Island Mele: ‘Jesus Christ Supernova’ by Tin Idols
BY JOHN BERGER / firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Jesus Christ Supernova: The Heavy Metal Soundtrack’
Tin Idols (Tin Idol Productions)
The entire score of “Jesus Christ Superstar” arranged and performed as heavy metal. That’s the concept of this imaginative and artistically successful two-CD project from producer/musician Gerard K. Gonsalves and Tin Idols Productions.
Mark Caldeira (Jesus Christ) and Mark Kaleiwahea (Judas Iscariot) star in Gonsalves’ imaginative reworking of the gospel according to Rice & Lloyd Webber, with Cathy Malia Löwenberg (Mary Magdelene), Brett Wolfington-Floodman (Caiaphas), Kevin Jones (Annas), Eric Dacoscos Malalis (Pilate) and Sam Kapu III (Simon Zealotes) in the major supporting roles.
The change of genre seems a natural transition. Heavy metal vocalists typically sing with searing intensity — so did many of the characters in “JCS.” The generally dark and ominous sound of metal also fits the mood of the story. Caldeira and Kaleiwahea do an excellent job as the stars of the Rice/Lloyd Webber tragedy; Malalis and Kapu deliver the same emotional intensity with their showcase numbers.
With one or two exceptions Gonsalves keeps the faith with Rice and Lloyd Webber regarding the intent and structure of the original. The biggest divergence from “JCS” is the changes Gonsalves and two co-arrangers make in the character of Herod and the arrangement of “King Herod’s Song.”
Rice and Lloyd Webber wrote Christ’s encounter with Herod as a moment of comic relief; the whimsical tone of the song was unique in the show, and the Jewish king was written as a comical figure. Gonsalves and his co-arrangers — Vernon Beebe (Herod) and guitarist Kevin Murnin — do away with all those key dramatic distinctions in their version and in doing so make it just one more piece of well-crafted metal in a landmark album.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at email@example.com.