THE NEAL MORSE BAND

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The Neal Morse Band is a progressive rock project founded by Neal Morse (ex-Spock's Beard, Transatlantic) as an outlet for band orientated song-writing. The line-up is completed by Morse's usual studio collaborators Randy George and Mike Portnoy, with Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer bringing the line-up up to a five piece. The group released their debut album The Grand Experiment in 2015, going into the studio for it with no pre-prepared material.

The Neal Morse Band is in some ways similar to Neal Morse's solo work, but in addition to all band members being involved in the writing process, Morse is not the sole vocalist in the group, although some releases of The Neal Morse Band do continue with the Christian themes of his solo output. The band's sound has some marked differences to Neal's usual output, with more hard rock/metal elements featured.

Following The Grand Experiment, The Neal Morse
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THE NEAL MORSE BAND Discography

THE NEAL MORSE BAND albums / top albums

THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Grand Experiment album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
The Grand Experiment
Metal Related 2015
THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Similitude of a Dream album cover 4.08 | 2 ratings
The Similitude of a Dream
Metal Related 2016
THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Great Adventure album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Great Adventure
Metal Related 2019

THE NEAL MORSE BAND EPs & splits

THE NEAL MORSE BAND live albums

THE NEAL MORSE BAND Alive Again album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Alive Again
Metal Related 2016
THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Similitude Of A Dream (Live In Tilburg 2017) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Similitude Of A Dream (Live In Tilburg 2017)
Metal Related 2018
THE NEAL MORSE BAND Morsefest! 2017: Testimony Of A Dream album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Morsefest! 2017: Testimony Of A Dream
Metal Related 2018
THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Great Adventour: Live In Brno - 2019 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Great Adventour: Live In Brno - 2019
Metal Related 2020

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

THE NEAL MORSE BAND Live In India (Inner Circle July 2014) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In India (Inner Circle July 2014)
Metal Related 2014
THE NEAL MORSE BAND Live In Athens (Inner Circle May 2015) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Athens (Inner Circle May 2015)
Metal Related 2015
THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Grand Experiment Demos (Inner Circle March 2016) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Grand Experiment Demos (Inner Circle March 2016)
Metal Related 2016
THE NEAL MORSE BAND Cruise To The Edge 2015 (Inner Circle January 2016) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cruise To The Edge 2015 (Inner Circle January 2016)
Metal Related 2016
THE NEAL MORSE BAND Scenes From A Prog Cruise (Inner Circle May 2016) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Scenes From A Prog Cruise (Inner Circle May 2016)
Metal Related 2016
THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Similitude Of A Dream Demos Part 1 (Inner Circle May 2017) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Similitude Of A Dream Demos Part 1 (Inner Circle May 2017)
Metal Related 2017
THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Similitude Of A Dream Demos Part 2 (Inner Circle November 2018) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Similitude Of A Dream Demos Part 2 (Inner Circle November 2018)
Metal Related 2018
THE NEAL MORSE BAND Live In Limbourg (Inner Circle January 2019) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Limbourg (Inner Circle January 2019)
Metal Related 2019
THE NEAL MORSE BAND NMB Jan 2018 Sessions, Beginning The Adventure (Inner Circle May 2019) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
NMB Jan 2018 Sessions, Beginning The Adventure (Inner Circle May 2019)
Metal Related 2019

THE NEAL MORSE BAND re-issues & compilations

THE NEAL MORSE BAND singles (0)

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

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alive Again
Metal Related 2016
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Similitude Of A Dream (Live In Tilburg 2017)
Metal Related 2018
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Morsefest! 2017: Testimony Of A Dream
Metal Related 2018

THE NEAL MORSE BAND Reviews

THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Similitude of a Dream

Album · 2016 · Metal Related
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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.

THE NEAL MORSE BAND The Grand Experiment

Album · 2015 · Metal Related
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adg211288
I have a lot of favourite bands, but not so many individual musicians I could single out as being of particular renown to me. Sure, most bands have one or two more key members to their writing process, but historically it's only been Arjen Anthony Lucassen that I really felt was one of my favourite musicians. But I'm come to realise that there is one other I should put on that very short list. Neal Morse. A modern champion of progressive rock and prolific since getting his start with Spock's Beard. The Grand Experiment (2015) is the debut studio album from his The Neal Morse Band venture.

Many may see this entity as just an alternately named Neal Morse release, especially since the line-up features his usual collaborators Randy George (bass) and Mike Portnoy (drums), but it is actually a separate project, with a five piece main line-up completed by Bill Hubauer and Eric Gillette, both of whom provide vocals in the band in addition to their instruments (keyboards and guitars respectively), as does Portnoy, not just Morse, though he does remain the lead, especially on this debut, but that would change with their next release. It also features a collaborative effort at song-writing. With the notable exception of One (2004), Neal Morse solo albums are usually written solely or majorly by him alone.

It's easy to hear that this isn't the case with The Grand Experiment. While many Neal Morse elements are present, it has a distinctly differently feel, including the use of more hard rock/heavy metal elements (Eric Gillette has released progressive metal solo albums and Mike Portnoy is course best known for being the original drummer of Dream Theater) than most Neal Morse work does (the notable exception being Sola Scriptura) within his usual symphonic prog sound. While Morse has used those before, it's not been to quite the same feel as on this album, which the five musicians went into the studio for with no pre-prepared material at all, hence it's title. The result is some songs that feel very typical Neal Morse like the epic length The Call and Alive Again, but others that feel fresher for him, especially the hard rocking Agenda, a track that I personally wasn't sure of at first but have quickly grown to love. It's a short and quirky number, hearkening back to Spock's Beard's use of humour.

There may only be five tracks on The Grand Experiment, but that's not an unusually low number for a progressive group. The album is bookended by two epics as well, with the closer Alive Again running for a mammoth 26:45. The three songs in-between are all much shorter and more direct compositions showing off different styles of music. The Grand Experiment is nothing if not a varied release and I dare say the most exciting Neal Morse release since Transatlantic's comeback six years prior. The group as whole proves once again that Morse is as much a team player as a leader and while this particular group may still have his name on it, it's clearly the sum of all its parts and more.

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