Album Reviews

Neal Morse – Jesus Christ The Exorcist Review

Released by: Frontiers Music s.r.l.

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Christian Metal

Links: http://www.nealmorse.com/

 

Full cast:

Ted Leonard – Jesus

Talon David – Mary Magdalene

Nick D’Virgilio – Judas Iscariot

Rick Florian – The Devil

Matt Smith – John the Baptist

Jake Livgren – Peter and Caiaphas

Neal Morse – Pilate, Demon 1, Disciple 1

Mark Pogue – Israelite 1, the Madman of the Gadarenes, Pharisee 2

Wil Morse – Israelite 2, Demon 3, Pharisee 1

Gabe Klein – Demon 2, Pharisee 4

Gideon Klein – Demon 4

Julie Harrison – Servant Girl

 

Tracklist:

CD1
1.Introduction
2.Overture
3.Getaway
4.Gather The People
5.Jesus’ Baptism
6.Jesus’ Temptation
7.There’s A Highway
8.The Woman Of Seven Devils
9.Free At Last
10.The Madman Of The Gadarenes
11.Love Has Called My Name
12.Better Weather
13.The Keys To The Kingdom
14.Get Behind Me Satan

CD2
1.He Must Go To The Cross
2.Jerusalem
3.Hearts Full Of Holes
4.The Last Supper
5.Gethsemane
6.Jesus Before The Council And Peter’s Denial
7.Judas’ Death
8.Jesus Before Pilate And The Crucifixion
9.Mary At The Tomb
10.The Greatest Love Of All
11.Love Has Called My Name (Reprise)

 

As an atheist, it is sometimes hard to reconcile that with my love of Christian Metal and Hard Rock. I’ve been an atheist all my life, but I’m not one of those crazy “beat it in your head” types. I’m more of a “meh, believe what ya wanna believe” sort of people. Despite my feelings about religion, the first time I heard Stryper I fell in love with them. The vocals, guitar work, and songs blew me away. Just like the turbo Satan bands, I was listening to the lyrical content didn’t affect me at all, though I did find it interesting that there was “another side” to the music I loved. I’ve since discovered other great acts like Bloodgood, Barren Cross, Petra, Leviticus, and Spocks Beard just to name a few. With Spocks Beard, I discovered the immense talent of Neal Morse. He’s no longer with them, yet has forged a pretty excellent solo career, singing about his love of Jesus.

When I spun his latest offering, Jesus Christ The Exorcist, I was a bit skeptical that I would enjoy it. As soon as it started it had the immediate feel of a musical. Come to find out that was how it was intended. Morse has been working on it for ten years and was envisioned as a sort of modern-day take on the classic Jesus Christ Superstar. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good musical/rock opera from time to time, but it’s not my usual thing. This album must’ve been a labor of love as it is a sprawling dramatic piece of work that nearly transcends much of what Morse has done in his career. With multiple performers taking on different characters and a score of such a grand scale by the 3rd track I was drawn in. Yes, there are some standout tracks, but this album truly needs to be experienced as a whole. Not only does it follow Biblical stories expertly it also manages to tackle modern-day issues ensconced with the battle of faith.

If you hate musicals, then avoid this one completely. If religious stuff turns you off, stay away from Jesus Christ The Exorcist. Suffice it to say, if you have ever been a fan of Neal Morse, you will likely love this album. It honestly feels like the most Spocks Beard album he’s recorded since leaving the band (although much more overtly religious,) which may add an extra level of appeal to fans of his time in the band. Though it didn’t provide me with a “come to Jesus” experience, I feel like I was happy to have listened to this one a few times. With each listens I found something else I liked about it. I doubt it is going to blaze up the charts, but it is a pretty amazing album.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: 8/10

 

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