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The Samurai Of Prog - On We Sail CD (album) cover


The Samurai Of Prog


Crossover Prog

3.86 | 167 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I'm pleased to be the first one to review this brand new album. It's amazing how The Samurai Of Prog have maintained such a fast-paced activity in recording, without wearing out in the artistic sense. While the double album Lost and Found (2016), based on unrealeased prog compositions of the 70's bands mostly from North America, is actually still demanding more listening rounds -- I've had some feelings of tiredness with that one --, the multi-national prog-Gasthaus have now released their most mature work. This is a beautiful and perfectly balanced 65-minute set of finely crafted symphonic prog. That's right: symphonic. Don't always trust the given sub-genre. If you're still new to this band that originally was "only" a project for covers of well known prog classics, now is a perfect moment to jump on board.

I was unsure whether I should do some research on the key-playing composers unfamiliar to me, but I'll leave that up to you. 'On We Sail' is written by Kerry Shacklett. Lyrics and vocal melodies are by TSOP's vocalist-violinist-flautist Steve Unruh). There are classic prog elements hinting at Kansas, ELP, Yes and Genesis. Unruh (perhaps comparable to Tommy Eriksson of Ageness) is not my favourite vocalists in contemporary prog, but on this album his slightly nasal voice is not overused. 'Elements of Life', composed by Octavio Stampalia (Jinetes Negros), is a very dynamic, tempo-shifting track with an emphasis on instrumental power.

'Theodora' is composed by Luca Scherani and sung by Michelle Young. She has a beautiful voice to match with the excellent playing. Not necessarily a highlight for me as a composition, but highly dynamic, as always with TSOP. The edginess is rounded by a soft ending featuring flute. 'Ascension' is an instrumental written by David Myers. Wonderful melodies for analog synthesizers (reminiscent of Willowglass), flute etc. Fresh, lively - simply lovely! 'Ghost Written' is composed by Sean Timms, dueted with Unruh by Mark Trueack (Unitopia / United Progressive Fraternity). Lots of violin and flute. 'The Perfect Black' is a melodic, slightly Hackett-reminding instrumental composed by Oliviero Lacagnina. The inclusion of fine instrumentals is indeed an essential strength of this album. Aforementioned Shacklett returns as a composer and multi-instrumentalist on the warm-hearted song 'Growing Up'. 'Over Again' is David Myers' sensitive piece for solo piano. The final track 'Tigers' was composed by Stefan Renström (one of the TSOP collabrators that passed away before the release of this album). 10½ minutes of passionate prog sung by Daniel Fäldt.

A strong recommendation!! (P.S. Originally I gave this a full rating, but in 2020 I changed it to four stars, since two later TSOP albums are even better.)

Matti | 4/5 |


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