Neal Morse Band -
The Great Adventure

(2CD 2019, 54:32/ 49:45, Radiant Records)

The tracks:
Act I:
Chapter 1 (12:50)
  1- Overture
  2- The Dream Isn't Over
Chapter 2 (23:48)
  3- Welcome To The World
  4- A Momentary Change
  5- Dark Melody
  6- I Got To Run
  7- To The River
Chapter 3 (17:59)
  8- The Great Adventure
  9- Venture In Black
10- Hey Ho Let's Go
11- Beyond The Borders
Act II:
Chapter 4 (18:13)
  1- Overture 2
  2- Long Ago
  3- The Dream Continues
  4- Fighting With Destiny
  5- Vanity Fair
Chapter 5 (30:57)
  6- Welcome To The World 2
  7- The Element Of Fear
  8- Child Of Wonder
  9- The Great Despair
10- Freedom Calling
11- A Love That Never Dies

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The Similitude Of A Dream was the previous Neal Morse Band album, released in 2016, and it was a typical Morse album; meaning: great musicianship, very familiar melodies and unfortunately those spiritual (religious) lyrics....Now, almost three years later The Great Adventure sees the light of day, a double CD filled with 22 tracks.

The Great Adventure is a concept album, again, dealing with the “adventures” of the pilgrim's abandoned son; so lyrically you know what you can expect; again not my cup of tea!! Musically speaking this album is a must for prog rock fans as the entire album is a splendid blend of rock, prog, metal, jazz and classical music; and I do not need to tell you that these guys can play!! However, I hear too familiar melodies, keyboard riffs and choruses, take e.g. To The River, Welcome To The World, Dark Melody or Long Ago and for me, original musical highlights are rare on this album. I really like/love the two instrumental songs Overture and Overture 2, which show the true craftsmanship of this band, orchestral prog rock at its best. Furthermore I enjoy I Got To Run, The Great Despair, Freedom Calling and A Love That Never Dies, featuring amazing guitar solos by Eric Gillette. Unfortunately I really cannot listen to songs like Child Of Wonder, Hey Ho Let's Go, Beyond The Borders, The Dream Continues or the completely weird pop song Vanity Fair.

Conclusion: The Great Adventure is another typical Neal Morse album with lots of ups and down, irritating lyrics and only for the die-hard Neal Morse fans; sad but true.

*** Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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