Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
on 8 December 2005
This is Neal's third solo foray into prog rock, with a Christian message.
Ignoring the lyrics (based around the Tabernacle - look it up in the Old Testament), the structure is as before, some fairly straightforward vocal tunes separates by mind-blowingly complex instrumental passages. Start mellow, build, totally OTT middle, then epic finale.
The vocal parts could be used in isolation, and I think would work perfectly well with just an acoustic guitar, maybe a piano, but clearly that's not what makes Neal tick. His voice isn't anything special (sort of Bryan Adams-y but less gravel), but he writes decent melodies, plays great guitar and keys, and loves to show off.
Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) is still behind the kit, and the guest musicians reach a new high for Neal: Jordan Rudess (DT again), Steve Hackett (!!!), Ronni Stolt (Flower Kings) and his own brother Alan (Spock's Beard) among others, taking the instrumental passages to a new level of complexity.
Not sure all the tunes are quite as good as before (Testimony remains the benchmark), but the instrumental bits make up for this in my ears, so 4 stars it is.
And not quite as long as his other works. Good stuff.