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Neal Morse - Testimony CD (album) cover

TESTIMONY

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

4.04 | 449 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'm not a big fan of concept albums or double albums. So I guess this one had two strikes against it right off the bat. It does boil down to the music for me though, but i've been let down too often by concept albums where the concept takes priority to the music. And by far most double albums could have been condensed down to one have been way better.That's my rant for today. I'm a big fan of Neal Morse and SPOCK'S BEARD. I also applaud him for telling his story through this record. His testimony. I also think it's so awesome that he found God. The music is the bottom line though and for me this is a tough one to really enjoy. Sure there are many parts of this recording that are excellent, but there are more passages that I find very average and tedious. I think it's so cool that Mike Portnoy is playing drums on this album, knowing the subject matter and knowing that there would be all these Christians around. Haha. Kerry Livgren (KANSAS) a Christian himself plays some fantastic guitar on one track. There's a lot of orchestration on "Testimony" as well, that for me isn't a positive. The first disc is taken up with how unhappy Neal was with his life, while the second disc deals with his life changing decision to follow Jesus. A lot of these songs on both cds blend into one another.

Some highlights for me include the final 3 minutes of "Overture No.1" where Portnoy's having some fun. "Interlude" is an instrumental and one of the heaviest tracks. Some great organ and violin in this one. "The Prince Of The Power Of the Air" features more amazing organ and the drumming is killer. "Overture No.2" has one of the few ripping guitar solos on it. "Break Of Day" reminds me so much of SPOCK'S BEARD that it is a definite highlight. "Long Story" has some powerful organ early, and I like the guitar after 3 minutes. "It's All I Can Do" features Livgren's guitar solo as Portnoy pounds away 4 minutes in.

Disc two is really about the lyrics and features some uplifting and emotional moments. "Ready To Cry" quotes Tom Petty with his words "She's a good girl, loves Jesus..." I really like the lyrics as he talks about this girl taking him to her church. The next song "Sing It High" continues this topic. Fun stuff. "I Am Willing" is really the big moment where he talks to Jesus and God and gives his life, his heart to both. This is emotional with a powerful ending. The apex of the album and Neal's life. "In The Middle" is fantastic instrumentally. Dramatic lyrics as well. "Oh, To Feel Him" is the moment where "His Spirit enters my soul, like nothing i've ever known, like stillness on the water." This is all so personal and detailed. Not surprisingly the last 6 songs are praise songs to God.

As I go over the highlights of this double album and consider how meaningful this truly is, I want to give it 4 stars, but the fact is there is so much that needs to be here in order to tell the story that is average at best, and musically it brings this down to 3.5 stars. I much prefer the follow-up "One".

Mellotron Storm | 3/5 |

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