Album review: NEAL MORSE – Jesus Christ The Exorcist

NEAL MORSE - Jesus Christ The Exorcist

Frontiers [Release date 14.06.19]

I like a musical.  In fact, it was only recently I suggested that a prog rock version of Hamilton by Izz could be a big hit.  Jesus Christ Superstar is another personal favourite although, in hindsight, a little patchy.  But then musically, most productions are when removed from the full theatrical experience.

Fuelled by his Christian beliefs and the germ of an idea from a friend 10 years ago, Neal Morse (prog keyboardist / guitarist of Spocks’ Beard, Transatlantic, and his own Christian rock solo career) has come up with his own two hour progressive rock musical based on the gospels.

With the premiere at Morsefest 2018 being received with almost religious awe, the main vocal protagonists are Ted Leonard (Spocks Beard vocalist) as Jesus, Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train drummer) as Judas Iscariot, relative Nashville pop newcomer Talon David as Mary Magdalene, and Rick Florian (White Heart, another Christian rock band) as The Devil.

The ‘main’ band features Morse (guitars, keys, bass, percussion), Paul Bielatowicz (Carl Palmer’s ELP) (guitars), and Neal Morse Band members Eric Gillette (drums, guitars), Bill Hubauer (keys) and Randy George (bass).

Then there’s minor cast vocalists, vocal ensembles, strings, brass, and the kitchen sink.  It’s a hugely ambitious undertaking, and one I’ve yet to see a concise dissertation of.  So, let me be brief.

Firstly, Neal Morse fans will not be disappointed – buy with confidence.  Secondly, the narrative content (which forms the vast majority of the production) is impressively delivered in a manner that will unquestionably appeal to Broadway musical fans, many of whom who will equally welcome the fact that prog excesses are largely curbed.  And thirdly, despite the appropriate ‘widescreen’ arrangements there’s some impressively ‘straight’ rock that, at times, even brings original rock opera pioneers The Who to mind.

If it were ever to get sufficient backing to get to Broadway, which is probably unlikely, it’s not hard to see Jesus Christ The Exorcist becoming Morse’s most enduring legacy.  Ambitious and epic in equal measure, it rewards repeated listening, and offers something for everyone.  And that’s pretty damn impressive.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley




 

The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits

More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections


Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)

Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), All Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply