Mike Portnoy often said, on social media, that what we now know as The Similitude of a Dream – The Neal Morse Band‘s next double concept album -, is the best thing he’s ever played on, and is unlike anything they have ever done before. I’m paraphrasing, but he did succeed in raising the expectations of a lot of people, myself included. We all know Neal Morse to be a stellar composer, and a great multi-instrumentalist and singer, but his compositions can feel a bit formulaic at times. The most striking example might be the twin sisters on Transatlantic’s Bridge across Forever, namely “Duel with the Devil” and “Stranger in Your Soul”. The two songs share the same length, and go through similar phases in their development. Now, maybe that was the whole concept behind the album, but you can definitely see strong similarities in other works, such as Sola Scriptura and The Whirlwind. Once again, all these albums and songs I mentioned are some of my favourites, but you just know they came from the same guy.
So, for Mike to say that the new album is unlike any other before is a double-edged sword. On one side, there’s the possibility of something new and fresh that will be different than all that’s been done, but on the other side there’s the fear of changing a winning formula. There’s also the flat of the blade, where Mike was only hyping his new release and The Similitude of a Dream sounds just like any other Neal Morse album. I wouldn’t be mad! In fact, I genuinely believe what Mike was saying, but since he played on it and just finished recording it – and was finally listening to the finished product! -, he might’ve been a bit emotional about it, and lacked perspective. In any case, let’s listen to the song, now!
‘Long Day / Overture’ is somewhat reminiscent of Spock’s Beard’s Snow‘s first track, ‘Made Alive / Overture’, in the way it’s built, but the overture part of it has a strong smell of Transatlantic to it. It’s definitely much more to my taste than The Grand Experiment, which I found, at best, tolerable. The new song sounds just like a typical good ol’ Neal Morse overture to an epic song. Now, we’ve only heard one track, and the vast majority of the album is still behind closed doors, but I can personally say it’s an album that I’m eager to listen to in its entirety! The Similitude of a Dream comes out on November 11th. Let’s hope they decide to release a few other tracks before that time!