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Neal Morse - Sola Scriptura and Beyond CD (album) cover

SOLA SCRIPTURA AND BEYOND

Neal Morse

 

Symphonic Prog

4.36 | 89 ratings

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pagan97
4 stars When I heard Neal had left Spock's Beard after "Snow", I was saddened. When I learned he left to pursue a more religious path in his music, I was devastated. Just what the world needs, more lame "Christian" music. I had seen reviews for his solo C. Rock records (not good) and listened to a few snippets, which were less than thrilling, so I decided to continue to follow Spock's and say goodbye to my soul-brother, Neal. My dream of seeing "Snow" fully realized live was now gone.

After a long hiatus, I began a gradual return to Neal thru my love of Transatlantic. Whirlwind is one of the best albums of the past decade as is the live dvd. I decided to go back in time (figuratively) and pick-up with Neal and his solo career. I was apprehensive at what I might find, but decided to dive into "Testimony". I was glad I did! It is a phenomenal concept album, with the first disc being a masterpiece. I then skipped ahead to "Sola Scriptura" which is just incredible and heavy. I then picked-up "One" which is not quite as solid, and a bit more preachy, but has many good prog songs on it. "Lifeline" was a failure in my book, but I wanted to get a live DVD to see Sola performed and Testimony. This seemed like a good mix of old and new, including some Transatlantic and Spock's thrown in for good measure. After reading many reviews on DPR and Prog. Arch., I decided to get this one.

So, after much build-up, here is my review of the DVD: Awesome! The cinematography, picture, and sound are great(esp. for stereo: LPCM 48/16 on both discs!). Disc 1 is the main concert and,if you have the most recent Spock's Beard DVD, was filmed at the same place (by the same crew?) the following night. Neal is excellent, playing guitar and keys, and belting out the vocals. There are a few flubs here and there by Neal when singing, but they are minor and forgivable from a guy putting on a nearly 3 hour show and playing 2 instruments. The show covers all the pre-Lifeline solo material plus some Spock's stuff. Two long medleys encompass Testimony and "?" albums, which the band executes perfectly. Sola is pretty much in total represented and One gets represented with the excellent Creation. The show is executed so well the time just flies by! A minor gripe would be: no 5.1 surround mix. Another would be the exclusion of some of the great tracks from Testimony and One-Author of Confusion would have been spectaular! Disc 2 is another treat and includes more songs from "?" and One, as well as Transatlantic and Spock's. The bonus video of the hour and 20 mins. concert is not of the highest quality visually, but musically it is fantastic. There is also an acoustic on the fly version of Bridge across Forever included on this disc, as well as an hour and 40 min documentary on the Sola tour (which I have yet to dive into). Needless to say, the addition of this material makes this set an excellent value, with the second disc clocking in at 3+ hours! If you are worried about Neal sermonizing, it is pretty minimal, with most of it coming during the Testimedly and the bonus "?" performance on disc 2 (as are more of the religious songs).

If you like Progjavascript:wordCounter(Fupdatereview.Imessage)-rock, Transatlantic, Spock's Beard, and Neal Morse, I don't think you can go wrong with this DVD set. It is a spectacular presentation of what prog can be and, if you are not religious (I'm not-at all!), there is nothing over the top/in you face in that dept. Pick this up, and grab a copy of Testimony 2 while your at it: Truly great stuff from a musical genius!

pagan97 | 4/5 |

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