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Nathan Mahl - The Clever Use of Shadows  CD (album) cover


Nathan Mahl


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.97 | 47 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The last review for this album on here was over 6 years ago. This is a tough one to find apparently since it's out of print. I think it's their only album that isn't available but most consider this their best (including the Gnosis site) hence the reaon it's so hard to find. I got my copy many years ago and thought this was the perfect album to review before I head South (Florida). Maybe this will keep me in good standing while i'm gone for 2 1/2 weeks. NATHAN MAHL are from Quebec and the keyboardist (Guy LeBlanc) will be familiar to some since he's played with CAMEL often enough.

"Without Words" opens with what sounds like a war going on then drums, organ and guitar come in and build. Huge bass lines before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. It settles in after 2 1/2 minutes.The tempo picks up some after 6 minutes but it does shift the rest of the way. "Clever Use Of Shadows" features intricate guitar melodies then it kicks in with bass and guitar after a minute.Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes as it settles back. Great sound 3 1/2 minutes in as it kicks back in with guitar out front. Organ leads 4 minutes in then we get a calm a minute later. It kicks back in at 7 minutes with organ leading as the tempo continues to change. "Orgasmik Outburst" hits the ground running. Great sound ! Guitar, organ, drums and bass kill here. Ripping guitar before 1 1/2 minutes then the organ leads followed by bass then the guitar is back out front. Nasty stuff. "Machiavelique" features gentle guitar early before it kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Some nice drum work before 3 minutes.

"Beyond The Rims Of Despair" opens with throbbing bass as drums and keyboards also contribute. Guitar replces the keys. Guest sax after a minute. Some good organ runs before 5 minutes then it settles down. Nice guitar work after 7 minutes then the sax returns before it kicks back in late. "Something Like That" opens with the sounds of frogs then keys, drums and bass kick in.The tempo continues to shift. Great sound after 4 1/2 minutes. "The Rubber Cage" is like a tribute to Frank Zappa. A ticking clock is replaced by piano as vocals and drums join in.The vocal style and tone sounds just like Zappa. Also the obscene lyrics fit that mode as well.This is funny and so well played. Amazing track ! "Call To Arms" has some excellent drumming early on and really it's relentless early on. It does settle into a jazzy vibe but the tempo will continue to shift back and forth.

These guys can play ! The guitarist is fairly unique sounding and i'll admit the music here takes a while to really sink in. A solid 4 stars. By the way their debut was released in 1983. This was their second album and it was released in 1998. I think for that reason there is some fire and passion here while the "Heritik" trio of albums that follows this one lack that energy and freshness.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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