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Band: Nathan Mahl

CD Title: ďExodusĒ

Band Website: www.myspace.com/nathanmahl

Label: Independent

Label Website: www.unicorndigital.com

Release Date: 2008

 

Itís hard to believe that itís been 5 years since the release of Shadows Unbound, but at last we have something new from Canadian Progressive Rockers Nathan Mahl, and trust me it was worth the wait. The new disc, essentially a concept album deals with the story of the exodus of the Hebrew people out of slavery in ancient Egypt is appropriately entitled Exodus. As such voices are used to portray all the main characters of the dramatic story. Itís actually not that much of a stretch if you are familiar withNathan Mahlís Heretik series. For the uninitiated, Nathan Mahl formed in 1981 and since that time have had an ever changing line-up. In times where the band was not active, founder and keyboardist Guy LeBlanc worked on the road with Camel and produced some solo recordings. For Exodus Nathan Mahl consists of LeBlanc (keyboards, recorders, percussion, voice), Guy Dagenais (bass, 12-string guitar, percussion, voice), Alain Bergeron (drums, percussion, voice) and Tristan Vaillancourt (guitars, mandolin, percussion). The band has the assistance of David Campbell (guitar), David Peterson (violin) and France Morin (voice).

 

By now fans will be familiar with the Nathan Mahl style and Exodus is not a dramatic departure, incorporating many of the elements weíve come to know and love. Itís a busy progressive rock style that is low on lyrics but high musicianship. LeBlancís keyboard playing just gets better and better and here as on previous recordings the music is predominantly symphonic progressive rock with a major dose of jazz-fusion in the solo departments all arranged with a distinct Canterbury feel. As stated Exodus is a concept, and the ten-tracks, most in the six or seven minute range, all go to telling the details, with voices sometimes sung, sometime spoken, and again the words are kept to a minimum allowing ample opportunity for musical virtuosity. Guitars include both electric and acoustic, six and twelve string providing a nice balance of hard and soft sounds. On the whole though, the music is busy more times than not. Because of the nature of the story and the ancient setting, there are a few times where songs incorporate a more relaxed, ethnic or folk-sy tone. You have a real feeling for people sitting in tents around a campfire. There are other times where the music is quite aggressive where the dramatic events need it and then there are other times where the music turns quite plaintive, even mournful such as when Moses learns he will not be allowed into the promised land for mistakes he has made. There is just enough dialog here to help connect the dots of the story.

 

If you enjoyed the previous musical efforts of Nathan Mahl, Exodus will be a no-brainer as it dove-tails nicely to the bandís musical spectrum. The story of the exodus seems simple on the surface, but when you start digging into it, it gets rather complex and Nathan Mahl have I think done a great job in touching on all aspects of this timeless tale. Great jobÖI heartily recommend it.

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