5. Flying Colors - Flying Colors
Two supergroups back to back? I guess so. Everything I said about Soen applies here as well, except for the Tool worship. Mike Portnoy, Casey McPhearson, Neal Morse, Steve Morse, and Dave LaRue. On paper, that sounds incredible. In reality, what came out was something that no one could have pinned. The closest thing I can pin on them is they are certainly Neal Morse oriented, with the whole poppy prog rock approach. But that would be underselling them by a long shot. Casey provides a nice alternative perspective in the vocals, and Steve Morse's playing is beyond tight as expected. The guy has some of the best guitar tones out there, up there with Petrucci and Loomis. Notice how this has only been covering the instrumentation; get into the songs, it's something else entirely. Every single song stands out as a unique piece of insanely catchy art. Every chorus, verse, solo, it all has a place. These are the kinds of songs that you hum to all day and love doing it. The album takes you through a nice spot in every members' respective careers, sometimes emphasizing Spock's Beard, sometimes Alpha Rev, Deep Purple, etc. I still am shocked with the near flawless output of this band, and I am very fortunate I was able to see them perform this masterpiece in its entirety. I hope they continue to make music, and at least for Mike Portnoy, exclusively here.
"Blue Ocean" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8fZxUGWrPI
"Kayla" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOfWISwjGJE