STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 9524-9215 LABEL: Meaux FFD84497 FORMAT: CD Album RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Already a hit with, largely, sell-out crowds on its initial US tour (a second tour is already being readied) this hugely ambitious dramatisation of Christ’s passion and thoughts – transmuted to modern day New York – has been years in the writing by Christian music veterans Eddie DeGarmo and Bob Farrell. And judging from the no-expense-spared production featured on this 31-song double CD, the recording of the album took months too. We Brits of course are unlikely to get a chance to see the stage production but I can report that the album is worthy of investigation particularly as it features a hand picked cast from some of the most precocious talents on the CCM scene. Pride of place goes to Michael Tait who raised a few eyebrows when the black singer was offered the lead role of Christ (Hero in the musical) and who throughout sings word-heavy lyrics of the rock numbers, soul anthems and ballads with gutsy passion. But throughout the vocals are fine with Audio Adrenaline’s Mark Stuart, Skillet’s John Cooper, Paul Wright, Grits and Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real all conducting themselves with aplomb. The best moments of all come from Nirva – a new-to-the-scene soul diva who handles the part of Hero’s mother beautifully; Rebecca St James – the virgin surprisingly convincing as a prostitute; and that always electrifying rapper T-Bone. In fact, it’s T-Bone’s Rage Against The Machine-tinged rap “Raised In Harlem” which is the most radio-friendly track on the whole CD. Here is Nashville CCM pushing back the boundaries therefore ‘Hero’ deserves to do well.
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