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The Samurai Of Prog - Omnibus - The Early Years CD (album) cover

OMNIBUS - THE EARLY YEARS

The Samurai Of Prog

 

Crossover Prog

4.15 | 7 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Good news for those who have finally found out how great band The Samurai Of Prog is and now wish to complete their collections with earlier albums that have been hard to get for a while: The 4-disc Omnibus box set is now available again. It contains the three first albums of this multi-national group of retro/classic/symphonic prog ambassadors: Undercover, Secrets of Disguise (2-cd) and The Imperial Hotel, partly re-edited or re-recorded, plus extra material of almost an hour's worth.

The two earliest albums concentrated on prog covers. Undercover (2011) covers e.g. 'The Lamia', 'Assassing', 'Jerusalem' and 'Dogs' from the output of major prog bands. However, right from the start there were some original compositions too. David Myers composed and performed 'Before The Lamia' for solo piano, and drummer Kimmo Pörsti composed an excellent lengthy instrumental 'The Promise', which appeared on a slightly different form in a "Decameron" set for various artists. The original bonus tracks of Undercover (ie. other artists covering the earlier Italian band of bassist Marco Bernard) have given way for better stuff: 'Journey to the Island' is a new recording with Octavio Stampalia, originally a John Williams piece from Jurassic Park -- as I found out by googling. 'Indictment Ever After' and two bonus tracks placed on the third disc are magnificent collaborations with Lalo Huber and Carlos Lucena of NEXUS. The third disc features also 'Karn Evil 9, Second Impression' (ELP) as a bonus.

Secrets of Disguise (2013) contains further well-made prog covers of an impressively wide spectrum, from 'Dancing With the Moonlit Knigth', Gentle Giant and P.F.M. to Utopia, VdGG, Rush and even the internationally quite unknown Finn Matti Järvinen. As the liner notes of Omnibus say, it was perhaps 'Sweet Iphigenia' composed by Pörsti and Linus Kåse that changed TSOP's course to perform original music instead of covers. The principle was pursued in The Imperial Hotel (2014), the first TSOP release I considered worth full rating. That album's gorgeous symphonic compositions are by the involved keyboardists, e.g. Robert Webb (of ENGLAND) and the forementioned Stampalia (JINETES NEGROS) and Kåse (BRIGHTEYE BRISON).

There are four more bonus tracks on this box set. 'Un Respiro e Tutto Cambia' is sung by Stefano Galifi of MUSEO ROSENBACH, 'Anatta' is a fusion-y instrumental composed by Christian Bideau, and 'Rimani nella Mia Vita' originates from LATTE E MIELE's classic album Papillon. 'La Magia e la Realta' is from the new [at the release time, forthcoming] album Toki No Kaze. All in all Omnibus is a wonderful cornucopia of both covers (of either well known classics or less heard prog songs) and original material in the symphonic prog vein. If you already have the albums (with admittedly more informative booklets), it's a difficult question whether to get this set too, but even in that case there's plenty of new delights.

Matti | 4/5 |

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