Header

NEAL MORSE

Symphonic Prog • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neal Morse picture
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...
read more

Neal Morse official website

NEAL MORSE MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

NEAL MORSE forum topics / tours, shows & news


NEAL MORSE forum topics Create a topic now
NEAL MORSE tours, shows & news Post an entries now

NEAL MORSE Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to NEAL MORSE

Buy NEAL MORSE Music


MomentumMomentum
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$11.38
$8.52 (used)
Neal MorseNeal Morse
Metal Blade 1999
Audio CD$11.57
$7.58 (used)
??
Metal Blade 2005
Audio CD$11.39
$6.95 (used)
OneOne
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$10.32
$6.34 (used)
Cover to CoverCover to Cover
Metal Blade 2006
Audio CD$10.64
$10.63 (used)
TestimonyTestimony
Metal Blade 2003
Audio CD$16.27
$12.99 (used)
Sola ScripturaSola Scriptura
Metal Blade 2007
Audio CD$11.08
$8.99 (used)
Sola Scriptura & BeyondSola Scriptura & Beyond
Metal Blade 2008
DVD$16.10
$14.50 (used)
LifelineLifeline
Metal Blade 2008
Audio CD$9.61
$5.62 (used)
Momentum LiveMomentum Live
Box set
Metal Blade 2013
Audio CD$22.22
$15.00 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Slip Quinn: Neal Morse : Testimony Two Live In Los Angeles 3 CDs US $62.90 Buy It Now 2h 16m
Slip Treble: Neal Morse : Testimony Two : 2 CDs & DVD US $28.25 [0 bids]
9h 2m
Affector - CD 2012 - Harmageddon (Jordan Rudess/Neal Morse/Derek Sherinian) US $4.03 [7 bids]
10h 21m
Neal Morse Testimony Two: Live In Los Angeles CD US $24.99 Buy It Now 20h 46m
Neal Morse - Neal Morse New & Sealed CD Free Shipping US $20.94 Buy It Now 20h 57m
Lifeline - Neal Morse New & Sealed CD Free Shipping US $21.91 Buy It Now 20h 57m
Testimony 2 - Neal Morse New & Sealed CD Free Shipping US $26.29 Buy It Now 20h 58m
NEAL MORSE - TESTIMONY TWO [2 DISCS] [5052205055823] - NEW CD BOXSET US $25.16 Buy It Now 1 day
Neal Morse: SO MANY ROADS 2007 3-CD Box Spock's Beard FACTORY SEALED US $0.99 [2 bids]
1 day
Spock's Beard: THE LIGHT 1995 CD Neal Morse Spocks Beard FACTORY SEALED US $5.50 [8 bids]
1 day
NEAL MORSE So Many Roads DELUXE 3 CD SET. LIVE SET from the SPOCK'S BEARD vet. US $11.99 Buy It Now 2 days
CD Album: Neal Morse : One : Sealed US $15.92 [0 bids]
2 days
CD Album: Neal Morse : Sola Scriptura : Sealed US $16.76 [0 bids]
2 days
CD Album: Neal Morse : Lifeline : Sealed US $16.43 [0 bids]
2 days
Flying Colors [Digipak] by Flying Colors Steve Morse,Mike Portnoy,Neal Morse. US $10.95 [0 bids]
2 days
NEAL MORSE - LIVE MOMENTUM - NEW CD BOXSET US $42.08 Buy It Now 2 days
Neal Morse Let's Polka CD USA Radiant NEW US $49.99 [0 bids]
2 days
Testimony - Neal Morse New & Sealed CD Free Shipping US $26.29 Buy It Now 2 days
Sola Scriptura - Neal Morse New & Sealed CD Free Shipping US $21.91 Buy It Now 2 days
Neal Morse - Morse,Neal (1999, CD New) US $11.90 Buy It Now 2 days
Neal Morse - God Won't Give Up CD (2005, Radiant Records ) NEAR MINT US $15.00 Buy It Now 3 days
NEW Spock's Beard From Vault RARE 1998 Radiant CD Neal Morse Demos Live Spocks US $9.99 [0 bids]
US $12.99 Buy It Now
3 days
Alpha Rev "New Morning" CD Casey McPherson Neal Morse Flying Colors **Free Shipp US $10.99 [0 bids]
3 days
One Neal Morse CD US $12.36 Buy It Now 3 days
Neal Morse Testimony 2 CD US $16.11 Buy It Now 3 days
NEAL MORSE**MOMENTUM**CD US $17.02 Buy It Now 3 days
Spock's Beard "Beware of Darkness" Special Edition CD Neal Morse *Free Shipping* US $13.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Spock's Beard "The Kindness Of Strangers" Special Edition Neal Morse *Free Shipp US $11.99 [0 bids]
3 days
NEAL MORSE**TESTIMONY TWO**2CD US $16.68 Buy It Now 3 days
Spock's Beard "Day For Night" Special Edition CD Neal Morse **Free Shipping** US $14.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Spock's Beard "V" Special Edition CD Neal Morse **Free Shipping** US $13.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Spock's Beard "From The Vault" CD Neal Morse Alan Morse **Free Shipping** US $19.99 [0 bids]
3 days
NEAL MORSE - NEAL MORSE - NEW CD US $11.88 Buy It Now 3 days
Spock's Beard "Don't Try This at Home: Live" CD Neal Morse **Free Shipping** US $9.99 [0 bids]
3 days
NEAL MORSE**TESTIMONY TWO (SPECIAL EDITION)**2CD+DVD US $22.19 Buy It Now 3 days
NEAL MORSE BY MORSE,NEAL (CD) US $21.37 Buy It Now 3 days
Transatlantic Smpte LTD 2 CD Dream Theater Marillion Spock's Beard Neal Morse IQ US $80.00 [0 bids]
4 days
NEAL MORSE**TESTIMONY TWO: LIVE IN LOS ANGELES**3CD+2DVD SET US $27.20 Buy It Now 4 days
Spock's Beard Nocturnes FanClub+1 Neal Morse Enchant Transatlantic Dream Theater US $29.99 [0 bids]
4 days
NEAL MORSE**MOMENTUM (SPECIAL EDITION)**CD+DVD US $25.40 Buy It Now 4 days
Neal Morse Lifeline CD US $12.41 Buy It Now 4 days
Cover to Cover Neal Morse/Mike Portnoy/Randy George CD US $13.26 Buy It Now 4 days
Morse,Neal - Neal Morse [CD New] US $14.77 Buy It Now 4 days
Neal Morse - Testimony CD US $22.47 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - So Many Roads-Live CD US $23.71 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - One CD US $17.22 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Lifeline CD US $18.77 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Neal Morse CD US $17.16 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Testimony 2 CD US $30.56 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Momentum CD METAL BLADE US $18.77 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Sola Scriptura CD US $18.77 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - ? Live CD US $21.20 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Testimony Two-Live In Los Angeles CD US $34.95 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - ? CD US $17.88 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Momentum CD US $25.40 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Testimony 2 CD METAL BLADE US $22.66 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse Momentum CD US $11.30 Buy It Now 5 days
Neal Morse - Momentum (Live/Live Recording, 2012) CD -NEW -FREE FASTPOST US $13.41 Buy It Now 6 days
Momentum Live - 5 DISC SET - Neal Morse (2013, CD New) US $21.25 Buy It Now 6 days
Momentum: Live Neal Morse CD US $21.91 Buy It Now 6 days
NEAL MORSE - ? [NEAL MORSE] - NEW CD US $12.62 Buy It Now 6 days
NEAL MORSE - LIFELINE [NEAL MORSE] [CD] [1 DISC] - NEW CD US $12.39 Buy It Now 6 days
NEAL MORSE-LIVE-JAPAN 2CDs Ii45 US $58.99 Buy It Now 7 days
NEAL MORSE ? GREAT SOLO CD The SPOCK'S BEARD & TRANSATLANTIC prog/rock genius US $9.99 Buy It Now 7 days
NEAL MORSE - MOMENTUM: LIVE [BOX] * - NEW CD BOXSET US $25.42 Buy It Now 8 days
NEAL MORSE - SOLA SCRIPTURA - NEW CD US $15.02 Buy It Now 8 days
Neal Morse - Testimony Two USA 3 x CD & 2 x DVD Set , Spock's Beard, Brand New ! US $24.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Neal Morse by Neal Morse (CD, Oct-1999, Metal Blade) US $11.94 Buy It Now 9 days
Live by Neal Morse (CD, Oct-2007, 2 Discs, Metal Blade) US $12.86 Buy It Now 9 days
One by Neal Morse (CD, Nov-2004, Metal Blade) US $8.57 Buy It Now 9 days
So Many Roads [Digipak] by Neal Morse (CD, Nov-2009, 3 Discs, Radiant Records) US $14.62 Buy It Now 9 days
Momentum: Live [Box] * by Neal Morse (CD, 2013, 5 Discs, Radiant Records) US $21.93 Buy It Now 9 days
Momentum: Live * by Neal Morse (CD, Sep-2012, Metal Blade) US $11.40 Buy It Now 9 days
? Neal Morse CD US $12.64 Buy It Now 9 days
Momentum - Neal Morse (2012, CD New) US $10.01 Buy It Now 9 days
NEAL MORSE - SO MANY ROADS (3 CD SET) MINT DIGIPAK US $12.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Neal Morse Momentum CD US $16.05 Buy It Now 10 days
Cover 2 Cover Neal Morse/Mike Portnoy/Randy George CD US $13.13 Buy It Now 10 days
Neal Morse - Testimony - Rock Masterpiece - Free Postage US $11.15 Buy It Now 10 days
NEAL MORSE**MOMENTUM: LIVE**3 CD + 2 DVD SET US $25.52 Buy It Now 11 days
Testimony 2, Neal Morse, New US $24.60 Buy It Now 12 days
Snow by Spock's Beard/Neal Morse/Rare,linited 3 cd box set/NEW US $75.00 Buy It Now 12 days
Lifeline by Neal Morse (CD, Oct-2008, Radiant Records) US $11.78 Buy It Now 13 days
Testimony 2: Live in Los Angeles [Digipak] by Neal Morse (CD, Nov-2011, 5... US $24.77 Buy It Now 13 days
Sola Scriptura by Neal Morse (CD, Mar-2007, Metal Blade) US $12.07 Buy It Now 13 days
Cover 2 Cover by Morse Portnoy George/Neal Morse/Mike Portnoy (Drums)/Randy... US $11.04 Buy It Now 13 days
Testimony Two by Neal Morse (CD, May-2011, 2 Discs, Radiant Records) US $16.24 Buy It Now 13 days
Testimony by Neal Morse (CD, Sep-2003, 2 Discs, Metal Blade) US $15.56 Buy It Now 13 days
NEAL MORSE - COVER TO COVER [NEAL MORSE] [CD] [1 DISC] [039841458626] - NEW CD US $13.27 Buy It Now 13 days
NEAL MORSE-TESTIMONY TWO US $11.99 Buy It Now 13 days
Neal Morse - Neal Morse (CD, 1999, Metal Blade) Christian prog rock US $12.99 Buy It Now 13 days
NEAL MORSE - IT'S NOT TOO LATE (CD, 2002, Inside Out Music) Christian prog rock US $39.99 Buy It Now 13 days
NEAL MORSE - ONE [NEAL MORSE] [CD] [1 DISC] - NEW CD US $12.34 Buy It Now 14 days
NEAL MORSE - TESTIMONY [NEAL MORSE] [CD BOXSET] [2 DISCS] - NEW CD BOXSET US $19.46 Buy It Now 14 days
Neal Morse - It's Not Too Late CD 2001 ECRCD005 EAR CANDY US $28.49 Buy It Now 14 days
Neal Morse Sola Scriptura CD US $15.01 Buy It Now 14 days
NEAL MORSE - MOMENTUM: LIVE * - NEW CD US $11.28 Buy It Now 15 days
Neal Morse - Momentum Live CD US $28.43 Buy It Now 16 days
Testimony Two Neal Morse CD US $22.18 Buy It Now 16 days
~ NEAL MORSE - TESTIMONY TWO ~ MUSIC 2 CD's US $10.99 Buy It Now 16 days

More places to buy NEAL MORSE music online Buy NEAL MORSE & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for NEAL MORSE DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

NEAL MORSE shows & tickets


NEAL MORSE has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

NEAL MORSE discography


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

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

3.21 | 74 ratings
Neal Morse
1999
2.75 | 60 ratings
It's Not Too Late
2001
4.02 | 329 ratings
Testimony
2003
4.11 | 346 ratings
One
2004
4.21 | 456 ratings
?
2005
3.08 | 35 ratings
God Won't Give Up
2005
2.29 | 31 ratings
Lead Me Lord (Worship Sessions Volume One)
2005
2.97 | 29 ratings
Send The Fire (Worship Sessions Volume 2)
2006
2.92 | 49 ratings
Cover To Cover
2006
2.47 | 27 ratings
Songs From The Highway
2007
4.18 | 448 ratings
Sola Scriptura
2007
2.90 | 20 ratings
Secret Place (Worship Sessions Volume 3)
2008
3.05 | 198 ratings
Lifeline
2008
2.76 | 21 ratings
The River (Worship Sessions Volume 4)
2009
2.72 | 18 ratings
Mighty To Save (Worship Sessions Volume 5)
2010
4.02 | 443 ratings
Testimony 2
2011
3.98 | 307 ratings
Momentum
2012
2.96 | 26 ratings
Cover 2 Cover
2012

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

3.80 | 5 ratings
Nick 'n Neal - Two Separate Gorillas - Live In Europe - The From The Vaults Series Volume 2
2000
3.74 | 46 ratings
? Live
2007
4.53 | 58 ratings
So many Roads
2009
4.47 | 51 ratings
Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles
2011

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

4.45 | 67 ratings
Testimony Live
2004
4.35 | 72 ratings
Sola Scriptura and Beyond
2008
4.27 | 30 ratings
Live Momentum
2013

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

2.69 | 24 ratings
The Transatlantic Demos
2003
1.96 | 4 ratings
Sing It High
2007
3.73 | 7 ratings
One Demos
2007
3.22 | 18 ratings
A Proggy Christmas - The Prog World Orchestra
2012

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

2.03 | 19 ratings
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family
2000
2.62 | 13 ratings
A Proggy Christmas
2011

NEAL MORSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles by MORSE, NEAL album cover Live, 2011
4.47 | 51 ratings

BUY
Testimony Two - Live In Los Angeles
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by rdtprog
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars When you think the man is going to slow down to make big concepts albums with huge epic songs, there is a voice from god that tell him to continue. Neal Morse brings his little orchestra to Los Angeles to play the complete Testimony 2 CD plus many more epics. The songs are complex and intense like a big piece of symphonic music that are interrupted by some straight forward acoustic passages with Neal on the guitar.

The visuals of the DVDs are a bit of a disappointment, they added nothing to the performance, while the camera work is professional with some split screen effects. With the 3 hours performance of the show, we have a additional 10 minutes performance with Neal and Spock's Beard in the High Voltage festival. The stereo sound is nice, so you won't be disappointed listening the audio CDs that goes with the DVDs.

If it's impossible to enjoy every minute of this long concert, i really enjoy the first half of the first set, were it seems that every songs was flowing together very well. As usual a concert of Neal Morse is not complete without his "Gentle Giant moment" and a emotional moment when he talks about the miraculous recovery of his daughter from heart failure.

In conclusion, i think its always better to see the band playing their instruments than listening only to the audio portion on CDs. But don't expect to see a visually entertaining video to watch here like his previous live ones. Testimony 2 is a nice piece of music, not as strong as Testimony 1, but strong enough to fit in the discography of this passionate composer and musician who continue to gives us something to satisfy our hunger for symphonic prog rock music. (3.7 stars)

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Momentum by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.98 | 307 ratings

BUY
Momentum
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars I only spun this album and pay attention to the music once I listened to the latest album of Spock's Beard and writing the review about it couple of days ago. I have to admit that this is really an excellent prog album with full rocking spirit from start to end. I almost did not believe that in fact Neal is much better as solo musician than being a front man and major composer of his legacy band : Spock's Beard. I do enjoy this album from start to end.

First off ...let me give my say about the concluding track which is actually an epic "World Without End". The epic starts in an ambient mode with keyboard work which is then followed with a blast of excellent music that moves dynamically with no vocal line for such a long period, approximately first six minutes. Oh yes ..the first six minutes instrumental part is so captivating and it sets the overall tone of the epic. For sure I enjoy the intro part which presents great combination of excellent performance as well as tight arrangement that create the music flows naturally. The next four minutes is a musical segment with lyrical verse where Neal sings beautifully in a rockin' style and at the end is the change in mood to slower in tempo and mellow in style. What I really love is the part - a rocking one! - that start at approximately minute 11:53. The music turns into differrent style and mood with excellent keyboard riffs. there arae many breaks aound this area. The guitar solo is really stunning and of course I love this part in particular and love the whole epic. I just cannot believe that Neal still can do this wonderfully crafted epic. The most important thing is that even though the epic runs over 33 minutes overall duration, I never get bored with it. In fact ..the more I spin , the more I enjoy it especially the intertwined work of keyboard and guitar solo in the middle of the epic. It's so captivating!

I think ..considering only the epic, it does make sense to purchase this album regardless the other songs are lousy ...

But that's not the case, really! The other songs are very good and excellent as well. The opening track "Momentum" (6:25) is an upbeat and rocking music composition that I guarrantee you would love it at first spin. "Thoughts Part 5" (7:51) is in fact rockier and faster in tempo than the opening track. the important part of this second track is the choirs like the one Gentle Giant did in the past. The choirs are really great and I do enjoy it as it sounds natural in the beginning part of the track. There is an interesting bass guitar solo in the middle, followed by a stunning guitar solo. Yeah!

"Smoke and Mirrors" (4:38) brings the album into a nice ballad with excellent acoustic guitar work at intro part. This song is mellow with memorable melody. Neal's voice sounds great. There is a little prog component right here but it provides an excellent melody all over the track. "Weathering Sky" (4:15) brings the music into a rocking style again with excellent guitar solo and singing style. This track is heavily influenced by The Beatles. "Freak" (4:29) reminds me to The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby especially at intro part where it has string sounds that accompany vocal.

Overall, this is really an excellent prog ROCK album in its truest sense. The composition has excellent harmony and many style and tempo changes throughout the album. Despite many changes the album still maintains its structural integrity so that produces an excellent cohessive whole. Keep on proggin' ,,,!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Momentum by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.98 | 307 ratings

BUY
Momentum
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Some people think they're lucky / Like they thought of heaven first..." That was Neal Morse in his pre-Christian, party animal youth, from the 1996 SPOCK'S BEARD anthem "Waste Away". It was a prophetic lyric for a veteran Proghead who would later turn his entire life into a concept album of sorts: an ongoing hymn of praise to his personal Savior.

I'm not the first listener to point out that his shtick (both musical and metaphysical) grows old after the first several repetitions. Not too many singers can stretch a simple word like "arrive" into five distinct syllables, and fewer cling to their Old Time religion with such insecure devotion. He's been plowing the same straight and very narrow path throughout his single-minded solo career, but sooner or later such a prolific composer was bound to hit pay dirt, and this year 2012 studio album is the one Spock's Beard fans have likely been waiting for, achieving at last that elusive balance between his ministry and music.

Since quitting the Beard the latter should have been (but wasn't always) his first priority. It's usually necessary, when listening to a Neal Morse album, to hear the music while trying to ignore the Flat Earth thinking behind it, further illustrated in the cover art of his newest studio album. Is there a God-fearing American bias to the positioning of the globe, held aloft by the mighty hand of its absentee landlord? And is that meant to be the sun (or the Son?) revolving around it, in defiant opposition to Copernican logic?

But he's not pushing his religion quite so hard in this effort, in effect expanding its appeal beyond the circumscribed limits of his CPR fan base. And the music itself presents some of his strongest writing to date. The initial five songs (the first 'side' of the album, so to speak) pick up close to where the Beard left off with their peak album "V", driven by the old school Symphonic Rock of the aptly named title track. Morse's episodic homage to GENTLE GIANT (again, last heard on the "V" album) continues in the knotted "Thoughts, Part 5", and the slot reserved for the usual ballad is nicely filled by the delicate "Smoke and Mirrors". The only stumble is the too-cute novelty song "Freak", in which the punch-line is telegraphed well in advance and presented, with a self- satisfied smirk, like a rabbit from an old top hat.

And then there's the 33-minute "World Without End": a (melo-) dramatic showcase for Morse's gifts as an arranger, and the equal to any epic in his greater discography. The individual parts were all pressed from the usual template, but the edge never dulls over its more than one-half-hour length, and the pieces all fit together with effortless ease. Too many of Morse's big musical epiphanies, dating back to the earliest Beard albums, have sounded forced or artificial, but by the end of this beast he achieves a real sense of majesty (with a lower case letter 'm', please note).

Like a lot of Neo Prog the songwriting is typically verbose, often defeating its author's purpose, which is to spread the word, not smother the listener. And the sessions were supposedly inspired by a couch-potato fixation with an Australian boob-tube televangelist ("can God speak through a television?" asks Morse in the CD notes, and I suspect it was meant as a legitimate question). But the entire project was completed in a fortnight: an amazing accomplishment all by itself. Hard work, good fortune, and the law of averages all paid handsome dividends this time around, although Morse obviously doesn't see it that way. "Needless to say," he writes about the recording process, "the Lord delivered."

Why needless? And why not take credit for your own act of creation? If you want to claim divine guidance, more power to you, Neal, but I'm not buying it: you're a talented guy, and you did it all yourself...with a little help from your terrestrial (not celestial) friends.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Testimony 2 by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.02 | 443 ratings

BUY
Testimony 2
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars As a Christian who respects the Bible as an authority, I agree only in part with the preaching of Morse. There are important insights in his lyrics which, in my opinion, have no foundation in the Holy Scriptures, as it has miraculous healing today. Also, I do not know conclusively until real is his conversion, but it's not my business to judge him.

As for the music, Testimony II is a highly qualified product, essentially the first album, seamless, with intelligent conductive line. well orchestrated and sung with emotion. Seeds of Gold of second album is also essential and brilliant.

The compositions and melodies are transcendent, Morse executions on piano and synths, extraordinary, like the corresponding collaboration of his comrades. Another unmissable gem in vast discography of a leading musician of the last two decades.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 ? by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.21 | 456 ratings

BUY
?
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars My apologies in advance for any snide remarks, but the evangelical music of Neal Morse has always elicited strong reactions, both pro and con. Too many of the latter on this web site are hidden behind the camouflage of a ratings-only single star, so allow me to play devil's advocate (so to speak) in reviewing his otherwise nameless 2005 solo album, identified by title only with an enigmatic question mark.

A less charitable critic might say it's about time someone pulled the curtain away from this charlatan. He abandoned SPOCK'S BEARD at a critical moment in the band's career, claiming his newfound Savior had other plans for him. Nothing wrong there: we should all heed the councils of our inner nature. But has anything really changed in his music since then? Take away all the heartfelt but artless preaching, ignoring for now his ongoing series of CD worship sessions (as they rightly should be, at least in this forum), and what's left are the same pile-driver Neo-Prog gestures, employing awesome musical skills to be sure, but often played with all the nuance of a superstitious bull in a cheap china shop.

His subject here is The Tabernacle, that mystical nomadic temple, usually depicted as a tent of sorts in a neatly fenced yard, toted around the desert by the Jews after their Exodus from Egypt. Legend recalls it as a place of cabalistic ritual and symbolism...the perfect setting, in other words, for a Progressive Rock concept album, illustrated musically by an uninterrupted, 56-minute cycle of typically histrionic but spirited Retro-Symphonic sermons, divided into twelve linked chapters (the number apparently carries arcane significance: see below).

Once again, Morse is recycling riffs and melodies wholesale from his own extensive musical archives. But I have to admit he's playing as if truly inspired, and with enough creative energy to sway even an outspoken skeptic like myself. A stellar guest list makes the project even more attractive. Ace drummer Mike Portnoy invited his DREAM THEATER comrade Jordan Rudess to the sessions, and Morse finally plugged a weak spot in his roster by enlisting brand-name guitar talent, including superstars Roine Stolt and Steve Hackett. The latter has a solo spot at around the 37:00 mark that compares favorably to anything from his own laudable career, in GENESIS or afterward.

So the album deserves four unconditional stars for musical chops, despite its frequent moments of overwrought ostentation, as in the full orchestral bombast (complete with choir) inflating chapter seven, "The Glory of the Lord". But the strictly one-star banality of the libretto almost spoils the experience, at least for listeners old enough to recall the more diverse spiritual aspirations of the same Golden Age Prog that continues to influence Morse's better music cues.

Of course Progressive Rock has always suffered under the burden of occasional lame-brained lyric writing, dating back to when mountains first came out of the sky, and stood there. All Neal Morse did was elevate the same metaphysical quest to a higher, much narrower plane. Let me repeat: it isn't his religious convictions that undermine the album. It's the retrograde way the newly-minted prophet from Van Nuys drags his primitive theology around like a gold-plated ball and chain.

Consider the song "Solid as the Sun". Unless "Sun" is a poetic twist on the word "Son" (of God, of course), it's worth remembering that our local star is really just a bloated mass of plasma and hot air: not the best metaphor in a Born Again prog-rocker's playbook. And his occult embrace of numerology is just plain silly. "Twelve makes a day / Twelve tones in music / Twelve months a year / Do you think it's an accident?" (No, Mr. Morse, it's called a meaningless coincidence, and in the real world twenty-four makes a full day...)

A majority of the lyrics merely quote verbatim from biblical scripture, dutifully citing (and in one instance actually singing) the chapter and verse ("Leviticus 21:18!") And it requires nearly 2,000 words before Morse finally arrives at his point. But it's a point worth making, even to an irreligious dissenter like myself: we are each, if we choose, a vessel of that Holy Spirit he reveres. The Temple of the Living God he sings about is actually a living, flesh and blood shrine, multiplied by the population of earth into uncounted variations of belief. When seen like that, it hardly matters if the deity itself is a fiction.

I doubt if Neal Morse would accept the olive branch of that interpretation, extended from a kindred Proghead across an unfathomable gulf of irrational faith. And his album isn't likely to save any wayward souls here on terra firma. But when Morse finally reaches the Pearly Gates he could certainly teach his Heavenly Father a thing or two about the guilty pleasures of Neo-Prog overkill...provided, of course, that his god is actually a fan of Progressive Rock (given his track record, I tend to imagine the Almighty as more of a Punk). What H.L. Mencken once famously wrote about the prose style of President Warren G. Harding applies equally to this musical effort: "...it drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. But I grow lyrical..."

To which I can only add an enthusiastic (but entirely secular) "Amen."

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Sola Scriptura by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.18 | 448 ratings

BUY
Sola Scriptura
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

2 stars A word of caution to oversensitive theists: it can be hard for a freethinking Proghead to review a Neal Morse album without a little tongue-in-cheek cynicism. But at the same time his musical sermons present an irresistible challenge to any halfway decent critic, and nowhere in his solo discography was that gauntlet flung down with more force than in this year 2007 concept album: an Arena Rock interpretation of Martin Luther's 16th century Protestant Reformation.

To recap, for those of you who slept through high school: Luther was a Catholic priest in late medieval Germany who famously nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of All Saint's Church in Wittenberg, challenging the omnipotent Papal hierarchy and its mercantile practice of selling 'indulgences' to contrite sinners shopping for inexpensive penance. In today's vernacular, as explained by Father Guido Sarducci, "stealing a hubcap might cost you $100. Masturbation is 35-cents...it's a small sin, but it adds up."

The ex-SPOCK'S BEARD leader is of course no stranger to blockbuster Prog Rock mega- productions, and it's nice to hear him attempting something with real narrative ambition. But I'm not sure Luther makes the best role model, in life or in music. And Morse's take on the subject is predictably shallow, bringing anachronistic 21st century attitudes to a far more complex historical record. "There is truth that I'm feeling / Love full of healing" says his protagonist in the song "Already Home", but that's Neal Morse singing, not Martin Luther. He's putting Sunday School platitudes into the mouth of a bigot who once wrote "To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason." And I won't even repeat what he said about Jews and their "wanton blasphemy".

To his credit, Morse actually considered scrapping the project after learning about his subject's rabid anti-Semitism. But he was able to avoid that ethical roadblock by simplifying the facts to fit his own rosy superstitions, and expressing them in poetry more consistent with Dr. Seuss: "God can change the world with just one willing soul / Who will stand up for the truth and give him starring role...Maybe it's you he's looking for!"

Neal's Divine Plan is uncomplicated: believe, and be saved...so long as it's his own narrow brand of Protestantism. Hence the need to protest "false religions" (his own words, in the CD notes). That not-so-hidden agenda prompted a lot of mildly entertaining religious pillow-fighting in the nerdier corners of the blogosphere, all of which underlines a point I'm sure Morse didn't intend to make: dogma is always man-made, never divine. To paraphrase another Prog Rock apostle (C of E skeptic Ian Anderson): God created Man in his own image...and Man, being polite, merely returned the compliment.

I've rambled on at length about the insecure concept behind the album to suggest that its author was out of his depth and treading rough theological waters: surely a moot point if the music itself reached as high as his idealism. And fortunately the trio of main players is on more comfortable ground, albeit trying a little too hard, as always. A composer this gifted and prolific sometimes doesn't know when to restrain himself, and here the results only reinforce every unfair knee-jerk bias ever brought against Progressive Rock: gratuitous virtuosity; performance overkill; arbitrary 30- minute suites; you name it. From the busy GENTLE GIANT syncopation to the big symphonic crescendos, it's business as usual for the workaholic Morse. Expect yet another sappy ballad ("Heaven in my Heart"), one more recycled Spanish interlude ("One Down, Two to Go"), and the same jazzy piano solo from Transatlantic's "All of the Above", copied almost verbatim.

Additional anti-Prog ammo is supplied in the epic musical arrangements, presented with all the ersatz flash and dazzle of a Sin City stage extravaganza, minus only the topless showgirls (alas). But I might have liked it even less without the Technicolor bombast and pomposity, a saving grace when applied like gaudy wallpaper over the album's obvious thematic shortcomings. Musically, Neal Morse is the Thomas Kinkaid of Prog Rock. And if you don't know the late, self- promoting 'Painter of Light', here's a passage from writer Joan Didion that might have been describing a typical Morse album: "A Kinkaid painting was typically rendered in slightly surreal pastels. It typically featured a cottage or house of such insistent coziness as to seem actually sinister, suggestive of a trap designed to attract Hansel and Gretel. Every window was lit, to lurid effect, as if the interior of the structure might be on fire." Hallmark card sentiments and heavy power chords...not exactly the most compatible blend, but hard to resist as a guilty pleasure.

You don't have to share his beliefs to recognize that Neal Morse has expressed them more effectively elsewhere in his career. Ten years earlier, while still in Spock's Beard, he penned a song clairvoyantly named "The Doorway". But that open invitation ("You are the doorway", he sang at the time) was replaced here by the object itself, now locked tight against incursion and bluntly titled "The Door", upon which Mr. Morse would try to nail his own musical theses. Unlike Martin Luther's Reformation it wasn't, however, a purely spiritual epiphany: quite the opposite, one could argue. What he's selling is only a new form of indulgence: 76-minutes of Prog Rock redemption, available with a nopCommerce account direct from his own on-line store.

Too bad there isn't a name-your-own-price option. The album is certainly worth the small mercy of Father Sarducci's 35-cent fee.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Sola Scriptura by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.18 | 448 ratings

BUY
Sola Scriptura
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Sol Invictus

5 stars This is without any doubt a true masterpiece and one of my absolute favorite albums in the contemporary "symphonic prog" genre. The album mixes jazz elements with heavy prog and emotional and highly beautiful melodies. You can, with all right, have opinions about the lyrics - but when it comes to the musical compositions, the musical expressions and emotions and the musicians technical skillness, this album is at the very peak. This is one of the few albums that lasts for repeated (and then I really mean repeated) listenings - and an album that you always can return to and find new details. I agree with many other reviewers that "Heaven in my heart" is the weaker track - but it serves as some kind of counterweight - even though it is more like a "christian mainstream" song. A very tight album and Neal Morse and co-musicians at his/their very peak - and an album that deserve a 4.9 star rating.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Cover To Cover by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2006
2.92 | 49 ratings

BUY
Cover To Cover
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars This is almost like a bonus disc, like Neal Morse does very often, see Transatlantic albums, for instance. This covers album was recorded during the Neal Morse album sessions recording for Testimony (2003), One (2004) and ? (2005).

My highlights: 'Maybe I'm Amazed' (Paul McCartney) 'I'm The Man' (Joe Jackson) 'Feeling Stronger Everyday' (Chicago) 'Where The Streets Have No Name' (U2) 'What Is Life' (George Harrison)

The other versions on the album are: 'Pleasant Valley Sunday' (The Monkees) 'Badge' (Cream) 'Where Do The Children Play' (Cat Stevens) 'Rock And Roll Suicide' (David Bowie) 'Day After Day' (Badfinger) 'I'm Free / Sparks' (The Who) 'Tuesday Afternoon' (The Moody Blues) Find My Way Back Home (Blind Faith)

All in all a good record, but I think it's more a fan thing.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Testimony by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.02 | 329 ratings

BUY
Testimony
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars When Neal made the decision that due to his religious beliefs he had to leave Spock's Beard there were many that were absolutely gutted at the decision, myself included. What did this mean both to the band that remained and to Neal himself? Spock's Beard have answered that with 'Feel Euphoria', which I have enjoyed immensely, but what was Neal going to do? This is his third solo album, and while his second is still one that I play a great deal it isn't one that I would overtly term 'progressive'. Then I discovered that the new album was going to be a double disc that was auto-biographical in nature, telling Neal's story and how he found Christ and became a Christian. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about being preached at for over two hours, and musically how was this going to come across?

Well, Spock's Beard may have become heavier without Neal, but Neal hasn't changed tack but rather has buried himself further into his influences. This is the logical musical follow-up to 'Snow', and any fan of that album (me sir!!) will fall in love with this even more.

Neal had been joined by Mike Portnoy and Kerry Livgren and countless others to produce an album that is not only Spock's Beard through and through but is opening the music up to even more influences and experimentations. This album is more symphonic than previously, and even bombastic, with a large use of strings, and anyone that can put in a country song and have it make total sense within the overall concept has to be doing something right.

The move to using 'proper' strings instead of synthesised has given the music a more dynamic edge, and Neal is obviously happy with what he is producing so that the songs are packed full of emotion. This is his story, one that he lived through and is living again with the telling. The one moan I have with the promotional copy is that it doesn't contain the lyrics, and they have yet to be posted on Neal's site (www.nealmorse.com)

Musically many themes are returned to, which gives the album shape and form, while the lyrics are pushing through the story and message. Yes it is a testimony, yes it is very much an overtly Christian album, and if you are anti-religious then I would say that you probably won't enjoy this very much. But if you have an open mind or are a Christian then this is an album for you. I used to listen to a great deal of White Metal and Christian music when I lived at home years ago as my sister used to play it, but this is far removed from anything I used to listen to back then. Rock, jazz (with some blasting horns), country, classical, Beatles-style pop, this has had everything thrown into it and then some ? Spock's Beard that has been expanded.

Neal has exorcised the demons, and has managed to convey a very personal message in an exciting and dramatic way that will leave all SB fans hungry for more. This is much more of a new beginning than a continuation of his previous solo career. He has taken his music into a new area, and with Spock's Beard moving in their own direction there are two kids on the block who are vying for attention. I have been an SB fan since I first heard 'The Light' and I am sure that I always will, but I for one will now always be looking primarily to see what Neal is doing.

I have listened to literally hundreds of albums this year. This is my number one. Truly superb.

Originally appeared in Feedback #77, Dec 03

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Neal Morse by MORSE, NEAL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.21 | 74 ratings

BUY
Neal Morse
Neal Morse Symphonic Prog

Review by Mr. Mustard

2 stars Neal Morse released his first studio album in 1999, while already in the midst of his band, Spock's Beard. Of course, Neal was the main songwriting force in the band, so much of the sound and style of the Beard is present in this album. Those familiar with Neal's style know that he is a melodic genius, and is able to flawlessly blend prog and pop. However, the pop and prog seems to be relatively segregated on this album.

In fact, I would venture to say this actually closer to a pop-rock album than full on prog. The first half is comprised of seven songs each of which is built around the simple verse-chorus and 4/4 time signature found in pop. It isn't until the final four songs, (which are bundled into a single suite) that a shred of prog becomes evident.

'A Whole Nother Trip' is Neal's first right solo epic. It's comprised of four songs that blend flawlessly into each other. The Spock's sound definitely permeates through the suite, with crunchy guitar, Nick's pounding drums, Neal's dramatic vocals, and some very fun melodies. The suite is also pretty diverse; there are the classic Spock's Beard-sounding tunes in 'Bomb That Can't Explode' and 'Mr. Upside Down Man,' the former of which is driven by Neal's vocals, and the latter based around a simple, but heavy guitar riff. 'The Man Who Could Be King' is the song where Neal establishes his "Spanish" sounding landscape with acoustic guitar that he abuses frequently in future albums. The ending 'It's Alright' is basically Neal repeating the title for the duration, but it is a warm conclusion.

Overall, besides the 'A Whole Nother Trip' suite, the album is mostly comprised of simple pop drivel. Neal has got away with this in the past on records like A Day For Night and Kindness of Strangers, but they were cleverly masked in a more progressive sound. Fortunately, Neal would re-locate his prog edge in future albums, like Testimony and One.

4/10

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

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

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 0.91 seconds