Album of the Year 2016 – Number 13

Another day arrives and with it, comes another album in my ‘Album of the Year 2016’ top 30 countdown.

For a change, I’m going to go straight into the main body of this post without any delay other than to remind readers that you can get links to all of the other posts in this series at the bottom of this post. Please read, enjoy and spread the word, the Blog of Much Metal needs you!

And with that said, let’s delve into today’s album of choice:

Number 13

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The Neal Morse Band
The Similitude Of A Dream
Radiant Records

“I’m now on my umpteenth spin and I’m thoroughly smitten. Yes I can hear words like ‘God’, ‘Satan’, ‘Father’, ‘Mercy’, ‘blessed’ and others sprinkled throughout the record and yes, I do flinch a little at their use but I’d have to be a prize idiot to let that stand in my way. Why? Because ‘The Similitude Of A Dream’ is a phenomenal body of work that cannot be ignored.

It is way too early to say whether ‘The Similitude Of A Dream’ will eventually stand alongside the likes of ‘Quadrophenia’ and ‘The Wall’. However…there can be no denying the fact that this recording is a magnificent achievement and deserving of high praise. To my mind, ‘The Similitude Of A Dream’ is definitely one of the musical highlights of 2016 and a masterclass of progressive rock.

Read the full review here

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The number 13 is often viewed as an unlucky number, but not in this case for Neal Morse and his band. I never thought I’d see the day when an album with overt Christian lyrics and themes would find its way into my end of year ‘best of’ list, let alone be so high up the list. However, the unthinkable has happened thanks to Neal Morse and co. Mind you, given the quality of the musicians involved and the collaborative song-writing ability, it’s hardly a surprise. Perhaps, had it been released earlier in the year, it might have climbed even higher still.

‘The Similitude of a Dream’ is an extravagant and ambitious affair that embraces everything that you could ever want or need from a progressive rock album. It is well-written, well-executed and contains a huge plethora of influences from across the musical spectrum, bringing them all together in one triumphant package. It isn’t always the easiest of listens, but that’s exactly how it should be with prog – some aspects hit you right out of the blocks, whilst others take longer to be deciphered and work their magic. Plus there’s the sheer length of the record; make sure you set aside a good two hours to appreciate it in its entirety.

Each time I listen, I seem to discover something new to enjoy and that’s always a positive as far as I’m concerned. Be it a subtle instrumental flourish, a vocal harmony, a riff, a beat or an overall vibe or atmosphere, each listen throws up something new, making each listen a unique experience. I can’t profess to like every single second of ‘Similitude…’ but what I admire about it is the fact that nothing is seemingly off-limits. If it fits the musicians’ vision, it is included in order to create a richer tapestry and a less one-dimensional story.

‘The Similitiude of a Dream’ is a fantastic album and, whether or not it becomes a genre classic in time, it has provided me with huge enjoyment during 2016.

In case you’ve missed any of the other posts in the 2016 series, here they are for you to explore and enjoy:

Album of the Year 2016 – number 14
Album of the Year 2016 – number 15
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2016 – number 17
Album of the Year 2016 – number 18
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2016 – number 20
Album of the Year 2016 – number 21
Album of the Year 2016 – number 22
Album of the Year 2016 – number 23
Album of the Year 2016 – number 24
Album of the Year 2016 – number 25
Album of the Year 2016 – number 26
Album of the Year 2016 – number 27
Album of the Year 2016 – number 28
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 29
Album of the Year 2016 – Number 30

And from previous years:

Album of the Year 2015
Album of the Year 2014
Album of the Year 2013
Album of the Year 2012

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