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Nil - Quarante Jours Sur Le Sinaļ CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.70 | 52 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars ''The day it is born to eternity is a beautiful day... [Book of the Aegyptian Dead]

NIL is a very highly, I mean VERY HIGHLY talented group from France, who's ambitiousness, perfectionism and talent could be described for example via the song in their first self produced record: There's a track Nogegon that is a palindromic song both in lyrical and in musical way; it took two years to complete it, they say! As their debut is a bit harsh especially in vocal parts, that are fortunalely few, the quality and brilliance in compositions and playing push strongly through making you certain that here's a band to expect something great to come. And that's for sure, because in their third record there's not a slighest hint of that harshness anymore, the vocals are in highest order now, and the band has matured into a full blossom! This album is a true and rare Masterpiece, one of a kind in progressive music!

Now I'm about to review this Stunning record and it should be done as proper way as this beautiful music deserves, but forgive me for my words will not do the justice - anyhow, I'll do what I can... Quarante jours sur le Sinai is actually a live album even if it's impossible to recognize as one. It was recorded live over two years between september 1999 and september 2001 including church organs recorded at st Pierre's cathedral in Annecy. Besides the band members, the group consisted of several additional musicians - including the forthcoming band member Roselyne Berthet - no wonder why they took her as a full time member because of her magnificent dark and beautiful soprano voice.

''The desire for perfection is that desire which always makes every pleasure appear incomplete, for there is no joy or pleasure so great in this life that it can quench the thirst in our soul'' [Dante]

I wonder if Nil feels pleasure from this piece of perfect work? And yes, it is perfect. I cannot name a single thing they've should done differently. The album is a thematic tale from the ancient Sinai and the lyrics and the story is based mostly on ancient texts like Dante, Plato, Bible, some papyrus and so on, that are all written up and there's even a bibliography of them. And the tale is more like a collection of minor tales and wisdoms than a story of forty days. Well, lyrics may appear incomplete in English - a lots of stuff written in French is missing from the English translation. A pages of lyrics exist, but they are not sung. Berthet sings only some verses from here and there and it accomplishes the mysticism of the tale - it's nice to read pieces from it, but I really don't mind not to get it completely.

Quarante jours sur le Sinai is not only a theme album but a theme song, consisting of two acts creating together an hour of total pleasure. The main musical theme of the album, telling the ancient tale from Sinai, is somehow always constant and present, while the texture is wild and changing. The Egyptian, or Arabic influences can be heard throughout this album, but it's more like a flavor than a subject. The music is carried on mainly with a beautiful quitar picking of David, stretched and very moody fretless bass / stick of Samuel, spacey keyboard playing of Benjamin and very accurate percussion of Frank added with some extra instruments. It's mostly instrumental, but Roselyne joins in with her beautiful vocals occationally, sometimes adding only ethereal background voices. The group plays together amazingly well and the composition is superb, which can be heard from perfect passages that are numerous.

''I am all that Hath been, Is and Shall be, and my Veil, no mortal hathever yet uncovered'' [Plutarch]

The word is ''developing''. Quarante jours Sur Le Sinai is a continuous flow of pleasure, made from intelligent pieces and parts that come and go and joins together in a manner hard to comprehend. One cannot tell how the music changes and develops, it just does and it does it all the time. This is Sneaky! I have ever never heard so smooth and stealthy changes - after this you can point another view for those! So, if you're listening to 43'00 or 06'35 you can instantly tell they're strongly connented to each other, but you cannot tell what's the similarity! And that's amazing! How in hell they can play it live, remember the whole thing? And This Is Not Just About Jamming, It's something brilliant my brains fancy about! An ever demanding piece of puzzle, impossible to solve, that's NIL!

Now what it comes to individual parts... If you're expecting fast solos, guitar heroism and things like that, you're in a totally wrong place! Here you get some stunning interplay, co-play, not even forgetting brilliant individuals of picking of bass, guitars, drums or vocals, but their purpose, the thing is All for one, one for all. Here you can hear the utter commitment to the music they play, the music is not for them, but they are for the music! All my respect to this brilliant group for that! But Oh Boy, how well this all are performed! The base is the very impressive bass playing using fretless bass and stick and I believe there's quite some overlayed bass lines there. the border between the bass being a base, rhythmic or solo instrument is blurred and sometimes it's being played like it was a mellotron! Actually all the instruments are used in the same very variable and creative way and always elegantly and style - including Berthet on vocals that goes from fast speaking parts to high operatic soprano vocalese.

''In the world of magic, it was believed that the representation of an object or of a being could easily be brought to life if the name of the object or being in question was used properly'' [Enel]

Well Quarante Jours is alive already! You may think that a song one hour long might be dull, but you wouldn't be more wrong, for it's so complex, offering details, small and big in quite a many level, you just cannot get used to it - It sounds new and fresh after years of listening - and that's a relief and a banner forever! This is no easy music: If you'll purchase this album, don't expect you'll like it right away! It first may sound only 'promising' and it will get quite some spins to get into. For NIL has created a perfect combination of complexity, fusion, rio and avant prog... metal, ethno, classical music with all the soprano works and chamber... and their main influences are... Oh, well, maybe there's no actually main influences and maybe I even cannot name the genre of this music because it's truly original, but complex and unpopular it is, that's for sure.

This is probably the Best Progressive Rock Album Ever Recorded! This is one of my most played album ever and there's no signs of boredom yet - just the opposite: After a thousand times of hearing I cannot write a proper review of it, there's still a lot to explore in Sinai, it's such a big place - What more a progger like me can ever hope for?

Nilman | 5/5 |


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