Nathan Mahl - Heretik: Volume 1: Body Of Accusations

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Mahl Productions
Catalog Number: NMA006
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:16:00

I was rather pleased when I heard that Guy LeBlanc had been asked to join Camel. Not only would he be the ideal replacement for Kit Watkins, his exposure aside the legendary Andy Latimer would certainly help him promote his own band Nathan Mahl as well. Justice at last! The rumoured Heretik trilogy was now been sliced up into three individual discs as the collaboration with Camel took up too much time. So either LeBlanc had to shelve his 3CD set for some time or he had to release them one by one.

Subtitled Body Of Accusations, Heretik 1 opens in a folky but also Canterbury way with "When All Was Well," having flute intertwine with National Health magic. In "Heretik Part I" Guy's keyboard solos alternate with stunning guitar work courtesy of Marc Spénard to make it a journey through solo land with a fair dose of unpolluted rock'n roll to top it all. The vocals are so very close to the theatrical appearance of Peter Hammill pushing away the melodic structure in favour of authentic drama. However right at the very second where you hope Nathan Mahl hasn't decided to become a VDGG clone, LeBlanc's swirling organ spices up the music. Fans of The Nice and/or Parallel or 90 Degrees will certainly approve. Also, classical piano is used as counterpoint to the omni-present organ. In order to make a statement, "Heretik Part II" is a shorter vocal track enabling the listener to follow the plot. "Crimen Excepta" sounds very confusing ending in the inevitable Happy the Man backyard.

"Heretik Part III" is a funky experience with Guy LeBlanc rocking the clavinet. High pitched synths feature as whistles almost evoking Ennio Morricone material. But then the guitar slashes its way through the barricades so as to break free from the mould. The album closes with the stately "Carpe Diem" which could benefit from either a more classical arrangement or better still from a real orchestra. The part that has the clavinet for a short time reminds me of Gryphon, but then again the storm breaks loose with fierce guitar chasing the more laidback piano. It's that piano and voice which is accessible in the same style as Bruce Hornsby And The Range. The rest of the song is a patchwork of atmospheres excelling in outrageous keyboard- and guitar solos.

There's a lot for Happy the Man fans to find here yet Nathan Mahl is trying to find that particular style which sets them apart from the rest. No doubt they'll reach just that by the time the third and final Heretik release hits the shops. For the time being though my taste-buds are ready for more!

When All Was Well (1:46) / Heretik Part I (21:19) / Heretik Part II (4:17) / Crimen Excepta (5:45) / Heretik Part III (11:01) / Carpe Diem (15:06)

Guy LeBlanc - keyboard, percussion and vocals
Marc Spénard - guitars
Alain Bergeron - drums
Claude Prince - 5-string bass

Parallel Eccentricities (1983/1997)
The Clever Use Of Shadow (1998)
Heretik Volume I: Body Of Accusations (2000)
Heretik Volume II: The Trial (2001)
Heretik Volume III: The Sentence (2002)
Shadows Unbound (2003)
Live At NEARFest '99 (2004)
Exodus (2009)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CA

Added: August 16th 2001
Reviewer: John Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 740
Language: english


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