NEAL MORSE – Testimony 2 (2011)

NEAL MORSE - Testimony 2 (2011) 2 cd

Shortly after Spock’s Beard released its epic opus ‘Snow’, singer and multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse shocked fans by quitting the up-and-coming LA prog band to follow a Christian calling.
The first fruits of his faith have surfaced in his magnificent solo album ‘Testimony’, in 2003.
Now, the time has come to “Testimony 2”

Joined by the legendary Dream Theater’s drummer Mike Portnoy and the excellent bassist Randy George, this breathtaking double album is a progressive / classic rock epic that recalls aspects of Kansas, Genesis, Kerry Livgren, Brian May, Pink Floyd … an extraordinarily open and honest expression by a talented musician.

CD1 tells us the poignant story of Neal’s life from the beginning of Spock’s Beard through when his leaving the band in 2002.
The brilliant conceptual piece consists of 13 songs in three sections each over twenty minutes long.
This album is no less than brilliant. Musicianship is top notch and Morse goes to everything you can think: stylized prog, classic rock, sympho and even Rock & Pop.
There’s plenty of euphoric moments with all the strong melodies and instrumental interplay that we have come to expect from Mr Morse and more besides. Randy George’s prominent bass is a joy to hear and of course Portnoy’s busy percussion lifts the music way up high.
Production wise this a great sounding album too with an excellent mix and sound quality. It’s also worth mentioning that Neal’s guitar playing is better than ever.

CD2 consists of 3 great tracks. Two shorter songs and one 26:00 minute prog epic, “Seeds of Gold”.
This album marks the audio reunion of Spock’s Beard as it contains a “tribute” to Spock’s where Neal and the guys sing an elaborate vocal section that is reminiscent of the early days of the band.
You can hear some ferocious guitars, marvelous synth solos, beautiful vocal melodies and superb arrangements.

“Testimony 2” is a masterpiece in its genre. I am talking specifically about progg, but Morse has no boundaries, this terrific recording embraces all genres: just Great music.
No matter if you are into religion or not, “Testimony 2” works lyrically because it is Neal’s own story and of how religion helped turn his life around.
Whatever you do, don’t let the religious aspects put you off – the music on “Testimony 2” is just too magnificent to miss.
Highly Recommended.

01 – Mercy Street
02 – Overture No. 4
03 – Time Changer
04 – Jayda
05 – Nighttime Collectors
06 – Time Has Come Today
07 – Jesus’ Blood
08 – The Truth Will Set You Free
09 – Chance of a Lifetime
10 – Jesus Bring Me Home
11 – Road Dog Blues
12 – It’s for You
13 – Crossing Over / Mercy Street Revisited

01 – Absolute Beginner
02 – Supernatural
03 – Seeds Of Gold

Neal Morse : Vocals, All Instruments
Randy George : Bass
Mike Portnoy : Drums, Percussion

Guests Include:
Nick D’Virgilio
Alan Morse
Dave Meros
Paul Bielatowicz
Matthew Ward
Eric Brenton
The Nashville Symphony

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