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NEAL MORSE

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Neal Morse biography
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 continuous piece of music. It ranges in style from a full gospel choir to hard rock; from a symphony orchestra to contemporary pop. A deftly woven musical tapestry, the album takes th...
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Morsefest 2014Morsefest 2014
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$27.93
$36.36 (used)
Grand ExperimentGrand Experiment
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$11.23
$9.99 (used)
TestimonyTestimony
Metal Blade 2003
Audio CD$11.34
$6.80 (used)
MomentumMomentum
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$6.27
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LiveLive
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$12.52
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??
Metal Blade 2005
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Testimony 2Testimony 2
Metal Blade 2011
Audio CD$13.98
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OneOne
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$10.33
$6.94 (used)
Sola ScripturaSola Scriptura
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$18.10
$3.94 (used)
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NEAL MORSE shows & tickets


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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 | 89 ratings
Neal Morse
1999
2.73 | 69 ratings
It's Not Too Late
2001
4.04 | 368 ratings
Testimony
2003
4.11 | 393 ratings
One
2004
4.19 | 515 ratings
?
2005
2.98 | 43 ratings
God Won't Give Up
2005
2.28 | 35 ratings
Lead Me Lord (Worship Sessions Volume One)
2005
2.93 | 35 ratings
Send The Fire (Worship Sessions Volume 2)
2006
2.90 | 63 ratings
Cover To Cover
2006
2.55 | 35 ratings
Songs From The Highway
2007
4.17 | 513 ratings
Sola Scriptura
2007
2.80 | 25 ratings
Secret Place (Worship Sessions Volume 3)
2008
3.08 | 229 ratings
Lifeline
2008
2.62 | 26 ratings
The River (Worship Sessions Volume 4)
2009
2.58 | 24 ratings
Mighty To Save (Worship Sessions Volume 5)
2010
4.02 | 491 ratings
Testimony 2
2011
4.02 | 350 ratings
Momentum
2012
2.90 | 40 ratings
Cover 2 Cover
2012
2.93 | 44 ratings
Songs From November
2014
3.75 | 190 ratings
The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
2015

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

3.33 | 9 ratings
Nick 'n Neal - Two Separate Gorillas - Live In Europe - The From The Vaults Series Volume 2
2000
3.74 | 48 ratings
? Live
2007
4.45 | 68 ratings
So many Roads
2009
4.48 | 58 ratings
Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles
2011

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

4.49 | 73 ratings
Testimony Live
2004
4.38 | 76 ratings
Sola Scriptura and Beyond
2008
4.28 | 42 ratings
Live Momentum
2013
3.00 | 2 ratings
Morsefest! 2014: Testimony & One Live
2015

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

2.74 | 26 ratings
The Transatlantic Demos
2003
2.04 | 6 ratings
Sing It High
2007
3.66 | 10 ratings
One Demos
2007
3.20 | 21 ratings
A Proggy Christmas - The Prog World Orchestra
2012

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

2.10 | 20 ratings
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family
2000
2.60 | 15 ratings
A Proggy Christmas
2011

NEAL MORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Ier

4 stars A small warning before reading, this is review is far from unbiased'

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of Neal Morse. I lost interest in the band Transatlantic after the first 2 albums, Spock's Beard doesn't get me and I do not agree with Neal Morse's statements when it comes to religion. I was listening to Prog Britannia (a show on Progzilla Radio) and the track 'Agenda' was played. My first thought was 'Wow, what an awesome track! It's not really 'Prog' (but what is Prog nowadays anyway?), but this really has my attention. Hmmm, that voice sounds very familiar, who is this?'' Neal Morse' Neal Morse? Really? I had no clue it was a track from Neal Morse! I really need to listen to that album! So, here I am, listening to the complete album from The Neal Morse Band. I have to say, listening to this album puts a smile on my face. Not a dumb wide grin and no 'This is the best album everrrr', just a 'yeah, this is pretty cool'.

First track of the album is called 'The Call' and starts with an A Capella piece, which is not bad, and later turns into a musical piece that really reminds me a lot of early Transatlantic (which isn't odd, half of Transatlantic is playing on this album). It contains a lot of 'clever' bits and pieces that emphasize the word 'Prog': Guitar solo here, keyboard solo there, semi-bombastic ending' You know what I mean. The second track, called 'The Grand Experiment', really got my attention. It starts as a track Deep Purple could have written. The chorus, however, isn't Deep Purple-ish at all, but is quite catchy and makes you want to sing along.

'Waterfall' is the third track and is, what you call, a typical acoustic track every 'Prog' album needs to have, to give the listener some kind of break, to 'catch some air' after all that 'Prog violence' in the previous tracks, and to prepare the listener for more that has to come. It is very sweet and tender, a track you would give to your mother and say 'Here, listen to this, my music taste isn't that bad, right?'' Ok, fasten up your seatbelt, because after 'Waterfall' it's time for 'Agenda'' But after a while you realize you have tightened up your seatbelt too tight because the chorus isn't that rough as the beginning of the song suggests. Still, it is a great 'more rocky than proggy' track and very radio friendly. Most reviewers don't like this song but I actually do! I tried to find out what this song is about, but I don't have a clue what's so important about his 'Agenda'.

The fourth track, 'Alive Again', is the longest track of the album. I really love the intro, it's quite an epic start with a lot of power. After two minutes the song takes an unexpected twist (I don't like that twist, they could have made the intro last much longer in my opinion) and turns into another intro, and roughly after three and a half minutes from the start, the song turns into another intro (There must be something epic coming if you need 3 different intros). Anyways, the track itself is very enjoyable and 'Transatlantic' like and I'm glad intro number one comes back again in this track as some kind of outro.

Neal Morse and band actually should have turned the 2 disc special edition into one great album by removing the live tracks that are on the second disc. The track 'New Jerusalem', which can be found on the second disc, is actually on of the best tracks I've ever heard from Neal Morse. I even sing along when I'm very sure nobody is watching ('What? You singing along with Neal Morse? Ier, are you crazy?'). The 'MacArthur Park' cover (which also can be found on the second disc) is also very entertaining and not as boring as the original.

Final conclusion? It is a lovely album to listen, but I don't know if I would recommend it to people who are not interested in Neal Morse in the first place' Still, I give it 4 of the 5 stars because it is a great album which maybe ends in my top 10 albums of 2015.

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Spook76

5 stars I feel compelled to write this review as it is mistake to overlook this excellent album. I have been a fan of Neal Morse since his Spock's Beard time. To me The Grand Experiment is his best solo work second only to "?" Yes, one of the songs "Agenda" is not by any means a good song but do not let that put you off from what is otherwise a great symphonic prog album. The addition of Eric Gillette to handle some of the vocals like Neal's last album "Monentum" provides a sonic diversity that really makes this album shine. I would rate this album with 4.5 stars but since that is not available, I rounded up to 5. As I stated, it behooves you to give this album a spin.

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Gallifrey

2 stars I had a very odd year with Neal Morse in 2014.

He's always been a bit of a divisive figure in many circles, and he even retains his divisiveness within me, when I go ahead and call 2005's Question Mark one of the best albums of modern symphonic, and at the same time point out all four Transatlantic albums being the reason modern symphonic gets a bad reputation. 2011's Testimony Two is a solid album that overstays its welcome a bit, but 2003's Testimony couldn't even pull 30 minutes of solid material out of its two- hour runtime. And most confusing part about all that is the fact that most of those albums pretty much sound the same. Morse straddles the line of crap and good so close that even a slight wobble to one side will make an album great or terrible, even if the ingredients within it are more or less the same. And this peaked early last year with Transatlantic's Kaleidoscope, an absolute mess of ridiculously cliched ideas and recycled songs, and while it wasn't the most awful thing in the universe, I can honestly put it quite high in the list of the most uninspired albums I have ever heard.

I thought that it was just Morse's time to fade into obscurity. Like his good friends in Dream Theater, what he's doing never really changed, he basically just ran out of melodic ideas, and his ambition (or lack of) to make the exact same set of songs every few years meant that his songs wanted to be grandiose and epic but fell flat every single time, to herald the emotional and compositional depth of a cheap pop tune. Morse would continually put out records and with each one more and more people would say "meh, I'm not even going to bother with the next one". But we know what happened next.

Second Nature. The surprise of the year 2014. As much as I did like the first Flying Colors record, I knew that Morse had lost a lot of his flair since then, but this was stellar. Absolutely phenomenal. The elements from all the members came together brilliantly to create what is without a doubt the best album of Morse's very ancient career. And when someone releases both their worst and their best album within a calendar year, you really do start to wonder what's up. Obviously, Second Nature wasn't a Morse solo effort, and neither was Kaleidoscope. I could then pit the success/failure, on the other members, but there was a distinct feeling on a track like "Cosmic Symphony", that we could finally hear what Morse had been aiming for for so long.

Now, we have his first solo album since 2012's Momentum. Um, well, sort of. The Grand Experiment has been advertised under a new moniker - 'The Neal Morse Band', and has credited the rest of his group, featuring regulars Randy George and Mike Portnoy, as well as live members Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette (whose solo album I did quite enjoy) in the composition and arrangement of this album. So my interest was slightly piqued once more - perhaps this is what Morse needs to pull himself out of this rut. Even though these "new members" have been in the Morse camp for ages anyway, this is the first album they've had any real say on anything, and that could be a good thing.

Is it a good thing? Well, I honestly can't tell, because show this album to me blind and I'd call it as yet another Neal Morse solo album. Any contributions the "new" band have made have been incredibly stuck to the Morsian blueprint of how to make uninspired but occasionally good slabs of cheese. The format is the same as well - three of short pieces, bookended by two long ones, one of them being at least 25 minutes (for some reason). It's like old Neal just doesn't want any form of change, whatsoever.

And honestly, aside from "Waterfall", this is possibly his worst album yet. Kaleidoscope was uninteresting and uninspired, but rarely was it honestly bad. And while this still isn't bad, there are far more moments of poor composition here than ever before. On previous solo records he's been able to pull out a handful of deliciously catchy choruses, even on the most recent Momentum, but here there just aren't any. Musically, there's not much that has changed, but I quite honestly cannot think of a single moment that I enjoyed, because any remotely good parts are dulled due to the fact that they are almost all note-for-note rehashes of previous Morse songs. "Waterfall" is actually a pretty great piece, and single-handedly saves this album from being absolutely terribly, but with the gospel touches thrown into it, all the delicacy of the subtle instrumentation is undermined by some really cheap pseudo-emotional undertones. But I really like the violin in it, and even the solos are pretty well placed

The bad here? "The Call" is pretty damn embarrassing, I must say, although I can't tell how much of it is actually bad and how much is just bad because it sounds like so much else. The a cappella vocal section in the intro is quite frankly sickening, from the cheesy lyrics to the uninteresting melody to the cheap as anything sus4-to-major chord resolution that is just so overdone, the only thing that tops that cheese is 10 seconds later when the dreaded organ shows up, or maybe the quite terrible solo at the 6 minute mark. The title track is just as bad, with a riff that sounds straight out of a post-grunge album, with the inclusion of the standard Morse cheese organ. "Agenda" has been the subject of much talk, and although I can agree that it's poor, I do still prefer it to the first two. It reminds me a bit of the last few Muse songs we've got, when we are asked to question Matt Bellamy's sanity. But hey, at least the song is slightly different.

I suppose I should talk about "Alive Again", considering it's 27 minutes long, and on most albums that would make it a bit of a centrepiece. It's another Morsian exercise in excess and length and achieves absolutely nothing on its journey. "Agenda", although that song blows, is a far more interesting piece. The middle section of the song, with the horns and the great chorus is pretty solid, but that's about three minutes in 27, and doesn't really make the sea of genericism worth swimming through.

No doubt one of the weakest albums of his career, but at the same time it's not too difficult from before. I'm not ready to fully write of Morse yet, because with Second Nature he proved that he isn't completely spend as a composer, but this album nearly pushed me there. A forgettable, overlong piece of the same old stuff, The Grand Experiment on the whole isn't worth anybody's time.

4.2

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars The idea of changing the songwriting formula by writing the songs all together instead of Neal Morse writing alone before bringing his ideas seems to be a refreshing idea. The result is not obvious in the first song "The Call" who has all the trademark of a typical Neal Morse song with it's ambitious symphonic style. But in the the songs "Alive Again" and "MacArthur Park", there is something different from the usual Neal Morse style with interesting instrumental passages. But at the same time, there is some less progressive songs that are more classic rock like "The Grand Experiment" and "Agenda". "Waterfall" is the ultimate ballad to put you in a different mood. The major change to me was the idea of letting Eric Gillette take the lead vocals role. And he has done a very good job in that department. The bonus CD is as good as the first CD but with another too repetitive and simple song :"New Jerusalem", in which the only bright spot is the drums parts that recall Manu Katché or some late period of Genesis. Finally, the longest tracks are the best ones, the others are taking a more standard rock direction and while have a certain appeal don't have the grandeur of the other tracks. I am happy that Neal Morse has brings something new to his music. The production and the musicianship are flawless, especially the bass and drums parts.

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First off, I'd just like to say that I'm happy for this group of guys at the result of this album. The gimmick was that Neal did not have any new material, and that what we have here was the result of total group collaboration. I highly doubted that it was true in the first place (and it appears that, at least with Agenda, it wasn't), but I didn't know enough about the band members to know whether this would be a productive strategy.

I remember seeing Neal's band live a few years back on the Momentum tour, and my takeaway from that show- -other than being only able to hear bass and drums due to the terrible house sound--was that it didn't seem like a very cohesive group. Neal and Mike hammed it up, Adson Sodre would lay down some killer solos here and there, and Eric and Bill did not seem to have consistent roles to fill.

Now, imagine my skepticism upon hearing that Adson was not going to be on the album! Couple that with the material that was released before the full album: the average title track (despite the interesting chorus, the rest involved the band trying to hard to rock, and I could only picture Neal mean-mugging his was through the intro) and the playful Agenda. There was not much room for optimism, especially since I thought Neal was bordering a bit on staleness in parts of Momentum.

(Side note: I was planning on Agenda being absolutely terrible from reviews, but I like it as a playful throwaway song. It's meant to be cheesy! Watch the video that came out with it, and if you still can't appreciate it at least a little bit, then you could treat it as a bonus track, perhaps.)

However, all of my skepticism was unwarranted, as the rest of the album is quite good. Eric happens to deliver a great lead, full of a variety of tones and creativity, as well as a strong top harmony. Bill provides a more consistent presence in providing layering and texture to the keys, as well as an interesting vocal counterpoint. Notice a theme building about the vocals, because that's the highlight of the album in my book. They perhaps are not great by themselves, but together to combination is quite nice...sometimes I hear some Styx, sometimes some Eagles.

Highlights: The Call, Waterfall, Alive Again. The Call kicks off the album with a great deal of energy, and even if the song doesn't hang together perfectly toward the middle, to my ears it is very refreshing in terms of how it compares to previous material from Neal. Just a really fun song, and you can tell it's a true group effort. Waterfall is a slower tune that features the stacked harmonies, which is quite nice, and then morphs in to a bit of a Genesis Entangled vibe that I appreciate. Finally, Alive Again represents the epic, and I think it it quite a success. To be clear, it is not perfect, but I don't think perfection was really a possibility if the group was trying to maintain a team effort. For example, Bill's vocals in the "Man I'll Never Be" section get a bit rough and mush- mouthed, but he comes around nicely. Also, the middle theme that is revisited in what feels like dozens of times is just not good enough to be featured so heavily. Fortunately, there is enough creativity and variety to make the journey quite listenable, particularly because the finale is absolutely soaring and huge. The stacked harmonies, the majestic interpretation of the original chorus, the killer tempo kick...it's all great to my ears. I would nitpick the fade-out, but I just don't have the heart to do that here (you could argue that I just did, but it's not my intent to make this a backhanded compliment!)

Overall, I believe this represents a needed change of sound, the cohesion of a true band, and the potential for great things! Of all of Neal's solo and collaborative material, I have heard little that reminds me of Spock's Beard, but I swear there are sections here (fat, groovy bass from Randy, energetic but understated drums from Mike, for example) that really take me back, and in a good way. Here's hoping for Grand Revival in the future!

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

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

3 stars I'm not ashamed to admit that I miss Neal Morse's compositions with Spock's Beard. His guest appearance on "Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep" helped, I believe, to make that one of this decade's best (so far) prog albums. His previous studio album, "Momentum", was quite good, so I didn't hesitate to pick this one up when my local CD store gave it a good sale price.

While instrumentally, this is a fine album, it gives me the feeling that Morse is getting into a rut.

First, there is the format. It seems that just about every Morse project consist of two epic tracks framing three shorter, poppier tracks. And that's exactly what we get here. Second, I really do like the music Morse has written here, but, for the most part, it all sounds made up of riffs from old SB tracks. And third, the lyrics. While I am an atheist, I have no problem with religious lyrics, if they are artfully done, but here, Morse's words are ins... insp... ins... oh, insipid.

I feel like I need a Christian Buzzword Bingo card when I'm listening to this. Morse's epics are both inspiring tales, hoping to convey to the poor listener the idea that if you are down and out, the way to raise your spirits up is to give your soul to some imagined supernatural being who controls everything. Okay, I've heard other songs of this type, and they don't have such a negative affect on me, but these are downright trite.

In The Call, Morse uses simplistic evangelical catchphrases to try to entice you into the fold, but I'll I can think of is "What call is he talking about? The one that wants me to consolidate my debt? The one where I am qualified for a "free" security system, or some other "unbelievable" offer? Or how about the guy who claims to be from Microsoft, who think I believe him when he says that he sees a virus on my computer?"

That song doesn't compare to Alive Again, where Morse panders with a character described as the "wounded warrior", who, of course, is in a bad way, and only getting washed in the sea, by a guy walking on water, will bring him back. Come on, Neal, get some originality. You once were good at that.

And Neal? I understand that you are proud of your Agenda, but isn't pride supposed to be one of your sins?

Despite the obvious buzzwords, Waterfall is actually a nice track. It has a CSNY feel, with great harmonies, and is the most original song on the album.

Don't get me wrong. I like the music (not the words) on this album. I just don't love them.

For a Neal Morse fix, if you can block out the vocals, it's not bad.

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Einwahn

5 stars Wow. It's been half a decade since I have been so blown away by an album I was expecting to be 3-4 stars in quality. I have long seen Neal Morse's importance to prog rock, but have never been a natural member of his fan constituency. This album tempted me as a Dream Theater fan, due to its billing as a team effort by the band including Mike Portnoy. And yes, this album has a DT-like drive and power beyond Morse's usual outputs. But added to that the melodies and variety are wonderful. Whenever an established artist modifies his formula, a slump in ratings often follows; I've noticed that on Prog Archives. So I'm not surprised that my own enthusiasm is not reflected in the consensus rating for The Grand Experiment. But he has a new fan here.

Verdict: the experiment worked!

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Lofcaudio

4 stars This is a great album. I would love to give it 5 stars, but it comes up just short. The Neal Morse Band delivers with a very creative album that is probably like no other album you have heard....ever. It's got a little bit everything and that everything is quite good to my ears.

Track 1: The Call. Outstanding! Take the best of Queen and the best of Styx and you have the sound of this song. It's really that good (yet, not even the best song on the album in my opinion). If you are thinking that Queen and Styx aren't prog enough for you, have no fear. That's what is so great about this song. It's plenty prog, with plenty of high-quality hooks that hit all my 70s and 80s pop itches.

Track 2: The Grand Experiment. Initially I hated it. But ten listens in, this is a really nice song. Anyone who says they hate this song, I immediately dismiss it because I know they haven't heard it enough times. While I would love to think differently, prog is tough. It's so acquired that even those of us who love it (prog music) through and through can't digest it on the first few listens. This is one of those songs. It's polarizing because it's very poppy. "Oh...this sounds like pop...trash." While I agree it is very poppy, I also think it is very proggy. If this is a filler song on an album, it must be one heck of an album.

Track 3: Waterfall. GREAT SONG! We have seen in the past how Morse has been quite adept at bringing multiple voices together and this song is basically "June" (Kindness of Strangers) on steroids. One of the exceptional parts of this album is the vocal harmonies with the inclusion of Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer and this particular song really showcases what this band can do in that department. This is a ballad quite unique from anything else in the Morse catalog and I find that it works really well.

Track 4: Agenda. This is one of those "love it or hate it" songs and I happen to love it. Great tune that jumps from hard edge verses to a floating chorus. Regardless of how you feel about it, I dare you to listen to it a couple of times and not find it haunting you throughout the course of your day. It is very catchy.

Track 5: Alive Again. Plain and simple, this is a 5-star song from start to finish. Eric Gillette steals the show with some delicious vocals every time he comes in with the dramatic phrase "Now I feel like I'm alive again..." This song is so good that you can listen to the whole thing and feel as if only 5 or 6 minutes have passed, when the total clock time is actually over 26 minutes. There is an exceptional moment from the 7:30 - 9:00 mark which truly is some of the best 90 seconds of music ever....literally spine-tingling. I could use all sorts of superlatives to describe various aspects of this track, instead I'll just say that it is a very satisfying ending to a solid set of songs. It's easily in my Top 5 epics alongside of Seeds of Gold, The Creation, At the End of the Day and The Door.

I like all 5 songs and "Alive Again" is outstanding. However, four stars is all that I'm willing to give it because there is definitely a lull that occurs in the middle of the album between the bookend tracks. It's not really fair because if those middle songs were on other albums they might be considered the standouts, but Alive Again and The Call are so good, the three other songs pale in comparison and make the album feel a little less consistent than it really is.

If you like classic Spock's Beard, Styx, Queen, ELO...you will love this album.

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Ieshee1i

2 stars (in case it matters, I'm reviewing the special edition)

I only gave this two spins so far, but I'm already regretting my purchase and the ticket I bought for their upcoming tour. Well, at least it will be an opportunity to discover Beardfish.

The first track and the last track (namely, "The Call" and "Alive Again") of this record are the only ones they should have kept; the rest are fillers whose quality lies somewhere between mediocre and forgettable (which reminds me of Spock's Beard's V, a record that would have been so much better if it consisted only of the three good -- great! -- songs it contains). I remember being very disappointed when Neal released the video for the title track, and only bought this album because of the very positive reviews that have been written recently. I should have trusted my initial gut feeling.

I won't waste too many words on the bad fillers; the chorus of the title track eventually stuck in my head , but only because it's easy to remember. This song is bad, but it's actually the best of the bad songs. Another reviewer already expressed his views on "Agenda", and yeah, it's pretty bad. I thought "Waterfall" was alright during the first listen, but I couldn't bear to listen to the whole song a second time (even though it's not that long by Morse's standards). Suffice it to say that the fact that they're not "prog songs" (whatever your definition is) has nothing to do with their quality. And if any other (prog or not) band had released those, nobody would even have paid attention.

"The Call" is, to me, the more interesting of the two good tracks, and features everyone singing. "Alive Again" is an epic and as usual, it will probably take a few listens for me to absorb it completely. I'm pretty sure, however, that it's certainly not in the same league as "All of the Above" or "Into the Blue" to name only two much better examples of what Neal is capable of (there may be many more, I must confess I'm not too familiar yet with Neal's solo work, which is why I'm refering to Transatlantic instead). Both these songs have nevertheless some great moments, so I'll focus on those if I ever play this CD again. That said, I probably have given -- and probably will give -- "Lifeline" more listens than this even though I usually only play the first and last track of that record too.

Somewhat ironically, the second disc in this special edition is nearly more interesting than the regular record (except for "MacArthur Park"; I don't know the original song, but after hearing twice about that "cake that took so long to bake", I just had to skip to the next song...).

I haven't watched the making of yet, and I'm not sure that I will. Bottom line: give "The Call" and "Alive Again" a try, but unless you fall in love with these, I suggest you spend your money on something else.

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 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 190 ratings

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The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by floflo79

4 stars The last prog rock album by Neal Morse was Momentum in 2012. After 3 years, Neal Morse came back on the prog side with The Grand Experiment. And it's surely one of his best effors. The album begins with The Call (or Following The Call) which is a ten minutes song. It's very proggy, with many solos (the synth one at 8 minutes is awesome), great melodes, time signatures changes, etc... A great track. After that, there's the title track which is not very prog, more hard rock but pleasant. Waterfall is a beautiful track with vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars,... The melody is great and the production is awesome. Agenda is the worst song on the album. It sounds like an awful rock FM songs of the 90's. But I think it's pretty humoristic or a parody. Alive Again is the closing epic of 27 minutes. It's great, prog as hell, with awesome developpement. So, this album is great, better than Momentum for me. The best of 2015 at the moment.

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