Neal Morse - Lifeline

Published Monday 22nd December 2008
Neal Morse - Lifeline
Neal Morse - Lifeline

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Inside Out Music

Reviewed by Anthony Longville

A new album from progressive rock stalwart Neal Morse is always one to be anticipated. Including his final album with Spock's Beard, 'Snow', Morse has now recorded five consecutive concept albums. In many ways then the latest release is a welcome change, with no concept, the songs being allowed to stand alone. Also, whilst its predecessor 'Sola Scriptura' was an excellent recording, the musical and lyrical landscape was a dark one. So here we have a brighter album, with a number of shorter songs (of course there's a 28 minute one thrown in so we don't forget who and what we are dealing with here!). After repeated listenings, it is difficult to escape the feeling of déjà vu. Many of the musical themes are familiar, much of 'Lifeline' reminding me of 'One', "God's Love" reminiscent of Transatlantic's "We All Need Some Light", whilst thematically the epic "So Many Roads" revisits the classic 'Testimony'. Lyrically, I would say this is definitely Morse's most blatantly evangelistic release. The quirky "Leviathan" featuring metal guitars and funk horns and sneezing sea monsters has its novelty value but doesn't really hit the mark. So a disappointing release? Well ironically enough, no. Turn it up loud, it just sounds great - there are plenty of high points to savour. Morse seems to underrate his own lead guitar playing, using guests on recent recordings, but here he takes the lion's share, and this man can play. Some of the soloing is inspiring. "The Way Home" builds steadily and recalls Phil Collins' anthem "Take Me Home". The harmonies on "Children Of The Chosen" are truly beautiful. The trio of Morse, Portnoy and George is as tight as ever. Is this a classic album from Neal Morse? I don't think so. Is it a thoroughly enjoyable rock album? Yes it is.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Reader Comments

Posted by Wolfgang Elste in Germany @ 13:01 on Dec 22 2008

Neal Morse is one of my alltime favourite songwriters who can write songs about every situation from very sad to happy and everything in between. At first listen I was a little bit disapointed about this cd but I still think is very good. I bought the special edition which in my opinion is much more interesting. On the bonus cd there is a version of the Osmonds song 'Crazy horses' a funny Bee Gees medley including a moving version of their song 'lemons never forget' Elvis Costello's '(what so funny about) love peace and understanding' and a version of the Box Tops hit 'The letter'. In my local christian bookshop you can also buy independent worship albums by Neal Morse (Lead me Lord, Send the fire, Secret place, God won't give up) Maybe somebody likes review these albums.

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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