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THE SAMURAI OF PROG

Crossover Prog • Multi-National


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The Samurai Of Prog biography
Founded in 2009 as a multinational collaboration project

Multinational ensemble THE SAMURAI OF PROG was formed as a project lead by Finland-based Italian composer and bassist Marco Bernard. He's been active in the Finnish Association for Progressive Music since 1995, and have been involved in their Colossus Magazine since 1996 - and instrumental in the Colossus series of theme albums they have created in cooperation with French label Musea Records.

It was for a contribution to one of those projects that The Samurai of Prog was born, and joining Bernard as permanent members we find US artist Steve Unruh and Finnish drummer Kimmo Pörsti. Besides this core trio, the philosophy of this band appears to be to involve additional musicians as needed and wanted, and their debut effort Undercover from 2011 bears testimony to that line of thinking, with a list of guest appearances impressive in length, scope as well as quality.

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On We SailOn We Sail
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Lost & FoundLost & Found
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THE SAMURAI OF PROG discography


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THE SAMURAI OF PROG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.43 | 61 ratings
Undercover
2011
3.95 | 108 ratings
Secrets Of Disguise
2013
3.98 | 167 ratings
The Imperial Hotel
2014
3.83 | 98 ratings
Lost And Found
2016
3.94 | 117 ratings
On We Sail
2017
5.00 | 1 ratings
ARCHIVIARUM
2018

THE SAMURAI OF PROG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE SAMURAI OF PROG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE SAMURAI OF PROG Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE SAMURAI OF PROG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

THE SAMURAI OF PROG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 On We Sail by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.94 | 117 ratings

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On We Sail
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Ovidiu

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!
 On We Sail by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.94 | 117 ratings

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On We Sail
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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!!

 Lost And Found by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 98 ratings

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Lost And Found
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The multinational (based in Finland) project THE SAMURAI OF PROG is a venture that was started by Marco Bernard and Kimmo Porsti back in 2009, from 2010 and onwards also featuring the talents of Steve Unruh. They started out releasing an album mainly consisting of cover material, but have gradually started to incorporate a growing number of original compositions with successive productions. "Lost and Found" is their fourth studio album, and was released in the spring of 2016 by the Finnish label Seacrest Oy.

Those who know, love and treasure vintage-era symphonic progressive rock should take note of this double album straight way, at least those not already aware of its existence. This is a double feature of vintage compositions created in the vintage era, never officially released, that have been reworked and recorded by a quality set of musicians today. The performances are good, the production is good, and there's an air of well thought out, well developed and solid quality about this entire production. A delightful treat for the right audience.

 Lost And Found by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 98 ratings

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Lost And Found
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Multinational virtual band THE SAMURAI F PROG, steered by bassist Marco Bernard, continue tirelessly their pilgrimage into the 70's epic progressive rock. The core trio is again accompanied by a big cast of international prog musicians, and this time to the fullest extent keyboardist Stefan Renström and guitarist Johan Öijen (whoever they are). As you may remember, TSoP's first two albums contain covers of mostly well-known prog classics, and the music on The Imperial Hotel (2014) was composed by the keyboard-playing collaborators such as Robert Webb of ENGLAND. I was pretty enthusiastic for that work, but now I feel sort of exhausted and I'm not completely convinced of the material that originates from the mid/late 70's.

Actually my initial listening was coloured by negative thoughts of pretentiousness, the kind of "prog for prog's sake" that screamed for the table-cleaning tsunami of the punk movement. That is, these long and complex compositions left me rather cold emotionally (just like TULL's A Passion Play does). I even thought very cynically: what else to expect from originally shelved and unfinished works by relatively minor followers of YES, GENESIS and ELP, such as LIFT, CATHEDRAL and QUILL? On my second listening I began to admit the possibility that the closer you learn these tracks, the more you like them. For sure, all the musicians give their best, as if these pieces really were lost masterpieces that criminally never before were given a full treatment. It's the vocal department that I'm permanently least satisfied with.

'Preludin' is a complex instrumental originally written for PAVLOV'S DOG, featuring its guitarist Steve Scorfina. It's a bumpy ride, but Steve Unruh's flute and violin are used effectively. 'Along the Way' is a brief piano piece by David Myers, continuing the tradition of all TSoP albums. 20-minute 'Inception' originates from the archives of the US band LIFT. I don't much like the nasal voice of Unruh, but the Genesis/Yes/ELP influences are interesting to say the least.

'She (Who Must Be Obeyed)' - originally composed for ODYSSEY of which I have no specific knowlegde - features vocalist Jon Davison, whose high-pitched Jon Anderson imitation becomes a nuisance on this non-YES context. Anyway the sound is nice & warm with lots of Mellotron and Hammond. When we get to 'Plight of the Swan' sung in a Gabrielish manner by Unruh, I really begin to wish other kinds of vocalists. This one's probably going to remain as my least favourite here.

CD 1 approaches 53 minutes, but CD 2 is even longer with its sole track, an epic dealing with an adventurous quest for magical book (practically worth of a lengthy concept album of its own). The American band QUILL were heavily influenced by ELP and YES. The members are as usual, featured as guests. Sadly this 36-part piece plays as a single track on the CD player... There are beautiful instrumental passages, but again the vocals are the weak link IMHO, and frankly I have no big interest towards the extremely pretentious dramatic context. In the end, for me this monstrous epic is an exhausting time-stealer instead of an uplifting, magnificent listening experience that a prog epic ought to be.

All in all, the grandiose and complex prog itself gets only 3½ stars with all my negative remarks considered, but the lavish artwork of Ed Unitsky easily dictates how I round my rating!

 Lost And Found by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.83 | 98 ratings

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Lost And Found
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars Welcome to the amazing world of The Samurai of Prog again,and you are invited to be a part of another fascinating amazing musical journey!Here we have the fourth album of this amazing multi national band,and they did it again,in big style!LOST AND FOUND is a double album,and all the loyal fans of this immensely talented band are spoiled with a trully fantastic album,but also the most pretentious music lovers,old school,vintage prog-rock schoo tool!Definitelly,this album is a culmination of the huge talent of the musicians which compose TSOP!Let's start with the superbe aspect of the album,the look of it is trully fantastic,the colours and the fabulous artwork of Ed Unitsky are stunning!Not only the cover of the album looks fantastic,but the big booklet is absolutelly gorgeous!Being a double album,we have a massive dose of high quality vintage prog-rock,of the highest calibre possible,110 minutes of pure magic!All the classical ingredients of good old school prog are present here!Wonderful voices,great instrumental passages,an unique atmosphere,all greatly packaged in the impressive ,unique style of TSOP,which are stilll growing album after album!The impressive list of the guest musicians on the album is also a guarantee that what TSOP are delivering here,is only great quality music!110 minutes of pure magical music,that's absolutelly impressive and after a first audition ,all the music lovers will have the feeling that old school prog rock still have many great years ahead,because this wonderful music has no stylistic boundaries,and the imagination of it's authors seem to be endless!Hard to fing a particular song to put the accent on it,I see this album as a whole ensemble,a great piece of solid prog rock,but,to fully understand and admire the album at 100 %,there are many auditions necessary,that's for sure!The monster track-The demise- which compose the second cd of this double musical pearl,is a musical tour de force,a great amazing compositions,divided in many parts,but the monolithic structure of it is trully sensational! A great musical journey,as I've said before!The other tracks on ths cd1,are wonderful too,we can admire the masterful and clever way how the authors can put all thie classic prog clichees in a very intelligent and inspired form,to give the compositions such a solid identity!I repeat...not a single weak track,only high quality prog rock music,an ear candy for all good music lovers!Congratulations for TSOP musicians,for this superbe,magnificent album and thank you for continuing to deliver such high quality music nowadays!For me,this is a 5 stars album,a must have for all the fans of great prog rock music!
 The Imperial Hotel by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 167 ratings

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The Imperial Hotel
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 107 ratings but only four reviews for this excellent third album of this Finland-based, multi-national band! The preceding works included covers of classic prog, and they truly are good in that field, but this five-track album consists of new material. Like before, the core trio of Marco Bernard (b), Kimmo Pörsti (dr) and Steve Unruh (voc, v, fl, ac-g) are accompanied by a wide cast of guest appearances. The music is written by the four different keyboardists who naturally also play on the album.

'After the Echoes' is a complex song composed by Octavio Stampalia (JINETES NEGROS). Each musician gives his best in this highly progressive tune. The vocal harmonies of Unruh and Stampalia add to the YES-like atmosphere. 'Limoncello', a song originally from a Various Artists 4-CD project Decameron Part II (2014), catches Robert Webb (ENGLAND) singing in a slightly humorous semi-falsetto about a chance meeting of Giovanni Boccaccio. Very interesting 8-minute prog tune spinning around a violin-centred melodic pattern.

David Myers, who offered beautiful piano introductions for 'The Lamia' and 'Dancing With the Moonlit Knight' on TSOP's earlier albums, is soloing on his romantic, three-minute 'Victoria's Summer Home', bridged by Unruh's natural effects into the majestic title track (28:09). 'The Imperial Hotel', with its Victorian-ish ghost story contents, was brought to the band from the ENGLAND archives by Robert Webb who again is the lead vocalist too. What a gorgeous prog epic bowing deep for the classic side-long prog epics of bands such as Genesis, Yes and Jethro Tull -- nearly rivalling them, without stealing direct ideas from any of them. The final track 'into the Lake' is by the Swedish keyboardist-vocalist Linus Kåse (BRIGHTEYE BRISON). Not quite as impressive to my ears as the rest of the album, it nevertheless operates very skillfully in the GENTLE GIANT -like rhythmic complexity.

My hesitation between 4 and 5 stars is solved by the superb visual design of the fold-out covers and the 40-page booklet. The term "masterpiece" suits at least to the title track, but as a whole this is a (surprisingly, considering the varied composers) coherent and extremely ambitious piece of progressive rock that hits the goal perfectly.

 The Imperial Hotel by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 167 ratings

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The Imperial Hotel
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by steelyhead

4 stars The Single Malt Whisky of Prog

Whoa Nelly! This is an excellent CD of progressive music that took me back 40 years in time. A group that came from nowhere and playing the kind of music You have ever dream of.

They are exactly like a single malt whisky: a hint of Gentle Giant, a whiff of Yes, a full body of Genesis and an aftertaste of ELP, there's even the full drum solo from Stairway to Heaven in the title song (look for It).

This is, I think, one of the best CD's of 2014 and keeps growing on me with every single spin so It is recommended to you if you miss terribly the seventies (I do).

 The Imperial Hotel by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 167 ratings

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The Imperial Hotel
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Olga Odessa

5 stars THE SAMURAI OF PROG - The Imperial Hotel is one of the TOP PROG releases of the year (and not only!) - if you love not only Yes and Genesis BUT Gentle Giant as well with that variety of crossing parts that 'work' together like a completed puzzle - WELCOME to the hotel ! Great "more than guest" there: Robert Webb, musician from the great legendary ENGLAND band, with unreleased but - now - like a "newborn" music. You will enjoy your stay also with amazing design of the CD: 6-panels' digipack + 40 pages' booklet (many Ed Unitsky's, well-known artist's, artworks - totally in a style of the Victorian era but with much fun!) So, you will meet in The Imperial Hotel album:

- 'After the Echoes' (of Yes! with a great chorus on that way) - "Don't wanna give up but I don't know why. I did not ask for this That voice comes from me, if I don't believe it myself, who will?" This music helps! So you was thinking that it's "Yes-like" album? You will SURPRISED with every next track!

- Sooo "tasty" ' Limoncello' - real "fine art" in music ! Robert Webb's (from ) music brilliantly performed by 'Samurai of Prog' with all of the rich palette/arrangement - it's a treasure! Perfect "music box" (Neapolitan? Mexican? Victorian?) with many sweet moments and a sence of humour - music smiles :) Our reverances, Samurai!

- 'Victoria's Summer Home' - very beautiful piano music, with a special mood and warm feelings - real cosy and happy summer! Musically it's maybe like a Debussy and Philip Glass but also with active movement and interesting harmonies that sounds so "naturally"! Also David Myers is really great player - I have to admit that I was trying to play some tune by ear and.. I have to train for this much more seriously!

- 'The Imperial Hotel' - be ready for the Great Adventure in music - it's a Story with many parts/moods/themes! Real hit from the very beginning - I understand how I love PROG music with it ! Great pleasure and many interesting things both in music and lyrics (and pictures - look at the booklet!). Old/young Emma (you see her at the cover art !) and some mystic transformations of reality, with a dose of absurdity - it's not Stephen King but Genesis way of PROG thinking! I bet you will sing that "Eigh-teen-for-ty 'twas was built for nobi-lity, Victoria commanding the throne..." hehe Oh - and great violine and flute, thank you Mr Steve Unruh! And turn your attention to the Marco Bernard who plays bass: he "feel" the right and the same - unusial moments for notes! (very interesting to "follow" with the parts!)

- 'Into the Lake' (near Gentle Giant's Glass House, hehe): what a sounds and choirs! It's a very original piece of music, and even with all of the influences that we so glad to catch at the album - it's Samurai's of Prog STYLE . Brilliant arrangement, interesting turns, many great guitar parts (not only in solos!), acoustic guitar, voilin, flute... without any 'borders' of their own music manners and with a LOT of fun! The more I listen to the album - the more I love it. Very much recommended!

 The Imperial Hotel by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.98 | 167 ratings

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The Imperial Hotel
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Based in Finland, the multinational project THE SAMURAI OF PROG is a band that was started by Marco Bernard and Kimmo Parsti back in 2009, and from 2010 and onwards also featuring the talents of Steve Unruh. Following two initial productions that mainly consisted of cover material they have now focused on exploring original material. "The Imperial Hotel" is their third studio recording, released by the Finnish label Seacrest Oy in 2014.

Those fond of vintage era progressive rock in general and the symphonic varieties of it in particular should find "The Imperial Hotel" to be a real treat. There are a few select pointers towards many of the bands from the classic era that give the material a sense of familiarity, enough going on at all times to keep matters interesting, and the different instrumentalists involved all add elements and details to the proceedings that give the individual songs a distinct presence and individual character. Highly recommended to fans of progressive rock, and to those with an affection for vintage era symphonic progressive rock in particular.

 Secrets Of Disguise by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.95 | 108 ratings

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Secrets Of Disguise
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The second set of prog covers by this Finnish-based group (bassist Marco Bernard, drummer Kimmo Pörsti and multi-instrumentalist Steve Unruh) and their huge cast of guests is more ambitious and notably bigger in size than their debut Undercover (2011). The first disc of 77 minutes has 10 amazing covers plus Samurai Of Prog's own beautiful track 'Sweet Iphigenia' from the Colossus project "Decameron 2", while the second CD includes only four tracks but is still 54 minutes long. The leaflet containing all the information track-by-track is also very beautifully illustrated.

So the first impression is like being taken for a luxorious ride into a prog heaven. The compositions of 70's classic prog are chosen with excellent taste and they are performed with great dedication and skill. It's only natural that in time the listener becomes less enthusiastic about this set: you begin to ask yourself why listen to these covers instead of the originals. But an album of prog covers hardly gets better than this anyway.

First we have the epic 'Three Piece Suite' from ENGLAND's classic album (1977); Robert Webb is featured on Mellotron, Hammond and other keyboards, and on vocals together with Steve Unruh & Mirja Lassila. The way some of the original performers are invited as guests continues throughout the set, e.g. 'Descendo en el Maelstrom' features Mento Hevia from the Spanish prog legends CRACK. Undercover had a little instrumental prefacing (and inspired by) 'Lamia', and a similar approach is taken here with another GENESIS masterpiece, 'Dancing With the Moonlit Knight': 'Before the Dance' is a piano solo by David Myers. And after Genesis, a wonderful interpretetation of the lovely GENTLE GIANT track 'Aspirations from The Power and the Glory (1974)'. Wow! Those extra vibraphones nicely increase the jazzy feel.

'Traveler' originates from the 1977 PFM album Jet Lag. Guest vocalist Mark Trueack comes from the Aussie prog group Unitopia (though this information is not mentioned in the leaflet). The next tracks is probably unfamiliar to non-Finnish, it's the best track 'Sameassa vedessä' from MATTI JÄRVINEN's sole album (1976), which is considered as a prog classic even though its progressivity isn't very notable - which is why one can't find it from the Archives. The Finnish lyrics are sung by female Mirja Lassila. The only choice in CD One that I'm not very happy with is the KING CRIMSON track 'One More Red Nightmare'. It is followed by 'To Take Him Away' from the eponymous 1972 album of the French SANDROSE. Respectably many countries are covered! YES's 'Time and a Word' features extended vocal arrangements by Jon Davison, who was shortly afterwards asked to join Yes.

In my opinion CD Two is not as pleasant. Easily the most annoying track on the whole set is UTOPIA's 'Singring and the Glass Guitar' (23:32) with all the naiive stroytelling and melodies that become earworms. The other long track is the alternative version of Samurai Of Prog's epic composition from "The Stories of H. P. Lovecraft". In between there are two more excellent prog covers, VDGG's 'Darkness' and RUSH's 'Jacob's Ladder'. No doubt this set deserves four stars.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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