Nathan is rooted in 1977, when friends started to play prog. In 1982 they disbanded, but 1997 a few members teamed up with other musicians and founded Nathan. Originally Nathan was a Genesis tribute band (like the mindblowing The Musical Box), they released a Genesis tribute disc entitled The Path Is Clear, performed The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974) on a large and ambitious scale and produced orchestral arrangements of epic works, like Close To The Edge from Yes and Atom Heart Mother from Pink Floyd. Then Nathan did Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) and a tribute to Supertramp. After this perfect 'prog rock warming up' Nathan started to write their own compositions, with new members, resulting in the debut CD Nebulosa (2016, see review) and the successor entitled Era (2018, see review) and now the brand new album entitled Uomini Di Sabbia (early 2022). I am familiar with the CD Era and wrote: “Nathan their trademark is a modern blend of symphonic rock (70-77 Genesis, and Steve Hackett solo), Nineties Neo-Prog (like Arena and Everon) and Eighties AOR (Styx and Kansas) featuring frequent shifting moods and a lot of soloing on keyboards and guitar, topped with powerful Italian vocals.”
Well, during my first listening session I quickly conclude that Nathan sounds as on the 2018 album Era, but more elaborate, more balanced, and more with an own musical identity. You can hear that this Italian formation has a lot of experience, they are a tight unit with excellent interplay. The 8 tracks alternate frequently between mellow, mid-tempo and heavy outbursts featuring a lot of tension and dynamics, cascades of solo's on keyboards and guitar, topped with strong and inspired Italian vocals.
Fiery and heavy guitars and pleasant work on synthesizer and organ, backed by a powerful rhythm-section and passionate Italian vocals in Fatti Non Foste.
From a slow rhythm with tender vocals and piano to halfway a break with rock guitar riffs, soaring strings and heavy guitar solo. And from a more lush and bombastic sound with fiery guitar and orchestral keyboards to finally mellow with warm vocals, wonderful Mellotron violins and piano interplay in Monoliti.
Lots of sumptuous outbursts with emotional vocals, awesome keyboards (sparkling synthesizer solo, organ waves, orchestral keyboards and soaring strings) and exciting rock guitar riffs with propulsive drum beats in Delirio Onirico.
Il Pianto Del Cielo alternates between a mellow atmosphere and a mid-tempo with a tight beat, embellished with pleasant Italian vocals, sensitive electric guitar runs, a Tony Banks-like synthesizer solo and fiery guitar leads. Often evoking '70-'77 Genesis, the interplay between the keyboards and guitar is awesome. The final part mellow, delivering a sensitive electric guitar solo.
Madre Dei Sortilegi: First a dreamy climate, then an accellaration with organ arpeggios and rock guitar, bombastic orchestral keyboards, and another fine synthesizer solo. In the second part lots of shifting moods featuring a heavy guitar solo, soaring strings, a wah wah drenched guitar solo, and a sparkling synthesizer solo. Finally first mid-tempo with rock guitar and organ and then mellow as the beginning.
Nel Giardino Di Maria opens with a slow rhythm, powerful percussive piano runs, and melancholy vocals, gradually more lush and bombastic, powerful vocals. Halfway mellow with dreamy vocals and piano plus flute-like keyboards and strings. Then a bombastic eruption with Hammond organ, exciting guitar (from sensitive to heavy) and Minimoog flights. In the final part emotional vocals and fat synthesizer layers.
L'acrobata starts dreamy with tender piano play, a flute-like keyboard sound, and warm vocals, then a slow rhythm, and back to mellow. Halfway a mid-tempo with fiery guitar runs, rock guitar, the Hammond organ joins, and finally a moving guitar solo.
First dreamy vocals and mellow keyboards (reminding me of early Genesis) in the final composition, the epic Egos. Gradually the music turns into a more lush and dynamic sound featuring powerful vocals, but shifts back to mellow with tender piano runs, fragile guitar play and beautiful vocals. Then lots of flowing changing atmospheres, tastefully layered with Minimoog runs, powerful guitar leads, a fat and swinging synthesizer solo, and a fiery guitar solo. Halfway emotional vocals in the genuine Classic Italian Prog tradition, with a tight beat, embellished with a Tony Banks-like synthesizer solo (ARP Pro Solist sound), majestic Mellotron choirs and Hammond, and moving guitar, wow. After a short bass solo, Hammond organ and then Mellotron violins with powerful drums follow, then another synthesizer solo like Banks, and a fiery guitar solo in a bombastic atmosphere. The conclusion contains powerful vocals and drums, topped with sparkling synthesizer flights. The '70-'77 Genesis hints are obvious but Nathan succeeds to keep my attention during this long track.
A good and dynamic new album by Nathan, with lots of exciting moments, and in my opinion this is a band to capture live!
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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