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NATHAN

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Nathan biography
RPI band NATHAN officially commenced in 1997, but Flavio Esposito (keyboards), Bruno Lugaro (vocals and bass) and Fabio Sanfilippo (drums) were actually active in 1977 through to 1982, before Lugaro embarked on other musical opportunities. After reuniting fifteen years later with Mauro Brunzu, (guitar and bass), Monica Giovannini (vocals) and Marco Milano (pianist and conductor), Nathan were initially a Genesis tribute band who became part of an ambitious project to play the music of that group live with a symphony orchestra, with this dream coming true in 2003 in collaboration with the classical Orchestra of Alessandria. In 2005 they released a Genesis tribute disc `The Path is Clear', performed the entire `Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' double-set live a year later in conjunction with actors and dancers, and 2007 brought about orchestral arrangements of epic works such as Yes' `Close to the Edge'and Pink Floyd's `Atom Heart Mother'.

While work as a tribute band has remained an important part of their career (including collaborations with former Caravan/Hatfield and the North bass player and Canterbury Scene notable Richard Sinclair in 2010, performances of Pink Floyd's `Dark Side of the Moon' in 2011 and an upcoming tribute to Supertramp), Nathan commenced work on their own material in 2010 with keyboard player Piergiorgio Abba and guitarist Daniele Ferro, and years of work on their concept album resulted in their own debut `Nebulosa', released in March 2016. Considering so much of their career has been spent covering English-language prog artists, concept album `Nebulosa' is surprisingly fully performed in Italian and is very much in the symphonic style of vintage groups like LE ORME, modern acts such as LOGOS and many other proper RPI artists. A melodic vocal-driven symphonic work with classical fancy and plenty of lavish standout instrumental passages, it's also one of the most upbeat and joyful sounding recent Italian discs.

A highly recommended `new' Italian prog group and album!

(Biography by Michael H (Aussie-Byrd-Brother)

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NATHAN discography


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

4.03 | 22 ratings
Nebulosa
2016
3.68 | 22 ratings
Era
2018

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NATHAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Era by NATHAN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.68 | 22 ratings

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Era
Nathan Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by TenYearsAfter

3 stars In 2016 this promising Italian prog band released their acclaimed debut CD entitled Nebulosa, in 2018 the successor Era, now as a four piece formation, with guest musicians on choirs, backing vocals and guitars.

They start the album with Figli Di Cane: a modern sound with a tight and powerful rhythm-section and harder- edged guitar, embellished with electric piano, organ and fat synthesizer flights, and topped with strong Italian vocals. Halfway a dreamy part featuring soaring keyboards, warm vocals and twanging acoustic guitars (evoking early Genesis). Then a bombastic eruption with organ and propulsive guitar riffs, flashy synthesizer runs and fiery guitar, accompanied by Mellotron choirs. The music turns into a dynamic mid-tempo with moving Italian vocals and fiery electric guitar work, slowly the music fades away, Nathan has delivered a captivating first musical impression, to me it sound like a modern blend of Seventies symphonic rock and Nineties Neo-Prog.

The next three compositions are 'trademark Nathan': a modern blend of symphonic rock and Neo-Prog with frequent shifting moods and a lot of soli on keyboards and guitar, topped with powerful Italian vocals. My highlights are a fiery guitar solo with howling runs in Invisibile, sensitive Hackett-like guitar and a spectacular break with propulsive guitar riffs and fat synthesizer flights in Le Vie Dei Canti and varied keyboard work and harder-edged guitar play in L'ultimo Giro. Although there is a lot to enjoy in these three songs sometimes my attention slips away. Because the atmospheres sound a bit similar, or more like a cascade of nice musical ideas than a composition.

The dynamic song L'Ombra Del Falco alternates between dreamy and bombastic: from twanging acoustic guitars with soaring keyboards, tender piano, delicate flute and warm vocals to a powerful mid-tempo with dynamic drums, a powerful male voice and fine female vocal harmonies and sumptuous keyboards and harder-edged guitar play. A kind of 'Neo-Prog meets 70-77 Genesis' (Tony Banks Mellotron, organ and synthesizer sound).

Next Indaco, my highlight on this CD. First a dreamy part with melancholical vocals, tender piano and synthesizer work and a majestic Mellotron violin sound. Gradually the music has turned into a slow rhythm with soft synthesizer flights and Mellotron drops, culminating in compelling soli on electric guitar and Minimoog, goose bumps! The final part delivers first a mellow interlude with warm piano and Mellotron, and then a bombastic finale featuring Mellotron and powerful electric guitar.

The final two tracks are a bit more song-oriented (Maschere has even hit potential), alternating between symphonic rock, Nineties Neo-Prog(Arena, Everon) and AOR (Eighties Styx and Kansas): strong Italian vocals, lots of shifting moods and breaks, often powerful and bombastic, layered with harder-edged guitar play and tasteful keyboards (electric piano, Minimoog, Hammond, Mellotron).

My rating: 3,5 star.

The first edition of this review was recently published on Dutch prog website Background Magazine.

 Era by NATHAN album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.68 | 22 ratings

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Era
Nathan Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Italian group Nathan formed in 1997, although three of its members were actually active in the late Seventies, and while little recordings here and there showed up during the last two decades, their proper full-length debut `Nebulosa' emerged only two years ago, and an underrated pleasant surprise it turned out to be! The band perform keyboard-dominated symphonic progressive rock but prioritise compact vocal-driven songs at the expensive of much drawn soloing, and 2018 has seen them follow up their first disc with `Era'. What we have here is another fine album from these skilled musicians, one that unexpectedly lifts to incredible heights if the listener gives it the attention it deserves and makes the time to let their music sink in.

`Figli di Cane' sets a nice early high standard, with Daniele Ferro's twisting electric guitar work constantly snaking in and out of the subtly sensational piece alongside Piergiorgio Abba's glistening keys, Fabio Sanfilippo's powerful drumming and Mauro Brunzu pulsing bass backing up Bruno Lugaro's commanding call-to-arms croon (and female singer Monica Giovannini provides lovely restrained backing vocals here and throughout the entire disc). This winning opener reminds of a cross between legendary vintage Italian proggers Le Orme and a modern symphonic group like Logos, and it also makes unexpectedly fleeting darker turns for great dramatic effect.

Piergiogio's keys are front-and-center throughout `Invisibile', swooning with orchestral-like fancy one moment, cloaked in Mellotron veils the next, and when they're surrounded by ragged guitar noodling, the piece wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Clive Nolan/Arena album (and listen to that gorgeous outro passage in the final minute!) ' just, you know, sung in Italian instead! `Le vie dei Canti' is a more romantic and softer break that still finds a bit of grunt, and `L'ultimo Giro' clips along with a swaggering mid-tempo stride that calls to mind the positivity of the early Neo-Prog albums.

The urgent `L'ombra del Falco' is the centrepiece of the album, all fanciful whirring synths, punchy organ bursts, pretty piano and thick coursing bass behind Bruno's dignified rasp, and the track will have Le Orme fans weeping for joy. The intelligent and sophisticated `Indaco' is sobering piano-lifted introspection with sublime scratchy Mellotron blasts and deeply heart- wrenching soloing guitar emotion, making for another standout moment that prog fans will completely fall for. `Maschere' has brash and crunching bombastic breaks, and closer `Esistono Ore Perfette' bristles with a touch of danger and an air of regal pomp, the piece perfectly encapsulating the sound of the classic Le Orme years, just given a modern approach (although it disappointingly fades out prematurely mid guitar solo - boo!).

`Era' is the sort of album that requires patient listening. On the surface, many of the tracks have the same basic structure ' tight songs with raspy vocals that rarely stop, reprising choruses with short little instrumental bursts here and there, and maybe a slightly extended outro once in a while. For some listeners, attention might wane, but commit to multiple spins, and very quickly the power and refinement of Nathan's music becomes apparent. There might be flashier bands around, but Nathan's secret weapon and their strength lies in how skilfully and delicately implemented all their instrumental touches are, and it helps make `Era' another superb effort from the fellas. If you like modern acts like Logos and Panther & C but still want music respectful of the vintage Italian prog masters (especially Le Orme), this quiet achiever of an album will be just for you, and with 2018 seemingly a little quieter on the Italian prog front, Nathan might just have released one of the standout albums from that country for the year.

Four stars.

 Nebulosa by NATHAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.03 | 22 ratings

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Nebulosa
Nathan Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Nathan is a new player on the Italian prog scene, though manned by veteran musicians with a variety of cover bands, mostly prog and some not so prog. Finally forging their own destiny with their debut oeuvre "Nebulosa", these crafty lads from Savona have set a very lofty standard, one that has been growing in recent popularity in Italy, with a slew of burgeoning talents such Il Paradiso degli Orchi, Ad Maiora, Logos, Ingranaggi delle Valle, Unreal City, La Coscienza di Zeno, Progenesi, Mad Crayon, Mad Fellaz, Nodo Gordiano, Phoenix Again, Qirsh, Ranestrane, Sezione Frenante, among many many others?The 'boot' is doing fine, constantly revitalizing itself, a land where music still means a lot to many people, replenishing the fountain of prog with gusto and brilliance. They are also supremely well-balanced with a total team effort mindset that still leaves a lot of room for instrumental exploration. Keyboardist Piergiorgio Abba is a splendid piano player, doing fine on organ and synthesizers, while coloring all the arrangements with solemn tapestry as well as zippy phrasings. This solid backbone gives axeman Daniele Ferro a lot of room for scratching, searing, sizzling and cajoling his fret board and he does so perfectly. Tectonic drummer Fabio Sanfilippo nurtures the refined RPI drumming tradition, keeping a strong rhythmic pulse to the entire musical provisions. Finally, singer and bass player Bruno Lugaro handles both with aplomb and occasional theatrical expanse, his convincing singing is typical of the Italian school, praying and pleading one moment and brash and exalted the next.

Noteworthy are the longer tracks that clock in the 7-8 minute range, as they provide a wide panorama of stylistic curves and straight lines, with the occasional chicane where things suddenly slow down to a crawl. Mini-epics such as the title track, the magnificent "Resto Qui" and the muscular then soft "A Ferro e Fuoco" showcase the brilliance of their technical abilities within strong and creative compositions, supremely confident and courageous. In this context, guests flutist Davide Rivera and pianist Marco Milano add more than just elegance and craft, infusing grandeur and majesty as well. "A Ferro e Fuoco" in particular is one of many outright masterpieces featured on this disc.

But the best track here is the sublime, I mean SUBLIME, "Il Tempo dei Miracoli" that has a slight tinge of Blackfield's poignant masterpiece "Pain", a seductive melancholia that swoons the heart, saddens the soul and yet somehow, still shines brightly with hope. The main melody is achingly expressed in Italian by singer Bruno Lugaro, who takes his sweet time in delivering his bruised lament, followed by up the most honeyed guitar licks ever and scouring mightily into the night sky. The colossal choir apex half way through gives the composition more impetus to nail it down, just perfectly, as Ferro vacillates on his axe. The tempo is kept torrid until the final hurrah, mellotron and drums in unison, laying down another velvet carpet for the guitar to slide into nirvana. A grandiose slice of heart- breaking prog balladry.

Armed with a more Genesisian aura is "L'Attesa", once again a cleverly orchestrated piece of dramatic prog, as only the Italians seem to mother with apparent ease. This piece has another heavy flurry of guitar magic, bass firmly grounded and the motors running turbocharged. The keyboard work again suffuses a myriad of ornamental detail that just elevates the lyrical disposition of the vocals. Abba even dares to pull off a classic Banks organ blast that can only make one smile.

Rambling and raging is the 9 minute "Il Fiume Sa", a searching voice passionately telling its fluid story, shoved along by illuminated synth runs and a stunning bass line, down low on the neck, a thing of beauty and persistence. Ferro once again conveys a series of incisive guitar bites and chomps that get the heart beating rather fast. All in all, including the delightful shorter interludes like the exquisite "La Coltre Viola", this is one hell of a discovery and another feather in the recent RPI cap.

Ancora, per favore!

4.5 billows

 Nebulosa by NATHAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.03 | 22 ratings

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Nebulosa
Nathan Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars Nathan are one of those rare yet not unheard of Italian prog bands that were active in the late Seventies, yet never got around to releasing a proper original recording until the modern era. The group haven't actually been inactive in that time, however, as they've performed as a cover band (and still do to this day) presenting extravagant recreations of the classic works of Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes, King Crimson and Supertramp, as well as more surprising choices such as Caravan and Hatfield and the North! So considering their devotion to the English progressive groups, it's very surprising to discover that their debut album of all-original material is sung warmly in Italian and highlighted by classical symphonic fancy in the grand proper RPI tradition!

Despite a confusing album title and cover art that might make some curious purchasers think they're getting a space-rock album for their money, Nathan have delivered a wonderful debut album for lovers of symphonic Italian progressive music. Everything is in its right place, from hearty vocals and adventurous instrumental soloing passages performed by skilled musicians of great experience, but a constant uplifting and joyful mood with several big `wow' moments arrive that unexpectedly lift the album to another level altogether. It tells a futuristic tale of a population's migration in search of water in a world that has run dry of aquatic resources, the `Nebulosa' of the title a comet that leads the way to a new salvation.

Looking at some of the highlights, the first few tracks such as `Diluvio' and the title track set a template for much of the disc, melodic and vocal-driven accessible pieces with stirring and easy to enjoy repeated choruses, with carefully executed shorter bursts of keyboard and guitar soloing in and around the actual tunes. But it's `Resto Qui' that delivers the first extended instrumental passages of dazzling synth runs, fanciful piano, sly murmuring bass and grand reaching guitar themes around a dignified vocal, the closing finale bursting with energy and purpose. `La Coltre Viola' reveals the ravishing classical-flavoured piano fancy and whirring keyboard/Moog sophistication so beloved of endless Italian progressive works, and floating flute and a winning twin-guitar climax are the highlights of `A Ferro e Fuoco'. `Il Tempo dei Miracoli' holds a noble vocal chorus with lovely harmonies, plentiful slow-burn guitar embers and a grandiose symphonic close with a crashing beat, and the band simply outdoes themselves on the nine-minute `Il Fiume Sa'.

`Nebulosa' is not especially original or ground-breaking, but it's expertly delivered by a talented band and both vocally and instrumentally similar to the classic Seventies period of Le Orme. Lovers of the recent Logos album `L'enigma della Vita' will also find much to enjoy here, as well as fans of the chiming guitars of Marillion and pristine coolness of the English Neo-Prog bands in many moments. It gets Nathan's original career off to a great start, so hopefully the band will have the confidence and ambition towards their own welcome work and not just focus on cover version performances in the near future!

Four stars.

Thanks to aussie-byrd-brother for the artist addition.

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