For ten years, the music genie NEAL MORSE has been working on this rock opera entitled “Jesus Christ the Exorcist”. I’ve seen reviews where it has been compared to the “Jesus Christ Superstar”, but I can see no reason to make such a comparison. Yes, the latter was a rock opera too, but apart from the storyline there are so many differences.
On the personnel matter we have TED LEONARD (DREAM THEATER) singing the Jesus part. Other names that I am happy to see involved here are NICK D’VIRGILIO as Judas Iscariot, RICK FLORIAN (WHITEHEART) ironically as The Devil. Also nice to see a sadly missed voice back: MARK POGUE (of MARK POGUE & FORTRESS – who released the mighty fine AOR album “Restoration” in 1991) who’s doing the vocals of three different characters here.
This is a lenghty two-disc album (and triple vinyl set!) and it really takes a lot of listenings before you get into it. I’ll admit I still haven’t passed that certain rim where I am becoming familiar enough with it. First of all there are too many soft parts, even for being a rock opera.
But sure, there are some rockier parts too. “There’s a highway” and the blues tinged “The woman of seven devils” are two examples.
If I tend to seem quite complaining I need to tell you that there are many cool moments to experience in this rock opera. I mean, all the singers are top notch and musically there is equilibrism to find (like the guitar solo in the aforementioned “The woman of seven devils”. This album is labelled as progressive rock, and there are some songs that qualify. But the styles are quite varying, which is both good and bad.
I like the idea of a rock opera and I applaud that Neal Morse finally landed with this project of his. The “regular” Morse stuff, though, is far more interesting to me. This is good, but not more than good.