Well, I waited until I`d heard the album three times before writing this review. Neal`s stuff is seldom immediate and it takes a few listens to really be objective. First of all, cards on table etc I consider Neal Morse to be the greatest writer of modern day prog bar none. I therefore try not to be overly gushing in praise when less than perfect albums are produced. What is a good or bad album is subjective I know, as I don`t rate the first Testimony album too highly nor do I think Sola Scriptura is as good as many people do.
This for me is a very good album indeed. There are a few of the original albums themes reprised here but mostly it`s all new stuff. I find with Neal`s albums that you tend to forgive any dodgy bits in the middle as the endings are normally SO good.Same with this one, though not a lot of dodgy bits at all, really.
Lyrically is where this album will probably divide opinion. As most know,he`s a Christian and all his work since Testimony One has been to proclaim his faith. I can well understand why some would find this off putting, indeed I wonder why I seem to be only the second reviewer after the album`s been out a week. Could the lyrical content be alienating his fanbase? For those who share his faith, the lyrics are heartfelt and true. For those who don`t, that might well be a different matter. But one thing`s for sure, I don`t see future albums going along a different path.
So, an excellent piece of work from a musical genius who just keeps turning out quality music. Slight glimpses of the prog greats from yesteryear are found, including a "And You And I" moment plus a very Focus like guitar intro.But I think the Gentle Giant style vocal parts are now wearing a bit thin, Neal.