Neal Morse - Lifeline - Special Edition

Neal Morse
5 (excellent)
5 (excellent)
Stand out moments: 
Crazy Horses!!!

I've reviewed Neal Morse's other releases, so might as well continue.

As everyone (!) knows, Neal releases Prog Rock material, usually with a religious theme. He gets Mike Portnoy to drum, and hunts for guests in vasious slots. Past collaborators include Karry Livgren, Phil Keaggy, Steve Hackett, Jordan Rudess and Paul Gilbert.

This time the guests are sparser. A relatively new "wizzkid" on guitar, Paul Bielatowicz (who??) contributs just one solo, so the final ballad on the album. He does shred the place down though, very fast tapping.

This CD is a bit of a mixed bag. The first and 6th tracks are epic prog material like Neal usually comes up with. Track 3 is a rather odd song called Leviathan, with a doomy intro, and a chorus that doesn't quite do it for me. Pretty heavy song too.

Tracks 2, 4 and 5 are far more mainstream stuff, without major instrumental work-outs (nice acoustic solo in Children of the Chosen though).

And the final song, Fly High, is a quiet introspective number that builds to the aforementioned epic solo.

The "SE" comes with the usual bonus CD, and it's actually quite good. Especially the first track: "Crazy Horses" (yup, the Osmonds) is a scream. I think it's Mike P doing most of the vocals, and Paul Gilbert does the "waaaahhh!!!!" thing, as well as a speedy solo.

Other tracks include "Lemons never Forget" (BeeGees) and some other original songs, all on the short side, that presumably didn't make the main CD.

So a quirky album, written around the time Neal's father was very ill (he's OK again!), not really Dino, but some good stuff mixed in with the mellow parts.

Overall Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)
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