Neal Morse

Info about Neal Morse
Country United States
Added By Mike
14 years ago
Base Genre
1999-2016 Rock
2018 Independent
Links
http://www.myspace.com/nealmorse
Info
7.8 x31
Epic Retro Prog Hard Rock/Gospel
Reception
28 users rate this artist 7.0 or better, two users rate it lower. 20 users think it is prog, nobody thinks it is merely related to prog and one user thinks that it's not prog. show details
Track Statistics The database currently contains 161 studio tracks by Neal Morse.
Track durations range from 53s to 33m 39s, averaging at 6m 03s with a standard deviation of 5m 08s.
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Review by Lofcaudio 6 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - Momentum 2012
8.6
Momentum is now the seventh solo prog album from Neal Morse. Those familiar with Morse's work know that he is a prolific songwriter always able to craft strong melodies which highlight his skills as a multi-instrumentalist while relying on significant contributions from Mike Portnoy and Randy George.

Momentum consists of five relatively short songs and one 33-minute epic ("World Without End"). The album opens with the title track "Momentum." I consider this to be high-quality pop/prog as it showcases an engaging upbeat melody and a blistering guitar solo from guest artist Paul Gilbert.

"Thoughts, Part 5" is next. This may just be the best song on the album and is very reminiscent of King Crimson's "Red," but with Gentle Giant-like vocal harmonies. After the heavy guitar riffs and vocal acrobats, the song ends with an instrumental jam with some really nice playing from both Portnoy and George.

"Smoke and Mirrors" follows and is a gorgeous piece very unique to what you might normally expect from Morse. I consider this to be the best ballad he has ever written and feel that it fits very nicely on this album.

"Weathering Sky" is the fourth track and while catchy and hard-driving, this is probably my least favorite song on the album. Neal says on the "Making of" DVD which is included with the Special Edition that he doesn't know what "weathering sky" means, but he liked the sound of it. While I find that mildly humorous, I personally prefer lyrics with meaning over lyrics that have none. I will discuss this a bit more later in this review.

"Freak" is next and is another slower song that I would consider to be "prog-lite." It has a catchy bridge that leads into a dynamic modulation giving the song a nice dramatic finish.



"World ... -> show full review
Review by Lofcaudio 6 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - Testimony 2 2011
9.3
Prog Rock
Having already given masterpiece status to two of Morse's other albums (One and ?), I thought it unlikely that he would be able to put out another stellar album after his more recent albums (Sola Scriptura and Lifeline) left me a little disappointed. I was wrong. Testimony 2 is a beautiful work and a true masterpiece.

I have been critical of Morse in the past for self-plagiarizing; but with this album being a sequel, it made sense to do that very thing. Interestingly enough, the reoccurring themes from the first Testimony album are brought to life in a fantastic way. Testimony 2 is full of dizzying overtures, soaring melodies and catchy themes which can't help but please. There are so many highlights, it's difficult to determine where to begin: "Overture No. 4" and "Time Changer" are brilliantly written and performed (with some nice contributions from guys named Nick D'Virgilio, Dave Meros and Alan Morse). "Jayda" is emotionally moving. "Jesus' Blood" and ... -> show full review
Review by Lofcaudio 6 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - Lifeline 2008
8.4
Prog Rock
Let me preface this review by admitting to being a rather big fan of Neal Morse's music, whether it be his solo output or his work with Spock's Beard and Transatlantic. I have enthusiastically given two of his solo albums 5-star ratings (One and ?) and been amazed at the volume of music he is able to write, record and produce in a short period of time. However, I think there is perhaps a noticeable downside to being such a prolific songwriter: the similar musical nuances that inevitably get re-used in a short period of time before the overall music style has a chance to sufficiently evolve. More than any artist I can think of, Morse gets blamed for self-plagiarizing and I believe this to be warranted. Morse makes it fairly obvious in his music where his influences lie and lately, he seems to be most influenced by his own past work.

I say all this in my review of Morse's latest release, Lifeline, since on the first few listens it is fairly distracting how much this sounds like a mesh of Snow, V, Sola Scriptura and One. I remember the first time I listened to Riverside's first album, Out of Myself. In my first few listens to that album, I felt like I was listening to a Pink Floyd cover band that had switched some words around and thrown in some growls for good measure. But after getting deeper into that album, that feeling went away and it sounded more like...Riverside. Unfortunately, with Lifeline, I just can't shake that deja vu feeling as some of the passages are just too similar, if not exactly the same as previous Morse music.

The album starts off with a fairly good song in the title track, Lifeline. It runs for over 13 minutes and moves at a great pace making it seem like a much shorter song. As others have noted, it sounds much like the opening tune from the One album (The ... -> show full review
Review by Lofcaudio 6 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - Cover to Cover 2006, Tribute
7.0
Non-Prog Rock
This is a surprisingly enjoyable album, with outstanding performances put in by Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy and Randy George. If you like classic rock, then I would say that this album is an excellent addition to your collection.



The highlights from this album (in my opinion) are Morse's renditions of "I'm Free/Sparks", "I'm the Man" and "Find My Way Back Home." Portnoy appears to have a field day on the kit pretending to be Keith Moon as he really delivers some excellent work covering The Who's "Sparks."



I normally do not care much for albums such as this, but this compilation of songs was so good, and Morse & Company's delivery is so strong, I have no problem recommending this album.
Review by Lofcaudio 6 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - One 2004
9.9
Symphonic Prog Rock
This is perhaps my favorite album of all time. It has everything that I look for in a great album: great melodies, grandiose epics, compelling theme and stunning musicianship. Morse is often-criticized as being too formulaic in his music and while I might tend to agree, his formula works to perfection on this album. If you like epics, you'll be hard-pressed to find an album that offers up as many solid epics as One as there are 5 tracks that are at least 9 minutes in length.

One is a concept album that encompasses almost the entire message of the Christian faith from the creation of the universe to the idea of eternal bliss in the presence of God. While I happen to enjoy the concept, for purposes of this review I will instead focus primarily on the music as that is ultimately the reason why I like this album so much. Morse does a wonderful job though of creating musical moods to reflect the story that he weaves with the lyrics.

Track 1: The Creation. This 18-minute epic is very good from start to finish, but is especially good from the 13-minute mark on as the music turns appropriately dark and sinister in line with the story being conveyed. Mike Portnoy's distinctive drumming is on full display and he does a really nice job of driving some of the fast sections of this song. Phil Keaggy also provides a nifty guitar solo on this track.

Track 2: The Man's Gone. This short song provides a nice reprieve after the intensity of the previous track. Most of this song establishes a theme which will reoccur at various times throughout the remainder of the album. This tends to be a Morse trademark.

Track 3: Author of Confusion. This song is crazy. Portnoy, Randy George on the bass and Morse on lead guitar and vocals are a whirling dervish of sound on this track. The musicians' technical skills are showcased in this ... -> show full review
Comment by J-Man 9 years ago
Neal MorseListen - ? 2005
9.8
Symphonic Prog Rock
This is on of my favorite Neal Morse albums, and since he is one of my favorite songwriters, that is really saying something. This flows like one epic song rather than 12 separate ones, and is an exceptional concept piece. A true masterpiece by a musical genius!
Comment by ElectroVolta 11 years ago
Neal MorseListen - Sola Scriptura 2007
9.4
Prog Rock
A fantastic concept (Martin Luther's story, baby), and musicianship (Mike Portney's greatest record so far IMO), and lyrics. Although only just shy of a masterpiece (that title usually reserved for the 'One' or 'Testimony' releases). It was my favorite and top album of 2007.
Review by Lofcaudio 12 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - Sola Scriptura 2007
9.0
Prog Rock
Overall, I think Sola Scriptura is an outstanding album. It has great music which is performed amazingly well by Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Paul Gilbert and Mr. Morse himself. It also has stunning cover art which provides a wonderful backdrop for the album’s concept. Fans of Spock’s Beard, Dream Theater, Transatlantic and Morse’s other albums will enjoy this release.

I have listened to this album over 40 times now. As much as I like it, I don’t think it’s quite up to the level of Neal’s last two albums (One and ?, which I both gave 5 stars without reservation). My main criticism with this new album is that it borrows too much from what Neal has already recorded. This has been pointed out in many of the previous reviews and is very obvious, in my opinion. There are sections which sound just like Snow, V, One and Testimony. Even though I like the music in all of these places, I have heard it before.

Even though I’ve never had a problem with Morse’s lyrics, I know there are those who do not appreciate the Christian message that is typically at the forefront of his music. This album actually has a fairly dark atmosphere and the words are more cryptic than what you will normally ... -> show full review
Review by Lofcaudio 12 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - ? 2005
9.6
Symphonic Prog Rock
Overall, this is a very impressive album. From start to finish, there is no let-up in good music. What is somewhat unique is that the whole album is really just one song, with twelve distinct "segments." But the music flows non-stop and is one cohesive unit, making for an outstanding conceptual piece from Neal Morse. As has been stated in previous reviews, Morse relies on the skills of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Alan Morse (Spock's Beard), Roine Stolt (Flower Kings), Randy George (Ajalon) and Steve Hackett in the making of this album.

Segment 1: The Temple of the Living God

The main theme floats in over the sounds of a wind-swept scape and begins to build into some excellent progressive runs using a piano/keyboard and then is joined by a nasty saxophone. The opening lyrics tell of a necessary quest to find the temple of the living God. Morse lays the lyrical foundation for the album by declaring that a sacrifice is necessary in order to successfully find the temple of the living God.

Segment 2: Another World

The music subtly changes as the quest begins by "stepping into another world." This is the world of the Biblical Old Testament, where the Israelites communed with God through the Mosaic tabernacle. This is a short segment but has a wonderful chorus with some intricate chord changes that are eyebrow raising the first five times you hear it and are mesmerizing after you become familiar with where the music is going. Great stuff packed into this segment which finishes with a solitary acoustic guitar to lead into...

Segment 3: The Outsider

Morse tells of someone looking into the world of the Mosaic tabernacle and the priests who were responsible for making sacrifices to appease God and to make atonement for ... -> show full review
Review by Mike 14 years ago <Permalink>
Neal MorseListen - One 2004
9.5
Epic Retro Prog Rock
This is the second album from Mr. Morse since he left Spock's Beard. In my opinion it is better than the first one (Testimony) in several ways. It's less emotional than Testimony, because it is not autobiographical.
One is a very tight album, and very cleverly constructed. Highlights are Author Of Confusion, which is a very complicated track with lots of breaks, frenzy druming and guitar riffing and Gentle Giant like vocal fugues that have become a trademark of Neal's songs, and The Separated Man, which contains some amazing oriental sounding parts and - as a contrast - is based on acoustic guitars.

All the other songs are brilliant as well. Cradle to the Grave might seem a little cheesy to some (It's a duet sung by God and man), but it is so well done that one can hardly complain about that.

Musicianship is stellar on this album, as is the production. Neal's guitars sound very modern on this album, compared to the fuzzy sound on Testimony. Mike Portnoy does an even better job than on Testimony, giving the songs plenty of room to breathe. As a whole, the album also seems more compact than Testimony - clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, it fits on one CD.
Show Track Info
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Albums
Studio
Live
DVD
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All
Top LPs
One 2004
 #1

8.8 x14
Epic Retro Prog Rock
? 2005
 #2

8.7 x14
Symphonic Retro Prog Rock
Sola Scriptura 2007
 #3

8.6 x17
Symphonic Retro Prog Hard Rock
Testimony 2 2011
 #4

8.0 x8
Symphonic Prog Rock
Testimony 2003
 #5

8.9 x8
Symphonic Retro Prog Rock
Momentum 2012
 #6

8.4 x6
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Grand Experiment 2015
 #7

8.5 x5
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 #8

9.2 x3
Symphonic Prog Rock
Lifeline 2008
 #9

8.0 x6
Prog Rock/Pop
Songs From November 2014
 #10

7.3 x2
Non-Prog Rock
Neal Morse 1999
 #11

7.5 x2
Prog Rock
Merry Christmas from the Morse Family 2000
 #12

7.0 x2
Symphonic Prog-Related Rock
It's Not Too Late 2001
 #13

6.5 x2
Prog-Related Rock/Pop
Life & Times 2018
 #14

7.0 x1
Non-Prog Si/So
Related Artists
NOTE: This list is compiled automatically by comparing tag assigments. Numbers indicate matching tags (tooltip shows details).
Playlists
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Life & Times 2018
 13 days ago
rushfan4
7.0
Non-Prog Si/So
Life & Times 2018
 23 days ago
rushfan4
7.0
Non-Prog Si/So
Life & Times 2018
 2 months ago
rushfan4
7.0
Non-Prog Si/So
Life & Times 2018
 3 months ago
rushfan4
7.0
Non-Prog Si/So
Life & Times 2018
 3 months ago
rushfan4
7.0
Non-Prog Si/So
Life & Times 2018
 3 months ago
rushfan4
7.0
Non-Prog Si/So
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 2 years ago
rushfan4
9.5
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 2 years ago
Mike
9.0
Prog Rock
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 2 years ago
rushfan4
9.5
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 2 years ago
rushfan4
9.5
Symphonic Prog Rock
Alive Again 2016, Live
 2 years ago
rushfan4
8.8
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 2 years ago
rushfan4
9.5
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 2 years ago
Mike
9.0
Prog Rock
The Similitude of a Dream 2016
 2 years ago
rushfan4
9.5
Symphonic Prog Rock
Alive Again 2016, Live
 2 years ago
rushfan4
8.8
Symphonic Prog Rock
Testimony 2: Live in Los Angeles 2011, DVD
 2 years ago
rushfan4
8.8
Symphonic Prog Rock
Songs From November 2014
 3 years ago
rushfan4
7.5
Non-Prog Rock
Testimony 2: Live in Los Angeles 2011, Live
 3 years ago
rushfan4
8.8
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Grand Experiment 2015
 3 years ago
rushfan4
9.2
Symphonic Prog Rock
The Grand Experiment 2015
 3 years ago
rushfan4
9.2
Symphonic Prog Rock