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Not counting DVDs, Lifeline is the fifth explicitly Christian album Morse has produced. His own personal journey to Christ is a compelling story, yes, but he has taken to flogging a dead horse. Long-time fans certainly are aware of where he stands and so many of us wonder how many times he needs to reiterate the story of his conversion. That quibble aside, at least he has been consistent in the proclamation of his faith.
With Lifeline, you get over an hour's worth of enjoyable Christian prog music that includes two major pieces in the best tradition of the genre that amount to two-thirds of the album's playing time. You'll note that many passages sound like they are nods to earlier compositions. You'll also notice Morse's habit of taking a phrase from a once-popular song and inserting it into one of his own songs. On this CD, that phrase comes from Woodstock.
I like the album well enough but deduct a star because on Lifeline, Morse fails to say anything new both musically and lyrically. That being said, any one of his Christian albums stand head and shoulders above most of the rest of what that genre has to offer. The CD comes housed in a standard jewel case and includes an attractive insert containing pertinent album information, lyrics, and lots of pictures.
I hope that Neal listens to his fans and gives them something more original the next time around.Read more ›
The opening title track LIFELINE is a grand piece familiar in tone and structure to ONE'S opening track, The Creation. However, LIFELINE carries a better melody and production, offering a more fulfilling listening experience. The song is a journey of melodic rock and progressive timings, with a midpoint rock jam driven my Neal's heavy guitar riffs.
Way Home is the first of three AOR-type songs that are truly magical in every sense of the word. It's truly astounding that Neal continuously comes up with beautiful and unique melodies, on each and every release. But here, with Way Home, God's Love, and Children of the Chosen, we have a trio of AMAZING songs that could very easily delight any listener. Neal's music transcends genres, and these songs are proof of this. They are SO GOOD. Think of Way Home as a new June, and Children of the Chosen as new and improved Wind at my Back.
So Many Roads is this album's epic piece, calling upon Neal's lighter past epics, like Stranger in my Soul, or The Great Nothing.Read more ›
Lyrics: Neal loves him some Jee-zus, and that's what he sings about here. Frankly, the concepts of his last three solo albums have approached ideas of faith and Christianity from more interesting angles than the more straightforward worship going on on this album, but there are still some interesting ideas/metaphors and turns of phrase. (Full disclosure: As a practicing Christian myself, I am inherently more sympathetic to Neal's core message than perhaps the general public might be, so take the above with an appropriate grain of salt.)
The three highlights for me are the rockers. "Lifeline" starts out with the standard Neal Morse opening: several minutes of high-energy instrumental work, heavy on the synths and mellotron, with Mike Portnoy and Randy George (as usual) laying down one of the fattest-sounding rhythm sections in the business. The verse-chorus stuff in this song is solid, and the instrumental breaks are fabulous. "Leviathan"'s heavy, slightly funky sound is something new and interesting for Neal (the "maybe a little new ground" I referenced above. And the (apparently obligatory) epic, "So Many Roads", does showcase some fine examples of Neal's facility with thematic development. (Digression: I'd rather have obligatory epics than obligatory ballads, that bane of 1980s rock. ^_^)
The remaining four tracks are relatively straightforward pop/rock tunes and ballads, punched up nicely by the aforementioned Portnoy/George rhythm section.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't know why some of the mediocre reviews, this is Neal Morse at his best.. It is a strong Christian album lyrically which may expain the critics not liking it so well. Read morePublished 15 months ago by RychusOne
I see lots of reviews from prog fans who can't get past the overt and pervasive Christian lyrics. Sorry to say it guys, but if you can't take it, it's time to move on and find... Read morePublished on March 4, 2013 by M. Brisson
Neal Morse is a prodigiously talented songwriter/composer and multi-instrumentalist. And he's among the most prolific artists out there; at times almost feverishly so. Read morePublished on November 22, 2009 by Terry Theise
After playing this recording, I thought it was very well written and produced! Yes,this is alittle different then Spock's Beard and some other recordings that are on the store's... Read morePublished on August 22, 2009 by P. Hawkins
You know... I agree with you... but I find I play this disc all the time. I like every song on it and the bonus disc. Read morePublished on July 16, 2009 by eddiepresley