Monday, 7 November 2011
Neal Morse – Testimony 2 Live in Los Angeles review for Alternative Matter
Developing a strong allegiance with fans from his time in Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse must be praised for continuing to express his craft through the medium of symphonic progressive rock, despite the fact that this path has been well trodden over a number of years now. Featuring a band that includes drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Transatalantic), bassist Randy George and Steve Morse (Deep Purple, Kansas, Dixie Dreggs), Morse has assembled many ex-member of Spock’s Beard to trace his journey from formation of the band, through spiritual awakening to eventual departure. This is achieved over disc one in a conceptual piece over thirteen songs in three sections. Disc two, on the other hand, concentrates on Morse’s devotion to the Christian faith. In all fairness these elongated, epic soundtracks are far from progressive, but Morse creates his music with ardour and sincerity and must be applauded for doing so. For the listener who is unaccustomed to hearing long, complex musical narratives, the material on “Testimony 2” may be a long difficult journey, and it must be said that the musicianship on display is outstanding. The songs themselves are, however, predictable, and break no new ground......