Nathan Mahl - Heretik: Volume 2: The Trial

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Mahl Productions
Catalog Number: NMA007
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:32:00

Don't pay attention to what they say, first impressions do matter, and they matter big time. Allow me to prove it. How many times did you have to listen to N'Sync to realize that you would go insane if you had to hear it just once more? I told you, first impressions do matter. However, N'Sync isn't the band to be reviewed here, with its hypothetical place being very fortunately taken by the Canadian Nathan Mahl, a symphonic rock act that has recently decided to release a trio of albums in order to form a conceptual trilogy named Heretik. Statistically speaking, progressive rock fans are bound to be more interested in an album if it's a concept album, and this is a series of three of them. Talk about good first impressions.

I must be perfectly honest and admit that I haven't had the fortune of listening to the enormous enterprise's first chapter, Heretik Volume I: Body Of Accusations, but fear not, my friends, the lack of knowledge had no effect whatsoever on my comprehension of the storyline behind the band's second Heretik album. To be perfectly honest, the story is so simple that a three-year old could pick up on it, and the music on the album outweighs the lyrics considerably. In other words, understanding of notes is more important than understanding of words when it comes to this baby.

Enough of my incessant banter; however ... I'm killing my good first impression already; something that is not altogether becoming of the band, as I was favorably stirred by the regal inauguration of "Entrance Of The Judges," a keyboard intro that would perfectly suit a majestic procession from Conan. The classy instrumental, however, is not even a sampler of what's to come immediately after, as "Malleus Maleficarum" soon bursts out with the dynamism that symphonic rock bands are best known and loved for, and Guy LeBlanc's keyboard frenzy flies along with Mark Spénard's excellent raunchy guitar during an instrumental hurricane of activity that points in the direction of some of progressive rock's most beloved originators.

Heretik Volume II: The Trial, however, is more than just a rehash of old, washed-up Seventies progressive rock. It wouldn't be fair to say that Nathan Mahl possesses a modern sound or a revolutionary stance, as the album's music is steadfastly traditional, but it wouldn't be fair either to deny that the band has its own sound; one that relies heavily on dominating keyboards and breaks into awesome groovy and bluesy passages, features heavily intense prog, quiets back into damning anger, and even manages to throw in some of the good old progressive rock kitsch every now and then. True, it's not about to set the world on fire, but the album shines with a quality that most of the band's predecessors have lost throughout the years. Old-style symphonic rock is not dead; it's just lingering about and defying the condemning authorities.

Entrance Of The Judges / Malleus Maleficarum (23:14) / De Praestigiis Daemonum (7:38) / Heretik Part IV (13:10) / Ad Judicium (7:32) / Moral Values Part II (7:58)

Guy LeBlanc - keyboards, vocals, drums, percussion
Claude Prince - bass
Mark Spénard - guitars
Dan Lacasse - drums

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: November 17th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 690
Language: english


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