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1 selections as Proggnosis Best of 2008 Release

Lifeline

a Studio release
by
Neal Morse (The Neal Morse Band)

Release Year: 2008

Date Label Catalog # Comments
Radiant Records
The bonus disc on the limited edition has some crazy covers (like Crazy Horses originally done by the Osmond Brothers, and Lemons by the Bee Gees!)
Paul Gilberts on guitar and Mike Portnoys driving kicks on Crazy Horses (Mike sings it tooclassic!), and Set The Kingdom Elvis Costellos classic Whats So Funny (bout Peace, Love and Understanding) as well the Joe Cocker version of The Letter and his poppy original Sometimes. All this and the extra personal notes from Neal regarding each song makes this Special Edition truly special
Added To Proggnosis Database on: 9/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
Entry Last Updated on: 9/29/2008 1:46:00 PM by: Rob
    CD-1
  1. Lifeline (13:28)
  2. The Way Home (4:20)
  3. Leviathan (6:04)
  4. Gods Love (5:28)
  5. Children of the Chosen (4:55)
  6. So Many Roads (28:43)
    • So Many Roads
    • Star For A Day
    • The Humdrum Life
    • All The Way To The Grave
    • The Eyes Of The Savior
    • So Many Roads Reprise
  7. Fly High (6:31)
    CD-2
    Bonus disc with Limited edition
  1. Crazy Horses
  2. Lemons Never Forget
  3. The Letter (Joe Cocker Version)
  4. Whats So Funny (bout Peace, Love and Understanding)
  5. Sometimes
  6. Set The Kingdom
Neal Morse
Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Mike Portnoy
Drums
Randy George
Bass
With:
    Paul Gilbert
    Guitar
    on Crazy Horses
    Paul Bielatowicz
    Guitar
    solo on Lemons
    Collin Leijenaar
    Drums
    on Set The Kingdom
    Carl Groves
    Backing Vocals
    on Lifeline, The Way home, Children of the Chosen, So many Roads
    Jonathan Willis
    Strings
    on The way home, Eyes of the saviour, Fly Night
    Jim Hole
    Sax
    on Leviathan, The Humdrum Life
    Ivory Leonard
    Daniel Spencer
    Backing Vocals
    on So Many Roads

Reviewed by Marc on 08 Sep 2008


Neal Morse : One quality that must come to mind when thinking of him is prolific. If you check his artist page on ProGGnosis, you will see he has been involved in no less than seven projects (cds, live cds, dvd) in the last two years. Add to that the touring he has done and you can easily guess that Neal is not a lazy person. So, about one year after Sola Scriptura, Neal Morse is back with another Prog album... Lifeline, his fifth since leaving Spock's Beard in 2003.

In my humble opinion, Neal Morse's solo output (his Prog related work) has been pretty much in line with what he was doing with Spock's Beard and the short lived Transatlantic, the main difference being in the lyrics, now mainly inspired by his religious beliefs. Sure, if you compare his albums, important differences are present. For example his previous record, Sola Scriptura was much heavier than what he usually does. But still, it was "signature" Neal Morse music, a very recognisable style indeed. Compared to it's latest predecessor, Lifeline is more in the middle of Neal's musical palette, featuring some energetic and heavy passages, but in the whole being pretty melodic and even "acoustic". Another thing that changes from album to album are the lyrics. If I'm not mistakened, all his post Spock's Beard solo projects feature lyrics that are inspired by Neal's religious beliefs. Sometimes this is done in a subtle way, on other occasion it is very obvious. This is the case with Lifeline, the religious references being quite clear on most of the tracks.

All in all I think that Lifeline will not surprise Neal Morse's fans, but it won't disappoint either. Lifeline features most of the ingredients we have learned to expect from Neal. A couple of epic tracks, a nice acoustic ballad, some good rocking, a lot of hearth felt singing... As usual the musicians are excellent (Mike Portnoy's presence on drums is always a plus), the production is very good and the material is strong. If you are a fan of Neal Morse's work, Lifeline will be a welcomed addition for sure.

Note : There is a deluxe edition of this record that offers a second cd with bonus material. I have read that it is very interesting stuff, but the copy I was sent did not include it.

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