Album Reviews

Neal Morse – Testimony 2

Released by: Radiant Records

Release Date: May 23rd, 2011

Genre: Progressive Rock

Links: http://www.nealmorse.com/


Line Up:

Neal Morse: Lead vocals, keyboards, guitars

Mike Portnoy: Drums, vocals

Randy George: Bass

Matthew Ward: Vocals

Paul Bielatowicz: Guitar

Steve Morse: Guitar

Nick D’Virgilio, Alan Morse, Dave Meros: Spock’s Beard vocals

Eric Brenton: Violin

Mark Leniger: Saxophone


Tracklist:

Cd1:

1. Mercy Street

2. Overture No 4

3. Time Changer

4. Jayda

5. Nighttime Collectors

6. Time Has Come Today

7. Jesus’ Blood

8. The Truth Will Set You Free

9. Chance of a Lifetime

10. Jesus Bring Me Home

11. Road Dog Blues

12. It’s for You

13. Crossing Over – Mercy Street Revisited


Cd2:

1. Absolute Beginner

2. Supernatural

3. Seeds Of Gold


Ronnie James Dio once said and probably many times for that matter as advice, “simply write what you feel”. Be it the music of Neal Morse and his musical journey through his early days in Spocks Beard or later with Transatlantic and with his revelations in his solo works, you have to respect somebody that writes about what they believe in. The second part a continuation to the much touted and one of many outstanding solo works by Morse “Testimony 1” finally has a story that follows Neal Morse’s incredible life and embarks on a roller coaster of emotions at center stage.

The concept here is revealed in a 2 part CD release in which Morse tells the story his days in Spocks Beard and it’s unexpected success, all the way through dealing with personal battles in his own life with the birth of his daughter Jayda, adding more twists and turns into epics tunes and heart ridden emotional quests of self revelation and awakenings.

The line up here features former Dream Theater legendary drummer Mike Portnoy and the excellent bass player Randy George who have become permanent members of his band, also guest contributions comes from former Spocks Beard members Alan Morse his brother, Dave Meros vocals for Spocks Beard as well as the excellent guitar instrumentalist Steve Morse and his mind bending guitar solos.

Testimony 2 picks up in part 6  a  22 minutes epic featuring the 4 songs “Mercy Street”. “Overture No 4”, “Time Changer” and “Jayda”. (the first Testimony features parts 1-5). The instrumental Overture escalates with an impressive progressive rock feel and the drums by Portnoy bring pictures of “Scenes From A Memory” record from Dream Theater. The great vocals of Meros guest star on “Time Changer” and you can’t help but reminisce on the hey days of Spocks; it recalls some specific moments in Morse’s timeline with his former band and here they all reconvene together to form an epic sound so typical of years ago, a musical collage of voices joined forces.

The heartwarming events of Neal’s daughter’s birth and their ordeal after being born with a heart defect makes for an surreal heartwarming and passionate humility, this song portrays the way Neal writes which reflects on his honesty and what he feels. Part Seven continues Morse’s expedition of religious faith and revelation as he starts digging deeper into his beliefs and songs like “”Jesus Blood” is an amazing piece of work from a lyrical perspective as well as outstanding musicianship; kinda like looking at his life through broken glass as you start putting all the pieces together.

This part 2 epic is a culmination that originally derived from a book Neal submitted to his editor and from there he got inspired by friends an others to write a second part to his autobiographical masterpiece Testimony 1, in the end what you have here is an eminent force of power that takes the listener on a musical journey featuring Mr Morse as your narrator. I can tell the ideas that Portnoy and George have contributed and is obvious inn the arrangements that they had a big part in it. Everybody here  including the guest artists demonstrates supreme musicianship as expected and once more Morse has his way with presenting a story. Is catchy, revealing, emotional, triumphant and most importantly loyal to Neal’s unwavering faith. An inspiration to anybody who considers themselves a music fan in general despite religious beliefs or personal views, you can’t help but treasure at the marvelous execution of words and music put together, simply wondrous.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys  10/10


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