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Neal Morse: Momentum

Ex-Spock’s Beard leader defies the burn-out factor.

One of progressive rock’s most consistent performers, Neal Morse is also among the genre’s most industrious artists. The Californian singer and multi-musician has a penchant for the overblown, the aptly-named Momentum following last year’s Testimony 2 and a whopping five-disc live boxed collection of the latter studio set.

Repeating a procedure used previously with TransAtlantic and Flying Colors, Morse entered the studio with a blank canvas and a cast of very talented contributors that included former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist Paul Gilbert of Mr. Big, and they built the record from the ground up.

And, frankly, it has no business sounding this wonderful. Among its more concise moments, Freak reflects both Morse’s love of The Beatles and a religious conversion that took place in 2002.

Elsewhere, the six-part song suite World Without End clocks in at a mammoth 33 minutes long and is every bit as portentous as it sounds.