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NEAL MORSE

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Neal Morse picture
Neal Morse biography
Neal R. Morse - Born August 2, 1960 (Van Nuys, California, USA)

As a young musician, Neal's dream was like many others-to find success in the pop music world. But after years of struggling in the LA singer-songwriter scene, he realized that his dream would not materialize. Eschewing conventional wisdom, Neal took a courageous step: he about-faced and devoted himself to progressive rock, the music truly in his heart. The obscure and fiercely competitive genre held little chance of commercial success. Undaunted, he formed the quirkily-named SPOCK'S BEARD with his brother, Alan. They recorded The Light with what money they could scrape together. Against all odds, it was a breakout success, sending shockwaves through the small genre's community.

Over the next 10 years, Spock's Beard released 10 critically acclaimed CDs and 2 concert DVDs, ascending to the top of the "prog" world. Neal also released 6 CDs and 3 DVDs with Transatlantic, the heralded prog "supergroup" comprised of the world's finest prog musicians. The proverbial wayward son, Neal had finally found the success he dreamed of. But something was missing. While on the outside Neal had it all; on the inside, something was missing. Morse came to realize that for him, embracing the Christian faith was the fulfillment of his spiritual quest. His walk was at once gradual and sudden-and like with so many, completely unexpected. As he continued, his path increasingly revealed more of what his heart had sought all along. Yet he also began to find his career growing at odds with his faith. The rising spiritual tension and increasing commercial success finally came to a head with the release of Snow (2002), Spock's Beard's (with Morse) magnum opus.and swan song.

The extraordinary 2-CD rock opera, composed by Morse, was widely acclaimed as the group's finest. But it was the end of the era: Neal made the agonizing decision to leave Spock's Beard. After also leaving Transatlantic, the transformation was complete. Despite having finally achieved the success he had long sought, Morse began all over again; musically, emotionally and spiritually. Neal then embarked upon the most ambitious musical project of his career. Entitled Testimony (2003), it chronicles his spiritual and musical journey in words and music. The 2 CD set (3 CDs for the Special Edition) spans over two hours as one continuo...
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OneOne
Metal Blade 2004
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Life and TimesLife and Times
Metal Blade 2018
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MomentumMomentum
Metal Blade 2012
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Alive Again [Blu-ray]Alive Again [Blu-ray]
Metal Blade 2016
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$14.97 (used)
Morsefest 2015 Sola Scriptural and ? LiveMorsefest 2015 Sola Scriptural and ? Live
Metal Blade 2017
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NEAL MORSE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NEAL MORSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.21 | 117 ratings
Neal Morse
1999
2.78 | 91 ratings
It's Not Too Late
2001
4.04 | 437 ratings
Testimony
2003
4.11 | 462 ratings
One
2004
4.19 | 601 ratings
? [Aka: Question Mark]
2005
2.93 | 56 ratings
God Won't Give Up
2005
2.28 | 43 ratings
Lead Me Lord - Worship Sessions Volume 1
2005
2.85 | 46 ratings
Send The Fire - Worship Sessions Volume 2
2006
2.94 | 76 ratings
Morse, Portnoy & George: Cover To Cover
2006
2.50 | 45 ratings
Songs From The Highway
2007
4.18 | 607 ratings
Sola Scriptura
2007
2.63 | 35 ratings
Secret Place - Worship Sessions Volume 3
2008
3.12 | 279 ratings
Lifeline
2008
2.66 | 38 ratings
The River - Worship Sessions Volume 4
2009
2.58 | 31 ratings
Mighty To Save - Worship Sessions Volume 5
2010
4.01 | 565 ratings
Testimony 2
2011
3.97 | 425 ratings
Momentum
2012
2.96 | 49 ratings
Morse, Portnoy & George: Cover 2 Cover
2012
2.94 | 71 ratings
Songs From November
2014
3.77 | 283 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Grand Experiment
2015
4.05 | 395 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
2016
2.42 | 24 ratings
To God Be The Glory
2016
2.38 | 33 ratings
Life & Times
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Great Adventure
2019

NEAL MORSE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.18 | 11 ratings
Nick 'n Neal - Two Separate Gorillas - Live In Europe - The From The Vaults Series Volume 2
2000
3.79 | 57 ratings
? Live
2007
4.41 | 84 ratings
So many Roads
2009
4.42 | 77 ratings
Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles
2011

NEAL MORSE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.48 | 87 ratings
Testimony Live
2004
4.35 | 88 ratings
Sola Scriptura and Beyond
2008
4.48 | 52 ratings
Live Momentum
2013
3.63 | 27 ratings
Morsefest! 2014: Testimony & One Live
2015
3.94 | 31 ratings
Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band)
2016
3.86 | 14 ratings
Morsefest 2015
2017
3.07 | 8 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude of a Dream - Live in Tilburg 2017
2018

NEAL MORSE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.76 | 31 ratings
The Transatlantic Demos
2003
2.00 | 6 ratings
Sing It High
2007
3.71 | 10 ratings
One Demos
2007
3.36 | 24 ratings
A Proggy Christmas - The Prog World Orchestra
2012
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Grand Experiment Demos (Inner Circle March 2016)
2016

NEAL MORSE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.12 | 22 ratings
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family
2000
3.00 | 19 ratings
A Proggy Christmas
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morsefest 2016 Storytellers (Pt. 1) - Inner Circle March 2018
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morsefest 2016 Storytellers (Pt. 2) - Inner Circle May 2018
2018

NEAL MORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Morsefest 2015 by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
3.86 | 14 ratings

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Morsefest 2015
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by AlanB

5 stars Let me say first of all that I haven't yet watched the DVDs in their entirety, so this review is of the 4 CDs that come with this set. Sola Scriptura and ? were for a long time my favourite Neal Morse albums (surpassed now by Similitude) so this was a live set that I really had to get. The two albums are performed with added orchestra and choir and some sections are lengthened - to the extent that the last song of Sola Scriptura is on a separate CD. The embellishments in my opinion are an improvement on the studio albums (excellent as those were). In addition to the two albums we have a selection of Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Neal Morse Band songs. The first set of songs are the weakest part of the album for me. I really can't get into "Go The Way You Go" at all, whilst "A Whole Nother Trip" does have some really good bits it doesn't seem to flow like some of Neal's other epics. On the other hand, the songs after Sola Scriptura are all very good, from the beautiful acoustic "Waterfall" to the Whirlwind medley and featuring Nick D'Vigilio on a couple of tracks plus the Christian guitarist Phil Keaggy who makes a few appearances throughout. I'm really glad I bought this and I must get around to watching the DVDs sometime soon!
 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude of a Dream - Live in Tilburg 2017 by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2018
3.07 | 8 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude of a Dream - Live in Tilburg 2017
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars A new tour of Neal Morse band or Neal Morse is an automatic live release. This time, after some live releases in his hometown in Nashville, he gets back to Tilburg where he has been there many times with the band or Transatlantic. The album "Similitude of Dream" is played which is about 2 hours of epic music. The music, despite the addition of the word band at the end, has that Morse typical style of Symphonic Prog Rock of songs that never ends and where you can clearly hear some "similitude"... with many songs from his past catalog. And that is where Neal lost me here. After being excited with his first releases, too much of one thing is as good as not enough of one thing. But I got to say that this album has some brilliant parts but not enough to satisfy my craving for new Prog music. The Blu-Ray is fun to watch with good visuals, tight performance and for the first time, you can even see Neal in a costume and Mike Portnoy with some big glasses! Neal show us again that he did not believe that Jesus goes well with surround music, because it's only in stereo, but at least this is good! If you have not heard many Neal Morse music or Neal Morse Band, this is another live release to buy, but for me, this may be my last purchase of his stuff unless he can surprise me with a masterpiece.
 Life & Times by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2018
2.38 | 33 ratings

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Life & Times
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

2 stars Here I was at a local record store, with a gift certificate.

I noticed that there was a brand new Neal Morse album at a good price, so I checked it out.

The song titles didn't indicate that it was one of his religious albums, and I do love most of his musical work, so I bought it.

Big mistake.

I should have been warned by the sticker announcing that this was a very personal collection of songs by Morse, but I wasn't prepared for this.

With the above mentioned sticker, I didn't think this would be like his other albums, but I expected some evidence of Morse's progressive rock background to come through.

Pretty much what this disk contains are a group of song with simple music and simpler lyrics. I felt like I was in soft rock hell as I forced my way to listen to the entire album. Every time it appeared that the music was about to take off, instead of soaring, it veered into mundane AOR.

And the lyrics, as I listened, I was surprised at how often I could anticipate the next line of a song before it was sung.

The only mentionable songs here are "He Died At Home", a moving ballad about a troubled veteran, and "Manchester", where Morse (or maybe cowriter Geoff Bailie) brightened up the song with some actual humor.

Those two track are all that raise this from the depths of a one star rating.

Sorry, Neal.

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 395 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Amilisom

4 stars In the months leading up to the release of "The Similitude of a Dream" it was clear in all the promotional material that Neal was particularly excited about this one. In more than once instance his drummer, Mike Portnoy, was even quoted in saying it was the album of his career. Since its release Neal even said on his Facebook page that it was his favorite album of his.

It's worth noting that "The Similitude" marks as the second album with the new lineup aptly named "The Neal Morse Band." Up until 2015, Neal Morse's solo albums mainly consisted of him, his drummer Portnoy, bassist Randy George, and a host of guest musicians who show up occasionally throughout the music. But with the release of 2015's "The Grand Experiment," Neal brought into the band two full-time musicians: Eric Gillette on guitar, and Bill Hubauer on keys. Both of which are also excellent vocalists. With the release of "The Grand Experiment" it was clear that Gillette and Hubauer had contributed somewhat to the songwriting style, giving the album a different flavor than the preceding Neal Morse albums. With this in mind, I looked forward to hearing another installment of this new flavor.

So how do I feel about it? It's pretty much the best album Neal has made since "Solo Scriptura," but I wouldn't say that it's better. The sharp, dramatic quality that holds together the excellence of his earlier concept albums like "Testimony" or "One" has been somewhat dulled here. Having said that, it was refreshing to hear another concept album that covers deep, theological ground, and "Similitude" does that in a very interesting way: writing the songs on themes from the 1678 book "Pilgrim's Progress."

So how's the music itself? Every time I listen through it I feel like I can hear the joy of everyone in the band. It just sounds like they had a blast recording this album. I was glad to see that Gillette and Hubauer have moments singing lead vocals. Even Portnoy sings on one track. The diverse character of each vocalist allows for them to fit different characters in different scenes, such as when Neal is playing the part of the sloth in "Sloth," urging the main character to sleep ("Why do you work so hard?"), and Gillette gloriously enters as the main character with lyrics climaxing on the line "I can't sleep or slumber or I could get lost here." There's also a very catchy track near the end of disc one with a possible Beatles influence, "The Ways of a Fool," which also has some excellent vocal tradeoffs as well as harmonizations that seem reminiscent of the Beach Boys. "Breath of Angels" has a gospel touch to it, "The Man In the Iron Cage" is built around a hard, bluesy guitar riff, and "Freedom Song" has more of a country/folk flair to it. Needless to say, the album diversely covers many of the styles seen on previous Neal Morse albums.

Would I recommend this album? Of course. Is it the best Neal Morse album? I wouldn't put it in my top three favorites. Overall I give it four stars, but it may be deserving of four and a half.

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 395 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by M27Barney

1 stars Well, where do I start? Neal Morse - says - "I want to preach about my born-again xtian god-delusion, again". "H'm haven't you done that to death already?" says a.n. other - "I'll tell you what - I will base the concept on a well known xtian allegorical tale - Bunyan's The Pilgrims Progress!". "I wouldn't call it that - it won't sell - give it a proggy name". "Good idea" muses Morse, "I'll call it 'The similitude of a dream' - How's that?" "OK"...... Well , I listened to CD1 and the lyrics didn't twist my melon until - "Breath of Angels" - I had to turn it off immediately! I gave it a second chance - and got as far as CD2 - before his preaching got to me again. The musicianship is awesome , the prog music equally the best around at the moment. - Oy! Morse why didn't you include an edition with an instrumental CD for me to enjoy? I will re-capitulate and go-over my review - in terms of it's musical content - and Like I said - Had the CD come with an instrumental version - the instrumental Cd would receive a the maximum score - like I said the musical content and musicianship CANNOT be bettered by any prog act at the moment! The religious context of the CD would be acceptable - if it was applied in a yes-like vague spiritual haze of strange lyrics - like Tales from Topographic oceans - a prog epic about the teachings of an eastern religious guru. But the lyrics are appalling and cloyingly preachy (Again). If Mr Morse had a sense of fun / history - perhaps he could produce a CD about a gang of U.S. youths and call it "The battle of Gettysburg" or something similar - or an epic about the White-Europeans land-grab and their massacre of the earlier Indian cultures! BUT..... I'm afraid his narration, is of a man, - sick of earthly delights - realises that real life only happens when you're dead but has no actual proof that this is the case - just his smug - I KNOW!!! YOU FOOLS! attitude. Well he would have got more interest from me - if he has told a tale about a similarly deluded pilgrim, wandering about Manchester with a bomb in his back-pack for 2.5 hours before taking 22 men, women and children with him into oblivion because "HE KNOWS" that he will get 36 virgins in his city in the sky. Neal - give it a rest!
 Morsefest 2015 by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2017
3.86 | 14 ratings

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Morsefest 2015
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator RPI / Symphonic Prog Team

3 stars Here another live release of Neal Morse or I can say more of "Morsefest" only after a few months the band decided to do another show in the same church that for the DVD Morsefest 2014. This is more than 5 hours of music with 2 complete albums that are played: "Question Mark" and "Sola Scriptura". Those songs have been played before in previous tours and also on the 2008's DVD. So that's where I had troubled with. Those two albums have been released for so long that I did lose the excitement of fresh material. "Question Mark" is a very good album but I didn't have the same fun to watched it here. I did enjoy the 2 songs "The Call" and The Grand Experiment" from the first Neal Morse band album and the cover "MacArthur Park", but I didn't like "New Jerusalem" and the acoustic "Waterfall". Neal did for the first time an epic song of 25 minutes from his first solo album "A Wole New Trip" which is again not his best song.

In the first set, I thought I was having a nightmare when I saw the priest made an appearance in the middle of a song to give his religious speech pitch. I don't think this intrusion belongs in a music concert. But knowing Neal, I knew this was his kind of thing that didn't bother him and was in fact prepared. During the show, there was also some dancing, I didn't think again that this animation was adding something to the show.

In the second set, I jump up off my chair for the first time when I saw Nick D'Vigilio behind the drum set playing one of the best song of Spock's Beard "At The End of the Day". They did another song from Spock's Beard "Wind at my Back" before closing things with a medley of Transatlantic "Whirlwind" album. As for the picture quality and sound, it seems that with each DVD, those things improve as the light show. The 1-hour documentary is very professional and done with some real technician, and also with some good interviews and good stories. The next Morsefest recording is already scheduled and will feature the latest Neal Morse Band album which I will definitely enjoy more than this one.

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 395 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Corcoranw687

5 stars 5 stars no question about it. I hadn't heard much of Neal Morse's music before, aside from a song called "The Light" and a few live videos of Transatlantic performing with Daniel Gildenlow, but after reading some very complimentary reviews(the most complimentary of which was found on Mike Portnoy' s blog) I decided to buy the album, and I haven't stopped recommending this to everybody I know. My first thoughts upon listening were that I found this much easier to listen to as a whole compared to other double disc concept albums. Other than feeling the need to play just "Ways of a Fool" which is certainly the catchiest and strongest track, I play this whole thing start to finish each time I listen without ever feeling like it drags. This was one of the last albums I bought in 2016 but it is almost certainly my favourite. The musicians are skilled enough to really show off, but they never feel like they are overdoing it, but the real surprise for me here were the vocals from all four musicians, simply incredible. I can't recommend this enough
 God Won't Give Up by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2005
2.93 | 56 ratings

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God Won't Give Up
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by martindavey87

3 stars As if the name of the album wasn't a big enough clue, I had no idea what I was purchasing when I picked this CD up, instead, I was more bewildered at the fact that I was finding this in a charity shop for £2, amongst all the charity shop regulars such as Phil Collins, Finley Quaye and Barry Mannilow.

So I get home, pop the CD in the player eagerly awaiting some prog epic akin to Spock's Beard or Transatlantic, and instead, I get pianos and organs and gospel choirs singing about "His mercy endureth-ing". The album is aptly titled "God Won't Give Up" for a reason.

But hey, never mind! I'm a big Neal Morse fan and I'll listen to anything, so let's give it a spin, or two... or three... or, hold on... I'm starting to like this!!!

The problem with music like this, as evidenced by my own initial attitude, is peoples ignorance and general intolerance of it. People can be too quick to judge based simply on the premise that they don't need anyone preaching to them. And that's where they're wrong. Morse isn't preaching to anyone. He isn't trying to persuade us to go to church. Or read the bible. Or pray every night before going to bed. He's merely singing about his own love of God. And to tell the truth... views on religion aside, the music itself is so damn catchy and uplifting that it's hard not to enjoy it. Regardless of lyrical themes.

This is far from the prog greatness you'd expect from a man who fronted one of the genres most beloved cult bands, but it's still a record worth checking out. Morse's voice is always a pleasure to listen to, and with some hidden gems on it such as 'King of Love', 'Love Like You' and 'Sing My Love' (you can really feel the love on this album eh?) it'd be a shame to dismiss some great songwriting due to nothing more than prejudice.

Unless you're a death metal enthusiast. You probably won't enjoy this.

'God Won't Give Up' is far from the type of album I'd rant and rave about, and there's countless other things I'd rather listen to than any kind of Christian music, but with that said, it's definitely been an eye opener for me, not to judge anything without having heard it myself, and that sometimes the most enjoyable music can come from the most unlikeliest sources.

Now then... Cannibal Corpse, anyone?

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 395 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by The Jester

4 stars Review # 42. Starting this piece, I should first of all mention that I'm not a fan of Neil Morse. I surely respect him as a composer and musician, I have many of his solo albums, and of his projects as well, but still...

The Similitude of a Dream is the new work of The Neal Morse band, in which many very good musicians are participating, and Mike Portnoy is one of them. The album is available as a double CD, with a total length of almost 105 minutes. It includes 23 tracks, and none of them is more than 10 minutes in length; so no epic this time. The longest song here, is the album's closing piece, the very beautiful Broken Sky / Long Day (Reprise), which is almost 10 minutes long, and one of my most beloved songs.

I am not going to write about each song separately, first of all because the songs are many, but also because I usually put the CD and I listen to it as a whole work, not song by song. Surely there are some songs I like very much, and some of them are the following: Broken sky/Long Day, City of Destruction, Back to the City and The Ways of a Fool, to name a few.

The album is filled with very beautiful melodies (which is my soft spot), many interesting turns, and of course excellent musicianship, not to mention Neil Morse's singing abilities that are adding a lot to the album. The Similitude of a Dream is not an easy album; it needs some time in order to appreciate it. But once you do, it will satisfy you without any doubt. Recommended! 4 stars from me

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.05 | 395 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by chiang

5 stars Neil Morse knows how to make music. This is IMO the best album he has made (and the best made on 2016). He writes strong melodies. He knows how to create a "conceptual album", by using intelligent transitions, combining themes and returning repeatedly to many of them. He choose great musicians to play with too. Each musician on this album is a great one and masters his own instrument. In a very "Pink Floyd's style, he chooses the right sonority for each album's moment. Four of the musicians take leather voice in different moments of this album. Like Ian Anderson on his current albums , he knows when he needs another voice to reach some high notes. Mike Portnoy doesn't need a justification to be here. Randy George is a fantastic bass player. Bill Hubauer sounds great on keyboards and on voice. And Eric Gillette combines a great voice (singing with great skill most of high voice parts) and guitar skills that reminds Petrucci a great choice to play with. Saxes, trumpets, violin and a trio of female singers complete this wonderful team. Singing and instrumental parts combination is well done. There are not long instrumental solos, neither are there hard to listen and overloaded lyric pieces. Some tunes ("So far gone", "Broken sky", "Slave to your mind"), are great. "Overture" and "Confrontation" are great "revisions" of some great tunes of the album. Summarizing: An album to buy right now.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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