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NEAL MORSE

Symphonic Prog • United States


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

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

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

The extraordinary 2-CD rock opera, composed by Morse, was widely acclaimed as the group's finest. But it was the end of the era: Neal made the agonizing decision to leave Spock's Beard. After also leaving Transatlantic, the transformation was complete. Despite having finally achieved the success he had long sought, Morse began all over again; musically, emotionally and spiritually. Neal then embarked upon the most ambitious musical project of his career. Entitled Testimony (2003), it chronicles his spiritual and musical journey in words and music. The 2 CD set (3 CDs for the Special Edition) spans over two hours as one continuo...
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NEAL MORSE discography


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

3.21 | 129 ratings
Neal Morse
1999
2.81 | 100 ratings
It's Not Too Late
2001
4.06 | 471 ratings
Testimony
2003
4.11 | 499 ratings
One
2004
4.20 | 645 ratings
? [Aka: Question Mark]
2005
2.91 | 60 ratings
God Won't Give Up
2005
2.33 | 49 ratings
Lead Me Lord - Worship Sessions Volume 1
2005
2.81 | 49 ratings
Send The Fire - Worship Sessions Volume 2
2006
2.94 | 85 ratings
Morse, Portnoy & George: Cover To Cover
2006
2.52 | 51 ratings
Songs From The Highway
2007
4.19 | 660 ratings
Sola Scriptura
2007
2.59 | 39 ratings
Secret Place - Worship Sessions Volume 3
2008
3.14 | 294 ratings
Lifeline
2008
2.67 | 42 ratings
The River - Worship Sessions Volume 4
2009
2.60 | 35 ratings
Mighty To Save - Worship Sessions Volume 5
2010
4.00 | 596 ratings
Testimony 2
2011
3.97 | 454 ratings
Momentum
2012
2.88 | 58 ratings
Morse, Portnoy & George: Cover 2 Cover
2012
2.92 | 86 ratings
Songs From November
2014
3.79 | 309 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Grand Experiment
2015
4.09 | 461 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude Of A Dream
2016
2.58 | 36 ratings
To God Be The Glory
2016
2.62 | 54 ratings
Life & Times
2018
3.92 | 294 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Great Adventure
2019
3.74 | 113 ratings
Jesus Christ The Exorcist
2019
3.00 | 12 ratings
Morse/Portnoy/George: Cov3r To Cov3r
2020
3.74 | 82 ratings
Sola Gratia
2020

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

3.20 | 15 ratings
Nick 'n Neal - Two Separate Gorillas - Live In Europe - The From The Vaults Series Volume 2
2000
3.78 | 59 ratings
? Live
2007
4.39 | 92 ratings
So many Roads
2009
4.40 | 81 ratings
Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles
2011
4.83 | 9 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Great Adventour Live in Brno - 2019
2020

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

4.47 | 94 ratings
Testimony Live
2004
4.36 | 94 ratings
Sola Scriptura and Beyond
2008
4.45 | 59 ratings
Live Momentum
2013
3.70 | 34 ratings
Morsefest! 2014: Testimony & One Live
2015
3.97 | 36 ratings
Alive Again (as The Neal Morse Band)
2016
3.90 | 20 ratings
Morsefest 2015
2017
3.78 | 18 ratings
The Neal Morse Band: The Similitude of a Dream - Live in Tilburg 2017
2018
4.44 | 9 ratings
Morsefest! 2017: Testimony Of A Dream
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
Jesus Christ The Exorcist - Live at Morsefest 2018
2020

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

2.78 | 32 ratings
The Transatlantic Demos
2003
1.96 | 7 ratings
Sing It High
2007
3.71 | 10 ratings
One Demos
2007
3.49 | 30 ratings
A Proggy Christmas - The Prog World Orchestra
2012
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Grand Experiment Demos (Inner Circle March 2016)
2016
3.05 | 3 ratings
Hope and a Future
2020
3.00 | 6 ratings
Morse/ Portnoy/ George: Cover to Cover Anthology (Vol. 1-3)
2020

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

2.14 | 23 ratings
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family
2000
2.90 | 20 ratings
A Proggy Christmas
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morsefest 2016 Storytellers (Pt. 1) - Inner Circle March 2018
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morsefest 2016 Storytellers (Pt. 2) - Inner Circle May 2018
2018

NEAL MORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sola Gratia by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.74 | 82 ratings

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Sola Gratia
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

2 stars Neal Morse is a prog legend and one of those guys that led a new wave of symphonic prog with Spock's Beard, later on with Transatlantic and his own band. Through the years he worked on many brilliant prog releases. From 2019 to this day he released four studio albums starting with The Great Adventure which is the only of the four albums worth mentioning. All I can say about Sola Gratia is that it's another Neal Morse album, it brings nothing new to the table. To be honest, there is some good music on the record, but it sounds repetitive and almost the same as his previous work.
 Sola Gratia by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.74 | 82 ratings

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Sola Gratia
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

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

4 stars Former Spock's Beard frontman Neal Morse is hardly a slacker! A constant stream of studio works and live recordings pop up every year from the talented multi-instrumentalist, and 2020's `Sola Gratia' keeps up that momentum, recorded remotely away from his regular musical collaborators and in isolation during this oh so blessed of years! Sarcasm aside, it's another superb set from the composer, especially if you're a fan, and all the punchy symphonic prog arrangements, catchy tunes, elegant orchestration, rich harmonies, dynamic instrumental passages and faith-based lyrics the artist is known for are all accounted for here.

`Sola Gratia' compliments Morse's 2007 release `Sola Scriptura', which focused on an important figure in Christian faith history, sixteenth century German theologian Martin Luther. This time, Morse goes back even further and conveys the story of the apostle Paul (Saul), who initially participated in the persecution of early followers of the Christian movement in Jerusalem, before his later spiritual awakening and conversion.

While the basic instrumental structure of the disc is comparable to his other solo works, `...Gratia', like its 2007 predecessor, frequently has heavier and more bombastic touches worked in, with several passages of tougher guitars and constantly wilder vocals from the artist. But having said that, it might also have the greatest amount of tender and gentle moments as well. Morse is in impeccable form as ever (he really is one of the finest and most versatile modern keyboardists), but the return of his frequent collaborators, particularly ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist Randy George, all give the album the instrumental power and technical finesse that prog fans crave.

Between grand symphonic themes, recurring instrumental motifs and winning reprises that pop up throughout, there's crunchy rockers like `In the Name of the Lord', and `Seemingly Sincere' (dig the muscular instrumental middle section in this one!), and tenderly soulful ballads in the dreamy `Overflow' (could almost be a Transatlantic - a Morse side-project - outtake), `The Glory of the Lord' and the Pink Floyd flavoured album highlight `Never Change' that are a Morse mainstay. Morse's Beatles influences sneak into `Ballyhoo (The Chosen Ones)', spirited backing vocalists are put to good use around the raucous grooves of `Building a Wall' by bringing a chanted choir response, and Gentle Giant fans will love the frantic run-around of `Warmer Than the Sunshine'.

Throughout, there are fleeting touches of call-backs to themes, lyrics and arrangements from `Sola Scriptura' to bring a sense of cohesion and continuity here, and fans will have a great time scratching their heads trying to recall what originally popped up and where on that one! Another highlight is that any prog album that prompts further research into its subject matter only enriches the work and helps the listener appreciate it on a deeper level, and `...Gratia', like its predecessor, is ripe for study and research. Believer or atheist, it's still interesting to delve into a fascinating part of history.

There is, however, a case to be made for the argument question of `How long can Neal Morse keep remaking the same album over and over?'. He has mostly followed the same blueprint described above ever since departing his former band and commencing solo duty with 2003's `Testimony', even if it is absolutely a formula that he completely excels at. If a newcomer curious about his music were to ask for a particular album recommendation, you could easily pick any one of his prog-styled solo albums from `Testimony' through to this one and they'd be rewarded with a winner, because they all sound very similar, and they are more-or-less all as superb as each-other.

So, can `Sola Gratia' be recommended? To make use of a Simpsons quote - "Yes' with an `if...', `no' with a `but..."! Yes, it's literally more of the same from the artist and won't offer any new surprises, but taken on its own merits, it's still a superb example of melodic prog-rock with a ton of the variety that Morse does so well, and despite the sixty-five minute running time, constant re-spins reveal a fairly compact set that flows together effortlessly. If you're a fan and are happy with the artist simply playing to his strengths and delivering exactly what is expected of him, or if you're a curious new listener wanting a good introduction to his approach, `Sola Gratia' proves to be just another winning example of melodic modern prog from a skilled and intelligent artist.

Four stars.

 The Neal Morse Band: The Great Adventour Live in Brno - 2019 by MORSE, NEAL album cover Live, 2020
4.83 | 9 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Great Adventour Live in Brno - 2019
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Razumikhin

5 stars First of all, I am a huge fan of classic prog rock, I spent most of my time listening to the greatest albums of the 70s (Genesis, Yes, King Crimson ') but I don't look for new prog rock as I should. Last time I was involved with new prog releases was 2015, albums such as Hand.Cannot.Erase (Steven Wilson), Love, Fear And The Time Machine (Riverside), +4626 Comfort zone (Beardfish) were highlights of that great year. After that year, my enthusiasm in new releases went low.

But everything changes this year when I discovered Neal Morse music. I was blow away with his composition skills, and his live performance as singer and multi-instrumentalist. The energy and passion of this guy was beyond anything my eyes and ears had witness before. Now, in 2020 I'm ready to get back again in the modern prog rock scene, and must admit, there is an amazing catalog of artist out there to explore, including of course the Neal Morse band latest release, the Great Adventure live in BRNO.

I like the idea of reviewing this album, mostly cause it was released on march 6 of 2020, meaning the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, and maybe that works against the acknowledgment of this record, just a few ranks and no reviews so far, and that's a pity cause is a damn good live album!!!. Here is the Neal Morse band first-time touring in Czech Republic, with the amazing line up of Neal Morse (Vocals, Keyboards, Acoustic and electric guitar, and whistle???), Mike Portnoy (Drums and vocals), Randy George (Bass and Bass Pedals and vocals), Bill Hubauer (Keybords and Vocals) and Eric Gillete (Guitar and vocals).

The set list for this show is the full album of the great adventure, sequel of their latest masterpiece The Similitude of a Dream. One of the greatest things in Neal discography is the enormous legacy of live albums, starting in 2003 with Testimony and continuing with a live album of each of his tours. And let me tell you, I really like it, and the live recreation of The Great Adventure is top to bottom an amazing show of non-stopping action, with all his complex passages, heavy sections and melodic trademark. All this performed with a jaw dropping precision and an infectious energy.

The encore of the show is an amazing Great Medley, a well-crafted medley of Neal Morse's and band records, containing one song of each album, starting with In The land of the beginning again of Testimony (2003) to Broken Sky/Long Day Reprise of Similitude of a Dream (2016). I have to get credit to the band for this effort, is not an easy task to craft this 25 minutes of music, especially when you take into consideration the discography of a composer where his average song last 10-15 minutes.

This is a 5-star Masterpiece, one of the greatest of 2020 and if you are a fan of progressive rock, or in music in general you better not miss this great adventure of more than two hours of music.

 Sola Gratia by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.74 | 82 ratings

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Sola Gratia
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by thesimilitudeofprog

4 stars This isolation of the pandemic offered an opportunity for Neal to focus on his progressive rock solo concept work. Long time musical partners Mike Portnoy and Randy George bring their talents, as well as some guitar and keyboard work from Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer. This album was also entirely recorded 'remotely' due to the travel restrictions of COVID 19.

The music inspiration to Sola Gratia can be heard right from the beginning as Neal's melody during the Preface brings back one of the most memorable melodies from the original Sola Scriptura masterpiece. Sola Gratia (latin: grace alone) is based upon the life of the Apostle Paul, from his aggressive persecution of Christians and the early church to his conversion to Christ on the road to Damascus. The Overture is 6 minutes of terrific music which quickly reveals the deep com-positional skills of Morse and the usual chops of Portnoy and George. Melodies and musical passages are exciting and fresh. This fades to the first release and video In The Name Of The Lord. This is as intense and straight forward rock song. The story continues from Paul's perspective as Ballyhoo (The Chosen Ones) leads the listener through his thought process of why he must persecute the Christians. March Of The Pharisees is a short instrumental which leads to the arena-rock-style anthem Building A Wall. This will surely bring on a loud audience interaction during a live performance. Sola Intermezzo is another short instrumental offering with a great vibe and bringing back the opening riff of Sola Scriptura. The high energy ending contrasts with the following song Overflow. This is the song which lets the listener relax and catch their breath from the first half of the story. A beautiful melody accompanied by piano and strings, is backed by a chorus of voices, flutes, and a great groove from Portnoy and George. Warmer Than Sunshine is a mostly instrumental piece. It's a great combination of the heavy and melodic character of the album. At this point of the story, it is building up to the final conflict. Never Change is a terrific song bringing almost eight minutes of Neal's vocals at their best in showcasing a very soulful and emotional delivery. This leads to the second release and video, Seemingly Sincere. As the longest song of the album, at 9 1/2 minutes, this is a highlight of the album as is describes the stoning of Stephen at the hands of Paul. The rest of the album changes it's tonality as Paul's persecuting days are done and is forever changed. The Glory Of The Lord is an uplifting song which features an epic Eric Gillette solo. The choir closes the song in epic fashion and leads to the finale Now I Can See/The Great Commission. As expected, this is your usual Morse epic ending with the feel good ending with a terrific calm conclusion with a solo piano. In conclusion, aside from a couple of new sonic explorations, most all of this album is straight from the Neal Morse playbook. Ultimately this album will side comfortably alongside '?' and Sola Scriptura, but its up to the listener whether Sola Gratia matches the heights of those albums.

Rating-85%

Recommended Tracks: March Of The Pharisees, Overflow, Never Change & Seemingly Sincere.

 Sola Gratia by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.74 | 82 ratings

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Sola Gratia
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by AlanB

4 stars Neal Morse has done it again. Another concept album. This time produced under trying circumstances. Unable to get together with his musical associates to write and record, he wrote the whole thing himself and sent the files to Mike Portnoy and Randy George to add drums and bass. Neal Morse Band members Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer also contribute some parts but don't sing, so this album is billed as a Neal Morse solo album rather than a Neal Morse Band one.

Despite these limitations, Sola Gratia is a really good album. Based on the story of Saul of Tarsus, the narrative covers the events leading up to his conversion on the road to Damascus. There are nods back to one of Neal's previous albums Sola Scriptura, right from the start in fact, where, following a nice acoustic guitar intro, the opening lyrics are taken from the closing lyrics of the former album. After this preface there is the obligatory overture (one of his better ones too), then the story begins. Saul is a religious zealot, believing that this new religion that has arisen must be stamped out, and there are echoes of 'In the name of God you must die, all that's not our truth is a lie' in the song In The Name Of The Lord. The music goes seamlessly from metal to synth-driven prog to ballads. There is even an electronica section with programmed keyboards in Seemingly Sincere. Portnoy excels on drums in this song, both with restrained drumming early on and his more familiar style during the extended instrumental section. I must also mention the guitar solo in The Glory Of The Lord, I suspect it's Eric Gillette. It's spine-tingling.

I would put Sola Gratia in my top 5 of Neal Morse albums, alongside Question Mark, Sola Scriptura, Jesus Christ The Exorcist, and Similitude.

 Morse/ Portnoy/ George: Cover to Cover Anthology (Vol. 1-3) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
3.00 | 6 ratings

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Morse/ Portnoy/ George: Cover to Cover Anthology (Vol. 1-3)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars On the same day they released their third album of covers; Morse Portnoy George also released an anthology which also includes remastered versions of the first two albums. The first album was released in 2006, the second in 2012, with the third out in 2020 so although it is unusual for musicians to release so many cover albums it has been done over a period of time. One thing which needs to be remembered is that these guys have loads of fun with these, and in many ways it is a step away from the more serious music they record together. I am hoping against hope that one day Yellow Matter Custard will record another album, as their live sets when they play Beatles all night is just sublime (Morse, Portnoy, Paul Gilbert and Matt Bissonette/Kasim Sulton). They do not need to do this, but have loads of fun together when doing this so why not?

Portnoy and George have been playing with Morse since 2003, and they have played countless shows together over the years, so they all know how each is going to play and can react to that and slot in. Here they mix and match the styles and type of songs, so the listener never knows what is coming next (unless they read the track listing). Take for example the latest disc, where they start with "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed". Although Morse is a good multi-instrumentalist it is something else altogether to take parts originally made famous by Peter Banks and Tony Kaye, but here he just goes for it, and makes it through to the other side ably abetted by one of the best rhythm sections around, while Jon Davidson guests on vocals. Songs such as "Hymn 43" get turned into something far ballsier than the original, with Portnoy taking every opportunity to fill up the space up as he powers through the kit. This means that while they are staying true to the original, they are definitely not trying to reproduce it but coming at it from their own backgrounds. "Baker Street" feels slightly off, as does "Life On Mars", but to be honest here is a band having a blast and "Runnin' Down A Dream" is sublime.

I've lost count of how many Neal Morse albums I have, including his band permutations, the Beard, Transatlantic etc, but this isn't one to be take seriously but just to play and hear here guys paying tribute, knowing they can never better the originals but that is not what this is all about. As Portnoy explains: "One of the first things myself, Neal and Randy usually start talking about what we can cover when we gather for one of Neal's solo albums, should we have some leftover time at the end of the session. Most of the songs are rooted in the 60s and 70s and are songs / bands we grew up with." Explains George, "We all share an attachment for this era of music, so we each throw out song ideas, see what sticks, and record the ones we like the most!"

 Morse/ Portnoy/ George: Cover to Cover Anthology (Vol. 1-3) by MORSE, NEAL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
3.00 | 6 ratings

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Morse/ Portnoy/ George: Cover to Cover Anthology (Vol. 1-3)
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by AlanB

3 stars Despite being a huge Neal Morse fan, I'd never bought any of his albums of cover versions. When I saw that all three were available for only a few pounds more than the cost of the latest one, I decided to dive in. So glad I did.

Cover To Cover Anthology consists of the first two discs, remastered (understandable) and with a different track order (not sure why that was necessary, but hey), with the latest instalment, Cov3r to Cov3r, and liner notes for all 3 discs written by Mike Portnoy. Notwithstanding a couple of tracks each by King Crimson and Jethro Tull, and an early Yes song, the songs covered are not prog but 60s/70s pop songs. With a smattering from the 80s too. Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy and Randy George have chosen songs that they love, from bands that they admire and were influenced by. Some of these songs will be recognisable to everyone, Life On Mars, Baker Street, Crazy Horses and Rikki Don't Lose That Number, amongst others. Some of the other selections are more eclectic and will only be known by fans of those particular artists. Of the songs that I already knew, I would say that the covers are pretty faithful to the originals. However Mr Portnoy does put his own stamp on some of them with his inimitable drumming style. Also impressive is Neal's prowess on the lead guitar. Known more as a composer and keyboard player, he usually leaves such duties to specialists like his brother Alan, Roine Stolt, Steve Morse or Eric Gillette. But if you listen to the end of Baker Street you will realise how good Neal actually is himself.

I can heartily recommend this collection if you don't already have the first two Cover To/2 Cover albums. If you do have them, the third album is well worth adding.

I'd love to give this 4 stars but as it's not a prog album I ought to stick with 3.

 ? [Aka: Question Mark] by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.20 | 645 ratings

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? [Aka: Question Mark]
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by nivon

5 stars I will ignore the religious content - you could love it or hate it, though some claim they are offended by it. The music here is superb, and has an epic feeling to it.

Many great musicians are playing on this album, including:

- Steve Hackett / guitar

- Jordan Rudess / keyboards

Rudess influence is very much felt, and I think that's one of the reasons the music here reminds me of Dream Theater. He also has many "Firth of Fifth"/Genesis elements throughout his solos, and this is so rewarding.

The album should be heard in one continues take, as all the tracks are melded together to one epic piece with no gaps. There are many great Prog moments, and the music overall is very much accessible and easy to digest, though still stays interesting and diverse.

I loved it since first listen.

 The Neal Morse Band: The Grand Experiment by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.79 | 309 ratings

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The Neal Morse Band: The Grand Experiment
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by AlanB

4 stars The Grand Experiment is the first album credited to The Neal Morse Band. Neal and his long-term musical partners Mike Portnoy and Randy George are joined by two new permanent band members. Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer add a new dimension to the sound, particularly in the vocal department, although they are also tremendous musicians.

The opening song, The Call, starts with an a Capello vocal before launching into full blown prog. This is a mini epic with a lot of energy. The title track is more hard rock than prog, not a bad song but not one of my favourites. Waterfall is a beautiful acoustic song with excellent vocal harmonies. The clunker on the album is Agenda. I know the lyrics are meant to be ironic but the song does nothing for me and sounds out of place after the sublime Waterfall. The final song, Alive Again, is for me the highlight of the album. It stands with All Of The Above and Seeds Of Gold as one of the best 25-30 minute epics Neal has recorded. I particularly love the way the band use a simple musical theme which is repeated with different instruments/sounds and rhythms. Also how they can go from classical to heavy metal to ballad apparently seamlessly. Bill Hubauer's vocal contribution here is outstanding.

I bought the single disc version but I have heard New Jerusalem and MacArthur Park, either of which I would have preferred on the main disc instead of Agenda, to be honest.

I will give 5 stars for the two epics and Waterfall, three for the title track and one for Agenda. Seeing as the two weaker tracks are both short, that averages out as a solid 4 stars.

 Hope and a Future by MORSE, NEAL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2020
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Hope and a Future
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars From Neal Morse: "As we all crowd around our televisions and read our news feeds concerning the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus, I am sensing a wave of hopelessness, fear and uncertainty unlike anything I can remember. Many times there have been extreme difficulties in regions or nations, but this is a trial for all humanity?and, as in any time of testing, many will fall into the depths of hopelessness. When hope disappears, all seems lost. But it's not. So I have been thinking?what can I do? How can I help? I shared that feeling with the Radiant team and we came up with this idea: a free collection of Neal Morse songs titled 'Hope and a Future'. I've tried to interject elements of hope in my music for as far back as I can remember, so we have made a special album of songs from my entire catalogue, accenting the uplifting and affirming, to help you navigate these unchartered waters with peace and blessed assurance. Effective immediately, you can download this collection of songs free of charge from the Radiant website. My deepest desire is that you will find something in these songs ? a word, a phrase, a concept ? that you can latch onto and will help you and your family through this season. Your download will also contain a document that we put together containing some great quotes regarding hope. In closing, let me encourage you with this. No matter the circumstances or how things appear, let "the love that never dies" fill your heart today and be the "wind at your back" that brings you to a "peaceful harbor" in the days ahead."

So there you have it, that is exactly what this album is about, and what it is intended for. Is it a perfect introduction to Neal's work? Well, no to be honest. It is a thematic collection of songs as opposed to a "greatest hits" set, and unless you are a committed Christian there is a lot here which will probably wash over you. But that's okay. There are some people who will find solace in this album, and that is the intended market. Me? I always enjoy Neal's music, and although there are some here which I can happily pass over having played them a few times, there are also some gems in a demo version of "We All Need Some Light" and a superb live version of "Wind At My Back" from 2007. As a pure musical set, I will turn to many of his other releases before playing this one, but that is due to personal likes and dislikes as opposed to any lack of production or song quality. Get this album free at Neal's site.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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