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Neal Morse - Lifeline CD (album) cover


Neal Morse


Symphonic Prog

3.13 | 284 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars With almost any other artist, an album with 13 and 28 minute songs that I rate as good to near excellent would probably be an easy 4-star rating in my book. However, Neal Morse is certainly unlike most artists (prog included!), which factors into the big picture, regardless of whether you're a huge fan (like me) or anti-Neal.

Unlike One, ?, and maybe Sola Scriptura, Lifeline simply isn't a must-own, mostly because I just don't hear many differences between this album and Sola. Both have a fairly heavy sound and are well-produced, but Lifeline does not have a unifying theme/concept.

Highlights: Lifeline, So Many Roads.The title track is definitely a keeper, with some good themes, big synths, and Portnoy up to his old tricks. Unfortunately, the highlight of most Neal songs in my book--the dramatic ending--just doesn't stack up for me on Lifeline. Maybe it's the fade-out, maybe it's the lack of a mindblowing guitar solo, maybe it's the repetitive vocals...who knows. Not bad, but not great either.

However, So Many Roads really connects with me. Great flow, interesting lyrics ("the stadium cheers for Britney Spears, forget about the warm and tender years") and nice variety. I particularly enjoy the Humdrum Life section, with its happy, bouncy and perfectly sarcastic melody (Do I even hear some soprano sax here as well? Nice!). Nothing groundbreaking in this song, but the theme really resonates with me, as I have also come to a place life where I can see the pros/cons of potential futures (i.e., party/stoned life, suburban drudgery, etc). I tend to side with Neal that none of these provide the deeper satisfaction that most adults seek, and even if you don't seek it in Jesus, it's worthwhile to do so in some way other than drugs, status symbols, or fame.

The rest of the album is largely filler to me, though reasonable minds may disagree.

In all, Lifeline provides enough good stuff to keep fans happy, but insufficient new angles to please more discriminating proggers. Keep 'em coming Neal!

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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