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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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Alive AgainAlive Again
Metal Blade 2016
Audio CD$11.80
$18.57 (used)
Alive Again [Blu-ray]Alive Again [Blu-ray]
Metal Blade 2016
$13.17 (used)
The Grand Experiment - Super Deluxe EditionThe Grand Experiment - Super Deluxe Edition
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$21.90
$21.89 (used)
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$11.20
$4.16 (used)
Metal Blade 2003
Audio CD$15.98
$9.89 (used)
Morsefest! 2014Morsefest! 2014
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$28.53
$27.53 (used)
Sola ScripturaSola Scriptura
Imports 2010
Audio CD$4.88
$7.83 (used)
Sola Scriptura And BeyondSola Scriptura And Beyond
Multiple Formats
Metal Blade 2008
$19.68 (used)
Songs From The HighwaySongs From The Highway
Radiant Records
Audio CD$15.99
$9.70 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Flying Colors - UK promo2CD + DVD / 2nd Flight - Steve Neal Morse Dave Larue USD $16.24 Buy It Now 2h 8m
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Lifeline [Neal Morse] [1 disc] [5052205067321] New CD USD $15.35 Buy It Now 6h 18m
Neal Morse: TESTIMONY TWO, LIVE IN L.A. 2011 SEALED 5-CD/DVD Box Spock's Beard USD $9.99 [0 bids]
8h 21m
Neal Morse: SO MANY ROADS Live 2009 Radiant LIVE 3-CD SEALED Set Spock's Beard USD $9.99 [0 bids]
USD $17.99 Buy It Now
8h 22m
Neal Morse: TESTIMONY 2 2011 Radiant Records 2-CD SEALED Spock's Beard USD $7.99 [0 bids]
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8h 22m
TRANSATLANTIC: WHIRLD TOUR 2010 Live SEALED/NEW 3-CD Box Mike Portnoy Neal Morse USD $9.99 [0 bids]
8h 22m
Neal Morse - "Jesus Christ The Exorcist" - Inner Circle May 2009 - CD USD $18.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Whispers In The Wind - Inner Circle January 2006 - CD USD $18.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Acoustic Sunrise - Inner Circle November 2007 - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- In The 90's - Inner Circle September 2013 - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Christmas 2013 - Inner Circle Nov 2013 - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Encores And New Songs - Inner Circle July 2007 - CD USD $18.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Times And Seasons - Inner Circle Nov 2010 - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
NEAL MORSE - Inner Circle - Acoustic Sketches - November 2015 CD (Like New) USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Hitman - A Musical By Neal Morse (Inner Circle Nov 2005) - CD USD $18.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Covers & Others - Inner Circle July 2010 - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse - Demos And Live Stuff - Inner Circle March 2008 - CD USD $18.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse - A Collection Of Songs And Demos - Inner Circle March 2010 - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- Live In Berlin - Inner Circle September 2005 - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
Neal Morse ?- With A Little Help From My Friends - Inner Circle Jan 2007 - CD USD $18.95 Buy It Now 16h 41m
NEW Lifeline [5/27] by Neal Morse CD (CD) Free P&H USD $26.41 Buy It Now 20h 10m
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Neal Morse/Flying Colors - Island Of The Lost Keyboards Signed Cd USD $30.00 [0 bids]
1 day
Neal Morse/Flying Colors - Inner Circle Flying Colors Demos Signed Cd USD $30.00 [0 bids]
1 day
(CD) NEAL MORSE - Merry Christmas From The Morse Family USD $35.00 Buy It Now 1 day
(CD) NEAL MORSE - The Transatlantic Demos USD $65.00 Buy It Now 1 day
(CD) NEAL MORSE - ? / AUTOGRAPHED USD $29.99 Buy It Now 1 day
(CD) NEAL MORSE - Neal Morse USD $15.99 Buy It Now 1 day
(CD) NEAL MORSE - Momentum USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
(CD) NEAL MORSE - It's Not Too Late USD $19.99 Buy It Now 1 day
(CD) NEAL MORSE - Lifeline USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
The Neal Morse Band-The Grand Experiment (UK IMPORT) CD with DVD NEW USD $22.53 Buy It Now 1 day
NEAL MORSE - LIFELINE (RE-ISSUE) 2 CD NEW+ USD $15.36 Buy It Now 1 day
NEAL MORSE - ? (Question Mark) Live 2CD BRAND NEW & SEALED! (+ Bonus Track) USD $15.19 Buy It Now 1 day
Neal Morse Sola Scriptura USD $7.99 [0 bids]
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1 day
Neal Morse ONE USD $8.99 [0 bids]
USD $12.99 Buy It Now
1 day
Neal Morse SIGNED CD 2005 USD $20.00 Buy It Now 2 days
Neal Morse - Testimony 2 [CD New] USD $26.61 Buy It Now 2 days
NEAL MORSE "MOMENTUM" CD ---------6 TRACKS--------- NEW+ USD $16.48 Buy It Now 2 days
NEAL MORSE ' ? ' CD NEW+ES ALBUM PROG ROCK NEW+!!!!!! USD $19.28 Buy It Now 2 days
NEAL MORSE 'COVER TO COVER' CD NEW+! USD $16.48 Buy It Now 2 days
Neal Morse-Songs from November (UK IMPORT) CD NEW USD $14.76 Buy It Now 2 days
Songs From November Neal Morse Audio CD USD $24.33 Buy It Now 3 days
Neal Morse - So Many Roads-Live [CD New] USD $19.48 Buy It Now 3 days
NEAL MORSE - Lifeline (CD) NEW SEALED USD $14.82 Buy It Now 3 days
Momentum, Neal Morse, New USD $20.71 Buy It Now 3 days
Neal Morse The Kaleidoscope Demos Part 1 Inner Circle Sept 2014 CD! New! USD $20.71 Buy It Now 3 days
Slip Quinn: Neal Morse : Live Momentum : New York 3 CDs & 2 DVDs NTSC USD $26.86 [0 bids]
4 days
Slip Quinn: Neal Morse : Testimony Two Live In Los Angeles 3 CDs USD $31.20 [0 bids]
4 days
So Many Roads Neal Morse Audio CD USD $32.64 Buy It Now 4 days
One 5052205007587 by Neal Morse, CD, BRAND NEW FREE P&H USD $20.14 Buy It Now 4 days
Neal Morse - Lifeline [CD New] USD $7.18 Buy It Now 4 days
Neal Morse - Momentum Live [CD New] USD $24.93 Buy It Now 4 days
~COVER ART MISSING~ Neal Morse CD Live USD $9.54 Buy It Now 4 days
@ CD Affector - Armageddon INSIDEOUT 2012 / JORDAN RUDESS NEAL MORSE SHERINIAN USD $12.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Morsefest 2014 [CD New] USD $31.39 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse Band, The - The Grand Experiment New Vinyl LP USD $26.04 Buy It Now 5 days
Testimony 2 Live Neal Morse Audio CD USD $37.89 Buy It Now 5 days
Songs from November by Neal Morse (CD, Aug-2014, Metal Blade) USD $12.41 Buy It Now 5 days
NEAL MORSE - MORSEFEST! 2014 6 CD NEW+ USD $45.47 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse Band, The - The Grand Experiment CD New & Sealed USD $27.38 Buy It Now 5 days
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Songs From November - Neal Morse (CD Used Very Good) USD $14.09 Buy It Now 6 days
Neal Morse - Grand Experiment [CD New] USD $25.51 Buy It Now 6 days
Neal Morse-Lifeline CD NEW USD $19.11 Buy It Now 6 days
Neal Morse - Alive Again [CD New] USD $20.40 Buy It Now 7 days
Spock's Beard The Light Neal Morse Autographed Signed 12" Colored Vinyl 2-LP New USD $99.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Neal Morse A PROGGY CHRISTMAS Inner Circle CD November 2011 USD $22.50 Buy It Now 7 days
Testimony 2 Neal Morse Audio CD USD $43.55 Buy It Now 8 days
Cover to Cover [Neal Morse] [1 disc] [039841458626] New CD USD $13.69 Buy It Now 8 days
One - Neal Morse (CD Used Very Good) USD $11.73 Buy It Now 8 days
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Cover 2 Cover by Morse Portnoy George/Neal Morse/Mike Portnoy (Drums)/Randy... USD $10.89 Buy It Now 8 days
Momentum: Live [Box] by Neal Morse (CD, 2013, 5 Discs, Radiant Records) USD $20.95 Buy It Now 8 days
Testimony 2 - Neal Morse Deluxe ED. (CD Used Very Good) Deluxe ED. USD $24.61 Buy It Now 8 days
Grand Experiment - 3 DISC SET - Neal Morse (CD Used Very Good) USD $23.51 Buy It Now 8 days
Grand Experiment Neal Morse Audio CD USD $24.50 Buy It Now 9 days
Neal Morse s/t USD $9.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Neal Morse So Many Roads USD $9.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Neal Morse Testimony Two Live in Los Angeles 3 cd/2 dvd set USD $13.99 Buy It Now 9 days
? [Neal Morse] [5052205015421] New CD USD $19.27 Buy It Now 10 days
ONE [Neal Morse] [1 disc] [5052205007587] New CD USD $14.75 Buy It Now 10 days
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Momentum: Live [Digipak] by Neal Morse USD $24.99 Buy It Now 10 days
Testimony Two by Neal Morse USD $29.99 Buy It Now 10 days

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NEAL MORSE discography

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

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

3.24 | 97 ratings
Neal Morse
2.76 | 74 ratings
It's Not Too Late
4.04 | 395 ratings
4.10 | 420 ratings
4.19 | 548 ratings
3.00 | 45 ratings
God Won't Give Up
2.29 | 37 ratings
Lead Me Lord (Worship Sessions Volume One)
2.96 | 39 ratings
Send The Fire (Worship Sessions Volume 2)
2.94 | 68 ratings
Cover To Cover
2.55 | 38 ratings
Songs From The Highway
4.18 | 546 ratings
Sola Scriptura
2.82 | 28 ratings
Secret Place (Worship Sessions Volume 3)
3.10 | 245 ratings
2.64 | 28 ratings
The River (Worship Sessions Volume 4)
2.65 | 26 ratings
Mighty To Save (Worship Sessions Volume 5)
4.01 | 523 ratings
Testimony 2
4.01 | 382 ratings
3.02 | 42 ratings
Cover 2 Cover
3.00 | 51 ratings
Songs From November
3.75 | 231 ratings
The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band)
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Similitude Of A Dream (as The Neal morse Band)
1.00 | 1 ratings
To God be the Glory

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
3.77 | 52 ratings
? Live
4.47 | 74 ratings
So many Roads
4.47 | 66 ratings
Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles

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

4.48 | 78 ratings
Testimony Live
4.35 | 81 ratings
Sola Scriptura and Beyond
4.36 | 45 ratings
Live Momentum
3.47 | 19 ratings
Morsefest! 2014: Testimony & One Live
4.00 | 12 ratings
Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band)

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

2.75 | 28 ratings
The Transatlantic Demos
2.04 | 6 ratings
Sing It High
3.71 | 10 ratings
One Demos
3.28 | 23 ratings
A Proggy Christmas - The Prog World Orchestra

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

2.05 | 20 ratings
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family
2.76 | 17 ratings
A Proggy Christmas


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.00 | 12 ratings

Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars The first thing that strikes you when you listen to this live release is how the stereo sound is loud and clear. The picture is also clear with vibrant colors. I was happy to have a live release from that tour because I have enjoyed the first output of The Neal Morse Band. The music has that Neal Morse symphonic grandiose style but being written in collaboration with the others musicians, there is still more than the symphonic approach. "The Call" is a dynamic opener with a break in the middle where Neal is singing with all the emotions we all know is capable too. The bass sound is huge, with some heavy guitars and keyboards lines. The first part of this song is rather inoffensive, but in the second half, it goes in the complex progressive style. And we won't talk about the impressive playing of Mike Portnoy on drums. "Leviathan" is a heavy and fast track from "Lifeline" of Neal solo career with a rather dark intro. "The Grand Experiment" is a good old rock song with some Styx vocal harmonies, repetitive but catchy. Next is a song from the Spock's Beard material, it's "Harm's Way" that show the typical change of moods of a Progressive Rock epic. Then comes a nice Keyboards/piano solo of Bill Hubauer remind me of Gentle Giant. After another song from Neal's solo stuff, it's time for an acoustic pause that is apparently different each night. In this, Neal is crying and if this song means something lyrically for him, it's not very challenging musically. Then the epic song of the last album "Alive Again" brings us some heavy instrumental parts that show the musicians exchanging instruments with some surprising results in an improvisation mode. We are greeted with a bass pedal solo from Randy Gorge with his hands! Bill Hubuauer delivers some beautiful vocals harmonies in this.The show ends with an emotional medley of Neal's solo songs.

I think this product is the closest a Neal Morse project has come to perfection if we take into consideration the sound/visuals and music. The editing and camera work is still very professional. The only criticism I could add is a subjective one, I would have replaced some songs from Neal's career for others and play the song "MacArthur Park" from the last album.

 Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.00 | 12 ratings

Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

4 stars Neal Morse is a well known figure in the Prog world of the last 2 decades, so there's not a lot I can say about him that hasn't been said before. He playes on Spock's Beard, plays on Transatlantic and has a solo career that spans over 15 years.

It is also no surprise that this Alive Again album is being released this year. Since the beginning of his solo career, and more prominently so in the last 5 years or so, after each studio album he goes on tour and release a live record out of that tour. Recorded in Match 6, 2015 in the netherlands, Alive Again catches Neal Morse and band on the tour of his latest studio album The Grand Experiment (2015). The line up is still the same: Neal Morse (vocals, keyboards, guitars), Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Randy George (bass, vocals), Eric Gillette (guitar, vocals) and Bill Hubauer (keyboards, guitars, vocals).

I would like to point out how nice is the package on this Double CD/DVD bundle. I am not sure if this is something new or not, but I have a bunch of triple discs bundles and it's the first time I see this new 3 discs jewelcase and I must say it looks great. The Digipack model can be very fragile and be damaged easily, not with this set!

Anyway, when it comes to the music Neal Morse is at the same time walking new paths while keeping firm in his own ground. That means that you'll find his classic sound on this album, nothing really changed sonically, but the repertoire is very different from the last tours. You will hear on this album the whole of The Grand Experiment (with exception of 'Agenda'), including the mammoth that is 'Alive Again' and its 34 minutes, and tracks from his solo career like 'Leviathan' or 'In The Fire' from ? (2005). But you'll also hear an old Spock's Beard tune 'Harm's Way' from the album The Kindness Of Strangers (1998) and plenty of his Christian music.

And that my friends, is my warning and the big difference here. Neal always walked through a thin line between secular and 'faith music' (vide 'Lifeline', for instance) but he usually left this tracks out of his Prog tours. It seems to me that since he started his Morsefest events this changed a lot. Now he's mixing his church music into the set. If that's a problem for you it can be hard to go through the whole set.

The DVD is my favorite part, aside from the show that is very competent, my favorite part in Neals DVDs is always the extras, the Making Of. The fact he and the band shot everything themselves makes you really into their daily lives on tour. For this alone Alive Again (2016) is well worth your money, honestly.

All in all, if you're a fan you should get this bundle. If you're not a fan of Christian music maybe you should get the Blu-Ray version only. Anyway, I think it portraits very well where Neal Morse is right now as a musician.

 One by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.10 | 420 ratings

Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Neal Morse is one of the major figures in progressive rock in last 20 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 15 years, where we can find from mediocre 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 One released in 2004 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 8 pieces, the flow from one piece to another is natural and very well performed. Also here is a great list of guests. 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, nevertheless great used here. The music is great and complicated passages, from mellow and acustic portions to more uptempo, the musicians are always in top form every second they play. The instrumental sections are great, the complexity of some parts are truly amazing, like on The Creation nearly 18 min pure bliss. 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 in same league with his another solo works as ? or Sola scriptura.
 One Demos by MORSE, NEAL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.71 | 10 ratings

One Demos
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by strangelybrown

4 stars I recently decided to buy Neal Morse's The One Demos album during a prog spending binge, which also extended to the new greatest hits DVD of Spock's Beards - which has a new Neal Morse epic on which I am planning to play LOUD this Christmas. My money's on it being a bit terrific.

I wanted to write this review not only out of love for Neal Morse, having been a huge fan of everything he has been a part of for years, but also as part of my new fascination with demo albums themselves. I really enjoy hearing where the artist decided to alter certain parts, and hypothesising why said parts might have been; that's part of the fun! Subsequent tempo changes (no doubt down to Portnoy's genius), changes of certain licks and riffs, and complete alterations of large sections (like with the end passage of The Reunion on this album) all are naked for analysis.

Neal's writing can be so dense with ideas that you don't hear the underlying clever chord progression beneath on the mastered record. Both the softer accompaniment here on the demo on both keyboard and piano, plus the softer voicing from Morse are really refreshing - and I must say I prefer Neal's clean vocal phrasing on the Reunion- as you can tell I am a bit of a fan of that closing song!

I wish he'd bring a demo one out for Question Mark actually come to think of it!

The rest of the songs are really pleasant and interesting with some sweet guitar solos and differing chord emphases. Again, I just love hearing the "before shot", prior to them realising that the winning missing note was right there waiting to go on the tablature!

Obviously it doesn't have quite the bombastic impact of the real mastered version (which is brill), but it's so pure and seemingly spontaneous that I have to give it 4 stars.

Peace y'all Bradders :)

 Morsefest! 2014: Testimony & One Live by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2015
3.47 | 19 ratings

Morsefest! 2014: Testimony & One Live
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

3 stars This double show weekend was done after only four days of rehearsal at Neal's home church in Nashville. Neal is surrounded with his usual band and many back up singers. The intimate venue here has played a major role on how those shows would unravel. It offer the possibility for Neal to get some interactions with the crowd that was already sold to his charm. Maybe people that only visits this church for religious purposes could have been there, because of the religious beliefs of Neil.The story of Testimony 1 is connected with Neal's evolution in his life and the man is comfortable showing his devotion to God, especially for a man that has seen his daughter miraculously cure. The music reflects this evolution with songs that are the expression of a man searching for the truth during difficult times, and other songs that are more upbeat on a more festive side when Neal has found happiness in his life. This live release is more enjoyable with the DVD or Blu-Ray presentation, if you want to see those emotional moments, when Neal is in tears at times, or when he goes in the crowd letting people touch him, or when he show his affection for Mike Portnoy after his 15 years collaboration with him... Mike will return the favor later in the show with a speech. Sometimes when the female choir was singing, i had the impression to be in a gospel celebration in Harlem, but with a complete Rock band. So the music of the band was fitting like a glove in this church. Who wouldn't go to the church every Sunday to see the priest Neal Morse with his little orchestra?

The second disk is the complete "One" album with one additional track unreleased. We have heard previously the two best track : "Author of Confusion" and "The Separated Man" on others live releases, which contains long instrumentals passages of greatness. "Cradle to the Grave" is a ballad with Neal's son singing with him, when the latter was again very emotional. In the encore, the music was a welcome change to the atmosphere of the intense world of Neal with the song "The Light" of Spock's Beard and the final song "Strangers in Your Soul", where we're witnessing a crazy moment when almost everybody are playing others instruments. I didn't know that Mike Portnoy could play bass, unless he was faking... So another tour for Neal and another live release, i would have prefer to wait and hear something new from the latest "The Grand Experiment" album, but i can understand that Neal would jump on the opportunity to record something at home. 3.4 stars

 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 231 ratings

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

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars `The Grand Experiment' of the title is not only Neal Morse's personal reference to his Christian lifestyle in the track of the same name, but also how this disc, technically his twentieth studio release (yes, really!) came to be composed. The musicians involved entered the studio with no prior written material and recorded their results in a short time, meaning that this experimental approach was a true group collaboration. Billed here as `The Neal Morse Band', the core line-up of keyboardist Morse's solo albums including bass virtuoso Randy George and master drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater's loss turned out to be a gift for general prog fans!) were joined by Eric Gillette on extra guitar and vocals and Bill Hubauer on additional keyboards, clarinet and flute this time around, and it's wonderful to discover the group came up with a very punchy and concise work in the end. While some of the five pieces here still, of course, follow some of the usual Morse format, there's a freshness and a variety of sounds and styles not often found on his prog albums, no doubt due to the new song-writing approach of the others and their additional influences.

The ten minute `The Call' is a classic Neal Morse opener, all spiralling keyboards, frantic drumming, pulsing bass and wailing guitars to be found in the lengthy instrumental runs, yet never forgetting to incorporate catchy melodies and a winning chorus. Relentlessly upbeat and up-tempo, the aggressive guitar grunt and delirious synth noodling just before the six minute mark is especially tasty, the joyful and slick AOR vocals are easy to enjoy and there's just a dash of country to the harmonies here and there as well! The title track `The Grand Experiment' is a heavy guitar driven plodding rocker with a catchy chorus, and as often with Morse, some of the multi- layered sighing honey-dipped harmonies recall retro-rocker Matthew Sweet, and `Waterfall' is a warm and dreamy acoustic ballad with a reflective, pleading spiritual lyric and sublime group harmonies.

The tongue-in-cheek `Agenda' playfully alternates between heavy slab-like guitar verses and falsetto psychedelic pop choruses, the chest-beating lyric delivered with great self-pride and a wink in the eye! This is Morse cheerfully sticking it to his critics and giving them the middle finger...well, as politely as a Christian can! But it wouldn't be a Neal Morse album without at least one lengthy epic (Hey, it's prog - size matters!), and `Alive Again' runs just short of twenty-seven minutes. Reaching victorious electric guitar runs deliver a collection of grand symphonic themes and big dramatic builds, with a strong mix of muscular heavy workouts and softer thoughtful breaks, some fleeting classical pomp, even an addictive funky horn break, and the powerful recurring `I can see the light, burning in my soul' chorus truly soars.

Is this one of his Morse's best prog releases? `Sola Scriptura' and `One' definitely tower over it, but `The Grand Experiment' is certainly one of his warmest, most relaxed and fun. The quick turnaround of writing and recording means some of the lyrics occasionally come up short by falling back on awkward rhyming words (and the 'She's like the secret sauce' line in the title track is a particularly awful clunker!), but the material Morse and company came up with is exciting and yet more evidence of his keen melodic skill and ability to surround himself with other talented musicians to deliver it. It's also refreshing to see a 52 minute vinyl length release from him (excluding the wealth of extra outtakes, demos and covers across a range of deluxe and expanded editions), making the album more focused and compact with none of the bloat that sometimes pads out his other solo and Transatlantic works, and the shorter running time will also mean the disc gets plenty of replays and becomes more familiar quicker too. This particular line-up has proven especially fruitful and rewarding, so let's hope The Neal Morse Band gets another outing in the future!

Four stars.

 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 231 ratings

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.

 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 231 ratings

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.
 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 231 ratings

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.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

 The Grand Experiment (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 231 ratings

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

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / 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.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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