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The Neal Morse Band: The Great Adventure

Conventional wisdom would normally say 'don't follow up an epic 2CD concept album with anything other than a back to basics, song based 'non' concept record so everyone can come down from that mountaintop'...well, not if you are Neal Morse and the rest of his all-star band. The Similitude Of A Dream was such a success for the band with critics and fans alike, and I'm sure it wasn't immediately apparent to anyone that a quick sequel was in order. While putting together their latest album, Morse himself started feeling the itch to once again dive back into this storyline, and even though work had been practically complete on a single disc new album, the vocalist/multi-instrumentalist wasn't satisfied, and started feeling that Similitude Part 2 needed to happen. So, he got Mike Portnoy, Eric Gillette, Randy George, and Bill Hubauer on a call, made his case that what they had done needed to be scrapped in favor of something of a larger scale, and the sequel to The Similitude of a Dream became a reality in the form of the equally massive The Great Adventure, which picks up right where its predecessor left off.

Stylistically, much of the music here will have a familiar feel, though it's perhaps even more proggy and certainly heavier than the 2016 release, the main character and his family looking to reunite in the Celestial City and the listener thrown into all the adventures along the way. Soaring vocal harmonies are everywhere, which is no surprise to anyone who has followed the work of Morse over the years, tracks like "Welcome to the World", "I Got to Run", and "The Great Adventure", along with so many others, instantly addicting and allowing the whole band to join in on the fun. Portnoy's drum work throughout is impeccable, Gillette's lead guitar blistering (Neal adds guitar as well), George's bass work velvety smooth, and the dual keyboard attack from Morse and Hubauer blends vintage and modern sounds in fine fashion.

With so much material on display here, I won't go into a track by track analysis, but I recommend, as with the album's older sibling, that it's a recording taken in as a whole and enjoyed in sequence. Memorable melodies everywhere, jaw dropping musical passages, headbanging moments, glorious progressive rock, hook laden pop, occasional gorgeous's all here folks. If you would have asked me two years ago if The Neal Morse Band could ever top The Similitude of a Dream, I would have answered 'probably not', and while it's no doubt a little early yet to make any claims, The Great Adventure easily comes pretty damn close.

Track Listing
Act I:
Chapter 1
1. Overture
2. The Dream Isn't Over
Chapter 2
3. Welcome To The World
4. A Momentary Change
5. Dark Melody
6. I Got To Run
7. To The River
Chapter 3
8. The Great Adventure
9. Venture In Black
10. Hey Ho Let's Go
11. Beyond The Borders

Act II:
Chapter 4
1. Overture 2
2. Long Ago
3. The Dream Continues
4. Fighting With Destiny
5. Vanity Fair
Chapter 5
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

Added: February 24th 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 1358
Language: english

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