Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Eclectic Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nil Quarante jours sur le Sinaï album cover
3.70 | 57 ratings | 11 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

Buy NIL Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Act I (36:16)
2. Act II (26:42)

Total Time 62:58

Line-up / Musicians

- David Maurin / prepared guitars, flute, bass clarinet, gong
- Benjamin Croizy / synthesizer, Mellotron, church organ (St Pierre Cathedral, Annecy), Hammond, piano, MS-20, timpani
- Samuel Maurin / bass, Chapman Stick, vocals
- Frank Niebel / drums, percussion

- Anne Cayrol / cello
- Hervé Franconi / soprano saxophone
- François Pernel / harp
- Roselyne Berthet / vocals, ethereal voices
- Eric Vedovati / vocals
- Samy Cyr / ethereal voices
- Audrey Casella / narrator

Releases information

Artwork: Stéphane Diaz with Samuel Maurin

CD Nil Records ‎- NiL03 (2002, France)
CD Unicorn Digital ‎- UNCR-5028 (2006, Canada)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy NIL Quarante jours sur le Sinaï Music

More places to buy NIL music online

NIL Quarante jours sur le Sinaï ratings distribution

(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NIL Quarante jours sur le Sinaï reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In 2003, French prog act NIL released their fine third album, the hypnotic and evocative QUARANTE JOURS LE SINAI (Forty days on the Sinai). This is very professional and varied music -- at times reminiscent of Andy Summers and Robert Fripp's 80s collaborations (the sparkling guitar & stick work brought Summers to mind immediately) -- at others much like a film score. Instrumentation includes fretless bass; Chapman stick (as popularized by Crimson's Tony Levin); some highly accomplished lead guitar that can touch upon the terrains of metal, jazz, and Crimson-esque pure prog within a short span of time; piano and the full gamut of prog keyboards; drums and percussion; and a colourful palette of secondary instruments like flute, harp, cello and sax that nicely fill out the sound, and keep things interesting and dynamic. Add to all the instrumental wizardry some good but sparingly-used male and female vocals (all in French), courtesy of a cadre of fine singers, and you have all that one might wish for in a new "symphonic" prog recording.

In classic prog style, this concept disc is organized into two long "Acts" (or suites), that very convincingly capture the atmosphere of ancient Egypt and the Sinai peninsula. Listening to this excellent music, I leave the frigid, dark days of the looming Canadian winter far behind (or, at least, comfortably outside), and journey to an exotic, mysterious, and sun-blasted ancient land.

Yes, Virginia (or is it Joren?) -- there IS great new original progressive rock. It is alive and well, and currently residing in France -- with extended forays to the Middle East. Take a trip to the sands of the Sinai with NIL today! Highly recommended

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars What an impressive release from the French band NIL. After reviewing the THORK album, i'm starting to believe that the Maurin brothers (the two guitarists) are musical masterminds.THORK is a side project for them that is a little experimental, with an Avant feel to it. Another side project is SYRINX, more dark and atmospheric music. So although this is another dark record there is so much variety on it, from Jazz to Fusion to Avant and even some Metal. And yet this record flows like a river.

There is a real harmony to the record. It's a concept album about Egypt and it's gods, made up of part I (over 36 min.) and part II (over 26 min.). On my stereo it shows 28 songs, and most of them flow into each other with no break in between. Another observation is the instruments used, from mellotron to cello and harp, sax, church organ, clarinet and more. Male and female singers as well, although there is by far more instrumental music than vocals.The joy for me is listening to the lead guitarist David Maurin play. The different styles he plays, the unique sounds, from fiery to angular to scrorching to riffs to acoustic and so on.

Buying this NIL record is a no brainer, there is enough complexity and variety and beauty to keep even the most seasoned progger interested for a long time.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dreams from the desert

A very deep expanse of sounds. An unfathomably wide open and uncompromising piece of music. Stylish, modern, exploratory progressive rock. "40 Days in the Sinai" is one long dream of 65 minutes divided into but two "acts" as they are denoted, though the disc does chapter them into about 30 short pieces not individually titled. They can sound a bit like Crimson at times, a bit Karcius, Lost World, Gabriel, and at times, Durutti Column. But these are mere suggestions, in reality NIL has produced a work that is quite visionary as it merges themes of past ages with music looking to the future. It's a work that is bold and complex but not quite perfect.

Tracks are often without much traditional structure but grow from moody textures of winding guitar notes, keyboards, or perhaps the harp. Often present is an unpredictable Tony Levin style of bass playing, at times mellow and other times aggressive. Some tracks will be augmented with dreamy and delicate female vocals, others with cello or sudden bursts of raging loud guitar in the surprise manner employed by Discus. There are gorgeous acoustic guitar sections and wistful passages of flute. Track 8 is the first one to mention. After some relatively calm openings, they contrast those notes against bursts of angular near-shred to good effect. Roselyne Berthet's smooth-hazed vocals instantly put you into trance on even the brief track 11, they make me feel like I'm floating on a pool of water. The next track gets quite disturbing with sinister organ over distorted male vocals and electric guitar. Track 16 is one that we stream on the site and is fairly representative of the album, except that most of the tracks do not have the female vocals. So as you listen to it, if it would interest you without the vocals, then it should be a safe bet for you to shell out the money. Track 17 is a favorite of mine, just the distant guitar notes with the wordless ethereal voice and without the constant busy bass. Track 19 features the wonderful harp over serene synthesizer with cello.very lovely.

As fascinating and beautiful as this work often is there is definitely something missing for me on the emotional level. It earns 3 stars immediately for being bold and intricate, but I can't give it more stars because it is one of those many albums that I love with my head but not with my heart. My head may do cartwheels over the many technically astounding parts but my heart is somewhat indifferent to the album as a whole. Nevertheless I do recommend this fine work to anyone interesting in quality modern prog. Unicorn did a very nice job with the artwork, providing a brief foldout booklet with a thicker lyrics book in English and French.

Review by kev rowland
2 stars Originally released in 2002, this album has now been reissued by Unicorn due to the response that the band have had to their recent release on the label, 'Nil Novo Sub Sole'. As can be guessed form the title, this is a concept album, here comprising two tracks of more than thirty minutes long. All of the lyrics are in French but there is a very good booklet which provides lots of information in English. I have tried to get on with this album, but even though I have played it quite a few times, and am impressed with some of the instrumental sections , find that it is just too long and meandering. It never seems to be getting anywhere and although there is no doubting the skill of those involved there is the feeling that if they had stuck to shorter songs with more of a sense of direction then the end result would have been much better. Not one to which I will readily be returning.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Nil were found in mid-90's in Annecy, France by guitarist David Maurin and drummer Julien Paget, joined soon by Samuel Maurin on bass and Benjamin Croizy on keyboards.When Paget left, Frank Niebel joined in and the new line-up recorded two very rare self-produced albums, ''Bruismes'' from 98' and the EP ''Nocturnes'' from 99', at a time when the group was searching its own identity.By the start of the millenium they decided to collaborate with female singer Roselyne Berthet and along with several guest musicians and singers they recorded the album ''Quarante jours sur le Sinaï'', released in 2002.

In an act of great confidence and self-belief the French group offered two very long, epic tracks in this album, the 36-min. ''Acte I'' and its following 26-min. ''Acte II''.Both tracks are extremely tight and coherent with no particular dead holes and are great examples of dark, atmospheric Progressive Rock with strong hints from Orchestral and Soundtrack Music next to the standard Classical and jazzy inspirations, with enough complexity but also some very ethereal passages as well.Maybe you should imagine a cross between KING CRIMSON, WOBBLER and SEVEN REIZH to get an idea of how this album sounds, but again some very careful listenings is what is recommended to fully appreciate this style of playing.The album is characterized by some extemely complex guitar parts with a sinister touch, haunting Mellotron waves next to some edgy and nervous electronics and church-styled organs and a very solid rhythm section.This combination delivers very complicated themes, alternating between hypnotic grooves and loose performances, but there are also enough breaks to be found that lead to series of dreamy textures.The later are based on Berthet's superb, crystal-clear voice and the intelligent use of synthesizers, while parts of them even contain some beatiful melodies and delicate orchestrations.This amalgam of diverse themes works very nice and the album flows extremely well with no evident interruptions between the amount of short tracks, of which the two epics are composed.

Nice and recommended example of deeply atmospheric Progressive Rock with a variety of influences and soundscapes, starting from cinematic offerings and ending up in symphonic or jazzy arrangements.Great stuff...3.5 stars.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars This one's a real grower for me. This appears to be their third album, hard telling. What I do know is Quarante Jours sur le Sinai (40 Years in the Sinai) is a concept album on Egyptian mythology, not exactly new to prog. The CD was originally released in 2002 on the band's own label, then in Canada on Unicorn Digital in 2006. It's likely the Unicorn reissue that people even had any familiarity of the band. When I first hear this, I was thinking this had some really nice individual parts, and parts I didn't quite grasp. It was so long, over an hour long, and not divided into songs, but really two acts that on the CD is divided into 29 parts. I hear elements of King Crimson, but not a whole lot of the '70 French prog scene. At times the band can be pretty mellow, then suddendly burst into short metal madness before going back into something more calm. I've heard comparisons to Anglagard, which might not be the most useful, but like them, they play one thing, quickly move on to the next, occasionally return to an earlier theme. The keyboard playing is usually low-key with synths and a small amount of Mellotron, while guitar, fretless bass and drums more dominate. The occasional female vocals (in French) really give a nice touch. Some passages have that ominous feel to it that I really like. This is contemporary prog at its finest. I like how it never slips into neo-prog, nor do they sound like a '70s throwback.

I'm really glad to discover Nil. I look forward to getting their other CDs. The only thing preventing a five star rating is it's so long that it really required a few listens for me to get it, but once I did, I realized why many have been raving over it. You really do owe it to yourself to get this CD.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Nil is a very interesting French prog affair from late 1990s - mid 2000s, an excellent example (e pluribus unum) of Crimsonian progressive with a spectrum of sources and predecessors much wider than King Crimson. Quarante Jours Sur Le Sinai clearly shows influences from the classic French prog s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1777192) | Posted by proghaven | Thursday, August 31, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#168472) | Posted by Nilman | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the band's 2nd full-length album and the one that got them some worldwide recognition in the prog circles as well. It is an album about the Egyptian mythology: an ambitious concept containing two acts and a total of over 60 minutes of music and it manages to keep things interesting the wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#47530) | Posted by geezer | Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Original, dark but with no shadows (of doubt). A fabulous masterpiece from a country where progressive music is being so well treated (Priam, Taal, Sotos, Nebelnest, Syrinx, Thork...). All here is inventive, all here is fascinating. Do you really want to know if there's a future for symphonic ... (read more)

Report this review (#18078) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I heard "Quarante Jours Sur Le Sinaï" and I was stunned. It's a captivating concept album. Roselyn Berthet's voice is exquisiste. This album deserves a try. It won't let you down regardless of the style of prog you like. ... (read more)

Report this review (#18077) | Posted by | Thursday, January 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of NIL "Quarante jours sur le Sinaï"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.