is about the "Meeting Place" where God dwelt in the "Holiest of Holies" in the tabernacle (tent) that the Isrealites built in the desert after they escaped out of Egypt. They would pack up the tent, the ark of the covenant and all the other objects as they moved from place to place for forty years in the desert. When they finally crossed the Jordan River and fought the people in that land (Caanan) and settled in it, the tabernacle had a final resting place.Then eventually Solomon built the temple that was used instead of the tabernacle, where the Isrealites would come and celebrate God. Now as Neal explains, because of Christ's death, when we believe, our hearts become the tabenacle or temple where God meets with us. The imagery is incredible on this album, when Neal takes to the desert I can imagine the heat and the expectations of the people. I can picture them. Check out not only the cover art, but the excellent pictures inside. This is really one piece of music that all blends together. And it's less then an hour ! As usual Mike Portnoy and Randy George are here. Guests include Roine Stolt, Alan Morse, Steve Hackett, Jordon Rudess and others.

"The Temple Of the Living God" opens with the wind blowing and you can hear whispering (praying ?) as piano comes in. Vocals and some intricate guitar after a minute. This is so moving for me. A change 2 minutes in as the tempo picks up and mellotron then a full sound arrives. This is so impressive, especially the piano/drum work from the dynamic duo. Neal comes in yelling the words 4 minutes in. This is so emotional. This vocals and lyrics just melt me. So meaningful. "And outside the gate the cripples sit and wait to see the temple of the living God". It blends in to "Another World" where it reminds me so much of SPOCK'S BEARD. The emotion is still at the surface, it rarely subsides during this recording. This song tells of that "other world" which the Isrealites entered as they walked through the gates into the courtyard of the tabernacle. Again the imagery is so real. Chunky bass and gorgeous guitar melodies. That has to be Roine. A calm 2 1/2 minutes in as it blends into "Outside" a touching song with fragile vocals.

"Sweet Elation" is more powerful and it's building. Keyboards comes in after a minute as drums pound away. Amazing sound ! The guitar is just screaming 2 minutes in. "In The Fire" makes me laugh when I hear the intro. This is a killer track. TOOL-like drumming after 1 1/2 minutes with some aggressive guitar. Nice. A synth solo follows (hello Jordon !). A stampede of drums 5 minutes in followed a minute later by some ripping guitar. Organ runs take the lead 6 1/2 minutes in. It blends into "Solid As The Sun". Vocals lead the way and they are contrasted with heavy sections throughout. Mellotron after 2 minutes. Check out the deep bass lines 3 minutes in as we hear Neal's pastor give a few words. Sax follows. Heavy duty again 5 minutes in. Hell ya !

"Glory Of The Lord" is very meaningful and moving with a choir. "Outside Looking In" features strummed guitar and reserved vocals. Organ and higher pitched vocals a minute in. Gulp. A fuller sound 2 minutes in. The guitar soars a minute later. Beautiful track. "12" looks at how important that number is in the Bible. Lighter vocals suit the soundscape. What a treat it is when it turns jazzy 2 minutes in. The piano and drums are pure bliss. Again the Portnoy / Morse show continues. Amazing guitar 3 1/2 minutes in that goes on and on. Check out Portnoy 6 minutes in ! "Entrance" is about meeting Jesus and following him. Then we get a section where the master speaks "Come...I have made a way". Fist pumping time ! The rest is all so meaningful both lyrically and instrumentally. Cool how the theme of the first song is repeated here. "Inside His Presence" continues with piano from the end of the last song. Fragile vocals come in that try to describe heaven. The sound and vocals get stronger. Powerful man. Tasteful guitar to end it. "Temple Of the Living God" continues like the last song. Two lead guitars 1 1/2 minutes in before the vocals come in. It really ends 3 minutes in but then we can hear the wind blowing like in the intro of the first song. Birds are chirping too. All is well.

This is the best album i've heard that Neal Morse has been involved with. By far his best solo album in my opinion.

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Posted Friday, September 12, 2008

Review by LiquidEternity
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This is my favorite solo album from Neal Morse to date, and (or possibly because it is) it is also his most progressive and creative release.

? should not be viewed as twelve songs, I don't think. To me, this is clearly one 56 minute epic suite, made to be listened to in its entirety. And that sounds progressive, right? An hour long song? Well, there is actually the danger that it might not be, though thankfully Neal pulls out some of the prettiest stops seen this side of the new millennium.

First off, there is the quality of the guest musicians. Now, guest musicians do not guarantee quality, no matter who the guests. But I know few fans of prog music who wouldn't get excited in some measure by hearing that this album features Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Steve Hackett of Genesis, Roine Stolt of the Flower Kings, Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater, and so forth. Big names, and it sounds like the album would end up being rather busy. Well, it is, when it needs to be (even featuring a final duet over the music by Roine and Spock's Beard guitarist Alan Morse), or the trade-off solo between (I'm pretty sure this is correct, but there's no actual listing in the CD case) Jordan Rudess and Alan Morse.

Either way, an hour long song sounds like a very risky idea. And it usually is. Too many ideas seem to go into the mix, and the end result isn't a song but just some loosely connected series of songs. Here, however, it's definitely able to stand on its own. It even has a chorus that reappears a number of times throughout its length, in different ways some of the time, but its quite clearly the main theme and chorus. Recurring bits of music string together throughout, tying the ends and the middles and everywhere else together without being redundant or uninspired.

The lyrics still seem to be quite capable of turning people off, but I still feel like Neal is holding back from becoming the straight-up preacher type. In truth, the lyrics take a back seat most of the time to the wild musical strains powering through the speakers.

In all, though this is not Neal's easiest album to swallow, it is certainly the best one he has composed of yet, and I would recommend it to any fan of Spock's Beard or Transatlantic.

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Posted Monday, September 29, 2008

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Since his departure from Spock's Beard I have been into Neal's "preech-prog" to be honest, but without question (no pun intended) this album is Amazing ! With odes to both Spock's Beard and Transatlantic this album does it for me! This is some of the strongest most "Progressive" music he has done in some time. Definitely eclipsing his past few attempts this spirtual yet heavy album ebbs and flows from spanish guitar to heavy dark progressive moments. Morse is assisted by the talents of The Flower King's Roint Stolt, Mike Portnoy, Steve Hackett, Jordan Rudess and brother Alan Morse. Morse's biblical exploration thru his lyrical development is still present but lets say a whole lot less in your face and much more tastefully and less forcefully done. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who is looking for some great modern prog to showcase.

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Posted Monday, June 29, 2009

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars ? is the third solo prog release from modern prog god Neal Morse. I am writing this review today to celebrate Neal's 49th birthday! Let's get one thing out of the way first: I am certainly very biased towards Neal Morse. From Spock's Beard to Transatlantic to all of his solo efforts; he has not produced anything that is flat-out bad, in my opinion. So by default, in my mind it's impossible for Neal to create something that isn't good. The only solo album of his that I find to be passable is Lifeline, but even that is a very good album.

Now that you know how and why I am so biased to Neal Morse's music, the question is what makes this one of his best releases? It is quite possibly Neal Morse's greatest album for many reasons explainable on paper and some reasons that can only be understood by listening to this flawless masterpiece. The reasons that I can explain right now is that this is the perfect blend between everything Neal Morse does well. It has some of his best softer religious songs, along with more hard rock songs, and songs full of emotion. Neal's trademark complex instrumental sections are also very present here.

I can't help but wonder why this album doesn't crack the top 100 prog albums ever released. This does have an excellent rating, but Neal Morse deserves more than what he gets. Don't get me wrong; 4.22 as an average rating is almost perfect, but it definitely should crack the top 100.

The lineup of musicians on this album is excellent as usual. It has Neal on vocals, keys and guitars, Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater on drums, and Randy George from Ajalon on bass. The guest musicians shine as well. Steve Hackett from Genesis helps out along with Jordan Rudess on keys Roine Stolt on guitar. This is an excellent lineup by any standards, and can only be matched by few.

Now that we have all of that out of the way I must explain some of the music here. ? is an ambitious concept album that Mr. Morse claimed to be one 56-minute epic rather than 12 separate tracks. The first song starts out with some nice guitars with melodic singing and is followed by what is basically an overture in the same track, and it really sets the mood for the rest of the album. There is a classic trick ending, and some beautiful songs like "Outside Looking In" and "Inside His Presence". My favorite track is probably "In the Fire", but don't EVER listen to just one track. This is really meant to be listened to as one song.

This is one of my favorite albums of all time and this review means absolutely nothing if you don't buy this. There are few flawless albums, and Neal pulled off another masterpiece with "?".

5/5 stars

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Posted Sunday, August 02, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars EDIT: I think that first thing I should write is that I'm an atheist. OK, normally, that's my choice (even in fact not, I grew up this way, because society isn't so friendly to faith here) and also quite personal thing. But in this music style (not genre, but style, topic, lyrics), it's important. As foreigner, I didn't get it at once. First I enjoyed this to maximum. So called instant catcher. But as time went, I started to translate lyrics. And I found that it's full of god (ironically, I don't believe that capital letter should be written). And so I was annoyed. But as time went bye, I realized two things. 1)I can ignore the lyrics and enjoy music, which forms still main part of prog and can substitute lyrics I don't like. 2)Without God (now talking about believer Neal Morse, so capital letter intended), he maybe wouldn't be able to produce so much albums (and about half of them really good ones), so if he wants to believe, he should be free to decide whether believe, or not. And if it helps to create such masterpieces, I say: Let him believe.

First glimpses were in Spock's Beard. He started his influential presence here and maybe was driving force of the band. Than his big enthusiasm helped to create Transatlantic. And to answer to "Cygnus X-2's" sentence, Neal Morse finds God, always. Great blend of symphonic and psychedelic (beware, different kind of psychedelic, I don't know how to name it, but it's in The Temple of Living God from 1:51-3:54). And even he's at one point Outside Looking In, he's finally Inside His Presence. That's how the story goes. For me personally, life was hard many times. I mostly solved all my problems by myself, depending just on me. But a lot of people does it in a different way. They seeks god, embrace (did I choose correct word ? I mean more like worship) god and solve problems with his help. Both ways are right, that's democracy (or similar thing of free will), I'm used to depend just on myself (you know the saying, when you want to have something done for sure, do it by yourself). Basically, entire album, all 56 minutes is one big track chopped on 12 thematic parts. From what I understand, it's a story about man finding his way to learn about divinity and join it by its size. And don't think that as atheist, I can't appreciate it. I can and I do.

5(-), those who believe count 5(+) as perfect album. I was stunned by line-up musicians, Jordan, Roine, Mike, Steve and Alan.

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Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars Solid as the sun

The theme is again Christian here, but I do not find it 'preachy' in the way that I found Testimony and to a degree One too, preachy. While the subject matter of the lyrics is the tabernacle, most of the songs can easily be given other meanings by the listener. The theme is partly historical and partly Morse's own theology according to which 'the temple of the living God is you'. For me as an atheist, I don't believe in this at all, but I find it an interesting idea that is more individualistic than most Christian doctrine.

The musical influences seem to be Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Kansas. And Morse can indeed be seen as a songwriter in the same class as Lennon/McCartney and Kerry Livgren! The melodies are often Beatles-esque and very strong throughout, all the songs are very memorable. ? runs for less than an hour, which is great after the overlong Testimony and the quite long One. This album is much more consistent than Testimony and the tracks flow perfectly into each other to create a strong unity. I found it very hard to listen to Testimony both because its length and its overly religious theme. But here it doesn't bother me at all.

Steve Hackett, one of my absolute favourite guitarists of all time guests on this album to great effect. On 12 Hackett's guitars are mesmerizing!

? is a solid album and clearly one of Neal Morse's very best works, highly recommended!

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Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars This is where I think that Neal Morse has finally come fully into his own as a solo artist!

Question mark or simply ? starts off with my favorite Morse album intro tune titled Temple Of The Living God. It's such a grand way to begin a concept album and the melody drags the listener effortlessly right into the storyline making every new track another piece of the adventure. The material flows smoothly up until the section where the album goes into Neal's trademarked ending that he uses quite frequently (Snow, Testimony, Sola Scriptura, Lifeline and all the Transatlantic albums). What I mean is that it starts with a slow buildup to the ending, in this case Inside His Presence, and finally repeats the title track melody in the concluding section right at the end.

This is a wonderful album that takes the listener on an hour full of great music adventures filled with nice melodies and neat instrumental sections. Unlike most complaints about the religious content of the lyrics I could only find one particular part of the album that made me slightly disturbed by it. But even that section, on Solid As The Sun, seems to be aware of this flaw and pans all the vocal/narration to one side of the speakers which make it easy for me to lower the volume on one side and just enjoy the instrumental work.

So far this is my favorite Neal Morse release, but I feel that another great album is just around the corner!

***** star songs: Temple Of The Living God (6:13) Inside His Presence (5:30)

**** star songs: Another World (2:36) Outsider (2:21) Sweet Elation (2:32) In The Fire (7:24) Glory Of The Lord (1:41) Outside Looking In (4:19) 12 (6:46) Deliverance (6:22) Temple Of The Living God (4:27)

*** star songs: Solid As The Sun (6:12)

Total Rating: 4,10

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Posted Sunday, December 20, 2009

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Neal Morse is one of the major figures in progressive rock in last 15 years, with each band where he was involved done great things and inventive and monumental passages. He was member of world known Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and also other colaborations with other bands, always keeping high standards. He also has a prolific solo career for more then 10 years, where we can find from medicre to good and even realy brilliant releases. One of his most acomplished album he done over the years and one of the best of the last decade in symphonic prog field is without doubt ? released in 2005 through Inside out. The songwritting the musicianship is top notch, reminescent of his former band Spock's Beard but also from Transatlantic elements taken, he did a great job here, from vocal department to the excellent instrumental passages. The album is like a single ong track dicided in 12 pieces, the flow from one piece to another is natural and very well performed. Also here is a great list of guests like Steve Hackett, Roine Stolt, Jordan Rudess, and his brother Alan Morse. What strike me on this album is how easy musician play or how great is integrated in the music the lyrics, who has like on other solo album of his a spiritual context, neverthe less great used here. The music is great, great and complicated passages, from mellow and acustic portions to more uptempo, the musicians are always in top form every second they play. While Neal never was one of my fav singers from prog zone, I don't know but I found him a little to plae in compartaion of greatness of his music, here he done a great job full of intristing vocal arrangements. The instrumental sections are great, the complexity of some parts are truly amazing, like on Temple Of The Living God and so on. Well a great album for sure, and desearve to be this way, because he realy done it with this album, 4 stars for sure a real listning experience. Recommended , I guess among his best workd since the beggining of his career, and to me better then waht he done with Spock's Beard or Transatlantic.

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Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review by progrules
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars So Mr. Morse finally made it in PA's top 100 of all time. With this very release that is. Does that make Questionmark his best effort so far ?

Personally I don't think so, I believe Sola Scriptura is the best example of magnum opus by him. But I must admit there are several terrific moments on here. But all in all I feel the whole thing is less spectacular and outstanding than his superb effort from two years later. Then again: are the two albums actually too different from each other ? Hardly I truly believe. Like I said: Sola Scriptura is just a bit better, hard to explain in detail; it's more like an overall feeling listening to both albums.

And this gut feeling simply tells me Sola was convincing enough to go for the full five where this output just misses out. It's somewhere between 4,25 and 4,5 to me. My highlights are In the Fire and 12 which are both truly outstanding but the rest doesn't reach this extremely high level and therefore I will have to settle for four this time. Neal Morse fans shouldn't miss this but that's almost kicking in an open door, right ?

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#501265) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review by Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Neal Morse: ? [2005]

Rating: 8/10

For me, one of the coolest consequences of modern methods of music production is the artist's increased ability to structure their music in ways that were once impossible. Albums are no longer limited to large pieces of black plastic that can only hold 25 minutes of music per side. Progressive rock has probably benefited more from this liberation more than any other genre of music; fewer limits yield a more adventurous attitude. In recent years, this adventure has manifested itself in what I like to call the 'super epic.' Compositions don't have to be split into 20-minute increments anymore. Pieces can go on for 80 minutes on CDs, and purely digital albums can be as long as theoretically possible. Prog bands have not been hesitant to take advantage of this, as evidenced by momentous suites such as The Flower Kings' 'Garden of Dreams' and Dream Theater's 'Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence.'

If anyone is qualified to tackle one of these symph-rock monoliths, it is Neal Morse. Whether or not you enjoy the man's music, it's hard to deny his affinity for all things epic. ?, his third prog-rock solo album, is a 56-minute suite of absolute grandiosity. It is a concept album based on Christian themes of the 'tabernacle in the wilderness.' These religious motifs are nothing new for Neal. Anybody who knows the slightest thing about him is aware that his religion is a major part of his persona. The religious lyrics, while slightly irritating at times, are always tastefully done, not to mention the fact that the music is usually so good that even a staunch atheist such as me cannot help but feel a little giddy while listening to it.

All of Neal's normal compositional strategies are at full play here. At this point in his career, Neal pretty much knew what he was good at musically, and he sticks to it. This is not to say that this album is generic or formulaic in the slightest, though. We get the standard 'epic' structure: bombastic overture, energetic instrumental sections, low-key vocal segments, momentous climax. However, Neal is such a skilled composer that any musical format can be made interesting when placed in his hands. ? is no exception. The album opens triumphantly with 'Temple of the Living God.' It starts with quiet guitar and piano chords, but quickly jumps into high-energy instrumental interplay. The main instrumental hooks form a wonderful overture. A few short mellow sections follow. These few minutes are some the less interesting parts of the suite, but things quickly pick up with the two best songs (or 'movements', if you will) on the album: 'Into the Fire' and 'Solid as the Sun.' The former is an intricate cornucopia of heavy symph-prog with an absolutely fantastic synth solo from Jordan Rudess, while the latter is a jazzy piece with catchy vocal melodies and mesmerizing piano/sax lines. This is Neal Morse at his best.

Although there are no full tracks here that I dislike, there are certain sections that detract from the piece as a whole. There are points here when Neal fully embraces the cheesier side of his musical personality. Theatricality always plays a part in music like this, but it goes a bit far at points. I refer specifically to 'Outside Looking In' and the first few minutes of '12.' I kind of feel like I'm at some sort of jaunty church concert when I listen to these segments. Don't get me wrong, though; these sections aren't bad. Rather, they just don't live up to the rest of the album. Fortunately, Neal is able to end this piece in the most bombastically awesome manner imaginable. Both 'Entrance' and 'Inside His Presence' form an incredible conclusion that gets me every time. This is one of those 'throw your hands up in air' types of musical moments that really manage to stick with you.

Unfortunately, I don't feel like there are quite enough moments like that on ?. Neal has a rare ability to create awe-inspiring and dumbfounding music, but I feel less of that here than on later masterpieces such as Sola Scriptura. Regardless, judging Neal Morse albums in terms of relative quality is like trying to determine different carats of solid gold. At the end of the day (no pun intended), you still have amazing music on your hands.

If you hate Neal Morse, nothing about ? is going to change your mind. However, anybody with an affinity for epic symphonic rock with good dose of theatricality is sure to enjoy this monumental album.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#735694) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2012

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars My apologies in advance for any snide remarks, but the evangelical music of Neal Morse has always elicited strong reactions, both pro and con. Too many of the latter on this web site are hidden behind the camouflage of a ratings-only single star, so allow me to play devil's advocate (so to speak) in reviewing his otherwise nameless 2005 solo album, identified by title only with an enigmatic question mark.

A less charitable critic might say it's about time someone pulled the curtain away from this charlatan. He abandoned SPOCK'S BEARD at a critical moment in the band's career, claiming his newfound Savior had other plans for him. Nothing wrong there: we should all heed the councils of our inner nature. But has anything really changed in his music since then? Take away all the heartfelt but artless preaching, ignoring for now his ongoing series of CD worship sessions (as they rightly should be, at least in this forum), and what's left are the same pile-driver Neo-Prog gestures, employing awesome musical skills to be sure, but often played with all the nuance of a superstitious bull in a cheap china shop.

His subject here is The Tabernacle, that mystical nomadic temple, usually depicted as a tent of sorts in a neatly fenced yard, toted around the desert by the Jews after their Exodus from Egypt. Legend recalls it as a place of cabalistic ritual and symbolism...the perfect setting, in other words, for a Progressive Rock concept album, illustrated musically by an uninterrupted, 56-minute cycle of typically histrionic but spirited Retro-Symphonic sermons, divided into twelve linked chapters (the number apparently carries arcane significance: see below).

Once again, Morse is recycling riffs and melodies wholesale from his own extensive musical archives. But I have to admit he's playing as if truly inspired, and with enough creative energy to sway even an outspoken skeptic like myself. A stellar guest list makes the project even more attractive. Ace drummer Mike Portnoy invited his DREAM THEATER comrade Jordan Rudess to the sessions, and Morse finally plugged a weak spot in his roster by enlisting brand-name guitar talent, including superstars Roine Stolt and Steve Hackett. The latter has a solo spot at around the 37:00 mark that compares favorably to anything from his own laudable career, in GENESIS or afterward.

So the album deserves four unconditional stars for musical chops, despite its frequent moments of overwrought ostentation, as in the full orchestral bombast (complete with choir) inflating chapter seven, "The Glory of the Lord". But the strictly one-star banality of the libretto almost spoils the experience, at least for listeners old enough to recall the more diverse spiritual aspirations of the same Golden Age Prog that continues to influence Morse's better music cues.

Of course Progressive Rock has always suffered under the burden of occasional lame-brained lyric writing, dating back to when mountains first came out of the sky, and stood there. All Neal Morse did was elevate the same metaphysical quest to a higher, much narrower plane. Let me repeat: it isn't his religious convictions that undermine the album. It's the retrograde way the newly-minted prophet from Van Nuys drags his primitive theology around like a gold-plated ball and chain.

Consider the song "Solid as the Sun". Unless "Sun" is a poetic twist on the word "Son" (of God, of course), it's worth remembering that our local star is really just a bloated mass of plasma and hot air: not the best metaphor in a Born Again prog-rocker's playbook. And his occult embrace of numerology is just plain silly. "Twelve makes a day / Twelve tones in music / Twelve months a year / Do you think it's an accident?" (No, Mr. Morse, it's called a meaningless coincidence, and in the real world twenty-four makes a full day...)

A majority of the lyrics merely quote verbatim from biblical scripture, dutifully citing (and in one instance actually singing) the chapter and verse ("Leviticus 21:18!") And it requires nearly 2,000 words before Morse finally arrives at his point. But it's a point worth making, even to an irreligious dissenter like myself: we are each, if we choose, a vessel of that Holy Spirit he reveres. The Temple of the Living God he sings about is actually a living, flesh and blood shrine, multiplied by the population of earth into uncounted variations of belief. When seen like that, it hardly matters if the deity itself is a fiction.

I doubt if Neal Morse would accept the olive branch of that interpretation, extended from a kindred Proghead across an unfathomable gulf of irrational faith. And his album isn't likely to save any wayward souls here on terra firma. But when Morse finally reaches the Pearly Gates he could certainly teach his Heavenly Father a thing or two about the guilty pleasures of Neo-Prog overkill...provided, of course, that his god is actually a fan of Progressive Rock (given his track record, I tend to imagine the Almighty as more of a Punk). What H.L. Mencken once famously wrote about the prose style of President Warren G. Harding applies equally to this musical effort: "...it drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. But I grow lyrical..."

To which I can only add an enthusiastic (but entirely secular) "Amen."

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Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Neo Prog Team
4 stars In parallel with his progressive efforts Morse started releasing also albums linked with Christianity.In 2005 two of them were released, ''God won't give up'' and ''It's not too late'' on Radiant and Latter Rain Records respectively, containing Christian hymns and pop songs.But a third progressive effort was already in the process, known as The Question Mark album.The album deals with the tabernacle in the wilderness and actually Morse presented it as a 56-min. long track, divided in 12 themes.Exactly one year after ''One'', ''?'' was released on InsideOut and Metal Blade, featuring again Portnoy and George as Morse's main bandmates and a huge guest list, among them are his brother Alan Morse, Jordan Rudess, Roine Stolt and Steve Hackett.

Musicwise Morse's decision to dedicate himself to God and follow a more personal career has done him good, his music has become incredibly emotional, keeping the impressive complexity of Symphonic and Progressive Rock.No epic movements here, the tracks are rather short to build Morse's suite about tabernacle in the wilderness, but the flow and sounds on this album are simply amazing.The man hasn't moved an inch from his familiar style, heavily influenced by Classic 70's Prog, and displays some serious musicianship with the symphonic leanings being pretty obvious, but featuring also the well-known Morse-established Pop sensibilities, not to mention the surprising opening track ''The temple of the living God'' with its monumental VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR-like sax scratches of Jim Hoke, an instant favorite of Neal's playlist on live shows, or ''Solid as the sun'', where a similar style is presented.The music at moments has become a bit heavier and it wouldn't be an excess to say that the powerful grooves, heavy organ runs and mascular riffs recall something of DEEP PURPLE and even DREAM THEATER.But these come just before the tracks enter again some elaborate, lush arrangemets, pretty vintage-style despite the modern vibes, reminding of YES, KING CRIMSON and GENTLE GIANT.Strong use of Mellotron, flashy keyboard washes, solid drumming and sensitive melodies are offered through a mass of grandiose passages, sudden twists, shifting moods and cinematic soundscapes.The lyrics are again deeply religious and Morse's dedication has evolved into consistently nice singing lines, including some beautiful choir parts.

Three albums in three years, three fantastic efforts of Progressive Rock in this period.Yet another winner by the American mastermind, who had already become an icon of the genre's more recent years.Highly recommended.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#1195780) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 19, 2014

Latest members reviews

5 stars After the strong, but overly preachy and inconsistent One, Neal Morse enlists the help of a few known prog superstars in his great effort, ?. All of the melodies and musicianship of One and Testimony are present, and then some. This album is probably Neal's closest sounding to Spock's Beard as well, ... (read more)

Report this review (#771397) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Good rock a la the bubble gum/stadium rockers of the late 1970s and early 1980s: REO SPEEDWAGON, STYX, KANSAS, FOREIGNER, BOSTON--maybe even THE EAGLES and PINK FLOYD. But really there is nothing here without a pop/commercial feel to it, nothing new or innovative. Just nice, somewhat memorable song ... (read more)

Report this review (#387196) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Thursday, January 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is self-evident, and I am deeply convinced that Neal Morse is the greatest modern, progressive composer. The using of the term "modern" makes our deliberations limited to the last, for example, 15 years. The more debatable question is: which of his album is the best one? Certain Spock's Beard ... (read more)

Report this review (#339205) | Posted by Koper | Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 9.5/10 Question Mark is the third album by Neal Morse after his conversion. As a Christian I could not be happier to have a brother playing progressive music of faith, and this is the good, if not the best! Although Question Mark is not the best of it, is just a masterpiece worthy of five stars. ... (read more)

Report this review (#307735) | Posted by voliveira | Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow! I'm amazed! I could not believe what I heard when I heard the "?"... It's amazing how Neal managed to finish two goals at once: achieve your best time with the love of Christ and still maintain a superior quality with Progressive Rock. For this being my first review, I'll start by sayin ... (read more)

Report this review (#264278) | Posted by Il Volo | Thursday, February 04, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars this album is really like one giant epic, like garden of dreams by the flower kings...it is a one hour track separated into 12 smaller tracks....What a masterpiece this is throguh and through.....never a dull moment...except the first part of the song 12.....that is the ONLY bad thing about th ... (read more)

Report this review (#261325) | Posted by EVE123 | Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have been open about my enthusiasm for Neal Morse's music (SB, TA, and the solo series). Although some of strong Chrisitian lyrics can be quite off-putting some time (think Testimony, Lifeline and a handful of sections in One), this is not the case with this 'mysterious' release. As far a ... (read more)

Report this review (#254822) | Posted by terryl | Tuesday, December 08, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow... what an incredible epic of prog rock!! This album should be titled "The Temple of the Living God". Lyrically and musically, this album brilliantly captures both the joy and the pains that a worshiper experiences in the presence of God, as well as his / her desire to enter into the Kingdom ... (read more)

Report this review (#246807) | Posted by Kassimatis | Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well.... What can I say? '?' combines all typical Neal Morse elements (the high riffs, recurring themes, catchy choruses) and that is why it isn't really a surprising album, but it combines them in such a brilliant way that it just has to be considered a masterpiece. 'Temple Of The Living God' ... (read more)

Report this review (#219657) | Posted by floydianthe2nd | Wednesday, June 03, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After really enjoying Neal's previous effort One I was very excited about ?. Neal recruited some highly touted prog musicians for this one, including Mike Portnoy (who is standard on a Neal release), Jordan Rudess, Roine Stolt, brother Alan Morse, and Steve Hackett. At the first few listens, ... (read more)

Report this review (#179309) | Posted by cutsofmeat | Saturday, August 09, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Since Departing Spock's Beard, Neal Morse has made albums that are always just a teensy bit below the masterpiece level. On this album, he reaches the heights of the Light, his first effort as a prog musician and his first masterpiece. This album is absolutely spectacular. All of the necessary el ... (read more)

Report this review (#163636) | Posted by The Ace Face | Monday, March 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3.5 stars really. Well, I wasn't to thrilled by this album initially. Perhaps it was the Neal Morse burnout that seems to affect some of his fans? Perhaps I just didn't listen closely enough or wasn't in the right mood? Whatever the reason, the last couple of times I've listened to it I have ... (read more)

Report this review (#146431) | Posted by infandous | Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Excellent song writing. This album is extremely well written. The vocals are emotional, not technical, similar to Pink Floyd, which makes this music create a very special feel. I needed about 5 tries on this album before it sunk into me and now it's one of my favourite albums out of modern musi ... (read more)

Report this review (#134603) | Posted by Lystmaler | Thursday, August 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow! I can't believe I stayed away from Neal Morses' solo work for this long. Realize, I am a Christian, and have always had a "Seperation of Church and Prog" mentality. Prog was one thing, the things of God another. Therefore I was extremely hesitant to try His music, being afraid it was to be ... (read more)

Report this review (#127736) | Posted by JesusisLord | Friday, July 06, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, the songs in this album are somewhat more short than the previous albums. However, "?" is a conceptual album, and it follows a line from the beginning to the ending. The line-up is awesome. Just see it. I love the instrumental parts. But when the voice appear, the work become in a "prog- ... (read more)

Report this review (#124304) | Posted by Marcos | Friday, June 01, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another truly wonderful album from a true prog genius. This was in fact the first Neal Morse solo album I heard, and I loved it so much I had to buy the other two Morse/Portnoy/George outings (of course now he has another which I have yet to procure, but I'm sure I'll get round to it eventually ... (read more)

Report this review (#121757) | Posted by profskett | Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars NOT INFERNAL, NOT HEAVEN SENT. With a very Floydian style start with piano and guitar, Neal Morse opens this album with religion as the main topic, this is the consequence of his encounter with God. "Temple of The Living God" continues with an instrumental passage "a la Genesis" with a duet o ... (read more)

Report this review (#109264) | Posted by MadcapLaughs84 | Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars When I started listening to Neal Morse, I did it backwards chronologically speaking. I listened to ? first, followed by One, then Testimony. ? definitely encouraged my to hear more of what Mr. Morse had to offer. The combination of Neal Morse on vocals, guitars, and keyboard (probably his best in ... (read more)

Report this review (#105658) | Posted by Scapler | Friday, January 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great CD, great album, great musicians. Neal Morse is truely a great man, both in talent and in message. Whether your Christian or not you just gotta have a look into this guys work. With Portnoy drumming and Rudess keyboarding for him you can't go wrong! Neal hits the spot for some nice soft ... (read more)

Report this review (#98354) | Posted by Xeroth | Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For me, this is Morse's best solo release, and it ranks up there in my top 5 favorite albums of all time. At first, I wasn't sure how to take this album. In contrast with TESTIMONY and ONE, there are very few tracks that really stand out here. In fact, I was surprised at how different the s ... (read more)

Report this review (#93207) | Posted by The Progmatist | Tuesday, October 03, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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