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GUY LEBLANC

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Guy LeBlanc biography
Originally hailing from Ontario, Canada. Guy LeBlanc has been residing in Ottawa for the last thiry years.He fronts the band Nathan Mahl as well as being an established solo artist in his own right. Although his solo music, hammond and keyboard player, is more suited to Crossover progressive sounds, his Nathan Mahl band sits comfortably in Jazz Rock/Fusion and they have released several albums. You can refer to them here on Prog Archives. In 1999 he released his first solo album, Subversia and in 2004 his follow up release was , All The Rage.

He is an accomplished musician, enjoyed three years between 2000-2003 as part of Camel, recording and touring with Andrew Latimer. In fact his solo works are not unlike Camel and at times there is a similarity in certain soundscape attributes. Comes highly recommended.

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SubversiaSubversia
Mahl Productions 1999
Audio CD$22.67
$12.00 (used)
All The Rage !All The Rage !
Mahl Productions
Audio CD$22.67
$22.67 (used)

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GUY LEBLANC top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 9 ratings
Subversia
1999
3.17 | 5 ratings
All The Rage
2004

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GUY LEBLANC Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Subversia by LEBLANC, GUY album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.49 | 9 ratings

BUY
Subversia
Guy LeBlanc Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A very talented keyboardist from Moncton, Canada, born in 1960, Guy LeBlanc has been the leading man of the Progressive Rock group Nathan Mahl for decades.However the late-90's were certainly LeBlanc's most succesful period.After many years of absence Nathan Mahl were back alive and kickin', while he was also invited to join the legends of British Prog Camel.Moreover he prepared and recorded his first solo album ''Subversia'' in 1999, named after his own recording studio, for Mahl Productions, where he sung, programmed the rhythm section parts and played all keyboards.He was helped on guitars by fellow Nathan Mahl bandmates José Bergeron and Mark Spenard along with Finneus Gauge's Scott McGill, while a couple of sax passages are performed by Paul Desgagne.

The album follows more or less the basics of NATHAN MAHL's early albums and has this lovely US Symphonic/Fusion sound akin to KURT ROGNEY, TONY SPADA, MIND GALLERY or even HAPPY THE MAN.Imagine a versatile and flexible keyboard delivery ala PETER BARDENS/KIT WATKINS with beautiful organs, synths, piano and even clavinet exercises blended with the tremendous guitar chops and solos of Scott McGill/Mark Spenard, containing both virtuosic and melodic moments, in the vein of ALAN HOLDSWORTH.''Subversia'' holds an amazing balance between tight melodic textures and more loose and technical offerings, ready to satify a wide range of Prog fans.What really surprises is the far from self-indulgent performance of LeBlanc, despite the album being credited to his name.All his keyboard parts are carefully measured and the more excessive of his performances are limited to zero.The album even contains the great eponymous 30-min. epic composition as an amalgam of all of the aforementioned inspirations.Solid Symphonic/Fusion with sharp synthesizers and organs, plenty of breaks, time signatures and series of beautiful guitar moves.What prevents the album from being outstanding is the plastic-sounding drum machines and a couple of shorter tunes like the uninteresting Avant-Garde cut ''The cold truth'' or the rather cheesy rocker ''The trial''.

Very good album, that reflects succesfully LeBlanc's prolific and highly inspiring period.Great addition for all Prog fans' collection, even if some flaws are a bit evident.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 All The Rage by LEBLANC, GUY album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.17 | 5 ratings

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All The Rage
Guy LeBlanc Crossover Prog

Review by 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".

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 Subversia by LEBLANC, GUY album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.49 | 9 ratings

BUY
Subversia
Guy LeBlanc Crossover Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Guy LeBlanc is a Canadian keyboardist well known from his "Nathan Mahl" band and short but prolific appearance in Camel's lineup. However most of people never heard that he also recorded 2 solo albums: "Subversia" and "All the Rage". If you want to find different side of LeBlanc you can proceed to his second album which is very diverse and among prog tracks includes many pop/rock and heavy metal (sometimes in French language) songs. But if you love his work in "Nathan Mahl" you ought to check this great album first. While "All The Rage" is very personal album where Guy plays all instruments, on his debut disk he is supported by group of skilled musicians:

Scott McGill: electric and acoustic guitar Mark Spénard: guitar José Bergeron: guitar Paul Desgangé: saxophone

Yes, we already know Mark Spénard & José Bergeron from "Nathan Mahl" recordings so it's not a big surprise that this album can be almost considered as another production of this fantastic band due to obvious musical & personal similarities. Vocals are as usual handled by LeBlanc himself so they are only so-so, but his keyboards, drums and synth-bass skills are so fantastic and overwhelming that we can forget about these few singin' moments very fast.

All songs from "Subversia" are constructed into concept album about some people who leave some horrible, totalitarian country and sail on a boat to some dreamland but most of the compositions are instrumental so this concept isn't so important here in fact.

Let's check these tracks (please take note that in my version of the album songs are placed in different order than Progarchives website suggests):

1. "The First Lie" - album begins with one of the best songs here. Just like Nathan Mahl's material it's a great mix of symphonic prog-rock and jazz-rock. While Guy's organ runs sound definitely symphonic here, rhythm section resembles jazz-rock style. Lots of delightful Hammond, Korg synthesizer and guitar solos, and we can't forget about vocal parts which are (surprisingly!) very convincing and full of emotions. Fantastic beginning!

2. "Joyride" - second track is fully instrumental. It's much more jazz/funk oriented with this uplifting percussion beats and groovy, but sometimes messy electric piano (and later Korg synthesizer) & saxophone duels. Thankfully LeBlanc plays also some very entertaining Hammond organ solos which always sound refreshing to me.

3. "A Question Of Authority" - another instrumental is a bit more laid-back and relaxing but as usual mixes jazz & rock with fashion and style only known to Guy LeBlanc. We can witness tons of guitar, Hammond, synth & sax interludes here. Decent instrumental jam based on slightly steady but never boring rhythm section.

4. "The Cold Truth" - the only stinker on this album really hurts badly. It's just a 4 minute collage of some random percussion, bass & synth noises. It's exactly the moment where prog-rock crosses some border and becomes "avantgarde" pseudo-art. It's not a music, it's a pain-in-the-ass which we don't have to endure. Please skip.

5. "The Trial" - after 3 instrumentals Guy LeBlanc sings again in "The Trial". Surprisingly it's a...hard rock song driven by pretty wild guitar riffs. Sounds rather generic but it's still some kind of relief after complete misstep of previous "composition". BTW organ solo in the middle brings Jon Lord to my mind. And it's a good thing of course!

6. "Subversia" - here comes the epic with really "epic" proportions - almost 30 minutes of endless instrumental show offs! If you like such suites like "Heretik Part I", "Entrance Of The Judges / Malleus Maleficarum" and "The Sentence - De Mortuis Nif Nisi Bonum" which were recorded later by "Nathan Mahl", "Subversia" composition is their prototype so you'll surely love it too. But maybe you're one of these people who will call it self-indulgent & tiresome, anyway I call it mind-blowing and splendid. The suite begins with vocal section which sounds quite good taking in consideration that Guy doesn't have spectacular voice. Really melodic and catchy (don't worry, "prog catchy" not "pop catchy";-). Around 4th minute guys starts to play fantastic soling and until 16th minute we can witness how skillful LeBlanc and supportive musicians are. It's a masterful organ, electric/acoustic pianos, various kinds of synthesizers and electric guitar work in the tradition of best 70s symphonic prog acts. I also enjoy this laid-back section with Pink Floyd-like synthesizer landscapes followed by classical-inspired piano lines. Around 16th minute we have another vocal section but soon after everybody comes back to further soloing which continues until the end of the suite. Along with "ELP"-like and "Colosseum"-like moments, you will also hear fantastic Spanish guitar lines! Truly magnificent epic.

7. "Home" - album ends with more accessible song based upon church organ floods, sparkling piano & omnipresent rockin' guitar licks. Not very progressive but decent song with uplifting lyrics and heavenly electric guitar soloing.

"Subversia" is a really fine debut solo album of Guy LeBlanc which will surely please all fans of his mother band "Nathan Mahl". However we can find some minor flaws like sheer horror of avantgarde crap in "The Cold Truth" or not very interesting hard rock of "The Trial", this is still splendid record full of exciting prog-rock tracks album with classic "ELP" or "Yes" influences and modern symphonic prog hints in the vain of "Glass Hammer", mixed with huge dozen of jamming jazz-rock. Highly recommended for 70s style keyboards-led rock aficionados!

Really worth 4 stars.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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