Between 1949 and 1966 Hollywood film makers entertained movie goers with spectacular big budget Biblical epics like "Sampson And Delilah" (1949), "Quo Vadis" (1951), "The Robe" (1953), "Demetrius And The Gladiators" (1954) "The Ten Commandments" (1956), "Ben Hur" (1959), "Barabbas" (1961), "King Of Kings" (1961), "Sodom And Gomorrah" (1963), "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), and "The Bible" (1966) to name a few. These technicolor spectacles were the mammoth productions of their day, featuring World renown A-List actors, majestic soundtracks, and filmed in wide-screen CinemaScope, filling every inch of the screen with the well-publicized 'cast of thousands'.
But the time of the lavish Biblical epics is no longer in vogue. And although the teachings of these films will outlive the dollar conscious Hollywood moguls who deem the genre passe; these stories live on, inspiring a new generation of artists touched by the hand of God, to present the lessons they teach in a variety of alternative mediums ... such as music. "The Exodus" is one such example.
Robert McClung (recording under the moniker Telergy) takes us back in time with his aural narrative, retelling the plight of the Hebrew people from ancient Egypt with the same aplomb as film maker Cecil B. DeMille. The compositions and production of "The Exodus" are as grandiose and cinematic as DeMille's visually stunning motion pictures. McClung captures the raw emotions and spectacle of the journey - from enslavement, to the misery of the deadly plagues, the miraculous escape through the parting Red Sea, the presentation of The Ten Commandments, and the many trials and tribulations they endured on their trek to the Promised Land.
Although the compositions are instrumental (symphonic progressive metal) the vehicle by which the narrative is presented to the listener is as a tale passed from Grandmother to her grandson. In addition to the narrative between Grandmother and grandchild a supporting ensemble of characters is introduced which includes God, Pharaoh, and Aaron (all the voice of McClung himself), a wailing mother, a sampled virtual throng of the downtrodden travelers in a state of chaos, as well as a traditional Hebrew hymn sung by Bat-ya Yehya.
The energetic music brings to mind such artists as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pink Floyd, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Eloy; traversing from high octane progressive metal mayhem with exotic middle-eastern motifs, to melodic moments of quiet introspection augmented by an unplugged ensemble of violins, cellos, flutes, and acoustic string instruments.
Talented multi-instrumentalist Robert McClung plays a host of instruments which include: guitar, bass, violin, mandolin, ukulele, lap steel guitar, balalaika, keyboards, piano, flute, drum programming, and percussion; as well as baritone and tenor vocals.
McClung is supported in his Telergy project by a lengthy list of musicians and performers: Hoi Yan Joyce Pang (violin), Tim Nunes (violin), Adam Nunes (cello), Kristen Miller (cello), Mattan Klien (flute), Alix Victorin (keyboard), Rob Harvie (didgeridoo), Issiah Freeman IV (gospel vocals), Bat-ya Yehya (Hebrew vocals), Laura Sanscartier ((Soprano vocals), Tom Doyle (Tenor/Alto vocals), Bruce Gatchell (Baritone vocals), Sandi Clark (Grandmother), Spenser Gregory (Grandchild), Peter Kelley (Moses), Jane Button (Egyptian Mother), and Melissa McClung (Attic Sounds). This is indeed - a massive undertaking.
In an early draft of my review I had mis-characterized this as Christian progressive rock, when in reality "The Exodus" is in fact derived from the Old Testament, suggesting I may have jumped the gun in my conclusion. And after a quick glance through his list of 'Special Thanks', McClung acknowledges Rabbi Barry Krieger as an adviser - so categorizing this as Christian Prog/Rock would have been well off the mark. Religious and inspirational - yes ... but Christian rock - probably not. Might need a new category to add to the ever expanding progressive rock genre ... 'Inspirational Jewish or Non-Denominational Progressive Rock' ... boy is that a mouthful.
"The Exodus" is highly recommended for fans of intelligent guitar driven symphonic metal.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on March 26th, 2012