Neal Morse – Momentum – Review
Another year, yet another Neal Morse album. I don’t know if this is too much of a good thing or just getting plain old. I love Neal’s music, but listening to him in all those different projects, plus an album every year is giving me an overdose. There is a reason why you need to hibernate a little bit and let the new ideas flow. The last two albums, Lifeline and Testimony 2, were probably his weakest to date. They tend to give a great first reaction to the listener but once you give it a few spins it becomes painfully obvious that its all the same all over again. I know I won’t get any love for my review but really, Neal has gone overboard this time around. Mike Portnoy and Morse have the whole formula down to a beat and for the close listener it won’t bring anything to the table. Flying Colors was a pretty good idea because they included a new singer to the mix and new ideas that weren’t explored as much. Infinite Fire, a song that most people call the best of that album is the most boring for me because its just another Neal Morse song. Too much of him gets a little bit tedious. Momentum starts out with the uplifting title track that quickly brings happiness to anyone listening, from their on, you’ll maybe feel some deja vu here and there.
Momentum uses the same old sounds in Neal’s library and function quite well for the Morse fan. Portnoy plays his usual good drumming but, yes, there is a but, hearing too much of him makes his playing feel a little ordinary, you get use to it. This is the downside of having so many projects. Sadly hearing him here, with Flying Colors, Adrenaline Mob and so fort makes him feel a little bit more ordinary as we can hear a lot of his limits as a drummer. He is a stunning Metal drummer but he isn’t as great in other styles, mainly ballads in which he overplays. Our second song is the typical Spocks Beard/Neal Morse song that many love and others hate. It has those chorus with multiple voices that were inspired from Gentle Giant, which I want to say that I’m not a big fan of. I loved them in “Time Changer”, they were probably the best I’ve heard from him. Thoughts Part 5 has some pretty awesome instrumental passages that bring us the best of Neal, Randy and Mike, things long time fans will be looking forward to.
Smoke and Mirrors is a plain ballad that didn’t seem to give me as much as others in previous albums. I love “From the Cradle to the Grave” in Neal’s second album “One”, this one falls short of that one. Weathering Sky is more of a slow pop song that resembles music from his old band Spock’s Beard. A repetitive chorus and some uninspired drumming by Mike mar this song. One thing I must point out is the change in the way the christian lyrics are presented. Its easier to listen for the regular Joe. As we get to Freak, we get another song that doesn’t give that much other than a good second part. It reminded me of “I walk beside you” by Dream Theater. I loved the reverb on the snare drum in this one. Yet again we get to hear some lame drumming for this kind of song. Strings on the background aren’t the best fit either, as it just repeats the same pattern over and over again until the end when it showcases the bad programming with the sample software that was done.
We end with the monster juggernaut of a song “World without end”, do we really need another 20+ minute song in Neal’s repertoire? Come on man, Genesis, Rush and those bands in the 70′s didn’t do a long song every album, thats why the ones they did are so memorable. Supper’s Ready, 2112 and Gates of Delirium are remembered as sole pieces of art because they didn’t over crowed their albums with these kind of songs. The structure of this song is also very predictable, paling in comparison to his previous epic songs like “The Door”. Paul Gilbert’s solo’s do give extra life to the song as it goes great with the 70′s background music. Gilbert’s metal solo’s combine quite well with the epic prog rock playing in the back and that’s when we finally hear the brilliant album I was waiting to hear. But then we go back to the same old formula. A musical passage that repeats itself throughout the song that starts out with a line with the keyboard with accents by Mike with his drums continuing with a slow paced rhythm much like all his previous work. They use this formula in Neal’s solo albums, Transatlantic and he used to use it with Spocks Beard too. It’s still a pretty good intro though, It kept me pretty entertained. As we enter the core of the song we hear some sounds that are pretty inspiring quickly lifting the song to another level. It is without a doubt the best song in the album, I only wish it was shorter.
These guys can really make good music, but they need to stop working together for a while, they are starting to sound the same every time around. I know they love to play together but man, come on, everything sounds so similar now that its not that great anymore. Its still better than what most bands release over their careers, but it wouldn’t be fair to compare as these dudes are measured by a different stick. I’ll go ahead and say it, this is probably the second worst album in Neal’s career. It’s just a tad better than Lifeline in which Neal went to his lowest creativity wise. Lifeline is one of my favorite tracks in Neal’s library, but the rest of the album is not good at all. Momentum starts out good going downhill until the start of the epic 33 minute monster track. That doesn’t save it from being a mediocre effort by Neal. Sorry. Need a break from you guys.
SCORE 5.3 out of 10.0
Posted on September 11, 2012, in Album Reviews, Entertainment, Music and tagged Momentum Review, Neal Morse Momentum Review, Neal Morse Review, Prog Rock Review, Progressive Music, Progressive Review. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.