Sounds like … classic progressive rock in the tradition of Kansas, Yes, and Spock's Beard, possibly appealing to fans of contemporary prog rock from the likes of The Mars VoltaAt a glance … though perhaps a little less pop accessible than his previous efforts, Morse's latest is still quite admirable as a complex progressive rock symphony exploring the mystery of God and his holy templeTrack Listing The Temple of the Living God Another World The Outsider Sweet Elation In the Fire Solid as the Sun The Glory of the Lord Outside Looking In 12 Entrance Insider His Presence The Temple of the Living God (reprise)

Progressive rock has long carried a stigma as a dying niche genre because of its lengthy compositions, heady lyricism, and intricate instrumental solos, thus keeping it from being radio friendly and commercially viable. But that seems to be changing now that corporate radio is losing favor with listeners, and bands like The Mars Volta, Sigur Ros, and System of a Down continue to sell out venues. It's not quite a revival, but the public does seem more receptive to the complexities of prog rock, pioneered by the likes of Genesis, Yes, and Kansas.

Which makes this a prime time to discover Neal Morse, an artist too good to be ignored in Christian music. It's remarkable that someone can create three albums in three years with such artistic depth. His first major solo release was 2003's Testimony, a stunning two-disc autobiography that put his lifelong spiritual journey to music. Nearly as impressive was 2004's One, a modern day mix of prog rock and pop that traced back to the Garden to explore the rift between God and man. Now comes the unconventionally titled ?—that's right, a simple question mark—exploring the mystery of God and his relationship with man as represented by the law and his temple. It confirms that Morse is progressive rock's answer to Michael Card, probing deep biblical topics and theology with intelligence and artistry.

The album shouldn't be viewed as a collection of 12 songs as much as a continuous hour-long rock symphony with 12 movements—a number that's almost certainly intentional since one of the movements deals with the significance of "12" in Scripture. The initial premise is that we all long to see "The Temple of the Living God" and be in his presence, yet our imperfection and unworthiness keep us from experiencing communion with him. Both pop ballad "Outside Looking In" and "The Outsider" take the perspective of an unclean leper and shame-filled sinner longing to bask in God's glory: "I am lonely and dead inside/Clearly God doesn't love me, so I'll just wait outside."

p>"The Glory of the Lord" offers a glimpse of just that, with choral bombast that would do Handel or Wagner proud. But as Christians, we know that because of what Jesus accomplished for us, we don't have to wait outside the temple. "In the Fire" confirms the need to sacrifice our sinful nature, while the funk-flavored "Solid as the Sun" suggests there is One who has been appointed to stand in God's presence to represent mankind. The symphony concludes with joyous rocker "Entrance" and the peaceful power ballad of acceptance "Inside His Presence," in which Morse declares, "When He died and was born the temple walls were torn/And God's Spirit poured out to all the ones without/Now the temple of the living God is you."