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


The Samurai Of Prog

Crossover Prog

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5 stars I'm pleased to be the first one to review this brand new album. The more so, because I sincerely feel that the full rating is justified! 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.

I confess: it was today that I received this album, but I've been listening to it again and again already. I think this is going to be among the finest prog releases of 2017. A strong recommendation!!

Report this review (#1727892)
Posted Monday, May 29, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well,well,well!Here we have another masterpiece of the multinational project called THE SAMURAI OF PROG!The new album is exactly what all TSOP fans are expecting !Solid prog rock compositions,attractive stylistic diversity and mature songwritting!Definitelly,this is a new musical triumph for the band,it's one of the best written ,composed of all TSOP albums so far!Even we don't have a mammoth track or extremely long and elaborated compositions,I can say this new album is one of the most organic and well structured albums of the band!There are all the superbe ingredients of vintage prog rock included and the very mature way of compositions is simply stunning!Maybee the word which express the high quality of this album is maturity under all aspects!The list of all the guests on the albums is impressive again,but despite that,we have a very monolythic album,with strong ideas and perfectly clear defined!Hard to say which compositions are the best,I must confess I made already 5 auditions of the album and I still have the same thrill and I continue to discover new things and emotions after each musical experience!And that's definitely the mark of the high quality of the album!Once again,the artwork of Ed Unitsky is stunning,the graphic aspect of the album is marvelous too!That's a prove of respect from the band to the fans,delivering the highest graphic quality too!So,overall a 65 minutes magical musical journey,full of emotions and musical endeavours,a prove that TSOP seems to have an endless inspiration,and also the fact that vintage prog rock is a guarantee of quality in music,something timeless and without any trace of dust!Without any hesitation I must say that this is a 5 stars album and I don't fear to use the word masterpiece to describe it!Wonderful indeed,one of the most solid albums in the last years in the prog rock community!All the compliments to the band for the will and passion to deliver such high quality albums to the good music lovers!
Report this review (#1732093)
Posted Sunday, June 11, 2017 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well... Its about 01:58 in this hot Summer night here in Porto, Portugal and I just listened to this Samurai of Prog album for just about 5 times in a row... Then I had to try to review it here, something I just don´t do for quite a while... I wont review it track by track just because I don´t have the same fellows here ability to do it... I just want to spot the highlights for me, beginning right away on the first song, quite keyboard based...Then Theodora, another vocal track full of emotion... Then The instrumental Ascension, wonderful track rich of musical beauty; congrats to the writer David Myers... Signore Oliviero Lagagnina also presents us here with another great instrumental, on which I recall some Rovescio Della Medaglia and Emerson Lake & Palmer influences; great... Then and finally, the last track, a sublime emotive farewell to Life from his author, the late Stefan Renstrom; it begins just gloriously, then is beautifully emotionally performed and also features a middle section again reminiscent of ELP, surely one of his musical influences... Strongly recommend this album... Five stars.
Report this review (#1953981)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | Review Permalink

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