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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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Alive Again [Blu-ray]Alive Again [Blu-ray]
Metal Blade 2016
Blu-ray$13.36
$13.40 (used)
Alive AgainAlive Again
Metal Blade 2016
Audio CD$11.80
$11.61 (used)
The Grand Experiment - Super Deluxe EditionThe Grand Experiment - Super Deluxe Edition
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$22.00
$21.82 (used)
MomentumMomentum
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$12.26
$8.95 (used)
TESTIMONYTESTIMONY
Metal Blade 2003
Audio CD$34.18
$3.99 (used)
??
Metal Blade 2005
Audio CD$9.76
$8.94 (used)
Sola ScripturaSola Scriptura
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$4.34
$4.50 (used)
Testimony 2Testimony 2
Metal Blade 2011
Audio CD$13.97
$1.67 (used)
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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)

3.22 | 102 ratings
Neal Morse
1999
2.75 | 77 ratings
It's Not Too Late
2001
4.05 | 404 ratings
Testimony
2003
4.11 | 430 ratings
One
2004
4.20 | 562 ratings
? [Aka: Question Mark]
2005
3.04 | 46 ratings
God Won't Give Up
2005
2.29 | 37 ratings
Lead Me Lord - Worship Sessions Volume 1
2005
2.96 | 40 ratings
Send The Fire - Worship Sessions Volume 2
2006
2.94 | 71 ratings
Morse, Portnoy & George: Cover To Cover
2006
2.56 | 39 ratings
Songs From The Highway
2007
4.19 | 560 ratings
Sola Scriptura
2007
2.77 | 30 ratings
Secret Place - Worship Sessions Volume 3
2008
3.11 | 255 ratings
Lifeline
2008
2.74 | 31 ratings
The River - Worship Sessions Volume 4
2009
2.67 | 27 ratings
Mighty To Save - Worship Sessions Volume 5
2010
4.02 | 531 ratings
Testimony 2
2011
4.01 | 392 ratings
Momentum
2012
3.02 | 42 ratings
Morse, Portnoy & George: Cover 2 Cover
2012
3.00 | 52 ratings
Songs From November
2014
3.77 | 244 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Grand Experiment
2015
4.55 | 120 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
2016
2.78 | 9 ratings
To God Be The Glory
2016

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
3.78 | 53 ratings
? Live
2007
4.47 | 77 ratings
So many Roads
2009
4.48 | 68 ratings
Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles
2011

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

4.48 | 82 ratings
Testimony Live
2004
4.35 | 84 ratings
Sola Scriptura and Beyond
2008
4.48 | 48 ratings
Live Momentum
2013
3.60 | 23 ratings
Morsefest! 2014: Testimony & One Live
2015
4.02 | 20 ratings
Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band)
2016

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

2.75 | 28 ratings
The Transatlantic Demos
2003
2.04 | 6 ratings
Sing It High
2007
3.71 | 10 ratings
One Demos
2007
3.28 | 23 ratings
A Proggy Christmas - The Prog World Orchestra
2012

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

2.05 | 20 ratings
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family
2000
2.76 | 17 ratings
A Proggy Christmas
2011

NEAL MORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.55 | 120 ratings

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

Review by AlanB

5 stars The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, an allegorical tale of a man who flees a doomed city to journey towards a better place, meeting various characters and situations along the way. Surely an obvious choice for a prog rock concept album. The British band After The Fire, before they changed into a New Wave band, recorded a song called Pilgrim in which they covered the whole book in less than eleven minutes. That effort was reasonable for its time, but if you need the proper prog treatment then who better than Neal Morse? Morse's album in fact takes 106 minutes to cover just the first part of Bunyan's story, so he 's certainly expanded on After The Fire's effort.

Musically The Similitude Of A Dream is closer to the sound of Spock's Beard than anything Neal Morse has put out as a solo artist. So if you like Morse-era Beard (and in particular Snow) then you should love this. There are also similarities in style to Sola Scriptura and Question Mark, which happen to be my two favourite Morse albums. I would go so far as to say this is the first time Neal has matched the quality of those two albums since then. Some parts of Similitude verge on heavy metal, which isn't really my cup of tea, but because of the quality and the mixture of other styles, I really like even the heavier parts. In fact, The Man In The Iron Cage, which pays an obvious homage to Led Zeppelin, is one of my favourite tracks. The only song I really can't stand is Slave To Your Mind, which opens the second CD. It's what my parents (bless them) would have described as "a racket." I wish it had been left off the album, or written as a more melodic piece.

As mentioned before, there is a lot of variety of styles here, from acoustic pieces right through to heavy metal, and the whole album flows nicely. It really should be listened to as a whole rather than individual songs, but having said that I have to pick out a few favourites - The Ways Of A Fool, Freedom Song, Shortcut To Salvation (nice sax solo here), The Man In The Iron Cage, and also the closing tracks on each CD which have the typical Morse emotional feel and grandiose endings. Neal Morse has put together an excellent band of musicians and produced one of his best albums. I will have to give it 5 stars as fractions of stars aren't allowed. In reality I would knock it down to 4.75 for Slave To Your Mind, but that's just me being picky.

As a final comment, only part of the book is covered on this album. I would love them to go on and do Vanity Fair, Doubting Castle, the Celestial City etc. But if not, Broken Sky does give the story a satisfactory ending.

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.55 | 120 ratings

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

Review by javajeff

5 stars This is an incredible album. It is flawless in every way and deserves to be in the conversation with the best concept albums ever made. This is actually my very first Neal Morse solo album, so I cannot compare it to anything else other than Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, or Flying Colors. I think I have been avoiding his solo stuff due to the religious nature. I have been warming up to it more, so I will explore his back catalog. What I can say about The Similitude Of A Dream, is that it is loaded with variety of styles, but keeps a signature Neal Morse feel. One thing that really stuck out is that there are many vocalists on this album, and I especially liked Mike Portnoy's vocals. He has a voice that is perfect for playing a part on concept albums. The variance in the vocals really added depth by bringing extra excitement to the theme. There are times when I listen to The Similitude Of A Dream where I feel it sounds more like Dream Theater than Spock's Beard. I believe the musicianship is just perfect, and the drumming by Mike is superb as always. The compositions are excellent, and the songwriting is stellar as expected by Neal Morse. It is up there with all of his best albums, and I believe it even surpasses the masterpiece Snow. I cannot find any negatives after many listens, and I am sure that The Similitude Of A Dream will be in my rotation for a long time. I highly recommend this to anyone that loves progressive rock or concept albums.
 Live Momentum by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2013
4.48 | 48 ratings

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Live Momentum
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

5 stars Neal Morse is one of my favourite artists and he delivers so much with every album but his live albums seem to be the pinnacle of his craft. I ordered this one some years ago and it was a gift to me at the time. It is a massive package with 2 DVDs of awesome live material and the whole concert available as a 3 CD set to treasure.

It is a long concert of course but it features the very best of Morse up to that point in his career. Opening with a killer version of Momentum it is a promise of things to come. The musicianship is absolutely brilliant, Neal Morse on keyboards, guitar, Mike Portnoy on drums, Randy George on bass, Adson Sodr on guitar, Eric Gillette on guitar, keyboards, percussion, and Bill Hubauer on keyboards, violin, and sax. The concert was a New York night of nights of over 3 solid hours of prog excess.

There are some amazing treats to delight in such as Author Of Confusion with Gentle Giant like acapella on the live stage, and the Testimony Suite (Sleeping Jesus, Prince Of The Power Of The Air, The Promise, Wasted Life) is the very best of arguably the greatest Morse album.

Thoughts Part 5 never disappoints and the utterly brilliant The Conflict from Sola Scriptura is amazing. The Question Mark Suite (The Temple Of The Living God, Another World, Entrance, Inside His Presence) is of course a definitive highlight and the wonderful World Without End is unforgettable. A bit of fun can be had with Portnoy at his silliest on The Osmonds' Crazy Horses, perhaps best forgotten. But the concert culminates in a praise to God with the Christian inspired Sing It High and King Jesus. The DVD is well filmed and worth a look especially the behind the scenes tour vid bonus feature: A Long Strange Journey - Tour Documentary that has been edited By Randy George. Overall this is a masterful musical journey showing the greatness of Morse and his band, definitely worth checking out, and one of my favourite concert vids.

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.55 | 120 ratings

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

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

5 stars We've heard the hype: this is the one you've been waiting for! Sits right at the top with any of Neal and Mike's best work! The reality? The hype is legit, but not necessarily in the way I initially had hoped, which was finally for a Neal Morse double album that was a non-stop thrill ride overflowing with new material. Unfortunately, that album still doesn't exist. Yes, Neal writes his share of double (or more) albums, but a third to sometimes even half of the album is reprisals and variations of themes. This isn't always a huge problem, but something I think Neal in particular leans on too much if you want to listen to his full albums perhaps hundreds of time (which I do!). I'm afraid all that's happened again.

I also realize that by doing this I'm not getting the full "story", which is important for most concept albums; however, I would also counter that argument by noting that once you've heard "I gotta get out of the city of destruction" in one song, hearing it again, or a third time, doesn't cause the message to sink in any more. I do appreciate the message--and not just the music--in Neal's productions, and they do inspire me to be a better person, and be closer to God, so I don't want to give the impression that I just listen to the music and throw out the message. That said, the music is what draws me in, and it's the music that keeps me coming back.

So then why the high rating? Because Similitude has enough fresh, interesting, nicely produced and collaboratively performed music to make up a regular 5-star album, and so I feel justified in giving this one the full 5 (of which I've only given to one of Neal's dozens of works, Question Mark). In fact, my "album" is the first disc through Ways of a Fool, and then with the Broken Sky/Long Day finale tacked on. That, my friends, is a 50 minute emotional rollercoaster of consistently excellent and diverse prog, and one satisfying finale to wrap it all up. That's not to say that disc 2 doesn't have interesting material--it certainly does--but much of it is interspersed with the second, third, or even fourth reprises. In fact, that leaves me with a number of very good tracks that stand up nicely as singles and/or bonus tracks that I will also come back to plenty of times, so I certainly don't mind that I paid double-album money, even though when I consider the story and the music simultaneously, I think it works better as a regular- length album.

There are a number of reasons why Similitude represents a step up from Neal's recent material (which I find to generally be very good as well). First, I think Neal has a better songwriting edge when he's tackling historical material, and particularly multiple characters, which he hasn't done for a while. Second, while I find Neal's music to be quite well produced, I believe this sounds even better, particularly the acoustic guitars, the synth variety, and Randy's basswork. Third, it's clear that these guys have been getting better as a real band, and the coordination and collaboration shows throughout the album, particularly in the vocals. Finally, although you can certainly hear sections that sounds like Neal's Genesis, Yes and Styx (among many others) influences, and also similarities to his previous work (particularly Snow, Question Mark, and Sola Scriptura), it comes off as more than fresh enough to not sound "samey" to my ears. In fact, perhaps my favorite development is that unlike a lot of Neal's recent writing, in which it seems he is trying to rock as hard as possible, Similitude features more light, intricate, and perky sections, which I particularly appreciated in his Spock's Beard days.

Since I generally like all of Neal's albums, I try to offer some caveats for those who are wary, so as not to just be a fanboy. I don't have many cautions this time though, other than the fact that things can get tedious with the reprises in the second disc. So see that coming if you are on the fence, but I certainly wouldn't let that keep you away if you were wondering if Similitude was simply more Momentum or Grand Experiment. Thank you, Neal Morse Band, for your efforts!

 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.55 | 120 ratings

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

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

5 stars Here's another concept double album of Neil Morse band based on the story of a man who writes his own story in prison and how he has faced many obstacles. This time there's no epic song but many ideas throughout this long adventure. The music covers different styles of rock, from classic rock to hard rock and Progressive Rock. The album starts with some big instrumental sections that are played at the fast pace,reaching the symphonic Prog Rock and the heavy Prog Rock in a rather dark atmosphere. There's still that emotional Neal's singing his heart out that we all know from his past albums. But what really strikes me in this compared to his previous projects is how Bill Hubauer keyboards are showing more vintage sound and superb melodies. Overall the songs seem to go to the point with more concision. The song "Back to The City" is an example of a track that really works. "The Ways of A Fool" is a retro song taking the Queen and ELP influences. "The Man from the Iron Cage" is close to Led Zep with a powerful guitar solo. If you skipped the song "Freedom Song", you have a perfect album less demonstrative restraining the instrumental parts into shorter sections which result in a more exciting listening experience. There're other highlights songs like "City of Destruction", "The Battle","Confrontation"and also some ballads passages because you can't listen to an hour of music without moments of rest. It will be interesting to hear this whole thing live. This album is really the project of Neal Morse band and not your typical Neal Morse solo album, and this little detail make all the difference.
 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.55 | 120 ratings

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

Review by ProgthankfulRich

5 stars Just to be up front, I am reviewing as a big Neal Morse, Transatlantic, Spock's Beard, Flying Colors fan; I am not going to change the mind of those who don't like Symphonic Prog, neither will I convince NM haters that complain every time he comes out with something that you've heard it all before...so here we go. Initial Attraction - 8/10; because it is a double album it is like trying to eat an elephant; it takes a while to get through it. With that said, most every song is short and there are an awful lot of catchy hooks, riffs, melodies, and choruses. Longevity - 9/10; because it is a double album I like it more each time I go through it. I am not tired of any of it, and the only song I'm skipping is the Overture because you hear it in the rest of the project. BTW, Mr. Morse, I don't think Overtures are a requirement or add very much to a project. Lyrical Content - 8/10; it is pretty typical NM, very good -- parts that touch your heart, parts that make you laugh, parts that make you say "Huh?" I like spiritual substance and due to the source of the concept (John Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress) it is full of symbolism and weirdness, both of which I like. Production - 10/10; crisp, clean, dynamic range great, vocals and all the instruments are easily heard but nothing is ever out of order. Technicality/Musical Proficiency - 9/10; we have some of the premier musicians here and they each have a turn in showing off but never at the expense of forward progress of the concept or story. My fav instrument is guitar and Eric Gillette has a number of very very tasty solos. MP and RG are typically great but never hijack a song, we have some very strong vocals by 4 of the 5 members, and Bill Hubauer does very good work here on keys. Not really a big space for much key solos, but that is nit-picking. Overall Project - 8.75/10; some may be disappointed that there isn't an "epic" length epic on the project, and yes I love me a good long awesome song, but the overall project moves from one song to the next, where you have your large epic in the whole. We can say that we've heard it all before, but seriously how many projects have come out in the last 50 years that is so transformative you can honestly say you haven't? Consciously or unconsciously, they give nods to Pink Floyd, Yes, Kansas, The Who, Queen, Rush, etc etc, as well as some bluegrass, jazz, and gospel fusions. There are songs of many different tempos and styles; there is a whole lot to like and very little to detract. Slow deliberate loud clap, Neal Morse Band. Bravo
 The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.55 | 120 ratings

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

Review by James007

5 stars Neal Morse is a genius. Not because he can write great songs, but because he has stitched together an eclectic and extraordinary collection of musicians as the vehicle for this latest album. It's the same bunch that he had for The Grand Experiment but they've grown more comfortable with one another and really shows. You know what Mike Portnoy brings to the table, and this is apparently the 500th album that he and Neal have done together. Randy George is a long time collaborator with Morse and Portnoy on Neal's solo efforts. He may be the most overlooked musician in the band because he is the only one who doesn't sing. Then comes the new kids. Bill Hubauer may ring a bell if you remember the 90's CCM band Apologetix. They were essentially the contemporaty Christian version of Weird Al Yankovic. Hubauer is an excellent multi-instrumentalist and vocalist and his contributions to the arrangements have been mentioned in interviews by both Portnoy and Morse. Like Morse, Hubauer doesn't look anything like a rock musician. In fact, they both look more like tax accountants. And lastly, the kid, Eric Gillette. If you close your eyes you can hear Petrucci. But baby face Gillette lacks the bionic muscles and Grizzly Adams beard. The album is the best album I've heard this year. And as much as I love the new Haken album, this was a real hard thing to say. It was released with much hype when Portnoy claimed it was one of the best albums he'd ever been a part of. I know my initial reaction was "Seriously?" I'm hear to tell you to believe the hype. Within these 100 minutes you'll hear vestiges of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Queen, Kansas, Steely Dan, Riverside, Styx, Dream Theater, ELP, ELO, Yes, CSN, Little Feat, etc etc. Neal Morse's solo work (along with Transatlantic) always get pigeon holed into the Symphonic Prog category. This album won't be confined to such a narrow description. The songs run the gamut from ballads, to heavy metal, to gospel, to broadway, to southern rock. Some of the tracks are as heavy as anything they've done (yes I'm including Sola Scriptura). In case you aren't aware, the album is based on John Bunyan's 1678 book "The Pilgrims Progress". Back in my high school days, this was required reading. Of course, it was on the new release list back then. The transition into this musical presentation is extraordinary. I know I'm asking for laughter when I compare this work to "Tommy", "The Lamb Lies Down", "The Wall", "Jesus Christ Superstar", etc. But the comparisons are fair. The tracks are woven together through the story without compromise. There aren't any epic tracks on this album, save the finale, which still clocks in at less than 10 minutes. The 105+ minutes are divided into 23 tracks. The vocal harmonies throughout are nothing less than stellar. We saw examples of this on their last album with the CSN-like harmonies and layered choruses. On this album, the harmonies are taken to the next level, even to the extent that you're wondering how they fit on such heavy arrangements until you go "oh yeah, that fits." There are several repeating themes throughout the album presented as variations depending on the bit of the story that is being presented at that time. The album starts our with a beautiful melody (to be repeated at other times), that gives way to the Overture. This contains many of the themes found in the album and is a wonder jumping off place for the record. The album then passes into the various dream sequences set forth in Bunyan's book. "City of Destruction" is straight up RnR. "We Have Got To Go" contains shades of Genesis' "Cinema Show". The vocals on "Makes No Sense" are really well done along with a throwback keyboard solo work. This gives way to "Draw The Line" with its driving groove and Portnoy lead vocals until the song evolves into a Steely Dan sounding ending. "The Ways of a Fool" is a well balanced, bouncy, Queen-like fun song. "So Far Gone" combines several motifs presented previously as the first half of the album approaches. The combination reminds me a little of "One Day More" from Les Miz. This passes into the "Breath of Angels" complete with gospel choir to end the first CD. As excellent as the first CD is, the second one is even better. "Slave to Your Mind" kicks the second half with a driving groove complete with keyboard rich jam. This hands off to one of the coolest vocal pieces on the record, "Shortcut to Salvation". Part Little Feat, part Supertramp, overlapping choruses to finish it up. Just great. "The Man in the Iron Cage" is next. This song just kicks ass (think Riverside's "Celebrity Touch" or Zeppelin's "Black Dog"). "Freedom Song" is a country swing with a really cool CSN feel and vocals to match. The song describes the release of the burdens of the protagonist in the story which gives way to "I'm Running", an ELO type fling complete with one of the coolest bass solos anywhere. "The Mask" starts out with a beautiful piano interlude that passes into the darkest and most dramatic part of the album as the protagonist wrestles with himself and his alter-ego or Satan or whatever. This moves into the cool groove of "Confrontation". This song twists and turns and devolves into "The Battle", which is just sick (think Kansas "Magnum Opus"). Finally, peace, "Broken Sky/Long Day (Reprise)". This 10 minute finale is a masterpiece. The wonderful chorus line builds to a Gilmour-like solo at around 3:49. Coming back around for a key change and another chorus topped off with retro Tony Banks keyboard work. This melds into the original "Long Day" motif as the climax of the album as the protagonist proclaims "The son's coming home." At that point Neal yells "Come on!" and Eric Gillette loses his mind on guitar atop of everything else. One last time the music fades to a postlude concluding with "let the great adventure now being?." and a "day in the life" final piano chord. Mike Portnoy fought to keep this record a single disc for fear that the double album "concept" type project for fear that it would get compared to the Dream Theater album. I'm glad Mike lost the argument, because the results really are astonishing (see what I did there).
 Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band) by MORSE, NEAL album cover DVD/Video, 2016
4.02 | 20 ratings

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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
4.02 | 20 ratings

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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
4.11 | 430 ratings

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One
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.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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