NEAL MORSE – Sola Scriptura

NEAL MORSE - Sola Scriptura
  • 9.5/10
    NEAL MORSE - Sola Scriptura - 9.5/10


Radiant Records
Release date: February 26, 2007

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Sola Scriptura is the fourth Neal Morse album since his 2003 Christian rebirth. This time he goes five centuries back, exploring the heart and soul of Martin Luther.

The Music

The object in Sola Scriptura (meaning “by the scripture [i.e., the Bible] alone”) is Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, which initiated a shake up in the Catholic Church and the genesis of the Protestant movement. Morse imagines Luther must have realised his action would possibly cost him his life, going against the Pope like this. But, as Morse writes in “Keep Silent”: How can I keep silent when I know the truth. Thus, in love of his God, Luther takes a stand at whatever cost it will have.

Morse goes retrospective musically as well — the sound and arrangements found here are reminiscent of those found on the earlier Spock’s Beard releases, especially during the monstrous opener, “The Door,” which occupies nearly 30 minutes of the album. Even the next composition, “The Conflict,” is a stretcher (almost 25 minutes), while the concluding track, “The Conclusion,” is only 16 minutes long. These three compositions are the pillars, the framework, and the roof of the album, whereas the shorter “Heaven In My Heart” is a stunning ornament, adding appropriate counterbalance to Sola Scriptura.

The Band

Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, no further introductions required!) has become a faithful partner to Morse since before the 2003 Testimony recording, and also contributes dynamically and vividly here. Bassist Randy George (Ajalon) joined the party during the 2004 One sessions, and is equally dynamic and vivid. He is perhaps more up front here than before, and that suits the album well. Newly joining is no less than Paul Gilbert (Racer X and Mr. Big) on guitars. He offers a new dimension to the Morse-sound: sort of more edgy and carbonated. His soloing is extravagant, without ever compromising the thematic structure of the music. Thus, he adds considerable momentum to this monumental music.

Neal Morse is far more than an exceptionally good singer, as everyone should know. Even with Paul Gilbert at his side, his guitar playing is remarkable. He also has a touch to his keyboards, which is simply fantastic. And then he wrote all this, as well, which brings him up among perhaps some of the greatest musicians of our time. But in the end, it’s his voice that holds the key to his fans’ hearts.

The Verdict

Neal Morse has taken Martin Luther out of the history books and created new life for him. Thus, Sola Scriptura is simply a must buy, at least for fans of Neal Morse or of any context he has appeared in during the past. It is also a must buy for fans of Progressive Rock, whether Christian or not. Morse proves an ability to dive deep into his chosen theme and comes up with a convincing interpretation of the inner battle of a man whose thoughts and actions were groundbreaking.

The Facts

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German monk, priest, theological professor, and writer, whose contributions include hymns, catechisms, translations of the Bible into German, and the famous 95 Theses (1517). His work is also considered to have influenced the course of Western civilization, with his life spanning from the end of the Middle Ages into the dawn of the Modern Ages.


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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