Neal Morse – Testimony 2 (2011)

Testimony 2 Album Art

This was supposed to be my final 2011 review but I haven’t been able to dedicate time in front of the computer for a while. Finally I found a bit of time and here I am talking about my favorite (even if not the absolute best) 2011 album and I will try to explain why.

            I’ve got the chance to hear it right after the official release and since then I knew that Testimony 2 was a great peace of work (take a look at the line up and guests at the end of the review to start having an idea) but it was during the 2011 holidays that I’ve listened to it with the proper attention.   

            The music is, as always when we talk about Neal Morse’s projects, awesome and it is very hard to stop listening to the album (every time I tried to hear to one track I end up hearing to it all). A small comment for the lyrics: they are full of Christian references (we all know N.M’s devotion) but I guess that we have to open minded. I am not a religious man and If that’s the same for some of you I hope that this won’t stop or limit you during the hearing session. Neal Morse manages to focus a lot passion in his music and it fills our minds with a happiness sense and that is the reason why it is my favorite 2011 release, because in such dark moments it is rare to have such sensations lately.

            After leaving Spock’s Beard (not before making the amazing album “Snow”) Neal Morse has not yet done a bad or mediocre album (E.G: all Transatlantic albums, Sola Scriptura, Testimony, ecc) and this time is not different. Testimony 2 is a genuine piece of prog but easy to assimilate at first time due to its melody. All musicians that sided Neal are among the best in the prog scenario and I believe that this album may conquer some fans.               

            The album itself is divided in two CDs: First one opens with the great track Mercy Street, passes thru the amazing “the Truth will set you free” (also my favorite) and “It’s for you” (slow and touching track) and ends with the final suite “Crossing Over/Mercy Street Reprise” and the rhythm and arrangements are out of this world (demonstration of the quality and heaviness of all musicians and Neal himself). If that wasn’t enough, a second CD comes with near 37 minutes of music included the 26 minutes long “Seeds of God” in order to give us further joy.           

            The album is fully recommended for all Spock’s Beard and Neal’s longtime fans, but also for all prog fans who are willing to hear to this complex and yet easy to hear sound. Testimony 2 has been in my car since its release and inside its player at least since the beginning of December 2011. It is really hard to get tired. Hope you all enjoy it. The vote is 10/10, and has been the same from Testimony part 1.

Tracklist

CD1:

Part Six:
01 Mercy Street
02 Overture No. 4
03 Time Changer
04 Jayda

Part Seven:
05 Nighttime Collectors
06 Time Has Come Today
07 Jesus' Blood
08 The Truth Will Set You Free

Part Eight:
09 Chance Of A Lifetime
10 Jesus Bring Me Home
11 Road Dog Blues
12 It's For You
13 Crossing Over/Mercy Street Reprise

CD2

01 Absolute Beginner
02 Supernatural
03 Seeds Of Gold

Line Up:

Neal Morse: lead vocals, keyboards, guitars
Mike Portnoy: drums, vocals
Randy George: bass

Special Guest:

Matthew Ward: vocals
Paul Bielatowicz: guitar
Steve Morse: guitar
Nick D'Virgilio, Alan Morse, Dave Meros: Spock's Beard vocals
Eric Brenton: violin
Mark Leniger: saxophone

Review by Logan Lee