Neal Morse
Sola Scriptura


4.5
superb

Review

by lak89 USER (12 Reviews)
March 30th, 2012 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A very solid, musically diverse and ambitious offering from Neal Morse and Co.

Neal Morse is a prominent figure in the world of Progressive Rock, with the incarnation of Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic and the string of albums he’s released since, he has reached exceptional musical heights and Sola Scriptura is no exception. This is a concept album written about the life of Martin Luther, an early 1500s Christian reformer.

What is respectable about Morse is his ability to seamlessly transition and go through many different styles in the course of one song, his vocals lean more towards a pop style (he tried his hand as a pop singer earlier on in his career for those that didn’t know), that coupled with his heavy use of his signature Hammond organ sound makes for a very unique musical combination that is instantly recognizable. Neal Morse’s brand of Progressive Rock is very melodically driven and theme-based, he is also a very proficient keyboard and guitar player, even if the music goes off on many different tangents, his attention to melody, harmony (especially vocal harmony) and use of themes keeps his songs cohesive and is arguably more accessible than other Prog groups.

The strengths of this album lie especially in the first two cuts “The Door” and “The Conflict”, clocking in at 29 and 25 minutes respectively. The songs takes many drastic turns throughout and many influences can be heard, from metal riffing to blues soloing to Beatles-influenced gospel sections to Latin-influenced sections that strongly recall Spanish folk dances to even a short Liszt-esque piano solo that emulates the bravura of a Classical concert pianist. Morse has always been an open book about his religious beliefs, starting from “Testimony”, most of his lyrics in his solo albums revolve around Christianity and his love for god in general, as shown on the ballad “Heaven In My Heart”. “The Conclusion” serves as a stunning finale to the album, quoting key musical themes from the preceding songs and rounding off the album in a way that is absolutely grandiose.

At certain moments, Morse will reprise certain musical themes heard earlier, bringing unity to the piece, he has a knack for reintroducing these themes at the right time, never making them sound out of place or like an afterthought. Long time band mates Randy George on bass and Mike Portnoy on drums really step up to the plate and aid Morse through his musical journey, at the same time infusing their own playing style into the music, Paul Gilbert guests on the album and plays two really awesome solos in “The Door” and “The Conflict”, arguably two of his least known solos but well worth a listen.

This is a musically diverse and ambitious album and a very solid offering from Morse and Co, whether you’re into prog, pop or metal, there is something for everyone here, personally I feel this is his best album with “Testimony 2” coming in at a close second. If you’re a Christian, there is no doubt Morse’s lyrics will speak out to you and his beliefs in tune with yours, if you aren’t religiously inclined (like me), that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying what he has to offer musically, some of his lyrics are very positive and uplifting and do not need to be interpreted religiously.

Sola Scriptura is:

Neal Morse - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Randy George - Bass
Mike Portnoy - Drums
Paul Gilbert (special guest) - Guitars



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2012


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mad props for reviewing this. Neal Morse needs more love on this site. Great write-up too!

Digging: Dope Body - Lifer

lak89
March 30th 2012


183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hell yea Neal Morse needs more love on this site, thanks dude!

Jethro42
March 30th 2012


12481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love you for covering this. Morse is arguably my fave modern progger and his best album is right here. I might bump it up one day. Review is great, pos'd.

TheNotrap
March 30th 2012


8109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Spock's Beard is interesting.
Will check this out right now.

Digging: Threshold - For The Journey

Jethro42
March 30th 2012


12481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Here are some extra tracks taken here and there for you, Notrap.
The Storm Before the Calm;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp9V1LGcSi8

Author of Confusion;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0uFb75wpkE

Overture no4;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_LFqOEzaJ0

all easy enough to digest

lak89
March 30th 2012


183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Jethro! I've bumped up your sound off a few days ago, glad we feel the same way about this album.

TheNotrap
March 30th 2012


8109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Very enjoyable songwriting indeed.
Thanks for the links Jethro, I will check them out.

Nice review btw, have a pos lak89.

Jethro42
March 30th 2012


12481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cheers lak. I'm jamming on The Door atm. Man I enjoy the segment from the 14th min to the 19th so much.
@Notrap, cheers, my friend!

lak89
March 30th 2012


183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Notrap - Thank you my good sir, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

@Jethro - Actually my favorite segment is right before that, around the 10 minute mark onwards, that soft section, it's just so optimistic and uplifting. That Latin section in The Conflict is awesome too, man every note in this album is right where it should be.

Jethro42
March 30th 2012


12481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Damn right! The Latin section is so refreshing. And what about the 6th min 'til 10:10 from Conclusion. A pure bliss.

jybt
March 30th 2012


345 Comments


Born-again Christian, prog geek, and haven't heard Neal Morse yet. My argument is invalid. Positive vote, glad you enjoyed this.

Jethro42
March 30th 2012


12481 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Progland is so far away from sputnik.

KjSwantko
March 30th 2012


9443 Comments


yea Neal Morse is so gifted, I've never heard this, I'll need to check it out

lak89
March 31st 2012


183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Jethro - Yeah that bit too! Just blissful, some of my favorite themes from Morse are on this album.

@jybt and Kj - Do tell me how you feel after you've listened to it!

Friday13th
August 18th 2012


2553 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. Pos'd. Great album, just wish I had more time to listen to "The Door" repeatedly. I end up listening to the five minute ballad "Heaven in My Heart" the most lol

Digging: Donovan - A Gift From A Flower To A Garden

lak89
August 28th 2012


183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^Thanks dude, and yea you gotta have a good 30 minutes or so to spare haha, The Conclusion is actually
my least listened to track, I just listened to it again yesterday and damn...what a way to end the
album.

OmairSh
August 31st 2013


11550 Comments


Why the hell does Neal always have to compose 20+ minute songs?

Digging: Mono - Hymn To The Immortal Wind

Friday13th
August 31st 2013


2553 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well, if he doesn't, who will? The 70s are long gone. I'm glad someone's still giving it a shot, not to mention "The Door" and "The Conflict" are about as good as modern prog gets.

JS19
November 2nd 2013


4331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

God that solo at the end of The Door

Digging: Gates - Bloom and Breathe

Friday13th
November 2nd 2013


2553 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh yeah that song ends perfectly.



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