CD review NEAL MORSE ‘Sola Gratia’

Neal Morse is a highly gifted musician and songwriter with skills and creativity that elevate a lot of records with him being involved from very good to extraordinary. One outlet for his endless creative flow is when he works on solo records of which ‘Sola Gratia’ marks the newest one.

‘Sola Gratia’ is Morse’s ninth solo shot and it’s again a treat for fans of sophisticated Rock. Neal Morse has a big musical toolbox that allows him to make his creative idea become reality, although it sometimes need a little kick of inspiration.

Work on ‘Sola Gratia’ started when Morse was on a cruise to Australia and New Zealand. All of a sudden ideas started to flow and after having returned to home, work on ‘Sola Gratia’ began. The title reminds in parts of Morse’s ‘Sola Scripura’ album, which was about the life of Martin Luther King. This time though the title came up based on a little misunderstanding. While Morse’s wife Cherie said, that he should do a solo album, the musician and composer understood ‘Sola album’. Since the record is about apostle Paul and since there are some parallels with the narrative of ‘Sola Scriptura’, the name was settled.

Musically the new album has all you can expect from a Neal Morse album. Musical savvy is utilized as a tool to ignite a musical experience not many musicians can present. Sometimes clam and gentle (‘Overflow’) and sometimes heavy (‘In the Name of the Lord’) the album comes with a wide range of Rock sounds. The great thing with this longplayer is, that all fits together, like in a good novel with different plot lines, still telling one story. Together with longtime partners Mike Portnoy (d), Randy George (b) and Gideon Klein (str), songs have been arranged and recorded that showcase how sophisticated Rock music can be played and how widely it can be interpreted. It needs a creative flow and the means to turn ideas into a product without losing the sense for good song. ‘Sola Gratia’ includes and builds on all that.

Neal Morse’s ninth solo record is another stellar example for progressive Rock music that doesn’t care about genres and their limitations. Morse simply created excellent arc of melody and a soundscapes that can’t be fully discovered by just a one time listen. Spinning the album again and again constantly unfolds new details that make the album blossom for long time. ‘Sola Gratia’, the anticipated next great step of Neal Morse and friends. This album is highly recommended.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Preface
  2. Overture
  3. In The Name Of The Lord
  4. Ballyhoo (The Chosen Ones)
  5. March Of The Pharisees
  6. Building A Wall
  7. Sola Intermezzo
  8. Overflow
  9. Warmer Than The Sunshine
  10. Never Change
  11. Seemingly Sincere
  12. The Light On The Road To Damascus
  13. The Glory Of The Lord
  14. Now I Can See/The Great Commission

Label: InsideOut Music

Genre: Rock

Release Date EU: September 11th, 2020

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