Nil - Novo sub sole - 2005

“Fourth release of one of the most unconventional french bands. Six new songs mixing instrumentals and the magnificent voice of Roselyne Berthet. Get drowned under fragile and intense emotions, delicately painted by the band..”


Three years ago I wrote about ”Quarante jours sur le Sinaï” (forty days on the Sinaï) the following:
“I would describe the music as dark symphonic/progressive rock. Personally I find this one of the best progressive albums I have heard in the last few years.”
Last year the band released their fourth album “Novo sub sole” on the Canadian label Unicorn Records. It took a while to get my hands on a copy of this album. So it is not a new release but I think this album is one of the best progressive releases of the last year. So it deserves a review on progVisions.


David Maurin - Guitars, Midi Guitar and Flute; Samuel Maurin - Bass, Stick and Synths;
Benjamin Croizy - Synths, Piano and Mellotron; Frank Niebel - Drums and Percussion;
Roselyne Berthet - Voices and “Whispers in the dark”


The first track “Le gardien” (20.16) is one of the highlights of this album. The slow opening is very melancholic and Roselyne Berthet who is now a full member of the band, shows in this long track that she has grown as singer. The part where she sings without words and uses her voice as an instrument reminds me of the work of Amanda Parsons in bands like Hatfield and the North and National Health. The divers track has countless rhythm and mood changes. But in overall the music has a dark and melancholic atmosphere. The music of Nil is very intense and you can drown in all the passion and emotions. Complex parts are combined with melodic synthesizer parts.

“Linceul” (3.23) is a short melancholic track of immense beauty. Roselyne Berthet's delicate voice gives the piece an amazing sad atmosphere. You have to hear this .... immense beauty can't be described. As reviewer I fail again to describe the intense music of Nil.

The next track “Dérégénération” (14.30) starts with complex rhythms and an aggressive guitar solo. But as often happens in the music of Nil, the next part is delicate and melodic. And the electric guitar is switched for a delicate acoustic guitar. But soon the track becomes very complicated and you can hear amazing rhythms. Sometimes the complex and aggressive music is slowly pushed away by melodies. In the end it sounds that the melody has won. At this time I miss the English translation of the story. The previous album had an extra section in the booklet with English lyrics and the story.

“198” (8.40) has a lot of upbeat parts with aggressive electric guitar and organ. On top of the amazing rhythm section the guitar and the organ are playing different melodies. But while the complex music develops it slowly comes all together and the music melts into a beautiful melody. After this the music becomes again complex and ends abrupt. Amazing track!

In “Abandon” (8.10) the voice of Roselyne is back. This is a divers track with aggressive electric parts on top of delicate piano melodies. The layered music has broad and full keyboards.

“Dérives” (6.04) the closing track has even some Indian influences in the vocal parts. The tension of the music is slowly building up towards a kind of climax that never comes. So the tension stays until the delicate ending with the beautiful voice of Roselyne.


Like it's predecessor ”Quarante jours sur le Sinaï” the music on “Novo sub sole” is dark, melancholic and sometimes very complex. An album that has to grow. You have to listen several times to this album to discover the real beauty of it. Nil has an unique style. I think that Nil managed to sound not so complex as on the previous album and therefore could reach a bigger audience for their intelligent music. But the music is still complex and very adventurous. Needless to say that you must have musicians with great musical skills to play this kind of music.
For me this album is one of the best progressive albums of the year 2005!

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - March 2006  -   - Unicorn Records