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BAND/AUTHOR:

NEAL MORSE

(UNITED STATES)

TITLE:
JESUS CHRIST THE EXORCIST
RELEASE DATE:
2019
LABEL:
FRONTIERS RECORDS
GENRE:
ROCK
"By bringing back to life the rock operas of the 70s, Neal Morse makes an exceptional and exciting album from beginning to end."
CORTO1809 - 01.07.2019 -
Almost everything has already been written about Neal Morse, the worst as well as the best, from his incredible ability to compose seductive melodies to his undeniable talent as a charismatic singer and talented multi-instrumentalist, but also from his pervasive faith in all his albums to a recognizable style that sometimes gives an impression of déjà vu to all his productions. With in the end qualities that far outweigh the defects ! Everything has been write about Neal Morse... until this new album, double as it should be, "Jesus Christ The Exorcist".

Well, with the title, we already know that it is not yet this time that the American will give up sharing his faith by music : "Jesus Christ The Exorcist" is a rock opera recounting the life of Jesus, from his baptism by John the Baptist to his resurrection, and we even wonder how Neal Morse had not thought of it earlier. No, the surprise comes from the music score, Neal Morse resurrecting (that's the word) the rock operas of the 70s, from "Jesus Christ Superstar" who shares the same theme to "Tommy" of the Who (which is also the story of a messiah).

To do this, he gathers a plethora of artists : in addition to the group of musicians (from the Neal Morse Band for the most) there are two brass and string ensembles, many choristers and a dozen singers. The title role is played by Ted Leonard (Enchant, Spock's Beard), Judas is played by Nick D'Virgilio (Spock's Beard, Big Big Train) and Pierre and Caiaphas by the only Jake Livgren (Proto-Kaw) in an amazing performance of personality split. Less known, Rick Florian, singer of the Christian rock group White Heart, is a convincing Satan and Talon David, a young singer woman performing the role of Marie-Madeleine, is one of the revelations of this album, her voice alternately biting and sensual, hoarse and airy, cannot leave you indifferent. Neal Morse sings secondary roles, notably an astonishing Pilate where he is unrecognizable.

Titles are grouped into chapters according to the story. If chapters are separated by a short interruption, the songs of a same chapter are so intertwined that it is very difficult to know when you move from one to the other without looking at the booklet. As in any self-respecting rock opera, the songs are at the service of the narrative and their intensity/violence/softness is directly linked to what the story tells. However, the music is not left out, as evidenced by the very beautiful and spectacular guitar and keyboard solos featuring on the first CD.

Because things are significantly changing between the first and second discs. If Act 1 is rather energetic, oscillating between hard rock, heavy metal and melodic metal, Act 2 is more like a Broadway-style "musical comedy" with fewer solos (5 tracks sung "alone" for CD1, only one on CD2), more choral scores and a softer, even melancholic, and sometimes hymnic tone. The wild drums and electric guitar solos of the first part give way to keyboards, strings and brass covering the compositions with an orchestral hue. It is difficult to bring out one title more than another : "Jesus Christ The Exorcist" tells a story and must be heard as an inseparable whole.

With his rock opera, Neal Morse performs a double miracle. First, he keeps the listener on the edge of his seat for the 110 minutes of the album without ever losing attention, then he manages to make people forget that he is behind this album without losing his extraordinary qualities as a composer. Of course, you can recognize his style from time to time : the introduction of 'Jesus' Temptation' reminiscent of the jousts from "?", a new pastiche of 'Knots' (Gentle Giant) with the voices of the four demons that intertwine on' The Madman of the Gadarenes', the acoustic folk ballad 'Love Has Called My Name' that sounds like those of "Testimony". But these are exceptions drowned in a maelstrom mixing epic rock, metal prog, folk, soft ballad, hard rock, musical comedy, pop, heavy metal, gospel, solar rock or hymn.

By bringing back to life the rock operas of the 70s, Neal Morse makes an exceptional and exciting album from beginning to end. Not only my favorite of the year, but probably of the decade, even the century !

More informations on http://www.nealmorse.com/

VIDEO

SIMILAR BANDS

SPOCK'S BEARD, UNITOPIA, TRANSATLANTIC, ECHOLYN, CHRIS, ROINE STOLT, THE PROG WORLD ORCHESTRA, FLYING COLORS, SUPERNAL ENDGAME, UNITED PROGRESSIVE FRATERNITY

TRACK LISTING

01. Introduction (02:31)
02. Overture (03:19)
03. Getaway (02:41)
04. Gather the People (05:17)
05. Jesus' Baptism (03:09)
06. Jesus' Temptation (10:18)
07. There's a Highway (04:06)
08. The Woman of Seven Devils (05:42)
09. Free at Last (05:05)
10. The Madman of the Gadarenes (07:07)
11. Love Has Called My Name (04:15)
12. Better Weather (01:42)
13. The Keys to the Kingdom (04:48)
14. Get Behind Me Satan (03:23)
15. He Must Go to the Cross (03:10)
16. Jerusalem (03:56)
17. Hearts Full of Holes (03:40)
18. The Last Supper (03:51)
19. Gethsemane (07:39)
20. Jesus Before the Council and Peter's Denial (03:13)
21. Judas' Death (03:35)
22. Jesus Before Pilate and the Crucifixion (08:17)
23. Mary at the Tomb (02:50) 24. The Greatest Love of All (05:00)
25. Love Has Called My Name (Reprise) (01:30)


LINEUP

Neal Morse: Guitares / Basse / Claviers / Chant ( Pilate, Démon 1, Disciple 1) / Choeurs
Randy George: Basse
Amy Pippin: Choeurs
April Zachary: Choeurs
Bill Hubauer: Claviers
David Cooper: Trombone
Debbie Bressee: Choeurs
Dominique Caster: Trompette
Eric Gillette: Guitares / Batterie
Gabe Klein: Chant (démon 2, Pharisien 4)
Gabriel Collins: Saxophone / Flûte
Gideon Klein: Chant (démon 4) / Violon / Alto / Violoncelle / Contrebasse / Cor / Arrangement De Cordes
Grace Laminack: Alto
Holly Smith: Cor
Jake Livgren: Chant ( Pierre, Caïphe) / Choeurs
Jake Tudor: Violon
Julie Harrison: Chant (servante) / Choeurs
Mark Pogue: Chant (israélite 1, Le Fou Des Gadarenes, Pharisien 2) / Choeurs
Matt Smith : Chant ( Jean Le Baptiste)
Michael Jackson: Choeurs
Nick D'Virgilio: Chant ( Judas)
Paul Bielatowicz: Guitares
Rick Florian: Chant (le Diable)
Steve Patrick: Trompette
Talon David: Chant ( Marie Madeleine)
Ted Leonard: Chant ( Jesus)
Wil Morse: Claviers / Chant (israélite 2, Démon 3, Pharisien 1) / Choeurs


TAGS:
70's, Symphonic
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