Morse, Neal - Testimony

Year of Release: 2003
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 139
Format: CD
Total Time: 132:24:00

When the news broke that Neal Morse had left Spock?s Beard and was waiting for directions from God as to what to do with his life, I admit to rolling my eyes, shaking my head and laughing in disbelief. I have never understood the extremes that religion can bring people to. I now admire Neal for his honesty and conviction to follow his heart; I am sure it was a difficult move to make. There was a selfish side to my reaction, as the disappointment began to settle in that I would never get to hear anything new from a band that had become a favorite of mine. The impression given was that Neal was giving up music to devote his life to God.

Testimony is Neal's honest account of his life and how God came into it, and changed him. Musically, Neal has stayed very close to the Spock?s Beard sound, which should please his fans. On many tracks Morse uses orchestra musicians for stings (violin, cello among others) which I really enjoyed hearing. Testimony is more Spock?s Beard than the latest Spock's Beard. What will be the biggest hurdle is the lyrical content. Many may find the lyrics to be on the preaching side. I find it more to be Neal just sharing how God came into his life, and it is rather inspiring. The issue will be where does Neal go from here lyrically? Now that he has told his story, will his music continue to be a platform for sharing his religious beliefs?

Morse hits many high moments on Testimony. From the instrumental work on "Overtures" (1,2, &3), to the poppier tracks ?California Nights? and ?Break Of Day?. Neal even throws some country-tinged flavor on ?Sing It High?. But if you listen to it in its entirety, the record works as a whole. Neal?s sense of melody has always been one of my favorite points of his music, and he comes through again on ?Power In The Air,: ?Wasted Life? and the gem of both discs ?I Am Willing? and ?Oh, To Feel Him." It is the most moving track both lyrically and musically of Morse?s career, and sums up his feelings and state of mind in one track. This is a very inspiring album, regardless of your personal beliefs. Neal sings with conviction and there is a positive message that is great to hear. A point also must be made for Neal?s production, this is such a crisp, clean recording, and the performances of all the musicians are top notch. Guests include Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) on drums and Kerry Livgren guesting on guitar for one track. Testimony is a satisfying statement, and will be in my player in heavy rotation for a long time. Great to have you back Neal!!!!!!

Also released by Metal Blade (14451CD)

EM>Disc One: Part One: The Land Of Beginning Again / Overture No 1 / California Nights / Colder In The Sun / Sleeping Jesus / Interlude / The Prince Of The Power Of The Air / The Promise / Wasted Life / Part Two: Overture No 2 / Break Of Day / Power In The Air / Somber Days / Long Story / It's All I Can Do

Disc Two: Part Three: Transformation / Ready To Try / Sing It High / Part Four: Moving In My Heart / I Am Willing / In The Middle / The Storm Before The Calm / Oh To Feel Him / God's Theme / Part Five: Overture No 3 / Rejoice / Oh Lord My God / God's Theme 2 / The Land Of Beginning Again

Eric Brenton - violin, viola, electric violin solo (end of 1:11)
Chris Carmichael - violin, viola, cello, String arrangements
David Henry - cello
Mike Portnoy - drums, vocals
Pamela Ward and Erin - all female background vocals and soulful wailing
Rick Altizer - vocals on high parts in the choruses
Terry White and Gene Miller - vocals (2:8, 2:11)
Jim Hoke and Neil Rosengarden - sax and trumpet respectively
Katie Hagen (of the Nashville Symphony) - French horn
Mark Leniger - sax solo (2:7)
Byron House - string bass
Glenn Caruba - percussion
Johnny Cox - pedal steel guitar
Jerry Guidroz - handclaps, sampling
Kerry Livgren - guitar solo (2:5)
Anything not mentioned here performed by Neal

Spock's Beard - The Light (1991)
Spock's Beard - Beware of Darkness (1995)
Spock's Beard - The Beard Is Out There Live (1995) (cd/vid)
Spock's Beard - Official Live Bootleg (1996)
Spock's Beard - The Kindness of Strangers (1997)
Spock's Beard - From The Vault - 1995-1998 (1998)
Spock's Beard - Day For Night (1999)
Spock's Beard - Live At The Whiskey and NEARfest (1999)
Neal Morse (1999)
Spock's Beard - Don't Try This At Home (2000)
Merry Christmas From The Morse Family (2000)
Neal Morse and Nick D'Virgilio - Two Separate Gorillas - Live In Europe (2000)
Spock's Beard - V (2000)
Transatlantic - SMPTe (2000)
It's Not Too Late (2001)
Transatlantic - Live In America (2001)
Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever (2001)
Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever - Special Edition (2001)
Spock's Beard - Snow (2002)
Testimony (2003)
One (2004)
Lead Me Lord (Worship Sessions Volume One) (2005)
? (2005)
Morse Portnoy George - Cover To Cover (2006)
Sola Scriptura (2007)
?: Live (2007)
Lifeline (2008)
Testimony Two (2011)
Testimony 2: Live In Los Angeles (CD/DVD) (2011)
Cover 2 Cover (2012)
Momentum (2012)
Neal Morse Band - The Grand Experiment (2015)
Neal Morse Band - Alive Again Tour 2015 (2016)
Neal Morse Band - The Similitude Of A Dream (2016)
Neal Morse Band - Morsefest 2015 (CD/DVD) (2017)
Life & Times (2018)

Transatlantic - Live In America (VID) (2001)
Testimony Live (DVD) (2004)
Sola Scriptura And Beyond (DVD) (2008)
Neal Morse Band - Morsefest 2015 (BR) (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: October 5th 2003
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Artist website:
Hits: 663
Language: english


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