109. Testimony – Neal Morse

TESTIMONY (2003)

Neal Morse

Much has been said in previous posts about the master songwriter, musician and artist that is Neal Morse. He continues to be one of the best and most prolific progressive rock artists, not only in Christian Music, but the prog rock world at large. He is so accomplished that even prog rock fans embrace his music despite its very blatant evangelical message.

With Testimony, Morse created a prog rock fans dream album. 29 songs clocking in at over two hours with an amazing musical theme running throughout while also maintaining a separate focus and sound of each song. Classical overtures, jazz progressions, superb musicianship and a unbelievably well thought out progression of music and lyrics.There is also a bonus third CD available.

Once again Morse is joined here by former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and his presence does make the difference between great and phenomenal music. He is, hands down, the finest drummer in the genre and shows it here over and over again. Kerry Livgren also makes a guest appearance on the project along with more than a handful of who’s who in progressive music circles.But it should be noted that the vast majority of instruments are played by Morse himself, with only limited support in the strings and brass sections.

The album, as made obvious by its title, traces Morse’s testimony of conversion to Christianity in five separate sections that each contain a handful of songs. The lyrics deal with his spiritual journey, internal struggles, spiritual warfare and ultimate embrace of Jesus Christ.

More than on other Morse releases, the music here possesses an uncommon blend of pop music into the progressive rock, jazz and classical the genre is most noted for. Songs like “California Night” actually sound like pop music, all while the progressive instrumentation and consistent musical themes the genre is noted for remain. This includes limited breaks between songs and the only real breaks are found between the separate sections mentioned above.

More “hook filled” release (as in comparison to other Morse releases) serves as a great introduction for the uninitiated. Not a bad place to start for those unfamiliar with this master musician.

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  1. March 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    If you get a chance, please come and check out my site at chanceman4. My name is Chris Chance and there is a link on my blog to listen to my CD, “Following You” featuring “You” and “His Prints Are in the Sand” (based on the Footprints poem). Also you can go to http://www.noisetrade.com/chrischance. You can download any or all of my songs for the price of your choosing…pretty good deal…you can even get them for free, as long as you put in an email address and zip code. We are trying to get this project up and moving, so anything you can do and any way you could pass it on would be greatly appreciated.Hope you enjoy and are blessed by it!!!!
    Thanks and God Bless!
    Chris

  2. Shawn McLaughlin
    March 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    For me, it is exactly the pop smarts of the songwriting that propels this to the front of Morse’s ouvre. There are SO many memorable melodies on this project. I’d also recommend the Live video of Testimony to any fans of this project. The narrative really comes alive in a live setting and it is fun to see old favorite, Rick Altizer, switching from guitar to percussion and having a grand old time throughout.

  3. March 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    This is an album that is stunning! It served as my introduction to Morse’s music and I have to say that I have been a fan ever since! I agree with the statement about how Morse maintains a ‘pop sound’ while still creating epic prog rock masterpieces at the same time.

    My personal favorite of his is still “Sola Scriptura” but that album is more than likely less accessible to most music fans. “Testimony” has something for just about anyone!

  4. January 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    My best friend copied some of the songs from Neal Morse for me and eventually I started to like his music. Now I have “Testimony”, “Testimony Two”, “?”, “Sola Scriptura”, “Lifeline” and “One”. This album was very good actually but the sequel was much better. Anyway, “Wasted Life”, “Power in the Air”, and “Sing It High” are absolutely beautiful!

  5. Rob K
    August 13, 2012 at 2:14 am

    I agree with Rekko that Testimony II is better than the first, but my fave by far is Sola Scriptura. Will have to check out Spock’s Beard when Neal was in the band someday.

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