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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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Prog Reviewer
4 stars This excellent Canadian band existing already since more than 20 years really would have deserved to be better known. I just discovered them recently and The Clever Use Of Shadows was the first album I listened of them and it has just blown me away. Not surprising that this was the album they were causing some attention with in the PROG scene for the first time. Keyboarder and band leader Guy LeBlanc is probably a known name for fans of CAMEL since he's regularly touring with them.

Their music is very difficult to classify, mostly instrumental, only now and then there are some unobtrusive and discreet vocals. It's partly rooted in Symphonic Prog but as well with strong influences of Jazz-Fusion. Keyboards (mainly Hammond) are very prog-ish (not neoprog-ish), compositions are often lengthy (but not tedious) with several parts, sometimes classically acoustic ones, sometimes more lush and hymnal ones (as in the title track) and there are as well some excellent solo sections (without any self- indulgent excesses) or jazzy improvisations. Some tracks are really very intricate, like Machiavelique where a classical variation is developing into a stunning and driving Prog piece. The performance of all musicians is first class, rhythm section is very powerful, Jose Bergeron presents a virtuoso and cheerful guitar playing and LeBlanc's Hammond is excellent anyway. Some parts like in Orgasmik Outburst II, The Rubber Cage or Call To Arms are reminiscent of Canterbury-based bands like CARAVAN, GILGAMESH or NATIONAL HEALTH but without ever sounding at any moment derivative. NATHAN MAHL really created their own independent sound and can hardly be compared to any other band.

As a CONCLUSION, I would highly recommend this band and especially this album to anyone who likes real good intricate prog with a considerable portion of Jazz fusion. Fans of FRANK ZAPPA, STEVE VAI, HAPPY THE MAN or any band coming from the Canterbury Scene should be interested in this stuff. 4 stars and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

hdfisch | 4/5 |


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