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The Samurai Of Prog - Beyond the Wardrobe CD (album) cover


The Samurai Of Prog

Crossover Prog

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5 stars The multi-national, Finland-based recording project did it again, a marvelous, superbly produced album of first class retro-natured symphonic prog composed and co- performed by excellent prog musicians from various countries including e.g. Argentine, Netherlands, Italy and Japan. In fact I believe this album will be one of my biggest TSOP favourites! (After editing two former ratings this is now my third full rating for this project.)

With nine tracks this album remains under an hour in length. This means the average track length is slightly shorter than on several other TSOP albums, and that is actually a benefit for the whole in which each piece is very good and have distinctive characters. The varying of vocalists and the placing of instrumentals is truly ideal here.

'Another Time' (written by Ronaldo Rodrigues and Steve Unruh who also sings) evolves dynamically from mellowness to energetic instrumental section and features Marek Arnold on saxophone. Oliviero Lacagnina composed a pompous symph prog instrumental 'Dear Amadeus' inspired by Mozart. One may think of 70's RPI bands such as Latte e Miele. 'King of Spades' (by Alessandro Di Benedetti) features Daniel Fldt's vocals. There's a classic Genesis influence in this charming, mellow piece, but also a cool electric violin solo.

Unruh sings 'Forest Rondo' he co-wrote with Christian Bideau. Impressive dynamics between ELP/ Gentle Giant flavours and the more delicate, mystical moments. 'Jester's Dance' is a classical music flavoured instrumental by Octavio Stampalia. 'Kabane' is sung in Japanese by the keys-playing composer Yuko Tomiyama. She has a beautiful, clear voice and the piece is very charming. 'Marigold' is a brief instrumental written by KAYAK's leader Ton Scherpenzeel and his keyboards share the spotlight with Unruh's flute.

'Brandenburg Gate' (by Oliviero Lacagnina) is rooted to Bach; this piece really could have come from the early 70's. The album closes with perhaps its finest song 'Washing the Clouds' written and sung by Elisa Montaldo. Moody, mellow, and on the more romantic side of symphonic prog, and Unruh's soli for violin and electric guitar points at bands like Camel.

This album is one of my favourites of 2020, which indeed has been an amazing year for prog albums.

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Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2020 | Review Permalink

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