NEAL MORSE
Non-Metal / Metal Related • United States

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Neal Morse is a U.S.-based progressive rock musician. He is best known for being a founding member and ex-frontman of famed progressive rock band Spock’s Beard. After being the band leader of Spock’s Beard and a member of prog supergroup Transatlantic for many years, Neal became a born-again Christian in 2002. As a result of his personal faith, he left both bands and began a solo career with Christian-themed lyrics.

In 2003 he released Testimony, a double-concept album that further established his place in the progressive rock scene. In addition to many “Worship Session CD’s”, Neal released another religious-themed concept album in 2004 titled “One”.

Although Neal Morse is not a metal artist, he has released 2 albums in his career that can be recognized as influenced by progressive metal. 2005’s “?” and 2007’s “Sola Scriptura” are both religious-themed concept albums, but feature heavy riffing, complex and dense instrumental passages, and metal-oriented
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The Grand ExperimentThe Grand Experiment
Metal Blade 2015
Audio CD$15.03
$15.02 (used)
TESTIMONYTESTIMONY
Metal Blade 2003
Audio CD$16.99
$10.94 (used)
Sola ScripturaSola Scriptura
Import
Imports 2010
Audio CD$8.37
$8.43 (used)
MomentumMomentum
Metal Blade 2012
Audio CD$13.97
$8.88 (used)
Testimony 2Testimony 2
Metal Blade 2011
Audio CD$13.99
$11.99 (used)
Morsefest 2015 Sola Scriptural and ? LiveMorsefest 2015 Sola Scriptural and ? Live
Metal Blade 2017
Audio CD$29.19
So Many RoadsSo Many Roads
Metal Blade 2009
Audio CD$19.99
$8.97 (used)
LifelineLifeline
Metal Blade 2008
Audio CD$11.01
$11.79 (used)
OneOne
Metal Blade 2004
Audio CD$10.35
$6.47 (used)
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Neal Morse – Merry Christmas CD – RA-008 – Spock's Beard, Transatlantic – Mint Neal Morse – Merry Christmas CD – RA-008 – Spock's Beard, Transatlantic – Mint USD $29.83 Buy It Now 8h
Neal Morse – Live at All Saints, Inner Circle CD Jan 2010 – Spock’s Beard – Mint Neal Morse – Live at All Saints, Inner Circle CD Jan 2010 – Spock’s Beard – Mint USD $21.69 Buy It Now 8h
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NEAL MORSE Discography

NEAL MORSE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Neal Morse
Non-Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Merry Christmas From the Morse Family
Non-Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
It's Not Too Late
Non-Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 3 ratings
Testimony
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 4 ratings
One
Non-Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
God Won't Give Up
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Lead Me Lord (Worship Sessions, Volume 1)
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.86 | 12 ratings
?
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Send the Fire
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cover to Cover
Non-Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 26 ratings
Sola Scriptura
Metal Related 2007
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Songs From the Highway
Non-Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Secret Place (Worship Sessions Volume 3)
Non-Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 3.35 | 4 ratings
Lifeline
Non-Metal 2008
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The River - Worship Sessions Vol.4
Non-Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mighty to Save (Worship Sessions Volume 5)
Non-Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.84 | 4 ratings
Testimony 2
Non-Metal 2011
.. Album Cover 4.26 | 3 ratings
Momentum
Non-Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cover 2 Cover
Non-Metal 2012
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Songs From November
Non-Metal 2014
.. Album Cover 4.52 | 2 ratings
The Grand Experiment
Non-Metal 2015
.. Album Cover 3.78 | 3 ratings
THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM (AS THE NEAL MORSE BAND)
Metal Related 2016

NEAL MORSE EPs & splits

NEAL MORSE live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
? Live
Non-Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
So Many Roads (Live in Europe)
Non-Metal 2009

NEAL MORSE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Inner Circle CD #1
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Inner Circle CD #3
Non-Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Encores and New Songs
Non-Metal 2007

NEAL MORSE re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Transatlantic Demos
Non-Metal 2003

NEAL MORSE singles (0)

NEAL MORSE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Testimony Live
Non-Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sola Scriptura and Beyond
Non-Metal 2008
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live Momentum
Non-Metal 2013

NEAL MORSE Reviews

NEAL MORSE God Won't Give Up

Album · 2005 · Non-Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
martindavey87
As if the name of the album wasn't a big enough clue, I had no idea what I was purchasing when I picked this CD up, instead, I was more bewildered at the fact that I was finding this in a charity shop for £2, amongst all the charity shop regulars such as Phil Collins, Finley Quaye and Barry Mannilow.

So I get home, pop the CD in the player eagerly awaiting some prog epic akin to Spock's Beard or Transatlantic, and instead, I get pianos and organs and gospel choirs singing about "His mercy endureth-ing". The album is aptly titled "God Won't Give Up" for a reason.

But hey, never mind! I'm a big Neal Morse fan and I'll listen to anything, so let's give it a spin, or two... or three... or, hold on... I'm starting to like this!!!

The problem with music like this, as evidenced by my own initial attitude, is peoples ignorance and general intolerance of it. People can be too quick to judge based simply on the premise that they don't need anyone preaching to them. And that's where they're wrong. Morse isn't preaching to anyone. He isn't trying to persuade us to go to church. Or read the bible. Or pray every night before going to bed. He's merely singing about his own love of God. And to tell the truth... views on religion aside, the music itself is so damn catchy and uplifting that it's hard not to enjoy it. Regardless of lyrical themes.

This is far from the prog greatness you'd expect from a man who fronted one of the genres most beloved cult bands, but it's still a record worth checking out. Morse's voice is always a pleasure to listen to, and with some hidden gems on it such as 'King of Love', 'Love Like You' and 'Sing My Love' (you can really feel the love on this album eh?) it'd be a shame to dismiss some great songwriting due to nothing more than prejudice.

Unless you're a death metal enthusiast. You probably won't enjoy this.

'God Won't Give Up' is far from the type of album I'd rant and rave about, and there's countless other things I'd rather listen to than any kind of Christian music, but with that said, it's definitely been an eye opener for me, not to judge anything without having heard it myself, and that sometimes the most enjoyable music can come from the most unlikeliest sources.

Now then... Cannibal Corpse, anyone?

NEAL MORSE THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM (AS THE NEAL MORSE BAND)

Album · 2016 · Metal Related
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
Hallelujah! And praise the Lord! As brother NEAL MORSE races into the new phase of his career as THE NEAL MORSE BAND like a renegade choir boy eschewing all the gospel and Christian rock norms, he once again joins his brother in salvation Mike Portnoy (master of percussive fecundity from Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, OSI and much more) along with regular band members Randy George (bassist from Ajalon), Bill Haubauer (organs, pianos, synth) and Eric Gillette (lead and rhythm guitars). This is the second album released by the band and they all contribute vocals to some degree with Brother MORSE picking up the lead spotlight. If that’s not enough there are also a whopping ten extra helping hands offering a cornucopia of sounds including violin, viola, cello, saxes, marimba, trumpets, pedal steel guitar and various other forms of percussion. The result of this smorgasbord of musical maestrohood is THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM. A walloping double album that takes the worship of all things retro, cleverly crafts them with Brother MORSE’s signature sound and unleashes one of his most ambitious musical experiences to date.

Lyrically speaking THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is a concept album that is loosely based on the 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. The full title of the original book was “The Pilgrim’s Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come; Delivered Under THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM.” The actual 17th century publication contained an astounding 108,260 words and written in narrative form in two major parts. And like the basic plot, this massive double album focuses on MORSE’s spiritual practices that recounts a story in a dream sequence that is presented by a narrator that tells the story of a man named Christian who after a life of spiritually unfulfilling anguish is told he must leave the evils of the City Of Destruction and make a pilgrimage to the Celestial City to find peace and ultimate salvation. The album much like the book contains two parts with each part creating a separate mood and culmination of the adventures that unfold. Granted, a loose concept based on a massive double volume tome proves to be a nebulous and grainy representation of the greater writings from the past, but manages to create a coherent albeit simplified account based on brother MORSE’s personal interpretations.

Beginning with a melancholic violin and viola intro it first appears that this is a symphonic chamber rock album with Brother MORSE singing in his usual mode making the listener think they’re in store for a long, mellow drawn out and boring album. But all of a sudden, Brother MORSE, as if summoning up a miracle transmogrifies the super sappy sonicity into an Area inspired jazz-fusion riff that gives way to an energetic symphonic Yes infused guitar solo sequence that then jumps into a never ending changing-it-up of Keith Emerson keyboard gymnastics, bombastic heavy rock riffing and melodic meanderings punctuated by quick slaps of proggy time sig surprises. Whew! And that’s just the first short intro “Long Day” and the longer “Overature!” When we finally get to “The Dream” it begins as a Pink Floyd acoustic guitar ballad that brings another double album “The Wall” to mind in musical structure along with those familiar echoes heard in “Comfortably Numb” which pops in from time to time throughout the album. Luckily none of these influences overshadow the overall musical mission but still screams retro-prog in every fashion. “City Of Destruction” takes the harder edged road that brings the whacky 70s world of Joe Walsh to mind slightly as the guitar riff stomps along like an angry child having a tantrum after not getting its way. The chorus for this track finds a reprise at the end of the second disc.

The retro-rock and prog celebration continues with more Pink Floyd (all throughout), The Beatles (“The Ways Of A Fool”), Peter Gabriel (“Slave To Your Mind”), Led Zeppelin (“The Man In The Iron Cage”) and The Who (“I’m Running”) finding their way into that familiar MORSE packaging that is ubiquitous on his myriad band projects. Also interspersed throughout the 100 minute plus listening experience are ample jazz-fusion segments, American country (“Freedom Song”), Chopin-esque classical piano (“The Mask”) as well as heavy doses of prog metal (“Confrontation.”) As far as going crazy and really delivering the prog goods, greatness is displayed on tracks like “City Of Destruction” but it really doesn’t get any better than the workouts on the closing instrumental “The Battle” which effectively takes on the most challenging aspects of the progressive rock universe and unapologetically nails them to the wall. Highly turbulent rhythms that spasmodically intermingle with sagacious melodies, choral climaxing, unrestrained and uncompromising musical ascensions that end and trade off with other similarly structured runs in a complex tug of war between tension building theatrical antics is the stuff prog dreams are made of! The visions of a higher prog heaven in full interplay and by far the most challenging and adrenaline inducing track of the entire album experience.

Brother MORSE has stated that THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM is the 18th album that he has recorded together with Mike Portney and that this is the one that represents an absolute pinnacle of their musical symbiosis and after just one listen it is hard to deny that the creative juices were flowing on this one with one strong track after another changing things up just enough to keep that old attention span peaked all the while delivering familiar hooks and influences that triumphantly scoured the vast vaults of the hard rock and prog universe. While i would tend to agree with many that this is indeed one of Brother MORSE’s strongest offerings to date, i do find the usual flaws that are ubiquitous on the entirety of the NEIL MORSE canon. Firstly is his limited vocal style. Yes, i simply find his range insufficient to fit in with the intensity and dynamics in the sheer scope of styles that the music meander throughout. While i don’t find this to be a hindrance in my listening pleasure, i do find it detracts enough from the overall experience and dethrones any possibilities of this ever becoming a true classic in my world.

And then there are those overly sentimental sappy pieces that seem to haunt every MORSE album whether it be Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic or the solo releases. In this case it’s the last songs on each disc “Breath Of Angels” and “Broken Sky / Long Day (Reprise)” which find Brother MORSE entering AOR territory strutting around on easy listening autopilot and IMHO completely derailing all the momentum that each side of the album so masterfully accrues although there are segments of these light passages that do effectively mix and meld with the other styles on many tracks dispersed throughout that work quite well. While this album could not rightfully be deemed significantly dissimilar from Brother MORSE’s previous strong albums such as “?” or “Sola Scriptura,” it does pack a healthy dose of plentiful punches that will guarantee to hook the retro-prog fanatic from the get go. After several spins of this one, i’m still enthralled minus the minor quips that prevent the five star crown. All in all an excellent release and even more so considering it’s a double album release.

Lastly, this is an album that is meant to be experienced as a continuous listen. It doesn’t seem to be nearly as effective just sampling a track here and there, therefore is very much the sum of the parts that makes this a compelling cognitive workout. While brother MORSE’s vocal limitation may dissuade me from becoming the most hardcore of fans, i readily concede that he is the master of delivering some of the most compelling Christian themed prog rock (and rock in general) in the music biz. While certainly on the pop side of the prog universe, great care is laid out in every little aspect of this album with the crystal clear production bringing the musical concept to fully realized vivaciousness. Retro-prog yes ,but an exciting slice of it’s immortal calling. Music so compelling and animistic that it just refuses to be put to rest. While this album could not possibly be qualified as the most original of the lot, it nonetheless delivers many aspects of the past in the most equanimous, fastidious and efficacious ways possible along with the sheer stridency of brother MORSE’s didactic prose backed up by his most eager and devoted musical followers. Let us give thanks for the music bestowed upon us today. Amen.

NEAL MORSE Lifeline

Album · 2008 · Non-Metal
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arcane-beautiful
FACT: Neal Morse can't make a bad album.

I had heard bad comments and reviews on this album, and I went into it with a sword in my hand...but to my suprise, it was a great album. I didn't get bored, I thorougly enjoyed it, It was an amazing listening experience.

I believe that this was the missing link between Neal's solo stuff and what he left behind in Spock's Beard. The songs were upbeat, in major keys and had great chorus'. The arrangements were well done and the vocals were to die for. Again, it was a bit preachy, but after listening to a bunch of angry Christians all my life, Neals calm attitude to the subject was approachable, again, his faith I do not believe in and do not have any real remorse (haha rhymes with Morse) for their believes. But Neal I can deal with, cause he's nice and makes great music.

1. Lifeline - The songs title track and definelty a flashback to Spock's Beard. The first time I heard this song, was when I was doing my GCSE's, and to be honest, was feeling a little down, but the organ riff in this song was enough to cheer me up. Amazing finger work from Neal, spectacular drumming from that Jew fella and the basslines are better than anything Chris Squire or even Dave Mereos could ever fathom. This song is an amazing dose with happy with a side of epicness. Amazing start to the album.

2. The Way Home - This is definetly a homage to the great ballads that were created in Spock's Beard, e.g. Waste Away, June, Love Beyond Words etc. Amazing chorus with beautiful melodies.

3. Leviathan - King Crimson...Van Der Graaf Generator...Antonius Rex, basically a dip in the eclectic pool for Neal. Crazy saxaphoning, amazing jaunty riffs and riffs that could kick the head of Satan himself.

4. God's Love - An amazing teary ballad with amazng harmonies provided by the vocal side. What more can I say, great song, see, I could say more.

5. Children Of The Chosen - A more gospel and preachy side, there always is one of these, so I don't mind, I enjoyed it.

6. So Many Roads - The epic, monster of a song. I thought this would sound like something of "Sola", but It was steering to a more "At The End Of The Day" mood. The themes are amazingly presented, Neal pushes his fingers and voice to the limit, pop culture references...basically a mammoth of a song.

7. Fly High - A great ending and a solo from that New Zeleander with the amazing fingers. A great end to a great album.

CONCLUSION - Not his best, but an amazing album non the less. Buy all his albums, your soul will be saved :)

NEAL MORSE One

Album · 2004 · Non-Metal
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arcane-beautiful
Wow, Neal is a musician, who basically procreates amazing music.

This album was a must have for me, after I had heard Sola Scriptora (check my review on how I believe it is the greatest album ever made).

Now a fully fledged Morse fan, I ordered One online and recieved it on Halloween...oooh spooky.

This album was actually quite raw and experimental than Sola Sciptora and was even more flexible with arrangements and technique. The songs I believe don't stand out as much as they did in Sola Scriptora, but I do believe that each song had it's own goal for Neal, even if it's to make use of heavy distorted guitars, contrapuntal vocals, amazing keyboard sections, folky and acoustic sections and even some gospel and liturgical inspired moments.

Lyrically and concept wise, the album is about how Man had lost his way with God, and how at the end he comes back, a slightly more modern view of The Prodigal Son parable. Being an athiest, I took the lyrics with a pinch of salt, but now and then, the idea of what modern and youthfull Christian religious bait strings up, which, basically means, "God just wants to love you and give you a big hug", which is great and all that, but I always answer this question with, "Then why doesn't he...Come on, I'm waiting." No answer is ever recieved, Christians just leave me alone and reflect upon their faith, as they usually do.

Once again, there is amazing musicianship from Neal, Mike & Randy.

1. The Creation - This song starts off very beautiful, with a amazingly arranged chamber style section. After 4 minutes of prog induced musicianship, the vocals come in, and as always, Neal colourful tone, lightens up the song. This song reminds me of a Genesis song, something off Nursery Crime or Foxtrot, where there needn't be any hooks, just alot of dramatic twists and turns to grab the listeneres attention. All in all, a classic and amazing piece of prog masterpiece.

2. The Man's Gone - This is a bit of a folky tune, with a sad melachonic mood to suit the lyrics, leads into the necxt song quite weridly and perfectly.

3. Author Of Confusion - How can you not love this song. The Dream Theater esque instrumental with touches of King Crimson & Van Der Graaf Generator like madness. Then the vocals come in. Counterpoint has always been a common thing in Spock's Beard (Neal's old band) and to see Neal going back to his routes was amazing. The layered vocals performing create amazing harmonies and discourse. The song ends off on a slightly sadder mood.

4. The Seperated Man - This song takes many dramatic twists and turns, from upbeat, to melachonic, to angry, to cheery and then a more reflective mood. The instrumentation in this song is to die for, especially the wonderfully arranged acoustic section. Another epic on this album.

5. Cradle To The Grave - This song reminds me of Heaven In My Heart, in that it is the ballad of the album. The other vocalist on this song reminds me of Irelands favourtie folk master, Kieran Goss, and I thought it was him, but it turns out it wasn't. Probabbly the most cathiest song on this album, expressing deep emotion, amazing vocals and great musicianship.

6. Help Me| The Spirit & The Flesh - This song is probabbly the most liturgical on the album, and is probabbly the most nicest moment as well. Beautifully arranged.

7. Father Of Forgiveness - Another ballad, but more upbeat than Cralde To The Grave. Still a great song though.

8. Reunion - I would have made a more epic end, but as this album ends on a happy ending, I'll let Neal off with this one. The brass sections remind me of ska, like Less Than Jake, for some strange reason. I like the layered vocals for the ending.

CONCLUSION - Not as good as Sola Scriptora, but not much is. I loved how the limit for a one disc album is 80 minutes, and Neal made his 79:57. Ha, what a genius. But it, or else...

NEAL MORSE Testimony 2

Album · 2011 · Non-Metal
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adg211288
Testimony 2 is a 2011 album release from American musician Neal Morse (ex-Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic). His last two solo releases The River and Mighty to Save were a part of his ‘Worship Sessions’ series of Christian rock music, making Testimony 2 Neal’s first progressive rock album since 2008’s Lifeline, which was an album that I personally found to be a disappointment, especially since it had a tough act to follow in the metal inclined Sola Scriptura (2007). Testimony 2 is also a sequel to Neal’s first solo prog rock album, Testimony, which was released back in 2003. The album is a double disc affair, although only the first disc contains the conceptual material. There is also a limited edition that includes a making of DVD.

Musically Testimony 2, perhaps expectedly, harks back to Neal’s earliest prog solo work which includes the original Testimony album. That means symphonic styled progressive rock, which has a little bit more of a kick to it than some artists I’ve listened to, with Christian themed lyrics which are essentially three new chapters in an on-going musical biography of Neal’s life, specifically his conversion to the Christian faith. Personally speaking I can’t call myself a Christian, but such lyrics don’t bother me, so long as they aren’t Christian just for the sake of being Christian, if you get my meaning. By making a concept album the lyrics get a deeper meaning to them, which works very well for the creative genius that is Neal Morse. This is why Lifeline wasn’t so good for me. It had no concept, and the lyrics were Christian just for the sake of it. If I wanted that from Morse I’d listen to his Worship albums (I don’t, by the way). Fortunately with another concept album under his belt Neal Morse returns to form in style with Testimony 2.

There are two discs for the album. The first is essentially Testimony 2, while the second contains three additional unrelated tracks. You may consider them bonus tracks perhaps, although the third and final, Seeds of Gold, is actually one of Neal’s epics, with a running time only just shy of twenty-six minutes, and personally I’d call it one of the most essential tracks that the package offers us. This is certainly a man that knows how to write a lengthy epic the right way.

While most of the music is firmly in the progressive rock vein Neal also showcases those heavier tendencies from Sola Scriptura as well, mostly notably on the excellent instrumental Overture No. 4. Neal’s keyboards naturally play a large role in his music to give it its symphonic flavour, and the bass guitar of Randy George has a very prominent position in the mix on parts of the album. The album also features guest slots from Neal’s former Spock’s Beard band mates Nick D'Virgilio, Alan Morse and Dave Meros, who provide additional vocals on Time Changer, which is a nod to Neal’s time in the band is in a very similar style to some of Spock’s Beard’s work.

What really holds Testimony 2 back from being masterful though is that although it’s certainly a much more enjoyable effort from Neal than Lifeline, for an album of this length it does start to feel a little samey by the time you’re reaching the end of the second part of the main concept album, which is only just shy of eighty minutes of music in total with still over half an hour to go by this point. This is a good album all the same, but it’s that non-concept track Seeds of Gold that I mentioned earlier that really pushes my overall opinion of the album up for me.

So while Testimony 2 doesn’t quite stand up to Neal’s best works across his multiple projects for me, this is most certainly a solid and worthy addition to his sizeable discography that I think his fans are going to enjoy immensely.

81/100

(Originally written (in 2011) for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/neal-morse-testimony-2-t2067.html)

NEAL MORSE Movies Reviews

NEAL MORSE Live Momentum

Movie · 2013 · Non-Metal
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Kev Rowland
One of the disadvantages of living at the end of the world is that these days I get most of my promos as downloads, which generally isn’t too much of a pain but here I find myself reviewing a DVD set where I haven’t actually seen the DVDs! Okay, so this has been released as a double DVD (more than 4 hours), along with a triple CD set and it is the latter that I am reviewing. This recording took place on October 11th, 2012 at The High Line Ballroom, New York, and captures the band in incredible form. I have no idea how many live recordings of Neal there are in my collection, from duetting with NDV through Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic and of course his solo work, but there are one or two. I have seen him in concert with SB as well as on the ‘Testimony’ tour and have had the privilege of interviewing him a few times as well, so I guess you can say that I am a fan.

I greatly respect the way that he decided to stand up for what he believed in (even though I don’t share those beliefs), although I still regret that SB never had the chance to tour ‘Snow’ which is easily their finest work. I have never given anything that he has been involved with a bad review, and there is no reason at all to start now as this triple CD set (2 hours 45 minutes) is as close to perfection as one could hope to hear. When it came to choosing the musicians to form the band he brought in close friends Mike Portnoy and Randy George and then used YouTube for the audition process! He ought to do that more often, as during “Sing It High” he gets it right when he says that the guys are “Sick”. Adson Sodré (guitar, vocals), Eric Gillette (guitar, keyboards, percussion, vocals) and Bill Hubauer (keyboards, violin, sax, vocals) do a stunning job. Mind you, it’s handy when you have three multi-instrumentalists in a band as it does mean that you can spread the wings. Vocally they are all in fine voice as well, just listen to “Author Of Confusion” to see what I mean.

Both Adson and Eric really riff and shred as the need requires, and this is probably the heaviest that Neal has ever sounded as he works his way through material from throughout his career: this is much more than just a live rendition of the latest album. The suites from ‘Testimony’ and ‘?’ work incredibly well and it is the longer sections that really allow Neal and the guys to shine. There are four songs more than twenty minutes long and one more than thirty!

But, for me one of the major highlights sees Neal taking a back seat, literally. One of my favourite live albums that feature Neal is ‘One Night in New York City’ by Yellow Matter Custard. This was a band put together by Mike Portnoy to play Beatles’ numbers, and the line-up was completed by Neal, Paul Gilbert and Matt Bissonette. The whole purpose of that band was to provide a new take on classic numbers and have fun at the same time. Well, on “Crazy Horses” Neal takes over on drums while Mike becomes the frontman, and everyone has an absolute blast. Mike says that when he first heard the song when he was five years old that it was the heaviest song that he had ever heard, and the band certainly do it justice. I defy you to listen to this and not smile throughout. There are some people who don’t enjoy what Neal does, and feel that he hasn’t dramatically changed since he left SB, but I sincerely hope he keeps going in this vein for the rest of his very long career as I love it.

So there you have it, a five star review for a DVD set that I haven’t even seen. But to me they are just an added bonus as this triple CD set is just mindblowing. www.insideout.de

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