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Nathan Mahl

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Nathan Mahl Heretik Volume I: Body of Accusations album cover
3.41 | 31 ratings | 4 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. When All Was Well (1:46)
2. Heretik Part I (21:19)
3. Heretik Part II (4:17)
4. Crimen Excepta (5:45)
5. Heretik Part III (11:01)
6. Carpe Diem (15:06)

Total Time: 59:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Guy LeBlanc / keys, vox, recorder, drums
- Claude Prince / bass
- Mark Spénard / guitars
- Alain Bergeron / drums
- Natasha LeBlanc / recorder

Releases information

Mahl Productions NMA 006 - 2000

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Geck0 for the last updates
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NATHAN MAHL Heretik Volume I: Body of Accusations ratings distribution

(31 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

NATHAN MAHL Heretik Volume I: Body of Accusations reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars NATHAN MAHL have been producing some of Canada's most refined progressive rock over the past few years. "Heretik Volume 1 - Body Of Accusations" as it is fully titled marks the first in what appears to be a bit of a conceptual story to be unveiled over time by the magic of NATHAN MAHL. "Heretik" blends all the complexities exuded in their earlier work with some new grand progressive rock influences. Band leader Guy Leblanc's keyboard work is simply fabulous with some simply mesmerizing musical moments. Fresh from his experience in playing keyboards for CAMEL, Canada's Guy Leblanc has written and composed a real gem here with "Heretik". Highly thoughtful and highly professional complex prog rock with some great keyboard, guitar, bass and drum interplay. Vocals are handled by Leblanc himself which are quite acceptable, but it is the instrumental work where NATHAN MAHL really shine and one takes note. NATHAN MAHL play a highly complex symphonic neo - prog rock which always sounds fresh and never flat. "Heretik" marks another huge installment in NATAHN MAHL's growing discography. Get this album !
Review by lor68
4 stars First of all I want to point out immediately that there's a certain discontinuity, talking about the ideas of the founder keyboardist of this "prolific" band: well don't get me wrong, the preliminary chapter of this trilogy works quite well, nevertheless its unique defect is represented by the present tracks, which perhaps sometimes introduce a certain profusion of similar themes and that's the problem regarding also the third chapter of the story!!Secondly I think of the only concept album -being never boring- represented also by a long stunning suite,which is never tiring: that's "Four Raiders of the Apocalypse" by Dice for example; or if you prefer, consider also something more accessible, another must have album like the mythical "Thick as a Brick" by Jethro Tull and for sure that material is superior... it let me be perplex , nevertheless the present issue, a mix between such a symphonic music and a fusion genre too,often is well arranged and in the vein of a couple of works by Jean Pascal Boffo for example (do you remember his "Rituel"?!)!! In some circumstances only you can find an uneven stuff and that's the unique controversial question if you are not able to keep your concentration on the concept. However,certainly, the dialogues inside the booklet- concerning the last episode of the trilogy- will make the listener follow the development of the story more easily; but here, by forgetting the repetition of some music themes only (which should make it deserve an inferior score) you can follow anyway the good output of such Nathan Mahl's lush keyboards by Guy Le Blanc, like watching a movie... moreover this fact is important for whom is not already into their complex stuff!!

Have a good listen, if you are into the instrumental albums!!

Review by slipperman
2 stars 2.5 stars.

I can't help but come away with respect for Nathan Mahl after laying ears on this album. But I can't say they've got another fan either. I purchased this album blind, liking some of the descriptions and reviews I'd read. But it's a letdown, as I was expecting something different.

The major flaw here is not the playing, as that is clearly of a high standard. It's the production that I can hardly get past. Guitars are thin and powerless, and the drums sound like "drums" (ie. stiff and artificial, like a drum machine). Even the keyboards, which take most of the main melodies, sound more Casio than Korg. Despite a good degree of influence from '70s jazzrock/prog, there's also too much neo-prog here, a sub-genre I can do without (the beginning of "Heretik Part II" is but one sour spot). More '80s Camel than '70s Camel, if you know what I mean. I also hear some late '80s era Rush (more in sonic terms than performance, as Nahan Mahl are much more into noodling than Rush were then). Of note are the vocals in the middle of "Heretik Part I", uncannily like '90s era Peter Hammill...almost cloned even, but who better to emulate?

Plenty of good playing, great ambition too (songs are lengthy) but nothing sticks very well and the recording is simply awful. Those dirty, "imperfect" early '70s recordings all sound better than this. When it comes to mostly-instrumental jazz-rock, look toward Mahavishnu Orchestra, Secret Oyster, Brand X, Return To Forever and Bruford. Against those, Nathan Mahl, at least this album, may be disappointing to you too.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The triumphant comeback of Nathan Mahl of didn't slip through the organizers of big prog events and in May 99' the band was given an invitation to perform among the bands of the Nearfest 1999 in the place of the disbanded Finneus Gauge.At the end of the year several facts surfaced with Guy LeBlanc releasing his debut solo album and being proposed a place in the line-up of Camel, whom he joined in 2000.Original guitarist Mark Spenard joined the band again in the place of Jose Bergeron, while his brother Alan Bergeron quit from his duties during the recordings of the next album, feeling that Nathan Mahl was slowly becoming a studio project.LeBlanc played the rest of the drums for the new work ''Heretik volume I - Body of accusations'', released in 2000, telling the story of a man, as he awaits his trial for crimes against society.

Nathan Mahl would sink deep into the progressive waters with this album, as three out of possible six tracks are longer than 10 minutes, highlighted by the 21-min. ''Heretik part I''.Actually it doesn't get much more HAPPY THE MAN-like than this album, Nathan Mahl pay a tribute to the mass of 70's bands, which played a quirky, inventive Progressive Rock with both symphonic and jazzy overtones, as LeBlanc displays a monstrous performance on organ, synths and piano throughout.Imagine a mix of GENESIS, CAMEL, BRIAN AUGER'S OBLIVION EXPRESS and GREENSLADE as a detailed set of influences and sounds for this work and get prepared to listen to challenging, dense and virtuosic musicianship with beautiful interludes, grandiose textures and lots of jazzy overtones.In fact LeBlanc oftens overpowers the material with some furious, smoky synth soloing, you get a taste of a DEREK SHERINIAN/JORDAN RUDESS atmosphere during thIs noodling, but as a main composer he was also responsible for the well-crafted, refined arrangements on this album with the obvious symphonicism of the old bands.Nathan Mahl's music is filled with inventive breaks and keyboard changes, some accurate guitar chops and a solid rhythm section, the band even rocks at times and the material explores a range of different sounds, some extended Fusion pyrotechnics to go along with Classical elements and the complexity of the original prog movement.Very few vocals in the process, ''Heretik volume I - Body of accusations'' is first and foremost an album of an instrumental fest with emphasis on demanding orchestrations.

A great little pearl from the early-00's, seemingly getting a bit lost into a labyrinth of instrumental tricks, but containing overall excellent and well-plated material.Strongly recommended, very good mix of symphonic and Fusion stylings...3.5 stars.

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