Progressive rock / metal

Well it depends on what you mean by neo prog because I feel the same as you for the most part. I think Porcupine Tree's sweet spot is from around Lightbulb Sun to Fear of a Blank Planet, and then there's a small handful of Wilson solo projects that I enjoy.

As far as Marillion go, it's hard to beat the Fish era but they've certainly done a lot to validate everything they've done since. At this point, they've been with Hogarth so long that ignoring the post-Fish output would be akin to ignoring what Maiden did after Di'Anno (if you're really into that kind of prog rock).

But yea, overall I wouldn't say I'm that interested in neo prog. I find a lot of it to be pretty generic sounding and relying so heavily on cliches that it seems a bit anathema to what progressive rock is supposed to be. In general I'm not a huge fan of those types of "revival" genres. Might as well listen to the original, from my perspective. There are a couple groups I enjoy though. Spock's Beard gets lumped into the neo prog category frequently although I would argue that they blended their influences in a way that made their music sound more fresh. I also like The Flower Kings sometimes, I just think the melody writing is stronger in that band than a lot of other peers. Pineapple Thief, Riverside, and Big Big Train do nothing for me.

Edit: I wouldn't categorize Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree as neo prog btw. They're much more forward thinking and innovative. They should be categorized more with prog metal groups like Opeth that are doing something different.

Thank you for the answer.
First of all, I can see now that I muddled it by using the neo-prog tag in two different ways, that is:
- purely technical (and mostly chronological) name for bands that came later than the OG proggers (mostly from 80s on) and therefore updated their sound accordingly (more synths, "colder" production, the drum sound) ... and also kinda lyrically (I'll return to this later)
- a somewhat denigrative term for a significant portion of those bands, who exchanged the OG proggers' appeal to complexity for a post-rock influence, with static sounds, atmospheric synths, lot of droning and no memorable melody (or anything memorable, in fact) in sight. Kinda like this hybrid between prog rock and ambient.

However, I do not consider the term to be what you imply, or at least I don't see that as a condemnation. I'm not all that obsessed with the idea of "progressiveness" itself (there's only so many things you can try for it to be reasonable), I'm fine with the stale old "long songs, complex structures, extended harmonic register, inclusion of instruments not usually used in the rock paradigm, untrivial melodies (but existent ones), dynamics and flashy technical chops".
In fact, I dislike those bands I mentioned for not doing precisely that more (the songs are long, but static and often structurally simplistic or evolving really subtly, akin to actual ambient music and the rest is not much there).

Thing is, technically speaking, Fish-era Marillion are pretty much "neo-prog" as well and I'd argue that they might partially fill the second, denigrative category as well. And they actually fit even your implication as well.

So, yes. I've recently seen some posts and forum threads where people strenuously argued that there was no similarity between Farillion and old Genesis or Fish and Gabriel - or at any rate that they personally never heard it, insisting there's more similarity between Farillion and VDGG / Fish and Hammill. Now, I know we say a lot in music is subjective, but that's bollocks.
Farillion are precisely aimed at people who were missing old Genesis. Not only has Fish really similar timbre to Gabriel, so with the similar theatricality they sound so alike I could almost confuse one for another at times, but also Rothery was - back then, at least - doing his best to imitate Hackett at his prime and even Mark Kelly is definitely at least thinking about Tony Banks while playing his parts.

And that's not a bad thing. By then the original Genesis were nowhere to be found and Farillion scratched the itch many must have felt (and still feel to this day, because there just aren't any more Musical Boxes or Suppers that would be Ready or even Lambs that would Lie Down on Broadway).
Sure, there were updates - by the 80s the Genesis lyrics - abstract, often whimsical, inherently English, fairytalesque (or psychosurrealist, like in Lamb) and so on would be completely unacceptable, while Fish's brand of verbose, personal half-singersongwriting was the way to go. It was a more cynical, post-modern era, see?
But they were derivative, trying to ape their betters and I loved them for it.

As for the second definition of neo-prog there, well, yes, even the music of Farillion isn't as complex as that of Gabriel-era Genesis (or, well, even Hackett-era Genesis). The structures are simpler, there is a much bigger emphasis on synths and even Childhood, with its suite-like approach, is mostly either radio hits (Kayleigh, Lavender, Heart of Lothian, Childhoods End) or commentary on them/their accompaniment (Kimono, Bitter Suite, White Feather...). There are no Cinema Shows, no Close to the Edges and definitely no Passion Plays.
Yet despite that it is one of my favourite albums, because it knows what its doing, the cohesiveness makes it seem bigger than a sum of its parts and at its best it's both irresistibly catchy and cripplingly emotional (Heart of Lothian or the reprise of the Lavender theme by Rothery-Hackett in Bitter Suite are breathtakingly beautiful). It earns its "prog" reputation.

So, I've written all of the above just to say that I don't mind neo-prog as such and definitely not for it being a retread of something older, because I won't personaly complain about "more of the good thing". I actually miss bands that would try to play (and compose) like the Bruford-Wakeman era Yes, for example.

(oh, my, my graphomania attax again... and here I was making fun of Diesel)

So it's really about this
- a somewhat denigrative term for a significant portion of those bands, who exchanged the OG proggers' appeal to complexity for a post-rock influence, with static sounds, atmospheric synths, lot of droning and no memorable melody (or anything memorable, in fact) in sight. Kinda like this hybrid between prog rock and ambient
I'm fine with the stale old "long songs, complex structures, extended harmonic register, inclusion of instruments not usually used in the rock paradigm, untrivial melodies (but existent ones), dynamics and flashy technical chops".

That's where Porcupine Wilson comes in. Now, like I sad, he can be heavy and therefore he fulfills the "dynamics" criterium, the songs can be long and structurally complex, so he's a borderline case, but ever since his first album (which is absolutely ghastly, btw) up to the very recent ones and even including fan and critical favourites like Deadwing or In Absentia, there's a lot of that... ambience. Or just music for music's sake. Or I don't know, I always took pride in living and breathing music, having listened to thousands of albums and pieces and being able to feel the groove, to remember a lot (no flex, this is just as much a disability as an ability)
... but I utterly fail here. There's just so much of the unmemorable, like I said, "slipping through my fingers". Just strumming (or chugging in the heavier parts) for no reason at all.

Compare this with my recent rant in the DT thread about DT often being accused of musically irrelevant "wankery"

I'm not sure what exactly consists of "wankery" and I feel the term is overused and abused and mainly used for "instrumental parts that I don't like" (I'm not attacking you in particular, mind). Dance of Eternity is the ultimate wankery, which has absolutely no reason to be there, but it is very beloved. The original Metropolis is pure wankery, mainly because the song just tries to show off and stops caring about any semblance of structure - and yet again, it is beloved by many.
My point is that I like to try and find out if there is anything about that individual "wankery" that contrasts it against other examples of such and makes me enjoy it.

So, for example, both the "tickle sections" on ToT - the closing minute of This Dying Soul and the similar section in In the Name of God beginning at 8:37 - might just look like meaningless noodlings where Trucci and Rudess play as fast as they can without even any particularly strong melody...

...BUT... underneath this, each time, is absolutely the sweetest, the grooviest bass section DT EVER did.
You could just concentrate on the bass in the TDS ending and groove out in a really cool swagger dance. It absolutely holds the sound together and helps me get over the fact that Trucci and Rudess have just decided to show off and helps sell the fact that this particular track ends in similarly intense way as it begins, otherwise (I mean, as for the edgy teen "cool factor", both the way TDS begins and ends rule supreme)

Just as in the ITNOG section, Myung brings out this middle-Eastern harmony (if I'm hearing it right) that not only fits the theme of the track, but again, adds some more sense to the sound and makes that part rather enjoable for me, even if many dislike it.


So, back to Endless - this section (and I'm saying this solemnly, seriously, even if off the top of my head - I might be mistaken, therere might be others) might be the smoothest, most consistently fluent passage in the whole DT discography. There are a lot of examples where they don't care particularly much about this consistency. Many prog tracks, even by them, don't make a lot of "sense" (*cough A Change of Seasons *cough - the second part, the beginning is just as fluent as ES)

To this day, hundreds of listens later, I am still fascinated at how each and every section somehow results from the previous one, harmonically, rhythmically, call/answer (or thesis/antithesis, to not overuse already overused musical terms I'm not 100 % sure I use correctly).
It just feels so ridiculously natural, with the added bonus of raising the intensity throughout, until it culminates in the insanely thrilling ascending part at 8:26 and in that final vocal section, entering in with the strained, jolting, frustrated "Over the distance..." etc.

Like I said, it reminds me of a literal stream of consciousness, of a perfect encapsulation of a wandering and frustrated mind (like one being forced to do menial things while I would rather just be joking and laughing and having philosophical conversation with my beloved) and emotionally, it is one of the greatest things DT ever could create for me.

With that in mind, that overhated 6:28 part is just a joke, an alien, a single drop of otherness, a random brain fart of silliness that kinda breaks the linearity (that would be too much) and makes some circles on the water. In fact, even thematically, what you say
is ultimately fitting. Because I've been there. Not at a carnival, not in space, not high, but... you get what I mean, right?
You could also take it as indeed a "circus" moment, a commentary on the "circus" of a tour, fans, groupies, sycophants, neon signs and air conditionings, while you would give a million, a billion dollars to be home by the fire, reading a nice book and your wife drifting off next to you.

And the King Crimson quotation at about 5:55 is just as random, but seamlessly inserted, I just love jokes like that.

Now, I know I won't magically make you like it, it's just this insane feel of fluency, of development, of progression, which I would have expected you to appreciate deeply and was indeed perplexed that you didn't.

whereas my own perception is completely opposite. There is very often a rhyme and a reason to DT's extended instrumental wankeries (significantly less so after Portnoy left, though, the musical structure is pretty rough nowadays) and mainly and most of all - it is very often somehow memorable, catchy, awe-inspiring. It might be noodling, but it's not pointless. Not useless. Unfortunately, with Porcupine Steve it feels to me there's not only much less noodling, but no point or idea at all. Just a sad English boy whining. And if I wanted that, I'd go put on Elbow's Seldom Seen Kid, which is similarly "edgeless", but 100x more memorable.

I don't want to be harsh, I'm actually periodically trying to get into it, also because of my wife, who loves Porcupine Wilson (although she herself admits she often likes stuff that's kinda milksoppy (or milquetoast, for our US brothers) as a background music, so that doesn't help).


With Harillion it's been so far even worse - like I wrote, although I tend to remember and enjoy the second half of Brave, the first 30 minutes or so are just this... drone. I fail to see how could someone tell the tracks apart. Heck, how the band was able to play it. No offence meant, I'm really trying.

It's this that makes me neo-proggily frustrated. This ... I don't want to call it a lack of substance or blandness, but it feels that way.


P. S. - you mention Spock's Beard - at least in their Morse era (I haven't yet strayed further) they are - just like Morse himself -
1. listenable, memorable, vivacious and so on like no-one else
2. absolutely old-school in the way I described above.
I mean, Morse on ? and Sola Scriptura tries to copy pretty much everyone and therefore created one of the most enjoyable albums imaginable, at least for me. Yet, even if he's more "stale" than "progressive", he has his recognisable and unmistakable voice.

P. P. S - just now I remembered - to be completely fair, even classic-era Genesis had a lot of mindless strumming - about a half of Can-Utility and the Coastliners and about a quarter of Supper feels that way, but - these parts are always outweighed by the really memorable ones AND I guess it makes a difference when it's being done on, you know, actual instruments (sorry, synth fans). But to be fair, I should mention this.
 
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Well I'm not sure about that second definition so I'll just stick with the first one because that's my understanding of the genre as well. I've always seen Fish era Marillion as an alternate universe version of Genesis in which Peter Gabriel stayed with them through the 80s (also ignoring any greater artistic ambition on the part of PG, obviously he took his music in different directions in the 80s). It's a similar lyrical/vocal style and definitely a lot of Tony Banks-isms in the keys, so you can hear it as 70s Genesis in the 80s. Guitar might be the exception, but Rothery is not that far removed from Hackett.

The interesting thing about Marillion is that they were simultaneously a throwback and ahead of their time. There wasn't really anybody doing prog in the 80s, even a lot of the 70s bands that were still around (Genesis, Yes,) flirted with other genres (primarily pop and new wave). So Marillion was a pretty clear throwback to the 70s. But of course in the mid to late 90s we got a lot of those throwback bands, so Marillion was ahead of the curve a bit. At the same time, Marillion in the 90s was settling into a new era and I feel that the artists that they influenced (Spock's, Dream Theater, etc) in turn influenced the new version of Marillion. And unlike the 70s peers they were drawing influence from, Marillion never evolved beyond that classic prog sound, which I feel is typical of neo-prog - being unmoved by current musical trends.

Which brings me to my lack of interest in the genre. I don't need my music to be constantly innovative, but I do appreciate variety and musical evolution. It depends though, obviously I don't want Iron Maiden to significantly change what they're doing. But one thing I really appreciate about Genesis is that they evolved, same with Rush and King Crimson. You could say that Yes, of all the bands, has been the most static (minus a diversion in the 80s). I appreciate that the bands of the 70s listened to the rock/pop music that was happening around them and allowed it to be an influence to make their own material more interesting. The neo progs don't do that, they shield themselves from everything outside the prog bubble, and I feel that it results in a lot of music that is just responding to itself. It's bland to me. If you like the style then it's perfect for you, but to me there's more to prog than cape wearing keyboard players. :p

The current crop of prog rock bands that I enjoy are Haken, Moon Safari, Mastodon. It's a small list, honestly. But I feel one thing these artists have in common is that they will use non-prog rock and even current musical influences to do new things with their sound. It's just more interesting music to me. Like I said, I don't mind throwback and I think it can result in really interesting music, I just don't hear a lot of it in the neo prog world.

With Neal Morse, I think you've pretty much got it. Part of it is that Neal Morse is more of a singer/songwriter than anything else. He has a recognizeable voice (as a writer) that pierces through all the artists he steals from. He has lots of "Morseisms" which I think actually work to his advantage as an artist. His solo work gets pretty same-y to me, but between Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and a smattering of his solo albums, it's hard to be unhappy as a fan of his music.

I also think it's probably helpful to think about Neal's background in the business. If you read his autobiography (highly recommend btw) you'll learn that he spent years trying to break into the music industry and he tried lots of different stuff from metal to pop songwriting. It wasn't until he made a prog rock demo that he started to break through. He's a very versatile musician/writer, but he understands his niche and probably doesn't have a need to stray away from that. It literally is the only type of music that he has been successful in, so I get it.
 
One of my favourite bands Kyros just put out a new single last week that I've really been enjoying. I'd describe their sound as being along the lines of 80s-era Rush and Genesis with some more contemporary influences like Haken and Voyager thrown in for good measure.
 
One of my favourite bands Kyros just put out a new single last week that I've really been enjoying. I'd describe their sound as being along the lines of 80s-era Rush and Genesis with some more contemporary influences like Haken and Voyager thrown in for good measure.
Never heard of them. Will check them out
 

The chorus is super catchy. This guy does all the instruments + production. I also saw him live with Ayreon a few days ago and he was pitch perfect amazing.

This year his goal is to release 12 EPs in 12 months, which he already did once before.
 
Definitely try out Similitude - I really belive that bloke naming it the album of the year wasn't exaggerating... or at least not much. Judging from the reception and various reactions over the net, it might actually be his biggest hit and his overall best-received work since Beard, or Testimony at least.
Well, it took nearly seven years, but I tried Similitude of a Dream.* The recent MP in Dream Theater news has reignited not just my interest in Dream Theater, but also catching up a little on DT-adjacent projects that I missed out on either due to lack of interest or because I was pretty preoccupied with college. Part of that exploration was checking out the last Transatlantic album, The Absolute Universe, which I need to chew on some more (and listen to all the different versions) before really having any coherent thoughts.

There were a few things putting me off this album besides just not feeling like I had the free time to give it a focused listen. One was general exhaustion from the big prog rock operas. The Astonishing, while I enjoyed it more than many others, was a lot to take in and I had devoted many hours in 2016 to taking that album in and trying to give it my best efforts. By the time Similitude came out later that year, I wasn't really ready to give the same effort to yet another double rock opera, especially when The Astonishing did not ultimately feel as rewarding of an experience for something that demanded so much attention. Another is just being a bit skittish on Morse's solo material. I find it to be inconsistent at best and a double album of Neal Morse on paper just seems like more than what I have tolerance for.

Anyway, I checked it out today and it slightly exceeded my expectations. As usual with these types of double albums, it really loses steam in the 2nd disc and ends up feeling pretty bloated. I definitely felt over-Morsed by the end. But it did have a lot going for it, primarily the clear creative input from other members. It's still a Neal Morse album through and through, but where his solo albums are usually 95% Morse and 5% the other musicians, this one felt more like 75% Morse and 25% the other musicians. The presence of Eric Gillette especially helps a ton, his guitar playing is so outside what we're used to in Neal Morse's projects and in general it just isn't typical for Morse to have such guitar driven material. It's similar to in Transatlantic when the Morseisms are broken up by having the more guitar oriented Roine Stolt contributions. He also has a great singing voice. Randy George and Mike Portnoy aren't technically great singers, but they're used sparingly as lead vocalists and honestly it's just the right amount to add some color/variety to the music. There were definitely a few moments on the first disc that felt like a departure from the typical Morse sound. But, again, these are moments within a near 2 hour album. It's hard to imagine going back to this often, but I will say that there was enough to chew on that I wouldn't be opposed to checking it out again.

The only problem is that The Great Adventure is next. Yet another double-concept album based on the same story. This guy has so many albums and so many long epic works that it's really hard to find the time to sit with one long enough to let it fully reveal itself, especially when nothing I've heard post-Snow has really floored me. I would really like to hear everything the Neal Morse band has done so far, but I'll be curious if there is enough variety on the next album or if it sounds like a retread of old material.

*I went digging through this thread knowing that it got brought up somewhere because I couldn't remember if I had actually listened to it already. I'll be honest, I'm still not sure if I've heard the album before. Some of the music sounded familiar to me, but Neal Morse's music is so identifiable that it's hard to trust my memory on that. I couldn't find any posts on here where I mentioned listening to it, so I'm about 75% sure I haven't heard this album before today.
 
I completely forgot about this (and that weird post of mine you're tagging - after seven years of family and children, a theology degree and everything else my... tone happens to be rather different) but I'm glad you remembered. Your observations are not that far from mine at least from what I remember; I was mainly surprised, after twenty years in the business and after as many albums, how consistent, refined and at times even excellent a concept double album by the same person can be - especially compared with The Astonishing (which I also liked more than most people, but in hindsight I'm not sure how much of that was a Stockhom syndrome of sorts). Similar observations at how this being a band effort made it sound rather fresh.

Funny thing, I have the same reaction to Portnoy coming back (even though I was never in the "BRING PORTNOY BACK" crowd and I actually liked Mangini very much) - it reinvigorated my interest in Dream Theater and other bands as well, including Neal. I was actually checking out his work only sporadically in the meantime - I quite intentionally avoided the Jesus Christ the Exorcist musical, I think I heard Sola Gratia once and I didn't even know both Neal Morse Band, Transatlantic and Flying Colours had another album out.
Partially it was definitely oversaturation, partially actually the theological studies and living in faith to the fullest made me somewhat wary against his... personal idiosyncrasies, as I think more nowadays about the sense and the meaning behind the art within the mind of the artist and the worldview that he implicitly or explicitly espouses (purely technically speaking, his latent Arianism which he kept dancing about back in the day might make him not even a Christian at all, because that's, like, the only thing that all Christians on Earth, regardless of denomination (except for Jehovah's Witnesses and, to a degree, Mormons) agreed to be the identifying and unifying tenet - i. e. belief in the Trinity, but I digress).

In fact, the only thing that remained were ? as the best Morse (and -adjacent) album and Sola Scriptura as the close second - I still stand behind that assessment, these are my absolute favourites and the only albums of his I returned to in regular intervals even now. But I will come back to him very soon, it seems - energized not only by the Return of the Portnoy I've already mentioned, but also my current enamourment with yet another overproductive, incredibly consistent American heretic - i. e. Brando Sando.
 
espouses (purely technically speaking, his latent Arianism which he kept dancing about back in the day might make him not even a Christian at all, because that's, like, the only thing that all Christians on Earth, regardless of denomination (except for Jehovah's Witnesses and, to a degree, Mormons) agreed to be the identifying and unifying tenet - i. e. belief in the Trinity, but I digress).
I’ll respond more later but this is news to me. What’s that about?
 
I’ll respond more later but this is news to me. What’s that about?

Only briefly - so as not to hijack the thread again, seven years later, to the repeated chagrin of other members - and while taking into consideration that I can't help but work from conjecture here, at least partially:

1. ecumenically ("all Christian churches when they meet together") there has been an agreement that what makes someone a Christian is the belief in the Godhood of Christ and therefore the related concept of the Trinitarian (and relational) God. I won't go into details, but it is a big thing, theologically, it is one of the first things that Christians historically defined and protected and it has vast theological/philosophical/worldview implications - the tenet or the lack thereof.* It is literally the only thing that all at least somewhat legit Christians can agree upon.

2. among Christian circles, Morse was a bit controversial, at least cca 04-14, since he repeatedly (yet vaguely) kept saying stuff that for the most part could have been interpreted only as a denial of the basic tenet mentioned in 1. (rejecting Trinity, Godhood of Jesus and so on), which you mostly see from 1. casuals (who he is not), 2. Jehovah's Witnesses and to a degree, Mormons sometimes (though both are more complex than that)
He wouldn't go into detail (and I understand that, since I also don't like to be pestered online), so take that with a grain of salt, it can also be simply that he's being theologically unsound, but I have a hard time letting someone sing inside my soul about sola scriptura, then, that's all.
Also, it might have changed his opinion in the meantime, since he made a big deal about being influenced by Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in the recent albums.

Anyway, didn't want to put the man down or anything, that part in the brackets was simply a curmudgeonly aside.

(* Arianism, the term I used, is a heresy in the early Church that was precisely about that - denying the divinity of Jesus - and it's still being used as an umbrella term - there are no new heresies, just variations of the old ones)
 
I haven't really followed Morse's religious beliefs that closely, most of what I know comes from his autobiography and I'll admit that I was not as engaged with those portions as reading about his early experiences with Spock's Beard. So I'm pretty surprised to read about a lot of that (I was under the impression that Sola Scriptura was more or less an endorsement of the Lutheran way of things and assumed he was either Lutheran himself or some offshoot). The only thing I would guess is that sometimes people who convert later in life have some oddball views that don't really conform to any one denomination partially because they don't really have any cultural connections/haven't grown up learning about the Bible and interpretations of the Bible. But at the same time, albums like Sola Scriptura/Sola Gratia/both Pilgrim's Progress albums suggest that Morse actually does have a really deep understanding of theology. So it's hard to believe that he rejects the trinity, but then again it's also not that surprising when I think about it. IDK.

One other thing I'll say on that note is, ironically, you probably get a better sense of Morse's spiritual perspectives in a lot of the Spock's Beard lyrics. Songs like The Light, The Doorway, and Crack the Skye, while secular on the face do read like the perspective of somebody who does believe in a higher power but maybe has only loose religious beliefs beyond that. But again IDK, for someone who lives in the bible belt and almost exclusively writes about Jesus, it seems a bit strange.
I completely forgot about this (and that weird post of mine you're tagging - after seven years of family and children, a theology degree and everything else my... tone happens to be rather different) but I'm glad you remembered. Your observations are not that far from mine at least from what I remember; I was mainly surprised, after twenty years in the business and after as many albums, how consistent, refined and at times even excellent a concept double album by the same person can be - especially compared with The Astonishing (which I also liked more than most people, but in hindsight I'm not sure how much of that was a Stockhom syndrome of sorts). Similar observations at how this being a band effort made it sound rather fresh.

Funny thing, I have the same reaction to Portnoy coming back (even though I was never in the "BRING PORTNOY BACK" crowd and I actually liked Mangini very much) - it reinvigorated my interest in Dream Theater and other bands as well, including Neal. I was actually checking out his work only sporadically in the meantime - I quite intentionally avoided the Jesus Christ the Exorcist musical, I think I heard Sola Gratia once and I didn't even know both Neal Morse Band, Transatlantic and Flying Colours had another album out.
Partially it was definitely oversaturation, partially actually the theological studies and living in faith to the fullest made me somewhat wary against his... personal idiosyncrasies, as I think more nowadays about the sense and the meaning behind the art within the mind of the artist and the worldview that he implicitly or explicitly espouses (purely technically speaking, his latent Arianism which he kept dancing about back in the day might make him not even a Christian at all, because that's, like, the only thing that all Christians on Earth, regardless of denomination (except for Jehovah's Witnesses and, to a degree, Mormons) agreed to be the identifying and unifying tenet - i. e. belief in the Trinity, but I digress).

In fact, the only thing that remained were ? as the best Morse (and -adjacent) album and Sola Scriptura as the close second - I still stand behind that assessment, these are my absolute favourites and the only albums of his I returned to in regular intervals even now.
Stockholm syndrome is a good way of putting it. I was so high off DT12 that I was on board with whatever they wanted to do after. If the same album was released today I'm not sure I would even bother listening to it in the first place (as demonstrated by taking years to listen to some of these other double albums by prog bands I like).

It's funny because when Portnoy left the band it felt like a net positive for everybody at first. Dream Theater would continue making new music and now that Portnoy was a free agent he could do more stuff with Neal Morse. More Transatlantic, more Neal Morse solo albums, and the possibilities for other projects as well (i.e. Flying Colors). And I was pretty happy early on. ADTOE and DT12 were both great albums that could easily stand with the last few Portnoy era albums. I loved the first Flying Colors album (I still go back to it more than a lot of other recent Morse projects), I dug Kaleidoscope, and I even thought The Grand Experiment was pretty decent and a good enough change of pace for Morse projects. Somewhere along the way though I strongly lost interest in both groups. I've been pretty vocal about my ambivalence for the last two Dream Theater albums, but I also largely stopped paying attention to what Portnoy was doing. Some of it was definitely oversaturation - it's impossible to keep up with everything sometimes. Some of it was the fact that when I did check out something, it didn't do anything for me. Ironically, the most interesting projects from both camps in recent years for me were John Petrucci's solo album and LTE3.

My hope going forward is that we get a few really solid albums from the "classic" DT lineup and that Portnoy being less available for side projects will make them feel more special when they happen. Being in DT will probably also make him more selective instead of the constant "'x' project really will be my new main project this time!"

On the Morse side, there is probably more to catch up on than I am realistically going to get to. I don't know if I'm really that interested in his musicals (Jesus Christ the Exorcist, etc). Sola Gratia sounds like an interesting concept and I'd be curious to hear a "true" Morse solo project again. Flying Colors' discography is pretty inconsistent but it has a unique enough lineup and sound that I'll welcome any new material from that group. Transatlantic being done is a pretty big loss IMO. I actually think the best way to make up for that would be for Morse to get Spock's Beard back together and make one or two great albums to close out that band's career. Basically a mirror of what Dream Theater is doing now. My favorite thing about Flying Colors, Transatlantic, and to a very small extent NMB is the fact that there are other creative voices to balance out the Morse-ness of it all. So it would be cool to hear him working with the Spock's guys again, especially if NDV and Ted Lenoard are involved.

I probably agree that ? and Sola Scriptura are the best Morse solo albums. I don't agree when other projects are factored in, but just in his own body of solo work, those albums do stand out as more interesting than the rest for me. Anyway, I'll be going through these remaining NMB albums but if there is any sort of discography discussion or if you're revisiting the back catalog as well, I'll be following along.

but also my current enamourment with yet another overproductive, incredibly consistent American heretic - i. e. Brando Sando.
Wow. That is a weirdly apt comparison that I never thought about before.
 
Some of the points you raise might be good to elaborate on, but maybe it'd be better in the context of a specific thread.

That said:
Anyway, I'll be going through these remaining NMB albums but if there is any sort of discography discussion or if you're revisiting the back catalog as well, I'll be following along.

I've been toying with the idea of doing a Neal Morse (and everything connected with him) commented discography or even a Survivor (back then before I saw how bad Acquaintancevivors tend to get in general - see how Knicks Tom Waits one failed) for quite some time, at least since we've been mentioning the idea back in 2016 or so.

I admit I still am intrigued, however I'm worried about 2 things:

1. opening a thread for a discussion where pretty much only two members (you and me) will participate - I don't thnk I've met anyone else here mentioning Morse or any of the other projects (or if, then only in connection with Portnoy)

2. since he's so immediately recognisable and typical - I know you will probably strenuously disagree, but there indeed isn't that much of a difference between his first and the last album or even the projects themselves - The Light, Crack the Big Sky, All of the Above, ?, World without End, Open Up Your Eyes, Similitude and even the "basic rock" albums (which Wikipedia lists separately) and possibly even the worship albums are pretty much always quite recognisably a product of the same bloke - I worry about being burnt out before it's all over.

However, maybe I should learn to stop worrying and love the Morse...
 
Anyway, I'm doing preliminary research - since a lot of people seemed to be interested in Neal Morse etc. on the Dream Theater Forum (am I remembering that right?)...

So, all of you other people who seem to be at least partially interested in prog rock (IIRC - I'm working purely from conjecture - this thread and what I remember of you writing across the forum) - @MrKnickerbocker @Saapanael @Detective Beauregard @KidInTheDark666 @Shmoolikipod @Diesel 11 @Lampwick 43 @terrell39 @The_7th_one @Night Prowler @Collin (tag anyone else whom I forgot) - anybody else interested in going through the MorseWorld? (Spock's Beard, Neal Morse solo and Neal Morse Band, Transatlantic (Morse, Trewavas of Marillion, Stolt of Flower Kings, Portnoy), Flying Colors (Morse, Steve Morse, Portnoy) and so on, even if only through the Portnoy connection? It'd be casual, not updated on a strict schedule, you could approach it as you wished, even as an acquaintance of sorts, I'm just wondering if I should start the thread or not.
 
Some of the points you raise might be good to elaborate on, but maybe it'd be better in the context of a specific thread.

That said:


I've been toying with the idea of doing a Neal Morse (and everything connected with him) commented discography or even a Survivor (back then before I saw how bad Acquaintancevivors tend to get in general - see how Knicks Tom Waits one failed) for quite some time, at least since we've been mentioning the idea back in 2016 or so.

I admit I still am intrigued, however I'm worried about 2 things:

1. opening a thread for a discussion where pretty much only two members (you and me) will participate - I don't thnk I've met anyone else here mentioning Morse or any of the other projects (or if, then only in connection with Portnoy)

2. since he's so immediately recognisable and typical - I know you will probably strenuously disagree, but there indeed isn't that much of a difference between his first and the last album or even the projects themselves - The Light, Crack the Big Sky, All of the Above, ?, World without End, Open Up Your Eyes, Similitude and even the "basic rock" albums (which Wikipedia lists separately) and possibly even the worship albums are pretty much always quite recognisably a product of the same bloke - I worry about being burnt out before it's all over.

However, maybe I should learn to stop worrying and love the Morse...
No I pretty much agree with all of that. I think it gets pretty homogenous as well which makes it harder to do more than small doses sometimes (but Morse doesn't work in small doses). I would suggest going as narrow as possible: Spock's Beard, only the prog rock solo albums, NMB, Transatlantic. I love Flying Colors but that already feels like a lot of material.
 
Thanks for asking!, I'm prog rock fan but I'm not into Neal Morse, Spock Beard or any other one of thousand band names he's into or Portnoy's into. I'm not a Dream Theater fan neither, I tried these bands , Trasanlantic,…and I think they're go beyond prog remembering old 70's bands making difficult patterns of music without sense… I don't know they're just not my cup of tea. That's all.
 
Anyway, I'm doing preliminary research - since a lot of people seemed to be interested in Neal Morse etc. on the Dream Theater Forum (am I remembering that right?)...

So, all of you other people who seem to be at least partially interested in prog rock (IIRC - I'm working purely from conjecture - this thread and what I remember of you writing across the forum) - @MrKnickerbocker @Saapanael @Detective Beauregard @KidInTheDark666 @Shmoolikipod @Diesel 11 @Lampwick 43 @terrell39 @The_7th_one @Night Prowler @Collin (tag anyone else whom I forgot) - anybody else interested in going through the MorseWorld? (Spock's Beard, Neal Morse solo and Neal Morse Band, Transatlantic (Morse, Trewavas of Marillion, Stolt of Flower Kings, Portnoy), Flying Colors (Morse, Steve Morse, Portnoy) and so on, even if only through the Portnoy connection? It'd be casual, not updated on a strict schedule, you could approach it as you wished, even as an acquaintance of sorts, I'm just wondering if I should start the thread or not.
I like some of Morse's material but there's way too much of it. I can pop in here and there if someone can specify which albums are more metal and which ones are more PRAISE JESUS.
 
Anyway, I'm doing preliminary research - since a lot of people seemed to be interested in Neal Morse etc. on the Dream Theater Forum (am I remembering that right?)...

So, all of you other people who seem to be at least partially interested in prog rock (IIRC - I'm working purely from conjecture - this thread and what I remember of you writing across the forum) - @MrKnickerbocker @Saapanael @Detective Beauregard @KidInTheDark666 @Shmoolikipod @Diesel 11 @Lampwick 43 @terrell39 @The_7th_one @Night Prowler @Collin (tag anyone else whom I forgot) - anybody else interested in going through the MorseWorld? (Spock's Beard, Neal Morse solo and Neal Morse Band, Transatlantic (Morse, Trewavas of Marillion, Stolt of Flower Kings, Portnoy), Flying Colors (Morse, Steve Morse, Portnoy) and so on, even if only through the Portnoy connection? It'd be casual, not updated on a strict schedule, you could approach it as you wished, even as an acquaintance of sorts, I'm just wondering if I should start the thread or not.
That's a cool idea, I wouldn't be against trying these groups. I'm minimally familiar with the projects involving Portnoy, the others I haven't listened to at all.
 
No I pretty much agree with all of that. I think it gets pretty homogenous as well which makes it harder to do more than small doses sometimes (but Morse doesn't work in small doses). I would suggest going as narrow as possible: Spock's Beard, only the prog rock solo albums, NMB, Transatlantic. I love Flying Colors but that already feels like a lot of material.

I'd see about that - there's a possibility of semi-updates where I'd just do a short write-ups of the other stuff just to satisfy the completionist within me. Remember, unless you let me go a bit megalomaniac (and maybe squint a bit and overlook some posts), you won't let me get motivated enough to pull it off :ninja: I have to aim high to get high.

This will go forth with a rather leisurely tempo anyway, so I wouldn't worry.

Thanks for asking!, I'm prog rock fan but I'm not into Neal Morse, Spock Beard or any other one of thousand band names he's into or Portnoy's into. I'm not a Dream Theater fan neither, I tried these bands , Trasanlantic,…and I think they're go beyond prog remembering old 70's bands making difficult patterns of music without sense… I don't know they're just not my cup of tea. That's all.

Hey, thanks for the answer, that's fine, in case the project will indeed start, you're free to browse and even participate anyway - even in case you wanted to be hate-listening, I think none would be too offended :)

Thanks for not tagging me Judas! :cheers:
Just joking of course...:D
Sorry! Too many people, in the words of McCartney. :D
I´m not a big Spock´s Bearder although I really love The Light and Beware Of Darkness and as an Enchant fan I should check out their albums with Ted.
If you love The Light, you're gonna love a lot of stuff there, I promise. Anyway, you're free to join as much as you please, read the write-ups and maybe decide to check any particular album out.

I like some of Morse's material but there's way too much of it. I can pop in here and there if someone can specify which albums are more metal and which ones are more PRAISE JESUS.
Some of those are both (like Sola Scriptura)! But don't worry, with him lionising and heroifying Luther to a ridiculous degree - where it stops being even a fanfiction, really, more like an apotheosis of sorts, I will be suffering much more than you would be. :D

Kidding aside, I can tag you with albums that you might be interested in. Off the top of my head, I could see you a priori being interested in Transatlantic (which has a lot of Stolt's guitar), the aforementioned SolScr (which might be his heaviest album, actually) and the last batch of albums, especially the Neal Morse Band ones (where the combination of Gillette and Portnoy gives it a certain amount of pizzazz that you might like). Anyway, I'll try to limit it to a reasonable degree.

That's a cool idea, I wouldn't be against trying these groups. I'm minimally familiar with the projects involving Portnoy, the others I haven't listened to at all.

Yay!
 
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