Get this crazy baby off my head!


Nathan Mahl

Nathan Mahl ‎- Shadows Unbound - 2003 - Mahl Productions

Nathan Mahl has existed since 1982. The original members (Guy LeBlanc, Donald Prince, Mark Spenard, Daniel Lacasse) started this group because they wanted to explore a direction in music that had been inspired by many great artists and bands, mainly from the 70s. Each member brought his own ideas and infused his own style. The band’s first LP, Parallel Eccentricities, was released in 1983, and re-issued on cd in 1997, which includes a CD-ROM supplement featuring photos, videos and other goodies. During the late 80s and early 90s, some of the original members gathered and composed, rehearsed and even recorded stuff. Other times, entire new line-ups were assembled to create new music for the band. In all cases, however, no releases emerged, though much was recorded. But the late 90s were ripe for a NM resurgence, and in this spirit came the 1999 release of Nathan Mahl’s second disc, the Clever use of Shadows. Produced by guitarist Jose Bergeron and Guy LeBlanc, with Claude Prince on bass, and Alain Bergeron on drums (the two Bergerons are not related). In order to ensure that future Mahl recordings would be released, LeBlanc founded Mahl Productions with his partner Dawn, and the company's first release was the Clever use of Shadows in January 1999. On the strength of this disc, the band was invited to perform at the inaugural NEARfest, in June 1999. Over the following 3 years, LeBlanc was busy writing, producing and releasing Nathan Mahl’s Heretik trilogy. For this massive piece of music, inspired by Thomas Szasz's The Manufacture of Madness, the performers with LeBlanc were Alain Bergeron, Claude Prince, Mark Spenard, Daniel Lacasse and Guy Dagenais, respectively. While recording the first volume of Heretik in 2000, LeBlanc was invited to join the classic British prog group Camel for their Y2K tour and subsequent tours and albums. In 2003, the original line-up reassembled for a re-working of the sequel to Parallel Eccentricities, this time naming it Shadows Unbound. For this group of songs, Jean-Pierre Ranger was invited to lend his lead vocal stylings, complementing the Nathan Mahl sound as he had done briefly in 1983. LeBlanc also left Camel in 2003 (due to family illness), and spent the next year making his second solo disc, released in 2004. Also in 2004, Nathan Mahl (LeBlanc - Spenard - Lacasse) contributed the opening 21 minute piece to Colossus/Musea's "Odyssey-the Greatest Tale...". The following year, the urge to perform some of their now-vast catalog of songs compelled LeBlanc - Spenard - Lacasse - Dagenais -Bergeron (Alain) to take the stage for the first time since 1999, at Prog in the Park, in Rochester NY. The 2006 version of Nathan Mahl (LeBlanc, Spenard, Dagenais, Lacasse) performed in May and October, in their hometown of Ottawa. The May concert was videotaped and recorded for eventual release on DVD. Once again, in 2007, a major line-up change occurred; gone were Lacasse and Spenard, and back was Alain Bergeron in the drum seat. The new face in Mahl was Tristan Vaillancourt on guitars (recruited by Dagenais). Fuelled by a desire to record and perform again, the band began Nathan Mahl's Exodus, and performed at the Festival des Musiques Progressives de Montreal in September. Also that year, this line-up contributed yet another piece (the Comfort of Tears) to a new Colossus/Musea project: Inferno (to be released in 2008). Upon completion of the Exodus, Vaillancourt left the group for personal reasons. It is with great pleasure that, with Unicorn Digital, we now present Nathan Mahl's Exodus, a modern progressive-rock opera. © 2011 Unicorn Digital Inc. http://www.unicornrecords.com/nathanmahl.html

In the world of progressive rock every country seems to feature at least one artist that tends to be more musically prolific than the rest. In amongst all their other things they still are able to provide fans a steady stream of quality music. In Sweden that would be the Flower Kings, in the United States up until recently Spock’s Beard could claim that title. Well in Canada the award would have to go to Nathan Mahl. In between providing the keyboard work for Camel on tour and any live gigs for his own band, Guy LeBlanc manages to put out a regular dose of jazz-medieval-Canterburian inflected prog at regular intervals. The latest from the band is a mix of a tiny bit of old and lots of new entitled Shadows Unbound. And it carries forward the band’s unique style, which incorporates plenty of synth, harpsichord, all manner of synthesizers and Hammond organ. This time around the Nathan Mahl goes back to their original line-up consisting of Guy Leblanc on Keyboards, Mark Spenard on guitars, Don Prince on bass, Dan Lacasse on drums with guest Jean-Pierre Ranger on vocals and bass pedals. For Shadows Unbound they’ve taken three songs off of The Clever Use of Shadows, namely “Without Words”, “Beyond the Rims of Despair” and “A Call to Arms”, reworked them retaining certain elements but injecting new bits and added new material that is stylistically similar. By now fans will be familiar with the Nathan Mahl style. A busy style progressive rock that is low on lyrics but high musicianship. Guy LeBlanc’s battery of keyboards is second to none and his leadership style propels the band into plenty of musical twists and turns incorporating the already mentioned jazzy or Canterburian-medieval influences. The compositions are all on the longish side with four of the eight tracks clocking in at just about 10 minutes. There is lots of great playing throughout the disc, with each composition leaving room for solo spotlights for each instrument. And believe me every instrument does get a solo spot. If you enjoyed the bands Clever use of Shadows disc but found the three part Heretik discs a bit daunting you’ll enjoy the bands return to that earlier approach of shorter compositions. On the other band if you were a fan of the Heretik series you’ll still find loads of musical stretching here to enjoy. The roller-coaster ride that is Nathan Mahl has delivered yet another great release with Shadows Unbound that will spin on your CD player for a long time. Hop on…it’s a great ride. © Member: JLucky Date: 6/19/2005 © Copyright for this content resides with its creator. Licensed to Progressive Ears All Rights Reserved http://www.progressiveears.com/asp/reviews.asp?albumID=3191

Nathan Mahl, one of Canada's best kept secrets, proudly moves back to fusion territory with the stylish Shadows Unbound. After the Heretik trilogy, a successful progressive rock concept extravaganza, Guy LeBlanc and company change gears a bit and move back toward the more jazzy yet complex sounds of their early years. Not surprisingly, the band now consists of most of the original line-up as well. This release features a few tunes off of 1998's Clever Use of Shadows, a terrific album which apparently LeBlanc felt could have been better, hence the re-recording here of three songs, plus five new ones. "Without Words", "Beyond the Rims of Despair" and "A Call to Arms" are all, surprisingly to this reviewer, injected with new life on this CD. Who would have thought these songs could be presented in a finer fashion? LeBlanc's bubbling synths and Spenard's raging guitar work on "Beyond the Rims of Despair" are especially mind-blowing. I for one think that LeBlanc really fits well with guitarist Mark Spenard, the bands original guitarist who rejoined for the Heretik albums, more so than Jose Bergeron, although he is a fine guitarist as well. The title track is a wonderful Gentle Giant inspired romp, with symphonic keys, wistful recorders (all courtesy of LeBlanc), searing guitars, and the majestic vocals of Jean-Pierre Ranger. The jazz/funk of "Scumsucking Parasites" instantly brings to mind the glory days of Return to Forever, with LeBlanc playing the Chick Corea role to perfection. What this guy does with his arsenal of Moogs, Hammond, Korg synths, Clavinet, and Fender Rhodes is truly astounding. A proggy, yet gentle vibe can be heard on "Misleading Agenda", one of the CD's other vocal pieces, again featuring some incredible melodic keyboard solos from LeBlanc, plus nimble bass and V-drum fills from Don Prince and Dan Lacasse. Nathan Mahl continues to be one of prog's busiest and most impressive bands. Even though LeBlanc has been putting time in with European legends Camel, he still manages to take this band to new heights. Recommended! Added: April 6th 2003 Reviewer & © Pete Pardo Score: 4.5/5 stars © 2004 Sea Of Tranquility http://www.seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=650

One of the band’s albums, 'The Clever Use of Shadows', was called “an attempt to bypass the mainstream music industry. Nathan Mahl succeeds with this mission through their not-radio-friendly-progressive-fusion”. Good luck to any band who can achieve any kind of success with that philosophy in today’s dire music scene. “Shadows Unbound” is a great blend of fusion and jazz funk with elements of symphonic progressive rock. It never goes "over the top" as some of these albums are inclined to do. Nathan Mahl keeps a tight rein on these eight great compositions, and the music is well structured and developed. The band are noted for transforming classical type themes into great, satisfying progressive compositions. Much of the great sound of Nathan Mahl can be attributed to the group's main man, Guy LeBlanc, who often plays with the immensely talented progressive rock band Camel. Even though Nathan Mahl have their own great sound, at times it is possible to hear shades of "Canterbury Rock” in the mould of groups like Caravan, and Gentle Giant. It is well worth buying Nathan Mahl's 2003 album, "The Clever Use of Shadows". It is also worthwhile listening to the brilliant "Free Hand" album by Gentle Giant, and the classic "In the Land of Grey and Pink" by Caravan [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 149 Mb]


1 Without Words 9:56
2 Between Here And There 5:40
3 Shadows Unbound 9:48
4 Funkface 6:06
5 Beyond The Rims Of Despair 9:14
6 Scumsucking Parasites 4:06
7 Misleading Agenda 9:48
8 A Call To Arms 10:16

All tracks composed by Guy LeBlanc


Mark Spenard - Strat & Mustang Guitars, Vocals
Don Prince - 4 & 6 String Fretted & Fretless Status Basses
Guy LeBlanc - Hammond Organ, Moog & Korg Synths, Acoustic & Rhodes Pianos, Hohner Clavinet, Recorders, Vocals
Dan Lacasse - Roland V-Drums, Percussion
Jean-Pierre Ranger - Lead Vocals, Bass Pedals


Formed in 1981, Nathan Mahl are a Canadian Progressive Rock band with Jazz Fusion influences. Throughout a constantly evolving lineup of possibly some of the finest rock and fusion musicians from the Ottawa and Gatineau regions, keyboardist Guy LeBlanc is widely regarded as the essence and constant of the band. Guy seems more widely known as the keyboardist for Progressive Rock Legends, Camel, recording and touring from 2000-2003, and resulting in a Nod and a Wink and The Paris Collection (Live). They have released numerous concept-based CDs to critical acclaim, including Shadows Unbound, and the Heretik Trilogy. Furthermore, they have played several prestigious music festivals including NEARfest, and FMPM. Nathan Mahl originally formed in Dec. 1981. The first version was formed when Guy LeBlanc, Don Prince and Mark Spénard, who had played together in the band Delerium, recruited Dan Lacasse. It is said that during one night in early 1982, while the band was on an excursion in the Gatineau National Park, the name took on its final form and the seed was planted. This first line-up went on to compose and record their first LP Parallel Eccentricities, in December 1982 releasing it in the Spring of 1983. It seems that 1983 was the busiest for Mahl, as they rehearsed full-time and gigged arguably almost as often. During that summer, they entered a band contest and performed in the finals of the Ottawa classic rock radio station Chez-106 (Sharechez '83), apparently blowing the roof off Barrymore's Music Hall. Some time in late 1983, Dan Lacasse left the group and was replaced by Wayne Palmer till Feb. 27, 1984. This was when Guy, for personal reasons, disbanded the group. In 1986, the band was shortly reformed as a trio (LeBlanc, Lacasse, Prince). 4 new songs were written and recorded, but never released. Again in 1989, this time with second keyboardist Garth Boyd and without guitar, a seemingly more fusion Nathan Mahl ended the decade. Once again 5 new songs with this line-up were recorded but not released. The decade ended with Lacasse and Prince both leaving the group. The 90s began with a new rhythm section: Alain Paluck as drummer, Claude Prince on bass, joining LeBlanc and Boyd (the duelling keys). Many new songs were composed and rehearsed, but only rehearsals were ever recorded with this line-up. It was at this time that Guy decided to create the Mahl Dynasty improv project. This particular project seemed to have brought about the quiet demise of that line-up of Nathan Mahl. Still trying to revive the band, in 1994, Guy auditioned drummers and bassists. This was when Alain Bergeron and Luc Poulin joined. Shortly after that, guitarist Scott Daughtrey completed the quartet. This line-up recorded quite a bit of material, culminating in the disc Radio Rehab, which was not released because Guy was apparently not entirely pleased with the final product. Some of the songs from that disc have been released by others (PMS and the Progday Support disc 2005. In 1996, Daughtrey and Poulin left and were briefly replaced by what appears to have been a revolving door system of line-ups. The original Parallel Eccentricities was released on cd in 1997 (and included a comprehensive interactive cdrom supplement) by Mahl Productions, a label founded by Guy and his wife Dawn Mitchell. Eventually, Don Prince rejoined and suggested José Bergeron as guitarist. When Don quit the group again, he was immediately replaced by brother Claude (again). This line-up became arguably the second most prolific Nathan Mahl. It was the suggestion of José Bergeron to record in a studio where he had bartered his talent as session guitarist in exchange for studio time, making it possible for the band to create the Clever use of Shadows in 1998. However, the strain of recording over 8 months in a piecemeal fashion, and the necessity of Guy adding to the barter of session playing for the balance of the studio time, seems to have took its toll on this line-up. In January of 1999, Mahl Productions released Nathan Mahl's the Clever use of Shadows, and although this disc found a new audience for Mahl, Guy decided to remove the title from the catalogue in 2001, specifically due to what appears to be a long-standing disagreement with his co-producer for this disc. The month of May 1999 saw the band being invited to play at the first NEARfest, as a last minute replacement for the defunct Finneus Gauge. On June 28, 1999, Nathan Mahl took the stage at NEARfest, and many have suggested they blew the roof off the venue. One week later, they played their final gig at Ottawa U. Later in December 2003, NEARfest Records released the recording of Nathan Mahl's set at NEARfest 1999. The 90s ended with the return of Mark Spénard (on guitars) to the fold. After a most interesting turn of events later in 1999 (including a solo disc for Guy and his joining Camel in early 2000), the new Millenium saw the release of the band's next opus -Heretik: Volume I - Body of Accusations with a seemingly heavier sound. It might be suggested that it is musically a return to the proggier side of Mahl (with less fusion). However, the fact that Mahl had become more of a studio band may have to Alain Bergeron's decision to leave the group at the outset of Volume 1. This was followed in June of 2001 with the second instalment of the trilogy. At this point Dan Lacasse accepted the invitation to return to the group. American author Michael McCormack (whom Guy had met while on his first tour with Camel) wanted to make Guy and Mahl the subject of his next novel, so he travelled to Ottawa and wrote of this experience while the band was recording Heretik: volume II - the Trial. This book is called "the People wish to be Deceived…" This time it was Claude Prince who left the group at the outset of Volume 2. The band continued its re-evolution with Heretik: Volume III - the Sentence, first by welcoming Guy "Geezer" Dagenais (whom Dan had met at a jam session) on bass. Volume 3 contains only one 54-minute song, and was released on May 3rd, 2002. Shortly after its release, Dagenais amicably left the group, since it was still only a studio project. LeBlanc decided to take a few steps backwards and revisit the Shadows experience. This time however, he had the agreement of all the original members (including Don Prince on bass) to participate in this project. After all, this was a totally different line-up than the one recorded in 1999. In addition, half of the album features songs never before released. On February 20th 2003, Nathan Mahl released Shadows Unbound. The disc also features J.P. Ranger on lead vocals. Ranger is an old friend of Mahl, and had briefly joined the band in 1983, making it possible for them to tackle some of the juicier prog classic covers they did at the time. The rest of 2003 seemed to be a veritable trial by fire. LeBlanc had to quit Camel on the eve of their Farewell Tour, due to the fact that his partner had a series of heart attacks in April. Whilst caring for her, he produced his second solo disc. A little later in the year, the band was invited to produce the opening 25-minute song for a 9 band collaboration based on Homer's Odyssey. Guy composed the piece, and presented it to the band, and all were on board for the project. In 2004 production seemed pretty much on schedule; however, Don Prince contacted LeBlanc and quit the band due to other musical commitments, and is replaced by Luc Poulin for about 2 days. Since the original agreement for this project was that each band member create his own parts for the song (to be different this time), and that the deadline for submission to the label was getting very close, Guy LeBlanc borrowed a bass guitar, taught himself to play it, wrote the bass part and recorded it in 2 weeks time (thereby making the deadline). The Odyssey was released in September 2005 by Musea Records. 2005 seemed an exciting time for the band and their fans. LeBlanc showed a strong desire to perform again (and so did Lacasse and Spenard). As a result possibly, Guy Dagenais returned to the fold. Also, LeBlanc sensed that this lineup could perform some of their possibly more difficult songs from their discography. He approached Alain Bergeron with the idea of having a second keyboardist/percussionist etc. on board (Alain appears to be quite the multi-instrumentalist). And so for most of 2005, Mahl was a quintet, and it was this quintet that performed in Lowell MA on september 9th, and Prog-in-the-Park in Rochester NY on the 10th. In 2006, Nathan Mahl had settled on being a quartet (Alain Bergeron left seemingly to pursue a solo cd). The setlist now included more "older and newer" songs. Mahl performed in Ottawa for the first time since 1999, on May 20th, and again at Progtoberfest on October 14th. An official performance DVD Live & Unbound 2006 of the entire setlist is in the works. Yet as it often seems to happen with musical differences, both Marc Spenard and Dan Lacasse left soon thereafter. In early 2007, with the prospect of playing the Montreal progressive rock festival (FMPM), Guy LeBlanc contacted Alain Bergeron to return on Drums. Guy Dagenais contacted Tristan Vaillancourt to join on guitar having see him play with his previous band, Widow's Walk[. The new lineup played FMPM on September 16th at FMPM, with a large portion of their set being new material. Currently they are finishing up their new CD, Exodus: Then. They are nearing completion in early 2008, and Guy LeBlanc has been in negotiations with the Quebec label Unicorn Records for its subsequent release. The concept is loosely based on the Exodus book in the Bible. They each made a conscious decision to record in his own respective home studio. Also in the works, is another DVD, with the documentary focus on behind the scenes at FMPM 2007 and at Exodus recording sessions. They plan on eventually making a follow-up Exodus: Now, taking the exodus concept to the present day. Also slatted for release this year is Mahl’s contribution to the latest mega project by Colossus, based on Dante’s Inferno, and brought to you once again by the Finnish Progressive Rock Society and Musea records. Mahl are slatted to contribute a 7 minute piece, along side 35 other current progressive rock bands. This is their 2nd time participating in such a project –the first time being The Odyssey in 2005.

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