Fireworks

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Neal Morse - 'Jesus Christ The Exorcist' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/0d/0f/64/neal-morse-jesus-christ-the-exorcist-47-1565357620.jpg

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 08, 2019    
 
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Aside from the subject matter, what you're left with is a simply stunning record.

A two-hour Rock Opera based on the life of Jesus Christ, one that has been ten years in the making, would seem like a daunting task for any composer. Yet this masterpiece is far from the chore that it would at first seem to be. Neal Morse has held nothing back on this musical extravaganza, and fans of his music will adore what he and his fellow musicians have created on 'Jesus Christ The Exorcist'. I would also add that if you are someone who at the merest hint of the words Christian, God or Jesus, turn the page and say to yourself "bloody God botherers", then you shouldn't do so on this occasion. Given a chance, this is probably one of Morse's finest moments

The story charts the rise and fall of Jesus Christ, from his earliest days through to his baptism by John The Baptist and his temptation by the Devil in the wilderness, and finally to his trial, crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. It's a story most of us know, and it's handled with the sort of care, joy and love that only a true believer could find within themselves to write. I honestly found myself enjoying immensely the storytelling of Morse and his cohorts. What also makes this a wonderful listening experience is the amazing and passionate musicianship of the performers, many of whom are past and present Morse collaborators, so you know already just how high the quality of the musicianship will be.

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However, it's Morse's choice of singers that is inspirational; Ted Leonard as Jesus, Nick D'Virgilio as Judas, Rick Florian as the Devil and Matt Smith (Theocracy) as John The Baptist are all superb, and they complement each other wonderfully as they tell this story. As good as those vocalists are, the true star of this album is a young lady called Talon David (a friend of the Morse family) who plays the part of Mary Magdalene. This lady is the focal point of this release, her change from (alleged) prostitute to a follower of Christ is delivered by David in such an impassioned way that you believe her as she sings her thanks to Jesus for coming into her life and saving her soul.

'Jesus Christ The Exorcist' is probably my most played album of 2019. The music is sublime with Neal Morse outdoing himself on each and every track, the musicianship is off the scale and the vocal performances are some of the best I've heard in this or any other year. I urge you to give this Rock Opera a chance because whether you are a believer or not, this is a release that keeps throwing up new and exciting challenges each time you play it. In the end and aside from the subject matter, what you're left with is a simply stunning record.

Ian Johnson

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