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NMB (Neal Morse Band) - Innocence & Danger
NMB (Neal Morse Band) - Innocence & Danger Album Art

NMB: Innocence & Danger

Melodic Progressive Rock
5.0/5.0

And then there were three. Three letters that is. The Neal Morse Band has been trimmed down to NMB, perhaps to take some emphasis off the principal player and focus on the entirety of participants. With the versatile songwriter and musician Neal Morse, NMB includes Mike Portnoy (drums, vocals), Randy George (bass), Bill Hubauer (keyboards, vocals), and Eric Gillette (guitars, vocals). Innocence & Danger is the band's fourth studio since forming in 2012.

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NMB

Once more, the album is an adventure into NMB's classic and creative melodic progressive rock. However, unlike the previous two albums this one is not a concept album, but it is a double CD recording of NMB's featuring independent songs (much like their debut album). But, oh yeah, it is quite progish in scope. The first CD includes eight songs, four of which are seven to eight minutes long, with contrasting musical styles. For instance, Do It All Again offers fans a typical NMB twist of piano melody, vocal harmony, and spirited guitar lines where as the following Bird On A Wire is much stronger with beefy riffs and quick pacing. A small interlude around the midpoint offers respite before leading to a fine guitar solo. Alternatively Emergence is a soft acoustic guitar driven instrumental which leads into Not Afraid Pt 1 which is softer melodic prog with emphasis on acoustic guitar and vocal harmony. The CD wraps up with an interesting arrangement of Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. It's interesting because you don't quite catch the melody and vocal harmony of the original until about the midpoint where the chorus rises significantly.

With the second CD, there's also some contrast in song composition. I found Not Afraid Pt 2 to step up the prog from its softer predecessor. Light piano merges with heavier riffs and a touch of Hammond and some very strong bass, but then dials down to softer segues at the quarter point, eight minutes, then 15 minutes. In those moments piano melody rises as to do guitar lines. Alternatively, perhaps to everything across both CDs, Beyond The Years is a tour-de-force of quite strong guitar work, meaning many terrific solos. Sure, it has this lightly symphonic start with piano into tow, and its mellow in the middle with bass and Hammond, but the guitar solos rock this song.

All said, perhaps verbosely, with Innocence & Danger, NMB (the band formerly known as the Neal Morse Band) delivers another terrific, dramatic, and creative album of melodic progressive with plenty of twists, turns, and superb guitar work. Quite recommended.




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The Take Away

All said, perhaps verbosely, with Innocence & Danger, NMB (the band formerly known as the Neal Morse Band) delivers another terrific, dramatic, and creative album of melodic progressive with plenty of twists, turns, and superb guitar work. Quite recommended.

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