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Nathan Mahl: Heretik-Volume III: The Sentence

With Heretik-Volume III: The Sentence, the conceptual trilogy from Nathan Mahl comes to a close, a trilogy that has seen three CD's released in just over two years. This installment is quite possibly the strongest of the three, and exhibits a looseness in the bands playing that seemed to be missing a bit on the first two volumes.

Much like Volumes I & II, here we have basically one long movement, and it tells the story of the final hours of the Heretic before his unjust execution. Vocals are very limited on this CD to the opening and closing, which leaves the band plenty of room to hit the listener with an onslaught of progressive rock bombast. Keyboardist Guy LeBlanc is perhaps slightly more restrained this time around, and gives a bit more freedom to guitarist Marc Spenard, who lays down loads of hot leads and melodies. Midway through this epic work, and sandwiched between two virtuoso synthesizer passages from LeBlanc, is a wonderful Gentle Giant meets Genesis melody, that is as much a take on a medieval mistrel jig as it is just plain old classic prog. This is a style that Nathan Mahl really did well on it's earlier albums, and that sound makes a welcome comeback here. There is also a nice sense of pacing on Heretik III , as the band utilizes much more atmosphere, and feels less inclined to bludgeon the listener with constant chops (not that I have anything against that mind you!) This is really a good change of pace for Leblanc and the boys, as the first two volumes relied heavily on long keyboard extravaganza's to hold everything together, which was fine but would have been excessive here. As always LeBlanc's Hammond work is superb, and there is a point three quarters of the way through this piece where he trades some lethal solos with Spenard's slide guitar, then comes roaring back with a wonderfully melodic Moog solo.

This is a great finale to this adventurous trilogy, and it should be interesting to see if Nathan Nahl chooses to go back to more song based material, now that they have concluded one of the more memorable concept works in recent memory.

Added: July 29th 2002
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Nathan Mahl Website
Hits: 4118
Language: english

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