Review NMB ‘Innocence & Danger’

There are artists and bands that seem to benefit from an endless creative flow. One of them is Neal Morse, together with his band members of NMB, formally known as The Neal Morse Band. Now, with the abbreviation being the band name, the quintet will release a next album that continues the streak of extremely well-crafted prog rock albums. NMB, that is next to Morse also Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Gillette and Bill Hubauer. These five guys spent time and effort into creating a new longplayer called ‘Innocence & Danger’.

It was ‘The Great Adventure’ that started an exciting journey through the landscapes of progressive music back in 2015. Two more longplayers followed with ‘The Grand Experiment’ having been released in 2019. With ‘Innocence & Danger’ the fourth album will be available end of August and ‘longplayer’, the term says it all.

In line with the previous releases also the new delivery is a double album. Only difference this time is that we are not listening to a concept album. The ten songs are independent from each other and don’t follow a story line which is a refreshing element of the newest record. It feels like working on unrelated songs provided a bit more freedom and gave extra space for inspiration.

‘Innocence & Danger’ contains all you can expect from NMB. In total ten great songs are creating a tracklist that is a treat for everyone’s ears with the fulminant highlights being part of CD 2.  ‘Not Afraid Pt.2’ is the continuation of the first chapter that is part of disc one. With a nearly 20-minute running time, the song is a true masterpiece, followed by an epos that impresses even more. The grand finale is entitled ‘Beyond the Years’, a 70s inspired musical mammoth, being a delight for fans of well-crafted progressive rock music. NMB blends musical savvy, technical expertise and a great sense for a good song all into one masterpiece. Although all the songs on ‘Innocence & Danger’ are far beyond average, it feels like the entire album builds up towards this impressive closing chapter.

Also to mention is a cover song. NMB decided to interpret the legendary Simon & Garfunkel classic ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and what they do it is exquisite. Still following the original to a certain extent, the quintet gives the classic an own twist and an unique NMB-feel. This version pays tribute to the original without just playing the song tone by tone.

Furthermore, the album has a good drive and flow. The tracklist provides some real rocking tunes, like the powerful ‘Bird on a Wire’ and at the same time unveils the sensitive aspect of music with the calmer ‘The Way it Had To Be’ and the gentle ‘Emergence’.

As expected, NMB add a next excellent release to their discography. It seems like the adjustment of the name also manifests an even more intense collaborative approach which benefits each of the songs. This album is made by five excellent musicians, driven by creativity and inspiration rather than planning and outlining an album to the smallest detail. ‘Innocence & Danger’, that is a real ‘wow’-experience.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

CD1:

  1. Do It All Again
  2. Bird On A Wire
  3. Your Place In The Sun
  4. Another Story To Tell
  5. The Way It Had To Be
  6. Emergence
  7. Not Afraid Pt 1
  8. Bridge Over Troubled Water

CD2:

  1. Not Afraid Pt 2
  2. Beyond The Years

Label: Inside Out Music

Genre: Progressive Rock

Release Date EU: August 27th, 2021

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