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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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ArchiviarumArchiviarum
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On We SailOn We Sail
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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)

3.42 | 65 ratings
Undercover
2011
3.93 | 115 ratings
Secrets Of Disguise
2013
3.96 | 181 ratings
The Imperial Hotel
2014
3.81 | 108 ratings
Lost And Found
2016
3.90 | 140 ratings
On We Sail
2017
3.89 | 85 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
3.90 | 140 ratings

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On We Sail
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by elpprogster

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.
 Archiviarum by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 85 ratings

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Archiviarum
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Ovidiu

5 stars Our beloved multinational supergroup THE SAMURAI OF PROG is back in 2018 with another exceptional release called ARCHIVIARUM!This is a 70 minutes amazing new masterpiece which consist of rarities and special recordings,as the album is presented by SEACREST OY,the band's record label!Of course, the first impact of this new album ,is the stunning presentation,gorgeous again,truly spectacular ,a fantastic digipak with an impressive artwork from Ed Unitsky,the sensational partner of TSOP from the last albums!Definitely,the band is giving a serious importance to the presentation of each album,but this one ,I dare to say is,maybe,the most spectacular and majestic to date!Fantastic colours and wonderful images,which fit perfectly well with the music!I won't repeat what other reviewers said about this album,my only humble appreciation is about the great quality of the music included on this album!The three main members of the band are surrounded this time again by some very competent and professional musicians and there's an impression of a true alchemy between all of them!The high quality of the composition is obvious,we are spoiled with some great vintage prog rock,and any fan of this great music genre will adore this superbe,magnificent compositions from all the heart!The production is sensational,as usual,the Rickenbacker bass sound of Mr Bernard is fantastic,the mesmerising violin of Mr Unruh is perfect and the drumming wizardry from Mr Porsty is precise as a Switch watch!All the vocals are amazing,they fit perfectly well with the music on all tracks... and the atmosphere on this album is so special and wonderful!Even we have a 70 minutes album,we don't have the impression of a long and boring album,no way...it's diverse,catchy and full of musical surprises!From compositions with a fusion vibe to strong old school of prog rock,everything is here perfectly well balanced in a clever mix,a true regale for the prog rock-vintage style-fans!Album after album,TSOP are proving an endless inspiration and they became a sure value of the genre,we have the certainty that each album of the band is better and better than the previous one,all the albums of the band they already have such a high musical quality,that it's almost impossible to find weak point of aspect in their music!I simply adore this album,I'll make many auditions with the same feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that the music delivered by TSOP os truly wonderful under all aspects!For me this is a 5 stars albums,because everything on this album is perfect,both musical and visual!
 Archiviarum by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 85 ratings

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Archiviarum
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars If I remember right, someone wrote Marco Bernard to be the hardest-working musician that the writer knew. Probably it was on the liner notes of The Samurai Of Prog debut album in 2011. It can't be very far from truth, considering Bernard's key role on the massive, international multi-disc Colossus projects, and the breath-taking pace of TSOP releasing new albums full of high quality prog. Wasn't the fifth album On We Sail (2017) released just a short while ago?

But then again, TSOP isn't a regular band; first off, the core trio of bassist Marco Bernard, drummer Kimmo Pörsti and vocalist- violinist-flautist Steve Unruh don't need to compose the music themselves. The first two TSOP albums contained covers of mostly well-known prog classics, and the next two, Imperial Hotel and Lost and Found, were based on (in many cases, 70's dating and previously unreleased) compositions of the featured prog musicians across Europe and America. Archivarium is actually a collection of recordings made throughout the years, none of the tracks having been on a TSOP album before. It contains compositions of the musicians that they have worked with, and (more or less re-worked) tracks that originally have been released under other artists' names on the mentioned Colossus projects (the Decameron trilogy, to be more precise). Making them now TSOP tracks is explained by the fact that the original recordings featured TSOP members.

'Keep the Ball Rolling' by Octavio Stampalia (of Jinetes Negros) is a fine prog instrumental with some ELP/Kansas/Genesis/Camel flavour. 'Ahead of Fortune' is an edited and remixed version of Eduardo García Salueña's [S.A.L.U.E.N.A.] track from Decameron III. 'La Oscuridad', in which Unruh duets with Michelle Young in Spanish, originates from the OCEANIC LEGION project that the TSOP guys had with Lalo Huber and Carlos Lucena (of Nexus, Argentina). This song is previously unreleased, whereas the other Oceanic Legion piece 'The sleeping Lover' (both are composed by Huber) appeared on Decameron II.

'Cristalli' (composed by and featuring keyboardist Michele Mutti of La Torre dell'Alchimista) is sung by Stefano "Lupo" Galifi from Museo Rosenbach. It's an enjoyable, at times fusionesque prog piece. Instrumental 'Elitropia' is a new mix of the Decameron III track of LATTE E MIELE, featuring keyboardist/composer Oliviero Lacagnina plus the TSOP trio. 'From This Window' was originally a demo from Kerry Shacklett; another one ended up as the On We Sail opener. - I sincerely like all these tracks. In fact, I'm pretty close to rate this with five stars (like I have done with two TSOP albums).

The 8th track is a CAMEL cover: the majestic instrumental 'Ice' is among my Camel favourites. This recording was planned to feature Camel keyboardist Guy Leblanc (who appeared on the first two TSOP albums) but sadly he passed away. Luckily this cover sounds suitably different from the perfect and unbeatable original, due to sax and violin. Oh God, I just love 'Ice', and eventually I'll love this version as well. 'Predawn' is a beautiful piano solo by David Myers, continuing the tradition heard on each TSOP album.

As a "bonus track" comes 'Heroes' (DAVID BOWIE), sung by Mark Trueack. This song was chosen by Kimmo Pörsti from the two suggestions of Marco Bernard's brother who turned 60. Well... this is clearly my least fave on this release. The problem is that it follows the excellent main album and its serene ending without a pause and thus brings a sudden anticlimax. This, and the fact that I already had some tracks on the Decameron sets, makes me give only four stars. Nevertheless, Archivarium boldly continues the excellence of The Samurai Of Prog releases, and especially if you missed the Decamerons, you'll have over an hour's worth of wonderfully performed 70's style symphonic prog. Recommended? Sure!!

 Archiviarum by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 85 ratings

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Archiviarum
The Samurai Of Prog Crossover Prog

Review by mitarai_panda

4 stars The Samurai Of Prog is a very famous, actually very good cross-country forward rock band, despite the style of the cross before shaking, but I think it should be more symphonic shake. They basically each year a college, each more than an hour, there are some twenty or thirty minutes of epic. They released their sixth album "ARCHIVIARUM" this year. The band was founded in 2009, the Finnish composer and bassist Marco Bernard is the main brain, was Colossus magazine invited to do a series of stars album, the band was officially established, but each album will invite some other countries musicians Guest appearances. This year's new college took as long as 70 minutes, entering the lyrical moment after the ballooning piano + violin + flute opening, and the lead singer sounds very comfortable (not sure if it is a guest). Steve Unruh's violin seems to have increased its use this time, creating a beautiful, melancholic, classical atmosphere. Then it entered the grand sphere of symphony, multinational force at this time to play a role, the Spanish girl sounded, very epic, gorgeous beautiful keyboard and violin ensemble complement each other. It was followed by an Italian interpretation of the opera (but the flute was also brilliant) and a humorous Finnish folk song. Into the second half, the sixth with a similar guitar smooth guitar solo at the beginning, after exquisite concert and instrument competition so quietly ended by the flute. The seventh is the longest (but 10 minutes, however, much shorter than many of their previous epics), beginning with a long and gorgeous synthesizer keyboard, followed by a humorous polyphonic chorus similar to the modest giants, to be diversified attempts . The eighth guest musician at the beginning blew some of the most intoxicating saxophone, refined and elegant, feel every note is very well taken place, and then ... ... 咦? How did I hear the melody that is completely Camel "Ice"? Well, this song is also called "Ice", it seems it is a cover! This song is not prominent in many Camel works, but the main guitar solo is still very good, a kind of ice like loneliness blowing, and the cover of The Samurai Of Prog in fact, some resolve the cold A sense of warmth, and more beautiful sounds, the last crazy keyboard to join together with the saxophone arrived at the peak after sinking into the sea of ​​ice. After a period of soft piano tune, the last one is full of dynamic pop rock, saxophone is also in it, but in front of so many art rock some of the wrong. Of course, flaw does not cover the last one Yu! This is undoubtedly their best work, I think even more praiseworthy than last year's work even better! Each song is remarkable, especially the multi-instrument music complement each other and set off, the whole listening (I want to ignore the last one) is so cool, people can directly experience the beauty of art rock, an absolute The four-star half-praise! This year must listen to the masterpiece! Top Ten Candidates!
 On We Sail by SAMURAI OF PROG, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.90 | 140 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
3.90 | 140 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
3.81 | 108 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
3.81 | 108 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
3.81 | 108 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
3.96 | 181 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.

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

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