CD review THE NEAL MORSE BAND ‘The Great Adventure’

(9/10) The announcement of a next The Neal Morse Band album is always an exciting moment. The combination of musical savvy and a sense for great melodies led to great records in the past and the new longplayer ‘The Great Adventure’ doesn’t take a different route. The 22 songs comprising album is an exquisite release with songs that wow from start to end.

‘The Great Adventure’ is the latest double concept album of the iconic musician. Neal Morse, together with Mike Portnow (d/v), Randy George (b), Bill Hubauer (key/v)and Eric Gillette (g/v) takes the listener on an adventures journey, told in 22 chapters, meaning songs. No, it’s not songs. It’s compositions.

With the precision of a Swiss-made clockwork, the band provides almost two hours of exquisite music that covers everything from rock to metal to classic and even some jazz elements are weaved into the entire context of the album.

The new album has a close link to the previous masterpiece ‘The Similitude of a Dream’, which ended with “Let the great adventure begin.” The success of the predecessor put some pressure on Morse, Portnoy, George and band. The question that needed to be answered was if this line-up can reach the stars again with a new longplayer and after having listened to ‘The Great Adventure’ several times I can conclude that it’s equally great as ‘The Similitude of a Dream’. There seems to be an endless flow of creativity that comes with everybody involved, leading to brilliant compositions like ‘The Dream Isn’t Over’.

Also the fact that the band took a full year to work on the album shows the effort taken to get the best possible on the album. Usually it takes a few weeks of writing and arranging of songs for Morse records. This time the effort was intensified without getting an album that’s over-produced. Neal Morse and his partners in crime could maintain emotional depth throughout, somethings that manifests itself on the entire album.

When it comes to the storyline there’s a link to the predecessor too. ‘The Similitude of a Dream’ was built on John Bunyan’s ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ and it’s a change of perspective that differentiates the new album from the previous milestone. This time it’s the viewpoint of the Pilgrim’s son who was left behind, that strings together the 22 songs to a whole story.

‘The Great Adventure’ is the highly anticipated next addition to Neal Morse’ impressive musical work. Professional musicians combine their musical experience with their hearts and souls, all leading to an album that acts as a progressive kick-start into 2019. This record raises the bar dramatically for many bands that are supposed to get their new longplayers into the shops in 2019.


(9/10)

Tracklist:

  1. Overture
  2. The Dream Isn’t Over
  3. Welcome to the World
  4. A Momentary Change
  5. Dark melody
  6. I Got to Run
  7. To the River
  8. The Great Adventure
  9. Venture in Black
  10. Hey Ho Let’s Go
  11. Beyond the Borders
  12. Overture 2
  13. Long Ago
  14. The Dream Continues
  15. Fighting With Destiny
  16. Vanity Fair
  17. Fighting to the World 2
  18. The Element of Fear
  19. Child of Wonder
  20. The Great Despair
  21. Freedom Calling
  22. A Love That Never Dies

Label: Radiant Records / Metal Blade

Genre: Progressive Rock

Release Date EU: January 25th, 2019

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