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Leblanc, Guy: All The Rage

Nathan Mahl frontman Guy Leblanc goes completely solo on his latest offering; from writing, playing all instruments, recording , and producing all the tracks. All The Rage features 8 songs, each very diverse in sound and style.

Fans of Nathan Mahl's latest trilogy Heretik will feel immediately at home with the disc's opening track: Life On The Blade . This 12:10 instrumental almost feels like a leftover from Heretik III and features Guy cutting loose on the keyboards. The disc takes a much different turn from here on in, with a varied degree of success. The title track, All The Rage , features a more muscular approach and Guy even attempts death metal-like gruff vocals, which unfortunately fall wide of the mark. It is an aptly named song since it's basically 'all the rage' Guy will be giving us on this album. The following numbers veer away from his iconoclastic ravings , as they're much more introspective lyrically, and more subdued musically, than his patented jam-like instrumentals of the past. Ailleurs features a Guy Leblanc first, as he has (finally) decided to pen and sing a song in his native French. The result is Guy's finest vocal prestation to date as his Zachary Richard-like vocals blend harmoniously with the music. He never seems to be overreaching vocally, which may be his main weakness when singing in English. The mostly instrumental One Sky follows suit. It's a very melodic number which showcases Guy's songwriting talents in a different light. Without ever pushing the envelope too far, Guy displays great musicianship on both keys and lead guitar. The Silent Thread is a touching ballad about soul mates; namely Guy and his wife Dawn ,who recently suffered a heart attack. I believe this may have precipitated Guy to write and dedicate this song to her. The Immortals is yet another melancholic number which features some sublime acoustic guitar and piano. Guy seems to find his voice on these softer numbers and his vocals sounds the best they ever have. Now, although these tracks may be a tad more vocal-oriented than past projects, songs like this one also feature some beautiful instrumental passages where Guy can show off his prowess on the guitar. The disc's epic is the 15:17 The One Who Knows . This track may suffer just a tad of being long for length's sake. Guy's gruffier vocals make a slight return and the instrumental passage in the middle of the song tends to meander just a bit.Closing the disc is Choices . This is an uptempo number, which although quite pleasant, seems to follow a formulaic pattern.

I have never been a proponent of the one-man-does-everything approach to music. I believe that this often turns a record into an ego flattering project which may, at times, lack restraint. Although this record does have it's flaws such as Guy insisting on using electronic drums and attemtping more aggressive vocals; I believe that Guy is starting to develop and craft his songs on a level which he had yet to demonstrate in the past. Fans of his over-the-top keyboard pyrotechnics might be a tad disappointed with this latest offering, but I hear a definite maturity in the music which I hope will carry over to the next Nathan Mahl disc. Now, if we could only convince Guy to sing strictly en francais from now on.

  1. Life On The Blade (12:10)
  2. All The Rage (8:15)
  3. Ailleurs (6:49)
  4. One Sky (7:25)
  5. The Silent Thread (5:05)
  6. The Immortals (9:30)
  7. The One Who Knows (15:17)
  8. Choices ( 6:25)

Added: July 30th 2004
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Hits: 5178
Language: english

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