Artist: Neal Morse
Label: Radiant Records/Inside Out
Review: Diego Camargo
Thoughts: I’ve known Neal Morse's music for a long time now. A friend of mine presented me Testimony (2003), his first solo album after leaving Spock’s Beard, right after the release and I was blown away.
I’ve followed Neal’s music in every album since then and one thing’s for sure, he hardly does mistakes.
Momentum (2012) is his ninth solo album (not counting his live, demos albums etc.) and it was released last September.
The title track that opens the album is as powerful as his best tracks always are. Typical Morse sound, with great riffs, great recording and a perfect mix of soul and technic. And as it already happened on other albums, Paul Gilbert plays some killer guitar solos on the track.
Maybe a surprise for some, but not for me. I like to have this continuation thing that he proposes in ‘Thoughts Part 5’, this is a Gentle Giant tribute that started back with his old band Spock’s Beard on the album Beware Of Darkness (1996) and was followed by the second part on V (2000), the third part will be on the new Spock’s Beard album Brief Nocturnes And Dreamless Sleep (2013) that will be released in March and the part 4 is… unknown… yet. This fifth part is very heavy and the Randy George bass shines brightly (as usual).
I can’t say that this is a problem but, on the third track I felt something weird, ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ is a nice track, but it just doesn’t fit. And the problem continues on ‘Weathering Sky’, despite the good guitars played by Neal himself and in ‘Freak’. After some consideration I can honestly say that I now know what’s my ‘weird feeling’ about these tracks. Despite Neal’s being a great writer, despite the fact that his band is just amazing (Randy George – bass & Mike Portnoy – drums) he’s repeating himself! And that’s not a good thing. I would like my review to be seen by Neal himself, not because I want some credits or anything like that, but because I would like him to take my advice: Neal, give it a break!
I will explain, he pretty much releases an album a year, plus his projects, plus his Inner Circle CDs, plus his Christian music… and this… makes him just repeating himself in an endless circle. Take a look at The Flower Kings, for instance. They had a 5 years break and their new album, Banks Of Eden (2012) is fresh and amazing, one of the best albums in 2012. I’m not saying that he should be away for 5 years, but a year would do wonders to Neal Morse music!
Pretty much every Neal Morse album has a kind of formula, 4 or 5 short tracks and an ‘epic’. In Momentum (2012) it is not different. For the lovers of the big tracks, as I am, we have the final track ‘World Without End’, a 33’39 song with all the Epic feeling you can ask for, a strong drum part by Portnoy and some interesting guitar solos by the Brazilian Adson Sodré, their new live guitar player.
It’s the track that was divided into six small chunks, of which the third part ‘Losing Your Soul’ is one of the best, followed by the great part four ‘The Mystery’.
All in all, like I said before, Neal Morse is Neal Morse and if you like his music, you’ll like this one for sure. It’s a great album, but not his best, the reason you’ve just read above.
But one thing always makes me happy about his albums. Namely, the overall sound of Neal’s albums is always amazing. It’s how it should be, how I like, and when it comes to me that always gives him some plus points.