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Guy LeBlanc - All The Rage CD (album) cover

ALL THE RAGE

Guy LeBlanc

 

Crossover Prog

3.17 | 5 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer
3 stars "All The Rage" is a completely different album compared to LeBlanc's debut. People who love Guy's mother band "Nathan Mahl" can be slightly disappointed after listening to his second solo output. Although his trademark symphonic prog meets jazz-rock style is still presented here (especially during 2 epic compositions), this album is much more diverse and includes plenty of pop/rock, ballads and even heavy metal songs. Because of such huge scope of different musical genres "All The Rage" can sound too disjointed for "Nathan Mahl" fans. But we also can't criticize Guy for trying to explore new music directions, it's his solo effort after all. And when I say "solo" I really mean "solo", because all instruments and vocals are delivered exclusively by LeBlanc himself without any supportive musicians.

So let's check how sound songs played and sang by this multi-instrumentalist (take note that track-list order on my version of the album is different than suggested on Progarchives website):

1. "Life On The Blade" - album begins very good with one of the most progressive compositions here. It's a 12 minutes instrumental full of very melodic electric guitar, synthesizers and pianos soloing. You would never expect that LeBlanc can so masterfully play guitar! However I missed his trademark organ runs there, thankfully last 2 minutes of this mini-suite is occupied by flashy Hammond Emersonisms. Surely it's the most Nathan Mahl-like composition on "All The Rage".

2. "All The Rage" - surprisingly title track starts with classical music influenced, truly symphonic intro full of loud orchestration, Grand piano and passionate violin lines (real violin?!). But later on Guy suddenly screams and hits as in a head with heavy blacksabbatish guitar riff. To be more confusing he's also singing using very raspy, almost growling voice! Very strange and not ear pleasing at all, rather tiresome. In last few minutes we can enjoy some slightly chaotic Moog synthesizer solos. In general sometimes annoying (during vocal sections) but sometimes okayish.

3. "Ailleurs" - another surprise of the album - LeBlanc is singing in French language here and as far as I remember he never did it before. However the song is a huge disappointment for me 'cos it's very uninspiring sweet ballad and reminds me of Canadian pop-singer Garou (which was quite popular in my country few years ago). Drum section sounds very repetitive and blend here too. Anyway no connection with progressive rock. Just weak.

4. "One Sky" - in this song LeBlanc comes back to English language and more prog-rock oriented approach. In the beginning "One Sky" is a rather a relaxed tempo jazz-rock without too many exciting moments but includes above average Hammond solos which is always a plus. In the middle atmosphere changes to more symphonic thanks to charming piano & synthesized orchestration section. During last minutes Guy comes back with his electric organ exploitation practices and we can hear some Brian Auger's influences here. Not horribly memorable but still one of the best tunes on "All The Rage" disk.

5. "The Silent Thread" - just like "Ailleurs" it's a slow paced ballad but this time sang in English. Pop music led by simplistic acoustic & electric guitars & repetitive piano. It's a real turkey if you ask me...

6. "The Immortals" - duration of "The Immortals" brings one word "epic", but it's not this case here. In fact this almost 10 minutes track is just a long and sometimes boring song with very long and uninspiring vocal parts. Tempo is mostly slow and composition is lacking any significant hooks. In the end we can listen to some longer guitar and organ interludes but they rather slow and unmemorable too. Not a very convincing offering.

7. "The One Who Knows" - the most extended, more than 15 minutes long composition on the album is another highlight along with "Life On The Blade" mini-suite. If you are ELP/Trace/Triumvirat kind of prog goer (like me) you will sure like this piece of music. It's a just non-stop organ/synths/pianos fun which strongly reminds about 70s prog golden age. It's a pity that about 11th minute Guy starts to play...generic blues-rock full of hard-edged electric guitar & wacky vocals. He should record this last 4 minutes as a separate song IMHO.

8. "Choices" - very sloppy pop/rock track with rather annoying synthesizer solos. Highly unmemorable.

"All The Rage" is a solo album of well-known keyboardist but fans of keyboard-driven extravaganza in the vain of Emerson or Wakeman can be strongly disappointed while listening to it. Only 2 longer tracks can be fully interesting for such persons and the rest of the disk is fulfilled with not-so-hot pop/rock numbers or heavy metal experiments and only "One Sky" remains jazz-rock oriented, more interesting composition. In general it's better if you start to explore Guy LeBlanc'a career from his debut release "Subversia", especially if you're "Nathan Mahl" fanboy, organ-driven prog maniac or enthusiast of mixing jazz-rock with symphonic prog idea. But if you want to see different, more mellow and sometimes even mainstream oriented face of Guy LeBlanc, "All The Rage" can be your best pick.

I'd really like to give higher rating to this truly talented multi-instrumentalist's effort but due to some really lackluster songs included on this release (like "Ailleurs" or "The Silent Thread") I can only give 3 stars for "All The Rage".

ozzy_tom | 3/5 |

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