Neal Morse's 11th solo album is called Sola Gratia and again it is a reli prog rock gem in the veins of Testimony and Testimony 2. Most of his solo albums have been reviewed by me and once in a while I came to the conclusion that Morse was repeating himself (musically speaking) way too much; think of the album One for instance. Sometimes his albums also have the tendency of religious overkill, lyrically speaking that is, and on Sola Gratia, of course, the lyrics are again dealing with religion as this concept album is lyrically based on the apostle Paul, so you know what you can expect.
Musically speaking Sola Gratia features a couple of excellent tracks like for example the instrumental Overture with guitars galore and awesome typical Morse twists and turns. The ballad Overflow is also one of the musical highlights and that is mainly due to the awesome vocal performance of Neal. Never Change, clocking at almost eight minutes, sounds like Pink Floyd and again Neal's awesome throat does the “trick”! That one is followed by my personal fav song, being Seemingly Sincere, the longest track of the album features great musical solos (keys, guitars and even a drum solo by Mike Portnoy), catchy hooks and riffs and great melodies. As usual Morse ends his album with an epic feel good song, Now I Can See/The Great Commission, which is so typical Morse and again so great to listen to. Sola Gratia kind of reminds me of Sola Scriptura (2007) and I loved that album, so....
Musically speaking Morse's new album is a gem, lyrically speaking it is not really my thing, but then again, who cares about that, right? Neal Morse said the following about his new album: “I think Sola Gratia is as good as anything I've ever done.” So, there you go, how can you not take that for granted?
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Dave Smith)
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