All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

173

Neal Morse: ?

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/composer Neal Morse once again conveys his spirituality, set to progressive rock music, on this multifaceted presentation. He's an eloquent storyteller, regardless of whether he's being dogmating or simply dishing out a good-natured vibe. And there's no doubt about it: Morse's conviction cannot be reproached. Together with the ensemble's knotty time signatures and flair for the dynamic, the leader also gets his word across via sanguine intervals and appealing melodies. Think of classic Yes mixed with a contemporary progressive rock stylization, awash with propulsive rhythms, weighty crunch chords, and layered keys. Morse also implements the now ancient, but still popular mellotron to garner a grandiose wall of sound effect to complement a few pop/rock choruses.

Heavy hitters such as Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess and ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett lend an additional element of professionalism to the project. Along with other notables, Morse plies his talent in various ways, blending acoustic-electric movements, strings, and horns to complement gloriously executed motifs. Naturally, it would be easy to refer to this session as a rock-opera jaunt. Yet in the past, these characterizations sometime reduce music to a status that belittles its intentions, suggesting that an artist engages in superfluous nonsense. Thankfully, that is not the case here.

It's a heady but analogously comprehensive showing that stands rather mightily compared to much of the mindless drivel inundating the market. But the key to Morse's success is not easily attainable for many others in this business, where general know-how, technical acumen, and a clearly-stated message all culminate in a idiosyncratic manner. The artist also manages to have fun during the process, an attribute that translates into a substantial foundation for this exceptional production.


Track Listing: The Temple of the Living God; Another World; The Outsider; Sweet Elation; In the Fire; Solid as the Sun; The Glory of the Lord; Outside Looking In; 12; Entrance; Inside His Presence; The Temple of the Living God.

Personnel: Neal Morse: lead and backing vocals, keyboards, guitars; Mike Portnoy: drums and percussion; Randy George: bass guitar; Guests: Jordan Rudess: keyboards; Roine Stolt, Alan Morse, Steve Hackett, Mark Leniger: guitar. With Chris Carmichael: violin, cello; Michael Thurman: French horn; Rachel Rigdon: violin; Jim Hoke: saxophone; Debbie Bresee: background vocals; Jay Dawson: bagpipes; Revonna Cooper, Joey and Amy Pippin, Debbie Bressee, Wade Brown: choir.

Title: ? | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Metal Blade

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read (Willisau) 1991 Studio CD/LP/Track Review
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Tradition CD/LP/Track Review
Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Life Anthem CD/LP/Track Review
Life Anthem
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Closer To Home CD/LP/Track Review
Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Lucus" CD/LP/Track Review Lucus
by Don Phipps
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Alleviation" CD/LP/Track Review Alleviation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "80 Years" CD/LP/Track Review 80 Years
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 10, 2017
Read "Exotica" CD/LP/Track Review Exotica
by Chris May
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "Cheek to Cheek" CD/LP/Track Review Cheek to Cheek
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 5, 2018