The Neal Morse Band - The Similitude of a Dream (english version)
4.5TOP 2016

A new album with Neal Morse in the cast is always the promise of a luxuriant, abounding, bubbling and to say everything, exalting kind of prog-rock piece of music. For The Similitude of a Dream, the five musicians (Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Eric Gillette, Randy George and Bill Hubauer) are sharing, confronting, mixing their talents, influences and compositions ability. And for this occasion, our friends pushed the engine on a classic challenge for a prog rock band: a two concept-discs album.

Obviously, Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy have already challenged this exercice with Spock Beard (Snow), in solo (Testimony 1 and 2) for the multi-instrumentist-singer and with Dream Theater for the drummer (Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence). Result, we are here in a creative magma, always melodic, that will not require « any aspirins« . Above all, Mike Portnoy had not hesitated to talk about this record like a summit of its prolific career… a great promise on the prog-rock scale. To tell the truth, if The Similitude of a Dream is not quite an absolute masterpiece (I prefer Question Mark but it’s subjective), the result will give cold sweat to all thee people who thought the inspiration of our friends on the decline. Well done!

With its 106 minutes or so, the project is ambitious but not disproportionate. On the substance, it tackles the book « The Pilgrim Process » written by John Bunyan in 1678. An allegory on the journey of an ordinary man named Christian who decides To take the road. So, he leaves the city of destruction (earthly) and makes his way to the celestial city. For this, he will face numerous tests and meet different characters. In short, the concept is sturdy and well cemented. On such a background, needless to say that Neal Morse plays in its confort zone. Once again, he can put the project to the height of its ambitions with melodic constructions both often unstable but very memorable.

Enjoying a technical hallucinating quality, some people will argue that the result brews what Neal Morse and its various projects have already been able to offer. Plump riffs, twirling melodies, gargantuan rhythms and great tunes… all the requirement remains. The dynamic is mad. By involving the entire team on the same footing, we are witnessing a real and complete collective work. If The Grand Experiment had setted the stage for a band that got to know each other, The Similitude of a Dream confirms not only their global virtuosity, but also their communicative enthusiasm with a music that goes astray in a 70’s rock, nice pop passages, joyful folk, full heavy metal etc.. all that through many highlights. What a tremendous achievement!

Well balanced, the two discs are perfectly complementary and enjoy to play some old passages, juggle with gluttony a know-how that is no longer to be demonstrated. So, we must admit that The Neal Morse Band deploys a progressive rock always seductive and subtle. In few words, here there is a new great musical kaleidoscope… all of that in one of the peaks of 2016. Nothing less.

THE NEAL MORSE BAND – THE SIMILITUDE OF A DREAM

The Neal Morse Band - The Similitude of a Dream (2016)

Title: The Similitude of a Dream
Band: The Neal Morse Band

Year: 2016
Country: États-Unis
Duration: 106’35
Label: Radiant Records

Setlist

Disc 1: 51:59
1. Long Day
2. Overture
3. The Dream
4. City Of Destruction
5. We Have Got To Go
6. Makes No Sense
7. Draw The Line
8. The Slough
9. Back To The City
10. The Ways Of A Fool
11. So Far Gone
12. Breath Of Angels

Disc 2 : 54:36
1. Slave To Your Mind
2. Shortcut To Salvation
3. The Man In The Iron Cage
4. The Road Called Home
5. Sloth
6. Freedom Song
7. I’m Running
8. The Mask
9. Confrontation
10. The Battle
11. Broken Sky/Long Day Reprise

Line-up

– Neal Morse/ guitars, keyboards, vocals
– Mike Portnoy / drums, vocals
– Randy George / bass, vocals
– Eric Gillette / guitars, vocals
– Bill Hubauer / keyboards, vocals